North Carolina Car Accident FAQs
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we have helped many Charlotte-area clients recover the compensation they deserve after suffering severe injuries in a car accident. Going through a car accident is never easy, and many of our clients have suffered painful, life-altering injuries. When they come to our office, many of them have questions about the process of recovering compensation.
After being involved in a car accident, many victims are in shock. Nobody expects to be involved in a car accident. The trauma of being injured in a car accident can be extremely challenging and disorienting. After receiving emergency medical treatment, many car accident victims begin to ask questions about the pathway forward. Those who have suffered serious injuries have questions about how to recover compensation for their mounting medical bills. We will address some of the most common car accident questions we receive below.
- Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer After a Charlotte Car Accident?
- Must I Call the Police and an Ambulance After a Car Accident?
- Should I Move My Vehicle After a Car Accident?
- What Should I Say to My Insurance Company After a Car Accident?
- Do I Have to Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
- Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer to Pay for My Car Accident?
- What Types of Compensation Can I Obtain After a Car Accident?
- What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
It is technically possible for a car accident victim to submit a personal injury lawsuit and represent themselves. However, due to the complex nature of personal injury litigation, representing yourself is not advisable. If you are attempting to recover compensation from an insurance company, hiring an attorney will help you tremendously. Insurance companies are large for-profit companies that hire lawyers to find gaps in their policies so they can deny paying out claims or giving you the full amount of compensation you deserve.
If you are trying to handle your insurance claim by yourself, the insurance company may try to take advantage of your lack of experience working within the insurance system. Insurance adjusters are often aggressive and may use bullying tactics to avoid paying out the full compensation that injured car accident victims deserve. Many people assume that they will lose a significant amount of money in legal fees if they hire an attorney. However, in many cases, your lawyer will help you recover more compensation than you would have been able to had you represented yourself. Additionally, most personal injury lawyers do not charge you fees until they recover compensation for you, whether through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit.
We are frequently asked whether people need to call law enforcement officers after a car accident. We recommend calling 911 and requesting emergency medical services and law enforcement to come to the scene of the accident. Unless you are entirely sure that you are not injured, it is wise to be evaluated by medical professionals. If you do need to go to the hospital, you should. Receiving a comprehensive medical evaluation and following your doctor's orders will help your personal injury claim for compensation.
Requesting that a police officer come to the scene of the accident is also important. The officer will interview witnesses and investigate the scene before completing a police report. They will give their professional opinion on how the car accident occurred and who the at-fault driver is. They will also collect important information, like the other drivers’ names and addresses. You will likely be able to use the police report to help your claim.
If your car is in a dangerous location, such as in the middle of a highway, you should move it out of the way. If it is possible to do so safely, take a few photos of your vehicle before you move it to show the location and position of your car immediately after the car accident. You can leave your car where it is if it is not blocking any traffic. If your engine does not start, you will obviously need to call a tow truck to move your car.
When you take photos of the accident scene, make sure that you include any unusual circumstances, such as debris in the road are potholes that may have contributed to the accident. Take photos of the damage to all of the vehicles involved and photos that show each vehicle’s exact location and any skid marks on the road. The photos you take of your car's position, and location can be crucial for your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. These photos could show that the at-fault driver is liable for your injuries.
Insurance companies often start calling car accident victims immediately after the accident. Our clients often ask us what they should say to their insurance claims adjuster after a car accident. You are required to provide the adjuster with basic information about your car accident. You can tell them what happened, where the accident occurred, and who was involved.
You can also provide them with information about the other driver's insurance policy and number. However, be careful that you do not unintentionally admit fault for the accident. We recommend that you do not give a formal statement to the insurance company until you have spoken with your personal injury lawyer. Insurance adjusters will try to prod you into admitting fault so they can deny your claim. Remember that they can use anything you say on the record against you later.
What happens if the other driver's insurance company contacts you? You have no legal obligation to answer questions from the other insurance provider. Even if you and the other driver have the same insurance company, you can tell them that they can ask your attorney questions. If you have suffered serious injuries, it will be a huge relief to know that your attorney can answer questions and deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
You should not accept a settlement offer without discussing it with your lawyer first. Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims unfairly or offering settlement agreements that are far too low to cover all your expenses. They typically offer a lowball amount upfront, knowing that many car accident victims need compensation as quickly as possible and are more willing to accept an unfair offer. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate with the insurance company and ensure they do not take advantage of you.
Victims of car accidents are entitled to many different types of compensation. The at-fault driver's insurance company must pay you for your past and future medical bills, property damage, and lost income. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you will also be entitled to damages for pain and suffering and, in some cases, punitive damages. Your lawyer will be able to discuss what types of damages you may recover and determine a fair settlement amount that can cover all your past and future expenses.
The first step you should take is to call 911 and request medical help and for a police officer to come to the accident scene. Suppose you do not request medical assistance at the location of the accident. In that case, we recommend going to your doctor and undergoing a comprehensive medical evaluation as soon as possible after the accident. Please do not hold back when it comes to telling your doctor about any pain or discomfort and all the symptoms you are experiencing.
Record all the other driver(s) contact information and insurance information, and the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. If you can do so safely, take pictures of the accident and write down any notes about what happened. For example, tell the law enforcement officer at the scene if you notice the other driver slurring their words. You should also report the crash to your insurance provider.
You likely have many questions if you have been involved in a car accident. The experienced lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to answer your questions. In North Carolina, car accident victims only have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. We offer potential new clients a free initial consultation and are happy to answer your questions. Contact us today at 704.370.2828 to schedule your free initial consultation.