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Do car accident victims investigate the accident themselves?

When a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, one of the first things a Cary, North Carolina, family might want to know is whether the other driver involved got a ticket or is facing some sort of criminal charge. Whether the driver was doing something as common as speeding or was dangerously driving under the influence, a citation or charge against the other driver implies the other driver is financially responsible for the accident.

Indeed, a ticket is a sign that another driver was negligent and should compensate anyone injured in connection with the accident for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. However, North Carolina victims and their families should resist the urge to assume the case is a slam-dunk, and, therefore, just deal with the other driver or his insurance company directly.

For one, North Carolina still follows the traditional doctrine of "contributory negligence." This means that even if another driver got charged or faces a traffic ticket, the injured person cannot recover compensation if he or she was even partially at fault for the accident. While this is subject to change, for now, accident victims must demonstrate that they had no legal responsibility for the accident.

Moreover, even if North Carolina does eventually change its law, an investigation after an accident is still important, even after another driver gets a ticket. For example, an injured person must still prove the dollar amount lost as a result of the injuries because neither a court nor an insurance company will usually accept dollar figures on one's say-so. Moreover, the injured person must still prove that the injuries were caused by the other driver's negligence and were not pre-existing or more appropriately attributable to something else.

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