It is a complete bar to any recovery, for any accident in North Carolina if there are facts sufficient to determine that the injured party contributed even just a little bit to the cause of the accident. The best example I can think of is this; the other driver is at a stop sign. The other driver blows through the stop sign. But there’s an eye-witness that says “My client, who was hit by the person who ran the stop sign, was traveling seventy miles an hour, or over seventy, in the speed limit that was set at fifty.” Is it negligent for my client to be traveling seventy miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone?
Maybe that’s for the jury or a judge to determine. But it certainly sets up a factual situation where the insurance company can allege, with some support, valid support, that my client contributed to the accident at their speed. If they had not been speeding, then maybe they could have avoided the accident and when I have clients in my office and I’m explaining contributory negligence to them, I have found that there’s one visual aid that I can give and if I can borrow a sheet of paper I can give you an example.
Let’s say that this sheet of paper represents one hundred percent of the cause of the accident. This is one hundred percent and there are facts sufficient to show that my client caused that much of the hundred percent of negligence. That contributory negligence, not in every case, but in some cases, if it is found to be legitimate and valid, can prevent my client, who is injured severely or killed, from recovering one penny, extremely unfair result. But that’s the law in North Carolina.
Does My Insurance Agent Represent Me After a Car Accident?
Your own insurance company insures you for accidents just like this. You pay your premiums every single month. So, you hope that they will help you. When you’re involved in a case like in a car wreck case, their purpose is to get you as less as they possibly can. They’re companies they have quotas to meet. They have the bottom line number every year that they have to try to stay under, and they often times, if you have an uninsured motorist claim, they have a lawyer that they hire to defend against the claim that you’re making against your own insurance company. So, it’s a little confusing and a lot of clients get very concerned.
You know, why has my insurance company hired a lawyer against me? Well, it causes that they are a company and you know, they don’t necessarily personally care that your back was broken. That you had to have a fusion and that you have all these medical expenses and lost wages.