The family of an elderly Charlotte woman is grieving her loss after a car stuck her as she was trying to cross the street. According a recent report on www.WBTV.com, 73-year-old Bernice Williams Whitmire was trying to cross a busy street when she was hit by a car. She was quickly rushed to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries that same afternoon. The intersection she was trying cross was an extremely busy section of road at the corner of Sharon Amity Road and Milton Road.
Her family is still reeling from the loss. Her son said, “Everybody is going to take a loss from this. The little kids she looks out for at the bus stop in the morning… the little one’s gonna hurt. The big one’s gonna hurt.” Even her neighbor expressed sadness at that the community will feel. “We are suffering a loss around here. She was like family; nobody can replace Ms. Bea. She was like everyone’s grandma. We adopted her and she adopted us,” said her neighbor, China.
The woman responsible for her death, Kendra Huey, was driving a 2008 Suzuki Forenza. Huey said that Whitmire walked in front of her truck and she could not avoid hitting her. The police are in the beginnings of the investigation, but Huey stayed at the scene of the accident and has thus far cooperated fully with the investigation. Some witnesses say that Huey seemed as if she sped up, but the police so far say that Huey was not at fault for the tragic accident.
It seems that the family at this point does not have any criminal recourse against the driver of the vehicle. That, however, does not exclude possible civil liability. Just because Huey was not criminally responsible does not mean that she is not civilly liable for Whitmire’s death. The standard of proof in civil cases is much lower than in criminal cases. In a civil case, the plaintiff only has to prove that the defendant is liable for plaintiff’s injuries by a preponderance of the evidence, whereas in a criminal case, the prosecution has to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If Whitmire’s family can demonstrate that Huey was somehow negligent in her action, she can be held civilly liable for Whitmire’s death. If she is found liable, she will be responsible for damages. The plaintiffs in such a complex case would be well advised to enlist the help of an experienced Charlotte personal injury attorney.
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