North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against City of Winston-Salem Over 7-Year-Old’s Fatal Bicycle Accident Can Proceed, Says Appeals Court

February 5, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The NC Court of Appeals says a mother’s wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Winston-Salem over her 7-year-old son’s tragic bicycle accident can proceed. Joshua Palomares-Beckles died on May 20, 2006 when he was fatally struck by a car driven by Michael Andrew Logan Jr.

Logan, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, driving while impaired, and felony death by motor vehicle, had been driving on the wrong side of the street to avoid vehicles that were parked on the other side when he hit Joshua at the Wells and Freeman intersection. The bicyclist was dragged under the SUV.

In 2007, Hayluri Beckles-Palomares, Joshua’s mother, sued Flow Cos, homeowner Norman Moore, and the city of Winston-Salem for North Carolina wrongful death. She claims that the street conditions, including vegetation that blocked the view and the vehicles that were parked there, contributed to her son’s wrongful death.

Beckles-Palomares accused a flow dealership of illegally parking vehicles on the street, limiting sight lines. She said that Moore was responsible for blocking the view because he didn’t trim the bushes located next to his property.

Flow and Moore settled with Beckles-Palomares in 2008. The terms of their North Carolina wrongful death settlements are confidential.

Beckles-Palomares is accusing the city of Winston-Salem of obstructing traffic and human vision, failing to regulate maintenance on its streets, and parking regulation violations. The North Carolina city sought governmental immunity, citing protection under the public-duty doctrine. In December 2008, the city asked a judge to rule in its favor without a trial. Forsyth Superior Court judge Martin denied the request, the city appealed, and an appellate court panel agreed with the judge’s ruling.

In 2008, pedalcyclists, ages 15 and under, made up 13% of all pedalcyclist deaths in the US. Losing a child is one of the toughest defeats a parent has to face. It is especially tragic to know your child would have lived were it not for the negligence of others. As the grieving parent, you may have grounds for filing a North Carolina bicycle accident complaint or a wrongful death lawsuit.

Suit can proceed, WInston-Salem Journal, February 3, 2010

Bicyclists and Other Cyclists, 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
City of Winston-Salem, North Carolina

League of American Bicyclists

North Carolina Department of Transportation

 
 

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