End the Contributory Negligence Law in N.C.

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North Carolina is one of only four states, out of fifty, who still adheres to the strict doctrine of Contributory Negligence which states that if a plaintiff sues a person under the theory of negligence, the plaintiff will not be able to recover if his injuries were caused by his own negligence, even in the slightest. 

My 23 year old, mentally ill daughter was a pedestrian who was killed by a negligent driver and we were not able to obtain a lawyer who would assist in fair responsibility and compensation due to this doctrine and therefore our family was left with funeral expenses and trying to figure out why her death was just considered an ordinary unfortunate accident even though the driver of the vehicle had a certain percentage of fault which was not able to be addressed. I, as a mother, am left feeling as though my hands are tied in the death of my daughter caused by a negligent driver.

North Carolina is considered one of the most unsafe states in the U.S. for pedestrians. North Carolina is ranked 7th for having the highest fatality rate in the U.S. from January 2017 to June 2017. The contributory negligence law in the state of North Carolina is in dire need of termination. 

Getting rid of this doctrine would help pedestrians who are extremely vulnerable against vehicles in an accident where the driver would have to take the responsibility he caused in the accident. Whereas now, if a pedestrian is hit and injured, or in my daughter’s case, killed, other families would be able to obtain recovery for the full extent of their injury or for the family in the event of death. North Carolina should follow suit with that of its sister state, South Carolina, and use a comparative negligence standard. Under this doctrine, each party’s precise percentage of responsibility will be ascertained in order to determine their liability for the accident. The apportionment of fault is critically important.