A car accident is one of the most overwhelming g situations you could find yourself in. If lucky, you may be able to walk out of it in one piece but have your car suffer some damage.
But not everyone is as lucky. According to data from the NHTSA, over 30,000 people die from car accidents yearly. In 2021 alone, over 42,900 people died on the roads, and millions of others saw a doctor for car accident-related injuries.
If you are not to blame for a car accident, you can sue the responsible party for damages. However, recovering compensation may not be straightforward. So you will need to understand how a car accident claim works to better your chances of succeeding in your claim.
Establish Who Was at Fault
First, you have to know who is at fault. If you are to blame for the accident, you may not be eligible for compensation. So it is best first to establish whether you or the other party is responsible for the accident.
Even when the other party could be at fault, they may not admit it because their policy could have a clause that prohibits them from admitting liability. So your best bet at establishing fault will be calling the police.
You may also want to take pictures and record video footage for the scene, which you can then share with your lawyer to use when determining liability. North Carolina is a comparative fault state which means if you are partly responsible for the accident, you can only recover damages to the extent of the other party’s fault.
You Must Have Suffered Injuries
Even when the other driver could be 100 percent responsible for the accident, you may not have a personal injury case if you do not suffer any injuries. “Suffering an injury in an accident is what gives a personal injury case validity,” says Charles Boyk of the Charles E. Boyk Law Offices.
Some of the main things a court or insurance adjusters will look at while evaluating a personal injury claim include medical reports, hospital bills, and receipts for prescription drugs. So if you are injured, it’s always best to see a doctor if you hope to recover compensation.
Recoverable damages in a successful personal injury claim include economic damages, which is a sum of all expenses that are a direct result of the accident, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, psychological pain, and loss of life enjoyment.
If gross negligence was a factor in the accident, you could also recover punitive damages. You may also recover the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle by filing a property damage claim against the at-fault driver.
A Lawyer Makes a Big Difference
It is possible to navigate your claim without a lawyer. But the chances of recovering what you deserve can be slim. The other side will have a lawyer, which means approaching the case without one will put you at a disadvantage, and they can use your lack of knowledge to deny you what you deserve.
The first thing a lawyer does is command respect from the other side. Also, they bring in their experience and expertise to help ensure you get what you deserve. Most injury lawyers have a contingency fee mode of payment which means you do not pay until they win, so you don’t have to worry about legal fees.