Harman Law Offers FREE Personal Injury Consultations!
If you or your loved one have been injured in a car accident, you need a North Carolina car accident lawyer. Schedule an appointment today to speak with with an experienced lawyer who can answer any questions you may have.
Your automobile accident lawyer will also review your case and let you know what it may be worth. If they don’t think you have a case, they’ll let you know. But, if the defendant was at fault, they’ll work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
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We see car accidents all the time – on our way to work or while we’re out shopping. But, what happens when we are that person on the side of the road after a crash? When this happens, a North Carolina car accident lawyer is an essential asset to get the compensation you deserve.
Thankfully, most car accidents are rather minor. People walk away with a few bumps and bruises. They may need car repairs, but other than that, everybody is okay. In cases like this, most people just file an insurance claim and get paid a week or so later.
For other people, things aren’t so simple. You may suffer some serious injuries. You may need surgery and physical therapy, which may cause you to miss a lot of time from work. If this happens, you’re going to need an experienced personal injury attorney.
Your lawyer will do a few things for you:
- Deal with the insurance company to try to get your claim paid
- Make sure your medical bills are covered while your case is pending
- File a lawsuit on your behalf
- Gather evidence to prove your case
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina?
Most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t pay anything upfront. Your auto accident lawyer in Huntersville, NC will take a percentage of your settlement or jury award if you win the case. This percentage can range anywhere from 25-40%. However, most lawyer charge about 33%.
So, if your case settles for $100,000, your lawyer will get a third – or, $33,000. For some cases that involve complex matters, or that go to trial, this percentage may go up to 40%, while it can also be lower than 33% if the case settles quickly and without going to trial. An honest car accident lawyer will make this situation clear at the time the attorney-client relationship is established.
For those seeking representation, a contingency fee allows you to know that your lawyer has a personal interest in your case. Their pay is directly tied to obtaining the largest settlement they possibly can for their clients, creating a mutually beneficial relationship between attorney and client. The best part for clients is that they don’t even have to pay anything up front!
What should do you after a car accident?
After an accident, you need to do a few things. This is so that you can, first and foremost, make sure everyone is okay. But you also need to make sure you take the necessary steps to preserve your accident claim.
Most people are quite shaken up after a car crash. So, here is a quick guide to help you after your car accident in North Carolina.
1. STOP YOUR CAR: No matter what, you can’t leave the scene of the crash.
2. CHECK TO SEE IF ANYONE IS SERIOUSLY HURT: You’ll want to arrange for an ambulance if anyone has any serious injuries or isn’t responding.
3. CALL THE POLICE: Don’t ever agree to not call the police. You’re going to need the police report to prove your case. You’re also legally required to report any car accident. This way, you can kill two birds with one stone.
4. EXCHANGE PERTINENT INFORMATION WITH THE OTHER DRIVER: This includes their name and contact information. You also want to get their insurance information. Make sure you check the expiration date on their insurance card. You do not want to apologize or take the blame for the accident, this will seriously harm your claim.
5. SEE IF YOU CAN GET THE NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION OF ANY WITNESSES: Keep in mind that a lot of people don’t like to get involved in other people’s business. Don’t be surprised if most people want to just leave and not give you their information. Once the police arrive, witnesses will be more likely to cooperate. They trust a cop more than they trust a stranger.
6. USE YOUR CELL PHONE TO TAKE SOME PICTURES: You want to get pictures of both cars. Snap some from different angles so you can see any damage caused to the vehicles. Also take pictures of the scene in general. Your lawyer may need these to prove your case. If the road conditions are bad, take pictures of this as well.
7. TALK TO THE POLICE: Let them know what happened. Be careful not to admit fault. Some people hate confrontation so much, they say things they don’t mean. Anything you say will be written into the cop’s police report. You don’t want to say things that can be used against you later.
8. GO TO THE HOSPITAL: Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you have to get checked out. You could have injuries that you can’t see. For example, you may have a traumatic brain injury or internal injuries. You also are going to need medical documentation to prove your injuries in court.
9. SUBMIT YOUR CLAIMS TO THE DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY.
10. CONTACT HARMAN LAW for an experienced car accident attorney.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer After My Car Accident?
If you get into a car crash in North Carolina, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer immediately. Once you’ve sorted things out with the police, you need to go for medical treatment. As soon as you’re well enough to handle your affairs, you should make that call to your lawyer.
Some people tend to wait until after their insurance claim is denied to meet with an auto accident lawyer. However, this isn’t the best idea. When you file your claim, you have no idea if it’s going to be paid or denied. Once it’s denied, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle to get it paid.
If you hire your lawyer right away, they can help you file your claim. This will improve your chances of getting paid. This alone makes it worth it to contact a car accident lawyer right away.
If you wait too long to talk to a lawyer, you’re only hurting your chances of recovery. Your lawyer is able to do things that you cannot. They have years of experience handling cases just like yours. Give them as much time as possible to prepare your case.
