From a fender-bender to a large multi-vehicle pileup, car accidents are common on the roads of North Carolina. Minor crashes may result in easy-to-fix damage to your car, but a collision often leaves you with significant injuries and a ruined vehicle. When someone else is to blame for these losses, you need help seeking the compensation you need and deserve.
At the Ricci Law Firm, we specialize in providing experienced guidance from a knowledgeable North Carolina car accident lawyer. We understand how to work with insurance companies to reach a fair settlement for you. We are also courtroom-ready from day one if your claim goes to trial. Contact us for a free consultation today.
Car Accidents Are Increasing in North Carolina Every Year
With more roads being built to accommodate population growth and a rise in regional industry, there are more chances for you to suffer a car crash. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that in the most recent reporting year, there was a 7.5% increase in the number of people killed in car accidents. Other startling statistics include:
- Over 114,000 people suffered injuries in car accidents.
- The number of crashes was over 276,000, up 11.7% from the previous year.
- Almost 24% of all car accident deaths were related to speeding.
Speed is a major factor in both single-car accidents and those involving multiple vehicles. Drivers can lose control and leave the roadway, colliding with fences, guardrails, or other objects. Whether on rural roads, city streets, or major highways, there are a number of other factors that contribute to car accidents, such as:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Aggressive driving (road rage)
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving while distracted by a cell phone, GPS device, or other passengers
- Weather conditions such as heavy rain, ice, snow, or flooding
- Hazards or debris in the road
- Animals crossing the road
- Defective parts
- Faulty repair work
Your circumstances may be different, and you may even think you have no one but yourself to blame for your crash. However, even a single-car collision could be the result of someone else’s negligence. For example, if the fluid lines in your car were damaged when you took your car for an oil change, you may have a claim against the shop for negligence.
Regardless of what caused your crash, it is worth the time to schedule a free case evaluation with a reputable car accident attorney. At the Ricci Law Firm, we have seen thousands of cases and can explain potential options you may have for compensation.
We Build Your Case for Liability Using Strong Evidence
North Carolina is an at-fault state for car accidents and insurance. This requires the person who causes a crash to pay for the damages that result. The state also uses a pure contributory negligence rule, which makes even a routine insurance claim challenging. If you are found to be only 1% responsible for your crash, you cannot claim damages.
This means your car accident lawyers must build the strongest case possible using robust evidence. You may think your insurance company will automatically cover your losses, but they are eager to use the contributory negligence law against you. They will claim they do not have to pay because you are at fault. If you are filing against another driver’s insurance, they will fight even harder to reduce or deny your claim.
The same is true when you must take a case to court. The defendant’s lawyers know that you bear the burden of proving 100% negligence and will do everything they can to show that you are to blame. Fortunately, when you rely on the Ricci Law Firm, your car accident lawyer will use every legal advantage available to show the four elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care (driving safely).
- The defendant failed in that duty.
- You suffered injuries as a direct result of their failure.
- You have expenses from your injuries.
Our team will gather evidence from sources such as:
- Photos from the accident scene
- Police accident reports
- Witness statements
- Data on road and weather conditions during the crash
- Road conditions
- Photos of injuries and property damage
- Cell phone records for all drivers
- Vehicle repair records
- Video footage from traffic cameras, security cameras, and dashcams
Ricci Law Firm will even hire an independent accident investigator to objectively determine what happened and who is to blame.
Dram Shop Liability
Dram shop laws, or ABC laws as they are known in North Carolina, address the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person or someone under the age of 21. Suppose a restaurant, bar, or another establishment that serves alcohol knowingly provides it to someone underage or already drunk. In that case, the establishment could be held responsible for any crash or damage the person goes on to cause.
These laws are extremely complicated, and the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff. Your car accident attorney can help you understand if this statute applies to your case.
How Insurance Works in North Carolina
All resident drivers in North Carolina are required by law to carry liability insurance to cover damages they cause in an accident. Insurance minimum coverage amounts are:
- Bodily injury liability: $30,000 per person and $60,000 for two or more people
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per incident
Although this coverage is mandated by law, many drivers choose to drive without insurance. This can leave you with few options for securing compensation when someone hits you. However, you can purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) insurance as an optional policy to protect yourself.
This insurance can also help if your injuries and damage are so extreme that you exhaust their policy limits. You could also consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit to cover your losses. Filing a lawsuit gives you a better chance of securing compensation for all your damages beyond what an insurance policy covers.
Car Accidents Can Cause Devastating Injuries
Most injuries are apparent at the scene of a car accident. You are treated as quickly as possible by first responders and transported to a hospital for further care. In less drastic situations, you may be hurt but able to move on your own. Regardless of the extent of your condition, you should always accept medical assistance right after a car accident.
Your injuries may take time to develop. Whiplash is a common condition that rapidly worsens in the days and weeks after a crash. If you suffered a head injury, you could feel fine to go home but find yourself disoriented and nauseous later that day. Diagnosing your injuries fully and accurately is critical to ensuring that you do not face medical bills you cannot pay.
Head and Neck Injuries
In extreme situations, you may suffer head wounds from glass, metal, or other objects flying around or through the passenger cabin. You could be blinded, suffer lacerations, or fracture your skull. Bumping your head on a steering wheel or window can result in closed head injuries such as concussions or a coup-contrecoup. Either of these involves damage to the brain tissue when it impacts the inside of the skull.
You may lose consciousness, be nauseous, have convulsions, or have difficulty waking up. Head injuries often require medical specialists to diagnose the condition correctly, and victims can face a long recovery.
