North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Verdict for Defendant in Bicycle Accident Involving Contributory Negligence & Intoxication

Bicycle accidents are particularly stressful because of the serious injuries that often result when a vehicle collides with a bicyclist. At Maurer Law, we have provided numerous injury victims with assistance after they have suffered a Raleigh car accident, including individuals who were on a bicycle at the time of the crash. While you focus on your recovery and healing your injuries, we will focus on representing your interests and asserting your rights to the fullest extent. Contact us today to start learning more about your potential right to recovery.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving a bicycle accident. The plaintiff was riding his bike on a road at the same time that the defendant was driving his vehicle after drinking multiple alcoholic beverages. Both parties were traveling in the same direction. There was also a passenger in the defendant’s vehicle. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the defendant struck the plaintiff from behind as he attempted to drive past the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that he did not adjust his path at the time and that he was thrown from his bike as a result of the impact, leading to several serious injuries.

The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant did not stop to render aid to the plaintiff, call law enforcement, or check on him in any way. The defendant was eventually charged with a felony hit and run among other charges. The defendant answered the plaintiff’s complaint and asserted the defense of contributory negligence, which states that the plaintiff also acted negligently at the time of the crash and that this contributed to his or her injuries. North Carolina follows the pure contributory negligence standard which prevents a plaintiff from recovering compensation if the jury concludes that he or she is even 1% at fault. The plaintiff denied the contributory negligence defense.

The jury eventually concluded that the defendant was negligent in causing injury to the plaintiff and that the plaintiff was also negligent at the time of the accident. The jury did not think that the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the crash but concluded that the defendant acted willfully and wantonly in injuring the plaintiff. Because the jury found the plaintiff contributorily negligent, the court entered a judgment denying the plaintiff any damages. The plaintiff eventually appealed.

On review, the court concluded that there was enough evidence to show that the plaintiff was grossly contributorily negligent at the time of the accident. The plaintiff had consumed a number of alcoholic beverages before the accident and an expert witness testified that this can affect one’s ability to operate a bicycle safely.

If you were injured in a car accident in Raleigh, you may be entitled to compensation. Let the dedicated and experienced lawyers at Maurer Law help you understand your options and rights during this stressful time. We will handle all aspects of your case including research, gathering evidence, and making sure that you request the maximum amount of compensation possible. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

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