For obvious reasons, motor vehicle collisions involving a pedestrian have a higher tendency to cause catastrophic injuries and death. Rather than paying fair compensation, many automobile insurance companies resort to reliance on inapplicable defenses, including North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. Because these insurance companies are experienced in asking manipulative questions and often record conversations with claimants, you should discuss your case with an attorney before ever speaking with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule provides that if a person’s own negligent conduct contributed to his or her injuries, he or she is not entitled to recover damages unless an exception applies. Many insurance companies will argue that if you are not walking in a marked cross-walk, you negligently contributed to your own injuries. Fortunately, the most common exception to contributory negligence, the last clear chance rule, is most frequently applied in pedestrian knockdown cases.
If a pedestrian is crossing the street, even outside of a marked crosswalk, but a driver saw or should have saw the pedestrian, but fails to stop anyway, the driver may still be held responsible. Essentially, if the driver has the last clear chance to avoid a pedestrian knockdown but fails to take it, he or she is liable despite any conduct of the pedestrian.
It is also important to know that the laws for children differ from those of adults. For certain age groups, North Carolina law provides that contributory negligence will not be a defense. For other age groups, it may be easier to overcome.
If you or a loved one has been hit by an automobile while walking or riding a bicycle, our personal injury lawyers can help you recover the money damages that you are owed under North Carolina law. In injury cases, this involves damages for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, disability, disfigurement, and physical and mental pain and suffering. In cases where the negligent driver has tragically killed a loved one, we can help you through the process of having an administrator appointed and presenting a wrongful death claim.
To request a free consultation with Maginnis Howard, call our firm at 919.480.8526 or send a confidential email using our contact page. We represents injured pedestrians against insurance companies throughout the state of North Carolina and do so on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay no attorneys’ fees unless we make a recovery on your behalf. We will travel across North Carolina to meet with you and discuss your case.