A three-vehicle collision in Carrabus County, North Carolina (NC), left a mother and her 18-year-old daughter dead and sent 11 other adults and children to hospitals with serious injuries. The crash happened south of Concord at 6 pm on April 23, 2017.
With heavy rain falling, a minivan crossed a set of double yellow lines while going through a curve a few hundred yards short of the interaction between Highway 200 and U.S. 601. The van then struck two cars head-on.
An 18-year-old passenger in the minivan died at the scene, and the van’s driver succumbed to her own injuries the following morning. Two other high school-aged children in the van got hurt, as did eight people in the cars that had been traveling in the opposite direction. News reports did not include details on the conditions of the people in the cars.
Wet Road to Blame?
Police do not know why the at-fault driver left her lane. Wet pavement and speed may have played roles. According to a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) fact sheet titled “How Do Weather Events Impact Roads,” rain limits visibility and reduces tires’ traction. The agency estimates that staying safe when water covers the road requires reducing one’s speed by between 3 percent and 17 percent. Language in the North Carolina Code of Laws acknowledges this, as well, with section 20-141(a) stating, “No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.”
When negligent or reckless drivers do not slow down in the rain, everyone on the road can face risks. The FHWA expects that a typical decade will see some 352,200 people injured in rain-related crashes on U.S. roads. Another nearly 4,500 individuals will lose their lives because of rain-slicked roads.
Help for the Injured
The survivors of this wreck on Highway 200 south of Concord, NC, no doubt wonder if they will be able to collect on personal injury insurance claims since the driver who caused the head-on collision in which they got hurt lost her life. The short answer is yes. Car insurance policies remain in effect after a crash like this one until all legitimate claims are resolved.
Serious complications and challenges may arise, however. The large number of injured people who have grounds for claiming compensation and damages are likely to exhaust the at-fault driver’s coverage limits. Consulting with an experienced Carolina personal injury lawyer will help the injured victims understand and access underinsured motorist provisions of their insurance policies.