There were many events that got people’s attention during 2020, but one trend in traffic incidents has come to light only after looking in the rearview mirror. A recent report from the National Safety Council (NSC) revealed that even though fewer drivers were on the road, motor vehicle deaths rose by 8% last year, with an estimated 42,060 casualties.
When factored against the vehicle miles travelled (VMT), however, the rate skyrocketed to 24%, which is the highest level the NSC has ever recorded. According to experts, the cause of this spike has to do with how people tend to drive these days.
Risky driving behaviors in the form of impaired or distracted driving, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, or driving aggressively contributed to the sharp increase in fatalities. The report also showed that drivers speeding over 80 miles per hour increased throughout 2020.
Proving negligence in North Carolina
North Carolina follows the legal theory of contributory negligence, in which the plaintiff may not recover damages, regardless of the extent of their injuries, if they were at fault for the accident by even a small percentage.
Because these cases can sometimes be difficult to prove without all the facts, it is important for the plaintiff to have a skilled legal team that will investigate the scene of the accident, examine police reports, get eyewitness accounts and obtain medical records of the victim in order to assess the extent of the injuries.
In order to prove that negligence was the cause of an accident, the prosecution must show:
- That the defendant owed a duty of care to other drivers
- That they breached this duty
- That the breach of duty was the cause of injury to the plaintiff
- That the plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result
The plaintiff can seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. North Carolina law also allows the injured party to seek punitive damages. When pursuing a claim for damages in a car accident, however, residents of Charlotte and surrounding areas should make sure to act quickly after the accident, and explore all options first before settling with insurance.