A chain-reaction crash just east of the beltway around Greensboro, North Carolina (NC), left one woman dead and police investigators searching for answers. The fatal three-vehicle wreck happened at the Mt. Hope Church overpass near the I-40/I-85/I-840 interchange.
The woman who lost her life had stopped for unknown reasons in a center lane before getting hit from behind. That initial impact sent her disabled vehicle into a nearby car. She died from her injuries after being transported to a hospital. News reports did not mention any other injuries.
Greensboro law enforcement officials declined to immediately cite a cause for the deadly rear-end collision and have asked any witnesses to share information by calling (336) 373-1000.
Studies of rear-end collision have revealed both how often these kinds of wrecks hapen and how frequently they could be avoided. The National Transportation Safety Board in 2015 estimated that some 1.7 million rear-end collisions occur on U.S. roads and highways each year. Citing these statics, a Washington Post reporter noted that federal researchers had determined that “87 percent of rear-end collisions happened because the driver simply wasn’t paying attention to the road. … [C]ell phones and other non-driving related systems in cars contributed to that distraction.”
Distraction leads directly to the real cause of nearly every preventable rear-ender, which is failing to brake in time. A person who is not watching the road ahead and keeping his or her mind focused on the need to react quickly to changes in traffic flow will often find it impossible to slow down and stop before crashing. Speeding and following too closely, which are particular dangers on interstates like the one approaching Greensboro, also make avoiding rear-end collisions difficult.
Officials investigating the tragedy in Greensboro will need to thoroughly reconstruct the crash scene from physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and survivors. If they find that the woman who suffered fatal injuries experienced an unexpected mechanical breakdown or had stopped herself to prevent rear-ending slowed vehicles, police attention must turn to the actions of the man who struck her. Errors on the man’s part could make him liable for settling wrongful death insurance claims brought by the woman’s family.
Consulting with an empathetic and experienced Carolina wrongful death attorney will help grieving family members keep up with findings from the crash investigation as they recover from the sudden loss of their loved one. Hiring a plaintiff’s attorney will also provide a buffer and advocate for dealing with insurance company representatives.