Car Accident Lawyer Serving Sylva, NC
Sylva Auto Accident Attorneys
Car accidents happen in Sylva and all over western North Carolina every day. Some of these accidents are extremely serious and leave accident victims with severe injuries.
Car accident injuries are not only painful and debilitating, but they’re also very costly to treat. Accident victims are left to pay for these expenses, often at a time when their injuries have left them unable to work.
These are just two of the many ways an accident turns the victim’s life upside down, but there is help. When car crash victims suffer serious injuries and other losses, they can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. That compensation can help pay for the cost of treatment, make up lost income, cover property damage, and help the accident victim better deal with their injuries.
If you’ve been hurt in a car crash that was someone else’s fault, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer in Sylva, NC who can help you pursue the full amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
Contact The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC now for a free consultation.
How Our Sylva Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help You
Insurance companies are known for offering accident victims lowball settlements that don’t fully cover the cost of their injuries and losses. The insurance companies want to avoid paying out on claims in order to keep more of their profits.
When accident victims are represented by an attorney, the attorney can deal with the insurance company on the injured individual’s behalf. An attorney knows how to hold an insurance company accountable for providing a full and fair settlement, and won’t fall for any of the tactics these companies use.
Our lawyers are prepared to thoroughly investigate the true cause of the crash and calculate the full extent of your losses. They will base this amount on how much time you missed from work, the amount of medical expenses you’ve incurred, and how much pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of the accident, among other factors. In addition, they’ll provide your case with evidence and legal reasoning that backs up these claims for compensation.
Our lawyers do all the legwork involved in a claim so that you can focus on your recovery. This may include filing a claim, making sure all the important deadlines are met, consulting with experts, negotiating with insurers, and much more.
Compensation in a Car Accident Claim
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages asked for in a car accident claim. As the name implies, these damages are meant to compensate you for any losses you incurred as a result of the crash. This can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including emergency transportation, surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, and more
- Lost income, including wages, salaries, bonuses, and benefits
- Loss of future earning capacity, if the injuries make it difficult or impossible to earn the same income as before the accident
- Property damage, including the cost to repair or replace your car
- Permanent injury and loss of limbs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the case does not settle and goes to court, a judge or jury will determine how much compensation you deserve. Your attorney can provide evidence about the expenses you’ve already incurred and those you’ll face in the future.
What You Need to Know About Dealing with Insurance Companies
You should always report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. If someone else was at fault for the accident, you may have to deal with the other driver’s insurance company. This is much more challenging than it sounds.
The insurance company is not on your side. They are not looking out for your best interests. Instead, they are looking to maximize their profits as much as possible. In order to do that, they want to pay out as little as they can on your claim – and ideally nothing if they can get away with it. Don’t let them.
Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with the insurance company:
- An insurance adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely contact you after the accident. Some don’t even wait until you get home from the hospital. They want to talk to you as soon as possible, when you aren’t even aware of the full extent of your injuries. They may try to pressure you into signing a release, and possibly even accepting an offer that will not begin to cover the full cost of your injuries.
- The insurance company may even try to trick you into accepting fault for the accident. This can provide them with reason to deny your claim or offer you an extremely low settlement. The insurance company will hold anything you say against you, and they’ll take your words out of context and twist them for their purposes.
- In order to hold your statements against you in the future, the insurance company may also ask you for a recorded statement. Never provide this to any insurance company. You are under no obligation to, and it can only hurt your case.
- The insurance company may also ask you to sign a release for your medical records. You should never sign these releases either. When the insurance company has access to your medical records, they’ll comb through them to find anything that may indicate you suffered from certain injuries or conditions before the accident. They’ll use this information to claim your injuries aren’t due to the accident.
- Speaking to any insurance company after an accident can easily ruin your case if you don’t understand your rights and what you are legally obligated to provide. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to speak to a Sylva car accident lawyer before speaking to any insurance adjuster or representative.
