A crash between a sanitation truck and a utility van on Highway 12 through Dare County, North Carolina (NC), left the van driver with injuries that would prove fatal. The collision also resulted in a vehicular homicide charge for the sanitation truck driver.
North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers received the call about the wreck in the 42000 block of NC-12 at around 11 am on January 12, 2018. They had the Coast Guard fly the van driver to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital by helicopter, but the 42-year-old from Nags Head succumbed to his injuries the same day.
Authorities charged the sanitation truck driver with misdemeanor death by vehicle. Alleging the offense requires collecting evidence that a driver caused a fatal collision while violating a state or local traffic ordinance other than driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. News reports on this deadly crash in the Kinnakeet community south of Avon do not include details on what the sanitation truck driver may have done wrong.
If the final crash report from NCSHP investigators indicates that the person behind the wheel of the sanitation truck did something like speed, cross over into the lane of oncoming traffic, attempt an illegal pass or fail to yield right of way while turning, that conclusion can be used to support a wrongful death insurance claim.
Under North Carolina law, the family of the man who lost his life would be legally allowed to seek compensation and damages for the following things if evidence shows that the person driving the sanitation truck was to blame for the collision on NC-12:
- Hospital bills;
- Funeral and burial expenses, including travel costs;
- Loss of income and financial benefits the deceased van driver provided to his family;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of companionship;
- The value of services the victim provided, from child care to home maintenance; and
- Loss of consortium, which is a legal term for being deprived of the benefits of a spousal, parental or sibling relationship.
Drivers of heavy trucks have a high duty to operate safely. The size and weight of their vehicles make them, essentially, deadly weapons when even minor errors or lapses of concentration occur. Illustrating this, during 2015, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles recorded 1,068 injuries and 46 deaths in 5,432 crashes involving heavy single unit trucks such as garbage trucks and dump trucks. As Carolina wrongful attorneys, my colleagues and I know that many of these serious and fatal wrecks could have been prevented by drivers acting more professionally and paying more attention to other vehicles.