Troopers with the state highway patrol reported the boy was in a truck driven by a 20-year-old woman. Also in that truck was another adult, plus a baby and four other children, ages one, three, four, and 10. The truck was traveling eastbound in the inside lane when a 38-year-old man in a passenger car tried to drive across that same road at the cross street. However, as he entered the intersection, he drove right into the family’s path, according to NBC-8. The front end of the car collided with the driver’s side of the family’s truck, causing it to spin and then flip.
A nearby food truck worker rushed over to help and began CPR on the three-year-old, but he could not be saved. Meanwhile, the driver of the car was arrested. He has previously been arrested for DUI and possession of cocaine and also for discharging a gun from a vehicle. He reportedly had his five-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash.
In a devastating case like this, there is of course no lawsuit or any amount of money that will ever make a family whole again after the loss of a child. However, pursuing claims for damages is still important, not only to help cover medical bills but also to hold accountable those responsible.
N.C.GS. 28A-18-2 is North Carolina’s wrongful death act. The statute allows that when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party, the decedent’s personal representative can pursue claims against the wrongdoer, including expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization related to the injury that resulted in the death, compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent, the reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent, and the monetary value of the decedent to the persons entitled to receive the damages covered.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be allowed. A crash caused by a drunk driver is a prime case in which punitive damages can be pursued. That’s because the statute allows such claims when a wrongful death results from malice or willful or wanton conduct. Willfully driving a vehicle drunk can be deemed willful or wanton conduct.
In some cases, defendants themselves may not have adequate insurance to cover all of the damages of all of the individuals involved. That’s likely to be the case here, when you’ve got five kids plus two adults who were all injured (not including the defendant and his children), plus the little boy who died. In a case like this, our experienced injury lawyers would look at pursuing a number of different claims, including:
- Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. This would be damages paid by the victims’ insurer, which would provide coverage to supplement that of the drunk driver if it were not enough to fully compensate for the damages.
- Dram shop action. This would be an action taken against a bar that may have served alcohol to the driver.
- Vicarious liability of the vehicle owner, if they were different from the driver.
If you have been injured in an Asheville car accident, we can help.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
FHP: Boy, 3, killed, four children injured in Ruskin drunk-driving crash, Feb. 2, 2017, Staff Report, Tampa Bay Times
More Blog Entries:
Could A Law Stop Distracted Driving In Its Tracks? Jan. 20, 2017, Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog