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 manipulating North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. Because insurers are well-versed in asking unscrupulous 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 this rule has some exceptions, the insurance company will 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 their “investigation.” Insurers will argue that you negligently contributed to your injuries if you are not walking in a marked crosswalk or biking outside a marked lane.
However, the “last clear chance” rule is a common exception to contributory negligence. For example, a negligent driver hits a pedestrian outside a marked crosswalk. They are liable if the driver saw or should have reasonably seen the pedestrian and still failed to stop. Despite the conduct of the pedestrian or cyclist, the law holds drivers to a higher responsibility.
One final exception is that of age. North Carolina law states contributory negligence will not be a defense for specific age groups.
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 hear your case before a jury, which will determine the defense’s validity. Regardless of how a claim is settled, there are several 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. We offer a contingency fee arrangement if we can help with your case. 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.