Mother advocates for change to NC negligence law after losing daughter

North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — In North Carolina, if someone plays any role in causing a crash, they can’t get any financial compensation from the other party even if they’re also at fault.

North Carolina is one of four states, in addition to D.C., that has the Contributory Negligence Law. 

A lawyer FOX8 spoke with said it’s a law that benefits insurance companies because they don’t necessarily have to pay out after a car accident.

It’s a law one Greensboro mother has been fighting for nearly three years after losing her daughter.

Finally, she has hope.

On Monday, Mignon Elkes and Anna Castiglia met for the very first time. They’re both dealing with similar tragedies.

“He was wearing dark colors, and he wasn’t in a crosswalk,” Castiglia said.

“She had on dark colors. She was walking with traffic in the direction of traffic instead of towards traffic,” Elkes said.

Castiglia’s brother, Paul, was trying to cross North Main Street in High Point in 2019 when a car hit him.

“He sustained three brain injuries,” she explained. “It will affect him for the rest of his life. He will never be the same again.”

Elkes’ daughter, Marcella, died while walking on Sharpe Road in 2018.

“There are no sidewalks, but she was on the side of the road where the white line is,” she added. 

Both families had to pay the hefty medical bills.

“I only peeked briefly at one bill, and it was close to $10,000,” Castiglia said. 

Both of their loved ones were considered partially responsible for the crashes. 

“It was like a slap in the face. Like doors were slammed in your face,” Elkes said.

The Contributory Negligence Law is something she has been fighting for since 2018. First with a petition then with communication with state legislatures.

Now a proposed bill, the Victim’s Fair Treatment Act, will consider how much each party is at fault.

“This would allow fair opportunity for victims to recover from damages,” Elkes said. “It would finally hold the other responsible party accountable.”

While Elkes and Castiglia won’t get the benefits of the law if it’s passed, they said it will still be a victory for them.

“It makes me feel like [Marcella’s] death wasn’t just in vain,” Elkes said. “That she’s making a difference through her death for other people.”

Three state senators introduced the bill in April, including Amy Galey who represents Alamance and Guilford Counties.

The bill is up for a vote on Thursday, May 13.

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