Most of us have been involved in a motor vehicle accident at some point in our lives. Thankfully, most of these are minor. You walk away with a few bumps and bruises. The biggest bruise is usually to your ego. Sadly, not everyone is so lucky. Depending on the kind of injuries you’ve sustained and the amount of damage your vehicle incurred, you may have a good car accident case with a payable claim. Expert auto accident lawyers in Wilmington can help review your car accident case and advise you on the next steps.
One of the reasons many accident victims don’t sue is because their insurance company paid their claim. One of the first things you’re supposed to do after a car accident in North Carolina is file an insurance claim. If the other driver is at fault, their policy should cover your damages. The problem arises when the insurance company denies your claim. Worse yet, the other driver may not have insurance. In cases like this, an injury attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina comes in handy.
Here, we’ll discuss how to know if you have a car accident case. We’ll also touch on the things that can make it difficult, if not impossible, to file suit against the other driver. If, after reading this article, you still have questions, that’s okay. You can call our offices in North Carolina and schedule your free, initial consultation.
3 Things You Must Do if You Expect to Have a Valid Car Accident Case
If you want to maximize your chances of having a valid car accident case, you need to follow certain steps immediately following your crash. If you do this, you’re giving your auto accident lawyer in Wilmington the best chance of pursuing the other driver for damages.
The 3 major things you need to do following your Wilmington car crash include the following:
It doesn’t matter how minor your accident may be. Legally, you don’t have an option. In North Carolina, if you get into a car accident that results in property damage or bodily injury, you must report the crash. If you don’t, you can be fined and will face potential jail time.
The other reason you need to call the cops is that they’ll do a thorough investigation of the crash. They’ll put all of their findings into their final report. Your injury attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina will need this report to prove your car accident case. Without it, they won’t have access to vital information needed to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Go to the Hospital and Get Checked Out
Many of our clients choose not to go to the emergency room immediately after their car accident. They assume they’re fine and refuse to go in the ambulance. Days later, however, they realize something isn’t right.
The problem here is that, if you wait to go to the doctor, the defendant will argue that something other than the crash caused your injuries. Since your auto accident lawyer in Wilmington needs to prove causation to win your car accident case, this is a major problem.
File Your Insurance Claim
If you don’t file your claim within a reasonable time, it will be denied. Each insurance company has its own rules about a filing deadline. Most do not give a specific number of days. They create a buffer zone for themselves.
Your policy likely states that you must file your accident claim “within a reasonable time.” Unfortunately, the insurance company gets to decide what is considered reasonable in your car accident case. If you miss the deadline, your lawyer will have their hands tied.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you should call an experienced injury attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina. They’ll ensure that all these things have been done properly and will decide if you have a valid car accident case.
It All Comes Down to What Your Injury Attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina Can Prove
Some of our clients think that they’re entitled to damages simply because they were involved in a car accident. However, in order to receive any compensation, your attorney has to prove you were injured. This includes both physical injuries and financial losses. For example, if you’re hit from behind, you may suffer whiplash and other injuries. Your car will also sustain significant damage to the bumper and backend. You can demand compensation for both of these things.
Some of the various damages your lawyer may list in your lawsuit include the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Some people think they can recover punitive damages for their car accident. This is very rare. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and send a message to reckless drivers. Your attorney will have to present specific and strong evidence that the defendant acted recklessly in order to successfully demand punitive damages.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that you must prove causation in order to win damages. It’s one thing to show that you were hurt and that your car was damaged. It’s quite another to demonstrate that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries. The defendant is going to have their own lawyer who is going to try to prove you caused the crash. It may become a “he-said, she-said” issue.
Retaining an Auto Accident Lawyer in Wilmington Will Increase Your Chances of Having a Payable Claim
One of the questions our clients ask is whether hiring an attorney increases their chances of winning a car accident case. While we can make no guarantees, it is true that having an auto accident lawyer in Wilmington will maximize your chances of collecting damages. Of course, there’s no rule that says you have to hire an attorney. You have every right to represent yourself. However, if you want the best chance of recovering damages, you’ll want a legal professional by your side.
What we recommend is that you at least take advantage of your free, initial consultation. This way, you can get the opinion of one of our injury attorneys in Wilmington, North Carolina. They know the law and they know what you’re up against with the big insurance companies. If you decide to retain our services, you won’t have to pay anything upfront. In fact, you don’t pay anything until you win or settle your car accident case.