The Ultimate List of 25 North Carolina Car Accident FAQs
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., our skilled Shelby car accident attorneys frequently sit down with victims of auto accidents to discuss their legal options and answer questions about the process for pursuing compensation.
Some of the common questions we answer are:
Technically, you can represent yourself in a car accident claim. However, you should know that the insurance companies will have lawyers working on their side, and they can be especially aggressive if you were injured (because there is more money on the line for them). Having an experienced car accident attorney in your corner will even the playing field and help you fight for the full and fair compensation you need.
Yes, you should always contact law enforcement so officers can write up an official report, which can later be used as evidence in your case. The officers will take down the names and contact information for all those involved in the accident, as well as give their professional opinions on what exactly happened and who is at fault. With that in mind, never admit fault when talking to a law enforcement officer. Just be honest about the facts.
If your car is not blocking traffic, leave it where it is. If you have to move it, try to take a photo of it, along with where the other driver’s vehicle ended up. Showing the positioning of the vehicles, as well as any skids marks or traffic signs, can be helpful when it comes to proving what happened in the accident and who is at fault.
Yes, you have an obligation as part of your policy to report an accident within a short amount of time. Call the insurance company as soon as possible to report the basic information about the accident. You are not obligated to give any details. DO NOT admit fault.
You should just give the insurance adjuster the basic information about the accident. Stick to the three W’s: WHEN it happened, WHERE it happened, WHO was involved. DO NOT give a recorded statement. DO NOT admit fault.
Insurance adjusters are notoriously skilled at leading accident victims to say things that could come back to haunt them. Protect yourself and your case by sticking to the basics. Any other questions they have can be directed to your attorney.
You do not have to explain anything to the other driver’s insurance company. It is best to simply refer them to your attorney.
Your car accident attorney will handle all communications with the at-fault party and any insurance companies that are involved, so you can keep your focus on getting better.
You should remember that the insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible, so the first offer is likely a very low one, compared to what your claim is actually worth. You need to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to get a clear picture of the full amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, our attorneys may pursue payment for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Repairs or replacement for your vehicle
- Lost wages if you miss work
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in extreme cases
- Call law enforcement.
- Seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Get contact information from the other driver and any witnesses.
- If you can, take photos of the scene and make notes about what happened while everything is still fresh in your mind.
- Report the accident to your insurance company.
- Contact a knowledgeable North Carolina car accident lawyer to discuss your next steps.
Common injuries include whiplash, broken bones, sprains or strains, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, abdominal injuries, bruises and cuts.
Your lawyer will keep track of your medical bills while your accident case is pending. Our knowledgeable Shelby car accident lawyers are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies and health care providers to make sure you are not feeling pressured by bills while you are trying to recover.
If you do receive a call about a medical bill, refer the caller to your attorney.
First, it is extremely important that you do not admit fault or make presumptions about who was at fault in your accident. That’s because there are so many contributing factors that you may not know about until a thorough investigation is conducted. For example, the other driver may have been texting and you didn’t notice, or a defective part in your car may have caused you to lose control.
If an investigation reveals you are at fault, you will need to turn to your own insurance policy to recover compensation.
In North Carolina, you are required to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which is meant to protect you in situations like this. In addition, you may have underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which is another source of compensation if the driver who hit you does not carry enough insurance to cover your damages.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is the part of your policy that is meant to protect you if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to pay for your damages.
However, even though you may pay for this coverage, your insurance company may be reluctant to pay you out of it. Our experienced auto accident attorney knows how to handle insurance companies that are dragging their feet on UIM compensation.
In some instances, defective brakes or other auto parts can be the cause of a crash, and neither driver may know it. That’s why it’s important to never make assumptions about fault and let the investigation show what actually happened. If a defective auto part was to blame for your crash, our skilled attorneys can pursue compensation from the manufacturer, retailer, and any other parties involved in the distribution of the dangerous part.
Do not worry about what the other driver says. Our dedicated Shelby car accident attorneys will conduct an in-depth investigation into the accident and collect every bit of evidence to prove exactly who was to blame. It is very important, though, that you do not admit fault, no matter what the other driver is claiming.
North Carolina follows a pure contributory negligence rule, which means that if a person contributed to a car accident in even the slightest way, he or she cannot recover compensation. This is why an insurance company may be aggressive in trying to claim that you were in some small way responsible for the accident. This extremely strict law is also why you need a knowledgeable car accident attorney on your side to protect your right to full and fair compensation.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., we take your case on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us upfront to start working on your car accident claim. Instead, we collect our legal fees if and when we recover compensation for you. This contingency fee generally ranges from 25 percent to 33 percent of your recovery.
When compensation is decided upon, either through a settlement agreement or a trial verdict, your attorney will send you a check for compensation after subtracting legal fees and resolving any medical liens and other expenses.
Every car accident case is different. We will thoroughly investigate your case and aggressively pursue maximum compensation with the knowledge that a trial may be necessary to get justice for you.
However, you should know that most car accident cases do end with a settlement, rather than a verdict, because many insurance companies do not want to risk a trial. Some cases even settle at the very last minute, right before the trial is set to start.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., we will be prepared to do whatever is in your best interests.
Every car accident case is unique, and our lawyers are extremely skilled at negotiating with even the largest insurance companies. Many times, our aggressive negotiation tactics result in a full and fair settlement offer. However, we are always prepared to take your case to trial if the at-fault party refuses to agree to the compensation you deserve.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is three years from the date of the crash. It’s important to note that the deadline for filing a lawsuit is not the same as the deadline for reporting the accident to your insurance company. You should start the process with the insurance company immediately.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., our dedicated Shelby car accident attorneys are proud to offer clients:
- Extensive knowledge of North Carolina car accident laws
- Smart legal strategies tailored to your needs
- Comprehensive resources to thoroughly investigate your traffic accident
- Aggressive negotiation tactics to combat insurance companies
- Compassion and sensitivity for what you are going through
- Complete commitment to pursuing full and fair compensation for you
You Need More Than Answers. You Need Results.
If you have been injured in a crash in Shelby, Gastonia, Lincolnton, Rutherfordton, or elsewhere in North Carolina, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., to find out how we can pursue full and fair compensation for you. Our dedicated attorneys serve clients throughout Cleveland County, Gaston County, Lincoln County, and Rutherford County.
Call or fill out our online form now to schedule a free case consultation.