Fault plays a big role in whose insurance pays for a crash and who has financial liability for additional expenses and losses. When you know for sure that another driver is the one responsible for a serious motor vehicle crash, you might assume that they will be financially liable for your losses regardless of any other factors.
However, North Carolina, like many other states, recognizes the idea of contributory negligence or fault. In other words, while one driver may be obviously responsible for the crash, the other may have played a role in its severity or the impact that it had on the parties involved.
Not wearing a safety belt while driving is one situation in which you may have contributory negligence for the injuries that you suffer in a serious crash caused by someone else.
Contributory negligence can negate your right to compensation
If you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, it’s possible that the severity and extent of your injuries largely relate to the lack of proper restraints, especially if you wound up thrown from the vehicle.
You can still bring a claim against the other driver and allow the courts to review the situation. It is the responsibility of the other party to provide evidence if they want to assert that your actions contributed to the crash or its consequences. If they are successful in convincing the courts of your contributions, however, that could mean that you no longer have the right to pursue compensation.
Discussing the specifics of your situation, including what concerns you have about contributory negligence and the extent of the crash’s impact on your life, with a lawyer can help you better determine what step to take next.