July 2013

The Line in the Sand: For your South or North Carolina Auto Accident

July 15, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Someone asked me recently why the insurance company refused to pay for his medical bills when the car accident wasn’t his fault. This is a common theme, particularly in North Carolina where contributory negligence is a complete bar to recovery.  North Carolina is one of four states that still follow this harsh defense that insurance companies use to refuse coverage when you are not at fault.  Most often a police officer will determine who caused an accident when he prepares an accident report.  The police officer will take statements from all parties involved in an accident including any witnesses and determine which driver was at fault. 

The insurance company uses information provided in that report and in some cases a recorded statement from the parties shortly after the accident to find even one thing that the non-fault driver did to contribute to the accident.  In most situations it is an easy practice for insurance companies to find at least one thing the non-fault driver did wrong.

Fortunately for the no-fault driver, the insurance company has to prove that the no-fault driver contributed to the accident using facts and circumstances about the accident before it can deny a claim.  In North Carolina, if the insurance company does prove that the no-fault driver contributes to the accident, that company does not have to the no-fault driver for anything including vehicle damage, medical bills, or lost wages.

In South Carolina, insurance companies are allowed to use a similar defense to deny or at least reduce a recovery from a no-fault driver.  South Carolina allows insurance companies to deny a claim based on how much if any the no-fault driver contributed to the car accident. If a no-fault driver contributed to the accident up to 51% then the no-fault driver can still have that percent of his bills from the accident paid the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Again, the company has to prove that the no-fault driver contributed and that he contributed a certain percentage.  The no-fault driver needs the fault to be at or near 0% to recover for bills caused by the accident.  The at-fault driver’s insurance company needs the no-fault driver’s insurance to be above 50% to bar recovery. If the percentage of fault on the no-fault driver is in that range, then the no-fault driver’s total damages from the accident will be reduced by that percentage.

If you’re at a loss over how to handle your car accident you may need a Charlotte personal injury attorney to handle your case.  If you would like a free case evaluation please give us a call at 877-333-1000.

Head On Collision in Kannapolis Takes Life; One Critical Condition

July 13, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As the two motorists traveled down the two lane Cabarrus County road, the otherwise dark and gloomy day became one that two families won’t forget. According to a witness, one vehicle crossed into the other lane of traffic and hit a motorist head on as he traveled from the opposite direction. While it is still unknown what may have caused the driver to drive onto the wrong side of the road, many people are speculating that it may have been issues of carelessness that we are forced to deal with all too often.

The frightening aspect of being a driver is the likelihood of risks caused by other drivers. While we, as drivers, can certainly do things to reduce our risk of causing an accident, unfortunately, in most situations we are left to chance and the ability to respond quickly to situations by always paying close attention to surroundings.

Some people say the driver may have dropped something and as she was bent down to pick it up between her feet her car veered into incoming traffic. Regardless of speculation, one thing is clear. The slight lapse in judgment comes with consequences for several in Kannapolis and the surrounding Charlotte community. Just like you, we drive these roads every day. We take kids to daycare, drop by the grocery store, and run to the post office. Take it from a North Carolina personal injury attorney, these minor lapses in judgment are not worth the months of heartache and mental anguish that may follow–certainly not worth the devastation that these families are going through. Please continue to keep the family members in your thoughts as they fight what many people say is a never ending uphill battle.

From the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, please–be safe!