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Heart attack behind the wheel leads to truck driver's death

A man who was found dead in the wreckage of a tractor-trailer accident earlier this month near Blacksburg, South Carolina, actually died of a heart attack, not from the impact of the crash. After an autopsy was conducted by the Cherokee County coroner, it was determined that the man's death was the cause of the accident, rather than the result.

The 62-year-old driver was alone in his truck, heading north on Interstate 85, when the semi drove over the median, crossed over the southbound lanes and went through a guard rail. The cab of the vehicle was separated from the trailer it was pulling; the driver was wearing his seat belt and was found inside the truck at the bottom of a 40-foot embankment.

The driver was transporting his load of recycled plastic material from Alabama to North Carolina when the accident occurred. Debris from the trailer littered the crash site in the aftermath. No other people were injured as a result of the accident.

Because the coroner ruled that the driver actually died of a heart attack, rather than as a result of an accident, the death is not considered to be a traffic fatality. However, the fact remains that the man passed away during the course of executing his job. Depending on his status as an employee, his family might be eligible for compensation under workers' compensation guidelines.

For any family who loses a loved one in an accident, no matter the cause, the immediate aftermath can be overwhelming. An attorney who specializes in traffic accidents and wrongful death claims may be able to provide direction for grieving family members.

Source: GoUpstate.com, "NC man died before I-85 crash Friday near Blacksburg," Jan. 7, 2012

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