North Carolina Personal Injury Law
In North Carolina, if you have been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you can recover the costs of your missed time from work, medical expenses, and be compensated for your pain and suffering. Punitive damages are awarded in few cases.
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning if the injured person is even 1% at fault, they can not recover on a personal injury case (but see Last Clear Chance Doctrine).
For auto accident cases, the officer can issue a citation to the at-fault party, but not always. In some types of car accidents it can be difficult to determine who is actually at fault. If you were injured in Greenville and need your accident report, you can try the Police Department or the NC Department of Public Safety.
If you are unable to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster, and you need to file a NC Personal Injury Lawsuit, you must file your case in Pitt County Superior or District Court before the statute of limitations runs out.
According to N.C.G.S.§1-52 (16), the general rule for filing a negligence action or personal injury case in North Carolina is three (3) years from the date of the accident. That means that if a victim was injured on February 1, 2023, that person has until February 1, 2026 to file a lawsuit for their personal injury claim.
It does not matter if the person is still receiving medical treatment for their accident-related injuries or are currently in negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
This is an extremely important deadline that many North Carolina accident victims are not aware of.
Read: NC Personal Injury – Ten Bars to Recovery & NC Car Accidents and Sudden Emergency
Reasons To File a Car Accident Injury Claim
Do you have serious injuries that were caused by the auto accident? If you do not have injuries, then you do not have a Personal Injury case.
If you do have injuries, you need to get medical care as soon as possible, continue to receive treatment, and document all the medical bills you are incurring.
Do not delay getting medical treatment for your car accident injuries! The longer you wait to receive medical treatment the more difficult it will be to prove that your injury came from the car accident.
Speaking to an experienced Greenville Car Accident Attorney about filing a car accident claim is the first step to getting justice. The Greenville Car Accident Lawyers at The Bishop Law Firm can help you through the process of filing a claim so you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Car Accident Injuries:
Unfortunately, under the wrong circumstances, even relatively minor auto accidents can result in serious injuries. Traumatic Brain Injury, broken bones, spinal injuries and even wrongful death cases can result from car accidents.
*If you were injured in an auto accident while working you may also have a Greenville Workers’ compensation case. Workers’ compensation would not apply if you are on your way to work or your way home.*
Medical Bills After Greenville Car Accident
Medical bills after a NC Auto Accident can be handled in a few different ways. Many of our clients file claims with their own health insurance initially. If you do not have medical insurance, you will need to try to seek medical treatment on a lien basis or through free or reduced cost clinics. The importance of seeking medical treatment after your accident can not be understated.
Next, you should file a claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance carrier. Personal Injury claims and Property Damage claims are usually handled by different adjusters. The personal injury adjuster may want you to do a recorded statement or ask you for a list of your medical providers so they can obtain your medical records/bills. A personal injury claim can take substantial time.
If your own auto insurance has medical payments coverage (Med-Pay) you may be able to recover some of your medical expense that way. Lastly, you can enter into a payment arrangement with the medical provider if you do not have health insurance.
If the driver that caused the auto accident does not have car insurance, your last resort is to file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is required in NC while underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is required when policy limits are greater than the NC minimum ($30,000 Bodily Injury for each person, $60,000 total Bodily Injury for all persons in an accident and $25,000 for Property Damage).
Read: NC Car Accidents and Insurance Policy Limits & NC Personal Injury Medical Bills More Than Settlement?
Do you have lost wages due to your car crash injuries?
If your doctor has taken you out of work because of your injuries, save all of your pay stubs and ask your employer to provide you with a copy of your timesheets to preserve evidence of your lost wages.
In order to seek recovery for a lost wage claim, an injured accident victim has to have documentation of the actual days he or she has missed from work due to their injuries.
Lost wage documentation must be verified by the injured accident victim’s employer and their physician. The employer should provide payroll records stating how many days the accident victim missed work and the injured accident victim’s rate of pay.
The next step is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. They send you a big check covering everything, and you are done…….if only!
What is pain & suffering and how is it calculated?
In NC, pain and suffering covers the physical pain and mental suffering that a victim has to endure due to the injury they have sustained. If you break your leg, you will experience not only physical pain but also mental and emotional distress. Unfortunately, injuries can leave us with scars that affect our self-esteem.
You could develop depression, vehophobia, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after your injury. This is what pain and suffering damages attempt to compensate you for. Since all of us have different pain tolerance levels and mental dispositions, how do you determine the damages in individual cases?
