There’s nothing as unpredictable as auto accidents. Inattentive drivers, roadway hazards, and close calls have left many motorists worried that there’s a likelihood that one day they may find themselves involved in a collision. In many of the circumstances, the accident victim is left faltered, and given that majority of collisions occur within a second even before you react, the surprise solely can be distressing. The accident’s impact can leave the accident victim(s) startled with serious injuries going unnoticeable for days going on to weeks. Many injured victims tend to turn to a lawyer after a car accident in Kannapolis to discuss who is liable for their medical bills and property damage.
If you or somebody you know has suffered an injury in a car crash, you may be pondering on how you will settle expenses such as car repairs and medical bills, particularly if injuries suffered forced you to be away from work for some time. When facing these sorts of situations, the ideal thing to do is working alongside a Kannapolis, North Carolina personal injury lawyer. At Harman Law, we provide all our clients with an initial consultation free-of-charge. Our lawyers will go through the details surrounding your accident and give you an idea on your best legal options.
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Car Accident Statistics – North Carolina
North Carolina roads in 2017 experienced a total of 275,067 collisions, which is an increment of around 9,000 incidences from 2016, and about 40,000 higher than the 2012-2016 average. From 2012 to 2017 the number of collisions increased Annually. Every year saw at minimum 6,000 more accidents than the previous, with the largest increase between 2015 and 2016 with nearly 15,000 more.
Out of the total number of accidents that occurred in 2017, 29.7% (81,865) resulted in injuries sustained to either passengers or drivers. This is a decrease of 800 from 2016, but higher than 2012 to 2016, averaging 74,429. With regard to fatal crashes, they were 1,287 as of 2017, which is a decrement by 60 from 2016 and slightly higher compared to the 4-year average of 1,228 fatal crashes. Inclusively, from the 2012-2016 average, the collision rates increased by around 15 points to 230.39.
How Much Does an Auto Accident Attorney Cost?
For most car accident victims, the thought of employing an attorney can be of enormous concern, mainly due to the costs they think are involved. The upside with our firm is that we represent our clientele on a contingency basis – meaning that you won’t pay a dime to acquire our services. You will be required to pay a previously agreed-upon percentage of the settlement amount our lawyer gets you. This also means that you won’t pay your lawyer anything in the event the claim is unsuccessful. The reason the contingency plan is ideal is that you won’t be subjected to attorney fees from your pocket.
This allows you to receive high-quality legal representation services regardless of how much money you’ve got. Furthermore, your lawyer will be inclined to take an analytic look at the claim to ascertain whether they will take a chance and represent you. If they aren’t able to recover anything for you, they are losers in the case as well. For this reason, your attorney will do the best they can to get you maximum compensation.
Here at Harman Law, we offer a free-of-charge consultation service to citizens of Kannapolis, NC, so that we can better learn how we can assist you with your case. Call our Kannapolis, NC car accident attorneys now to get a free consultation and figure out how best we can help you in your time of need.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
When a crash occurs serious injuries can occur and those involved can be emotionally distraught. However, the actions you take at this stage are integral to the health of everyone involved and play a major role in how your claim will play out. After an accident has occurred, here are some steps you should follow:
Stay on the Scene
Don’t leave the accident scene until it is deemed safe. If you leave the scene and a person has been severely injured or dies you risk being labeled a hit-and-run driver and end up facing criminal charges.
Contact the Police
Call the local police if there has been an injury, death, or property damage. Make sure you’ve requested an attending police officer file a report and, if possible, get the name plus the badge number of the officer(s).
Check on All Victims
Check to see whether everybody involved in the accident is okay. If the police haven’t arrived on the scene, get medical assistance for anybody that needs it. If somebody has been badly hurt or is unconscious, do not attempt to move them unless they are in a position that is immediately likely to cause them further harm.
Wherever possible, make sure to get license plate numbers, addresses, names, phone numbers, license numbers, and standard insurance info from involved drivers. In case there’re other passengers or witnesses present, get their addresses and names as well. While doing all this, try to be cooperative and cordial.
Record the Scene
Take as much video and/or pictures of your wrecked car as well as other cars that are on the scene as possible. It is also critical that you take document specific accident details, including types of injuries suffered, skid marks, vehicle positioning, property damage, etc.
Don’t Admit Fault
While at the accident scene, never ever apologize. Saying something like “I apologize for running the red light” can be deemed as you admitting liability for whatever occurred.
Bear in mind that right after the occurrence of an accident, it may not be clear who really was at fault. Hence don’t admit to anything as it can be used to deny your insurance payment, regardless of if you were not at fault.
