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Contributory negligence and how it affects a car accident claim

Even a seemingly minor car accident can leave an individual with property damage, medical expenses, and insurance nightmares. Complicating matters further, these individuals often have to take their claim to court in an attempt to recover compensation from a negligent driver. However, North Carolina's negligence laws are different from many other states, and it is important that residents familiarize themselves with the law before embedding themselves in the legal process after a car wreck.

North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that recognizes pure contributory negligence. Under this legal theory, a plaintiff cannot recover compensation if he or she is at fault, even minimally. Therefore, even if a car accident victim is only 5 percent at fault, he or she will be unable to win on his or her claim. This means that putting forth a successful claim is even more difficult, and accident victims need to do everything possible to ensure they have sound legal arguments.

One of the best ways to do this is to acquire the assistance of an experienced North Carolina accident attorney. An experienced attorney will not only know how to best attempt to show a defendant was negligent and therefore caused the accident, but will also know how to defend against any counter-claims. This type of all-encompassing legal strategy is imperative to recovering compensation.

If successful on a claim, compensation may be awarded for both economic and noneconomic harm. This means a victim might be awarded monetary damages for lost wages, medical expenses, and lost wages, amongst other harms. Such recoveries may allow the victim to obtain the medical care needed to reach as full a recovery as possible, find financial stability, and move on with life with closure and a sense of justice.

Source:, "North Carolina Negligence Laws," accessed on Oct. 26, 2014

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