Interstate 40 in North Carolina can be a dangerous place for drivers. Given the number of heavy vehicles such as tractor-trailers traveling at high rates of speed, deadly crashes on I-40 can happen in an instant. Even what starts as a minor wreck can lead to a more serious one if the other vehicle traveling behind the drivers involved in the wreck do not properly come to a stop or slow down.
Collisions and compensation
A speeding tractor-trailer likely caused a triple fatality crash near McGee’s Crossroads in Johnston County on Wednesday, August 29, 2018. According to North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers who performed an initial investigation, one car may have crashed or had to pull over into the median. As vehicles behind it tried to slow down, apparently one or more did not properly apply their brakes, leading to a deadly collision involving a 10-wheeled lumber truck, an eighteen wheeler and several other vehicles. The end result of this tragic collision was that three individuals lost their life.
Unfortunately, the accident near McGee’s Crossroads is not so out of the ordinary for the stretch of I-40 in Johnston County. Even if they are not fatal, there are life changing crashes on Interstate 40 in North Carolina every month. Highway wrecks like the ones that happen on I-40 can cause bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, burns, spinal cord injuries, and other life changing consequences.
Underinsured motorist compensation
Under North Carolina law, a victim of a motor vehicle collision can recover certain types of compensation from negligent drivers. Compensation is typically paid by the negligent person’s insurance carrier, but is sometimes partially paid by the victim’s own “Underinsured Motorist” coverage. Compensation can be recovered for: (1) past and future medical expenses, (2) past and future lost wages, (3) past and future physical pain and mental suffering, (4) permanent injury, and (5) permanent scarring.
Wrongful death compensation
If the facts involve a wrongful death, such as Johnston County case, the compensation structure is very different. It is controlled by North Carolina’s Wrongful Death Statute, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2. As reflected in the statute, the “beneficiaries” of the wrongful death claim can recover:
(1) Expenses for care, treatment and hospitalization incident to the injury resulting in death;
(2) Compensation for pain and suffering of the decedent;
(3) The reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent;
(4) The present monetary value of the decedent to the persons entitled to receive the damages recovered, including but not limited to compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected;
- Net income of the decedent,
- Services, protection, care and assistance of the decedent, whether voluntary or obligatory, to the persons entitled to the damages recovered,
- Society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent to the persons entitled to the damages recovered;
The challenge in any case such as the one near McGee’s Crossroads is establishing the exact sequence of the crash. The truth is that many of the witnesses will have some bias. For instance, asking the opinion of an at-fault driver who may give a fraudulent account of events. It can be difficult for authorities to properly determine liability when witnesses either withhold information or forget details.
Frequently, in cases where fault isn’t easy to prove, each side hires an “accident reconstruction engineer”. These experts evaluate the physical evidence and testimony of different witnesses and to try to recreate the crash. Having an expert opinion can be monumental in a wrongful death case – particularly in cases involving a tractor-trailer company. They almost always deny liability and hire experts to fight the case. Therefore, it is prudent for a victim/victim’s family to hire their own investigators.
We can help.
The North Carolina attorneys at Maginnis Law have years of experience representing victims of serious highway crashes such as those on I-40. Our firm has not only served in Johnston County, but also Wake and surrounding areas. We can help the victims or their families recover reasonable compensation from the insurance company of the negligent driver(s). We are also experienced in multiple fatality cases.
In 2018, we recovered over $2,900,000 for one of three victims of a crash near I-85 in Hillsborough. We offer free consultations and will travel to meet with you to discuss your case. If we take your case, you don’t owe attorneys’ fees unless and until we make a recovery for your claim. You may submit a request through our contact page or call our office at (919) 526-0450.