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Explanation of NC’s Contributory Negligence Laws


Unfortunately, North Carolina is one of only four states that still follow the law of pure contributory negligence. What this means is that victims who are partially at fault for their injuries, even just 1% at fault, may be barred from obtaining financial compensation. The outdated rule of contributory negligence is commonly used as a means for insurance carriers to escape liability.

The Difference Between Pure Contributory Negligence Law and Comparative Negligence Law

The majority of states follow the law of comparative negligence.  Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, if you are somewhat at fault, your recovery will be reduced but you will still be entitled to monetary compensation. In North Carolina, however, plaintiffs may be barred from any recovery if they were even 1% at fault. The rule regarding contributory negligence is very harsh and it prohibits many deserving individuals and their loved ones from obtaining compensation for their injuries. If the opposing side argues that you were partly responsible for an accident, North Carolina’s contributory negligence law may bar you from collecting compensation. We are familiar with the law of contributory negligence and know that there are certain exceptions that may apply even if you were somewhat at fault.

Last Clear Chance Doctrine Is an Exception to North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Law

The last clear chance doctrine is an exception to the law of contributory negligence. Essentially, this law is concerned with which party had an opportunity to avoid the accident. Even if the victim contributed to the accident, a plaintiff may be allowed to recover under the last clear chance doctrine if the defendant had an opportunity to avoid the accident and the plaintiff did not. Even if the opposing party claims that you were partially at fault, Tien Law Firm may be able to fight the allegations and obtain financial compensation for you.

If the opposing party accuses you of being partially at fault for a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, obtaining financial compensation can be challenging without skilled legal representation.  At Tien Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of auto accident victims and their families. For a free consultation, contact our personal injury attorneys at (888) 920-8180.