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Accident Attorneys In North Carolina

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The Personal Injury & Litigation Team – McIntosh Law Firm

209 Delburg Street
Suite 203
Davidson, North Carolina 28036


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Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm

300 Pettigru St
Greenville, South Carolina 29601


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North Carolina Motor Vehicle Accident Laws and Safety Requirements

Although North Carolina suffers more traffic deaths each year than far more populous New York, it still ranks above average nationwide in terms of road safety. The state’s personal injury and wrongful death laws allow victims to obtain redress for their losses; however, certain legal pitfalls exist that could trip up unwary litigants.

Statute of Limitations: In North Carolina, the clock starts running on the date of a traffic accident, ticking towards the three-year deadline to file a lawsuit over personal injury or property damage. If you plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit, although the clock doesn’t begin running until the day the victim dies, you only have two years after that to file a lawsuit.

When the Victim is Partly at Fault: When the victim is partly at fault for the accident, North Carolina applies the harsh contributory negligence system – the victim will recover nothing if he is even one percent to blame for the accident. Few other states have adopted this rule.

Fault/No Fault Rule: North Carolina is a “fault” auto insurance state – you may immediately pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy or file a lawsuit against the other driver.

Minimum Insurance Coverage: North Carolina drivers must carry liability insurance that covers at least $30,000 per injured victim, $60,000 per injury accident and $25,000 in property damage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Drivers are required to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Minimum coverage limits are 30/60/25 (per injury/per injury accident/property damage) for uninsured drivers and 30/60 (per injury/per injury accident) for underinsured drivers.

Types of Damages Available: Full compensatory damages are available, although non-economic damages are limited in claims involving medical malpractice. Punitive damages require clear and convincing evidence of malice or outrageous conduct, and the amount is capped at triple the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

Product Liability for Defective Vehicles: No-fault product liability is not available, and a plaintiff can be completely barred from recovery under the defendant-friendly contributory negligence doctrine.

Suing the Government over Defective Roadways (Sovereign Immunity): A cap of $1,000,000 in damages applies to lawsuits for money damages against a state or local government.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws: All motorcycle riders must wear helmets on North Carolina roads.

Seat Belt Laws: Occupants 16 or older must buckle up. The offense is secondary for back-seat occupants (the officer must stop you for a separate infraction first). The maximum first-offense fine for a front-seat violation is $161 including court costs, while the maximum first-offense fine for a back-seat violation is only $10.

Dram Shop Law: North Carolina alcohol vendors are liable for injuries to third parties caused by serving alcohol to underage patrons. They face limited liability for serving visibly intoxicated adults. Social hosts face limited liability for serving either underage drinkers or visibly intoxicated adults.

DUI/DWI Penalties (first offense): First-offense DUI offenders face a minimum of 24 hours in jail, a $200 fine and a driver’s license suspension of 60 days to one year.

Distracted Driving (texting while driving, etc.): Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina. On-duty school bus drivers and drivers under 18 may not use cell phones while driving, even if they are not hand-held.