What Is the Rule of Sevens in NC’s Personal Injury Law?

personal injury lawyer with computer and judge gavel

Many principles govern the various aspects of  North Carolina’s personal injury law. To avoid running afoul of the law, you must seek guidance from experienced personal injury attorneys in North Carolina. Managing your personal injury case all by yourself can easily complicate issues and result in an unsuccessful claims process.

For example, liability is an essential aspect of every personal injury case. That’s because you cannot get compensation without determining who was at fault for your injury. However, there are many principles governing liability, and you must carefully assess your case to apply the right ones.

For example, there’s the Rule of Sevens which you must consider when a child causes you harm. We’ll discuss more on this rule and how to determine liability under North Carolina’s injury laws in this article. Let’s get started.

How Do You Determine Fault Under North Carolina’s Personal Injury Law?

From slips and falls to car accidents, medical negligence, etc., there are many ways someone’s actions can hurt you. Fortunately, personal injury law is always there to offer some relief for your hurt. However, to do so, you must determine the at-fault person’s liability.

To establish liability in any personal injury case, you must prove the following:

  • A Duty of Care 

A duty of care refers to the defendant’s responsibility to ensure that they don’t put you in harm’s way.  This is also called the duty to exercise reasonable care. Reasonable care is the degree of caution the defendant must exercise in keeping you safe.

  • Breach 

You’ll also need to prove a breach of duty of care to get compensation in a personal injury claim. Breach of duty means that the defendant disregarded their duty to keep you safe through a negligent act or inaction.

  • Causation 

The injuries you sustain in a personal injury claim must be due to the at-fault party’s negligence.

  • Damages 

Injury is the crux of a personal injury claim. Regardless of how careless a person is, you can’t claim compensation if their actions didn’t hurt you. For example, in a car accident, you can show that you sustained fractures upon collision.

In determining liability, you must also consider North Carolina’s doctrine of contributory negligence. Under the doctrine, you can’t recover compensation for your injury once you contributed to it, even in the slightest way.

What Does the Rule of Sevens Mean?

It’s not in every situation that the at-fault person in your case is an adult. Sometimes, minors may behave recklessly and cause you injuries as a result. In such cases, the law considers the age, capacity, and experience of the child.

Generally, North Carolina handles negligence cases involving minors pretty differently from adults. To that end, children aren’t held to the same degree of negligence as adults. In fact, under the Rule of Sevens, a child under seven years old lacks the capacity to be negligent.

Under this doctrine, it doesn’t matter if the child was intelligent enough to understand the gravity of their negligence. The law presumes that the child cannot understand negligence, so they cannot be liable for causing injury.

Can a Teenager Be Negligent in North Carolina?

Different laws apply to children of various ages. We’ll address them below:

  • Children From Seven to Fourteen Years Old 

Like children under seven years old, the law presumes minors from seven to fourteen years to be incapable of negligence. However, unlike the rule of sevens, the presumption for this category is rebuttable.

To rebut the presumption, you must show that the child didn’t use the level of care expected for their age. For example, a 12-year-old may be contributorily negligent in a car accident when they didn’t look before crossing.

  • Children From Fourteen to Eighteen Years Old 

Children between ages 14 to 18, like adults, are capable of negligence. The law presumes them to have adequate intelligence to understand the danger and how to avoid it. However, this presumption is rebuttable if they can prove the lack of capacity or experience to understand reasonable care.

Contact a Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Right Now!

Liability is one of the essential elements of a personal injury case in North Carolina. So, whether your case involves a minor or not, you must prove liability to get compensation.

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Ted A. Greve and Associates can help you prove your case. No matter how complicated your case may seem, we’re here to ensure that you get justice. So book a free appointment with one of our experienced Charlotte injury attorneys today.