Goldsboro Car Accident Lawyers
Put Years of Experience in Your Corner
Being injured in a motor vehicle accident can be a life-changing experience. It can result in pain, emotional distress, the loss of your livelihood, time-consuming and expensive medical treatments, and potential permanent disability. Injuries can range from whiplash to catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage. In the blink of an eye, your world can be majorly impacted, not only for you but your family.
If you have been injured in a negligence-based car accident anywhere in North Carolina, you can turn to Strickland Agner Pittman for competent and proven legal help. Our team of Goldsboro car accident attorneys has decades of experience that can be used on your behalf to help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve for your losses and injuries. You can get started by scheduling a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys as soon as possible after your accident. We highly recommend you do this before talking to insurance adjusters whose main objective is to settle quickly with payouts that typically do not fully reflect what your case may be worth.
Common Types of Car Accidents
A car accident refers to a collision involving one or more vehicles. These incidents can range from minor fender-benders to severe collisions resulting in significant damage, injuries, or fatalities.
Common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions: These occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another, often due to sudden stops or tailgating.
- Head-on collisions: These are among the most severe accidents, involving the front ends of two vehicles colliding.
- Side-impact collisions (T-bone accidents): These occur when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another, often at intersections.
- Single-vehicle accidents: These involve only one vehicle and can include running off the road, hitting an object, or rollovers.
- Multi-vehicle pile-ups: These involve three or more vehicles and often occur on highways or roads with high traffic volumes.
- Sideswipe accidents: These occur when the sides of two parallel vehicles come into contact, often during lane changes.
- Hit-and-run accidents: These involve one party leaving the scene of the accident without providing information or assistance.
Each type of accident can have varying degrees of severity, resulting in property damage, injuries, or even fatalities.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents are the most common cause of personal injury claims and lawsuits. Unfortunately, these accidents occur by the millions across the country, resulting in injuries of every conceivable nature to drivers and their passengers. They are typically caused by human error, ranging from negligence-based behavior such as violating traffic laws to plain inattention while behind the wheel.
Some common causes include:
- Distracted driving: One of the leading causes today, distractions like phone use, eating, adjusting the radio, or interacting with passengers divert attention from the road.
- Speeding: Exceeding speed limits reduces reaction time and increases the severity of accidents, making it harder to control the vehicle.
- Drunk driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.
- Reckless driving: Actions like aggressive maneuvers, tailgating, weaving through traffic, or ignoring traffic signals contribute to accidents.
- Weather conditions: Adverse weather like rain, snow, ice, fog, or strong winds reduces visibility and traction, making roads more hazardous.
- Fatigue: Driving while tired can lead to reduced alertness, slower reaction times, and even falling asleep at the wheel, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Mechanical failure: Issues with brakes, tires, steering, or other vehicle components can lead to accidents if not properly maintained or if they fail while driving.
- Running red lights or stop signs: Ignoring traffic signals and signs increases the risk of collisions at intersections.
- Inexperienced drivers: Lack of experience on the road can lead to poor decision-making, misjudgment of situations, and inadequate handling of the vehicle.
- Poor road conditions: Potholes, uneven surfaces, lack of proper signage, or poorly designed roads can contribute to accidents.
North Carolina Car Accident Laws
North Carolina follows the fault-based system regarding car accidents. The driver responsible for the accident is typically accountable for the resulting damages. This means the at-fault driver's insurance usually covers the other party's losses.
North Carolina requires all drivers to be covered by minimum auto insurance amounts along with uninsured motorist insurance.
The minimum requirements include:
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage per accident
Uninsured insurance covers you when injured by an at-fault driver who failed to have insurance coverage at the time of your accident. Underinsured coverage is another form of auto insurance that covers your claim when it exceeds the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver. In some cases, you may need to collect from your own insurance company through your uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage.
Thus, car accident claims may involve your own insurance company, the at-fault driver’s insurer, or a lawsuit filed against the at-fault driver for the compensation to which you are entitled under North Carolina personal injury law. The at-fault driver can not only be the driver of another vehicle but the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger at the time of the crash.
