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The Importance of Proving Fault in a North Carolina Car Accident

If you were in a car accident, you do not need to be told how overwhelming the stress can be. At the same time that you are piling up medical bills, you are losing wages since you cannot work due to your injuries. You could have some comfort if you could be assured your losses would be covered by the negligent driver who was at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, due to North Carolina’s contributory negligence law, there may be a legal battle with the apparently negligent driver alleging that your actions contributed to the accident.

North Carolina Contributory Negligence Law: Proof of Fault

North Carolina is only one of four states along with the District of Columbia that hangs on to the almost archaic common law doctrine of contributory negligence. Under this law, when a personal injury lawsuit is filed, if the defendant can prove the plaintiff contributed to the accident in any way, even if the plaintiff is found to be only one percent at fault, the plaintiff will not be allowed to collect damages.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Campbell & Associates know how to assemble the proof needed in order to show that the defendant is 100 percent at fault. For example, the law presumes a driver who rear-ends a car in front of them is the one at fault. Although this is often the case, there are exceptions. For example, if a driver suddenly stops at a green light and is hit from behind, it is possible to prove the driver in the front car was the one who is 100 percent at fault.

Last Clear Chance

Depending on the unique circumstances of each case, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may be able to prove the other driver had the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident and is, therefore, liable for all the damages. A frequently cited example of this rule is if one car made an illegal turn and was hit by a car that ran a red light. Both have some fault for the accident. If the one who made the illegal turn can prove that the driver who ran the red light had the “last clear chance to avoid the accident,” the one who made the illegal turn may collect damages.

If you were injured in a car accident, call our attorneys at Campbell & Associates.  With offices across the Charlotte Metropolitan area, our team of personal injury lawyers are available for your free consultation. We will evaluate all the circumstances of your accident and determine if we can fight any allegations of contributory negligence. The law requires you to file your claim within a certain time of the accident. Experts are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so call now at 704-333-0885.


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