Two women went to VCU Medical Center after their 2012 Hyundai Veracruz ran off the interstate, hit a tree, rolled over and caught fire. The single-vehicle crash happened at around 4 am on May 23, 2021.
State police and fire and rescue crews responded to the scene at mile marker 232 of I-64 through James City County, Virginia (VA). They found three passengers standing near the burning vehicle. The driver and another passenger were trapped in the burning wreckage and could only be extracted after the flames were extinguished,
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Both the women who were transported to the hospital in Richmond are expected to live, but doctors characterized their injuries as serious. News reports do not contain details about injuries to the other three passengers.
Still Trying to Figure Out Why Crash Happened
State police filed a preliminary charge of reckless driving/failure to maintain control of a vehicle against the driver. This could be one of two statutory offenses. The general reckless driving law, section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Code, states, “Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
Even more broadly, section 46.2-853 of the Virginia Code, states, in part, “A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a vehicle which is not under proper control.” Which offense the SUV driver committed will only be known after state trooper complete their investigation.
The important thing for the injured passenger or passengers is that troopers are looking into whether the driver was recklessly speeding or lost control for some other reason. Findings from that investigation can be used to substantiate personal injury claims even if no conviction is secured or if the charge is reduced.
Receiving an insurance settlement or winning a civil trial jury award requires showing that the driver named as being at fault was acting negligently or recklessly. The official report on the causes of the crash that gave rise to personal injury claims provides essential evidence.
Equally import, all the injured passenger must understand that they have rights to seek compensation for their crash-related expenses. These can include medical bills, lost wages and emotional trauma and mental distress. Even if the passengers knew or are related to the driver, negligence or recklessness creates legal liability. Suing a friend or family member can certainly create tensions, but car crash victims should not have to pay all the costs of recovering from a wreck that could have been prevented.