The damages you may be entitled to in a car accident claim may include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses covering all treatments associated with your injuries
- Lost wages or income due to the inability to work
- Loss of earning capacity if you suffered a permanent disability that does not allow you to return to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lifetime medical care plan for permanent disability
- Property damage to your vehicle along with rental vehicle expenses
Where a particular party was especially careless or reckless, punitive damages intended to punish that at-fault driver may be awarded by a judge or jury.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in North Carolina
According to the North Carolina General Statutes section 1-52 the state of North Carolina has a three-year timeline. This means you have three years to file your claim and if you try to file a claim outside of this time period, you will most likely be unable to do so.
There are some exceptions to this law where the filing time may change, including:
- If the injury victim is a minor at the time the accident occurred
- The negligent party left the state before a claim could be filed
Beyond the statute of limitations, car accident injuries are different than other injuries covered by personal injury law in that they are most often soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are injuries that affect the tendons, ligaments and muscles. A common example of a soft tissue injury inflicted by car accidents is whiplash, and like whiplash these types of injuries typically progressively get worse over a few days or even weeks after the injury occurred.
Because of this, many injury victims sign a compensation agreement with an insurance company before talking to a lawyer only to discover later that their injuries are worse than they initially believed but are not able to recover any additional. If you have suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, talk to our Goldsboro car accident attorney for help today!
Why You Shouldn't Accept the First Offer
Accepting the first settlement offer from an insurance company after a car accident isn't always advisable without careful consideration.
Here are reasons why accepting it outright might not be in your best interest:
- Potential Undervaluation: First settlement offers from insurers often aim to minimize their payout. They might not adequately cover all your expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Accepting too quickly could mean settling for an amount less than you deserve.
- Unknown Future Costs: Immediately after an accident, it's challenging to assess the full extent of your injuries and potential long-term consequences. Accepting the first offer might not account for future medical expenses or ongoing treatment needs.
- Pressure for Quick Resolution: Insurers may pressure you to settle quickly, emphasizing a sense of urgency. This might not allow sufficient time for a proper assessment of damages and can lead to undervaluing your claim.
- Legal Recourse: Once you accept a settlement offer, you usually waive your right to pursue further legal action related to the accident. If unforeseen complications arise or if the initial offer doesn't cover all your costs, you won't have legal recourse.
- Seeking Legal Advice: Consulting with a personal injury attorney can provide insight into the fair value of your claim. They can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, potentially securing a higher settlement that covers your actual expenses and losses.
- Understanding the Offer: It's crucial to understand the terms and conditions of the settlement offer fully. This includes any release of liability, confidentiality clauses, or other stipulations that may limit your rights.
- Documentation and Evidence: Ensuring you have gathered all necessary documentation and evidence to support your claim is vital. Rushing into a settlement might overlook critical details needed to bolster your case.
It's wise to take your time, assess the full extent of damages, understand the offer thoroughly, and seek legal advice before accepting a settlement. This approach can help ensure you receive fair compensation that adequately covers your losses resulting from the car accident.
When To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
As a general guideline, it’s best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after suffering injuries in a car accident. There are a couple reasons for this, the first being the statute of limitations which is a law that limits how long injury victims have to file a personal injury claim before they lose their legal right to do so. This law is determined on a state by state basis which means, for example the statute of limitations in New Jersey will be different than North Carolina.
It is vital to remember that you should not answer questions or make recorded statements with insurance adjusters. Though the adjusters say they are just trying to determine the “facts,” they are really looking for a basis to deny your claim and fair compensation for your injuries. Before you give a recorded statement that can be used against you later, discuss your case with one of our capable attorneys. North Carolina operates on a “contributory negligence” basis in these matters. This means that you will not be able to recover compensation if you partially contributed to the accident. Insurance adjusters will be looking for any way they can pin even the slightest amount of fault on you for your injuries.
Our Goldsboro car accident lawyers have been dealing with insurance companies for years. By putting us on your side immediately, we can prevent any pitfalls and errors that could lead to a denial of your claim and right to compensation. You have nothing to lose by phoning us to discuss your case in detail in a free case review. Take advantage of our extensive experience, comprehensive case preparation, negotiation, and trial skills to secure an optimum outcome.