A car accident is a single event that delivers multiple consequences. Physical injuries, emotional trauma, and the financial distress of property damage, medical costs, and lost wages create an overwhelming stack of losses. Ricci Law Firm is here to knock that stack down by securing a financial settlement to recoup your losses, help you recover, and stabilize your financial future.

It can be tricky to navigate North Carolina’s negligence laws. To get the compensation you need and deserve, put your case in the experienced, capable hands of the New Bern car accident lawyers from our team. When you partner with Ricci Law Firm, your well-being becomes our top priority.

New Bern and North Carolina Car Accident Statistics

Statistics compiled by the World Population Review ranks North Carolina 19th on its list of state rankings for motor-vehicle accidents. A recent yearly report of crash data issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) shows 276,026 crashes statewide. Of this total:

  • 1,653 involved fatalities, with 1,783 people killed
  • 74,639 involved injuries, with 114,722 people injured
  • 1,218 of those killed were drivers, 273 were passengers, 202 were motorcyclists, 22 were cyclists, and 262 were pedestrians

For Craven County, the numbers show:

  • 14 fatalities
  • 940 non-fatal injuries
  • 1,752 property-damage-only accidents

Craven County ranks 22nd of 100 North Carolina counties for the number of crashes reported. The city of New Bern saw 909 accidents.

Steps to Take Following a Car Accident in New Bern

Though every car accident is different, there are some standard steps to take–and actions to avoid–following a car accident. 

Comply with North Carolina Laws

According to North Carolina law 20-166, drivers who know or who should reasonably know they have been in an accident have a duty to stop their vehicles, provide others involved in the accident with contact and insurance information, and help those injured. Drivers must remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives, unless doing so puts that driver at risk.

Get Out of Traffic and Gather Evidence

Of course, if you are seriously injured, do not move until emergency medical care arrives. If you can move without injuring yourself further, get out of the path of traffic and start gathering evidence.

Take photos of the accident scene. Document the position of the cars and their damage. Next, and only if it is possible to do safely, move the vehicles to the side of the road. Take photos and video of the overall accident scene. Include road conditions, traffic signals and signs, road markings, and any other relevant details. 

Speak to witnesses and take down their contact information. If they have a video of the accident, ask them to share it with you. 

Get Medical Care

While you might not need emergency care, getting prompt medical attention is critical both for your well-being and your potential car accident claim. Sometimes, the effects of injuries do not appear right away. Accidents produce surges of adrenaline which can mask pain.

Some very serious injuries take a few hours or a day to show. But the longer you put off treatment, the more dangerous they become. For example, symptoms of traumatic brain injuries or internal organ damage can worsen without care, leaving you with a permanent condition or even leading to death. 

Regarding your accident claim, failure to seek care quickly can give the at-fault party an opportunity to blame your choice to delay care for your worsened condition rather than the accident itself, putting your compensation at risk.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

North Carolina requires all drivers to carry auto insurance. Minimum insurance requirements include coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists, bodily injury, and property damage. 

When you report the accident to your insurance adjuster, keep your comments factual and brief. Do not speculate on the cause of the accident or who holds fault. If you have injuries, do not minimize them. Simply explain that you are seeking medical care, and your New Bern car accident attorney will handle any further discussions. Do not speak with the other party’s insurance company at all.

Partner with a Car Accident Lawyer in New Bern

Connect with a New Bern car accident attorney from Ricci Law Firm as soon as possible after the collision. Your attorney will guide you through the next steps, ensuring you comply with North Carolina’s car accident and personal injury laws, manage all filings and discussions with the at-fault party’s representatives, and protect you from taking on unwarranted fault. 

Further, an experienced attorney will value your losses accurately, protecting you from accepting inadequate settlements that leave you without justice and in continued financial distress.

North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Laws

North Carolina is one of five states that operates under contributory negligence laws for personal injury claims. This system prohibits plaintiffs, the victims filing claims for compensation, from collecting from the alleged at-fault party if they (the victims) have contributed to the accident causing their injuries in any way. Even if their contribution is minimal, victims can be denied compensation. 

If you are the victim of a car accident, your own insurance will provide coverage. But your losses may exceed that coverage. And, if another party caused those losses, their insurance, not yours, should be on the hook for making you whole. 

However, as you probably expect, the at-fault party’s insurance companies will do their best to put fault on you–even a small amount–to avoid the responsibility of compensating you for your losses. This is why you need an attorney to carry out a thorough investigation of your accident and build a strong case to prove the at-fault party’s total fault and to handle all discussions with the at-fault party’s insurance and other representatives.

If you speak to insurance companies alone, those companies will take advantage of your vulnerability. Insurance adjusters have successful strategies for intimidating victims or twisting their words into admissions of fault. They know just what questions to ask to get the responses they need to deny your claim. The team at Ricci Law Firm knows how to handle these companies. Your attorney will anticipate their tactics and, more importantly, dismantle them before any damage is done.

