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Negligence is a vital component of almost about any personal injury claim. Whoever is considered negligent (or careless) in your accident can be considered at fault, and therefore if you can establish this fault, then you could be owed compensation for your injuries and financial losses.

This is one of the reasons that these insurance claims or lawsuits can be highly technical, as you will almost always need the help of an experienced Raleigh personal injury lawyer in order to prove that someone else was negligent. In North Carolina, the need to hire a legal advocate is all the greater because of “contributory negligence”. Read on to learn more about how these two terms can make or break your injury claim.

Establishing Negligence

In order to establish this negligence, you would first have to prove that the defendant owed you a “duty of care“, a certain legal responsibility to prevent you from getting injured. Then you would have to prove that this duty of care was violated, that the defendant failed to live up to this standard, and that this failure caused the accident that left you injured. This failure to meet the standard of care is negligence. To better explain how negligence works, we could use a few examples:

  • In the case of a car accident, for instance, drivers have the duty of care to exercise reasonable care. This is in relation to weather and road conditions as well as traffic laws. So if Driver A was speeding before the accident, or going to fast considering the icy roads, then Driver A could be considered negligent for a car crash.
  • If we take a slip and fall accident, then we could say that a store owner has the duty of care to keep the property clear of certain hazards, and this includes the duty to both find and take care of any hazards that appear within a reasonable amount of time. If a leaking fridge is continually ignored and no warnings signs are posted, then a property owner could be considered negligent, thus at fault for any injuries you sustained from slipping on the puddle.
  • A pharmacist could be considered negligent, guilty of pharmacy malpractice, if they failed to live up to their duty to provide reasonable care. If a pharmacist makes an unreasonably careless mistake by prescribing you too much of a certain medication, or if they give you the wrong medicine, they could be considered at fault for any illnesses or injuries you suffer because of their negligence.
  • If you were injured by a defective product, then a manufacturer (or distributor, or designer, etc.) has the duty to give you a reasonably safe product. For example, if a manufacturer knew that a certain product had the risk of seriously malfunctioning, and they failed to provide warnings about this, then this could be considered negligence.

Contributory Negligence

North Carolina is only one of a few states that has contributory negligence. This rule could sabotage your ability to be compensated. According to this rule, if someone is in any small way at fault for their accident, then they cannot be compensated for their injuries. So even if you were injured in a motorcycle accident where a car driver is assigned 90 percent of the blame, if you carry the other 10 percent of the blame, you get zero percent of the compensation you are owed.

With such severe restrictions on the compensation you can collect, it is imperative that you retain a skilled personal injury attorney in Raleigh, someone who can keep you from taking on undeserved blame. Find out how the Whitley Law Firm could be able to protect your right to compensation by calling today.