Is it Always a Driver Who’s Held Liable in a Car Accident Case in Charlotte, NC?

Car Accident Liability in Charlotte, NC: Steps to Take After an Accident, Fault Determination, Insurance Coverage, and the Importance of Legal Counsel.

Determining liability can be complex and nuanced when it comes to car accident cases in Charlotte, North Carolina. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into liability in car accidents and address whether drivers are always responsible and if they need a lawyer.

What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident

Don’t focus on who’s at fault the second you get into a car accident. It would help if you worried about yourself and the people in your car first, no matter where or how the accident occurred.

Here are a few steps you should take after an accident:

  • Check if Anyone is Injured: Assess the situation quickly, and if you notice anyone injured, attend to them and inform others around you that they might need assistance.
  • Pull Off to the Side: If safe and possible, move your vehicle off the road or onto the shoulder to avoid blocking traffic or causing another collision.
  • Call the Necessary Authorities: Depending on the accident’s severity, call for emergency assistance (police/fire/ambulance) by dialing 911. Fill out a report.
  • Keep Calm and Stay at the Scene: Stay calm and never leave the scene until you have spoken with law enforcement officials and resolved the necessary paperwork.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange information with other drivers involved in the accident, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s licenses, and insurance.
  • Take Photos: Capture photos of not your vehicle, the other vehicles, and any visible injuries sustained by yourself or passengers present within respective vehicles.
  • Speak to a Doctor: Even if you feel fine immediately after an accident, seek medical attention just in case, as some injuries might manifest symptoms later on.
  • Report the Accident to Insurance: Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to report the accident and start filing a claim.
  • Contact a lawyer: Speak to experienced car accident lawyers in Charlotte who can help guide you through the process and get a fair settlement if you are injured.

Since North Carolina assesses fault via evidence (police reports, witness statements, photos, and medical records), your due diligence will ensure you get what you’re owed in court.

How Fault Works (for Car Accidents) in North Carolina

In North Carolina, who’s at fault in a car accident isn’t automatically clear. But, the driver who violated traffic laws or was negligent is often at fault unless contributory negligence exists.

Contributory negligence means a person can’t recover damages if they are partially at fault for an accident. Otherwise, North Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver at fault is responsible for damages. Penalties vary based on the severity of the accident.

Common Reasons a Driver Would be at Fault

Here are three main reasons why a driver would be at fault for an accident:

  • Driving Under the Influence (Drugs or Alcohol)
  • Distracted Driving (i.e., Texting or Eating)
  • Speeding (Exceeding Posted Speed Limit)

In these instances, the not-at-fault driver would almost always get their accident paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance (unless contributory negligence is found). However, this requires that both parties have liability insurance or one party has uninsured coverage for uninsured drivers.

Common Reasons When Fault is Hard to Determine

In some cases, the fault is harder to determine. For example:

  • Defective Vehicles (i.e., Faulty Brakes or Seatbelts)
  • Roadway Negligence (i.e., Broken Pavement or Poor Lighting)

In these cases, your insurance will likely assume that the car that hit the other car will be the at-fault driver. You would need to take the matter to court and prove that the defective vehicle wasn’t your doing (i.e., not properly maintaining your vehicle) or that roadway negligence caused the crash. You can do this with the help of a qualified car accident lawyer.

If you’re found at fault, your insurance rates will increase based on the accident’s severity.

What the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Covers

Insurance will only cover the affected party up to their policy limits. If they want to be covered for more than they, they’ll hire a car accident or injury lawyer and sue the at-fault party.

If you’re the at-fault driver, you may be required to pay for the following damages:

  • Medical Bills: Hospital bills, prescription costs, and doctor visits
  • Lost Wages: Includes time missed off work and potential future earnings
  • Property Damage: Repairs for property, including vehicle or personal property
  • Pain and Suffering: Covers the emotional impact caused by the accident

You can sue the other driver for the same damages if you’re the not-at-fault driver.

In Conclusion

Understanding the intricacies of liability in car accidents is crucial to protecting yourself and seeking fair compensation in the event of a collision. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney.


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