North Carolina Auto Accident Law, Lawsuits and Lawyers

Overview of North Carolina Car Accident Law, Lawsuits and Lawyers

History buffs will remember the important role North Carolina played in the history of aviation. It was on the sandy beaches at Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers (two bicycle makers from Dayton, Ohio) first achieved flight in a heavier-than-air craft. North Carolina boasts both beaches and mountains, and large cities like Charlotte and Raleigh offer many employment opportunities in various sectors. According to a 2013 census, North Carolina has the 10th largest population in the United States: 9.84 million people.

All of these people clustered together in a state with relatively small geographical boundaries means that there are plenty of congested and dangerous roads in North Carolina. Car crashes in North Carolina can result in catastrophic injuries that can require hundreds of thousands of dollars to properly treat and manage. Those injured by at-fault drivers need not bear these costs alone, however: They can file a lawsuit for compensation.

North Carolina Car Crashes By the Numbers

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is responsible for gathering statistics about accidents that happen in the state. As one might expect, North Carolina’s large population means that there are more accidents, fatalities, and injuries that one might find in a geographically larger (but more sparsely populated) state. Statistics show that in 2014:

  • 1,277 people lost their lives in traffic-related accidents;
  • Over 110,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes;
  • Out-of-state drivers represented six percent of those killed as well as six percent of those injured in traffic collisions;
  • The most dangerous time to be on the road in North Carolina is between 7:00 a.m. and 6:59 p.m. – over 70 percent of all traffic accidents occurred between these two times;
  • Speeding played a role in one out of every three traffic crashes.

Other causes for traffic collisions included drunk or impaired driving, distracted driving, inexperienced drivers, and an inability to drive safely in the prevailing weather conditions. In fact, the vast majority of car crashes in North Carolina and throughout the United States occur because of human error and careless decisions, not unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances and forces.

North Carolina Is a “Fault Based” Insurance State

North Carolina requires its residents to carry auto insurance if they intend to drive a vehicle. The purpose of auto insurance in North Carolina is to provide a source of compensation for those who might be injured as the result of the insured driver’s careless or negligent actions. This is referred to as a “fault based” insurance system. In a fault-based system, you file your claim for compensation against the at-fault driver and/or his or her insurance carrier. The at-fault driver and/or his or her insurance carrier will then be responsible for paying you compensation, up to the policy limits (assuming they agree that he or she was responsible for causing the crash and your injuries). If the other driver’s insurance policy limits do not give you sufficient funds to cover your losses, or if he or she is uninsured, you may be able to file a lawsuit and obtain the compensation you need for your injuries and losses.

North Carolina is one of only a few states that deny an injury victim the opportunity to recover compensation through a lawsuit if that injury victim contributed in any way to the injury accident and/or his or her own injuries. For instance, if an injury victim failed to follow his or her doctor’s orders in treating his or her car-related injuries, and a judge or jury determines this was negligent behavior that increased the severity of the injury victim’s own injuries, then the injury victim may be completely precluded from recovering any compensation at all.

North Carolina’s Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a state-specific law that describes how long an injury victim has to file a lawsuit seeking compensation after a car crash or other personal injury incident. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations is set at three years. In other words, if you are injured in a car crash in North Carolina and you wish to file a lawsuit, you must do so within three years of the date of your crash. If you do not file your suit within this time, the allegedly at-fault driver you sued may have your case thrown out of court, preventing you from obtaining any compensation whatsoever.

Contact Stern Law, PLLC Today for Legal Counsel and Representation

Stern Law, PLLC and attorney Ken Stern are committed to helping injury victims recover the compensation they need for their injuries. Getting your life back on track after a car crash can require a significant amount of money – money you may not need to expend from your own pocket if someone else caused your injuries. Learn what legal rights you have by speaking with attorney Ken Stern. Then, let Stern Law, PLLC represent your interests and help you obtain compensation professionally and efficiently. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529.

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