You would think that intersection accidents would give us the clearest liability argument…You had the green light, they didn’t, there ya go. But in North Carolina intersection accidents are often the worst when it comes to deciding liablity.
North Carolina has a relic of English Common Law still on the books: Contributory Negligence. What that says, in summary, is that if you’re even 1% at fault in your accident, you can’t get ANYTHING from the person who’s 99% at fault! Here’s a slightly longer summary by a really handsome dude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYUfBv5LM8U. Most other states have Comparative Negligence, so in that above fact pattern you could get 99% of your damages. That’s fair, right? But how does this come up in intersection accidents so much?
Even when you have the right of way, given you so graciously by your green light, you still have a duty to “see before starting” as one statute puts it. You have to make sure no one’s coming into the intersection because if it turns out you just blithely carried on just because you had the green light with no worries about anything, you might be that 1% at fault and then your case is sunk.
The best way to combat this is to be really careful. Even when you have a green light, make sure no one is coming from the other directions. The other way to combat this is to be very careful when giving a statement about how your accident occurs. Remember that adjusters are trained to ask you questions in a way that solicit answers that may be unfavorable to your case. Be careful!
If you’re in an intersection accident, call an attorney. Call me. 919-929-2992.