“Can I Still Sue for a Pedestrian Accident if I Was Partially At Fault?”
Pedestrian accidents can be traumatic, stressful, and scary. Although it may seem like the driver who strikes a pedestrian should always be a fault, that is often not the case — pedestrians can be at fault, too. In many pedestrian accidents, liability is contested because the injured pedestrian may have contributed to causing the accident in such a way that puts them partially at fault, such as crossing outside of a marked crosswalk. Many victims wonder, “Can I still sue for a pedestrian accident if I was partially at fault?”
The answer is that it depends.
To successfully recover for your pedestrian accident in North Carolina, you must prove that the driver who hit you was entirely at fault under our state’s system of contributory negligence.
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions to contributory negligence that can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you should do if you are found partially at fault in your pedestrian accident. We’ll also talk about what this means under North Carolina’s system of contributory negligence, and how our attorneys can help you seek justice and compensation for your pedestrian accident injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, call 1-800-525-7111 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced North Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer.
There are no upfront costs and you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive compensation.
Even if you’ve been found partially at fault for the pedestrian accident, we may be able to help you overcome the challenges of contributory negligence and recover compensation for your injuries.
Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your pedestrian accident claim.
Contributory Negligence and Pedestrian Accidents
Whether you can pursue a claim for a pedestrian accident in North Carolina essentially boils down to a single question: who was at fault?
Although personal injury claims are centered on the theory that the other driver who hit you was negligent (meaning they were at fault), different states follow different systems of negligence. This means that a determination of who was at fault in the accident depends on the system of negligence adopted by the particular state in which the accident occurred.
Often, more than one driver can be found at fault in an accident. Most states have adopted a “modified comparative negligence” system under which your recovery from the accident will be reduced by the amount you were deemed “at fault” in the accident.
For example, suppose a pedestrian stands to recover $100,000 in medical bills from his pedestrian-automobile accident. However, suppose that pedestrian was found 30% at fault for the accident because he crossed the road outside of a crosswalk, and the other driver was deemed 70% at fault. In a state that follows a comparative system of negligence, the pedestrian’s right of recovery would be reduced by 30% — the amount he or she was found at fault. Therefore, instead of recovering $100,000 for his or her medical bills, the pedestrian would only recover $70,000.
However, instead of following a comparative negligence system, North Carolina follows the law of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is a legal principle that says if a party is partially at fault for causing an accident — even as little as 1% at fault — then that party cannot recover any damages at all.
This means that if you are even slightly at fault for your pedestrian accident, you may be totally barred from recovery. Contributory negligence is an affirmative defense, meaning that a defendant can raise the defense by alleging that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, and the plaintiff must then raise an exception to overcome this defense.
The affirmative defense of contributory negligence is a high bar to overcome, but the good news is that several exceptions to the doctrine exist in North Carolina. Riddle & Brantley’s experienced pedestrian accident attorneys are familiar with arguing these exceptions and would love to evaluate your claim to see if any apply.
To see if you can sue or file a claim for a pedestrian accident in which you were found to be partially at fault, call 1-800-525-7111 today.
Our experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers will review your claim and determine if we can help overcome the doctrine of contributory negligence to help you recover compensation in your pedestrian accident injury case.
Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.
Potential Exceptions to Contributory Negligence
Even if you are found to be partially at fault for your North Carolina pedestrian accident, a few exceptions exist within North Carolina’s law of contributory negligence that may allow you to still seek compensation for your injuries.
Even though you may think that you cannot recover in your pedestrian accident claim because you were found partially at fault, Riddle & Brantley’s pedestrian accident attorneys can still help review your legal options for seeking compensation.
There are a few very important exceptions to the defense of contributory negligence in North Carolina. If your case fits one of these exceptions, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
Riddle & Brantley’s experienced North Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys can help evaluate your claim for damages and determine if any of the following exceptions to contributory negligence apply.
The legal theory of gross negligence is a rare but important concept in North Carolina because it is one of the few ways a plaintiff can overcome a defendant’s affirmative defense of contributory negligence. This is because the law of contributory negligence does not apply to acts that involve “gross negligence.” Gross negligence is defined as “willful or wanton conduct done with conscious or reckless disregard for the rights and safety others.”
Gross negligence in the context of North Carolina pedestrian accidents is typically limited to a defendant who was driving while intoxicated, driving at excessive speeds, or engaging in street racing.
“The Rule of Sevens”
Under the common law, children under the age of seven are generally conclusively presumed to be incapable of contributory negligence, and therefore North Carolina’s law of contributory negligence does not apply. This rule applies regardless of how intelligent a young child might be. For example, if a child under the age of 7 is playing with a ball that rolls into the street, and the child chases that ball into the street into the path of oncoming traffic and is struck by a car, the law in North Carolina would conclusively presume that child was incapable of appreciating the danger at hand and could not be found contributorily negligent.
North Carolina law generally holds that when an injured plaintiff suffers from a cognitive impairment, that plaintiff cannot be found contributorily negligent. Here, the law only compares the plaintiff with a cognitive impairment to another reasonable person “similarly situated” to that individual, rather than to an individual who is not impaired. For example, if a patient with Alzheimer’s wanders into the path of oncoming traffic and is struck by a car, the law would compare this plaintiff’s actions to that of a reasonable person who also suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and not to someone without that impairment.
“Last Clear Chance” Doctrine
The Last Clear Chance doctrine is a complex but important exception to a defendant’s assertion of contributory negligence. The doctrine works by examining who had “the last clear chance” to avoid the injury. Even though a plaintiff may have negligently contributed to the accident, if the negligent defendant had the last opportunity to avoid causing the plaintiff injury, then the plaintiff’s contributory negligence may be excused and he or she may still be able to recover damages for any injuries incurred.
Yes, You Can File a Claim in a Pedestrian Accident Even if You Were Partially At Fault
In North Carolina, just because you are found to be partially at fault does not mean that you cannot sue in a pedestrian accident case or file a claim for compensation. While it can be difficult to prove an exception to the rule of contributory negligence, exceptions do exist.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in North Carolina, please call 1-800-525-7111 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.
We will evaluate your pedestrian accident claim and determine your best legal options for pursuing compensation, even if you were found partially at fault.
Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.
Results for Pedestrian Accident Injury Victims
In one recent case, by applying the “last clear chance doctrine” to overcome contributory negligence, attorneys Gene Riddle and Kurt Dixon helped recover a $1,625,000 settlement for a client who was gravely injured when crossing a major 10-lane road. Because our client was struck by a vehicle as she attempted to cross the road outside of a marked crosswalk, the defendant’s liability insurance claimed our client was at fault for her own injuries and not entitled to any recovery under the doctrine of contributory negligence. With the help of an expert accident reconstructionist, witness statements, and other evidence, however, we successfully argued the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid striking our client in the road, but failed to avoid her even though all traffic had come to a stop to allow our client to safely cross the road.
This case is one of many examples of how our attorneys can help clients overcome the affirmative defense of contributory negligence to still achieve a successful recovery.
Call Riddle & Brantley Today
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian and were found partially at fault, you may still be entitled to recovery.
Successfully arguing an exception to the law of contributory negligence for your pedestrian accident in North Carolina can be difficult, but Riddle & Brantley’s experienced pedestrian accident attorneys can help you pursue justice and seek all available compensation for your claim. Our attorneys have spent decades successfully arguing exceptions to North Carolina’s law of contributory negligence, and we would love to help you seek justice for your injuries if we can.
For a FREE consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, please call 1-800-525-7111.
There is no obligation and you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive compensation.
Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.
*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.