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If you have ever been involved in a car accident, you will agree that it is undoubtedly one of the most unpleasant experiences ever. Aside from the fact that it is extremely stressful, frightening and shocking, you may also wonder whether you or anyone else is injured or whether you should call the police. In addition to this uncertainty and the state of shock, you also need to thoroughly check yourself for any signs of bodily injuries. Panchenko Law Firm is based in Charlotte, NC and has a car accident lawyer who can guide you through this stressful situation.

In North Carolina, car accident law is a subset of personal injury law that deals with bodily injuries and property damages resulting from a motor vehicle or truck accident. Personal injury law and auto accident law are based upon determining negligence and liability of an at-fault driver, also known as a tortfeasor. Before delving into car accident law in North Carolina, let one of our personal injury attorneys for car accidents take a moment to clarify and define what car accident and personal injury actually mean.

Personal injury can be defined as the physical injury inflicted on a person's body, as opposed to damage to property or reputation. The area of law that is implicated with respect to compensating the injured person and placing that person in as good a position as she or he was prior to the accident is tort law.

A traffic collision, also known as a traffic accident, motor vehicle collision, motor vehicle accident, car accident, truck accident, automobile accident, road traffic collision (RTC), car crash or car smash occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris or other stationary obstruction, such as a tree or utility pole. Traffic collisions may result in bodily injury, death or property damage.

Most auto accidents involve some form of negligence or carelessness. Negligence can be defined as failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like or similar circumstances. North Carolina generally follows the traditional common law rules of negligence.

To establish a case of negligence in North Carolina, the plaintiff must prove:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Damages
  • Causation (cause-in-fact and proximate cause)

First, a defendant owes a duty to conform to a specific standard of conduct for the protection of foreseeable plaintiffs. Breach occurs when the defendant fails to conform to that standard of conduct. Moreover, the defendant's breach must be the cause-in-fact and proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm. To prove cause-in-fact, the plaintiff must show the harm would not have occurred but for the defendant's actions. To establish the defendant's breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm, the plaintiff must show the result of the defendant's conduct was foreseeable. Finally, damages include the plaintiff's past and future medical expenses, lost income, property damages and pain and suffering.

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Wondering how the court determines negligence?

Wondering how the court determines negligence?

Negligence may be found not only in acts but also in omissions. An omission can be defined as a failure to do something, especially something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do. Thus, acts of omission occur when an actor is under a duty to act or to act in a certain way but fails to act.

This failure to exercise due care may arise from either doing the wrong thing at the time and place in question or from doing nothing when there is a legal duty imposed on you to act.

Negligence in car accidents can include various aspects like speeding, following too closely, failure to stop, failure to yield, inattentiveness, running through a red light, texting and driving, failing to yield a right of way, failing to stop at a stop sign, aggressive driving, reckless driving or simple carelessness at any given moment. Additionally, not having your lights on during a night drive or failing to stop when a pedestrian is crossing the road may also be deemed as negligent.

Lastly, a violation of a statute can be regarded as Negligence Per Se. Under this doctrine, an act is automatically considered to be negligent because it violates a statute or regulation. However, these situations are limited to those when the statute in question creates a specific duty and prescribes a course of conduct for the protection of others.

To sum up, every person behind a wheel has a duty to act with care towards others on the roads so as not to harm or injure his passengers, other drivers or anyone else. In event of a car crash, every person has a duty to stop and report the accident to authorities.

While you may be able to prove that the other party was negligent and caused you to suffer numerous injuries, you may still be barred from recovery because of Contributory Negligence. North Carolina, unfortunately, is one of the few remaining states that still follows this rule. Under North Carolina Contributory Negligence Doctrine, if you were found to be even 1% at fault in an accident, you may be completely barred from any recovery whatsoever. The policy behind this rule is justified by legislators in that as a plaintiff, you also owe a duty to the other person to exercise reasonable care on your own behalf. This antiquated rule also, allegedly, helps to keep insurance premiums down.

As a Charlotte car accident lawyer who has been involved in multiple car accidents myself, I understand the agony and the pain that a personal injury victim experiences. Aside from the physical injuries, emotional stress, loss of income and exorbitant medical expenses, you also have to deal with restoring your financial well-being, which more often than not proves to be very challenging.

Whether you sustained light, soft-tissue injuries or injuries of catastrophic nature, we are passionate about standing up and fighting for you to get what you rightfully deserve. In fact, even if your injuries were light in nature, you still need to get evaluated by a physician because adrenaline has a tendency to mask injuries.

At Panchenko Law Firm we will use zealous advocacy and unparalleled commitment to walk you through each step of the process and ensure that you get fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Please do not wait, call one of our personal injury attorneys for car accidents today for a free consultation.