Some truck accidents can result in a serious combination of property damage and injuries to the drivers or passengers involved. Before filing a lawsuit after a truck collision, it is important to get an overview of how North Carolina’s negligence laws may affect the outcome of a civil lawsuit and speak with an attorney who practices in this field. 

The incident occurred on U.S. Highway 70 south of Durham near the town of Princeton, North Carolina. 

Two trucks collide at an intersection and cause injuries and property damage

North Carolina’s Highway Patrol believes that accident happened when a pickup truck ran through a stop sign and made contact with a tow truck going through the intersection. After the initial impact, the pickup truck went off the road and into a ditch. The driver was ejected from his seat and onto the ground nearby. He was taken to the WakeMed center to be treated for serious injuries.  

The tow truck involved in the crash went into a spin until it collided with a nearby retail space. The truck took out a wall of the J.A. Distributors gift shop, but the driver did not sustain any injuries. The State Highway Patrol inspected the building and found it to be unsafe and not suitable for use following the crash. 

An employee who was supposed to open the gift shop that morning was running late, so the building was unoccupied when the crash happened. 

Determining fault under North Carolina law

Most accidents that involve motor vehicle crashes are filed as negligence cases by civil attorneys who focus on personal injury and related areas of the law. Every state in the U.S. has negligence laws that are similar, but differences in state law can be crucial in certain accidents. They can affect a victim’s ability to collect money depending on their level of fault in the accident. 

Contributory negligence

North Carolina follows a fairly unforgiving form of the negligence law that has been abandoned in most other states. This doctrine is called contributory negligence.

Under the rules of contributory negligence, if a plaintiff is found to be even slightly at fault for an accident, they cannot collect any money from the defendant at all. However, the burden of proof to show partial fault by the plaintiff falls upon the defendant. Meeting this burden may not always be easy depending on the facts of each specific case.    

In many other states, this set of rules has been replaced with a doctrine called comparative negligence that allows fault to be divided between everyone involved in an accident, and partial fault only results in a reduction of a damage award. 

Collecting business losses

In a situation like the news story above, the damaged business will probably want to try to recover some of their losses through a lawsuit or insurance claims. The retail store can file a case against the tow trucking company or the other driver. 

Contact a truck accident attorney in the Durham area

If you have been injured or experienced property damage because of the actions of a truck driver, there is help available from lawyers who work in this practice area. You can use the listings on USAttorneys.com to find a seasoned legal professional who matches your needs.