The experienced legal team at The Bishop Law Firm represents car accident injury victims in North Carolina. We do not get paid unless you win your case. Call us today for a free case review at (919) 615-3095 or start your free case review now.
NC Personal Injury Law
North Carolina is one of the four (Alabama, Maryland and Virginia) remaining contributory negligence states. This means that the victim must not be at fault in order to recover for their car accident injuries. NC is not a no-fault state.
Contributory negligence often results in unfair outcomes for victims but is the law in our state. One exception to contributory negligence is the “last clear change doctrine”. The last clear chance doctrine can help victims if the at-fault party had the last opportunity to change course and avoid the injury.
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. Future medical expenses and lost wages should also be included if warranted.
Punitive damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for egregiously wrongful acts. Drunk drivers who harm others while behind the wheel may be liable for punitive damages. However, simply causing an accident due to distracted driving may not rise to the level of “egregiously wrongful.”
How long after a car accident can you sue in North Carolina? NC has a three year statute of limitations from the date of injury. If your loved one was killed in the car accident, you have two years from the date of death to bring suit.
How is fault determined in a car accident in NC? After a car wreck, the police officer will usually cite the at-fault party and put a description of the accident on the bottom of the 2nd page of the accident report.
As a matter of course, it is difficult to get accident reports corrected. In some cases, no one receives a ticket, but it is still clear who is at fault. In other unfortunate cases, it’s difficult to tell who is at fault and this usually results in arbitration for property damage claims and litigation for those who seek compensation for injuries sustained.
If you were injured while at work in a motor vehicle accident, you could have an NC Workers’ Compensation case as well as a car accident claim.
Do You Need a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer?
Was your auto accident 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.
If you are looking for your automobile accident report, you can try your local police website, your County Sheriff’s office, or the NC State Highway Patrol, depending on what official was called to the scene of your accident.
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 motor vehicle accident cases. The insurance adjuster may deny that their insured is at fault. A North Carolina car accident lawyer can help to determine if you have an injury claim and give you legal advice about recovering your losses from the car crash.
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 your car accident claim. The choice to hire a accident attorney 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 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.
Simply put, a car accident attorney 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.
Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
Car accidents are no fun. Unfortunately, certain injuries from car accidents may not be covered by your insurance policy and it’s all too easy to get stuck with a bill you cannot afford because of the sometimes-frustrating way that hospitals assess who pays what for medical services.
Depending on your injury, there can be a higher likelihood of long-term effects, need for future medical care, or complications (such as brain injury, orthopedic injuries, i.e.).
Common serious injuries you may sustain from an automobile accident include:
- Back Injury After Car Accident
- Neck Injury After Car Accident
- Chiari Malformation After Car Accident
- Brain Injury After Car Accident
- Blunt Force Trauma To Head From Car Accident
- Shoulder Injury After Car Accident
- Leg Injury After Car Accident
- Foot Injury After Car Accident
- Skin Injury After Car Accident
- PTSD After Car Accident
- Vehophobia After Car Accident
- Chronic Conditions From Car Accidents
- Delayed Symptoms After Car Accident
In many cases, injuries as a result of an auto collision entitle the injured party to compensation. However, if you’re trying to settle with the insurance company that is at fault for your injury, they will be looking out only for their own interests when it comes time to pay up.
It’s important to work with your North Carolina car accident lawyer and provide them with all the necessary information to make the most reliable and honest claim.
Medical bills after Motor Vehicle Accidents
Medical bills after a NC Car Accident can be handled in a few different ways. Many of our clients file claims with their own health insurance initially since medical providers want to paid quickly.
Next, you should file a insurance claim with the at-fault party’s car insurance company. A personal injury claim will be opened for your injury and a property damage claim will be opened so you can get your car repaired. 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 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/lien with the medical provider if you do not have health insurance.
If the driver that caused the car accident does not have car insurance coverage, your last resort is to file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage. Read more at Medical Bills After a Car Accident.