Seek Medical Care
Receiving medical assistance on time is incredibly important. Tell the physician or paramedic as many details about the accident as you can so that they can provide proper treatment. If the symptoms aren’t resolved after the receiving treatment make sure you see another professional for a second opinion.
It can also prove helpful in keeping a detailed journal summarizing your pain and symptoms along with treatment and medication. The key to a successful claim relies heavily on you having a comprehensive medical record documenting all the injuries sustained, pain and suffering, treatments undergone, and the overall impact on your daily life.
Consider Getting an Attorney
Following the occurrence of an accident, it’s always a good idea to speak with a lawyer. Dealing with an insurance provider without help can prove to be distressing and challenging if you are not experienced in submitting insurance documents correctly. A seasoned attorney will assist in alleviating the burden of locating, collecting, and gathering the requisite records.
They can also assist you in taking measures that boost your recovery chances if you sustain an injury or put you in a position to defend yourself better if you’re the liable party. So you should think about getting a hold of an auto accident lawyer in Kannapolis, NC, to get discuss the specifics of your case.
What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident?
Given how non-economic damages are subject to change from case to case, it is difficult to calculate the average settlement for auto accident claims. The most critical thing to consider when it comes to establishing settlement amounts is the damages suffered.
To compute a fair settlement amount for auto accident cases, attorneys and involved parties consider the following:
- Insurance coverage that’s available (insurance providers don’t pay over the policy limits)
- The evidence available for damages and faults
- Pain and suffering
- Car repairs
- Medical bills
- Lost wages with regard to the amount of time spent away from work
The car insurance payments for injuries sustained are as follows according to North Carolina Laws:
- For one person, at least $30,000 for bodily injury
- For two or more persons, at least $60,000 for bodily injury
- In any one accident where there’s property damage, at least $25,000
The aforementioned list only outlines the minimum amounts an insured driver is mandated to have per North Carolina laws. The coverage amount will depend on the state the driver has their insurance policy through and what plan they have.
When Should I Get an Attorney for my Auto Accident?
You don’t necessarily have to have a lawyer. It is manageable to deal with an auto accident claim independently and act as a representative for yourself. The majority of persons actually do this. But this doesn’t necessarily mean representing yourself is the best course of action.
You should bear in mind that insurers usually have a team of attorneys to locate loopholes in the policy they are to disburse and reduce the amount paid to victims seeking compensation. These lawyers will commonly use aggressive and underhanded tactics to make sure the insurance company retains as much of the payout as possible. Enlisting a Kannapolis, NC auto accident attorney will level the playing field since you will have an equally knowledgable professional in your corner. Your lawyer will hold the insurer to account for their policy and stand up toe-to-toe with their lawyers.
There are times when enlisting professional legal services may not be needed. There are claims that people who sustained an injury in a minor car collision can deal with themselves. For example, if you find yourself in a minor fender bender and no one got injured, you don’t really need an attorney.
But if you got involved in an accident that resulted in severe injuries that may mean time lost from the workplace, then don’t try to handle your claim on your own. Bear in mind that the insurance claims process in North Carolina is quite intricate, and the large insurance service providers will do everything in their power to limit the total amount recoverable.
Why Should I Hire an Auto Accident Attorney Fore My Claim?
Here are some reasons that highlight why you should hire a lawyer for your car accident in NC:
A seasoned attorney can assist you in communicating with the insurance providers, witnesses, medical documents interpretation, healthcare experts, and where need be, communicate findings in a manner the average can understand.
Professional lawyers are well aware of the various actions required when it comes to the collection and preservation of vital evidence. For instance, they can employ accident specialists to reconstruct the accident scene in a legal case where visual evidence available is minimal, which will allow them to collect and preserve critical pieces of evidence.
Generally, an auto accident case will entail a lot of paperwork getting processed. Our attorneys will assist in ensuring that all required rules and procedures are adhered to and also that you don’t overlook any paperwork or miss deadlines.
A seasoned lawyer will be able to identify the party liable for the occurrence of the accident and injuries sustained. For contributory negligence states such as North Carolina, this is integral.
Understanding Special Circumstances
If you’re in a crash with an underinsured or uninsured driver, you may be eligible for damages from your own insurer using the uninsured motorist (UM) policy or the underinsured motorist (UIM) cover. Your attorney will be at hand to guide you through the entire situation.
Handling Insurance Providers
Insurance providers are notoriously known for their methods in pressuring injured people to accept settlement offers. Our attorneys know all-too-well of their tactics and will not be tricked by them. What’s more, they know when insurance providers act in good faith and looking out for their best interests.
