Car Accident Lawyers in Charlotte, Helping Injury Victims Get Justice
Automobiles are an essential part of American life. Our country has one of the lowest public transportation rates of use in the world, and this explains why we also rank high in vehicle ownership. There are many disadvantages to this reality, but one of the most disheartening is the heightened rate of car crashes and auto accident injuries in the U.S. This is just one reason why the average driver is expected to file an auto collision insurance claim 3-4 times in their lives. Fortunately, the majority of such incidents are minor. If you or a loved one was injured in such a crash, however, a car accident lawyer in Charlotte may be able to help.
Harman Law is committed to helping our clients receive fair compensation after suffering injuries. Even a seemingly minor car accident can result in major repercussions. Studies have shown that some serious injuries can occur at speeds barely over 5 MPH. The important thing to remember following an automobile accident is that you may be entitled to compensation. Reckless and negligent drivers are a danger to everyone on the road, but it’s possible to hold them accountable if their actions cause you or a loved one serious harm. Schedule a free case evaluation with Harman Law today to learn how we can help.
Do You Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
When some people reach out to a Charlotte car accident attorney, they aren’t even sure if they have a valid personal injury claim. Perhaps they’re unsure if their injury is severe enough, or maybe they’re unable to figure out who is at fault. There are many factors to consider thanks to the complexities of North Carolina liability laws, but there is a simple way to better understand whether you might be successful with a personal injury lawsuit. That’s because every claim that is successful in court has three primary elements. These include:
- Defendant with a duty of care: Before personal injury claims can be successful, it must first be proven that a defendant had a duty of care. While this may sound like a complicated issue, it’s actually not a significant legal hurdle. Most people have multiple duties of care daily. For instance, every driver has a duty of care on the road to prevent negligent auto accidents.
- Violation of duty: Any successful personal injury lawsuit will also show that the individual with a duty of care violated that specific duty. For instance, a driver may violate a duty by failing to yield when merging onto Interstate 485. Breaking any traffic law or otherwise acting negligently can be considered a violation of this duty.
- Violation causes damages: It’s also necessary to show that damages are directly linked to a person’s violation of their duty of care. For instance, a lawsuit wouldn’t be successful if someone failed to yield on the interstate but caused no accident. If their failure did cause a collision that leads to medical expenses, though, the driver may be held liable.
It’s important to remember that this is just a broad overview of the law. Every car accident case is unique, and the facts of your case will dictate its potential outcomes. In some instances, it may be possible to get a fair settlement from the insurance company. In other situations, seeking compensation in a court of law may be your best option. A car accident lawyer in Charlotte can review your case and help you better understand the best way to move forward. And since the personal injury attorneys at Harman Law work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t pay a dime unless we’re able to get the compensation you deserve.
What Are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Did you know that less than half of all car accidents involve multiple vehicles? This means that most people involved in collisions don’t even have another driver to blame. Unfortunately, collisions involving multiple drivers still result in more than 70% of all auto accident injuries. Surprisingly, it’s often the same issues that lead to most wrecks. Additionally, the lack of a second involved vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean that no one is at fault for the victim’s injuries. These truths become fairly obvious when you consider the most common car crash causes:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Uneven loads on big rigs
- Reckless driving
- Poor weather
- Road rage
- Unsafe or unmaintained roads
- Obstructions on roadways
- Failing to stop or yield
- Improper turns
As evidenced by this list, a car accident can happen for a multitude of reasons. One important thing to note is that there may be a liable party even when you might not expect it. For instance, you typically wouldn’t think someone was at fault if you crash into an embankment after hydroplaning during a rainstorm. However, what if the water on the road is built up due to a lack of drainage? In such a situation, the local government may be liable for the injuries sustained. Complex injury cases happen every day, so don’t assume anything about your situation. Charlotte car accident attorneys can help you get a better grasp on your situation.
North Carolina Automobile Accident Statistics
In 2020, there was hope that North Carolina was experiencing a trend toward fewer auto collisions. While this would certainly mean less work for our law firm, the news of car accidents becoming more infrequent was an exciting affair. Unfortunately, this seemed to only be the calm before the storm. Just one year later, our state experienced more fatal car accidents than at any point in 20 years. This is a tragic outcome, but North Carolina car wreck statistics show that it’s not unexpected. Just consider the following:
- Nearly one-in-five car accidents in our state are caused by distracted driving.
- North Carolina has one of the highest rates of road rage incidents in America, and it’s currently on the rise.
- There were 1,755 traffic deaths on North Carolina streets in 2021 — an increase of 5% over deaths in 2020.
- Even as fatal motorcycle accidents decrease, we’re still in the top 10 American states when it comes to such wrecks.