Why Should I Hire a North Carolina Auto Accident Attorney?
You really want a local attorney to handle your auto accident case. They know the laws in North Carolina. They also have relationships with the local insurance adjusters and attorneys. This can make all the difference when it comes to winning or losing your case.
Your attorney will start out by handling your insurance claim. They’ll reach out to the insurance adjuster and try to get your claim paid. They’ll also make sure the insurance company doesn’t try to take advantage of you.
The insurance adjuster will try to make it look like the accident was your fault. They’ll try to prove you were the negligent party. Your Huntersville auto accident attorney will make sure this doesn’t happen.
Your lawyer will also protect your rights. You don’t want to sign a settlement release with the insurance company without having a skilled attorney review the document. If you were to sign the settlement without an attorney reviewing it, you could be signing away your rights to future compensation. You don’t want to do this.
Your attorney will also conduct an initial investigation to determine fault. They will talk to the officer who was at the scene. They’ll get a copy of the accident report. Your lawyer will also reach out to witnesses to see what they saw.
If need be, your car accident attorney in Huntersville, NC will hire experts to review your case. This way, if your case goes to court, you’ll have someone ready to testify on your behalf.
Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
In most states, if the other driver was at fault, you can file a claim for damages. This makes sense. If you weren’t the one primarily responsible for the accident, you shouldn’t be the one left holding the bag.
North Carolina is, unfortunately, not one of these states. In North Carolina, they use something called contributory negligence. This means that, if you’re in any way at fault in an accident, you may be barred from recovering for your injuries.
Here is an example of how this works:
Let’s say that you have a brake light out. You’re in bumper to bumper traffic. Someone decides to come barreling down the road at 20 miles over the speed limit. They don’t slow down in time and end up smashing into the back of your car.
You suffer a broken neck and a crushed leg. It takes several rounds of surgery and physical therapy to get you back to normal. You miss a few months from work and have to spend thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Since having a brake light out can be considered negligence, the courts in North Carolina may hold you partly responsible. This means you won’t be able to recover against the other driver. This doesn’t seem fair. They were the ones speeding. They crashed into you, not the other way around.
This is why you need to find the best Huntersville car accident lawyer. They can fight hard to get your case settled so you don’t run into this kind of situation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in North Carolina?
Nearly every driver will have an accident at some point in their time behind the wheel. Hopefully, these accidents don’t result in any injury, but many do, in fact, leave drivers and passengers in bad shape.
Every state has something called a statute of limitations. This is a law that states how long you have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a car accident injury claim in North Carolina is three (3) years. This sounds like a lot of time. However, it can go by a lot faster than you may think.
If your injuries are serious, it could take months or years for you to recover. You’re not going to want to file your claim until you have an idea of just how bad off you are. It makes sense to wait until you’ve recovered. This way, you have an idea of what your damages are.
Your Huntersville car accident lawyer will have to get your claim filed in time. If you miss the 3-year window, the court will dismiss your claim. You won’t be allowed to file suit against the other driver.
The good news is that North Carolina’s statute of limitations is longer than many other states. You should have enough time for your Huntersville car accident lawyer to gather the evidence necessary to prove your case. This also gives him plenty of time to work out a settlement with the defendant’s attorney.
What Type of Damages Can Be Claimed in a Car Accident?
If you get hurt in a car crash in North Carolina, you may have a claim for damages. Your car accident lawyer is going to demand that you be compensated for your injuries. They’ll also demand that you be reimbursed for any financial losses you’ve suffered.
Some of the more common types of damages in a car accident claim include:
You may be entitled to reimbursement for any medical bills caused by the accident. This includes past and future medical bills. Your doctor may determine that you’re going to need long term medical care. If this is the case, the defendant should have to pay for this. These damages also include any out of pocket expenses you’ve suffered as a result of the crash.
Chances are, you may need to get your car repaired or replaced. The defendant is responsible for these costs. If your car is totaled, the insurance company will offer you fair market value for your vehicle. If your insurance covered this loss, they’ll expect to be reimbursed when you settle your case.
If you need surgery and physical therapy, you could be out of work for a while. This means you’re going to lose a lot in wages. Also, if you end up unable to work after the crash, you’ll have to go on disability. You’ll probably earn a lot less on disability than you would be working. The defendant should be responsible for these lost earnings.
pain & suffering
These damages are meant to compensate you for any physical and mental anguish caused by the crash. If your injuries are serious, you’ll probably be entitled to pain and suffering.
Generally speaking, you’re only going to have to file suit if the defendant’s insurance denies your claim. Otherwise, your insurance claim would’ve included these damages. But, if your claim is denied, you’ll have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the defendant.
If this happens, the insurance company will still have to defend the case on behalf of their client. They don’t want to go to trial. Nobody does. Your North Carolina personal injury attorney will more than likely negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
Trials are expensive and time-consuming, You also risk losing if you go to trial. Everyone, including your attorney, knows this. That’s why you may have to settle for less than your total damages if you want to resolve the case out of court.