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Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Accidents?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Fault in a car accident generally refers to who is liable in a car accident claim. In a “no-fault” state, this means that neither driver is going to be considered at fault for an accident and will typically end up collecting compensation from their own insurance for their injuries and damage. North Carolina is an at-fault state, and those who are not responsible for causing an accident may be able to collect damages with the help of a Charlotte car accident lawyer.

Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler can help you get compensation to cover medical bills, vehicle damage, and the psychological impact of the accident. We have been successfully helping clients get the financial support they need to recover after car accidents for years.

Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Accidents?

Contributory Negligence in North Carolina Car Accidents

Even though North Carolina is not a “no-fault” state, meaning you automatically will need to collect from your own insurance, there is still a possibility that you will need to do so as a result of North Carolina’s contributory negligence doctrine that applies to personal injury claims, including car accidents.

Contributory negligence is a doctrine that allows the defendant’s lawyers in a civil claim the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff was at least partially responsible for the accident and the injuries that they sustained. In most states, successfully making this argument would typically result in a reduction of damages proportionate to the share of fault that the plaintiff was responsible for.

That is because they operate under comparative negligence, whereas North Carolina operates under a system of contributory negligence.

In North Carolina, when the plaintiff in a civil claim is found to be at fault for an accident, they will not be able to collect any damages from the defendant. This means that, despite being in an “at-fault” state, there still may be times when a driver could have to resort to collecting on their own insurance.

Proving Fault in a North Carolina Car Accident

Proving fault for the defendant and proving contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff will generally follow the same process and require proving three elements:

  • Duty of Care. This is the idea that people have a responsibility to consider how their actions could impact others and to take reasonable steps to avoid putting them in harm’s way. Duty of care in a pedestrian accident is not difficult to prove, as anyone behind the wheel owes such a duty to others on the road – drivers and pedestrians.
  • Breach of Duty. This means that the defendant, usually another driver in the case of a car accident claim, did something or failed to do something that resulted in them not meeting the duty of care described above. On the road, this can often mean failing to follow traffic laws properly or driving distracted or drunk.
  • Cause of Injury.  Lastly, the breach that occurred must be shown to be the cause of the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. Because the injuries are the result of an accident, this means that the lawyers must first show that the breach led to the accident and that the accident then led to the injuries. There are times when there may be a breach that isn’t actually the cause of the accident or injuries, such as a drunk driver who is rear-ended at a stop light. While driving drunk is a clear breach with associated criminal consequences, it was not the breach that caused the accident; that was the failure to stop.


Q: What Should I Do If I’ve Been in a Car Accident in North Carolina?

A: If you’ve been in a car accident, the most important thing is to be sure that you get proper medical attention for any injuries that you have. If you are able and your injuries aren’t too severe, it can be helpful to document the scene of the accident with some photos and videos. It can also be important to get contact information for anyone who saw the accident happen. Finally, make sure you get in contact with a personal injury lawyer who can help you understand your options.

Q: Who Could be Liable in a Car Accident?

A: While in most car accidents, it’s another driver who is most likely liable, it’s possible that a number of other parties could be liable if their negligence contributed to the accident. This could include a driver’s employer if a commercial driver was involved. It could also include the government if there was an issue with roads and signs. It could even be the manufacturer of a part that failed.

Q: What Restitution Could Be Awarded in a Car Accident?

A: Should your lawyer be able to prove fault on the part of the defendant, then those costs that are a direct result of the accident will be covered. This includes the economic damages of lost wages, medical bills, and property damage, including your vehicle. It also includes non-economic damages, which cover the psychological impacts of the accident, like pain and suffering or mental anguish.

Q: What Does a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Do?

A: A Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you seek the compensation that you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered as a result of the car accident. This will typically involve either a settlement process or taking a personal injury claim to court. Through those processes, the lawyer can represent you and make the case for the restitution that you need.

A Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer May be Able to Help You

If you’ve been in a car accident, then you may be able to hold the liable party responsible for the costs that you’ve incurred. This includes costs like your medical bills, damage to your vehicle, pain and suffering, and others. More often than not, this means you will be going up against an insurance provider who is responsible for paying.

With the help of the Charlotte car accident lawyers at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, you will have a team on your side that can help you seek the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your car accident.