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Who Is at Fault for a Rear-End Accident in North Carolina?December 31, 2018
Every day thousands of people commute through North Carolina’s roads thinking they will arrive safely to their destinations. However, a typical day can be ruined after a driver rear-ends your vehicle. These types of accidents are less dangerous than other types of vehicle accidents. However, even a fender-bender can cause serious injuries. Who is at fault for your accident? Can you recover damages after the rear-end crash? Our Charlotte car accident attorneys at Dewey, Ramsay, & Hunt explain who is at fault in a rear-end collision and your chances of obtaining compensation
Who’s Liable in a Rear-End Crash?
Determining who is liable after a rear-end car accident will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the incident. Usually, the vehicle at the rear end would be found responsible for the crash. However, this may not always be the case. There are instances where the driver in the front end may be responsible for the car accident. Imagine driver A is waiting on a red light when driver B rear-ends driver A. Under these circumstances, driver B would be liable for the collision.
Now let’s say driver A is about to make a left turn, but his tail lights and blinkers are broken. When stopping to make the left turn, driver B, who was speeding at the time, rear-ends driver A. Under these circumstances, it would be safe to assume driver B would be liable because he was speeding. However, driver A contributed to the accident which could have been avoided if his tail lights and blinkers weren’t broken.
As you can see, determining liability in a rear-end accident is not as straightforward as you may think. Additionally, contributing to the accident can hurt your chances of obtaining compensation for your medical expenses and property damage.
Contributory Negligence in North Carolina
North Carolina is an at-fault state concerning car accidents. Under this system, the parties who caused your accident will pay damages for your medical expenses and damage to your property. However, the circumstances can turn against you if you contributed to the car accident. North Carolina has a legal doctrine known as strict contributory negligence. This means you will be barred from obtaining compensation if you were responsible in any way for your accident. Under this legal principle, you will not receive payment even if the at-fault driver was deemed 99% responsible for the rear-end collision.
Nonetheless, there is a way to counter a contributory negligence defense brought by the defendant. The last clear chance doctrine allows the plaintiff to obtain recovery in a contributory negligence scenario. Under the last clear chance doctrine, the plaintiff must demonstrate the defendant had the opportunity to prevent the accident but failed to do so. If the plaintiff can show the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the collision, he or she can obtain compensation.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in North Carolina
If you were injured during a rear-end collision, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for things like medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. This means you can get compensation if you suffered head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other severe injuries. Additionally, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim if a loved one died in a car accident.
However, you have a limited time to file your personal injury claim. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. North Carolina has different set timelines depending on what you are filing for. A plaintiff has three years to file a personal injury claim. This time begins to run from the moment the cause action is born. On the other hand, you have two years from the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death claim.
Following the times set by the statute of limitations is extremely important as it could make or break your chances to file your claim. If you miss your time to submit your claim, you can lose your right to file your claim and obtain compensation. A skilled, knowledgeable attorney can help you make sure you file your personal injury claim on time.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorneys Handling Rear-End Collision Cases in North Carolina
If you or a loved one was involved in a rear-end accident in North Carolina, you need the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable Charlotte personal injury attorney. The process of filing a personal injury claim can be challenging to navigate. Healing from your injuries should be your main focus after a car accident. Let our experience work for you during this trying time. At Dewey, Ramsay, & Hunt, we will fight aggressively and strategically to obtain the compensation you are entitled to. For a free, confidential consultation on your potential claim, call our law offices today at (704) 377-3737.