- North Carolina’s fatal auto accident rate is higher than the national average.
- Around 15% of traffic fatalities in our state involve cyclist and pedestrian accidents.
If you’re involved in an auto collision, you’ll hopefully only have to deal with car repairs and other insignificant property damage. Even minor injuries may not require an extensive legal process to receive fair and appropriate compensation. If you or a loved one suffer serious harm, however, it may be time to seek legal counsel. Even if you think insurance coverage will handle your losses, it’s important to remember that such costs can go up over time. When you need legal help to ensure you get justice, contact Harman Law to schedule a free consultation.
What Common Injuries Do Car Accident Victims Suffer?
The Charlotte personal injury attorney at Harman Law have served the local area for years. This means we’ve seen more car accident cases than most people could imagine. With that experience, we’ve been able to identify commonalities in many car crashes. While the specifics of every case are different, the most common serious injuries suffered in a car crash are surprisingly similar. Sure, most people walk away with minor bruises or abrasions. For those who suffer a serious injury, however, it’s typically because they’ve experienced one of the following:
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injury
- Internal injuries and organ damage
As evidenced by the severity of the injuries on this list, automobile accidents can be life-altering. One negligent act by a stranger on the road can lead to years of medical treatment, significant reductions in quality of life, the inability to care for yourself, and even wrongful death. This is why it’s so important to seek the help of a personal injury attorney in Charlotte after suffering a serious injury. You deserve to be compensated for any losses suffered due to the negligence or recklessness of others. We understand that you have a lot on your plate following a bad car accident. That’s why you can schedule a free consultation with Harman Law today.
Who Is At Fault in Your Car Crash?
As this guide has already touched on, liability in an auto collision can be a complex issue. This is why it’s ideal to seek the assistance of car accident attorneys before making any major decisions. Even accidents where liability seems clear may not be as straightforward as you expect. For instance, envision a scenario where an intoxicated person’s drunk driving leads to a collision. Perhaps they ran a red light and struck another vehicle. In this situation, your attorney would obviously go after the drunk driver and their insurance company. However, might there be other parties at fault?
Absolutely. In North Carolina, it is illegal to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person. This means that — if a drunk driver causes you serious injuries — the establishment that overserved the driver could potentially be held liable. Situations like this are actually more common than most people realize. A single auto accident could be caused by a combination of any number of factors, and if you fail to contact a law firm after your collision, you may never know the full extent of liability in your case. In such a situation, you may end up getting far less than you deserve for your car accident claim.
Of course, there are also instances where the victim themselves may hold some fault. Perhaps an auto accident occurred when a merging vehicle failed to yield — but the victim was also texting while driving. In many states, the victim might still be able to recover compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other losses. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in North Carolina since we follow pure contributory negligence rules. That means recovering compensation may be impossible if you share fault. However, don’t make assumptions regarding liability. Speak with a personal injury law firm to better understand your case.
Can You Handle Car Accident Claims Through the Insurance Company?
Did you know that the majority of personal injury claims never find their way into a courtroom? Over 90% of such claims are settled before trial. This means that — if you’re involved in a car wreck — there’s a good chance you’ll get a settlement from the insurance company. In fact, you may have already been contacted by an adjuster. If this has yet to happen, you should take the time to speak with a car accident attorney in Charlotte before doing anything. Once you speak with an insurance adjuster, you’re essentially on their playing field. Adjusters are trained to make sure their employer pays out as little as possible, and this is never good for accident victims.
Whether you’re filing a claim for minor injuries or because a loved one suffered a wrongful death, it’s possible to handle everything through insurance companies. Before going this route, however, speak with an experienced car accident attorney. They will have dealt with adjusters many times in the past, and this means they’ll have a solid understanding of the strategies they use. Remember, it only takes one minor admission of fault to derail your entire claim since North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. This means you could end up on the hook for your own losses even if you suffer severe injuries.
Of course, even getting a settlement from an insurance company doesn’t guarantee you’re getting a fair settlement. Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers have heard far too many horror stories of car accident victims suffering financial ruin because they accepted an unfair offer from insurance adjusters. The simple fact is that you won’t always get a fair settlement offer, and in these cases, it’s important to have auto accident attorneys on your side with trial experience. It’s great when a case can be handled without litigation, but if this isn’t the case, you want lawyers with real-world courtroom experience like those at Harman Law.
Can Car Accident Attorneys Really Help?
Even when injured victims realize the insurance company is trying to lowball them, they often still wonder whether they need the help of an attorney. After all, North Carolina law doesn’t require citizens to have legal counsel in auto accident cases. Isn’t it possible that you could argue with an adjuster until they offer an appropriate settlement? And if they never get to this point, couldn’t you represent yourself in court? While this is certainly an allowable approach to your auto accident case, it’s one that’s rife with hurdles and an increased likelihood of not getting the compensation you deserve.
