North Carolina follows the comparative negligence standard for determining who’s at fault in an accident. This means the court will attempt to determine each party’s degree of fault when you file a roadway accident legal action.

As noted by CLM Magazine, you could have contributed to the accident and still recover damages. If the court finds you partially at fault, it may award you financial relief while also reducing the amount by the percentage of your contribution to the accident.

Allocation of fault

When a driver violates a traffic law, he or she may have a much greater percentage of responsibility for causing an accident. For example, if a speeding motorist ran a red light and struck your parked vehicle while you were in the driver’s seat, the jury could find the accident entirely his or her fault. The other driver is responsible for the harm you sustained.

If you had an opportunity to move out of the motorist’s way, however, but failed to do so, the court could find that your own negligence contributed to the accident. The jury might, for example, also find that you stopped or parked your car illegally. Under these circumstances, the jury could decide that you contributed 20% toward an otherwise preventable collision. The court may then reduce your award for damages to cover 80% of your claimed loss.

Interpretation of supportive evidence

Evidence submitted to the court such as an official accident report from law enforcement can help shed light on what occurred. Witness statements, vehicle damage and video evidence could also serve as factors in a jury’s decision.

The severity of your injuries could show how the impact affected you. Your medical bills for treatment, rehabilitation and therapy could help the jury understand the harm the other driver caused. Even though your contribution to the accident may reduce the amount of financial relief, you may still recover for pain and suffering in addition to your economic losses.