A two-car crash in rural Camden County, North Carolina (NC), killed one passenger and sent three other people to hospitals with severe injuries. The fatal crash happened outside of the town of Trap before sunrise on March 26, 2017.
According to a detailed report in the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald, the stage was set for the deadly collision when the driver of Mercury sedan ran off the right side of Nowell Farm Road a little after passing the intersection with Morris Ford Road. The driver then overcorrected his steering and crossed the center line of the two-lane rural route.
A Toyota traveling in the opposite direction T-boned the Mercury, striking the front passenger-side. That impact sent the Mercury into a ditch, where it overturned. The two men in the flipped car were trapped until rescue squad members cut them free.
The entrapped passenger in the Mercury, identified as 42-year-old Larry Grandberry of Colerain, died at the scene. His driver and the two people in the Toyota were flown by helicopter to nearby hospitals. Information on the types of injuries they suffered were not released to the public.
The newspaper quoted a Highway Patrol officer who said charges are pending, most likely against the driver of the Mercury. The newspaper also noted that none of the men involved in this fatal Camden County crash were wearing seat belts. This fact may be cited by insurance company representatives when they are asked to pay personal injury and wrongful death claims.
North Carolina, like Virginia, is one of four states that still recognizes the common law principle of contributory negligence. Under this outdated and unjust legal theory, no person who shares any fault for causing his or her injuries can seek or receive compensation from someone else. As usually applied, contributory negligence means that someone who can be found just 1 percent at fault has no grounds for making a claim against the individual or organization that is 99 percent to blame.
Insurance company reps who try to cite contributory negligence in an effort to deny the claims of the victims of the deadly wreck on Nowell Farm Road near Trap, NC, will fail, however. Section 20-137.1 of the North Carolina Code, which requires adults to use seat belts in moving vehicles, also specifies that no violation of the state’s seat belt law will “constitute negligenc per se or contributory negligence per se.”
An insurer might still try to deny a rightful personal injury or wrongful death claim arising from this tragedy in Camden County on other grounds, but it will not be able to dismiss any claim out of hand simply because no one buckled up. Working with a dedicated Carolina wrongful death attorney will help the injured survivors and the family of the passenger who lost his life clear away legal barriers insurance companies put in place to prevent car crash victims from receiving the compensation and monetary damages they are due.