A head-on collision south of Roanoke, Virginia (VA), left a 75-year-old driver dead and the at-fault driver hospitalized with undisclosed injuries. The fatal crash happened near the Burnt Chimney community in Franklin County at around 2 pm on December 19, 2017.
According to Virginia State Police investigators, a southbound SUV crossed the center line of VA Route 122 a little north of the intersection with VA 697 and struck an oncoming car. The woman who lost her life was driving the car, and she died despite wearing a seatbelt.
Troopers could not immediately determine why the person behind the wheel of the SUV went left of center. Possible explanations include becoming distracted, falling asleep behind the wheel, experiencing a mechanical failure or speeding around a curve. Since the highway where this deadly wreck in Southwest Virginia occurred is a two-lane rural highway, a driver has little margin for error,
It is clear, however, that the deadly wreck happened in a no-passing zone. Route 122, which is also known as Booker T. Washington Highway, is divided by a double yellow line. That pavement markings indicates that drivers must keep to the right unless they must move around a pedestrian or bike rider and can do so without increasing the risk for a collision with another vehicle.
The other thing that is clear from news reports on this fatal head-on collision in Franklin County is that the family of the deceased driver should have strong grounds for filing wrongful death claims against the insurance policy of the other driver. Under Virginia law, the survivors of a person who dies due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness can seek compensation and damages in the same way their loved one would have had the person lived after the crash.
Going back to the list of potential reasons the SUV driver could have crossed the center line, distraction, drowsy driving, mechanical problems and speeding could each have been avoided. Failing to prevent such problems indicates negligence. Partnering with a caring and dedicated Virginia wrongful death attorney would help the family members gather, organize and present evidence that can be used to prove liability. It may be too soon to take such concerns, but the family who lost their loved one should know that legal allies exist and stand ready to help them deal with insurance company representatives.