What is Contributory Negligence?

law books

North Carolina auto accident claims can sometimes be more complicated than initially thought — primarily due to a very strict North Carolina law called “contributory negligence.”

In North Carolina, unlike most other states, contributory negligence completely bars a plaintiff’s claim if the plaintiff was also negligent. Contributory negligence is a very strict rule of law. In North Carolina, if a plaintiff is even 1% at fault, and a defendant is 99% at fault, then the North Carolina rule of contributory negligence states that the plaintiff cannot recover for the plaintiff’s damages. In other words: any negligence by the plaintiff whatsoever, even very minor, completely bars the plaintiff’s ability to recover for their damages.

Sadly, this means that a plaintiff who has suffered immense injuries and incurred tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills might still be barred from recovery, should their negligence have contributed at all to their accident. Hiring a Durham personal injury lawyer can help by arguing against the defendant that contributory negligence on the plaintiff’s part does not exist. However, the presence of contributory negligence is ultimately a factual question, and so judges usually leave the question of whether contributory negligence exists to be determined by a jury.

If you would like a free evaluation of your injury case, please feel free to contact Kreger Brodish and schedule a free appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys.