Imagine driving down Market Street thinking about all the things left to do in the day: picking up the kids, going to the grocery store, dropping off a package at the post office. You enter an intersection and the next thing you know, your car is hit and you’re dazed and confused. What just happened? More importantly, who is at fault?
Proving fault in an accident can be a tricky business. But, it’s very important because the party at fault is going to be the party that pays for damage and injuries.
If you’re a driver in Winston-Salem or Greensboro, Lewis & Keller would like to offer this helpful guide to proving fault in a car accident. Of course, if there is any dispute about fault, your best step is to contact an experienced car accident attorney.
The Key Word is Careless
In our office, we’ve dealt with countless automobile accidents. The common thread in all of them is that someone got careless. The most basic legal principle in a car accident is that whichever driver was the most careless is the one that needs to pay at least some part of the damages for the other driver.
What counts as careless? In an automobile accident, you can ask several questions:
- Was one driver or vehicle in a place they weren’t supposed to be?
- Was one driver a distracted driver, i.e. on their cell phone, or doing something work related while driving for their employer?
- Did one driver not follow the rules of the road?
- Was there a defect in the vehicle itself?
- Were both parties careless or just one?
There are cases where more than one person is at fault in an accident. If you get injured in an accident where there are multiple careless drivers that caused it, any one of those other drivers is responsible for paying. It’s up to the other drivers to figure out how they’re going to split the compensation responsibility.
Multiple careless drivers is a situation where a consultation with an attorney can really help. Perhaps one of the drivers doesn’t have insurance. Or, one insurance company may take the lead in resolving the claim. It’s not easy dealing with multiple drivers or companies when you just want your car fixed and your medical bills paid. A car accident attorney can be invaluable to you in this situation.
What If I’m One Of The Careless Drivers?
If you share responsibility in an accident because you were also being careless, you are now in a situation called comparative negligence. In other words, there will now need to be some negotiation as to what percent of the accident was your fault and what percent was the fault of the other driver.
The percentage of liability is going to be the determining factor for the percentage of compensation. The issue is that the rules for compensation can be tricky to navigate. Here again, if you have been in an accident, and there is some kind of negotiation that needs to take place, you need an attorney.
In North Carolina, the law is a contributory negligence based law, which means that if you have any responsibility for the accident, you are not entitled to compensation. This rule even applies if your carelessness was minimal.
An Attorney Makes a Difference
We understand life happens. But, it doesn’t have to completely ruin weeks or months of your life. If you’ve been in an accident, and it is not clear whose fault it was, or how much fault is yours, please contact Lewis & Keller. With offices in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, we’re convenient for any driver in the Piedmont Triad. Simply contact us via our online contact form. We’re ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. A consultation is free and you don’t pay unless we win.