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Victor C. Mitchener, Attorney

Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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What role does fault play in my car accident claim?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

As we head out to our daily commute in the Charlotte area, our minds are generally on the workday ahead in the morning or our home life in the evening. We certainly do not expect that we will be involved in a car crash during our daily. Sadly, some people in North Carolina will find themselves involved in just such a situation turning what should have been an uneventful day into a day of chaos.

An important issue in any car crash case is determining who is “at-fault.” Being at-fault or partially at-fault can impact what you can receive from your insurance company as well as what you can receive from a personal injury claim. The following is an overview of how fault factors into receiving financial compensation following a motor vehicle accident.

The role fault plays in an insurance claim

When we are filing an insurance claim following a car crash, we may not anticipate running into any problems if the police report already determined we were not “at-fault.” However, insurance companies are ultimately looking out for their bottom line and may try various tactics to avoid paying out on a claim.

For example, if when reporting the claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster you admit in any way that you could have done something to avoid the crash, the insurer may decide that you were partially at-fault and refuse to compensate you.

Unfortunately, this is because North Carolina is an “at-fault” state when it comes to motor vehicle accident. This allows insurers to deny claims if a driver’s actions contributed to the crash in any manner. This is true even if the police report says the other driver was at-fault for the crash.

The role fault plays in a lawsuit

Fault also plays a role in personal injury claims based on a car crash. Under North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws, a plaintiff cannot recover any damages if they were partially at fault for the crash. Even if you are a mere 1% at fault for a crash and the other party is 99% at fault, the fact that you were partially at fault will bar you from recovering on a claim whatsoever. However, it is the burden of the party asserting you were partially at-fault to prove you were partially at-fault.

While North Carolina’s at-fault laws may seem unfair or even draconian, the fact is that they are laws that must be considered when pursuing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Some people who find themselves seeking compensation following a car accident in Charlotte choose to work through the process with an attorney who can advise them on what to say and when and who can advocate on their behalf throughout the process.