North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Verdict for Defendant in T-Bone Crash Involving Last Clear Chance Doctrine

One of the most important issues in any car accident case is whether the plaintiff was partly at fault for the accident and his or her injuries. Under North Carolina law, a plaintiff who is deemed 51% or more at fault for the crash is barred from receiving compensation. Because of this, many defendants try to prove that the plaintiff was primarily responsible for the crash as a way to avoid paying compensation. At Maurer Law, our Raleigh car accident lawyers may be able to assist you with protecting your rights and proving that the other party is to blame for your injuries. Contact us today to learn more about your potential right to compensation.

In a recent civil lawsuit, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered whether the plaintiff was partially at fault for her injuries. The plaintiff and defendant were involved in a car accident in Clayton. Plaintiff was approaching the intersection from the north while the defendant was approaching from the west. The plaintiff testified that she saw the defendant traveling at a high rate of speed. There was a stop sign controlling the intersection from the direction that the defendant was approaching, but the defendant did not stop. The plaintiff entered the intersection because she had the right of way, at which point the defendant’s vehicle collided with her vehicle in a T-bone accident. A police report prepared regarding the crash showed that neither party attempted to brake due to the lack of brake marks on the road.

During the trial, the plaintiff moved for a directed verdict on the issue of whether she was contributorily negligent. The court denied the motion on the basis that the jury should be instructed regarding the last clear chance doctrine. This doctrine states that whichever party had the last clear chance to avoid an accident will be held ultimately responsible for the injuries that result.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant based on its conclusion that the plaintiff saw the defendant approaching and had a chance to avoid the crash. The plaintiff’s motions for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and new trial were denied, and the plaintiff appealed.

On review, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s denial of the plaintiff’s post-trial motions. It concluded that there was enough evidence in the record to support the jury’s finding that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. The plaintiff testified that she saw the defendant’s vehicle approaching the intersection and that it was clear to her that his vehicle was not preparing to stop. The plaintiff also failed to brake before entering the intersection. As a result, it also concluded that the lower court properly denied the post-trial motions.

If you were hurt in a car accident, a Raleigh car accident lawyer at Maurer Law might be able to assist you. It is important to investigate your claim thoroughly and to see what evidence the other side may try to use against you. Your lawyer can assist you with the investigation as well as ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the entire process. For a free consultation, call now at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

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