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Despite your best efforts to drive safely, you may find yourself involved in an accident. Not every driver in North Carolina follows the rules of the road. Their negligence can cause you to suffer serious injuries that could affect you for the rest of your life. The only consolation is that you should be able to get compensation for all your losses. However, you may have a battle with an insurance company on your hands and you won’t be able to win it alone. You will need the help of a Hickory car accident lawyer.
You may not think your case is serious enough to require a Hickory personal injury attorney. However, having a lawyer can help you to get higher compensation. You may also get that compensation more quickly. That’s because insurance companies are more likely to treat you fairly when you have a lawyer fighting for your rights. You would not be able to negotiate with an insurance company in the way an experienced lawyer would. If you suffered serious injuries, you’ll need to focus your efforts on getting better.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Hickory, NC car Accident Lawyer?
Most people know the help of a lawyer is invaluable after a car accident. However, many opt not to seek legal advice because they assume it will be expensive. They believe they will have to pay thousands of dollars just to get a car accident attorney in Hickory to take their case. This is unlikely in personal injury cases. Most lawyers agree to a contingency fee arrangement with their client. This means they do not get paid anything until the case is settled. The standard amount is 1/3 (33.33%) of the settlement amount but fees can range from 25 to 40 percent. If the case settles quickly, without having to go to court, the fee may be closer to 25 percent whereas if the case goes to court and a judge or jury awards damages, the lawyer’s compensation may rise to 40 percent.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Car accidents can be very stressful. After you’ve been involved in one, you may simply want to leave the scene and go home. However, you would be ill-advised to do this. There are a number of steps drivers in North Carolina must take immediately after a car accident. It will be hard to think clearly in the aftermath of the crash. Still, you need to put yourself in a strong position if you have to file an accident claim. Here are some of the things you must do:
Check if Anyone Is Injured and Exchange Information
Bring your vehicle to a stop at the scene. Call for emergency help if anyone is injured. Ask the other driver for their name, address, contact number, and insurance details. Take note of their license plate number as well.
contact the police
Contact the police even if someone tries to convince you not to. Give the police the basic facts surrounding what happened. Do not admit that you were at fault even if you think you caused the accident. At the same time, don’t blame the other driver.
You may not be aware of all the factors which led to the accident. That’s why you should allow the facts to be revealed during the course of an investigation. You should indicate whether you need the officer to call an ambulance or if you will drive yourself to the doctor.
get medical attention
Even if you think you haven’t been hurt or your injuries are minor, you should seek medical attention. Some injuries aren’t immediately obvious, but they can be serious. This also provides official documentation of the injuries you incurred in the car accident, which is vital for your claim.
Get Witnesses’ Contact Information
Get the contact information for any eyewitnesses before they leave. Most tend to drive or walk away before the police arrive, so you need to move quickly.
take photos of the accident scene
Take as many photos of the accident scene as possible. Capture the position of the vehicles and the damage they suffered as well as the road conditions. You should also take photos of your injuries and any injuries to your passengers.
contact your insurance company and a lawyer
Let your insurance company know about the accident. Then contact an experienced Hickory car accident lawyer to discuss your rights.
This might seem like a lot to deal with, but it can actually make your experience less stressful later on. If you need to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you will need to prove the accident caused your injuries.
Hickory, NC Car Accident Statistics
You’ll definitely need to keep the above guidelines in mind if you intend to drive on North Carolina’s roads. The state is one of the worse in the country for deadly car crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 there were 1,412 road deaths in North Carolina. That put North Carolina behind only Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia, states which are all more populated than North Carolina, in some cases 3 or 4 times more.
Many of these deaths took place in Charlotte, where 71 crashes resulted in the death of 74 people. Alcohol was a factor in almost a third of these wrecks while speeding contributed to 40 percent. Meanwhile, 61 percent of the people who died were not wearing seat belts. You may think car crashes just include drivers and passengers but pedestrians and cyclists also get killed. In fact, they were involved in under three percent of the crashes but they accounted for almost half of the deaths.
