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What is Contributory Negligence and How Does It Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Frustrated2_06042014When determining compensation for injuries in an accident, North Carolina is one of only a few states in which the contributory negligence of the plaintiff may result in a complete bar of the plaintiff's claim.

Here's how contributory negligence works:

Let's say that you are driving through an intersection and another car runs a red light or a stop sign, hitting your car. You had no stop sign or red light, and the other driver is clearly at fault. If you were speeding at the time or not following traffic rules in some other way, you may be found to have some responsibility for the accident -- otherwise known as contributory negligence.

In such an example, you would not be eligible for any compensation for damages to your car or for injuries that you suffered. Even if the other driver is 99 percent responsible for causing the accident, if you are found to be even 1 percent at fault, you will be unable to receive compensation for damages under North Carolina law.

You may be able to overcome the contributory negligence defense in some instances, such as being able to show that the person responsible was "willful and wanton" in the actions that caused the accident. Additionally, evidence of "gross" negligence on the part of the other party may overcome a plaintiff's contributory negligence.

North Carolina is one of only three states and the District of Columbia that recognize contributory negligence as a complete defense. Most other states consider comparative negligence, which assigns a percentage of compensation based on the percentage of responsibility assigned to each party.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

A qualified North Carolina personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights under the law and how contributory negligence may be a factor in your case. A lawyer may be able to help you overcome this defense if it is preventing you from getting compensation for your injuries caused by an accident that was not your fault.

Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

301 S McDowell St, Suite 900
Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Morganton Law Office

216 N. Sterling Street, Suite B
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-219-3080
Toll Free: 1-844-520-2894

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

144 Woodridge Court
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078