A two-car accident occurred in Bethlehem, West Virginia last week that resulted in the death of a woman from Sherrard, West Virginia. The Wheeling News-Register reports that the deceased perished in a head-on car accident on West Virginia State Route 88 due to head injuries suffered in the accident. According to news reports, the woman was a back-seat passenger in a southbound vehicle, and suffered her fatal wounds when a northbound car veered across the road’s center line and caused the collision. Unfortunately, the woman was not wearing a safety belt at the time and was killed in the impact – thankfully, the driver and front-seat passenger in the vehicle escaped without sustaining any life-threatening injuries. A preliminary investigation revealed that the driver who caused the accident fell asleep behind the wheel and drifted into the southbound lane. Authorities are completing their full investigation, and charges may be filed once the crash has been fully evaluated.
The family surviving the victim of these unfortunate events may have a wrongful death claim based upon the legal negligence of the driver who caused the accident. To support such a claim, it must be shown that: the driver who fell asleep had a duty of care in operating her car, she breached that duty by driving when she was tired, and that breaching her duty caused the accident. The duty of care is determined by what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation – so, if a jury determines that the driver did not act unreasonably in driving her car, there will be no finding of negligence and the wrongful death claim will fail.
Proving negligence can be a difficult task because the circumstances of every situation are different, and there are no bright-line laws or statutes that determine what constitutes a negligent act. Because of this ambiguity in the law, the aid of a trained West Virginia Wrongful Death attorney can help to make sure that your case is handled properly.