North Carolina Car Accident Laws 2024 – All You Need to Know

North Carolina Car Accident Laws 2024 – All You Need to Know

Feb 08, 2023 | Car Accidents

Car accidents happen every day for a variety of reasons. Whenever these incidents occur, the drivers must understand their rights and responsibilities when assigning fault for the accident and compensating the victim’s losses. Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, routinely assist car accident victims with their recovery efforts, and our firm seeks to provide the most pertinent information to our clients and potential clients throughout the state, so they know what to expect after an accident occurs.

North Carolina’s Fault Rule for Car Accidents

The state upholds the fault rule for resolving car accidents. This means that whichever driver is responsible for causing an accident absorbs liability for all resulting damages. A few of the most commonly reported causes of car accidents in the state include:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI). This is illegal and will lead to criminal charges against the at-fault driver, with higher penalties than a standard DWI charge for causing injury to another driver.
  • Speeding. This not only increases the chances of accidents happening but also the severity of damages resulting from an accident. As a result, speeding is a major contributing factor to the number of fatal accidents each year.
  • Distracted driving. This is the top-reported cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Even momentary inattention behind the wheel is enough to cause a serious crash resulting in tremendous damage to those involved.

The first step in recovering from a car accident in California is proving the exact cause and identifying the party responsible for causing it. The state upholds the contributory negligence law, so the victim may not recover any damages from the other driver if they share partial liability for causing the accident.

Auto Insurance Laws in North Carolina

All drivers in the state must have auto insurance, and filing a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance policy is a necessary first step for any driver to recover from a car accident someone else caused. An auto insurance policy must provide three forms of coverage:

  1. Bodily injury liability coverage for a single person. A driver’s policy must include at least $30,000 in this coverage.
  2. Bodily injury liability coverage for all persons injured in a single accident. At a minimum, an auto insurance policy must include at least $60,000 of this coverage type.
  3. Property damage liability coverage. This pays for vehicle repair costs and other property losses the policyholder causes. The minimum requirement in the state is $25,000.

Drivers also have the option of purchasing additional types of coverage. The aforementioned three types of required coverage will pay for damages the policyholder inflicts on another motorist in an accident they caused. It is strongly recommended that all drivers also purchase underinsured/uninsured driver coverage. If an uninsured driver causes an accident with you, this coverage type allows you to file a claim against your own policy.

Hiring legal counsel that you can trust after an accident will significantly increase your chances of maximizing your recovery to the fullest extent possible under state law. Once you have proven fault for your accident, you can proceed with an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. If this is not enough to fully compensate you for your damages, you can proceed with a personal injury claim to recover the remaining damages.


Q: Can I File a Civil Suit for a Car Accident in North Carolina?

A: If another driver caused an accident and injured you, filing a claim against their auto insurance is generally your first option for recovering your losses. However, if they do not have auto insurance, or if your damages exceed the scope of the coverage their policy includes, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover your remaining damages.

Q: What Is the North Carolina Fender Bender Law?

A: If you are involved in a minor car accident that does not result in any injuries and only causes vehicle damage, state law requires you and the other driver to move your vehicles to the side of the road out of the path of nearby traffic. Failure to do so can lead to a fine and court fees. However, if there is any discrepancy concerning fault for the accident, you should take a few moments to take photos of the positions of the vehicles immediately after the crash before moving them.

Q: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Car Insurance Claim?

A: You can legally file an insurance claim after a car accident without an attorney’s assistance, but having legal counsel advise you will make it easier to maximize your settlement. Once an insurance company notices that a claimant has legal representation, they will be more inclined to process the claim in good faith and less likely to attempt any bad-faith handling.

Q: Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident I Partially Caused?

A: The state upholds the pure comparative negligence rule, meaning that if you share fault for causing an accident, you cannot seek compensation from the other driver. To succeed with any personal injury claim, the plaintiff must identify the party responsible for causing the accident and then prove the at-fault party is fully liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, even slight shared fault negates the plaintiff’s right to seek compensation from the defendant.

Q: How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

A: If you recover as much as you can through an auto insurance claim but still have outstanding damages, you can file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your accident. The total value of your claim depends on the scope of the damages they caused. For example, you can seek compensation for immediate and future medical expenses, lost income, lost future earning power, vehicle repair costs not covered by insurance, and your pain and suffering.

The attorneys at Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, have years of experience helping North Carolina clients recover from car accidents and other personal injuries. If you believe another party is liable for the damages you recently suffered from a car accident, we can help you determine your options for legal recourse. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn more about the legal services we offer.