The fact is that most people don’t fully understand North Carolina law regarding motor vehicle collisions and personal injury liability. This puts accident victims at a distinct disadvantage when speaking with adjusters — even adjusters from their own insurance company. Of course, maybe your case is clear-cut. Perhaps there’s no question of fault thanks to an in-depth accident report, and maybe your medical records show that the accident is the direct cause of your injuries. Unfortunately, even seemingly straightforward cases aren’t as clear-cut as many people would hope.
This reality becomes obvious by simply looking at the statistics. On average, car accident victims with a legal professional on their side secure higher settlement offers and court awards. The fact is that experienced attorneys understand how the justice system works. They know what you need to prove in court, and they know what judges and juries are looking for. Increased compensation typically justifies any car accident lawyer cost you may experience. Of course, future compensation does little to cover your legal costs right now. That’s why Harman Law will work on a contingency fee basis to ensure all injury victims get justice.
What Damages Might You Be Entitled To?
When you discuss your case with law offices, they’ll typically inform you about the potential compensation you may be entitled to. No attorney can guarantee that you’ll receive a certain amount, but a knowledgeable legal professional will likely have an idea of what an insurer or court will provide in the way of restitution. That’s because they’ve probably handled cases like yours. Regardless of the specific circumstances of your claim, however, any compensation you receive will fall into two categories:
If you’re involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, your legal rights may entitle you to compensatory damages. This is the most common award that injury victims receive at trial — because it’s meant to reimburse them for actual losses. Economic damages cover things like lost wages, medical expenses (current and future), property damage, and other monetary losses. You may also be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and more.
Compensatory damages cover your real losses. On the other hand, punitive damages are granted in an effort to further punish at-fault parties. Even the best attorney cannot guarantee that you’ll receive such damages. This is completely at the discretion of the court, and these awards are typically only granted when extremely egregious behavior led to an injury. This can include willful actions, malicious behavior, or severe negligence. If you are granted these damages, they are often significantly higher than compensatory damages.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Car Crash Personal Injury Claim?
While it may seem unfair, there actually is a deadline for accident victims to pursue compensation. This is known as a statute of limitations. The timeframe was established to ensure no one was unfairly burdened by the system, but in practice, it makes securing compensation more difficult for those injured by the negligence of other parties. Fortunately, you have three years in North Carolina to file a lawsuit to cover lost income, medical bills, and other losses. This is plenty of time if you’re proactive and immediately seek the help of Charlotte car accident attorneys. Unfortunately, procrastination can prove detrimental.
Imagine a situation where an accident victim waits two years to seek monetary compensation. Perhaps they were busy trying to keep their head above water financially — and they simply thought they’d have plenty of time. While it’s true that they will still have an entire year for their case to be filed, it’s possible that securing appropriate compensation will be much more difficult. Evidence can deteriorate over time. Witnesses can move out of state. Phone numbers can change. Police reports can get misplaced. There are a million things that can happen to derail your case, and their likelihood increases as time goes on.
If you lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence or reckless actions, you have even less time to seek a fair outcome. That’s because the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims in North Carolina is only two years. Even if the at-fault driver faces criminal charges related to their actions, you will typically forfeit your right to seek compensation if you don’t file a claim within the two-year period. Fatal car accidents are not uncommon in North Carolina, and it’s understandable that you’ll have a lot on your plate. Let the Charlotte car accident lawyers at Harman Law shoulder some of this burden for you.
Car Accidents Lawyers in Charlotte Can Help
Suffering from serious injuries is something that no one plans for. In fact, events that lead to such injuries are typically completely unexpected. This is nowhere truer than in the world of auto accidents. The thousands of police-reported incidents and more than 100 deaths on American streets daily serve as a testament to this fact. If you or a loved one have found yourself in such a situation, you may be unsure of how to move forward. This is no doubt a confusing time, and trying to recover while fighting for fair compensation is a burden that few people can handle on their own. Fortunately, having legal representation can help.
At Harman Law, our team of North Carolina personal injury attorneys has spent years serving the people of the Tar Heel State. We know that car accidents typically set off a stressful set of events, and because insurance companies are often unwilling to treat victims fairly, personal injury claims are frequently necessary to seek justice. Whether your medical bills are piling up, you lost a loved one, or you simply need help replacing lost wages, speaking with a law firm may be in your best interest. Contact us today by calling (704) 286-0947 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Charlotte. Let us advocate for justice on your behalf.