The regions of Raleigh and Charlotte have been some of the fastest growing regions in the country. This growth has had a negative effect on traffic congestion on area roadways, resulting in more accidents in the 9th most populous state in the union. If you are involved in an accident follow the advice here to ensure your compliance with local laws and protect your financial security.
After an Accident Actions
If anyone is injured or killed or more than $1000 damage was caused as a result of an accident it must be reported to authorities. Also if you were directly involved in an accident you must not leave the scene or face possible felony charges, especially if someone was injured.
Check yourself before helping others. Do not move injured people, unless needed to avoid other more serious dangers like a burning vehicle or in flow of traffic. Otherwise call for emergency services and attempt to provide medical aid or assistance to those injured.
If injuries are minor, make sure to move vehicles from the flow of traffic if possible and conduct an information exchange. This information should include contact information, insurance policy, license plates and number as well as particulars of the accident. If you can take pictures of the scene should be done as well.
Many drivers may be aware of the terms of comparative fault with a pure or modified term applied referring to how damage awards are given to victims in an accident and how to award damages. Most modified comparative fault systems follow a 50 or 51% rule that states if you are over that threshold you are not eligible for awards. Whereas pure comparative fault allows anyone with less than 100% fault to make a claim to receive damages.
However, North Carolina is one of those very few states that have a system that follows a “contributory negligence” system that states anyone at “fault” is not subject to receive damage awards for an accident. This means if you are in an accident in North Carolina and are labelled as “at fault” no matter how small the percentage, you will not be able to recover any expenses.
These contributory negligence issues can be a number of issues. Essentially as a driver or pedestrian you have an obligation for self-awareness and trying not to do something that would contribute to an accident. Such as making erratic driving decisions or walking out into traffic as a pedestrian or even speeding. These can all contribute to the cause of an accident and you would be ineligible for damage awards in North Carolina. This type of fault system is used in very few states.
In North Carolina the NCDOT and the Insurance companies use two different systems that you should be aware of. The insurers of the state are allowed to raise your rates by as much as 30% if you are convicted of certain moving violations and receive as little as 1 point in that system. However it is entirely separate from the administration moving violation demerit point system the DOT uses.
If you receive traffic violation tickets you also receive demerit points against your driving record in addition to the insurance companies, the DOT can suspend or revoke your license if too many are received. If you receive more than 12 in a period of 3 years you will receive a license suspension and the next 3 years if you receive only 8 demerit points you can receive a harsher suspension. The harsher of these two systems is by far the monetary penalties of the insurance premium increases you will suffer by receiving moving violations.
Driving While Impaired
The DWI legislation in North Carolina covers all impairment and is up to the arresting officer to decide if you are in fact impaired besides chemical tests used for alcohol impairment. Standard impairment thresholds are used in the state, including the national limit of 0.8% for adults.
However if you are “provably” impaired by drugs, medications or other substances you may also be charged under the same DWI. North Carolina has both Court awarded and Administrative penalties. Administrative penalties can affect a license suspension just for a DWI charge, including implied consent but is usually levelled for convictions.
Penalties include community service, jail time, monetary fines, specialty driver’s education courses and of course license suspensions that get longer the more offenses you have or if there are aggravating circumstances. North Carolina uses Tiers to decide the level of penalties from 1 to 5.
If you are involved in an accident, demerit point traffic violation or a DWI your best option is to hire a car accident attorney to ensure your best outcome.