The North Carolina Highway Patrol has confirmed the death of a 50-year-old woman in a collision between a car and a moped on Dec. 4. The deceased woman was the passenger on a moped driven by her 62-year-old companion. He suffered serious injuries in the crash and has been transferred to a Charlotte hospital for treatment.
Authorities report that the woman died at the scene after being thrown from the moped when a 22-year-old woman rear-ended the couple with her car. The crash apparently occurred during a period of dense fog. Highway Patrol has not confirmed whether speed or alcohol contributed to the accident. The speed limit in the area of the crash is 55 miles per hour.
Following the crash, authorities charged the 22-year-old woman with felony death by vehicle. As police continue their investigation of the crash, it is uncertain whether the incident will also give rise to a wrongful death claim. If the driver of the car caused the accident through her negligence, then the victim’s dependents may be able to recover compensation through a civil suit.
The presence of dense fog at the time of the crash, if true, may be a mitigating factor in determining the driver’s liability. In inclement weather, however, drivers generally have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care. The speed of the car, the attention of the driver, and any alcohol impairment would all be relevant factors in a determination of the driver’s negligence. Importantly, a wrongful death claim is completely independent of criminal charges. For this reason, even if the driver in this case is acquitted of criminal charges, the victim’s family may still be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against her if she acted negligently.
Source: The State, “BRIEF: Woman killed in car-moped crash near Monroe“, Steve Lyttle, December 04, 2014