Who is to Blame in a Multiple-Vehicle Accident?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “Should I take photographs of the property damage sustained to my car, of the accident scene, or of my visible injuries following an accident?”


When a car accident happens, it can be difficult to determine who is the culprit and who is a blameless victim. This is even more of an issue if the accident involves multiple vehicles. However, in North Carolina, there are certain considerations that can make this task slightly easier.


crash-car-Mecklenburg-Union-Iredell-County-Injury-Lawyer-300x242What is Contributory Negligence?


In the state of North Carolina, there is a system called Contributory Negligence. This is a doctrine that establishes that, if a driver contributes to causing a car accident in any way, they will not receive any type of compensation. One must be careful, since it is easy to be one of those who took part in making the accident happen. If this is somehow proven through confirmed testimonials or evidence, the driver will not have any right to make a claim against the other drivers involved.


Examples of Contributory Negligence


Contributory negligence can occur in a variety of circumstances. In our first case, we encounter a driver who is unfocused and is exceeding the posted speed limit. A second driver goes through a yellow light just as it turns red, despite this not being permitted, and the vehicles crash into each other.


While it was the inattentive driver who went over the speed limit and collided with the second vehicle, the other driver also contributed to the crash, as they had driven past a red signal. Therefore, the court may declare it as contributory negligence, and the second driver will not be able to claim damages from the other.


Another circumstance in which this contributory negligence is applied is when you are traveling in traffic, and the vehicles in front of you abruptly halt. You get hit from behind while you try to stop your car to avoid the vehicle in front of you. You may be deemed a careless driver, and you won’t be able to sue the driver of the vehicle that hit you from behind. In these types of cases, contributory negligence can seem unfair to many people; however, its conditions are still being met.


How to Receive Compensation After a Multi-Vehicle Accident


Due to the strict nature of contributory negligence, it is critical that you understand your rights to compensation in the event of an accident. You must be able to prove that the other driver was fully to blame for the accident in order to obtain compensation following a traffic collision. As a result, in multi-vehicle collisions, you must demonstrate that you were not at fault. Collecting evidence that can assist you to prove your innocence, such as:


  • Police records
  • Photographic evidence
  • Witness statements


Have You Been in a Multi-Vehicle Accident in North Carolina?


Because you may not be able to collect compensation for damages if you are even 1% at blame, it is in your best interests to speak with a personal injury lawyer to assess all aspects of your unique situation for potential legal arguments, especially if someone was severely injured or lost their life in the accident. Here at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we are ready to give you the assistance you require to create a case and attempt to prove your innocence. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video, phone or in-person consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.









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