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Law of Negligence

Laws of Negligence in North Carolina

How Negligence Applies to Your Durham Personal Injury Claim

Millions of Americans travel by car and other types of motor vehicles every day. As a result, countless accidents occur on our highways and roads. If you’ve suffered severe bodily injury because of a motor vehicle accident, it is very likely that the law of negligence will be a critical part of your personal injury claim.

While negligence is the basis for most personal injury actions, it is possibly the most misunderstood or misconstrued legal theory. As a result of how popular the law of negligence is, you should not be surprised by how much misinformation exists. Under North Carolina law, a driver has duty or obligation to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonable manner at all times. A driver must take into consideration factors such as speed, traffic, weather, and visibility. In many instances, if a driver violates a traffic or driving law, that person will be considered to have breached their duty of care to other drivers if he or she causes an accident. Put simply, this is a form of negligence.

Need help with your car accident claim? Contact our Durham personal injury lawyers at (919) 887-7892 for a free, confidential consultation.

Negligence Defined

Essentially, a person is negligent when he or she has behaved or acted in a careless and thoughtless manner and, as a result, causes harm or injury to another. While this may seem very straightforward, it’s important to understand that proving that all of your damages were caused by the accident can be very difficult.

In order for you to be able to prove the at-fault driver was negligent, you must show that:

  • The at-fault party had a duty to act with reasonable care (duty)
  • That the at-fault driver failed to act carefully (breach of duty)
  • That the at-fault party’s actions caused your injuries (causation)
  • That you actually suffered loss or injury (damages)

Important note: Duty of care and breach of duty are often grouped together because they are similar, as are the last two elements of causation and damages.

Duty of Care

“Duty of care” is a legal term that refers to the responsibility one person has to avoid causing harm to another. It is a type of social contract, which includes the implicit responsibilities held by individuals towards others within society. In most cases, every person has at least some duty of care toward others. When a person engages in an activity, he or she is under a legal duty to act as a reasonable, ordinary, and prudent person in the same or similar circumstances, often known as the “standard of care” or the “reasonable person standard.” Everyone must take reasonable care to avoid injury to others.

Basic Standard of Care – The Reasonable Person

Again, an at-fault driver’s conduct is measured against that of a reasonable, ordinary, prudent person. The “reasonable person” standard is measured objectively in that it does not take into consideration the emotional state, opinions, or status of the at-fault party. In other words, the at-fault party is deemed to have knowledge of things known by the average member of society and expected to act as one would under similar circumstances.

Important note: In North Carolina, children are not held to the same standard of care for negligence as adults. North Carolina follows the “Rule of Sevens.”

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Our top priority is to devise customized legal strategies that are tailored to the unique legal needs of our clients, no matter how simple or complicated their situations, might be.

  • $1,900,000 Wrongful Death

    The at-fault driver failed to reduce speed and collided with our client's vehicle. Our client passed away shortly after the collision.

  • $900,000 Wrongful Death

    Our client was thrown from his motorcycle and was pronounced deceased on the scene.

  • $122,000 Car Accident

    Vehicle made a left-hand turn, failing to yield the right of way.

  • $104,000 Serious Injuries

    Client was a passenger in a vehicle that was driving through an intersection when another vehicle ran a stop sign and t-boned the vehicle our client was in.

  • $104,000 Severe Injury

    We were able to not only receive policy limits for our client but were able to negotiate her medical bills and liens to ensure that she was able to keep a good portion of the settlement.

  • $102,000 Serious Injuries

    Elderly client was a passenger in a vehicle that was t-boned in an intersection where a driver failed to yield the right of way.