Hickory is a small city but fatal accidents also occur here. In 2017, there were six fatal accidents and they claimed the lives of 13 people including two pedestrians. If you are fortunate enough to survive a car crash, you should get compensation from the at-fault party.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer After My Car Accident?
Many people delay hiring a Hickory car accident lawyer after their car accident. You may be tempted to do the same if you feel okay and the damage to your car doesn’t appear serious. You may assume the other driver’s insurance company will pay up once you file a claim. When the claim gets denied, you rush to an attorney. By then, you may have already done something to jeopardize your case.
You should call a Hickory, NC car wreck attorney immediately after your crash. Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, problems could show up later. When the adrenaline rush wears off, you may realize you are in pain, but you didn’t get medical attention at the scene or immediately after. The sooner you get an attorney involved the better it will be for you. In fact, if you call a lawyer from the accident scene, they will guide you on how to proceed from that moment. Taking the right steps, as listed above, could make a big difference in your ability to receive full compensation.
Your attorney will remind you that things you say or do could be used against you later. They will also advise you to keep all the documentation relating to your accident. This includes medical bills, evidence of your injuries, and evidence of lost wages.
Why Should I Hire a Hickory Car Accident Lawyer?
There are many high-quality lawyers in the United States. However, you need a car accident lawyer in North Carolina. You need someone who understands the state’s laws and who has several years of experience with similar cases.
A skilled attorney will educate you about your legal rights. Your first step will likely be to seek compensation from the injured party’s insurance company. Your car crash attorney will represent you during the discussions and ensure the insurer doesn’t take advantage of you. The insurance company will try to blame you for your accident to avoid compensating you. However, your attorney will know what to look out for. They will advise you on how to avoid incriminating yourself.
In addition to handling the insurance company, attorneys can also launch their own investigation into your case. If the other party is denying liability or attempting to cast blame on you, this is one way to settle the issue. Launching an investigation can also help to create a solid foundation for your claim. Your Hickory personal injury lawyer will review the police reports, eyewitness accounts, and CCTV to help prove what happened. They can even gain access to the driving records of the other driver.
If settlement negotiations prove futile, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf. They may go after the driver personally, the insurance company or a third party. You probably don’t have the skills and knowledge to do this on your own, so you’ll need a competent attorney on your side.
Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
In most states, the at-fault driver or their insurance company must compensate the victim for injuries and property damage. Even if you contributed to the accident in a small way, you can get compensation. This situation doesn’t apply in North Carolina. Instead, this state uses a contributory negligence system when dealing with issues of fault. Under this system, a driver can’t recover damages if their actions contributed to the accident in any way.
To get compensation, you have to prove the other driver was completely at fault for what happened. This can be difficult. At the same time, North Carolina is an at-fault state. This means the person deemed responsible must pay damages to victims. This is different from a no-fault system under which your insurance company covers your losses regardless of who was responsible.
If you want to get compensation, you must be able to prove that you had absolutely no role in the accident. You must prove the other driver was negligent. Your lawyer will help you to do this by drawing on police reports, visual evidence, and eyewitness testimony. This will improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Hickory, NC?
In every state, personal injury victims have a timeframe within which they must file lawsuits for compensation. It also applies to injuries resulting from car accidents. In North Carolina, you have three years for most personal injury claims. If you don’t file a lawsuit within three years of the accident, the court will not hear the case.
Three years seems like a long time. However, your Hickory car accident lawyer will need time to build a case. You should avoid rushing to an attorney when the statute of limitations is almost up. Even if you’re hoping that you will be able to settle with an insurance company, you should still contact an attorney at an early stage. They will keep an eye on things and advise you on the best time to move ahead with the lawsuit. If it appears that the settlement will fall through, they will be ready to go court. However, insurance companies are more likely to try to negotiate a settlement when they know they could face a lawsuit.
