• April 11, 2022

Juan Lebrón and Son Die after Crash with GoRaleigh Bus on Garner Road in Raleigh, NC

UPDATE (April 13, 2022): It is our sad duty to report that one of the victims injured in this collision, a 9-year-old boy, succumbed to his injuries two days after his father, Juan Lebrón, died from injuries sustained in this crash.

Later reports indicate Lebrón and his son were in a northbound Acura on Garner Road when a GoRaleigh bus driver failed to yield the right-of-way while turning onto Garner from Peterson Street. The bus driver has since been cited for failure to yield causing serious bodily injury.

Raleigh, NC -- April 10, 2022, a man and a boy were critically injured in a collision with a GoRaleigh transit bus on Garner Road in Raleigh.

Authorities say the incident happened Sunday morning along Garner Rd near Christ Our King Community Church. The cause and circumstances of the wreck aren't yet known, but reports indicate a blue Acura sedan collided with a GoRaleigh public transit bus in the area.

Two people in the Acura received critical injuries in the accident and were transported to an area hospital for treatment. One bus rider reportedly had minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on GoRaleigh Bus Accident on Garner Rd in Raleigh

UPDATE (April 13, 2022): It seems from later reports that authorities feel the bus driver made the mistake here by failing to yield to oncoming traffic. Clearly that yielded tragic results, and while the driver's citation from police is serious it also doesn't do much to directly helping a grieving family.

I'm not suggesting some draconian punishment for the bus driver, nor am I encouraging anyone to get litigious. However, if the victims' loved ones felt the city should do a little more than simply chastising its employee they may have their work cut out for them. It's no small task to pursue a grievance against a government body at any level, as each has specific requirements--ones not always shared with the public unless asked.

For instance, one thing many government bodies enforce is a relatively short window in which they must be notified of someone's intent to seek remedy, typically called a notice of claim. Thanks to state statutes North Carolina victims and families are provided a time period of two to three years to file such a notice depending on the type of damage done in an accident. Many states don't have such generous windows, instead requiring residents to give notice within just a few months.

However, the Tarheel State also uses an outdated and unfair system called pure contributory negligence for tort claims. In a nutshell it says that an injured victim found at all responsible for their injuries has no claim. If a jury decides they're just 1% at fault, the case is thrown out. This system is obviously tough on victims, as anything short of impeccable behavior on their part could see their case dismissed. It's not impossible to make a claim in a "pure contrib" state, but it typically requires a far more thorough investigation than law enforcement tends to perform. It's often best to work with independent investigators to be sure the necessary proof is found.

Navigating the pitfalls of a claim against the government can be extremely difficult, particularly during a time when a family's focus should be on healing the best they can. North Carolina and a handful of other states make the process more difficult via contributory negligence standards, but with abundant clear evidence and the right allies many people hurt by municipal or state employees have successfully pursued closure.

Juan Lebrón and Son Die after Crash with GoRaleigh Bus on Garner Road in Raleigh, NC

ORIGINAL: It's not all that unusual for authorities to be non-committal like they are here. Reports only say a crash happened, but at this point have nothing to say about why or how that might have occurred. Either or both drivers may have made mistakes here, but no one knows for sure yet. Police could be tight-lipped as a matter of prudence, wanting to make sure they have all the facts first, or they really may not know anything yet. Sometimes it can be hard to unearth useful facts at the outset; witnesses don't always stick around, the involved drivers blame each other and can't agree on what went down, forensic evidence is overlooked, and the authorities themselves get pulled away by time constraints or other priorities. Any or all of those obstacles can mean important details slip through the cracks. It's one of the reasons I always advocate for independent accident reconstructions before people start jumping to conclusions. Those steps could be in crucial in actually getting the victims involved the help they deserve.

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