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What if I’m Partially at Fault in a North Carolina Car Accident?

What if I’m Partially at Fault in a North Carolina Car Accident?

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By Raleigh + Durham Worker’s Comp & Personal Injury Attorneys at Hyland + Padilla, PLLC


After a car accident, one of your first thoughts might be: whose fault was this? In North Carolina, this is a very significant question. Because of the state’s accident claim laws, even if the other driver was to mostly blame for the crash, if you’re partially at fault, you’re not entitled to receive compensation from the other driver for your injuries. Keep reading to learn why this is, and what to do in this situation.

Contributory Negligence in North Carolina

Every state has its own approach to determining liability and allocating damages after a car accident. Most states use a comparative negligence system[1]. Under this system, a driver may sue and recover damages for pain, injury or property damage from the motorist who caused the accident, but the court will reduce the damages award by the percentage of fault attributable to the suing party.

North Carolina, however, uses a contributory negligence system[2]. Here, if the driver suing for damages contributed in any way to the accident, then she cannot receive compensation from the other driver–even that other driver is 99 percent to blame for the crash.

The contributory negligence system can result in some pretty unjust outcomes. For example, let’s say that a driver runs red light and slams into your car. You were going 6 miles per hour over the speed limit at the time.  Under the contributory negligence system, you would not be able to recover damages if a court determines that you were partially responsible for the accident because you were over the speed limit.

North Carolina Personal Injury Law Is Complex

Needless to say, if you’ve been involved a car crash, the other party is going to great lengths to place blame on you to avoid liability. You need an experienced North Carolina accident attorney to help you prove that the other driver was entirely at fault to receive just compensation for your injuries and damage. You might think you were partially at fault, but you might not be–let a skilled attorney assess your case.

At Hyland & Padilla, our car accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you evaluate your case and prove the other driver’s complete negligence after following a crash. We can help find visual evidence, eyewitness testimony, police reports, and more, to help prove your case. Motorists in the Raleigh, area who have been involved in a car accident should contact our Raleigh accident attorneys today.

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/comparative_negligence

[2] https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/contributory+negligence

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