If you’re injured in a serious car crash or accident, you need to speak to an Asheville car accident attorney to see what steps you need to take next to protect yourself.
Driving is one of the most dangerous things that people do on a daily basis. Every year, more than 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the United States and an estimated 2 million of those injuries are permanent. Sadly, many of these accidents and the resulting injuries are avoidable, and caused entirely through the fault of someone else’s carelessness or distracted driving.
If you’re hurt in a car accident, the time directly following the auto accident itself can be extremely stressful. You will have to deal with having your car towed and repaired or replaced, your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company may be calling you, and you won’t have anyone to tell you what you should be doing next to protect your interests. This is why you should call Melrose Law, as we handle car accident cases throughout western North Carolina on a daily basis.
If you live in North Carolina and you have been in a car accident, contact the lawyers at Melrose Law as soon as possible. It is crucial that we complete a thorough investigation of the accident while the evidence is still intact and memories are fresh. Call 800-222-2430 for a first free consultation and case evaluation.
A Strong Advocate for Car Accident Victims
Another driver’s carelessness can turn your life upside down in an instant. The pain and financial expense following a car accident can be overwhelming. You don’t have to go through this on your own. Our team will work hard to get you the medical care and financial support you need, so you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Our team will immediately set to work investigating the cause of the accident and collecting important evidence from the accident scene. We will take photos and conduct interviews with witnesses. We also work with accident reconstructionists who will show a jury exactly how your accident occurred and why the other driver was at fault.
Under North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws, if you were even 1 percent at fault for your car accident injuries, you will not be able to recover any monetary damages. The insurance companies use these laws to their advantage to reduce or eliminate the compensation they have to pay you. Mark Melrose, an experienced car accident attorney, is intimately familiar with these laws and will advocate on your behalf to get you the compensation you need.
If the other motorist was uninsured, underinsured, or did not stop or left the scene of the accident, Melrose Law will help you get compensation and recover damages through your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. Additionally, if you feel that your insurance company is acting in bad faith, we will complete a full investigation and let you know if you have a case.
Common Types of Serious Car Accidents
- Head-on Collision
- Rear-end Collision
- Single Vehicle Accidents
- Hit and Run Collisions
- Failure to yield collisions
Single Car Accident Recoveries from Car Insurance
Asheville and Waynesville lawyer Mark Melrose handles many cases for passengers injured or killed when the driver of their vehicle runs off the road, often hitting trees or guardrails. What many people do not realize is that the liability insurance for the vehicle involved in the collision will provide full coverage up to policy limits for all the passengers, including the owner of the vehicle. Many of these accidents occur when the driver exceeds a safe speed and hydroplanes, typically just after it begins to rain and the road surfaces are particularly slick with grease and oil. Legally, there is no defense to hydroplaning and losing control. If a driver loses control, then he or she is legally responsible, since the law presumes that you will not lose control in a rain storm if you are driving at a safe speed. Many new drivers do not realize that often the legal safe speed is lower than the posted speed limit.
The general rule is that liability insurance on the vehicle will cover car accidents resulting from the negligent driving of the vehicle so long as the vehicle is being operated with permission. For example, if the owner of a vehicle allows a friend to borrow the car, the owner’s insurance will provide coverage if the friend causes an accident. Also, if the owner decides to ride along in the car and the friend loses control and runs off the road, injuring the owner, the owner may file a negligence claim against his friend and the owner’s own car insurance will cover his injuries.
Often, insurance companies will try to deny liability in single car accidents, using a theory of what is known as the owner-occupant doctrine. Most of the time, this is a frivolous defense, and an experienced trial attorney who handles personal injury claims can help prove that there is insurance coverage for all the injuries and damages. Never forget that the insurance companies, even your own, make money by collecting more money in premiums than they pay out in claims. If the insurance company believes they can successfully deny a claim and get away with it, they will do so. The only way to level the playing field against car insurance companies is to have your own legal counsel.
Don't Make These 7 Mistakes After a Car Wreck
- Don’t allow your vehicle to be moved until the police arrive. Moving your vehicle, or allowing others to move it may make accurate accident reconstruction difficult, if not impossible. No one ever gets in trouble for leaving their car in the roadway after a wreck.
- Don’t give a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster for the other driver is not your agent, and is only trying to save the insurance company money, hopefully by putting words in your mouth. Don’t give them the chance.
- Don’t refuse medical treatment at the scene if you are hurt. This is not the time to be a hero. Refusal of medical or EMS services will be used by the at-fault driver’s insurance company to argue that you must not have been hurt very badly if you refused treatment.
- Don’t settle your property damage claim on your car until you have a full set of photographs. Often the visible damage to the vehicles is critical when proving how and why the wreck occurred. If you sign over the title to your vehicle before you hire a lawyer and document the damages, you may have just signed away your most valuable evidence.
