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What is contributory negligence and how does it affect my case?

Contributory Negligence in North Carolina

Many car accident victims become confused when they learn about the concept of contributory negligence in North Carolina. They usually discover that their car accident claim is barred when the at-fault insurance company denies their claim on the basis of contributory negligence.

In North Carolina, people who allege negligence cannot file suit if they were even partially responsible for their damages. Many common-sense beliefs about car accidents and liability do not apply in North Carolina because of the state’s contributory negligence doctrine. One common situation is when a victim is injured when they are rear-ended at a stoplight. The victim was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Common sense suggests that the driver who rear-ended the victim should “automatically” be held liable for the accident. However, the driver who was rear-ended will likely be barred from suing the other driver because their injuries partially resulted from their own negligence.

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