North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Judgment for Defendant in Wrongful Death Nighttime Moped Accident Lawsuit

Many people choose scooters and mopeds as their mode of transportation. They are especially popular with students on college campuses or people who live in crowded urban centers where traffic is heavy, and parking is limited. Although they are easy, affordable, and fun methods of transport, they also pose serious dangers to riders who are not as protected from the external elements as a regular passenger vehicle. If you have suffered injuries as a moped or scooter rider due to a motorist’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation. North Carolina car accident attorney Jason M. Burton is available to discuss your situation and whether he can assist you with recovering compensation.

In a recent claim, the North Carolina Court of Appeal reviewed a decision from a case in which the rider of a moped tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident. The administrator of his estate brought a lawsuit against the other driver, claiming that she had the last opportunity to avoid the collision and was therefore liable for the decedent’s untimely death. The facts of the case are as follows. The decedent was leaving his occupation at a bike shop on a moped that did not have a proper headlight. Instead, the decedent had affixed a lamplight for a bicycle to his moped. A witness testified that as she was traveling down Highway 115, she observed a “very, very faint little light” on the roadway as she traveled home. She learned next day that a moped driver was killed near the exact location where she observed seeing the faint light. Another motorist came forth as a witness indicating that he observed something passing his vehicle as he engaged in turn near Highway 115.

The complaint listed the defendant as another car that was in the area at the time of the crash who made a left-hand turn onto Highway 115, colliding with the decedent’s moped. The defendant stated that he did not see the moped and did not observe anything that could have been the moped in his general vicinity at the time of the crash.

The jury concluded that the defendant acted negligently when making a turn without first determining that there were no oncoming pedestrians or traffic. It also concluded that the decedent was contributorily negligent in failing to use proper lighting for his moped. The plaintiff filed an appeal challenging this outcome on the basis that the doctrine of last clear chance applied to this case. According to this doctrine, the plaintiff was arguing that the defendant had the opportunity to avoid the collision but failed to make good use of it.

The appellate court reviewed the case and the jury’s verdict. It concluded that there was enough evidence in the record to support a finding that the lower court should have instructed the jury on the doctrine of last clear chance so that the jury could consider whether the facts supported a finding that the defendant should be held liable because he had the last opportunity to avoid the collision. As a result, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s ruling and remanded the case for a new trial.

If you lost a loved one in a North Carolina car accident, Attorney Burton is prepared to assist you with investigating your potential claim and determining whether you are entitled to compensation. There are few things in life more tragic than the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one due to another person’s negligence. Attorney Burton will fight diligently to ensure that you receive the fair outcome that you deserve. Call his office today at 1-833-623-0042 or contact his office online to get started.