Arm and Leg Injuries
Head-on crashes can often result in broken bones due to the impact of your vehicle’s firewall. If you are pushing down on the brake pedal, the force can be transferred into your legs and hips, breaking your ankles, legs, or pelvis. Sideswipe accidents often force you into the door or window, breaking your shoulder, collarbone, or legs.
Seatbelts serve the purpose of keeping you inside the vehicle during a collision but can also damage your limbs or nerves when they restrain you. Recovering from these injuries can take many months, and some victims are left with a permanent disabilities. In severe cases, they could require amputation to save their lives.
Lacerations and Cuts
Any loose object in a car, including a pet or someone who is not using their seatbelt, can become a projectile during an accident. Victims can suffer trauma from blunt force impact, but often they are cut and lacerated. These injuries are usually minor but, if left untreated, can become infected and cause dangerous medical conditions.
These infections are one reason it is vital to accept treatment at the accident scene and follow up with your physician. You can establish a baseline of treatment and demonstrate that you developed a more severe medical condition that is directly related to your crash.
Internal Organ Injuries
Some accidents are so severe that the car is crushed or bent into the passenger cabin, causing broken ribs or penetrating wounds from foreign objects. Even if a person only slams against the steering wheel, they can suffer damage to their internal organs. Bruising, tearing, and punctures can require immediate medical treatment along with an extended recovery time.
In the worst cases, victims in a car accident may pass away from their injuries at the scene or soon after. In addition to the medical expenses, their families must deal with a future without their loved ones. Burial costs, funeral expenses, and the loss of the deceased’s financial contribution to the family are all damages that survivors can seek in a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Much Your Car Accident Claim Could Be Worth
Physical injuries and the bills to treat them are just one aspect of the damages you suffer in a car accident. Your vehicle will likely be damaged and require extensive repair or replacement. On top of all this, you will face pain, suffering, and emotional distress. You may worry about how to pay for everything if you cannot work.
Every accident is unique, and every case is judged on its own merits. At the Ricci Law Firm, we specialize in examining your case thoroughly to calculate a full and fair estimate of your damages. We focus on accounting for every penny you deserve and can help you consider expenses you may have overlooked.
Compensatory damages are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Those with a price tag are considered economic losses, while the ways in which your life has been affected make up the non-economic losses. You have the right to request financial restitution for every expense you have suffered related to your accident.
Your car accident lawyer will build a list of potential expenses, such as:
- All medical bills
- Repair and replacement costs for your vehicle
- Damage to other personal property, such as cell phones or luggage
- Lost income while you cannot work
- Lost earning potential if you are permanently disabled
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy bills
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of society
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Isolation and embarrassment
If you are permanently disabled as a result of the crash, you will need enough reimbursement to allow you to live comfortably and support your family if you can no longer work. The emotional suffering you face must also be compensated. When the final total is calculated, your claim could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure you are made whole by the person at fault.
Insurance Companies Do Not Like Paying Claims
Insurance representatives are not your friends. They are paid to ensure their company does not lose money, and paying out claims means they make less profit. Their adjusters and lawyers will offer you a low initial settlement, hoping you will take it and close the claim.
If you do not have skilled car accident attorneys negotiating for you, you can easily leave money on the table. This is money you may need if your injuries get worse. Once you accept an offer, you cannot go back for more. Our team will fight for the best settlement possible, so this does not happen to you.
Rely on a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer at the Ricci Law Firm
No matter how you are seeking compensation, you can be overwhelmed with the complexities of insurance claims and personal injury law when you are trying to heal. Unless you hire a qualified attorney, very few people will be on your side to ensure you get the recovery you need.
At the Ricci Law Firm, we focus all our skills and knowledge on each case. We understand personal injury law and how the North Carolina court system works. We can interpret statutes to your advantage and will give you our honest evaluation of how your case may proceed. We provide valuable services to every client, such as:
Determining Who Is to Blame
In addition to other drivers, there could be multiple parties at fault for your crash. Homeowners who erect dangerous structures around their property or who allow their animals to roam free could be held liable. Parts manufacturers who do not repair products with design flaws may be at fault.
We conduct a full investigation and compile evidence to demonstrate how the carelessness or wrongful actions of others resulted in your injuries. We forcefully litigate each case to show who is to blame.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Our attorneys know how insurance companies work and will fight back against their underhanded tactics. You do not have to take the first offer, and you can hold out until you get the settlement you deserve. When you rely on our team, you do not even have to face this frustration yourself. Our team will negotiate for you while you concentrate on getting better.
Preparing Your Case for Court
When your damages are more than insurance will pay or the insurance companies will not give you an equitable settlement, we stand ready to take your claim to trial. There are critical deadlines that must be met and paperwork that must be filed correctly. Our team will take the burden off you and handle all of this.
The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident. Our car accident lawyers will get to work as soon as you contact us for your first consultation. We will be ready for trial from the beginning, so we do not have to get ready later on.
Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer for Help Today
Who is at fault and who pays you for your damages can get complicated very quickly in North Carolina when you are involved in a car crash. You should not try to go it alone, and you should not delay seeking help. To maximize your chances at full compensation, you must rely on a skilled North Carolina car accident lawyer.
The Ricci Law Firm offers a collective 60 years of legal experience. We have secured tens of millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for our clients. Our team can assist you in dealing with the consequences of your injuries while holding the negligent person accountable for their wrongdoing.
We know your injuries and loss of property can have a tremendous impact on you and your family. Our team can be a soothing influence when you are stressed and uncertain about how to pay the bills from your accident. We are here to help you in your time of need.
Do not wait any longer to schedule your free case evaluation through our online form today.