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Charlotte Wrongful Death Lawyers Explain: Known High Risk Jobs Can Still Lead to Wrongful Death

Feb 23, 2016 - Wrongful Death by

Contrary to common belief, individuals who participate in high-risk professions are neither more nor less likely to be liable for their own injuries. North Carolina law determines liability for all accidental injuries and fatalities based on a reasonable and prudent standard. A recent tragic case involving a race car driver illustrates how the standard works.

Could Reasonable and Prudent Care Have Prevented a Deadly Race Track Accident?

Many auto racing fans are probably aware of the 2014 sprint car race in Canandaigua, NY that resulted in the death of a driver. The now-deceased driver hit a wall and disabled his vehicle after a conflict in a turn with another driver. Immediately after the crash, the under caution flag came out to slow all traffic on the track.

At that time, the driver exited his disabled car and started walking down the track. Some witnesses believe he was looking for a confrontation with the other driver, who then struck and killed him while he was on foot. According to Time Warner Cable News, the victim’s family filed a wrongful death action against the other driver about a year after the accident.

Perhaps a toxicology report that showed enough marijuana in the victim’s system to affect his judgment was a factor in a grand jury’s decision to clear the driver of any criminal wrongdoing. The civil lawsuit, which will be heard in Federal court due to a change of venue, makes the following allegations about the defendant in the case:

  • He could have easily acted reasonably and with prudence to avoid striking the victim, as other drivers on the track had done.
  • He hit the gas, perhaps in an effort to intimidate the victim, which proximately caused the victim’s death.
  • He has a reputation for having a temper, which might signal that his actions were deliberate.

Of course, it is too early to learn the ultimate verdict in this wrongful death case. While the above points might not appear to be objective enough on the surface, there may well be significantly more evidence than the information published in the article indicates. As an interesting side note, new rules were initiated shortly after the accident. Drivers are no longer permitted to leave their vehicles during under caution conditions unless remaining in their vehicles puts them at greater risk.

Determining Liability is About Rules and Professional Standards

The bottom line is that all professions — dangerous or safe — operate under some form of rules and standards that help define reasonable and prudent practices in a wide range of situations. Just as the actions of medical professionals are judged based on what others in similar positions would do, race car drivers operate within standards based on the rules of the race, combined with what other drivers would do in similar circumstances.

Regardless of the dangers that are inherent in anyone’s lifestyle or profession, they still retain the right to reasonable safety. Their families also retain the right to pursue wrongful death actions when their loved ones are killed due to the wrongful acts of other parties. The key is to seek legal representation from attorneys who have the skills and resources to develop cases based on the specific technical details involved.

Before assuming that injuries or fatalities were unavoidable due to inherent dangers, call our Charlotte wrongful death lawyers at 844-452-3688 or use our convenient online contact form to obtain an accurate assessment for possible legal action.