Although most auto accidents are indeed accidental, determining the party at fault is imperative for an array of reasons. The at-fault or liable party is responsible for the expenses the other party incurred due to the accident. This includes medical expenses such as ER visits or bills from a healthcare provider, therapy, repairs to the damaged vehicle, etc.
If you have been a victim of an auto accident in North Carolina, you may be eligible for compensation, not just for the wages lost, but also the pain and suffering endured as a result of living with an accident-related injury. Given the liable party’s insurance firm is to cover the expenses following the accident, the driver at fault will most likely see an increased car insurance policy and even be listed as a high-risk driver.
Due to these and other factors, some motorists deny causing the accident and this makes the process of determining fault complicated.
How Is Fault Determined in an Auto Accident in North Carolina?
To prove fault in an auto accident in North Carolina, you need to show that the other motorist acted unreasonably under the circumstances. In some cases, this is easy to determine. For instance, if a motorist runs a red light and hits another vehicle, they’re clearly negligent. Or if they run into the rear of another car while it’s stopped.
However, determining fault is not always straightforward. Some cases can involve actions by both motorists and can depend on an array of factors to determine who is liable. Also, drivers tend to disagree about who’s at fault. The situation becomes even more complicated when the authorities, insurance carriers, and judges make different conclusions on who’s to blame. When the fault is unclear, the following aspects are used to determine liability:
Oral and written statements by eyewitnesses are vital evidence pieces when it comes to auto accident claims. A witness who was at the scene at the time of the incident can testify that another motorist ran a stop sign or red light, was speeding, etc.
If you are involved in an auto accident, it’s imperative to collect the names and contact information of any witnesses that may have been at the scene. Their statements will play a vital role in demonstrating liability.
When it comes to proving fault in an auto accident police reports also come in handy. Even though the authorities usually arrive at the scene after the accident has already happened, they’re still in a position to talk to the witnesses and make an informed decision about the party at fault. The police report will state who, according to the officer’s opinion, the party responsible for the collision, and if a citation was given to the responsible party.
Pure Contributory Negligence
NC is one of the 5 states in the US that still follow the pure contributory negligence doctrine. Under this law, a victim of a car accident isn’t entitled to any recovery even if they were 1% responsible for the accident. However, if the other motorist still had the last clear opportunity to avoid the collision, then the law of pure contributory negligence may not prevent you from recovering damages.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After an Auto Accident in North Carolina?
As with every other state, NC has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases including car accidents. In North Carolina, you have up to 3 years to file a claim for an auto accident. This means you do not have legal grounds to seek recovery for damages after this period. However, if the accident resulted in someone’s death, the 3-year period starts from the day that individual dies, which may be different from the date of the accident.
Working with an auto accident lawyer is vital when disputing fault in an auto accident. The attorney can help you garner the evidence required to prove that you were not liable for the collision or that the other party bears a significant amount of fault for the incident, and consequently reduce any judgment against you.
Also, a lawyer can help you if your insurance carrier fails to compensate you in a timely manner or does not compensate you in accordance with the terms of your coverage. Garnering all the relevant evidence, testimony from eyewitnesses who may have been at the scene and appropriate medical experts can be time-consuming, tiring, and frustrating. An attorney will help you create a solid case, whether you are suing the other driver, the insurance carrier, or disputing that you’re liable for the accident.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer at Ted A. Greve & Associates!
As earlier mentioned, the process of determining fault in an auto accident can sometimes be complicated. As such, you need to seriously consider hiring a lawyer if you have sustained injury and losses as a result and your insurance carrier isn’t cooperating, or if you were involved in a collision with another motorist, and there’s some kind of dispute.
The knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates will work hard to ensure you get the right medical attention, garner evidence, and prepare your case with the aim of seeking fair compensation. We have been in the industry for years, serving North Carolina residents who have been auto accident victims.
Our firm can be able to help you today, so don’t hesitate to call (844) 387-8677 today!