Despite the many advancements in car safety technology, strict measures being put in place, and public education on the matter, it has become almost impossible to stop car accidents. Auto accidents are still an unpleasant reality that drivers have to deal with on a daily basis. If you own a car in North Carolina, there is a very high likelihood that, at some point, you will get into some sort of crash or fender bender. Even if you are the most careful driver, there is always the risk of being hit by a drunk driver, distracted driver, or another negligent driver.
While even a minor accident can leave you profoundly upset and disturbed, a serious accident can completely turn your life upside down, leaving you devastated and dealing with a lot of difficulties. Sadly, this is something thousands of people go through each year.
According to the most recent data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there were 272,310 traffic crashes in the state in 2020. Though it was a reduction from 2019, the number is still substantially high. 104,967 suffered injuries while 1,650 lost their lives. These figures are quite shocking, to say the least. What makes the situation even sadder is the fact that most of these accidents are completely preventable.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of an auto accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Our seasoned Kannapolis car accident lawyers at 1Charlotte are here for you. We will fight aggressively for your rights and ensure that you are fully compensated. Get in touch with our personal injury attorneys today at 704.706.2689 to set up your free consultation.
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How Much Does A Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
This is perhaps the most common question we get asked by car accident victims seeking professional legal assistance. Fortunately, we offer our services on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t have to pay us anything if we don’t recover compensation for you. You don’t have to worry about making any upfront payments, rather we will collect our fees from your compensation amount.
What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, you need to take proper action to protect your rights. Here are the steps you need to take after a crash:
Contact The Police
Regardless of whether the accident is minor or serious, it is imperative that you call the police. You will need them to file an official accident report, as this will serve as part of crucial evidence in your case.
Check On Other Involved Parties And Do Not Leave
If you are in a position to do so, move around and check on others involved in the accident. Contact emergency responders immediately if anyone needs urgent medical attention. Do not attempt to flee the scene, especially if there are injuries, property damage, or death.
Ensure that you collect all the necessary information from the other driver. This includes the driver’s name, contact details, license number, vehicle registration and insurance information, license plate number, and make and model of the car. You also need to provide them with yours.
Record the Scene
It helps to preserve the evidence while it is still fresh. Take as many photos and videos as possible of the scene. Documenting available evidence can make or break your case. Also, remember to talk to any available witnesses and collect their names and contact information.
Never Admit Fault
You should never admit fault or apologize for an accident. Remember, North Carolina is a pure contributory fault state, meaning that if you are found to be even 1% at fault, you lose your right to seek compensation against the other party. Additionally, even if you feel guilty or somehow at fault, a proper and thorough investigation is always required to prove fault and liability.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine, failing to seek medical attention can cause hidden injuries to become worse over time and also prevent you from receiving personal injury compensation from the liable party. It is important to have your injuries documented by licensed physicians.
Call A Car Accident Lawyer!
It is always important to contact an attorney after a car accident. An attorney will help you determine whether you have a valid case and also help you assess the long-term impacts of your injury. He/she will handle the bulk of the process and ensure that you receive fair compensation for the value of your claim.
When Should I Get A Lawyer For My Auto Accident?
Given the strict state laws regarding fault and insurance coverage, it can be very easy for an accident victim to jeopardize their right to pursue compensation against the other party by accidentally admitting fault or partial fault. It is crucial that you retain the services of an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Your attorney has your best interests at heart and will ensure that your rights are protected from the onset.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer?
Our attorneys can help your accident claim through their experience in:
Investigating Your Kannapolis Car Accident
Your attorney will try to establish what exactly caused your accident and gather evidence of fault. He/she will aim to build a strong case for you which means that they will have to work with expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, among others. They will also seek to obtain and review all visual evidence, medical reports, police reports, witness statements. He/she will also help you assess the true extent of your injuries.
Putting Together Your Accident Claim
The laws and procedures involving car accident claims can be quite complex. Your attorney will help you file the necessary paperwork, and provide legal guidance through the process.
Insurance companies are businesses and will always seek to protect their bottom line. They often try to pressure victims to accept low-ball offers and use underhand tactics to devalue their claims. Attorneys have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies. They know all the techniques used by the insurers and won’t settle for any amount less than the full value of your claim.
Trial Preparation & Representation
Here at 1Charlotte, we usually prepare car accident cases as if we are going to trial. Doing this helps to ensure the insurance companies take our claims more seriously and they are forced to put forward favorable settlement offers. However, in case they fail to do so, we are always prepared to take your case to trial. We have a proven track record of handling cases in court and we will fight aggressively for your rights before a judge or jury.
How Much Can I Expect To Receive For My Damages?
Given that every car accident claim is unique, there is no average car accident settlement amount in North Carolina. Your attorney will need to consider the facts of your case in order to determine how much you are owed. Some of the factors your attorney will look at include:
- Total expenses
- Lost wages
- Available insurance coverage
- Evidence of fault
To get a better idea of what to expect you can also look at North Carolina’s minimum liability insurance requirements;
- Minimum $25,000 for property damage
- Minimum $30,000 for bodily injury for one person
- Minimum $60,000 for bodily injury for two or more people
What Type Of Damages Can I Recover?
After a car accident in North Carolina you can file a claim to recover the following types of damages:
These damages will cover you for verifiable financial losses suffered as a result of the accident. They include car repair costs, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost income, loss of earning capacity, etc.
These types of damages cover you for subjective non-monetary losses suffered as a result of your injuries. They include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, etc.
These damages are usually awarded where the defendant is found to have acted in an intentional or grossly negligent manner. Punitive damages are meant to serve as punishment for the defendant and discourage the repeat of such behavior.
The state of Carolina has put a cap on punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
How Is Fault Determined?
Fault in the state of North Carolina is governed by the law of negligence. And since NC is a contributory negligence state, you will need to prove that the accident was fully caused by the negligence of the other driver. The elements of proving negligence are:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- The other driver breached their duty of care
- Your injury was directly caused by the breach of duty of care of the other driver
- You suffered damages as a result of the injury
Evidence such as witness statements, photographs and video recordings, police reports, applying laws, etc., can be used to prove fault.
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
The statute of limitations for car accident claims is three years from the date of the accident. However, note that you are required to report the accident to your insurance company much earlier.
What Can I Do If Insurance Denied My Claim?
A car accident claim can be denied for a variety of reasons. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the road for you. You can ask your attorney to request a dispute or try mediation. If this doesn’t work, you can notify your states’ Department of Insurance who will put your case into arbitration.
Do I Have A Case?
Your attorney will evaluate the specific facts of your case to determine whether you have a valid claim. This is why it is always important to consult an attorney if you are ever involved in a car accident.
Contact An Experienced Kannapolis Car Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver in Kannapolis, North Carolina, you need to get in touch with a seasoned Kannapolis personal injury firm right away. North Carolina has some of the most strict laws regarding fault and insurance coverage. It is highly important to have someone who clearly understands these laws and has experience handling such cases. Our team at 1Charlotte is prepared to offer you all the necessary assistance. We will ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and damages.