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Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer

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Charlotte Car Accident Attorney

A car accident can range from a stressful day to an incredibly traumatic and damaging event. Car accidents are among the most commonly occurring causes of personal injury in the country and can cause property damage, serious injury, and even fatalities. Drunk driving, bad weather conditions, and many other hazards can cause car accidents. You need compensation to assist you in the aftermath, and retaining a Charlotte car accident lawyer is the most effective way to do so.

These accidents can involve commercial trucks, personal vehicles, bicycles, and even pedestrians. Injuries from car accidents can cause financial hardship, significant pain, recovery time, and even life-altering disability or disfigurement.

When you are in a car accident in Charlotte that was the fault of another party, you can be compensated for injuries and property damage through a car insurance claim. You can also file for a personal injury claim for excess damages and other forms of compensation like non-economic damages.

When you or a loved one suffers a car accident, it can be overwhelming to know how to handle these claims. If you work with a qualified Charlotte auto accident lawyer, they can manage negotiations on your behalf, calculate the value of your claim, and increase your chances of success.

Compassionate Legal Aid for Your Claim

An experienced attorney has handled car accident claims before and understands the necessary legal deadlines and evidence requirements for a successful claim. They can manage the complexities of your insurance and personal injury claims.

The attorneys at Bridgman Gantt want to provide you and your family with the support and legal guidance you need. We understand that after a car accident, the financial compensation from claims can be essential to maintaining your family’s financial stability. We know that suffering any personal injury because of another party’s negligence can be frustrating, and we want to help you earn the compensation you deserve.

Our firm has the resources to thoroughly investigate the scene of the accident and determine the at-fault party. This may be another driver, a car manufacturer, a trucking company, or a governmental agency. We determine who is responsible and can be held liable for your damages and work diligently to cover your medical costs, rehabilitative care, and lost income.

We know how to determine the true value of your claim and do everything we can to obtain that value. When you work with our skilled attorneys, you significantly increase the likelihood that your claim will be successful and that you will maximize the compensation you are awarded.

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina?

There is no definite average amount for a car accident settlement that will reflect your accident, as a settlement could range anywhere from $5,000 to millions of dollars. The compensation in a settlement directly mirrors the damages in the accident. Every personal injury car accident settlement will vary based on the unique factors of the accident, including:

  • The severity of the crash
  • How much damage is covered by an insurance claim
  • The severity of injuries of all involved individuals
  • Whether the at-fault party acted especially negligently
  • How much recovery time an individual needs

These are some of the many factors that influence the coverage amount of both an insurance claim and a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim should cover all economic and non-economic damages that you suffered in the accident. An experienced attorney can review your unique claim and calculate your damages to determine what a fair and likely settlement would be.

Do All Charlotte Car Accident Claims End in Settlement?

No, not all car accident claims end in settlement, although many do. Claims with insurance companies may be settled through settlement or court, depending on the fairness of a settlement and the litigating capabilities of an attorney.

If a personal injury claim is required to cover all damages, it may also be resolved through negotiation and settlement. It may require litigation if a fair settlement can’t be reached through negotiation. Accurately calculating and knowing the damages you deserve prior to negotiating is essential to knowing what your claim is worth.

Is North Carolina a No-Fault State?

North Carolina is not a no-fault state for car accidents; it is a fault-based state. If you are involved in a car accident in the state, and you were not at fault, you file an insurance claim with the insurance provider of the driver who was at fault.

This insurance claim is meant to cover any property damage or medical costs from injuries. If you were at fault for the accident, others injured in the accident file claims with your insurance provider, and you may seek coverage with your provider in certain cases.

It can often be difficult to get the compensation you need from an at-fault driver’s car insurance adjuster. Their job is to save the insurance company money, and they will try to avoid providing you with the true cost of your damages. Negotiating with these companies while you are recovering from your injuries is not easy. Additionally, even a maximum car insurance claim may not cover the extent of damages suffered in the accident. In this case, you may want to also file a personal injury claim.

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in North Carolina?

Whether an insurance and/or personal injury claim is filed, fault for the accident must be determined. In a car accident, one or multiple parties may be at fault for the accident and can be held legally and financially liable for the damages of any injured party.

It can take time, resources, and effective investigation to determine the at-fault party in an accident. After a car accident, it is in the injured party’s interest to work with an experienced auto crash attorney in Charlotte, NC who can handle this investigation and other important matters.

Many different parties may be found liable for a car accident. Most commonly, a negligent driver is at fault for driving distracted or under the influence. However, accident liability can also be attributed to the manufacturer or designer of a faulty car component, a private or governmental agency that did not fix unsafe road conditions in a reasonable amount of time, or other parties on the road. There are many factors that impact fault determination in a car accident.

