When are Drunk Drivers at Fault for Car Accidents in North Carolina?
Being the victim of a serious car accident can be a traumatizing experience. You may suffer a serious injury and may have to miss time from work because of the actions of a negligent person. Drunk driving is also responsible for killing thousands each year. You should not have to adjust your life or bear the burden of serious medical bills because of a drunk driver. If you or a family member was injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, you should speak with a Charlotte car crash lawyer. The lawyers at Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. are here to fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve.
Drunk Driving Fault Laws in NC
It might be reasonable to think that the driver who causes a car accident should be on the hook for any physical injuries and property damages, and that would be true in most states. However, North Carolina uses the contributory negligence system for determining fault in a car accident, including drunk driving car accidents. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, a driver whose actions contribute to a car accident in any manner is barred from receiving any form of compensation.
Contributory negligence may often lead to many unfair court decisions. For example, if you file a personal injury case for your car accident and the jury determines that you were 9% responsible for the accident and the other driver was 91% at fault, you will not be able to recover any damages for the accident. Similarly, if a drunk driver happens to speed through a red light and collides with your vehicle after you drove through a stop sign, any fault apportioned to you will mean your case will not prevail.
Since North Carolina has such a strict fault policy for car accidents, drunk drivers in North Carolina will only be at fault for a car accident if they crash into your vehicle while you are observing and following all of the rules of the road. This means the at-fault driver must be 100% at fault. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly understand all the driving laws in NC so that you may recover damages in your personal injury claim. Additionally, it is important to retain a lawyer who understands these laws and will be able to represent you in your claim competently.
What to Do if You Have Been Hit by a Drunk Driver
If you are struck by a drunk driver, there are a few actions you should take. First, you should receive any necessary medical attention for your injuries and the injuries of any passengers. If your injuries allow you to remain at the scene of the accident, you should call the police and work with them to gather information for your case. This information should include the drunk driver’s license info, insurance info, registration info, and license plate number.
Next, you should photograph the scene of the accident including any damage to both vehicles or any other vehicles involved. You should take note of any adverse weather conditions as well. Once the police arrive and finish processing the scene, you should ask to obtain a copy of the accident report as well as the name and badge numbers of any officers who respond.
North Carolina’s strict contributory negligence rule means it is very important to obtain a statement from any witnesses. If you wish to prove the drunk driver was 100% at fault for your injuries, multiple witness accounts will surely help. There may also be storefronts or red-light cameras that may have captured the accident, and you should pursue those leads too.
Once you are finished at the scene, you should contact your insurance carrier to inform them of the accident. It is also a good idea to call the drunk driver’s insurance, too (if they had insurance at all), but do not voluntarily give a recorded statement.
Finally, you should remember that the sooner you file your case, the easier it will be to argue your case. Witnesses’ memories will be fresh, and you may have money for your medical bills and any car repairs sooner rather than later. North Carolina gives you three years to file a personal injury claim, so you should file your case as soon as possible.
Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Bring a Drunk Driver to Justice
The legal professionals at Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. are prepared to help you hold a drunk driver accountable for their actions. Our firm can represent you in car or truck accident case that cause serious injuries like spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries or various other types of injuries.
If you or a family member was injured by a drunk driver, you should contact a Charlotte personal injury attorney. To schedule a free consultation for your case, call us at (704) 377-3737, or contact us online.