A sideswipe crash between a pickup truck and a car in the Silver Valley community of Davidson County, North Carolina (NC), left the driver of the smaller vehicle dead. The nearly head-on collision occurred on the night of May 26, 2015, at the intersection of Highway 109 and Ernest Snider Road just outside the town of Lexington.
According to reports, the woman behind the wheel of the pickup crossed the center line of the highway. The impact sent both vehicles careening off the road, and the deceased victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the wreck. While the exact cause of the deadly crash has not been determined and neither speeding nor alcohol or drug use appear to have played roles, police have filed initial charges against the pickup driver for causing a death while operating a motor vehicle.
In speaking with reporters, law enforcement personnel noted that the man who lost his life was not wearing a seat belt. No one can know whether buckling up would have allowed him to survive the collision, but North Carolina law does require all drivers to use the safety devices. And statistics do show that individuals who use seatbelts have greater chances of living through crashes.
Should family members of the man who died in the Davidson County sideswipe wreck file insurance claims or a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver, her insurer and legal representatives are likely to emphasize the seatbelt issue. That should backfire, however. State law and court rulings make it clearly that failure to buckle up does not constitute the kind of contributory negligence that would invalidate a request for compensation following an accident that causes injuries or death.
However the criminal charges and likely civil claims get resolved, my Carolina wrongful death law firm colleagues send our condolences out to the friends and family of the man who lost his life.