How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?
Car accidents can be costly, in terms of human suffering, injury, and property damage. Determining who is at fault in an accident is, therefore, an important question. How that question is answered will generally lead to victims being awarded damages by the at-fault parties and/or their insurance companies.
At Auger & Auger, our personal injury firm is dedicated to helping those who have been harmed in traffic accidents and other types of accidents through negligence. With more than 25 years of legal experience in this field and millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts obtained for our clients, we have the know-how, skills, and commitment to help you. We understand all of the important issues involved in your North Carolina car accident, including the matter of fault and liability which is critical in an insurance claim.
Liability in Car Accidents
Liability in traffic accidents is based on the negligence or recklessness of a driver. Each driver on the road bears a duty to act in a responsible manner to maintain everyone’s safety. A driver can fail to do so in a number of ways, such as:
- Failing to yield
- Following too closely
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Ignoring traffic signs, signals, or other traffic laws
- Driving while texting or using a cell phone
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Street racing
- Simply not paying attention, as in daydreaming
- Reckless driving
These types of behavior contributed to 33,808 traffic fatalities in 2009, according to U.S. Census tables. North Carolina’s fatality rate that year was 1.3 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which was higher than the national average of 1.1.
Factors Involved in Determining Fault
Traffic accidents will almost always be reviewed by the insurance companies of the drivers involved. Insurance adjusters will look at various factors to determine who was at fault. They will consult police reports, on-site photos, witness statements, and any other relevant information about the accident. If either driver engaged in a breach of duty as a motorist, such as violating a traffic law which caused the injuries and/or losses of the other, they will likely be found negligent or liable.
North Carolina is one of a handful of states which operates on the pure contributory negligence rule, which means that if you were even partially at fault for an accident you are not eligible to recover any damages. This rule can be overcome, however, in some accident causes such as those of willful or wanton behavior on the part of the driver who was largely at fault.
The issue of fault and therefore liability can be a complex issue, which is why it is important to have the advice and guidance of a skilled attorney. At Auger & Auger, we have a strong track record and viable methods for handling your case and will do everything possible to resolve this issue in a satisfactory manner on your behalf. We know how to deal with insurance companies in these matters and how to take your claim to court should that be necessary.
Dependable Legal Representation
If you’ve been harmed in a car accident anywhere in North Carolina, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible about your legal rights and options. Our firm can represent your best interests throughout the claims process. We know how vital your insurance claim can be to the restoration of your health and your future. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your accident today. We’re available 24/7.