To prove you are not at fault after a car accident, you must prove someone else is at fault. To do this, you must demonstrate the four legal elements of negligence.
If the at-fault party tries to blame you for the crash, a car accident attorney from Whitley Law Firm can help you gather evidence to prove negligence and establish your right to collect damages. If you do not fight false allegations of blame, the insurance company could deny your injury claim and leave you footing the bills for all your losses.
Pure Contributory Negligence in North Carolina
In North Carolina, proving you are not at fault for a car accident is even more crucial than in many other states because our state uses a pure contributory negligence rule. This means that if the court determines you are even 1% at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any compensation for your losses.
This is just one great reason to hire a personal injury attorney from Whitley Law Firm—we know how to prove negligence and win cases for our clients. When you hire us, you’ll become like a member of our family, and we’ll work for you—not the other way around.
How to Establish the At-Fault Party’s Liability
The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that before you can hold someone financially responsible for your injuries and losses after an accident, you must prove these four legal elements of negligence:
- Duty of care. Everyone who operates a motor vehicle on public streets must drive carefully and obey traffic laws.
- Breach of duty. When someone’s conduct violates their duty of care, they are negligent. Let’s say that the other driver ran a red light. That behavior is negligent because it breaches their duty to drive carefully and obey traffic laws.
- Causation. The careless act must have caused the collision. In our scenario, the accident would not have occurred if the other driver hadn’t run a red light.
- Damages. You must have losses, such as medical bills and lost wages, to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party.
You can seek monetary damages for your injuries if you and your car accident lawyer can prove all four of these factors.
Fighting False Allegations of Fault
There are ways to defend yourself from false allegations of blame for causing the collision. The techniques your lawyer can use will depend on the facts of your situation.
Here are a few examples of techniques for countering false allegations against you:
- The police report could be evidence that someone else was at fault or the officer did not believe you were at fault.
- Accident reconstruction experts can take measurements and photos and make calculations, like the speed at which a vehicle was traveling before impact, to prove what happened. For example, if the other driver claims you were speeding, an accident reconstruction expert might be able to prove you were driving under the speed limit.
- Video footage from dashboard cameras, security cameras on commercial or residential properties, intersection cameras, video doorbells, or eyewitnesses’ cell phones could prove that the other party caused the collision or that you did not cause the accident. For example, a red-light camera might show that the defendant caused the crash by running a red light.
- Some vehicles, such as commercial trucks, have “black box” technology that captures data your lawyer could use to prove you were not at fault because someone else caused the accident.
Recoverable Damages After Proving the At-Fault Party’s Negligence
An injured person can seek financial compensation from the liable party in a personal injury case. The categories of compensable damages can include:
- Lost wages. You may be eligible to recover your lost wages if you missed paychecks when your injuries prevented you from working.
- Future lost wages. Sometimes, people complete their medical treatment and achieve the maximum level of healing that their doctor expects, yet they still experience lingering symptoms. If these ongoing impairments decrease the amount of money they can earn, their injury claim can include a request for monetary compensation for this financial loss.
- Current and future medical bills. Injury victims are typically eligible to recover the cost of the medical interventions they needed to treat their injuries. The ambulance, trauma center, hospital, surgery, doctors, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and pain management services are examples of medical expenses in this category.
- Pain and suffering. The physical discomfort and emotional distress involved with serious car accident injuries are compensable in addition to your healthcare expenses.
- Wrongful death. If your loved one died in a collision someone else caused, the executor of the decedent’s estate can pursue compensation on behalf of their legal beneficiaries, per G.S. § 28A-18-2.
The actual monetary damages you can pursue will depend on the specific facts of your situation. Every car accident injury case is different.
The Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in North Carolina
Please be mindful of North Carolina’s filing deadlines for personal injury cases. Per G.S. § 1-52, you must file your lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury within three years of the accident. Those eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit must do so within two years of the death, according to G.S. § 1-53.
Sometimes, people mistakenly think that statutes of limitations do not matter because they want to settle their claims, not litigate. Unfortunately, this mistake could cost them their case. The insurance company will likely stop returning your phone calls or negotiating with you when the filing deadline expires because the at-fault party is no longer liable for your injuries. North Carolina law will forever bar you from seeking compensation.
Let Our Personal Injury Lawyers Help You Prove You Were Not at Fault for Your Car Accident
When you hire a personal injury lawyer from Whitley Law Firm, you’ll get “The Whitley Advantage.” This is a commitment we make to all our clients to treat them as we would want to be treated and handle their cases with hard work, honesty, and compassion. We offer whole-hearted, hands-on care, and we would be honored to help you with your car accident case.
Contact us at Whitley Law Firm today at (919) 785-5000 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.