North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Summary Judgment for Defendant in Pedestrian Accident Case involving Contributory Negligence Defense

Pedestrian accidents usually result in serious or fatal injuries for the victim due to the sheer size and force of most motor vehicles on the road today. If you or someone you love was injured as the result of a careless driver, then you may be entitled to compensation. At Maurer Law, our compassionate team of Charlotte pedestrian accident lawyers are prepared to assist you with all aspects of your claim, including gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and securing the settlement or judgment that you deserve.

The North Carolina Court of Appeal discussed a pedestrian accident in a recent appellate opinion. In the case, the plaintiff left her apartment and began walking to a local shopping center in Goldsboro. The defendant was driving in the northbound lane on her way home from work at roughly 35 miles per hour. The lane on which the defendant was traveling was a five-lane road featuring two lanes on either side, a turn lane, and a paved median. The plaintiff crossed the two southbound lanes of this road and stood on the paved median. There was a vehicle in the turn lane that had stopped to allow the plaintiff to cross.

An SUV in one of the northbound lanes had also come to a stop to allow the plaintiff to stop and traffic was backing up as a result. The plaintiff walked in front of the SUV and peered around it to see if the way was clear, but the SUV driver blew its horn and the plaintiff began running across the road. As she ran across the second northbound lane, the defendant’s vehicle struck the plaintiff.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in operating her vehicle and that she was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendant responded by asserting the affirmative defense of contributory negligence. North Carolina follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which prohibits a plaintiff from recovering any compensation if he or she is found to be even 1% at fault for his or her injuries. The defendant moved for summary judgment and the lower court granted it. The plaintiff appealed on the basis that there were genuine issues of fact regarding whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.

The appellate court reviewed the record and disagreed. It noted portions of North Carolina statutes that require pedestrians crossing a roadway in portions outside a marked crosswalk must yield the right of way to vehicles on the road. It also rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the accident on the basis that the plaintiff failed to show that the defendant had a clear chance to avoid the accident instead of just a possibility of avoiding it.

At Maurer Law, we know how overwhelming a Charlotte pedestrian accident can be for the victim and his or her family. While you are dealing with the stress that it is causing in your life, we will fight to make sure that your rights are being asserted. We provide a free and confidential consultation so that you can learn more about our team and whether you have a viable claim. Call our office today at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

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