Some personal injury lawyers use medical bills as part of an equation to arrive at a suitable amount for pain & suffering. The equation is medical expenses + lost wages and accident related expenses x a multiplier (usually 1.5 – 5).
For example, Minnie Mouse has $15,000 in medical bills and $5,000 in lost wages which results in losses of $20,000. You then multiply $20,000 X 3 which would result in a request of $60,000 for pain and suffering. The multiplier increases from 1.5 to 5 based on the severity, longevity, treatment and residuals of the injury, among other issues.
Read: Ten Ways to Maximize Recovery in NC Personal Injury Cases & Ways to Prove Pain and Suffering Damages
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer Greenville NC?
Was the car accident in Greenville your fault? If you received a citation (ticket) for the accident, it is likely that law enforcement determined you to be at some level of fault for the collision. In North Carolina, if you have been determined to be at fault in any way for the accident, you cannot be compensated due to contributory negligence, but see the Last Clear Chance Doctrine.
Read: Distracted Driving in NC Car Accidents & The Fast & Furious aka NC Personal Injury Auto Cases
Rear-end collisions, multi-car accidents, and fatal crashes can be complicated, to say the least. It can be difficult to determine who is actually at fault in some car accident cases.
The insurance adjuster may deny that their insured is the at fault driver. A Greenville personal injury law attorney can help to determine if you have an injury claim and give you legal advice about recovering your losses from the car accident.
Read NC Rear-End Collision Injuries
Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Dealing with the insurance company is not simple, straightforward, or quick. It is common knowledge that the insurance company wants to pay as little as possible, preferably nothing, and will employ various tactics to delay, frustrate, and minimize car accident claims.
The choice to hire Greenville Car Accident Lawyers to help with your claim can set the tone for how the insurance company treats you. Without the proper inspiration from an attorney, your claim may gather dust on an adjuster’s desk or get lost in the shuffle.
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters can use an injured person’s financial hardship against them and force them to take little to nothing for their car accident case. Even worse, some insurance adjusters will hold onto claims until the statute of limitations runs out, leaving the injured with no way to recover for their losses.
Settlement negotiations with an insurance adjuster can be tricky. Simply put, a car accident lawyer that handles personal injury cases can make sure your claim goes as smoothly as possible and help you decide if you should take the insurance companies’ offer or pursue litigation.
Our Greenville Car Accident Lawyer handles all types of motor vehicle accidents including but not limited to the following:
Frequently asked questions
- What is the average settlement for a car accident in NC? The amount that your case settles for can vary greatly. Those with broken bones or long term disabilities due to an accident will likely receive far more than those with soft tissue injuries.
- How is fault determined in a car accident in NC? Usually, the law enforcement officer will make an initial determination as to who is at fault in a car accident. Even if the police officer does not issue a citation, the narrative can be used on the accident report to determine fault. If neither of the above are helpful, the insurance adjuster may make a determination of fault.
- Is NC a fault or no-fault state? North Carolina is a no-fault state, which means that the victim must not be at fault in order to recover (contributory negligence is a bar to recovery).
- What is the statute of limitations for a car accident in NC? As discussed above, there is a three year statute of limitations for bringing suit for your personal injury from a car accident in NC.
- How long does an at fault accident affect insurance in NC? An accident can stay on your driving record for 3-5 years. This will in turn affect your insurance based on how long a period your insurance company considers your driving record.
- What happens if the person not at fault in an accident has no insurance in NC? If you are not at fault for the accident, as far as personal injury is concerned, that will not affect your case. The at-fault party should be responsible for your medical bills, etc. However, since the victim does not have insurance, they will not be eligible for Med-Pay or UM or UIM.
- Can you sue an uninsured driver in NC? You can sue anyone for almost anything, but that does not mean you will recover. In order to recover from a uninsured driver, they must have assets and you must prove that you are entitled to those assets due to the injuries you have sustained from the car accident that they caused.
- What is the penalty for no insurance in NC? Your license may be suspended, you may be charged fines or you may receive jail time if you are caught driving without insurance.
Find a Greenville Car Accident Lawyer Near You
Our experienced team at The Bishop Law Firm can help if you need an Greenville Car Accident Lawyer. Our focus is to protect and maximize car accident victims legal rights to fair compensation, and we don’t get paid unless you win. Can the at-fault driver’s insurance company say the same?
Contact us today for more information or start your free case review right now.
North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer