Because North Carolina is an at-fault state, the individual deemed at fault for causing an accident is responsible for paying for all the property damage and medical expenses of the other driver or their passengers. However, North Carolina is one of the few states that also subscribes to what is known as “pure” contributory negligence.
Pure contributory negligence means that even if the other driver is found to be at least one percent responsible for causing the accident, they will not be eligible to collect any compensation.
Insurance companies often try to claim the other driver had some degree of fault in a left-turn accident to try and avoid paying out a large claim.
If you have questions about how comparative negligence laws may affect your claim, contact our law office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Who is Typically Considered At Fault in Left-Turn Crashes?
A common misconception in left-turn crashes is that the driver who turned left first is at fault. However, this is often incorrect, as other factors may have contributed to the accident. For example, a driver turning first may have the right of way because they have a green turn arrow. If the other motorist runs through the intersection and hits the driver with the right of way, the speeding motorist could be considered at fault.
However, if the accident was caused by both drivers turning left, each party could share liability for the accident. Under North Carolina’s strict comparative negligence laws, neither party could be able to collect any financial compensation to assist with property damage costs or medical bills.
Therefore, if you or a family member have been involved in a left-turn crash, you must seek qualified legal representation who can help protect your legal rights.
How is Fault Determined in Left-Turn Crashes?
Insurance companies may use various methods to determine who is at fault for an accident. A trained insurance adjuster will be sent to investigate the accident and decide who should be held liable.
Some of the evidence that the insurance company may use to try and determine fault includes:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Law enforcement accident reports.
- Accident scene photos or videos that may have been used to document the scene.
- Damage to both vehicles.
- Footage from dashcams, traffic cameras, or nearly surveillance cameras.
- Information from electronic data recorders (EDRs) that may be equipped to the vehicles involved in the collision. EDRs record various aspects of the vehicle’s systems, including speed and braking.
Additionally, it may be determined that a motorist was at fault if a blood test reveals they were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
However, drivers must understand that the insurance company does not have their best interest at heart. Instead, insurance providers are focused on maintaining their bottom line and protecting the interests of their stockholders. As a result, insurers often look for ways to assign fault to a driver to avoid paying out large claims.
Nevertheless, an accident attorney can access the same evidence and information the insurance adjuster uses to determine fault. That being the case, anyone involved in a left-turn accident should immediately consult a skilled attorney who can thoroughly assess their case and determine the available legal options.
What Are the Most Common Injuries From a Left Turn Crash?
Left-turn crashes can be particularly dangerous because they usually result in side impacts. Side impact crashes are dangerous because very little protection is offered to the occupant of the car being hit.
Some of the most common left-turn crash injuries include:
- Multiple broken bones and/or fractures.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Injuries caused by seatbelts and airbags.
- Loss of limbs and amputations.
- Internal injuries
If an individual suffers a spinal cord injury, they may be permanently disabled for the rest of their life. In cases where the accident victim sustains permanent injuries, they will need lifelong medical care that can quickly throw their family into a financial crisis.
However, North Carolina law allows individuals to try and recover economic and non-economic damages after being injured in an accident.
Economic damages are granted to reimburse accident victims for out-of-pocket expenses and may include:
- Past and future medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of earning potential.
- Property damage
Economic damages may also be granted to help pay for skilled nursing care, physical therapy, or rehabilitation.
Non Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are granted based on the victim’s intangible losses and are specific to the case. Some commonly awarded economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Emotional trauma.
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring.
- Loss of consortium.
Do Your Lawyers Have the Skills to Help Me Deal With the Insurance Company?
Our law firm takes pride in having highly skilled lawyers with a proven record of recovering financial compensation for clients. Because of the strict comparative negligence laws in North Carolina, accident victims should never take a chance and try to handle an insurance claim independently.
Our attorneys are fearless when it comes to standing up to the insurance companies and will fight to help you gain a financial recovery that will adequately provide for your needs. Most personal injury claims are settled out of court without the need for litigation through negotiations with the insurance provider. However, if the insurer is unwilling to negotiate, our law firm is fully prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.
Our legal team understands this is an overwhelming and stressful time for you and your family. However, our law firm is dedicated to helping accident victims receive the fair treatment and justice they deserve. We strive to treat all our clients like family, and you will only pay us money if we win the case/