North Carolina Car Wreck FAQs
Many car accident victims have a number of questions in the aftermath of their wreck, and may not know where to
turn for help. If you have been involved in a car accident in Charlotte, consider the following answers to some of the most frequently asked questions posed by victims in the area.
Should I talk to the police at the accident scene?
Yes, you should speak with the police and answer basic questions. However, refrain from providing answers about which you are unsure, and never admit liability for the accident. Saying too much may negatively impact your future claim or personal injury case.
Should I notify my insurance company?
Yes, you are likely under a legal obligation to notify and cooperate with your insurance company. Failure to do so may automatically bar any recovery for the accident. Provide your insurance company claims agent a general description of the accident, but refrain from taking any blame for the incident.
Should I notify the other driver’s insurance company?
When dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, it is best that you secure the services of an experienced attorney to handle these communications for you. Anything you say to the insurance company can be taken out of context and used against you during future claims or court cases. To protect your interests, it is best to speak through your lawyer.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
If you are involved in a accident with an uninsured motorist, don’t assume that you have no recourse. This is where your uninsured/underinsured coverage comes into play. You can file a claim against your own insurance company to seek compensation. If you are without this coverage, you may choose to file suit against the other driver. Keep your expectations low because most uninsured drivers have few monetary assets, which will make a damage award challenging.
What if I believe that I am partially at fault?
Proceed as usual by making the appropriate contacts. However, do not admit guilt to anyone, including the police or your insurance company. Only disclose your concerns to your lawyer and leave it to their discretion how to proceed.
How do I get my car repaired?
With some types of insurance, you can contact your company about fixing your car. They will handle your repairs and seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If your policy does not adequately cover your car repairs, you may have to file suit against the other driver for property damage.
When should I contact a lawyer?
Contact an attorney as soon as possible following the accident. If possible, try to retain a lawyer prior to speaking with any insurance representatives. Many personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, so you can learn the merits of your case without financial commitment.
If I feel fine, should I seek medical attention?
Yes. Just because you don’t immediately feel pain, it doesn’t mean that you do not have injuries. At the accident scene, even if you don’t feel the need to accept emergency assistance, you should still get checked out by the emergency medical workers and allow for transport to a hospital if advised. Failure to do so can prove a costly mistake because many injuries may take some time to reveal themselves. When you refuse transport, the insurance adjusters use this information to question whether your injuries actually resulted from the auto accident. If you do not accept emergency treatment, be sure to seek medical assistance as soon as possible following the accident, even if your pain is minor. That lingering headache could be a sign of concussion or traumatic brain injury. In addition, refusing treatment can result in a worsening of your injuries. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to your well being. Failing to seek medical assistance can give the insurance company a viable argument against the existence of your injuries.
Can I still win my claim if I was not wearing my seatbelt?
In the state of North Carolina, failing to wear a seatbelt does not automatically bar you from recovering in a personal injury lawsuit. The statute states in part, “…evidence of failure to wear a seat belt shall not be admissible in any criminal or civil trial, action, or proceeding except in an action based on a violation of this section…” This section prohibits any trial jury from considering any evidence of testimony regarding the plaintiff’s failure to wear a safety belt, which means that the failure cannot result in a comparative negligence finding or a reduction in compensation.
How long do I have to file a personal injury case?
North Carolina law establishes a three-year time limit for the filing of a personal injury lawsuit. The time clock begins to run on the date of the accident. However, various other circumstances may change this time limitation. Be sure to contact an auto accident attorney as quickly as possible to discuss the specifics of your case.
What is my case worth?
There are numerous factors that can contribute to the value of your auto accident case. The extent of your injuries, along with level of property damage to your vehicle come into consideration. However, the measurement of these elements can prove challenging because of future damages that may result from the accident. Actions of the at-fault party may also figure into the equation, possibly increasing the compensation amount.
Can I file a claim if I am a passenger in the accident?
If you are a passenger in an automobile accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the driver of your car and/or the driver of any other vehicle involved in the accident. If your claim is found viable, you may collect damages from either or both drivers. However, if there are numerous claims involved, your compensation may be reduced to accommodate all injured parties.