How Is Fault Determined in a North Carolina Car Accident?

Car crash on road

If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to a negligent driver, you could be entitled to recover compensation from the at-fault party. However, you will need to be able to prove liability to bring a successful claim.

The North Carolina attorneys at Poisson, Poisson, & Bower, PLLC have the knowledge and resources to help you determine fault and pursue the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Auto Accidents?

North Carolina is not a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, individuals who have been injured in a car accident are required to turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policies or Med-Pay insurance (depending on the state) for coverage, regardless of who was at fault, unless they are severely injured.

North Carolina is a fault state for auto accidents. If you are injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you could pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, repairs to your vehicle, and more.

Who Determines Fault in a Car Accident?

After a car accident, police will usually secure the scene and draft a collision report. The report will typically contain the officer’s determination of fault.

However, it’s not ultimately up to the police to determine who is liable for the accident. Instead, the courts have final say on liability.

When you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, the insurer will conduct their own investigation. From there, they will examine the facts of your case to determine who they believe caused the accident.

The insurance company’s overall goal is to save money. So, they may use their investigation to poke holes in your version of events. That’s why you should hire an experienced car accident attorney to represent you. Your attorney can conduct an independent investigation and gather evidence to present to the insurance company.

If the insurance company tries to avoid liability, you and your attorney may need to take your case to court. At trial, your attorney will present your case before a judge or jury, and they would be responsible for determining fault.

What Role Does Fault Play in Car Accident a Lawsuit?

The success of a car accident case hinges on whether you can prove that the other party was at fault for the crash. You must be able to prove that the person who hit you was negligent in some way that caused the crash and your injuries. For example, if the other motorist was texting when they hit you, that would likely be considered negligence.

Common Types of Evidence Indicating Fault for an Accident

To prove that the other driver is liable for the crash, your attorney might seek out evidence such as:

  • Information from the police report
  • Cell phone records
  • Witness testimony
  • Driver testimony
  • Traffic camera footage
  • Private surveillance camera recordings
  • Photo and video evidence from the scene

Gathering this evidence can be difficult without the help of an experienced attorney who knows what to look for. Your lawyer will work quickly to secure crucial evidence before it is cleaned up, lost, or destroyed.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. That means that if you were involved in an accident, and a court determines that you were even 1% at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to recover any compensation. North Carolina’s contributory negligence statute is one of the strictest in the country. It only increases the importance of consulting with an attorney to help you prove liability.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

The knowledgeable and skilled car accident attorneys at Poisson, Poisson, & Bower, PLLC, are prepared to pursue fair compensation from the at-fault party while you focus on your recovery. Contact us today to discuss your case and review your legal options in a free consultation.

Stewart Poisson focuses her practice on litigation. Stewart opened the Wilmington office of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC in 2006. She assists clients in both of the firm’s offices in the fields of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury and handles all appellate work for the firm. She particularly enjoys helping clients who have been injured in workplace accidents caused by the negligence of a third party. She represents clients in the both the personal injury claim and the workers’ compensation claim and is skilled at maximizing her clients’ recovery in these complicated cases.