Seven Important Things To Know About NC Car Accidents
If you are involved in a car accident in Asheville, Buncombe County or elsewhere in Western North Carolina (as well as motorcycle or truck accident), there are important things you need to know about your rights – and how to protect them.
The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC presents the following to help you with making the right decisions. Keep in mind: No two cases are the same.
This means it is crucial that you contact an attorney to seek advice and representation that addresses the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
To speak with a lawyer from our firm, simply call or contact us online. We won’t charge for an initial consultation about your case.
1. Your health comes first.
Your top priority after an auto accident must be your health. Dial 911 to get medical treatment immediately. If possible, make sure everyone involved in the crash receives the medical help they need. Sometimes, people in car wrecks are not initially aware that they are hurt. They are in shock or in denial. Some injuries do not cause pain or other symptoms right away. Don’t take chances with your health.
2. You should document your accident.
Another advantage of seeking medical attention after a car accident is that the medical report documents your accident and/or injuries. If you can, take photos of the accident scene, including the cars and damage. As you proceed after your accident, keep a record of everything – reports, receipts, correspondence. All of this will be helpful if you have a legal claim.
3. You must report the accident to the police and your insurance company.
Call the police and your insurance company after a car accident. Most police will file a report after a car accident, especially one with injuries. Get a copy of the police report as soon as you can. You must also report your accident to your insurance company in a timely manner. However, you should not sign anything without consulting an attorney first.
It can be mind-boggling to try and figure out what insurance policies apply and what benefits are available. There are different types of policies and different coverage limits.
For instance, in North Carolina, all drivers are required to carry at least $30,000 in liability insurance coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage. But they can choose to have much more. Other types of insurance – such as medical payment (Med Pay) coverage, uninsured (UM) motorist coverage, and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage – provide additional benefits in specific situations.
4. You may be able to obtain compensation beyond your insurance.
If the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you have a right to seek financial compensation from that individual (through their insurance company). Sometimes, the negligence of other “third parties” contributed to an accident. For instance, if a company manufactured an automobile that is mechanically unsafe or defective, it might be liable for harm in a crash. Likewise, a mechanic that did poor work might be held responsible for the failure of brakes or other mechanical systems he worked on.
5. Car accident victims can recover money for the present and future costs of an accident.
In North Carolina, injured accident victims can seek financial compensation for:
- Ambulance fees
- Hospital and doctor bills
- Corrective surgery
- Prescription drugs
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Lost wages and other income
- Rehabilitation and occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
6. Family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim stemming from a car accident.
Those who have lost a family member in a car accident that was caused by another may be able to recover compensation that can help them to move on in life. If you would be entitled to inherit from the decedent under North Carolina’s intestate succession law, you would be allowed to recover (and share the recovery as you would an inheritance).
This means that parents, spouses, and children are the most likely to be entitled to share in a recovery. However, if the decedent was both married and had children, parents would lose the right to recover.
Possible damages would include:
- Pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death
- Medical and hospital expenses resulting from the injury which caused the death
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of society, companionship, guidance, and advice
- Value of services provided by the decedent (an economist can help to put a value on these services, including the value of house and yard work, running errands, teaching and educating)
- Net income of the decedent.
Note that an economist is often used to determine the net income as well. It consists of the decedent’s adjusted gross income minus taxes and what they would have spent on themselves. This amount is multiplied by the decedent’s likely work-life expectancy, reduced to present value and further reduced by the possibility of early death from some other cause.
7. The right attorney can make all the difference.
A lawyer who has experience with North Carolina car accident cases involving personal injury or wrongful death will understand how to protect your rights after a crash.
Bruce A. Elmore Jr. is a lawyer who has assisted residents of Asheville and surrounding Western North Carolina areas for more than three decades. Our legal team at The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC is entirely focused on helping our clients to make the right decisions and pursue the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Keep in mind that strict time limits apply to file legal claims after car accidents in North Carolina. This means that it is important to take timely action.
Call The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC today or complete our online form.
We can review your case for free and help you to understand the steps you need to take.