How Much Will Insurance Pay for a Car Accident?
Car Accident and your personal injury attorney
A car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences a person will ever face. Dealing with injuries, insurance agencies and police is scary enough. Even worse is North Carolina’s contributory negligence law that makes it hard for victims to pursue legitimate claims because claims can be denied if a victim is even 1% at fault. How much will insurance pay for a car accident? The answer is far from simple.
The Law Overall
If you are hurt in a car accident, you may be entitled to be compensated for damages that are economic and non-economic. The at-fault driver has a responsibility to restore your life and condition to where they were before the accident. This may involve paying:
- Emergency medical bills and follow-up care
- Back pay for work you missed
- Expenses for pain and suffering caused in the accident
If the driver has insurance, the process will likely go through his or her agency. If not, you likely have the right to sue him or her for damages. This can be settled out of court if you and the insurance company come to an agreement on the amount of compensation due.
This can take hard-nosed negotiations because the insurance company is a business. It is not interested in giving you the maximum you think you are due. That is why hiring an experienced car accident injury attorney, like one at The Olive Law Firm is important.
If You Are Injured
- Get medical treatment right away. Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, you still should seek medical treatment because you might be in shock and won’t feel the full effects until later.
- Take photos if you are able to do so, or, enlist the help of a friend to take pictures of your injuries, vehicle damage and the scene.
- Do not admit or imply you were at fault to police, witnesses, EMT crews or anyone who treats you. Your words can be taken out of context and used against you. If you are not sure you made a complete stop at a stop sign when your car was T-boned, keep that information to yourself until you can talk to a lawyer. You might not really know.
Call a car accident attorney before you speak to any insurance representative – your own or the other driver’s. Your words will likely be recorded. Saying you feel “Okay” may seem insignificant to you, but in an accident investigation, it can mean the same as saying you had no injury at all.
North Carolina is among just four states that still have this law. It means that even if you are only one percent at fault in a car accident, you are not entitled to any compensation whatsoever. Big insurance companies and businesses have kept the state from changing this law, saying it will cause insurance rates to skyrocket. However, it makes an innocent victim’s case hard to prove. This law is a major reason you should hire an aggressive attorney who can present the facts in your favor and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Be advised however, that no attorney can promise a specific result in any case.
There are precise mathematical formulas for determining how much your car accident related expenses are worth.
- Medical treatment – It is vital to save all bills and receipts. Keep detailed records of every procedure you have and each healthcare professional you see or are asked to see.
- Your damaged car –The insurance company (yours or the other driver’s) will consider the value of your vehicle, the damage done, minus its age and condition. Depending on the severity of the accident, you will likely need more than one repair estimate.
- Lost wages – Wage stub receipts and other documentation (if you own your own business) will be needed.
- Bills – Calculate how much your rent, mortgage, utility bills and maintenance will cost if you are out of work and can’t pay these basic expenses.
- Other expenses – You may deserve compensation for things like hiring a caregiver for a sick relative if that was your duty, or a babysitter for the children, or someone to do the housework you normally do.
An insurance adjuster looks at all of these factors and then boils it all down to numbers. In some cases there are formulas used but the process tends to be highly subjective.
Hiring an Attorney
Calling a lawyer can put your mind at ease knowing your questions will be answered. Plus, you are less likely to be fooled by the insurance industry’s strong-arm tactics. After all, when you are hurt in a car accident, you are vulnerable, confused and in shock. Do not try to navigate the difficult process yourself.
If you need immediate assistance, please call The Olive Law Firm at 704-377-9222.