When conducting an investigation of the car accident, important evidence may include:

  • Police accident reports
  • Photo evidence of injuries and the crash aftermath
  • Video surveillance footage, such as dash cams and traffic cams
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Reports from accident reconstruction professionals
  • Medical records and documentation of injuries
  • Repair bills for motor vehicles

Insurance companies have their own methods of determining fault that can impact the outcome of the claim. Without an attorney, it can be harder to get deserved compensation from an insurance company. The insurance company will use its resources to investigate the accident. If the filing party can be found even 1% at fault for the accident, the insurance company can deny them any compensation under the state’s contributory negligence laws.

North Carolina Contributory Negligence Laws

State laws for negligence are strict and make it incredibly difficult for victims of car accidents to obtain the compensation they need after an injury. Other state laws limit the amount of compensation an injured party can receive if they were partially at fault. This is not the case in North Carolina.

Under contributory negligence laws, if a party is at all at fault for the accident, they cannot recover any damages. If an individual was driving distracted and was severely injured by a drunk driver in an accident, there is a chance the injured party will not be able to obtain compensation for their damages. The insurance company or at-fault party’s attorney may determine that driving distracted made that party 1% liable for the accident.

This system is especially hard on injured victims of accidents. Insurance companies want to provide injured parties with as little compensation as possible, and proving even 1% fault enables the company to do so.

This is why it is essential to speak with a qualified car accident attorney when you are involved in an accident. This provides you with the greatest chance of proving 0% fault and obtaining the coverage you need for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Your attorney can conduct their own investigation and present important evidence to negotiate with the insurance provider.

An attorney is also useful in showing the insurance company that you are willing to fight for what you deserve and to take the case to court if necessary. An insurance provider may be more likely to provide a fair settlement in that case.

Common Types of Car Accidents in Charlotte, NC

The type of car accident impacts the typical injuries and damages injured parties receive and, therefore, impacts the level of compensation they may receive. Car accidents that result in severe and catastrophic injuries require compensation for high medical costs, months of lost income, disability incom, and additional expenses that are not in most personal injury claims.

Certain types of car accidents, like head-on collisions or accidents between motor vehicles and motorcycles, are more likely to result in fatalities. Family members may be able to file wrongful death claims in place of a personal injury claim their loved one could have filed.

Common Types of car accidents include:

  • Speeding Accidents

When drivers go over the speed limit or drive too quickly for the present driving conditions, they increase the likelihood of a crash. Speeding is a form of reckless driving and lowers the amount of time a driver has to react to changes or hazards in the road. Speeding also increases the damage and potential injuries if a crash does occur.

When a driver is excessively speeding, an accident is more likely to result in catastrophic injury or death. Speeding accidents can result in rear-ends, head-on collisions, and rollover accidents.

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Accidents

It is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in North Carolina with a blood concentration of 0.08% or greater or to drive noticeably impaired. Unfortunately, DUI accidents happen often. When a driver is impaired by a substance, their reaction time is lessened, and they have a limited ability to make reasoned decisions. DUI accidents can result in significant injuries and damages.

  • Hit-and-Run Collisions

Hit-and-run accidents may happen while on the road, or they may occur when someone hits a parked car and leaves. A hit-and-run collision may only result in property damage, or it may result in severe injury and even fatalities.

Leaving the scene of an accident is against state law, and leaving the scene of an accident where someone is injured or dies is charged as a felony. When someone causes an accident and leaves the scene, it may require significant investigation to find them and hold them liable.

  • Rear-End Accidents

Rear-end accidents may happen due to speeding, sudden changes on the road, sudden merging, and other road hazards. They often cause neck, back, and spinal cord injuries like whiplash. The fault in a rear-end accident may not be as straightforward as it may appear, and an experienced attorney can investigate the accident.

  • Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe accidents can occur because of distracted or fatigued drivers who drift into parallel traffic. They can also happen when drivers are recklessly changing lanes. These accidents may cause only minor property damages, or they may result in significant accidents.

  • T-Bone Collisions

T-bone accidents are when the front of one motor vehicle hits the broadside of another vehicle. These frequently happen at intersections and may only be minor if both cars are moving slowly. At higher speeds, and/or if one vehicle is significantly larger than the other, damages and injuries can be more significant. T-bone collisions may be caused by one car failing to yield, ignoring traffic signals, or other infractions.

  • Pedestrian, Motorcyclist, and Bicyclist Accidents

Accidents between motor vehicles and vulnerable parties on and by the road are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Pedestrians walking next to or crossing the road and bicyclists and motorcyclists who are driving in traffic face significant risks that vehicle drivers do not. The injuries sustained in these accidents can rarely be covered by a car insurance claim.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Charlotte, NC

The cause of a car accident is essential in determining fault. There are many potential causes of car accidents. These include:

  • Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the highest reported causes of car accidents in the country. Anything a driver does that takes their eyes or focus off the road is distracted driving. Drivers may be eating, drinking, texting, calling, messing with the radio, grooming, or talking with passengers.

