AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER IN CHARLOTTE NC
Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer
Auto Accident Lawyers… how can they help? Auto accidents are among the most common types of personal injury claims. Vehicles are part of our everyday lives, as a method of transportation for work and play. Whether you drive a car, operate a motorcycle or ride a bike, you are at risk of injury whenever you travel on the North Carolina roadways.
When accidents do occur, injuries can prove mentally, physically and financially devastating. While all damages are stressful, it’s particularly frustrating when your injuries are caused by the actions of another party. When this occurs, consider seeking compensation with the assistance of
an experienced automobile accident attorney.
Auto Accident Attorney – The Basics
There are numerous types of automobile accidents, depending on the circumstances and who is involved.
Passenger accidents occur when the passenger in a vehicle in injured in an auto accident. Under North Carolina law, the victim or a Charlotte Car Wreck Lawyer in this situation can seek damages from the at-fault driver, whether that driver is the operator of the vehicle with the passenger or a driver of an additional vehicle. Passenger injury claims are challenging because you must share any collected damages with other victims. For this reason, it is vitally important that you document your injuries and costs. A unique aspect of a passenger injury claim is the high probability of seeking compensation from a family member or friend, which can prove difficult.
Trucking accidents are also common on North Carolina streets. The weight and size of tractor trailer trucks make them particularly dangerous. When involved in a trucking accident, victims often experience fatal or life threatening injuries. This is part of the reason why the state of North Carolina mandates that these vehicles carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance. Common injuries include spinal and brain injuries, along with burns and internal wounds.
When seeking compensation for a trucking accident, several parties may be involved. Fault may lie with the driver of the truck if he operated the vehicle in an unsafe manner by speeding or not following traffic rules. Fault may also lie with the truck driver’s employer if he failed to require adequate driving laws or rest for the driver. If the truck is found in disrepair or in noncompliance with state and federal laws, the owner of the truck may prove to be liable. If this is the case, you must prove to the court that the action or inaction of the owner caused the accident that led to your injuries. This is especially a good situation to have an experienced car wreck attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina assisting your case.
Bicycle accidents are often the result of a driver’s failure to respect the rights of the cyclist. Actions like following too closely or failing to yield can lead to significant and life threatening injuries. In seeking compensation, the injured cyclist should seek medical attention as soon as possible and keep documents of all treatment. Along with compensatory damages for medical expenses and lost wages, an auto accident attorney can help a cyclist also collect punitive damages if the responsible party is a drunk or reckless driver.
Especially on busy city streets like those in Charlotte, pedestrians face a big risk when drivers fail to pay proper attention or act with caution. When involved in automobile accidents, pedestrians often suffer injuries to their hips and knees, as well as traumatic head injuries and internal injuries. Under North Carolina law, pedestrians can file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver. They can seek compensatory damages for costs that arose as a result of the injuries. Like bicycle victims, they are also allowed to seek punitive damages when the at-fault driver was drunk or driving recklessly.
First things First
When faced with an an automobile accident, your most important task is seeking medical attention. Your well being is a top priority, so make sure that you tend to your health first. Medical assistance is also important if you plan to seek compensation with the help of an accident lawyer in Charlotte. In order to secure an award, you must prove your damages. This includes documenting your injuries. For example, if emergency services arrive at the accident scene, accept help and follow any recommendations. If you refuse transport to a hospital, it may hurt your case later. If you don’t receive medical assistance at the scene, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t delay in this action or you could jeopardize the success of your claim.
Proving your injuries also involves documentation. Create a medical file and fill it with all of your payment receipts, pharmaceutical receipts insurance questionnaires, diagnosis, prescriptions and explanations of benefits. All of these documents will prove crucial in proving your injuries and documenting your financial damages.
If you experienced substantial injuries, it is imperative that you seek the services of an attorney. This is one of the main factors in determining whether legal assistance is necessary for your case. Other determining factors include any deaths resulting from the accident and the involvement of other parties in the accident. You should also seriously consider an attorney if you are questioning whether you are at fault in the accident. Dealing with insurance adjusters can prove challenging and one wrong statement can jeopardize the success of your claim. If you feel that you may hold some responsibility for the accident, professional legal assistance is a must.
When considering whether to hire an attorney, cost is understandably an issue. Attorneys charge different fees for their services, so it is difficult to make a blanket statement about cost. However, understanding the various types of fee arrangements can help you make an informed decision. A flat fee arrangement consists of a fixed amount that is established prior to the case. An attorney may require you to pay it in one lump sum or in payment amounts. Hourly fee arrangements require you to pay a set amount per hour of work. Your attorney may require a sizeable retainer amount of front which is used to pay your fee as work is completed.
