After a Crash, You Need a Raleigh Attorney to Help with Your Auto Accident Claim
Proving fault or negligence of the other driver and that your damages were caused by the car wreck are the two main hurdles in almost every car accident case. The other issue that arises frequently in North Carolina are allegations by the other driver or “contributory negligence” which could completely bar your recovery. Even if you don’t plan to go to court, the insurance company will expect you to prove that the other party was at fault and that you were injured due to the accident. A Raleigh auto accident lawyer can help you build a strong case from Day 1 to make sure you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Involving, or at least consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after the wreck may prevent you from making a major mistake that could cause you to lose your case, make it more difficult to settle, or decrease the value of your claim.
Understanding Fault in Your Car Accident Claim
To pursue a claim for compensation, you will need to prove that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. If you were injured purely through your own fault, you would not be able to pursue a claim. For example, if you fell asleep behind the wheel and were injured when you drove off the road, you would not be able to pursue a claim because no one else was at fault.
However, you may be able to pursue a claim if another person was involved in your accident. In most car accident cases, this means demonstrating that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. Negligence can be somewhat challenging to understand. At its most basic, negligence is carelessness. The failure to exercise ordinary care under the circumstances.
More specifically, negligence occurs when someone fails to take reasonable care to avoid an accident that an ordinarily prudent person in the same or similar situation, would have taken. Whether or not the other driver was negligent in your car accident will depend on the facts of your case, and proving the other driver was negligent is critical to the success of your claim. An experienced Raleigh auto accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to make a claim.
Examples of Negligence in Raleigh Car Wrecks
There are many different ways that a driver can be negligent while behind the wheel. Here are some of the most common forms of negligence that can result in car accidents:
- Running stop signs or stop lights
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to pay attention
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Driving while drowsy
No matter how obvious the other driver’s fault may seem to you, you will have to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident. An experienced Raleigh auto accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case. This evidence can include the following:
- Crash data records from vehicle computers
- Traffic camera video
- Eyewitness accounts or written/recorded statements
- The accident report prepared by law enforcement
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Cell phone records
Gathering, analyzing, and organizing this evidence can be challenging, especially when trying to recover from serious injuries. As your lawyer, we will gather the necessary evidence to help build your case.
A Note About Contributory Negligence
North Carolina is one of the few jurisdictions in the country that follows a “pure” contributory negligence rule. Under the contributory negligence doctrine, you may be barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries if you were also negligent such that your own negligence contributed to the accident.
For example, if you were injured in a head-on collision with a drunk driver who crossed the centerline, your claim may be denied under the contributory negligence rule if the other driver proves you were speeding and that the speed was so excessive that it too was the cause of the wreck.
If the other driver or their insurance is blaming you for the accident, you should speak with a Raleigh auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. They may be able to help you overcome a contributory negligence defense and make sure you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Damages in Raleigh Car Crash Cases
In legal jargon, “damages” is the term used for the compensation you receive if your case is successful. There are two types of damages that are typically awarded in car accident cases:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Economic damages are awarded to compensate you for the monetary losses you have suffered due to your car accident. Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate you for the other losses you suffer that are not easily quantified.
In most car accident cases, your economic damages consist of the following:
- Medical expenses. Any medical expenses incurred and paid or owed due to the wreck related injuries.
- Lost wages. If you had to miss work to recover from your injuries or go to doctors’ appointments or physical therapy, you are entitled to seek any lost income.
- Permanent impairment. If your injuries result in a permanent and/or disability, you may also be entitled to compensation for your impairment.
- Property damage. You are entitled to compensation to either repair or replace your vehicle.
- Other losses. You can also seek recovery of any other losses caused by your accident, such as increased transportation costs.
To pursue a claim for your economic damages, you should keep copies of all bills, invoices, pay stubs, or other documentation of your losses. A Raleigh auto accident attorney can help you collect the documentation that you need to prove your claim.
You are also entitled to seek recovery of your non-economic damages, which are intended to compensate you for your physical pain and mental suffering. In other words, the harms and losses due to your loss of enjoyment of life. Insurance companies argue it is difficult for non-lawyers to estimate the value of this portion of their claim because it is subjective. An experienced Raleigh auto accident lawyer can estimate the monetary value of your claim based on their knowledge of the law and the following factors:
- The severity of your injuries
- The impact of your injuries on your daily life now and in the future
- Whether your injuries will result in a permanent impairment and/or disability
- Whether you lost a loved one in the accident
Pain and suffering can be a significant portion of your claim. Working with a Raleigh auto accident attorney can help ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Contact a Raleigh Auto Accident Lawyer Today
The attorneys at Martin & Jones have been helping car accident victims get back on their feet for nearly 40 years with office locations in Raleigh and Durham. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and would like to discuss your options, contact us at 1-800-662-1234 for a free consultation.