Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a very traumatic experience. This trauma is only compounded if the accident results in serious physical injury or extensive damage to your car. While damage to your vehicle can usually be easily remedied, injuries sustained in a car accident can take days, weeks, or even months to resolve. In that time, you may be unable to work or attend school. Medical bills may begin to pile up and in the worst instances you may not have any income to pay these bills if your injury prevents you from working. Fighting for your right to adequate compensation following an accident can be an uphill battle when you’re struggling just to get things back to normal. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this alone. Our firm can take the lead in fighting for your right to sufficient compensation while you focus on healing and taking care of your family.
To make this process easier, we have outlined below some of the most common questions that our firm gets about personal injury cases and the general process for handling a personal injury claim.
What Happens After an Accident?
Immediately after a wreck, you should seek medical treatment if you feel sore or injured. Some people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need treatment because they did not immediately feel injured after an accident. That said, many injuries may not become apparent until some days after the accident.
It is important to document your pain throughout your treatment, we often recommend keeping a daily journal of your treatment. You should consult an attorney before you agree to talk to any insurance adjuster and before you sign anything.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
Filing a personal injury claim with the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver in your auto accident is the main avenue available through which you can seek to receive compensation for your damages. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of future medical care, pain and suffering, and future loss of earning potential.
Do I need a Personal Injury Attorney?
In a great number of accidents, the injuries you may sustain are not serious and may not require extensive treatment. In these instances, you may be able to handle your claim without the representation of an attorney. If the injury is very minor, you may even consider not filing a claim. That said, if you are seriously injured or simply would like to ask a few questions about the benefit of filing a claim, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Cost?
Our office, along with many firms in North Carolina, works based on a contingency fee for personal injury claims. This means that there is zero up-front cost for representation. We do not receive a fee unless we successfully obtain a settlement that you accept.
What is the Process for a Personal Injury Claim in North Carolina?
- Claim Initiation - The first step in a personal injury claim is setting up the actual claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Treatment - Whether you need surgeries, physical therapy, or chiropractic care, this treatment should begin immediately and continue until you are fully recovered. Generally, your claim is not ready for settlement until after you have reached what is called “Maximum Medical Improvement”, meaning that you have recovered as much as possible after your injury.
- Documentation - After treatment is complete, our personal injury attorney will compile records and bills from all of your health care providers.
- Negotiation - Our personal injury attorney will create a demand package and negotiate back and forth with the at-fault insurance carrier in order to obtain an offer for as much compensation as possible.
- Settlement - This is the step where funds are dispersed. Agreeing to an offer doesn’t mean you get your money right away. The procedure to ensure that your money fully processes through the banks takes at least one week, after which your funds will be disbursed.
What is Contributory Negligence?
North Carolina is one of the few states that still holds to the theory of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is a stringent legal bar to recovery for injury if the injured party is negligent in the cause of their injury. This means that if you are found even 1% negligent in the causation of your injuries, then you cannot recover damages (even if the other party is 99% at fault). Contributory negligence is the leading cause for an insurance company to deny your personal injury claim. If you are in an accident, make sure to speak to a personal injury attorney before giving any pre recorded statements to the insurance company.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Under North Carolina law, victims in a negligence claim must file their claim within three years of the date of the accident. If a person dies from their injuries, their estate has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If these deadlines are missed, you may be barred from recovery forever.
The trauma of being involved in an automobile accident can be long lasting, and the injuries sustained can leave your life turned upside down. You have more important things to worry about than fighting with insurance adjusters and claims representatives whose job may be to make it harder for you to receive adequate compensation. Let our experienced team of North Carolina personal injury attorneys work to fight for compensation for injuries due to an accident that was not your fault. Don’t go it alone.