In North Carolina, as in most states, all drivers have a certain “duty of care”. This duty means you are to drive with the safety of yourself, all other vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians at the forefront of your actions. You must show prudence and forethought when driving to avoid accidents. Meaning you cannot drive distracted, under the influence, or aggressively. You must maintain your vehicle correctly to avoid an accident due to any equipment failure. If the cause of your accident was a driver that violated any of these requirements, McIver Law is here to help you prove your case. Our car accident lawyer in Winston-Salem knows exactly what to look for to determine and prove who is at fault and how to get maximum compensation for damages.
North Carolina Rules and Regulations
The NC General Statutes Section 20 has 403 Articles and Statutes regarding Motor Vehicle rules and regulations. They cover almost every situation but can be very confusing for most people. The law in all accident cases is a strict contributory negligence rule. The law stipulates that the injured can only recover damages if he has no fault in the accident. The accused must be 100% responsible for the accident. There must be evidence of careless behavior to prove negligence. There are numerous ways in which the other driver can be negligent.
Examples of Negligence
Distracted Driving is now the number one cause of auto accidents across the county. NC joins many other states in the US as a “primary law” state. That means the police can stop you just for seeing you texting while driving without any other infraction.
There are many causes of distracted driving, here a some of the most common:
- Texting, or viewing any electronic device while operating a vehicle
- Personal grooming: applying makeup, fixing hair, or checking appearance
- Focusing on the passenger or children in the car; engaging in conversation, discipline, or altercation
- Looking at GPS or a map on a cell phone or car information center
- Focusing on eating or drinking
- Focusing on adjusting the car entertainment center
- Distracted by thoughts or ideas unrelated to driving
- Falling asleep
Reckless Driving is more intentional and easier to prove.
- Speeding – Accident graphs have always listed speeding at the top of the category for fatalities. It is hard to react correctly and stop on time when exceeding the posted speed limit.
- Aggressive Driving – All drivers are to show concern for others on the road. Swerving, tailgating, passing on solid yellow lines, and failing to use turn signals for lane changes are inconsiderate, illegal, and dangerous.
- Road Rage – Some drivers exhibit extreme anger at minor incidents on the road. When this happens, they can become very dangerous. They may be overly aggressive, chasing the driver with their vehicle, blaring the horn, or showing weapons.
Driving With an Able Body and Sound Mind requires that all drivers are in an appropriate physical and emotional condition for operating a vehicle.
- Driving Under the Influence – The dangers of driving after drinking alcohol or on drugs are well documented. Drivers get reckless, disregard speed limits and road signs, or pass out.
- Driving against physician’s orders – People disregard their doctor’s orders against operating a vehicle for various reasons. These may be due to health, an injury, or vision. To violate these orders can be dangerous.
- Elderly driving past their capabilities – Drivers over age 66 in NC must renew their license every five years. They must pass the vision test or have a statement from an eye doctor. Unfortunately, it is difficult for some elderly to give up their driving privileges when they can no longer meet these requirements. When they continue to drive, it can be hazardous.
Maintaining a Valid Driver’s License is a requirement in Winston-Salem, NC. The reasons a driver may not have an active driver’s license are varied, but driving without one for any reason is illegal.
- Never had a driver’s license – Some people drive without obtaining a license. This infraction has included children under the age of 15.
- Suspended license – The driver may have already had a driving incident charge that resulted in a suspension of their license.
- Revoked license – The driver’s license may be inactive due to multiple traffic infractions.
- Lost or stolen license – The driver will still be charged for driving without a valid license.
What Damages Can an Injured Driver Recover?
When one of these examples of negligence occurs, damages are recoverable. The types are:
- Economic Damages are actual monetary costs, including medical expenses, property damages, and wages lost due to your injuries.
- Non-Economic Damages are not actual out-of-pocket costs, but personal losses assigned an estimated monetary value. These include loss of enjoyment of life, loss of limb, and pain and suffering.
- Punitive Damages are only awarded if the other driver was obviously malicious. It may be due to a combination of one or more examples of negligence. Driving under the influence frequently leads to speeding and reckless driving. An attempt to evade arrest resulting in a wreck is malicious. There is little another driver on the road can do to avoid a collision in a situation like that.
How McIver Law Can Help You
The team at McIver Law will put extensive time and effort into winning your case if we take it. Our Accident Recreation Specialist will go to the accident scene to search for any clues or signs. Tire marks, car parts, or anything else can give us information. We will take your official statement, interview witnesses, review police reports, and obtain any photos and videos available. The sooner we can start on your case, the better. If we can record your official statement before you speak to the other insurance carrier, we can help fine-tune your recollection. Then we will assemble your case and present our findings to the opposing counsel. If negotiations are an option, we will assist you in those discussions. We will represent you in a Winston-Salem courthouse if you are not satisfied with the settlement they offer.