Daisley Law Offices, P.C.

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What being a contributory negligence state means

While the vast majority of the states follow what is called a "comparative fault" standard, North Carolina still adheres to the traditional doctrine of contributory negligence in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

The doctrine of contributory negligence is, basically, that even if someone is negligent and causes an injury that person will not have to pay compensation if the person hurt was also responsible for the accident, even to a relatively minor degree. This does not mean someone has to do everything possible to avoid an accident; however, a injured person's own carelessness cannot be a contributing factor to the accident.

For example, if one driver pulls out in front of another driver but the other driver was traveling well over the speed limit, there may be no compensation available, provided there is evidence that both speed and failing to pay attention were contributing factors in the ensuing collision.

Although this is admittedly not a favorable doctrine accident victims who suffer serious injuries in trucking or other commercial vehicle accident, it does not mean that an injured person is absolutely without hope when it comes to holding a responsible party accountable.

Still, negligent drivers and the insurance companies that fund their defense will do what they can to prove the injured person was also negligent and, thus, not entitled to recover compensation. A skilled Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney would prepare for this possibility and know how to investigate and work up an accident case in order to vindicate the injured person and help them get the recovery they need and deserve.

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  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice Protecting People’s rights
  • NOSSCR National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
  • American Association for Justice formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America ATLA
  • ABA American Bar Association
  • NOVA
  • North Carolina State Bar
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