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How Is Fault Determined in Charlotte Car Accidents?

By Randall & Stump excels in criminal defense, serving clients in Charlotte, NC & other surrounding cities.
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Randall & Stump, PLLC i

Category Car Accidents
Monday, August 12, 2019

Man determining who's at fault in accident

Your life could be turned upside down when you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident, so it’s a relief to know that North Carolina law may allow you to seek compensation for your losses. The key to success with your claim is being able to show that the other driver’s conduct was at fault in causing the collision. Fault is commonly associated with responsibility and careless acts that contribute to an event, but it has a very specific meaning in the practice of law. Because it has implications in two critical areas described below, you should understand the basics of determining fault in Charlotte car accidents.

At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our team has decades of combined experience representing victims of auto collisions, so we’re well-versed in how fault works. One of our Charlotte car accident attorneys can review your circumstances and tell you how the relevant concepts apply. In addition, an overview may be useful, along with some information on the ways experienced lawyers go about proving fault in an auto collision.

To schedule a free, initial consultation of your case, contact us today at (980) 237-4579.

Why Fault Matters in a Motor Vehicle Crash

Most car accidents occur because a driver was careless and, therefore, at fault in causing the incident. As it pertains to your rights as an injured victim, fault matters for two reasons:

Your Right to Compensation

The basis of an injury claim revolves around the legal theory of liability known as negligence. You can recover compensation if you can prove that the other motorist failed to exercise reasonable care when driving, and this misconduct led to the accident. When you’re filing a claim with an insurance company and in a lawsuit, you need evidence of the driver’s specific actions that point to fault. It’s also essential to show that there’s a direct connection between the careless conduct and the accident that caused you harm.

Contributory Negligence

The second reason to carefully review fault in Charlotte car accidents is that North Carolina follows the rule of contributory negligence. If you’re partially responsible for causing the crash, you will recover nothing. This theory is typically raised as a defense to your claim, but it is possible to overcome it. You must show that the other driver was willful, wanton, or reckless, and this conduct led to the accident.

Useful Resources for Proving Fault

In some motor vehicle crashes, it’s easy to tell who was responsible. A motorist who was speeding, drunk driving, using a phone, or ran a red light is usually at fault. For other accidents, it may be less clear who’s to blame. Each motorist could point the finger at the other, potentially triggering the harsh rule of contributory negligence. For this reason, solid evidence is crucial. Some types of evidence that lawyers rely on when proving fault include:

  • Police reports, which may contain details about who was responsible, or show the issuance of a ticket
  • Damage to the vehicle, as the location of the impact can reveal how the accident happened
  • Photographs at the scene, that can show the layout of the roadway, traffic signals, obstructions to visibility, speed limit, and other physical characteristics
  • Witness recollections, especially those in other vehicles or bystanders who tend to be neutral observers
  • Accident reconstruction specialists, who have training in the science behind a collision and can recreate how it happened

With respect to your own recollections of the crash, you should note that there may be credibility issues with your own statements. A victim’s version of fault tends to be self-serving, both in proving a negligence case and defending a claim regarding your own contributory negligence. However, you gain credibility when your recollections are supported by a journal, so make sure to jot down some notes immediately after the crash.

Speak to a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Today

Hopefully this description of fault in Charlotte car accidents helps you understand the basic concepts surrounding this area of law. Still, there’s a multitude of additional issues and subtleties involved, meaning legal representation is a must. To learn more about fault and how it affects your rights, please contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys. You can set up a no-cost case evaluation by calling us at (980) 237-4579, or by going to ouronline contact form.