Experienced Clayton Car Accident Lawyers Who Care About Your Case
Clayton, NC, might only have an estimated population of just under 25,000, but it’s an area with lots of traffic. Its close proximity to the Research Triangle and easy access to major highways such as I-40 and US 70 create a lot of traffic. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound, such as Clemmons Educational State Forest, Pine Forest Golf Club, Clayton Community Park, and Clayton Riverwalk. However, they also draw more traffic which means an increase in car accidents.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), there were 634 auto accidents reported in Clayton in 2019 alone. Because of these, two people lost their lives, and 267 people suffered injuries. Car accident victims and their families need to know that they have the right to seek financial recovery for their damages. Clayton car accident attorneys can help them pursue compensation.
What is Contributory Negligence?
North Carolina civil liability laws provide that a negligent person or party who causes a motor vehicle accident is responsible for paying victims for their injuries. Unfortunately, if the injured person did something to contribute to the cause of the accident or the severity of their injuries, the state subscribes to the legal concept of contributory negligence. As such, they may be barred from seeking any compensation for their injuries. This might happen if the injured person was speeding at the time of the accident, not wearing their seatbelt, or had a car that wasn’t safely maintained.
Negligence is a violation of a duty of care. In other words, a negligent person isn’t acting in a manner that a reasonably prudent person would in the same or similar circumstances. There are three elements that must apply for a car accident victim to recover compensation from a negligent person or their insurance company:
- The at-fault party behaved in a negligent way
- Their negligence resulted in the accident and the victim’s injuries
- The victim has measurable injuries and damages because of the accident
North Carolina follows the strict or pure contributory negligence rule. If the injured person’s own negligence contributed to their injuries in any way, even as much as one percent, they cannot recover anything for their damages. Any liability at all on the part of the victim precludes them from seeking compensation. Only a handful of states continue to use this outdated concept. It’s a harsh rule which often leads to unfair results. This is one reason why it is imperative that those who have been injured in an accident have skilled Clayton car accident lawyers on their side.
Exceptions in Strict Negligence Cases
Some injured parties will benefit from one or more exceptions to the pure contributory negligence doctrine. When you meet with Clayton car accident attorneys, you can find out if any of these apply in your circumstances.
Last Clear Chance
Suppose the party who caused the accident had the last clear chance to avoid the accident but didn’t take steps to do so. In that case, victims can still recover even if they were contributorily negligent. However, these requirements apply:
- The victim’s own actions put them in danger with no way to escape
- The other driver knew or should have known the victim was in danger
- The other driver had the time and ability to circumvent the accident but negligently didn’t exercise it
- The other driver’s negligence led to the accident and the victim’s injuries
Using this doctrine can quickly become complex, requiring the knowledge and experience of our Clayton car accident lawyers.
Gross negligence goes steps beyond negligence. It is when someone knowingly and deliberately ignores the risk of harm to others or is simply indifferent to the safety of others. For example, impaired driving or excessively speeding involve gross negligence. When one party is grossly negligent, contributory negligence will not apply, and the victim can still pursue monetary recovery for their damages.
Children and Those with Mental Incapacities
Children under the age of seven and those between the ages of seven and fourteen are often excluded from the rule of contributory negligence. Those with mental incapacities generally are as well.
Car Accident Claim Damages
In the legal realm, damages are the financial translation of your losses and hardships that were directly caused by the accident. These can vary from one case to the next, depending on the situation. Generally, car accident victims or their family members on their behalf might be able to seek compensation for the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical expenses including emergency room, physician visits, physical therapy, equipment, surgeries, and prescriptions
- Lost wages and income
- Travel expenses to go to medical appointments
- Property damage
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Whether your Clayton car accident attorneys negotiate a settlement on your behalf or your case proceeds to court, any compensation you receive will be based on the value of your damages. While economic damages are easy to establish with receipts and bills, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life can be even more challenging to prove. Many injured in motor vehicle collisions seek the services of Clayton car accident lawyers to maximize their claim compensation.
Get Reliable Legal Help from Our Clayton Car Accident Attorneys Today
Whatever role you may or may not have played in causing your injuries, the knowledgeable Clayton car accident lawyers at the Ricci Law Firm are here for you. Don’t assume that you don’t have a case or that contributory negligence applies in your case. The best thing you can do is meet with one of our experienced lawyers to find out what steps to take now. Our attorneys are well-versed in North Carolina car accident and civil liability laws, and they will use their vast knowledge to your benefit. We know that you didn’t plan for this accident and that you shouldn’t have to absorb its costs. Call (252) 557-8612 or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.