When car accidents happen, one of the first questions asked is, “Who was at fault?” The states have different ways of allocating fault, typically based upon the theories of contributory and comparative negligence.
In North Carolina, an injured person’s role in causing an accident can completely take away their ability to seek damages in a personal injury case. North Carolina is one of only four states that subscribes to the theory of pure contributory negligence, meaning that if an injury victim is partially responsible for his injuries (even as little as one percent) the injured person will not be allowed to recover any damages.
But there are exceptions. If a plaintiff is able to prove that the defendant’s willful and wanton acts caused his injury or that the defendant had a “last clear chance” to avoid the accident but did not do so, he may be able to recover damages for his losses.
Contrast this with comparative negligence, a doctrine that most other states have adopted. There are two approaches to comparative negligence:
- Pure comparative negligence, under which a plaintiff’s damages are totaled and then reduced in proportion to his degree of relative fault for the injury.
- Modified comparative negligence, under which a plaintiff will not recover if it is proven that he is equally responsible or more responsible for his injuries than the defendant.
Were you injured in a car accident in Hanover County, North Carolina and are wondering whether or not you might be entitled to damages? To get the answers you need, contact Nagle & Associates, P.A. online or call (800) 411-1583 to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced accident attorney today.