Auto Accidents And Fault
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in North Carolina, it makes sense to talk to a personal injury attorney about it. While North Carolina can be a rather difficult state to recover as a personal injury plaintiff, if you have an experienced lawyer and law firm, you can achieve a good, fair result.
Contributory Negligence In North Carolina
Every state’s rules for recovery in a negligence case are different. North Carolina follows the common law rule of contributory negligence. This means that if a plaintiff is even 1% responsible or at fault, they are barred from recovery. A simple example in an auto accident would be you were rear-ended but you had come to a sudden stop at a green light for some reason.
Practical Application of Contributory Negligence In North Carolina
While the 1% rule is an obstacle for plaintiffs in auto accidents in North Carolina, it is not insurmountable. First, the rule anticipates a jury finding the plaintiff 1% at fault. Juries are unpredictable and as a result, most personal injury claims never make it to a jury.
While the defendant’s attorney will almost always raise the contributory negligence in North Carolina as part of their defense, the net result is typically that it’s being used to lower the number in a dollar negotiation with the plaintiff’s attorney. Most defendants are not prepared to test the theory with a jury, and negotiations resume.
Don’t Let Contributory Negligence Deter You
Even if you believe you may have been at fault in some way, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to a personal injury attorney. It may be that your behavior doesn’t amount to fault, and the attorney will be able to tell you that. Additionally, experienced personal injury attorneys take cases in North Carolina every day where the plaintiff contributed in some small way to a much larger injury sustained at the hands of the defendant’s negligence.
If you have questions or would like to speak with a personal injury attorney in Charlotte, please call me at 704.749.7747.