The questions on this page were answered by our team of lawyers. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car wrecks, medical malpractice, traumatic brain injuries, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.
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What kind of legal actions does a drunk driver who caused a crash face?
A drunk driver responsible for a crash will often have to deal with legal cases in both criminal and civil court. The majority of drivers will be charged at the scene of the crash and will have to go through the criminal justice system, facing the penalties under North Carolina drunk driving laws.
However, financial compensation for the victims of drunk driving crashes is filed and handled under the jurisdiction of the civil courts. A North Carolina car accident attorney can help a victim pursue these claims. Victims do not have to wait until the criminal case has been resolved to file their suit.
How prevalent are drunk driving accidents?
National statistics show that, despite all of the warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving, approximately 30 people die every single day in drunk driving accidents. Studies show that many of the drivers who choose to drink and drive do so because of the following reasons:
- They do not realize that they have had too much to drink.
- They do realize how much they have had but still think they can safely operate their vehicle.
- They think they can get away with it.
- They don’t believe that they will get into a crash.
What are some long-term effects of a TBI?
There are mild and severe forms of brain injury that can affect you marginally or severely for life. The more severe the brain injury, the higher chance that you will have a permanent, life-changing injury. Possible long-term effects are seizures, Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic dementia, and Parkinson's. A mild brain injury may cause reduce motor functions and loss of memory.
Can I have my North Carolina personal injury lawyer with me when I meet with insurance company reps for the driver who hit and hurt me?
Yes, but we advise our North Carolina car accident injury clients to decline offers to meet in person with the insurance company representatives for the at-fault driver. We will sometimes participate in telephone conferences with our clients.
You want to avoid giving an official statement because if the case does not settle and goes to a lawsuit, the insurance company‘s lawyer will use your statement as the basis for a deposition. If you give answers that differ from your statement while under oath for the deposition, the insurance company will have evidence for denying your claims.
We help our North Carolina personal injury clients prepare for depositions in the same way we would prepare them to give trial testimony.
Do I have to notify my own insurance company if another driver hits and hurts me in North Carolina?
Your car insurance policy states somewhere that you must report all collisions that result in significant damage to the vehicle and/or injuries to the vehicle’s occupants. Comply with that provision even if you can in no way be found at fault for causing a wreck.
Self-reporting a crash allows you to access coverage under your own insurance policy months -- sometimes years -- before the at-fault driver’s insurer pays out on your claims. Additionally, you may need to rely completely on your own insurance if the person who hit and hurt you does not have adequate coverage of his or her own.
Note that it is still a good idea to consult with a North Carolina personal injury attorney even if you plan to deal entirely with your own car insurance company. Your insurer may investigate and look for ways to deny some or all of your claims just like they would if someone you crashed into filed claims against you.
Another driver hit and hurt me in North Carolina. Do I have to give a sworn statement to the other driver’s insurance company?
No. North Carolina law does not require victims of car crashes to provide written or recorded statements to insurance company representatives.
While it is always advisable to contact and notify a potentially responsible driver‘s insurance company, you should not give a written or recorded statement without first obtaining legal advice from your own North Carolina personal injury lawyer.
You may, at some point, want to give your own insurance company a written or recorded statement, but do not do so if you use the same insurer as the driver who hit and hurt you..
How should I choose a North Carolina car accident attorney?
When you are considering retaining the services of a North Carolina car accident attorney, there are certain factors you should look for, including:
- Make sure the law firm focuses only on personal injury cases. This helps ensures that the attorney you retain will have extensive legal experience and knowledge in the most current aspects of personal injury law.
- Make sure the attorney you retain has a good reputation with both other clients and other attorneys.
- Make sure the attorney you retain keeps you regularly updated and shows they are dedicated to your case.
- Make sure you are comfortable with the attorney you retain.
What are some of the issues a North Carolina car accident attorney can address?
Your car accident attorney can handle all the documents that need to be filed and processed in your case, making sure that any statute of limitations deadline is met. He will also handle all communication with the insurance company’s adjusters and attorneys. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate your accident, including working with any accident reconstruction experts, if necessary.
A car accident attorney can also determine the exact amount of damages you may be entitled to. If you have suffered long-term or permanent disabilities from the accident, your attorney will also work with experts to determine what your future financial losses will be in order to make sure you receive compensation.
Once your attorney has prepared your case, he will then proceed with negotiations with the insurance company to try to settle the case and avoid litigation. If necessary, however, your car accident attorney will argue your case to a jury to get you the best possible award amount under the circumstances of your case.
When should I hire a North Carolina car accident attorney?
Whenever you have been injured in a vehicle accident caused by another party – even if you think you have only suffered a minor injury – you should always consult with a North Carolina car accident attorney.
The attorney you meet with can evaluate your case and explain to you what your legal options are against the other party.
Dealing with the injuries and recover from car accident injuries can be stressful, especially if the injuries are serious enough to cause you to miss work and suffer a loss of income. A Carolinas car accident attorney can deal with the other driver’s insurance company – whether those contacts are with the adjuster during settlement negotiations or with their attorneys should the case proceed from a car accident claim to a car accident lawsuit. This allows you to focus entirely on your recovery.
What is uninsured/underinsured auto insurance coverage?
Underinsured/uninsured auto coverage is, essentially, a saety net for drivers. It is coverage on your policy which directly benefits you if you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault and the negligent driver who hit you does not have auto insurance or does not have enough insurance. In this situation, you can file a claim on your own auto insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.