How to address contributory negligence in your car accident case

A personal injury lawsuit can be an effective means of recovering the compensation you need to offset damages suffered after a car accident. But you bear the burden of proof in this type of case, meaning that the onus is on you to gather and present evidence that shows that the defendant was responsible for your wreck.

That might sound easy enough, but the truth of the matter is that personal injury cases are often fraught with complications. While you might struggle to present sufficient evidence demonstrating causation and the extent of your damages, you might also find yourself defending against allegations of contributory negligence.

What is contributory negligence?

North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that recognizes contributory negligence. Here, you will be denied compensatory recovery if you’re found to be at fault, even to a minimal extent. This can make it hard to win your car accident personal injury case if you’re not careful. So, as you prepare to head into your case, anticipate that contributory negligence will come up and be prepared to effectively counter it.

How can you counter contributory negligence arguments?

Although it can be daunting to face contributory negligence arguments, there are some strategies that you can utilize to protect your interests. This includes doing the following:

  • Analyzing your driving behavior: Since the defense is going to draw your driving behaviors into question, you need to anticipate which facts they’re going to try to use to their advantage. So, before heading into your case, think through the events leading up to your wreck. That way you know where you’ll face difficulty and how you need to counter problematic facts.
  • Rely on expert testimony: Some car accidents are so complicated that it’s hard to figure out how they were caused. That’s why some of these cases end up going to trial. You can secure an expert to help you cut through the uncertainty here. For example, an accident reconstruction expert can assess the evidence at hand, including vehicle resting positions and tire marks, to determine who is to blame for the accident. The written report that this expert generates can be powerful evidence in your case.
  • Address issues with witness reliability: The defense is going to rely on its witnesses’ testimony to try to paint you as someone who contributed to the accident in question. You might be able to diminish the power of this evidence, though, by attacking witness credibility. There may be several ways to do this, too, such as by deposing those witnesses to draw out inconsistent statements that you can point out at trial, or by showing that the witness is motivated to testify against you for some reason. By discrediting these witnesses, you can increase your chances of winning your case.
Do what you can to protect your personal injury case

There’s a lot that goes into building an effective personal injury case. While you’ll need to aggressively collect and present evidence that seeks to impose liability on the defendant, you also need to be prepared to defend your own driving actions. If you don’t adequately prepare your claim, then you could put your recovery at risk. That’s an outcome you want to avoid.

We understand that building your personal injury case can be stressful, especially knowing that you could be denied everything if your case is as strong as possible. But you can find support for building your case. So, if you want assistance with your claim, then please research the personal injury lawsuit process more fully and find answers to any lingering questions that you might have.

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