Contributory Negligence

An experienced lawyer can help protect your rights

When it comes to personal injury cases, the law is complex. Many people injured in accidents might believe they have a straightforward case. They might not think they need an attorney and try to pursue an accident claim on their own.

The insurance company may try to offer a quick settlement that does not begin to cover all your losses. What can be even more devastating is that the insurance company may try to argue you were somehow at fault in the accident. A representative may deny your claim altogether.

If you have been injured, or someone you love has sustained an injury, it's important to contact a personal injury lawyer in North Carolina as soon as possible to see if we can help. At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we are experienced and caring lawyers who are ready to fight for the compensation you may deserve and need.

A closer look at contributory negligence

In the case of personal injury in North Carolina — such as a car accident or commercial truck accident — it is important to realize that North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence State. This means if the insurance company can prove you in any way contributed to the accident by not exercising reasonable care under the circumstances, you may be completely barred from obtaining compensation for your injuries. The Contributory Negligence Doctrine can be contrasted with the Comparative Fault Doctrine of many other states. Under Comparative Fault, damage payments are allocated in proportion to each party's responsibility for causing the accident. Typically, there is a threshold and the other vehicle must be majority at fault.

Let's say, for example, that you were hit by a drunk driver who runs a red light. As a result, you suffer a traumatic head injury. However, you were driving 10 mph over the speed limit at the time. In North Carolina, a Contributory Negligence State, you may not be able to recover any compensation for your injuries. Under Comparative Fault, you may receive compensation for your injuries, minus an amount for your fault in the accident.

Be careful what you say to insurance companies

This is one reason why insurance companies work hard to get people to admit that they had a role — minor though it might be — in causing their own injuries. Remember, insurance adjusters are trained professionals who are employed to negotiate favorably for the insurance company. When they interview you, they are seeking information that may allow their company to reduce or deny your right to recover. For that reason, it is important not to sign anything or give any kind of statement to the insurance company without first speaking with a personal injury attorney who may be able to advise you.

For more information, please see our "what to do after a car accident" page.

Contact our law offices today

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has helped more than 20,000 injured North Carolinians. It offers a Personal Injury Department in which several of the attorneys have at least 15 years of experience or more. The team also has several members who formerly worked as defense attorneys for insurance companies, so they have seen the law from both sides.

Our firm is also proud to employ many bilingual staff members and attorneys. Our Spanish-speaking clients usually speak directly to Spanish-speaking staff members or attorneys, rather than relying on translators.