North Carolina Car Accident Laws – Complete State Guide


Margot Lester

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, the Tar Heel State has the fifth-highest number of car accidents in 2022. If you’re a part of the statistic and require legal representation, make sure you know the laws in your state. North Carolina car accident laws help you navigate the legal process so you can:

  • Determine liability
  • Identify the economic damages you may qualify for
  • Understand how car insurance is handled

If you’re involved in a car accident, you should focus on getting better and getting back on the road ― not worrying about the claims process. Consulting a North Carolina auto accident attorney — even if you have insurance — is the best way to make sure you get the settlement you deserve.

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How to Report a Car Accident in North Carolina

After a wreck, you should stop in a safe place. Move your vehicle to avoid additional damage, keep yourself safe, and allow traffic to get past. Then call 9-1-1 or the local police, especially if anyone was injured or in a hit-and-run accident.

Helpful Hint: The rules are different if your wreck involved a commercial vehicle like a semi truck.

What Information to Record at the Scene of a Crash

The North Carolina Department of Insurance recommends gathering this information at the scene:

  • The other driver’s name, address, phone number
  • License plate state and number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Names and contact information for any witnesses.

Use your phone to take photos of documents and plates to capture information accurately, and don’t agree to forget about the accident. You may have bodily injuries or auto damage you aren’t aware of at the moment — or discover that the other driver has filed a lawsuit against you. Say as little as possible when exchanging information to avoid incriminating yourself. Keep the conversation brief and cordial.

What to Know About Insurance Laws

We collected answers to frequently asked questions about auto insurance laws in North Carolina.

Is North Carolina a No-Fault State?

No. Under North Carolina car accident law, an accident is at-fault when it’s caused by a driver’s negligence. This means the at-fault driver (or more likely their insurance company) may be required to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other compensation. The insurance adjuster determines who is negligent or at-fault. Make sure to have an attorney at your side to convince the court and your adjuster of your liability.

Is North Carolina a PIP State?

No. Drivers in North Carolina are not required to carry personal injury protection.

What Are the North Carolina Contributory Negligence Laws?

According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance:

“North Carolina Contributory Negligence Law bars a driver from collecting damages if determined to be partially at-fault. In essence, if you contribute to an accident, you may not be able to collect on a liability claim. Any disagreement over negligence may ultimately have to be resolved in a court of law.”

-NC Department of Insurance

Contact an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to find out if contributory negligence applies to your case.

Types of Damages After a Car Accident in North Carolina

Different types of compensation may occur during your North Carolina car accident lawsuit.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are monetary, measurable losses related to the accident.

Bodily injury claims can include:

  • Past and future hospital bills
  • Laboratory fees
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering directly resulting from the accident

[su_box title=”Helpful Hint” radius=”10″ id=”Car Accident Statute of Limitations”]If you have medical payments coverage, you may get some compensation for medical bills, regardless of fault.[/su_box]

Learn more about bodily injury payouts.

Economic damages may also come in the form of:

  • Vehicle repairs and maintenance costs
  • Loss of employment, income or wages
  • Loss of use of property

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are non-measurable losses from a car crash that are hard to quantify, including:

Helpful Hint: Contact an auto accident attorney to make sure the appropriate non-economic damages apply to your case.

Limits on Damages in North Carolina Car Accident Laws

North Carolina’s General Statutes don’t cover the determination or calculation of any amount owed for pain and suffering. Reach out to an auto accident attorney in the Tar Heel state if you and the insurance company don’t agree on the dollar amount of your pain and suffering claim.

Statute of Limitations in North Carolina

North Carolina General Statute § 1-52(16) requires personal injury lawsuits to be filed within three years of the accident. The three-year time limit starts with the accident date or the date you “became aware or should have become aware” that you have a case.

Learn more about state statutes of limitation for car accidents.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

“Tolling” is when the statute of limitations stops for any reason. The most common is because one or more of the people involved was a minor at the time of the accident. If your statute of limitations is tolled, the deadline for filing a claim could be later than you think. Make sure to ask your claims agent or lawyer if tolling applies to your case.

How to Connect with a Local Auto Accident Lawyer

Each crash is different. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and help you get the money settlement you deserve.

LegalASAP can connect you with an auto accident lawyer in North Carolina to review your case. The process is free until you win your settlement, so click below to continue.

Margot Lester
CEO at The Word Factory | + posts

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: