Important Facts About North Carolina Car Accident Injury Claims
After you are injured in a car accident, many questions may come to mind, such as:
“How will I pay for my medical care?”
“Who pays for my car repairs or replacement?”
“How do I get compensation from the person that caused the accident?”
“What do I do next?”
Taking the right steps can help increase your chances of compensation. You have three ways to proceed: You can let the insurance adjuster tell you the next steps but they may withhold information or deliver false information whether intentional or unintentional. The truth is they simply are not on your side and they have a goal to pay claimants as little as possible, and that is how they make money. You can pursue your car accident claim alone, or you can contact an experienced injury lawyer to handle your claim for you. Whatever you choose to do, there are some important facts to know as you move forward.
What Are the Legal Elements of Negligence in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, the general elements required to prove negligence are:
- Defendant (the responsible party) owed a duty of care to act a certain way or to refrain from acting a certain way.
- Defendant breached their duty.
- Their breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff (the injured party)
- Defendant’s actions (or inactions) were the proximate cause of the car accident injury (the defendant should have known what they were doing/not doing could cause injuries or harm).
- Plaintiff suffered actual harms and losses (such as lost wages, medical bills, etc.).
If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. You can always call or email us to discuss your potential claim. We will evaluate your case for free.
Fact: The Burden of Proof Is on You
In order to obtain compensation for your injury, you have to prove that someone caused harm to you, and to recover, you must prove each and every element. Even in cases that appear to be straight forward, such as rear-end accidents or drunk driving accidents, insurance company still frequently argue that they should not be responsible for the collision or that plaintiff had pre-existing health issues. That is why it is important to have all of the evidence and documentation you can. To support your claim, gathering strong evidence surrounding the accident and thorough documentation of the harms and losses a claimant has suffered can add value to a case. When negotiating with an insurance company and submitting documentation to support your claim, can help push for larger settlement amounts.
Fact: North Carolina Is a Contributory Negligence State
North Carolina law differs from most other states in one major way, it is one of only a handful of states that still follows a doctrine called “contributory negligence.”
Contributory Negligence: Conduct that creates a risk to one’s self.
The challenge of contributory negligence from a legal practitioner’s standpoint is that, under North Carolina law, if you are deemed to be even 1% at fault for the accident that caused your injury, you could be denied compensation. This law greatly helps the insurance company pay out less claims and makes it even more crucial to build a strong case, as the insurance company may use any shred of doubt to legally reduce or eliminate their payout.
Even if the other driver is clearly at fault, the insurance company may try to allege some amount of fault on your part, and therefore pay you nothing. This tactic is used by insurance companies in this state too often. The threat of contributory negligence is a compelling reason to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. We are familiar with the insurance company’s tactics, and we know how to gather evidence and present the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Fact: The Insurance Company Is Working Against You