A driver may not even be doing anything specifically distracting but could generally be inattentive to the road. Driving distracted can cause rear-end accidents and other crashes by causing drivers to miss road signals and changes in traffic.

  • Reckless Driving

Reckless driving most commonly includes actions such as speeding, intentional moving violations, changing lanes or passing negligently, tailgating, failing to yield, and other traffic infractions. These actions can increase the chances of an accident and impact the typical flow of traffic. Speeding can also increase the damage of a crash that occurs. Reckless driving may also result in criminal charges in addition to civil claims.

  • DUI

Drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other impairing substances frequently lead to accidents. A DUI accident results in a driver facing criminal charges, as well as likely being held liable for the accident. Criminal conviction, even for a first offense, can result in fines, driver’s license suspensions, and even jail time.

A DUI that causes an accident may have increased penalties. A successful civil claim against a driver who was under the influence may also include punitive damages to punish the driver for their actions.

  • Fatigue

Many people drive tired, and it influences a driver’s mind, much like driving under the influence. A driver who is fatigued will react more slowly to changes on the road, and fatigue may impact their ability to make rational decisions. Drivers may also fall asleep at the wheel, which can result in rear-end collisions. It can also result in head-on or sideswipe collisions if drivers fall asleep and drift out of their lane.

  • Motor Vehicle Defects and Malfunctions

Car accidents are not always caused by driver error. Car accidents frequently occur because of the failure of an essential car component, such as the tires, brakes, headlights, suspension, or even the windshield wipers.

If the driver or owner of the vehicle knew the car needed repair or maintenance, they may be liable for this malfunction. If the car was repaired or brought for maintenance, and improper maintenance caused the failure, the company or employee that performed the maintenance may be held liable.

In some cases, the failure of a vehicle component can be the responsibility of a seller, designer, distributor, or manufacturer of the component or vehicle. Defective car parts are a very common form of product liability claims. This is an alternate way for injured parties in car accidents to receive compensation for their losses.

  • Poor Driving Conditions

Poor driving conditions may include extreme storm weather, bad visibility from rain or fog, or hazards on the road, like other accidents, improper stormwater drainage, construction, or debris. Poor driving conditions may also include improperly maintained roads, such as potholes, uneven pavement, and cracks in the road.

Drivers need to drive responsibly and appropriately for the road, weather, and visibility conditions. Drivers that fail to do so may be held liable for an accident. However, a badly maintained road may be the responsibility of a commercial company, governmental agency, or private owner. If this party failed to maintain the roads to a standard of safety in a reasonable period of time, they may be held liable for the accident.

What Do I Do In an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?

Accidents can become more complicated when the at-fault driver has no car insurance or doesn’t have enough to cover an injured party’s damages. Drivers in North Carolina have a required minimum of insurance they must meet, but even the required minimum may not cover the injured party’s expenses.

Additionally, not all drivers meet the state minimum. There are fewer ways for an injured party to obtain necessary compensation, and a personal injury claim may be the only option for these accidents. It can be helpful to discuss the potential for a claim with an experienced car accident attorney.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Car Accident in North Carolina?

The statute of limitations is the legal time limit that a filing party has to file a civil claim with the court. A civil car accident claim is a type of personal injury claim that has a statute of limitations of three years in North Carolina. After three years, the filing party loses their right to request compensation. If a claim is filed after this point, it will not be considered.

There are some exceptions to this statute, including the rule of discovery. This means that an injured party did not know they were injured or did not know that the other party was at fault. This is uncommon in car accident claims.

It’s important that you get medical care after a car accident, even if you don’t think you are injured. Injuries like traumatic brain injuries may take several days to show symptoms that are clear to non-professionals. Even if you think the statute on your claim has expired, bring your situation to a qualified attorney. Your case may qualify for a discovery exception.

It’s important to file a car accident civil claim sooner rather than later. Though a three-year limit may seem like significant time, it’s to your benefit to work with an attorney and file your claim quickly. Evidence such as surveillance footage may get regularly cleared or otherwise lost. Evidence like witness testimony also changes over time. Witnesses may have faultier memories, or you may be unable to find the witnesses who were present.

The closer you get to the statute of limitations, the harder it typically is to find an attorney who will represent your claim. Filing soon provides your Charlotte personal injury attorney with the time to investigate and build a strong claim.

A car insurance claim is not a civil claim and does not have the same requirements. The exact amount of time you have to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance depends on the insurance company. Typically, an insurance company requires you to file the claim as soon as reasonably possible.

