| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents
how is fault determined in north carolina

After a car accident, one of the most important questions is “who was at fault?” This question determines a great deal, including who has to pay for the accident and in what amount. It may even determine whether the injured person can recover if they contributed to the accident in some way. An investigation into who was at fault can make or break a car accident case, so you need an experienced litigator who knows how to determine who is responsible.

At Ellis Law, our experienced car accident lawyer knows how to investigate your car accident and determine who was at fault. Our team works tirelessly to protect your interests following a North Carolina car accident.

Understanding At-Fault Liability in North Carolina

North Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning that the party that caused the accident must pay for it. This means proving that the other driver was negligent in some way and caused the accident. Negligence occurs when the other driver breaches their duty of care towards you and causes your injuries. 

Common causes of car accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Following too closely
  • Failure to check blind spots

These and other causes could be why the accident happened, yet, you need to prove them to win compensation. Determining fault and proving it in court is crucial to winning your case.

Investigating the Cause of a Car Accident

Your car accident attorney will begin the investigation by reviewing any available evidence in your case. This can range from documentary evidence about the crash to testimonial evidence from those who witnessed it. 

To investigate your car crash, your attorney will:

  • Review police accident reports
  • Speak with eyewitnesses who observed the accident
  • Review accident videos or photographs of the scene
  • Consider vehicle damage reports and inspections
  • Collect medical records and treatment reports
  • Calculate the medical and property damage costs from the accident
  • Investigate your income and the time you lost at work
  • Speak with you and your family about the impact of your injuries
  • Conduct depositions of witnesses and other important parties to the lawsuit

The “discovery” process is an important part of investigating your claim. Discovery is a legal term of art that, simply put, means the exchange of information between the parties during the car accident lawsuit. Both parties have a reciprocal duty to exchange information relevant to the case.

This process makes it possible to learn more about what happened and who was at fault for the accident. Some parties may attempt to withhold information to make it difficult to prove they were at fault, but a seasoned car accident lawyer is prepared to fully investigate your claim.

What If the Defendant Accuses Me of Causing the Accident?

Other drivers commonly try to shift blame back to you for the accident. They may claim you were the sole cause or at least partially caused the accident. This is common in North Carolina because of a legal doctrine called contributory negligence.

Under a contributory negligence standard, if you were at fault for the accident in any way, you cannot recover compensation for your own injuries. You might be one percent at fault and still lose the right to compensation under this legal doctrine. Many times this is simply a legal tactic to get you to settle low or walk away. An experienced litigator knows this tactic well and how to combat it to ensure you get the compensation you are owed.

Prove Your Car Accident Claim in North Carolina

The dedicated team at Ellis Law knows how to investigate your car accident case. Our thorough and compassionate approach can help you determine what happened and what compensation is available to you. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

Author Photo
Rate this Post
Was this post helpful? (No Ratings Yet)