There were a total of 1,379 fatal traffic crashes in North Carolina during 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports. This number does not include the thousands of other car accidents that occurred throughout the state that were not fatal, but did result in injuries and property damage.
The numbers are not only heart-wrenching, but also nerve-wracking, because they show that serious car accidents are more common than anyone would like to think. If you have been involved in a crash in North Carolina, here is what you need to do:
- Contact the police.
- Get immediate medical attention.
- Notify your insurance company.
- Gather evidence such as contact and insurance information of the at-fault party, as well as contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Follow up with medical appointments.
- Contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Inform the Police
Reporting the crash to the police by filing an accident report is extremely important after a car accident. It is best to contact law enforcement immediately after the crash so that a detailed investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and accident scene can be obtained and documented by law enforcement.
While you should report the accident, you should avoid making a written or recorded statement about the cause of the accident until you have gotten help from an experienced attorney. This is especially true if the insurance company for the at-fault driver is seeking to obtain a written or recorded statement from you. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. Therefore, any statement you give that shows your actions may have contributed to the cause of the accident will give the adverse insurance company an opportunity to deny your claim.
Gather Evidence, Follow Up, and Negotiate
Because North Carolina is an at-fault car insurance state, the negligent driver is the party who is liable for the victim’s damages in a crash. It is rare for the at-fault driver to pay for the damages out of pocket. Instead, their insurance will typically foot the bill for them. Under North Carolina law, all vehicles registered in the state are required to carry liability insurance. The minimum coverage required under the law is $30,000.00, although many drivers opt to purchase higher coverage to protect their liability.
However, an insurance provider is rarely eager to pay the full value of a victim’s claim. In fact, they may try to shift blame for the accident onto the victim’s shoulders in order to deny the claim, reduce the payout amount, or simply offer the victim a settlement that is far below what they really deserve.
When this happens, the claimant needs to be diligent about proving fault and seeking the compensation he or she deserves. Proving fault and the extent of losses will require gathering evidence in a thorough investigation, as well as negotiating with an insurance adjuster for a settlement that addresses all losses.
Our North Carolina Auto Accident Lawyers Can Help
While the process of getting paid after a car accident should be simple, the system is such that insurance companies try to profit while car accident victims suffer. If you have been in a car crash, one of our car accident attorneys can help you fight back, advocating for your right to a fair payout. An attorney is also skilled in conducting an investigation and negotiating, and will also have numerous connections to various experts who can be called upon to support your claim.
At the law offices of Warren & Kallianos, PLLC, our car accident attorneys know the ins and outs of the North Carolina claims process and what to do after a car wreck. If you have been injured in a car crash, we are ready to work with you and guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.