Why Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney in Charlotte, NC?

A car accident is frequently traumatic and painful, and you need to spend the time after an accident recuperating. Unfortunately, civil and insurance claims need to be filed as soon as possible. By working with an attorney, you can feel confident these things are being managed by a professional who is working to maximize your compensation while you recover. There are several benefits to working with an experienced attorney when filing your car accident claim. An attorney can:

  • Calculate available damages. Many individuals who file a personal injury claim do not realize the true extent of compensation available to them. Because of this, they may end up accepting a settlement that does not cover all their damages and end up in financial hardship. An attorney has managed personal injury cases before and knows how to appropriately and completely account for all your damages.
  • Investigate the car accident for fault. Your attorney can help prove what party was at fault for the accident and may be able to prove that you cannot be held liable.
  • Find and compile important evidence. An experienced auto accident attorney has resources and professional connections to find essential evidence to support your personal injury and car insurance claim.
  • Negotiate a fair settlement. Many people filing claims for car accidents haven’t done so very often. Insurance companies have the primary goal of limiting their liability and will not want to provide you with the compensation you deserve. An attorney has managed cases like this before and knows how to handle negotiations with car insurance companies.
  • Take a claim to litigation. An attorney will fight for a fair settlement, but if that isn’t possible, they can take your claim to court.

Your attorney can manage important legal deadlines and handle stressful issues on your behalf, giving your claim its greatest chance of succeeding.

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in North Carolina?

Yes, you can file a claim for pain and suffering in personal injury claims. In some personal injury claims, like medical malpractice claims, there is a cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering. However, for civil car accident claims, this limit does not usually exist. The compensation for non-economic damages must still fairly and accurately reflect the damages you, as the injured party, suffered.

For claims filed with the at-fault party’s car insurance, there may be pain and suffering damages. These claims typically cover personal injury and property damage costs, and personal injury may include pain and suffering.

What Damages Are Awarded in a Charlotte Car Accident Insurance Claim?

The exact damages awarded in a car accident claim will directly rely on the damages the injured party suffered. An injured party can file for car insurance and personal injury claims if they were not found at fault for the accident.

In a car insurance claim, damages covered typically include:

Property Damage: This typically includes vehicle damage coverage and repairs or the fair market value for a totaled car.

Bodily Injury: This generally includes all medical bills, costs for permanent injuries, pain and suffering, and lost income.

Drivers may also want to file with their own insurance policy, whether or not they were at fault. This may provide coverage for collision damage, medical bills, and coverage for underinsured or uninsured drivers.

A driver who is found at fault for the accident may be able to receive some compensation from their own car insurance policy but cannot file with the other driver’s insurance and cannot file a personal injury claim.

What Damages Are Awarded in a Charlotte Car Accident Personal Injury Claim?

If a car insurance claim does not provide sufficient compensation, an injured party may want to file a personal injury car accident claim. A personal injury claim may recover compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical Bills: A personal injury claim should cover any past medical costs, such as surgeries, hospital transportation, overnight hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, prescription medication, and any other medical costs associated with injuries from the accident.
  • Future Medical Costs: Compensation should also cover any estimated future medical costs. This includes upcoming surgeries, rehabilitative care, and long-term medical requirements. It also includes any anticipated medical complications.
  • Lost Wages: Some injuries from car accidents require several weeks off work to recover, while more severe injuries require months. A personal injury claim should cover any lost wages during that time, as well as further missed work for doctor’s appointments related to the injury.
  • Lost Potential Earning Capacity: Lost earning capacity is compensated when injuries from a car accident prevent an individual from returning to their prior position at work. They may be unable to complete their usual job duties, be required to take on fewer duties, or be completely unable to return to their prior or any form of employment. The wages they would have made in the future or the amount of pay they would have earned may be compensated.
  • Property Damages: If a car insurance claim isn’t possible or does not cover the damages, a personal injury claim can cover the additional costs to repair or replace a damaged vehicle. Other property, such as other items in the vehicle, may also be compensated.
  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages include physical pain, mental distress, loss of quality of life, and physical impairment. Non-economic damages can be difficult to quantify but are compensable damages in a personal injury claim.
  • Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are different from compensable damages and are only occasionally awarded in personal injury claims. They are assigned to the at-fault party if their conduct was willfully negligent or malicious. Punitive damages exist to punish the at-fault party rather than compensate the injured party for a loss.

An attorney can review your car accident claim to determine how to maximize the compensation you receive while fairly covering your damages.

Contact Our Charlotte Auto Accident Lawyers Today

At Bridgman Gantt, our Charlotte auto accident attorneys want to provide you with the skilled and compassionate legal care you need after a harrowing car accident. Contact our firm today.

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