Unsurprisingly, pedestrian and bicycle accidents frequently cause catastrophic injuries for the victims. Survivors’ injuries can result in extensive financial loss, including lost wages and stacks of medical bills. Rather than paying fair compensation, many automobile insurance companies rely on inapplicable defenses, including North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. Because insurers are well-versed asking manipulative questions and often record conversations with claimants, you should seek counsel before making any statements. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you recover maximum damages from the insurance company so you can put your life back together.
Crucially, North Carolina has a harsh rule known as “contributory negligence” which precludes your ability to claim damages if you are even 1% at-fault for your injuries. While there are some exceptions to this rule, the insurance company will nevertheless attempt to use this statute against you.
Immediately after an accident, you will likely receive a call from the driver’s insurance company. Frequently, the adjuster will want to obtain a “recorded statement” for his/her “investigation”. Insurers will argue that if you are not walking in a marked cross-walk, or were biking outside a marked lane, you negligently contributed to your own injuries.
However, a common exception to contributory negligence is the “last clear chance” rule. Say, for example, a negligent driver hits a pedestrian crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk. If the driver saw or should have reasonably seen the pedestrian and still failed to stop, he or she is liable. Despite the conduct of the pedestrian or cyclist, the law holds drivers to a higher responsibility.
One final exception is that of age. For certain age groups, North Carolina law provides that contributory negligence will not be a defense.
Although insurers may initially rely upon a false defense, pursuing a claim against insurance companies can be highly effective. Otherwise, you retain the right to have your case heard before a jury, who will determine the defense’s validity. Regardless of how a claim is settled, there are several types of recoverable damages under North Carolina law. Among those damages are: medical and pharmaceutical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, physical and mental pain and suffering, disfigurement, and disability.
Maginnis Howard provides free consultations and case evaluations to all prospective clients involved in North Carolina pedestrian and bicycle accidents. We assist clients throughout North Carolina. If we are able to assist with your case, we offer a contingency fee arrangement. This structure ensures that you pay no attorneys’ fee unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf.
If you or a family member, including a child, have been injured in a bicycle accident, call the attorneys of Maginnis Howard. If you wish to send the written details of your case, please use our contact page. We will travel across North Carolina to discuss your claim.