Contributory negligence is the source of disorientation throughout North Carolina. North Carolina is one of four states (the other three including Maryland, Virginia and Alabama) and the District of Columbia that apply this law in cases involving personal injuries. This is what the law says in layman’s terms.
The concept of contributory negligence is an argument that may be claimed by the plaintiff during a personal injury case If it is proven it will be an absolute bar to recovering for the victim (that’s you in this case, of course). It can be used when the person who suffered injury was a contributor, by their own negligence, to the damage they suffered or the result of the incident.
Let’s imagine that you were jaywalking and were struck by a car that was speeding. A jury could determine that you were just 1 percent at fault in the collision. Since you were percent at fault, under the law, you’re not able to seek compensation against the person who caused it.
In another scenario, imagine that you were driving at a slow speed (i.e. 45 miles per hour in a 70 mph limit) on the highway , and were hit in the back by a car that was speeding. The car in front of you may be negligent because they were speeding, and they failed to take appropriate precautions when the event of avoiding hitting you, however the fact that you were traveling 25 mph over the speed limit may be a contributing factor to the crash.
In the end it is possible to be deemed in a way to be contributorily negligent, and you would receive no compensation in this scenario even if a jury determined that you were just one percent at fault. There are several variety of possible exceptions to this law, including the Rule of Seven’s, cognition impairment, gross negligence on the defendant, or the final clear chance rule. The best method to avoid the contributory negligent rules is being observant and vigilant in all instances to ensure that no one can claim that you weren’t negligent in the first instance.
Different states have different requirements for redress in cases involving personal injuries and include the concept of comparative negligence, which allows you to share damages proportionally to the percentage of the damage you were responsible for. For instance, if you’re only one percent at fault the damages you incur will be reduced by one percent. However, North Carolina is definitely an outlier and, as the result, it’s crucial to speak with an attorney about what actions you take in the event of creating an accident could impact your chances of recovering damages.
Return to personal injury claim guide.