The contingency fee is the most common payment arrangement for auto accident cases. In these situations, your attorney receives a percentage of your award amount. For example, with a contingency fee of 30%, if your claim results in an award of $15,000, your attorney’s fee will equal $5,000. Talk with your attorney about their preferred payment method at the time of your consultation to get a better idea about the total cost of your case.
One of the most useful benefits of hiring an attorney is having an experienced professional to deal with insurance adjusters on your behalf, but if you do choose to speak with the adjuster on you own, it’s helpful to know what they do and how to deal with them.
Insurance representatives work for their employers to investigate accident claims and attempt settlements with the injured parties. Your first conversation will likely consist of the adjuster asking questions about the accident. Additionally, she will ask questions about your driving history and injuries. You are not required to give an official statement at this time. Don’t hesitate to ask for more time, so you can gather medical documents and get a clearer view of your medical situation.
After the initial meeting, it is important that you provide the adjuster with updates regarding your injuries. Don’t assume that the adjuster will keep up with changes in your case. Instead, be proactive in providing information and checking on the status of your claim. When it’s time for settlement negotiations, remember that the adjuster is given a monetary range by the insurance company. When offering you a settlement amount, she is not allowed to exceed these restrictions. If the offer is low, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Ask for a higher settlement and highlight your justification. Remember that you know your case better than anyone else.
Statute of Limitations
When deciding whether to file a lawsuit, it is important that you keep the statute of limitations in mind. This is a restriction put in place by the state to limit the amount of time you take to file a lawsuit. Under North Carolina law, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years. for automobile accidents, the time begins to run on the date of the accident. Therefore, if you are in an accident on June 4, 2018, you may take until June 3, 2021 to file a lawsuit for compensation. If you fail to do so, the court may disallow you from filing your lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires.
Some types of auto accidents come with their own specific set of circumstances and nuances.
Drunk Driving Accident Claims
Drunk driving auto accidents are unique in that they usually involve a criminal case in addition to any civil claims. The two actions proceed in different matters, but a finding of criminal liability can assist you in proving your civil case.
Another unique characteristic of a drunk driving accident is the possible availability of additional damages and responsible parties. Generally, when filing suit for a drunk driving claim, you can seek damages to compensate you for your costs, including medical expenses and lost wages. Under North Carolina law, you may also seek punitive damages for drunk driving injuries. These damages are awarded with intent of deterring the defendant from driving under the influence in the future and they can increase the amount of your lawsuit award.
While this is a positive aspect, the problem arises in the amount of insurance maintained by the at-fault driver. DUI defendants are often underinsured, due to the high premiums required of them by the insurance companies. However, the state also allows an injured party to seek damages from another potentially liable party in drunk driving cases.
North Carolina recognizes that a third party may hold liability in certain situations. A bar owner or liquor retailer may share in the responsibility if their establishment served or sold liquor to the drunk driver when he or she was already in an obviously intoxicated state. If that person then drove and caused an accident that resulted in your injuries, you may file a claim against that responsible party. This provides a potential for an additional damage award.
Accidents involving an uninsured driver also create a unique circumstance. While you typically file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver, in these situations, there is no company to file a claim against. North Carolina requires automobile insurance companies to include uninsured motorist coverage in their policies. This means that you must file a claim against your own insurance company, which can prove challenging. You and your own insurance company, which you pay on a regular basis, can become adversaries if they are unwilling to pay for your damages. Keep in mind that the insurance company has a duty to deal with you in good faith and you also hold a duty to deal with the insurance company in a cooperative manner.
While many people believe that rear end accidents are unique, they are not in actuality. There is no law in North Carolina that in a rear-end accident, the second driver is automatically at fault. while there are numerous circumstances where the striking driver is responsible, there are also numerous circumstances where the hit driver is at fault. This driver’s brakes may malfunction or she may decide to turn at an intersection without properly signalling. Conversely, the striking party may cause the accident by tailgating and following too closely, or due to driver distraction. Therefore, it is improper to assume that you are due damages when rear-ended by another vehicle.
Failing to Wear a Seatbelt
This is another situation where popular belief differs from reality. Many people believe that they are prevented from seeking damages for accident injuries if they were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the incident. While this is the case in some states, North Carolina is not one of them. The state statute prohibits any trial jury from considering testimony about a failure to wear a seatbelt. This means that the absence of a seatbelt will not bar you from receiving a damage award in and of itself. If you find yourself in this situation, take the same steps to document the accident and the seek compensation as you would in any other vehicle accident.