A three-vehicle wreck on a bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway south of Wilmington, North Carolina (NC), left a dump truck driver dead and a commercial van driver hospital. It remains unclear if the passenger van driver who appears to have caused the fatal chain-reaction crash on G.V. Barbee Bridge will face charges.
Oak Island Police and the State Highway Patrol continue investigating the deadly wreck that occurred a little after noon on December 17, 2017. Evidence collected so far indicates that the passenger van crossed the center line of the bridge, causing the dump truck and the commercial van to collide. That impact sent the dump truck over the side of the bridge and into the marsh below.
The dump truck landed on its roof, and the 44-year-old man trapped inside died at the scene. While news reports note that the person behind the wheel of the commercial van required hospital treatment for his or her injuries, no details are publicly available about the nature or severity of those injuries.
Authorities still need to figure out why the passenger van drove left of center in the moments before the crash. While becoming distracted behind the wheel explains many such incidents -- primary because taking one’s eyes and mind off the road ahead increases the risk for drifting out of one’s lane -- several other factors may have contributed to causing the chain reaction on G.V. Barbee Bridge.
Regardless of the explanation found for this tragedy, it seems that the family members of the dump truck driver who lost his life have strong grounds for filling insurance claims for wrongful death. Under section 28A-18-2(a) of the North Carolina General Statutes, survivors of crash victims can seek compensation and monetary damages from an at-fault driver when “the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another, such as would, if the injured person had lived, have entitled the injured person to an action for damages therefor.”
Translated into plain English, the dump truck driver did nothing to cause the wreck. Therefore, he would have had the right to file a personal injury claim had he lived. Since that, sadly, did not happen, a family member acting on his behalf can take legal action to hold the at-fault driver financially accountable.
Working with a caring and dedicated Carolina wrongful death attorney will help the family members fully understand and exercise their rights when dealing with insurance companies. Consulting with a Carolina personal injury lawyer would also benefit the commercial van driver who got injured on the bridge in Oak Island.