James K. Minick

James K. Minick

Negligence is the legal standard by which liability is determined for personal injury cases. Negligence is generally defined as one party failing to exercise reasonable or due care to an injured person. When a person is hurt or injured by another, the legal system will look to determine the negligence of a party in order to assess damages. Since most legal action revolves around an injury, physical or otherwise, determining negligence is a vital part of the legal process.

Standards of Negligence

Although there are a variety of negligence standards that are present throughout the country, North Carolina conforms to what is considered one of the most archaic – contributory negligence. Under contributory negligence, a person may not collect for their injuries if they are found to be even 1% negligent. At first glance, this appears to be a very extreme standard by which to hold victims of injuries. However, a few notable exceptions exist that help lessen the extremity of contributory negligence.

Exceptions to Contributory Negligence

One of the largest exceptions to contributory negligence is the Last Clear Chance Doctrine. The Last Clear Chance Doctrine states that even if a victim is contributorily negligent, as long as the other party had the last clear chance to avoid causing the injury and didn’t, the victim can recover for their injuries. One example of this is where a pedestrian is hit by a car while jaywalking, even though the car saw the pedestrian with ample amount of time to stop. Although the pedestrian was jaywalking, the driver of the car had time to stop and the superior ability to avoid the accident through the use of brakes or swerving out of the way. Other examples are willful and wonton negligence, contributory negligence by minors, or the Good Samaritan Doctrine (attempting to rescue another in a good faith manner).


If a person has been injured by another person’s negligence, the injured party is entitled to recover damages from the injuring party. The majority damages focus on restoring the injured party to the state they were prior to the accident. This is called compensatory damage. Compensatory damage covers medical bills, property damage, or future earnings. In certain situations, an injured party can also recover punitive damages. These damages are awarded in situations where the courts decide to punish the injurying party above and beyond the required amount of compensatory damages.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, you should consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who is capable in resolving your case as quickly and efficiently as possible in a manner that will compensate you for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. to schedule a free consultation about your personal injury claim.

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