Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and emergency crews were called to the scene of a troubling bus accident on North Tryon Street in Charlotte on Thursday morning. A CATS bus and a pickup truck collided at an intersection. The end result was that 12 people suffered injuries. At the time of the crash, the bus was carrying twenty passengers. Twelve of those passengers were injured. One passenger had life-threatening injuries, while the others only suffered minor issues. Seven passengers were taken to Carolinas Medical Center and the other five were taken to Presbyterian Hospital. The driver of the truck escaped injury entirely.
The CATS bus was coming up a hill when the pickup truck pulled out in front of the bus. The driver of the truck was trying to make a left turn onto Tryon Street, but collided with the bus. Police have made the determination that the driver of the pickup truck is at fault because he pulled out in front of the bus. WSOC TV spoke with the pickup driver’s supervisor at Kip Construction where he worked. His supervisor admitted that the turn onto North Tryon can be difficult to navigate and drivers should be cautious when making that turn. “I’ve been hit coming out of there,” said Bryan Rosenhauer with Kip Corporation, another of the driver’s colleagues. “I’ve been hit turning in there. It’s just a bad spot coming over the crest of a hill. People move through here pretty good.”
This type of accident should prompt drivers to be more careful when driving. Had the pickup truck driver waited for a few more seconds before making that turn, he could have avoided the damage to his car, the damage to the CATS bus, and the 12 injuries. He is now potentially responsible for all the damage and the injuries that resulted from his failure to yield the right of way to the CATS bus.
The police’s determination that the driver of the pickup truck was at fault will go a long way in proving in court by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver is civilly liable for the damage. However, if the driver can demonstrate that the CATS bus driver was driving too fast or if there was something that the bus driver could have done to avoid the accident, then CATS may potentially be barred from recovery due to North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence rule. Pure contributory negligence bars the plaintiff from recovering anything if the plaintiff was in any way at fault.
There are, however, some exceptions to this harsh rule, one of them being something called “The Last Clear Chance” rule. This doctrine provides that if the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the accident but did not, then the plaintiff may make a full recovery regardless of the amount of the plaintiff’s fault.
As you can see, these legal concepts are complex and very involved. Anyone who has been injured in an automobile accident should consult a Charlotte personal injury lawyer to assist in mounting the best possible case. The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers and will help you get you the justice you deserve. Please call 704.370.2828 for a free consultation.
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