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2024 What to Do After a Car Accident in North Carolina?

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Being involved in a car accident can mean minor property damage, catastrophic injuries, or anything in between. It can be overwhelming, confusing, and infuriating. While no one expects to be in a car accident, it is important to take the proper steps to protect yourself if you ever find yourself in such a situation. Understanding what to do after a car accident in North Carolina can help you when it comes time to file a claim.

What to Do After a Car Accident in North Carolina

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, you can take certain steps to protect your health, as well as your potential insurance claim or accident settlement. These steps include the following:

  • Check Yourself for Injuries: After you have calmed down, you should start checking yourself for any injuries that you may have sustained in the accident. Afterward, be sure to check any other passengers in the car as well. Injuries may not be readily apparent, and you could have internal damage. If you are severely injured, do not move. If someone else is severely injured, do not move them.
  • Call the Authorities: Once you have checked yourself for injuries, call 911 if you are able to do so. The police will be sent to the accident scene, as well as an ambulance if any passengers are injured. Police will lock down the scene while paramedics will check all those involved for injuries.
  • Move Your Car: If at all possible, you should move your car out of the way of oncoming traffic and onto the shoulder. Police may advise against this if the accident is particularly bad. Once you get the all-clear from the authorities, you can move your vehicle.
  • Exchange Information: Once the authorities have been called and everyone has been checked for injuries, you and the other driver or drivers should exchange insurance information. Make sure you collect the other driver’s full name, their insurance carrier, their contact information, and pertinent vehicle information. Do not admit fault for the accident, and be careful not to say anything that could be misconstrued as taking blame.
  • Document the Accident Scene: At this point, you can start gathering your own evidence of the accident, which will be useful if you later file a claim. Take photos of your injuries, any damage to both vehicles, property damage, road signs, and marks the accident may have made on the road. Be sure to gather the contact information of any potential witnesses.
  • Report the Accident: You should reach out to your insurance carrier and report the accident as soon as you can. Be sure to provide them with the details, give them every bit of evidence you’ve collected, and cooperate fully with their investigation.
  • See a Doctor: Even if you have already been cleared by the paramedics at the scene, you may want to consider seeing a doctor. Also, having an official medical record of your injuries will be useful for your claim.
  • Contact a Lawyer: At this point, you should consider reaching out to an experienced car accident attorney. They can help you deal with the other driver’s insurance company and negotiate on your behalf.

Car Accident Claims

Since North Carolina is an at-fault state, victims of car accidents can file a personal injury claim against the person or entity that caused the crash. They’ll need to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly led to the accident and, subsequently, their damages. If the court agrees with the plaintiff, they’ll be awarded compensation to recoup their losses, like property damage and medical bills. However, many cases are settled outside of court.

FAQs

Q: How Long After a Car Accident Can You Make an Injury Claim in North Carolina?

A: According to North Carolina state law, you have three years from the initial date of the car accident to file a personal injury claim. If you fail to file within that designated time frame, you will risk your case being thrown out. This statute of limitations exists for a number of reasons. Memories fade over time, and evidence can be lost. Pursuing legal action quickly preserves the case.

Q: Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Accidents?

A: No, North Carolina is not a no-fault state but an at-fault state when it comes to car accidents. This means that the individual who is found to be legally responsible for the accident is also responsible for paying for the other party’s medical costs, property damages, and other compensation deemed necessary by the court.

In no-fault states, both drivers would initially file claims with their own insurance providers, even if one party was clearly at fault for the accident.

Q: What Is the Accident Law in North Carolina?

A: The accident law in North Carolina largely deals with “contributory negligence,” which can prevent plaintiffs from receiving any of their compensation package if they are found to be partially at fault for the accident in question. The burden of proof falls largely on the defendant to prove that the plaintiff somewhat caused their own injuries. Even if the plaintiff is found to be slightly at fault, they will receive no compensation under contributory negligence laws.

Q: How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay Out a Claim in North Carolina?

A: An insurance company has 30 days to pay out a claim in North Carolina. Once an insurance claim has been settled, insurance companies have to pay out the claim or send a notice of denial to the claimant within a 30-day time frame. However, each claim is different and can involve certain factors that impact the time it takes to settle.

Contact a Talented Car Accident Attorney Today

At Bridgman Gantt Law Offices, we can help you deal with the aftermath of your car accident by speaking with insurance companies, helping you build your case, and representing your interests throughout the entire process. We’ve helped many clients with successful claims in the past, and we’re prepared to do the same for you. Reach out to speak to one of our team members today.

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