Common Misconceptions About
North Carolina Accident Claims
April 11, 2022
If you have been involved in an auto accident in North Carolina, you are probably getting a lot of unsolicited advice from family, friends, co-workers, and others. As well-intentioned as their advice may be, it may be neither good nor accurate. There are many notable misconceptions about how car accident claims work in North Carolina.
If an at-fault party caused a crash, you should work with the facts. At Life Law, we provide our clients throughout North Carolina, including those in Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte, and Wilmington, with the accurate information they need to make informed decisions about their claims.
Common Misconceptions About Car Accident Claims
Before you call our office to learn more, let us debunk some common misconceptions about North Carolina car accident claims.
My own insurance will cover my medical
expenses and damages to my vehicle.
North Carolina is an at-fault state for car insurance, so the at-fault driver is financially responsible for the medical bills and other damages they cause. If you have medical payment benefits under your policy, you can access them to help pay for your medical expenses much quicker than you can settle a claim against the negligent driver. However, your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages may be far more costly than the limits of your medical payment benefits.
Your car insurance bodily injury liability coverage can only be used to pay for the medical expenses of someone else, not you. So, your medical payments benefit is the only coverage you can access.
While your insurance may initially pay for the repairs to your vehicle, if the other driver is at fault, your insurer will recoup what they pay from the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. Your insurer may even be able to recoup your out-of-pocket deductible for the property damage claim.
To hold the other driver financially responsible, you will need to prove they were completely at fault for the crash. You must prove the driver owed you a duty of care, the driver breached that duty of care, and as a result, you sustained injuries and other damages.
I feel okay, so I don’t need to see a doctor.
You need to seek medical attention. Symptoms of injuries can be masked by adrenaline. Others may not become obvious for hours, days, weeks, or even months. For the sake of your own health, you need to see a doctor whether you think you are injured or not. If you don’t, you may make the health issues worse or never heal properly.
To file a third-party liability claim against the at-fault party, or even to access your own medical payments benefits, you will need medical documentation indicating your injuries and that the cause of your injuries was the crash.
If you fail to seek medical treatment right away or at all and your injuries become apparent later on, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will use the delay against you in a claim. The insurer will allege either that your injuries were so minor they did not require medical intervention, that you injured yourself in some other way in the interim that was unrelated to the crash, or both.
The accident was minor, so I don’t need to report it.
Any car accident must be reported under North Carolina law if someone is injured or killed, if the at-fault driver hit a car parked on the roadway, if there is any damage to a car seized for a DUI offense, or if damage to any vehicle involved exceeds $1,000. It takes very little to cause $1,000 in damage, so report it.
I was partially at fault for the crash, but that
won’t affect my claim against the other driver.
North Carolina observes pure contributory negligence. If any fault can be assigned to you, even 1%, you are prohibited from filing a personal injury claim against the other driver, even if they were 99% at fault.
This makes establishing fault particularly critical. The other driver’s insurance company won’t have to work very hard to lay some of the blame on you to avoid paying anything.
Having an attorney won’t make any
difference when filing a personal injury claim.
This is a serious misconception about North Carolina car accident claims. To be successful, you will need the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney. You need an attorney who knows how to fully investigate a crash, question expert witnesses, and keep you from shouldering any amount of blame.
Your attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and will not let them run over you. Fair compensation for your injuries and other damages comes from shrewd and tough negotiating skills. You need an attorney who knows how to build a case, assign value to your claim, and garner the highest settlement or jury award possible.
Skilled & Compassionate Advocacy
When we agree to represent you in a personal injury claim, we agree to be your fiercest advocate. We know insurance companies will try everything possible to deny or devalue your claim. At Life Law, we have witnessed every strategy insurers use to pay injury victims as little as possible. We use that knowledge and our formidable skills to achieve the best results we can for each and every client we serve.
If you have been injured in a car accident anywhere in North Carolina, call Life Law in Raleigh. Consultations are free so contact us now.