As soon as you get injured, you should schedule a free legal consultation with Harman Law. Depending on the nature of your case, there may be shorter statutes of limitation which you also need to consider.
What Type of Damages Can Be Claimed in a Hickory, NC Car Accident?
“Damages” simply means financial compensation for losses. When you file your insurance claim, you will ask for damages to cover expenses caused by the car accident. You may be able to get compensation for:
These can include bills for diagnostic procedures, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and therapy. If you lose a limb or become permanently disabled and need ongoing and future care, you can also claim for this.
If you have to miss work because of your injury, you can claim for your lost salary, wages, or commissions. Accidents often require extensive recovery times to fully recover physically, but this can keep you from being able to work.
loss of future earnings
If the accident made it difficult or impossible for you to work, you can collect damages based on the amount of money you currently make multiplied by the length of time you will not be able to work.
This may include but is not limited to, damage to your vehicle or property that was in your vehicle and was damaged in the collision.
pain and suffering
If you’ve experienced severe injuries that irreparably altered your life, you may be able to be compensated for these damages. This could cover anything from stress or anxiety to the loss of a marriage caused by a serious injury like paralysis.
You will need to prove you actually suffered these losses. The exact amount you can get will depend on the medical records and bills you present. These will also be used to determine how much you will likely spend or lose in the future. If you take your case to court, a judge or jury will examine the evidence and determine how much you deserve. Your lawyer will help you to push for full compensation.
Filing a car accident claim may seem like a lot of work. However, if someone else caused your accident, they should have to compensate you for your losses. Those losses can significant. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents can cost residents $242 billion in lost wages, medical and property damage in just one year. That’s equivalent to $897 for each person living in the country.
In addition to the fact that car accidents are expensive, you may end up losing more than you expect. Medical bills and property damage are not the only things you have to worry about. Your quality of life could also take a hit. It is difficult to put an exact dollar value on this. but the loss can be quantified. Quality of life losses to car accident victims amounts to $594 billion in the U.S.A. in just one year.
The other reason why you should pursue damages is that it sends a message. If negligent drivers and their insurance companies are forced to pay up, others will take notice.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Cases We Handle
At Harman Law, we look after the interests of many accident victims in Hickory, NC. We handle everything from simple car accidents to more complicated collisions. While drivers are at fault in most accidents, it can be hard to identify the correct defendant in others. We pay special attention to:
Truck accidents can be extremely dangerous. Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, motorists in smaller cars usually receive severe injuries. The property damage is also significant. Trucks present unique challenges because they carry cargo and flammable materials which can make crashes even more devastating. If you were in a truck accident, you will need the help of a Hickory truck accident lawyer.
Motorcyclists have little to protect them when they traverse Hickory’s roads. They have no seatbelts or airbags to minimize the impact of a larger vehicle crashing into them. Even if the rider is wearing a helmet, serious injuries, and even death are still a possibility. Motorcycle accidents usually result in high medical bills and a long recovery period. To fully recover these damages, a Hickory motorcycle accident lawyer is essential.
Uber has been a godsend for many people throughout the world. However, when Uber drivers cause accidents, it can be difficult to get compensation. You stand the best chance if the driver was active on the app and carrying a passenger. If they were looking for passengers or inactive, getting compensation following Uber accidents is challenging and usually requires a Hickory Uber accident lawyer.
How is Fault Determined in an NC Auto Accident?
At Harman Law, we pride ourselves on providing dedicated legal representation to victims of vehicular accidents in Hickory, NC. We work hard to ensure their legal rights are protected and they get the compensation they deserve. Recovering from a car accident can be difficult. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you will pay your medical bills or make ends meet. The person who caused your accident should have to compensate you. Contact us today and we will work hard to ensure you get compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more.
Since we take cases on a contingency basis, you don’t have to worry about paying us upfront. You only pay when your case is settled. Call us at (704)885-5550 to schedule a consultation and let us discuss how we can help you. A Hickory car accident lawyer is standing by to help you get the best possible outcome.