At-Fault Driver Was Not Ticketed In NC Car Accident Claim – It is not necessary for an at-fault driver to be ticketed for an injured party to have a claim against them in civil court. It is not necessary for an at-fault driver to be ticketed for an injured party to have a claim against them in civil court. Traffic citations and even criminal charges for DUI are handled in district court for the most part, and injury cases are civil matters that typically are settled in circuit court due to the extensive amount of damages that are usually involved. However, the potential for punitive damages may not be available in most situations if there is no evidence of gross negligence, which could impact a serious accident case under certain circumstances. Auto accident settlements are focused on negligence and the degree to which a defendant has exhibited that behavior, but defendants do still have a considerable advantage in North Carolina due to the contributory negligence law that bars injured parties from being financially compensated if they are assigned even 1% of personal fault in an auto accident case.
Proving a driver is negligent
The first step in any accident injury claim is connecting the defendant to the incident and establishing that they had a reasonable duty of care to the plaintiff. It is incumbent on the injured plaintiff to prove a defendant was negligent in a North Carolina auto accident. That can be accomplished using several factors, but it begins by establishing the fact that the respondent driver had a reasonable duty of care to other motorists on the road and failed in that responsibility. The problem in North Carolina is that they must be totally at fault even in a two-car accident. Any injured driver with even 1% comparative negligence assessment is barred from financial compensation for their injuries, so total fault is the goal in this situation. Once potential full liability is established, the case will be set for hearing where the details can be submitted.
Potential disadvantages when a negligent driver has not been cited
There is a distinct advantage for an injured claimant when a citation of some sort was filed against an opposing driver because the documentation can help substantiate a claim of full liability. This legal recognition is vital in a North Carolina car accident injury claim. A speeding ticket can be as important as a citation for driving under the influence in some accident cases because a car crash lawyer can still use it to help establish full fault. Additionally, being impaired to any degree can indicate recklessness even when the defendant driver did not register a 0.08% BAC on a breathalyzer or show positive on a blood test if suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, but excessive speed or wanton endangerment could provide the same proof.
Limited potential for punitive damages
Another potential negative outcome for an at-fault driver not being ticketed is being denied punitive damages. Even in a serious injury case where a victim will be affected for the remainder of their life, it is essential for the plaintiff car crash lawyer to prove that the opposing at-fault driver was operating with reckless disregard for human life at the time of the incident. Punitive damages go above and beyond compensatory awards, as they are intended as a form of punishment for the defendant. The problem is that punitive damages are also what typically make seriously injured claimants financially whole after the fact, and plaintiffs can be limited in compensation to the amount of liability insurance carried by the defendant.
Contact our law firm for a full case evaluation
The fact that an opposing at-fault driver did not receive a traffic citation following an accident does not mean there is no financial recovery available. A comprehensive car crash lawyer can still evaluate the case for full compensation given the existing facts and build a solid case for maximum award. The attorney you choose can matter significantly in North Carolina. Call us and let us put our experience to work for you – Call 1-800-ACCIDENT today for a no-cost and no-obligation case review.