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Negligence may form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit

Perhaps you were injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. Or, maybe you slipped on a wet floor in a grocery store, causing an injury. Or, perhaps your doctor made a misdiagnosis leading to a worsened condition. In any of these cases, a person's injuries -- and the costs associated with these injuries -- can be significant. When that happens, a person in North Carolina may choose to pursue a personal injury case based on negligence.

In general, the following elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence in a negligence lawsuit. First, it must be shown that the plaintiff was owed a duty of care by the defendant. Then, it must be shown that the defendant breached their duty of care. The breach must have been the cause of the plaintiff's injuries, that is, but for the breach, the plaintiff would not have been injured. The defendant's breach must also be the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries. This means that the defendant should have known that the acts they committed could have the potential to cause others to be injured. Finally, there must be actual damages, such as medical expenses or loss of income.

It is important to keep in mind that North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. This means that if the plaintiff was even partially at fault, they may not be awarded damages. Most other states are comparable negligence states, wherein the plaintiff's recovery will be reduced by the percentage the plaintiff is at fault.

This post provides a basic overview of the laws of negligence. However, every person's case is based on a unique set of facts. Thus, when it comes to applying the laws to the facts of one's case, results may vary. Therefore, those who are interested in learning more about their rights under North Carolina's negligence laws may want to seek professional legal guidance.

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