Car accidents are unpredictable. Roadway hazards, reckless drivers, and close calls have all left us wary of the possibility that someday we might find ourselves in a collision. In many cases, the victims are left reeling, and considering that most crashes happen in the blink of an eye, the surprise alone can be quite traumatic. The impact could also leave the victims shocked, and severe injuries might go unnoticed for days or weeks. Working with a Caldwell car accident lawyer can help ensure all your injuries are properly covered, even if they are not immediately apparent.
Unfortunately, there are far too many people involved in car accidents in North Carolina every year. The scope of injuries sustained in these accidents is usually very extensive, and the fatality rate is tragically high. Under such circumstances, your best bet is to work with a Caldwell, NC personal injury lawyer. At Harman Law, we provide all our clients with a free consultation. Our professional car accident attorneys will listen to you and provide you with the advice and guidance you need.
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What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
When an accident happens, the injuries might be severe and emotions could be running high. However, what you do at this stage is critical to not only your health (and that of other victims) but also your case. Here is a list of the steps to follow after an accident in Caldwell, NC:
Stay on the Scene
Don’t leave the scene of the accident until it’s safe to do so. Leaving the scene, especially in a case where a victim is seriously injured or was killed, you risk facing serious criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver.
Contact the Police
If there’s significant physical injury, property damage, or death, call the police. Be sure to ask the police to file a report, and if you can, obtain the name and badge numbers of the responding officers.
Check on All Victims
Make sure that everyone involved in the accident is okay. If police are not yet on the scene, get medical help for anyone who needs it. In case a victim is unconscious or badly hurt, do not move them; of course, unless the person is in immediate danger.
If possible, get the names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from the drivers involved. If there are witnesses or other passengers present, obtain their names and contact information too. Try to be cordial and cooperative while doing this.
Record the Scene
Take photos/videos of any damage to your vehicle as well as other vehicles on the scene. It’s important to also document the important details of the scene, including skid marks, the kind of injuries sustained, the position of the vehicles, property damage, etc.
Don’t Admit Fault
Never apologize for anything at the scene. Saying things like “Sorry I ran the red light” could be deemed as you admitting legal liability for what happened. Keep in mind that immediately after the accident, it might not be exactly clear who was at fault. So, avoid admitting guilt whether unnecessarily or unintentionally.
Seek Medical Care
Getting timely medical attention is paramount. Inform the attending paramedics or physician that you have been involved in an accident, and follow through the treatment. In case the symptoms don’t resolve after treatment, don’t hesitate to obtain a second opinion.
It will also be helpful to keep a detailed journal outlining your pain and symptoms along with the medications and treatment followed. The success of your claim depends heavily on having a thorough medical record that ideally documents all your injuries, the treatments undergone, pain and suffering, and the impact of these on your daily life.
Consider Getting an Attorney
It’s always wise to speak with an attorney following an accident. Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful, and is even more daunting if you need to provide all the necessary documentation to the insurer. An experienced lawyer will help ease the burden of finding, collecting, and gathering the necessary records.
They can also help you take measures that maximize your recovery if you’re injured, or defend yourself better if you’re at fault. So, get in touch with a car accident attorney in Caldwell, NC to learn more about what they can do for you.
Types of Car Accidents We Handle
Our car accident lawyers handle all types of car accidents, including:
- Rear-End Accidents
- Drunk Driving Accidents (Drinking & Drugs)
- Speeding Accidents
- Distracted Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Head-on Collisions
- Rollover Accidents
- Rideshare Accidents
What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident?
When it comes to car accident claims, it’s difficult to calculate the average settlement, considering that the amount of non-economic damages will vary from case to case. The most important consideration when it comes to the settlement amounts is the damages involved in your case.
In order to calculate a fair settlement amount for car accident cases, the parties involved and their lawyers consider the following:
- Available insurance coverage (insurers don’t pay more than the policy limits)
- The amount of evidence available for the faults and damages
- Pain and suffering
- Car repairs
- Medical bills
- Lost wages from time spent away from work
Based on North Carolina Laws, the car insurance payments for injury are as follow:
- At least $30,000 for bodily injury for one person
- At least $60,000 for bodily injury for two or more people
- At least $25,000 for property damage in any one accident
The list above only describes the minimum amounts that an insured driver is required by law to have in North Carolina. The amount of coverage will differ depending on the state where the car is insured.
How is Fault Determined in an NC Auto Accident?
North Carolina follows the pure contributory negligence system to establish fault following a car accident. Under NC’s contributory negligence law, the driver who is at fault for the crash will be unable to receive compensation. This law makes it difficult for anyone who is just partially at fault for the accident to receive compensation.
To show you how difficult it can be, consider the following:
You’re driving on a straight road at 8 mph over the speed limit. A driver in front of you turns left in a way that causes a collision, even when you had the right of way. The court finds you 10% at fault for speeding, which makes you eligible for $0 in compensation.
A drunk driver runs a stop sign at 40 mph. you are driving at the speed limit but drive through a yellow light while tuning the radio station. The drunk driver hits you, but the court finds you 5% responsible for the accident, and you’re not eligible for compensation.
Such circumstances are often unfair and quite painful. However, they are pretty common under the strict North Carolina laws. As such, it’s important to work with a professional attorney with extensive experience handling such cases in the State. Don’t forget that insurance companies will work extra hard to show that you contributed to the crash in some way.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations in North Carolina is three years from the date of the accident. However, you are required to report the claim to your insurance company much sooner than that. Ideally, you should report the claim to your insurance provider as soon as possible from when the accident occurs.
You should note that the statute of limitations doesn’t apply to accidents where a public agency or the government was at fault. The time window allowed for filing a claim and the process itself is much shorter.
What If The Driver Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Under North Carolina Law, all drivers are required to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). This requirement is put in place to protect victims under such situations. Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) and UM offer compensation for situations where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance or their insurance coverage wasn’t enough to cover the damages.
UIM specifically provides protection for the gap in coverage. Your damages and injuries might exceed the policy coverage carried by the driver. In such a case, you’d need to turn to your insurance company even in case they’re hesitant to payout UIM claims. Our lawyers know how to keep the process progressing even in cases where the insurance company is reluctant to process the request.
Contact an Experienced Caldwell Car Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one was injured in an accident, you have the right to contact a lawyer. At Harman Law, our team of expert lawyers will diligently review your claim and assess whether it’s worth filing. We are always ready to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
Call our Caldwell personal injury firm today and schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers. Don’t forget that you don’t need to pay us anything until we win your case.