Dealing with the Case Processes
You can avoid lengthy court hearings and get favorable results via strategies such as pre-litigation and mediation settlement. A seasoned attorney can give professional advice on the best action to take for your particular case. Here at Harman Law, we are equipped with a vast amount of experience in pre-litigation and mediation settlements. We actually have an expert litigation team that will not falter to proceed to court if it’s the best course of action to resolve the case.
How Much Can I Expect to Get for Damages Suffered?
In the likelihood that you have sustained severe injuries in an auto accident, the bills can skyrocket easily. However, when someone else is liable for the accident, their insurer should be the one to pay for damages suffered. Additionally, besides your medical costs, which are straightforward to compute, it can be hard determining other damages incurred like lost wages and quantifying other damages like pain and suffering.
Our specialist team of car accident attorneys at Harman Law will assist in calculating your damages to the fullest. We will also offer details about some of the things involved in computing the total case value.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
Following a car accident you can pursue compensation for:
These are the easiest damages to calculate in auto accidents. Economic damages encapsulate all out-of-pocket expenses incurred after the occurrence of an accident. They include things like treatments, hospital stays, medical bills, medication, and rehabilitation. They also encompass lost wages beginning the time you weren’t able to work.
Economic damages encompass property damage resulting from the crash, alongside future income lost because of the accident.
In North Carolina, non-economic damages are integral when it comes to auto accident settlements. They encompass things such as loss of life enjoyment, pain and suffering, and any emotional distress inflicted from sustained injuries.
Also, Noneconomic damages encapsulate emotional trauma resulting from any disfigurement or disability that has been caused by an accident. The state of North Carolina has no cap limit regarding the non-economic damages an individual stands to receive from an auto accident lawsuit.
These damages can be referred to as damages meant for punishing a defendant additionally for seriously wrongful or intentional acts and also for deterring defendants and the general public from doing actions similar to those. Note that the only goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant in question further and will not be awarded all the time. These damages can be disbursed, along with other forms of damages.
How is Fault Determined in an NC Auto Accident?
In the event of an auto accident, North Carolina adheres to the pure contributory negligence principle to ascertain fault. As per NC contributory negligence statutes, the driver liable for the accident will not be able to get any reimbursement. The objective of this law is to make it difficult for anybody partially at fault to gain recompense for the accident.
To indicate just how challenging it will be to prove, take the following into consideration:
Assume you’re driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit downtown. A driver in front of you makes a left turn, even though you had the right of way, causing an accident. The court then finds you’re 10% liable for speeding, which will make you eligible for $0 in terms of reimbursement.
Now assume the driver behind the wheel is inebriated and runs a red light going 50 mph while you’re driving at the legal speed limit. You drive through the yellow traffic light as you tune the radio and the drunk driver crashes into you. However, the court establishes that you’re 5% liable for the crash and that you are ineligible to receive reimbursement.
Scenarios such as these are unfair and a bitter pill to swallow. But they are prevalent under stringent North Carolina regulations. Because of this, you must work with an experienced lawyer with vast experience in dealing with such cases. Remember that the insurance provider will work harder to prove you were responsible for the crash in some way.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim?
Following the accident date, the North Carolina statute of limitations is three years. However, you’ll need to submit the claim to your insurer much sooner, ideally after the accident happens.
Note that the time span doesn’t apply to accidents where the government or public agency was liable. The window for filing a claim is significantly shorter.
What Can I do if Insurance Denied My Claim?
Because an insurer may have denied your claim doesn’t necessarily mean they are correct on the judgment. Our attorneys have assisted win millions of dollars in terms of recompense for victims who had their claim initially denied.
When you reach out to us, we will assess the evidence together with statements and videos while they are available and still fresh. When we ascertain the validity of your case, we’ll do everything we can to seek the reimbursement your need and are entitled to.
So just because the claim was rejected doesn’t mean you can’t proceed with the case. In the majority of cases, the denial is baseless and can be successfully appealed and won.
What If The Driver Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Insurance?
As per North Carolina state law, all road users are mandated to have Uninsured Motorist policy Coverage (UM). It’s a requirement that was put in place to assist victims who encounter such circumstances. UM and UIM provides reimbursement for scenarios where the liable driver doesn’t possess insurance coverage, or it was insufficient to cover damages entirely. UIM primarily offers protection for the difference in coverage. So when your injuries and damages exceed the coverage policy, our attorneys have the know-how to keep the process ongoing even when the insurer is reluctant.
Contact an Experienced Kannapolis Car Accident Lawyer
If a car accident has caused injury to you or a loved one you have the right to compensation. At Harman Law, our car accident attorneys will review your claim with the attention it deserves and assess your legal options. We are always prepared to field any questions or concerns you might have during the claims process.
Call our Kannapolis injury law firm today and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. At Harman Law, you don’t pay any fees upfront until and owe us nothing unless your claim is won.