If you’ve been in a car accident in North Carolina, you may have questions. At Northstate Auto Law, we understand that any car accident can be a frustrating, stressful, and sometimes tragic experience.
It can be especially difficult when you attempt to get the other driver’s insurance company to compensate you for the damage caused by their insured’s negligence.
Below, we will answer some of the most common questions about car accident cases in NC, but you should immediately contact an experienced car accident attorney who can answer your questions based on your specific circumstances and who can help you to get full and fair compensation for your injuries.
North Carolina is a “contributory negligence state.”
This means that, if you are even 1% at fault in an auto accident, you cannot recover damages from the other driver at trial.
You should contact Northstate Auto Law immediately after your car wreck – if you are unable to come to our office, we will come to you!
The other driver’s insurance company will most likely attempt to contact you soon after the wreck, and you need to be able to refer them to your attorney.
You also may have questions specific to your case that need to be answered quickly to ensure that you do not make common mistakes that can affect your recovery.
The best course of action is to seek a consultation with an attorney to help protect your rights. The insurance company’s goal is to protect itself and their insured. The insurance company will attempt to take advantage of whatever information you provide. By talking with an experienced car wreck attorney you will get the information you need to determine the best way forward for your situation.
The insurance company will attempt to get you to make a statement, or what is called a recorded interview, that could hurt your case. Many times, they will attempt to get you to sign a release and accept a low settlement offer, or may even deny your claim completely.
Car wreck lawyers are paid on a “contingency basis,” which means that we only get paid if we win your case through settlement or trial, and how much we get paid increases based on how much you get paid.
The sooner you hire an attorney the better, especially if you have incurred medical bills. There are Federal and State laws that govern how the medical bills in car wrecks are paid and these laws are very complex. Hiring an attorney early on helps protect your rights. North Carolina has a 3 year Statute of Limitations for most car wrecks, which means that within 3 years of the date of the wreck you must either settle the case or file a lawsuit. However, there are some other time limits, so to be safe call us as soon as possible to discuss your case.
In addition, if you signed the “Release” and cashed the check from the insurance company, chances are that you have settled the case and no other compensation will be paid.
In some cases, the insurance company will offer you a settlement without a lawyer – they will most likely be attempting to get you to sign a release and accept a settlement for an amount that may be much less than you are entitled to, however.
Insurance companies don’t make profits by paying claims – in some cases they will attempt to deny or limit your claim unless you have an experienced car wreck lawyer on your side.
Although we can look at insurance industry statistics to determine what the “average settlement” is for car accidents with injuries, it’s meaningless in the context of your case.
Your settlement will be based on full and fair compensation for the injuries you suffered that were caused by the other driver’s negligence – including your property damage, medical expenses, hospital bills, doctors bills, EMS bills, future medical expenses, long-term care if needed, pain and suffering, and the likelihood of punitive damages being awarded at trial.
If other driver was uninsured, we will locate all possible sources of recovery which may include:
North Carolina follows the “eggshell plaintiff” or “eggshell skull” rule, that makes a defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injuries even if the plaintiff was more susceptible to the injury due to a pre-existing condition.
Although a defendant is not liable for the pre-existing condition, they are liable for the extent to which they worsened the pre-existing condition.
If you are the passenger in a car accident, the negligent party is responsible for your injuries even if that was the driver of the vehicle that you were in. You may be able to recover damages from:
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in NC, including car accidents, is three years from the date the cause of action was apparent – in most cases, this is the date the auto accident happened.
Once you have settled your case and signed a release of liability, you cannot file a lawsuit based on the same incident. This is why it is important to ensure that you have finished treating or you have an accurate estimate of your future medical expenses before you settle your car accident case.
Immediately after a car accident, you should:
Your car accident attorney will:
Some car accident claims are settled quickly. Some can take years before a settlement or trial, however, and, if the case goes to trial, there is the possibility of appeals that could take additional months or years to resolve.
Insurance companies will delay payment as long as they ca – insurance companies invest their money so their money makes more money for them, and, the longer they wait to pay you, the more profit their company makes.
Insurance defense attorneys, who may be paid by the insurance company at an hourly rate, will sometimes take depositions, engage in written discovery, file motions, and participate in mediation before agreeing to settle a case.
If you have been in a car wreck that was caused by someone else’s negligence, your car accident attorney will be able to answer your questions based on the specific circumstances of your car accident case.
Call Northstate Auto Law now at (336) 999-0944 or send us a message through our website to talk to an attorney who cares.