You are driving home to your hometown in North Carolina when you are hit by another driver. You hear a snap in your leg just as you feel pain blossoming. You know you are hurt pretty badly and won't be able to get out of your car without help.
What you don't realize is that the speed of your vehicle and your elevated blood-alcohol level contributed to the wreck. You were driving at night and had no idea you had crossed the double-yellow line into the other lanes of traffic.
Because of that, you contributed to the wreck and enacted contributory negligence. You may not be eligible for compensation for your injuries because of these factors. Let's take a deeper look into contributory negligence so you can understand your situation.
Definition for North Carolinians
The doctrine of contributory negligence states that a victim who is determined to be even only one percent at fault for the accident may be denied compensation for the injury. This is known as pure contributory negligence.
For example, if the plaintiff was speeding and got into a wreck due to their speed, then contributory negligence would take effect. They would not get compensation for their injuries since they were at fault for the wreck.
The victim's contributory negligent behavior will serve as a way to make sure the defendant is not sued again for any money for the victim's injuries.
North Carolina is one of the states that applies this doctrine along with Alabama, Maryland, and Virginia. The District of Columbia is another area that applies this doctrine.
Examples of Contributory Negligence
You decide to swim in the community pool along with your family. You want to use the diving board and decide to do so against the wishes of your spouse. You jump off of the board into the shallow water and get a brain injury.
You don't see the signs around the pool at your eye-level that say to not dive into the shallow water. This means that you are negligent by jumping into the shallow water anyway.
If you are crossing the street and not paying attention to your surroundings, you are considered negligent in the eyes of the state of North Carolina. If you are hit by a car as you cross the street while not paying attention, the driver is not liable for the bills you incur during your recovery.
What Does This Mean for You?
The state of North Carolina takes contributory negligence very seriously. If you are considered to be at fault for your injuries in any way, you would not be eligible for compensation of any kind. You would not be able to sue the other party for any damages you have incurred because of the accident.
Because of North Carolina using pure contributory negligence, all it would take is one percent of fault on your end for you to not be compensated for your injuries. Once you are considered to be negligent, you would be on your own in terms of paying off the bills for any injuries you may receive from the accident.
Greenville and Washington, NC Auto Accident Attorneys
I’m Brian Ricci, a Car Accident Lawyer serving Greenville, NC and the surrounding areas. If you have suffered a personal injury due to a car crash, please call me anytime at (252) 752-7785 or (800) 387-6406 for free, friendly advice. The call is free and there is no obligation to you.
I am a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.Facebook, Avvo, and Google.