Why Fault Is Not Always Cut and Dry in a Car Accident

Car Accident| Mike Lewis Attorneys

Partial Liability

BUT HE RAN A RED LIGHT!” my client roared when I told her the insurance company was denying her claim.  I watched as she sat in front of me totally flabbergasted.  I could see her wheels turning as she came to grips with the fact that her medical bills and lost wages might not get paid.  “I know, I’m sorry.”  I murmured.  Sometimes this job is rough.  Some people know that in North Carolina we still have the contributory negligence rule – which says if your actions contribute to the car accident even the tiniest bit your claim will be denied – but many don’t.  And even fewer people realize that they could be considered at fault when they are hit by someone running a red light.  Of all the crash scenarios, that one seems pretty clear cut. But it’s not.

Stay Alert While Driving

North Carolina law puts an obligation on drivers to check the intersection to be sure it’s clear before proceeding through a red light.  This comes up most often when a driver is the first one through a light that has freshly turned green.  So now, in addition to actually having to watch the light to see when it turns green –I’m talking to you Instagramers checking your feed while sitting at a red light! – you also need to take a second to really look both ways and make sure someone isn’t speeding through the intersection before you actually move through the light.  Even if you didn’t cause the accident, your claim could still be diminished if you were driving while distracted. Don’t get caught in a denied claim.  Make sure you check the intersection before proceeding through it.  In the event you DO get hit by a person running a red light, please do not give a statement to the insurance company until you’ve talked to one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

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