Causes of New Bern Car Accidents

The North Carolina DOT crash data report (referenced earlier) provides information on factors causing or contributing to accidents statewide. Causes include specific driver errors, lack of compliance with laws, and defective vehicles.

The highest number of accidents had “no contributing factors” listed. For those with contributing factors reported, the most common ones include:

  • Failure to reduce speed
  • Failure to yield right-of-way
  • Inattention
  • Operating the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Over-correcting or over-steering
  • Exceeding safe speeds for conditions
  • Disregarding traffic signals, signs, and road markings

A car accident attorney in New Bern will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine the cause and identify the at-fault party.

Proving Negligence for a Car Accident in New Bern

If you are a victim seeking compensation from the at-fault party, you must prove that the party’s negligence caused the accident leading to your damages. Proving negligence is no small task and is best carried out by an attorney with the resources and experience to gather thorough evidence. There are four components to proving negligence:

  • The at-fault party had a legal responsibility, called a duty of care, to preserve your safety. All drivers owe others on the road, whether other vehicle operators, pedestrians, or cyclists, a duty to follow traffic laws, practice safe driving behaviors, and avoid unsafe behaviors
  • The at-fault party breached–or did not fulfill–their duty to you. Drivers who speed, drive while under the influence or ignore traffic laws breach their duty
  • The breach caused the accident. This is where a careful investigation is critical. Your lawyer will gather evidence to prove the breach of duty, not something else, caused your accident. Sometimes the breach is the driver’s fault. Other times, a vehicle or part manufacturer may be culpable for designing or installing a defective part
  • The accident cost you quantifiable damages

When you file a claim against an at-fault party, the burden is on you to prove their negligence. Then, if that party counterclaims and argues you contributed to the accident, the burden is on them. 

Remember, since North Carolina follows a contributory negligence structure, if the at-fault party succeeds in assigning you blame, your settlement is at risk. Your best offense and best defense is to partner with a skilled New Bern car accident lawyer. Trust Ricci Law Firm to build a case to prove your claim and to protect you from unfair blame.

Our New Bern Car Accident Attorneys Will Fight for the Highest Settlement Possible 

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it can be difficult for victims to recognize the extent of their losses and future needs. Initial medical costs demand coverage, but the damages do not stop there. The New Bern car accident attorneys at Ricci Law Firm will assess your losses carefully. While every settlement amount is different, you can expect your attorney to fight for a settlement adequate to meet your current and future needs.

Medical Costs

Your injuries will require immediate interventions. Depending on their severity, they may also require extended rehabilitation or other treatments. In the worst cases, your injuries may never fully heal, leaving you with permanent disabilities and potentially in need of daily care.

A fair settlement will cover your initial costs as well as future care needs. Your lawyer will consult with your medical care team and other experts, as needed, to anticipate future care costs.

Wage Loss

As you recover, you will need to take time off from work. You will lose wages or sick days–either way, the cost is yours to bear, and that is not fair. Your attorney will calculate those losses and factor that amount into the settlement demand.

If you are not able to return to work because of your injuries, you deserve compensation for future lost earnings and job benefits. These amounts will also factor into the demand amount and are critical for your future financial stability.

Other Accident-Related Expenses

Your vehicle may need repairs or may be beyond repair after the accident. A settlement will cover costs for repairs or the value of the vehicle.

If you face other costs because of the accidents, perhaps having to hire child care or transportation needs as you recover or for the foreseeable future, your attorney will include those expenses in the settlement demand. 

Non-Tangible Losses

Medical costs, lost income, property damage, and other expenses are all damages with an actual “bill” or monetary value. Non-tangible losses do not have a “set” dollar amount but carry substantial value.

Compensation for non-tangible losses includes financial acknowledgement for:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life

Your injuries may leave you in constant physical duress. The pain, your changed abilities, and possible loss of independence can cause depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. You may no longer be able to participate in activities, events, vacations, or even social gatherings as you could before the accident, diminishing your overall enjoyment of life. 

A settlement cannot restore what these losses have taken from you. Instead, it serves as an acknowledgment and the only form of justice available. It can also give you financial access to other opportunities and therapies to improve the quality of your changed life. 

We Take the Legal Burdens off Your Shoulders

Ricci Law Firm fights for car accident victims like you, who deserve to be compensated for the losses they have suffered because of someone else’s negligence. Connect today to arrange a free consultation. Our New Bern car accident lawyers have decades of experience and are passionate about pursuing financial justice for injury victims. Ricci Law Firm takes pride in putting clients first–treating them with respect and giving their cases the individual attention they deserve. Let us take the legal pressures and burdens off your shoulders so you can focus on healing and facing a more hopeful future.

Visit Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers at our New Bern office

2129 S Glenburnie Rd
New Bern, NC 28562