What is pain and suffering?
Pain & suffering is the law’s way of trying to compensate a car accident victim for the non-tangible (but very real) consequences of being injured in a car accident. Physical pain and mental suffering are hard to quantify but a victim has to endure them all the same. If you break your leg, you will experience not only physical pain but also mental and emotional distress. Unfortunately, injuries can leave us with visible (and invisible) scars that affect our self-esteem.
What can I claim in lost wages?
A lost wage claim is a claim that a motor vehicle accident victim can assert against an at-fault driver for losing time from work because of his or her injuries. 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 their injuries. Lost wage documentation must be verified by the injured accident victim’s employer. The employer should provide payroll records stating how many days the accident victim missed from work and the injured accident victim’s rate of pay.
Commissioned and self-employed car accident victims can meet with opposition from the other driver’s insurance company due to the difficulties surrounding “lost earning capacity.” Nonetheless, a car accident victim should be compensated for their lost wages, no matter how they earn them.
How to Calculate a Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina
A very basic calculation of an NC car accident injury settlement would look like: (Medical expenses + lost wages) + pain and suffering. There are different ways to calculate non-economic damages (pain and suffering). Some NC personal injury lawyers use medical expenses and lost wages as a base for calculating pain and suffering: Economic Damages x Multiplier = Pain and Suffering amount. The multiplier can run from 1-5 with 5 usually being a wrongful death claim.
As an example, Donald Duck was injured in a car accident and sustained $20,000 in medical bills, prescriptions costs, and medical supplies. He was out of work for two weeks. He makes $1,000 a week from his job. During this time, Donald had severe pain from his personal injury and was unable to sleep or bathe without assistance. The hypothetical settlement using a multiplier of 2 would be $66,000 (($22,000 x 2)+22,000).
The amount of compensation you are eligible for depends on the extent of your injuries and your financial losses. Every car accident case is different. It would seem logical that the greater your injury, the greater your expenses, and thus the greater your car accident settlement. While this is usually true, cases involving a drunk driver, children, or a highly publicized automobile accident can increase the average car accident settlement due to the likelihood that a higher jury verdict may be returned.
Another important consideration is the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. Read our post: NC Car Accidents and Insurance Policy Limits.
Why should you hire a lawyer after a car accident?
Obtaining compensation for your losses should be as simple as filing a claim with the adjuster at the driver’s insurance company. But, all too frequently, insurance companies will deny liability on a car accident claim or refuse to pay for needed medical treatment. In other situations, insurance companies will use your situation against you and persuade you to settle your claim for less than you are entitled to receive. An insurance adjuster can try to settle an injury claim before all necessary medical treatment is obtained or wait until the statute of limitations has run so the accident victim gets nothing.
If you have sustained a serious injury from an auto accident that was not your fault, an experienced car accident attorney will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that each of your interests is represented to the insurance company or the jury, if needed. This is especially true when your injuries and subsequent medical treatment are complex.
A car accident lawyer can foresee and tackle the legal issues that you may not be aware of at the time of your claim. The attorney you hire after a car accident, truck accident, or other motor vehicle wreck will set the tone for how you are treated by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The Bishop Law Firm is a contingency fee law firm which means we do not get paid unless you win. There are no upfront costs and we get paid out of your settlement. This ensures that we are very interested in attaining the most recovery for our clients.
Contact The Bishop Law Firm Today
When you have been a victim of a car accident, it is important to know there are auto accident lawyers in Raleigh who can help you get the maximum compensation. We understand how stressful this time may be for those involved and hope we can help in some way. In addition to car crashes, we represent the victims of:
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Drunk Driver Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Catastrophic Injuries
- and more…
Call us today for a free case review at (919) 615-3095 or start your free case review now. The Bishop Law Firm represents car victims of auto accidents in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Fayetteville, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids and more! We look forward to working with you and wish you a speedy recovery.