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Contributory negligence in North Carolina


This blog spends a lot of time talking about car accidents and the harm that they can cause to victims. This is significant, as those injured in a wreck can face years, decades or even a lifetime of physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as debt incurred via medical expenses and lost wages. Though those whose injuries are caused by a negligent driver may want to take legal action, they might be concerned about whether their own fault will affect their ability to recover compensation. We hope this post will help shed light on the subject.

North Carolina is one of only a few states that recognize contributory negligence as a complete bar to recovery. This means that if a victim is even only deemed to be 10 percent at fault of causing the accident, then he or she cannot recover compensation from the driver who was 90 percent at fault. Though this makes personal injury lawsuits more challenging, it should not discourage victims from seeking the compensation they deserve.

Negligence occurs when an individual owes another a duty of care, he or she breaches that duty, which causes an injury that triggers legal damage like lost wages, hospital bills and the like. For those who do not deal with personal injury lawsuits on a daily basis, this can seem like a lot. And, in truth, it can be.

However, a skilled attorney will know how to address these elements given the facts of a case and statutory and case law that is applicable. Additionally, an experienced legal team can help assess a victim's own errors and develop legal arguments to show that they did not contribute to the cause of the accident. Therefore, those who have been hurt in a wreck caused by a negligent driver should not give up because they made a mistake. Instead, they should think about discussing the issue with those who know how these cases typically play out.

Source: FindLaw, "North Carolina Negligence Laws," Accessed on Jan. 25, 2016

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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