- Don’t let eyewitnesses leave the scene before giving a statement to law enforcement. Often the good Samaritans at the scene may be the only way you can prove who was at fault in causing the wreck. Letting them leave with a simple “thank you” may be letting your claim leave as well.
- Don’t put anything on Facebook. It is a guarantee that the insurance lawyer will request every posting you have ever made to social media about the case. That midnight post you made when you were mad and in pain may cut the value of your case in half.
- Don’t let the wreck ruin your credit. Pay your medical bills as best you can, or make arrangements with your doctor to make monthly payments. A lawyer can often help you hold off your creditors until your case is settled. Just because you will eventually collect your damages from the at-fault driver doesn’t mean your doctor has to wait to get paid. The auto insurance company won’t make partial payments, and doesn’t care if your credit gets ruined.
Insurance Companies May Try To Obstruct Your Rights to Compensation
In the aftermath of a car accident, it is not just the physical and emotional trauma that victims have to endure. There’s also a labyrinth of legal and financial complexities they must navigate to secure rightful compensation for their losses. Often, at the heart of these complexities lie insurance companies.
Insurance companies, while necessary and often helpful, are first and foremost businesses. Like any other business, their primary aim is to protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, this financial motivation can sometimes result in practices that obstruct a victim’s rights to fair compensation.
Lowballing Settlement Offers
One of the most common tactics employed by insurance companies is to present an initial settlement offer that is far lower than what the claimant is rightfully entitled to. This is particularly prevalent when the victim is not represented by an attorney. The strategy here is to catch victims off-guard when they are most vulnerable, hoping they will accept the lowball offer to avoid protracted negotiations or litigation.
Insurance companies might also employ delay tactics to frustrate the claimants into accepting less than they deserve. They could take an inordinately long time to process claims or repeatedly request unnecessary information, hoping that the victim will grow weary of the process and settle for less just to get it over with.
Another common strategy is outright denial of liability. The insurance company might argue that their policyholder was not at fault for the accident, or they might claim that the victim’s injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the accident. This tactic requires the victim to produce substantial evidence to prove their claim.
Misrepresenting Policy Terms
Sometimes, insurance companies might misinterpret or misrepresent policy terms and conditions to limit their liability. They might claim that certain damages aren’t covered by the policy or that the victim has violated some policy terms, thereby forfeiting their right to compensation.
Lastly, insurance adjusters might downplay the severity of the victim’s injuries to reduce the claim’s worth. They could argue that the medical treatments were not necessary or were too expensive, or they could dispute the projected cost of future medical needs related to the accident.
At Melrose Law we know how to handle personal injury and wrongful death car wreck cases with successful and favorable settlements. Our Asheville car accident lawyers are experienced handling car accident claims, and we file car accident lawsuits routinely. We can prevent simple mistakes from decreasing the value of your claim, and make sure you’re able to get a fair settlement for your injuries. Call our law offices for a free, honest and straightforward assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Let us deal with the professional insurance adjusters and lawyers. Let us protect your rights. We will let you know if you need a lawyer. You can decide whether to hire us after getting a chance to see our law firm and our dedicated staff. That will help you make an informed decision.
We have found that the sooner we get involved in an injury case, or especially a drunk driving case, the better results we are able to obtain. You should seek medical attention for your injuries, while letting us deal with the process of obtaining medical records. We will let your own insurance company know of the claim. Our team will immediately conduct a full investigation into the cause of the serious car accident claim and collect crucial evidence and witness testimonials. We will explain your rights and options in language that you can understand, so that you can make the most informed decisions about your future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Determining the amount of compensation you can expect to receive from a car accident case is a complex process and can vary greatly depending on the specifics of your case. There’s no definitive answer because numerous factors come into play.
The cost of medical treatment is usually the most substantial part of any compensation or personal injury claim amount. This includes not only the cost of immediate medical treatment after the accident but also the projected costs of future medical treatment related to the accident. If your injuries require long-term care or result in permanent disability, these costs can be substantial.
Loss of Earnings
If your injuries prevent you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This also includes lost earning capacity if your ability to earn in the future has been affected.
You can claim compensation for any damage to your vehicle or other personal property in the accident.
Pain and Suffering
This category refers to the physical discomfort and emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries. The amount you can claim for pain and suffering varies widely and depends on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the impact on your daily life, and even the jurisdiction in which your case is heard.
In some cases, where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless, you may be awarded punitive damages. These damages are not intended to compensate you for a loss but rather to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.
If you’re in need of legal representation to help you obtain a full and fair settlement, do not hesitate to reach out to us today.