car accident claim - Stewart Law Offices

Is NC a No Fault State for Auto Accidents?

You may have heard that some states use a “no-fault” system to provide compensation for auto accident injuries. Obtaining compensation after a car accident without needing to prove fault may sound like a simple way to get the financial resources you need to recover from your injuries. But does North Carolina use a no-fault system for car accidents?

Stewart Law Offices can answer your questions. Call us today.

No Fault vs. At Fault States

Laws governing car accident claims put states into two categories: at-fault states and no-fault states. In an at-fault state system, a person injured in a car accident due to an at-fault driver’s negligence can file a personal injury claim against that driver. The purpose of the claim is to obtain compensation for financial and personal losses they incurred due to the accident.

Conversely, in a no-fault state system, an injured car accident victim must turn to their own car insurance company to recover compensation. The portion of their policy that covers these losses is personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage provides medical and lost wages benefits to injured car accident victims regardless of who caused the accident, giving the “no-fault” system its name.

No-fault states may restrict a car accident victim’s right to seek compensation from an at-fault driver after the injured victim has exhausted their PIP coverage or incurred losses not covered by PIP. In some states, the victims’ policy may give them the right to pursue a car accident case against an at-fault driver after they suffer a qualifying injury or their expenses exceed their PIP insurance coverage. In those cases, they could file a lawsuit for uncompensated financial losses and pain and suffering.

North Carolina uses an “at-fault” system for car accident claims, entitling an injured party to pursue a legal claim against an at-fault driver for all the expenses or losses they sustain due to injuries from a North Carolina car accident.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help After an Auto Accident that Wasn’t Your Fault?

When you’ve suffered injuries and property damage in a car crash due to no fault of your own, a car accident lawyer from Stewart Law Offices can help you seek money by handling the details of your legal claims so you can focus on your treatment and rehabilitation. An attorney can pursue the compensation and justice you deserve by:

  • Investigating the accident: A car accident attorney can investigate your claims to prepare a compelling legal case, including listening to your story, visiting the crash scene, gathering records and visual evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction or automotive engineering experts, as necessary. Your lawyer can identify liable parties and legal avenues for pursuing compensation.
  • Documenting your injuries and losses: An attorney can recover the evidence you need to establish the extent of the injuries and losses you sustained due to the car accident, including medical records of your treatment and rehabilitation, testimony from your treating providers and other medical or vocational experts, bills and receipts of your expenses, and your income statements.
  • Guiding you through the claims process: Your lawyer can help you understand your options, prepare you for what to expect during your case, and advise you at each stage of your claim to help you make informed decisions.
  • Pursuing financial recovery: An attorney can vigorously pursue negotiations with the insurance company to seek fair compensation for your losses. However, when an insurer doesn’t agree to a fair settlement, your car accident lawyer can fight for you in court.

Learn more about how our experienced personal injury attorneys can help when you call Stewart Law Offices for a free consultation.

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Crash?

Determining fault for a car crash may require various types of evidence to help reconstruct what happened in the accident and identify the actions that caused the crash. Common types of evidence used in proving fault for a car accident include:

  • Police reports: When law enforcement responds to the scene of a car accident, a police officer will conduct an independent investigation of the crash and prepare an accident report. The police report contains details about the accident scene and may provide the officer’s objective opinion on who or what caused the accident.
  • Visual evidence: Drivers involved in a car accident can document the crash by taking cell phone pictures and videos of the accident scene and vehicle damage. Drivers may also have dashcams that capture footage of the accident. Nearby surveillance or traffic camera footage may also record the crash.
  • Witness testimony: Drivers, passengers, and bystanders can provide accounts of what they saw during the accident, which may help accident reconstruction experts piece together the events leading up to and during the crash.
  • Electronic records: Investigators may rely on various electronic records to provide details from the accident, such as GPS data, cell phone records, and logs from the event data recorders in each car involved in the crash.

What If I Contributed to the Accident?

Sharing some blame for a car accident may jeopardize your right to recover compensation for your injuries in North Carolina. North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws bar injured parties from obtaining financial recovery if they share any fault for the accident that caused their injuries. Even if you bear only one percent of the fault for a car accident, the contributory negligence rule precludes you from seeking compensation from the other at-fault driver.

The harsh consequences of contributory negligence make working with a car accident attorney critical, especially if the other driver or their insurance company argues that you share some responsibility for causing the accident. Your attorney can investigate the crash to recover all available evidence, which can help you fight back against claims that you bear some of the fault for the accident.

In North Carolina, a driver asserting contributory negligence as a defense to a car accident claim bears the burden of proof to show that you share some of the blame for the accident.

Contact Stewart Law Offices for a Free Consultation

After getting into a motor vehicle accident in North Carolina, you may have the right to recover compensation for your accident-related expenses in a car accident claim. Contact Stewart Law Offices today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss your legal options for financial recovery under North Carolina law.