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Victor C. Mitchener, Attorney

Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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How dangerous is it to be out on the road?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Some people in Charlotte and other parts of North Carolina may have recently experienced or seen more incidents of road rage, careless, or aggressive driving habits of other drivers. These impressions, as well as recent government reporting, may inform drivers to be more wary when they head out on their daily commutes.

The National Safety council (NSC) released statistics that have shown not only a disturbing upward trend in fatalities throughout 2020, but a continuing spike going into the first half of 2021. It turns out that deaths are now up 16% over 2020, a year which had already experienced a staggering 24% increase in roadway fatalities over 2019.

Although there were far fewer vehicles on the road throughout 2020, when experts factor in the vehicle miles travelled (VMT) of all vehicles on the road, the percentage goes up sharply. Contributing factors apparently were the distracted, impaired, or reckless driving habits of those who were driving on empty roads. Now that traffic patterns are back to near normal, these habits are still very much among us, leading to tragic and avoidable collisions costing not only lives, but an estimated $241.5 billion in property damage so far this year.

What options are there if the other driver was at fault?

Accidents do happen, and sometimes unforeseeable events that can take matters out of the hands of those involved. But driving while impaired or while texting, playing with the GPS, or being otherwise distracted, causes preventable tragedies. And driving without regard to speed limits, right-of-way, or other traffic laws will probably cause harm to someone at some point.

While insurance claims may pay out compensation that can help cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and other damages, getting insurance companies to respond without low-balling the initial settlement can be challenging. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, the injured party should not have to pay for their own injuries or property damage.

What compensation will a negligence claim recover?

Negligence claims in North Carolina can be tricky, as state law follows the theory of contributory negligence, which bars recovery by the plaintiff if they share even a small percentage of responsibility for the accident.

Having a legal advocate in such a case can prove invaluable, as the success of the lawsuit hinges on the effectiveness of the arguments, backed up by sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s negligence. The plaintiff may seek relief for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, and may also file for punitive damages.