When a young woman enters a bus stop area to get on an approaching school bus, other drivers in the area should probably be operating with a degree of heightened carefulness. But in this case a 14-year-old North Carolina girl stepped onto the road at a school bus stop to await an approaching school bus. Instead, she was struck and killed in a car accident.
The girl, a resident of Garner, was waiting for a bus with her 16-year-old brother. The school bus was to take them to the Garner Magnet High School where they were students. The sketchy news report does not detail how the girl happened to be struck by a car prior to the bus arriving to pick her up. Her precise location and the details of the car’s movements have also not been provided.
The report indicates only that she was followed by her brother as she entered the road to ‘board’ the bus. The North Carolina Highway Patrol officer at the scene said no charges are expected to be filed against the driver. However, the driver’s compliance or noncompliance with the motor vehicle laws does not in itself preclude the existence of negligence in causing the girl’s death. It seems that there may be reason to argue that carelessness did exist here, but a final determination of that issue will have to await the published police report and interviews of witnesses at the scene.
In North Carolina and all other jurisdictions, where there is a car accident that involves a driver’s negligent operation of a vehicle, and if that negligence is a substantial factor in causing a pedestrian’s death in the accident, then a personal injury claim will be vested in the victim’s family members. The right that passes to the next of kin is generally called a wrongful death action. In most cases, damages recoverable include lost earning capacity over the course of a lifetime, funeral costs, medical expenses and pain and suffering. The next of kin must first file an estate in the county courthouse to obtain formal authority to proceed to make a death claim against the car driver.
Source: The Daily Dispatch, “Student struck by car in fatal bus stop accident,” March 26, 2013