Car accidents are a fact of life for everyone, and many people believe that if that accident was caused by someone else, the at fault person is responsible for paying for all the damages they caused. However, in North Carolina, that is not always the case because of our state’s contributory negligence law. Indeed, many residents may not know this, but we are one of only four states (plus the District of Columbia) in the entire U.S. that still has a contributory negligence law, but that may soon be changing.
What is a contributory negligence law?
Essentially, the contributory negligence law means that if an accident victim is even 1 percent at fault in an auto accident, the accident victim cannot hold the driver that caused the accident accountable. This means that 1 percent accountable driver cannot get damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, etc.
A heartbreaking example
The person behind the push to eliminate our state’s contributory negligence law is a Greensboro mom who lost her daughter in a pedestrian-car accident. In that case, her daughter was walking on the side of the road when she was struck by a vehicle. The young woman was walking with the flow of traffic and on the correct side of the white line since there was no sidewalk. This was the correct and legal way for a pedestrian to travel on the road. Nonetheless, she was found to be at least 1 percent at fault, so her mother was responsible to pay for everything. The negligent driver did not have to pay a penny.
The Victims Fair Treatment Act
The bill that the Greensboro mom is spearheading is Senate Bill 477, which is named The Victims Fair Treatment Act. This new North Carolina law eliminates the contributory negligence law and allows auto accident victims to recover monetary compensation, even if they are partially to blame for the accident.
Auto accident help
For those in Greensboro, North Carolina, that have been involved in an auto accident, calling an attorney immediately is the best option. An attorney can help walk car accident victims through the civil justice process to get the compensation they need and are entitled.