Understanding Fault Laws in North Carolina
North Carolina is an at-fault, or tort, auto insurance state. This means that injured individuals will have to go through the at-fault party’s insurance company to claim compensation for injuries in a crash. This differs from some other states that are no-fault, meaning each injured party goes through their own insurance for compensation.
This seems fairly straightforward, but it does become complicated, particularly when more than two vehicles are involved. Each of the liable drivers’ insurance company is responsible for providing compensation for the portion of the accident the driver was responsible for. This means that injured parties must establish fault, collect evidence to prove it, and then determine the extent of fault each party is responsible for.
Contributory negligence is another complicated aspect of establishing fault in a North Carolina car accident. Under the state’s contributory negligence laws, when an accident victim is even 1% at fault for the accident, they are barred from receiving any compensation for their injuries.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident in Sylva, NC
The moments immediately following a car accident are scary and confusing. Accident victims are dealing with injuries. Due to the chaos that ensues after a car accident, it’s important drivers are aware of the right steps to take after an accident.
The first step is to stop and report the accident if there are injuries or property damage. This is the law in North Carolina, and failing to do so could hurt your case later on. North Carolina law also requires you to provide reasonable assistance to anyone who is hurt, such as calling for medical help. If possible, move all vehicles out of the way of traffic, so they don’t block the road and cause a secondary accident.
If you need emergency medical assistance, do not refuse it. Now is not the time to act tough. Contact Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC today!
If you are able to remain on the scene, the next step is to exchange information with the other drivers. You should exchange your names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information. Consider simply using your phone to take pictures of their documents. While collecting information, also get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
While waiting for the police, take as many pictures as you can, if possible. Be sure to take pictures of any injuries, property damage to any vehicle, and any other important elements of the accident scene. Make sure you take pictures of anything that could indicate how the accident happened, such as skid marks on the road.
Once the police have arrived and taken your statement, you’ve collected all the information you need, and you’ve taken pictures, you need to seek medical treatment. In emergency situations, this step is necessary even before the other steps are completed. Seeking medical attention is important not only for your health, but for your accident claim, too.
After your injuries have been treated and stabilized, you should contact our car accident lawyers in Sylva as soon as possible.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in NC
A statute of limitations is the deadline you have to file a car accident claim. When claims are filed after this time, accident victims are almost always barred from pursuing compensation.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits is three years from the date of the accident.
It is critical to get started on a car accident claim as soon as possible, even though it may seem like you have a long time. Evidence can go missing, witnesses can disappear or their memories can fade, and other critical information can be harder to get. The sooner your lawyer starts on your case, the better.
Common Car Accident Injuries
A person can sustain just about any type of injury when they are involved in a car crash. There are some injuries seen after auto accidents that are more common than others. These include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, internal bleeding, skull fractures, and lacerations
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash, herniated discs, spinal cord damage, sprains, and strains
- Burn injuries that require skin grafts and result in scarring
- Soft tissue injuries in which muscles, tendons, and ligaments are stretched or torn
- Spinal cord injuries, including herniated discs and paralysis
- Broken bones
These injuries are often debilitating and can keep a person from working for months, or even years, after the accident. Some accident victims, unfortunately, never fully recover from their injuries.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Sylva
Driver negligence is the most common cause of car accidents in Sylva. Negligence takes many forms. Some of the most common causes of car accidents due to negligence include:
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Failure to obey traffic signs or signals
- Failure to yield right of way
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Poor road conditions
These are just a few of the most common causes of car accidents in North Carolina.
Talk to Our Sylva Auto Accident Attorney Now
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was the fault of someone else, don’t take chances with your injury claim. Trust the experienced car accident lawyers in Sylva.
At The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC, we’re passionate about seeking the full amount of compensation accident victims deserve. In car accident cases, it can seem as though everyone is working against you. We’ll not only work with you, but we’ll fight for you and ensure your rights are upheld throughout the entire process.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. The consultation is free and comes with no obligations.