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Proving Back Personal Injuries in NC Car Accident Claims

Back injuries from a car accident can be very serious, if not devastating. An injury to your back muscles, bones, or spine can affect your daily life, relationships, and work. They may even be permanent!

We’ve seen a wide range of back personal injuries, including…

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Soft tissue injuries (like sprains, strains, torn ligaments, & pulled muscles)
  • Compression fractures
  • Broken vertebrae
  • Spondyolisthesis
  • Facet joint injuries 
  • And more!

However, proving that your back injury directly resulted from a vehicle crash can be tricky–that is, without an expert North Carolina back personal injury attorney on your side!

Here’s what you need to know to build a strong claim.

Why is it so difficult to prove a back personal injury?

There are a wide variety of potential causes for back pain. So, as you can probably imagine, pinpointing the PRECISE reason for your back pain can be challenging. 

If possible, the insurance agency representing the opposing party in a personal injury case will attempt to suggest you suffered from “pre-existing” back conditions (or “degenerative changes”) before the car accident that contributed to the back pain you’re experiencing now.

They will try to claim the auto accident did not entirely cause that your back injury. 

And, unfortunately, North Carolina is one of only a few states that follows a pure contributory negligence rule. According to the rule, you cannot recover ANY personal injury damages if you contributed to your injury/injuries in ANY way. That’s why it’s all that much more important for you to hire a lawyer with significant experience in North Carolina personal injury law.

Building a strong back personal injury case

With back personal injury claims, you’ve got to prove four things:

  • The opposing driver had a legal duty for your safety.
  • The opposing driver’s negligence caused the accident (they were at-fault).
  • The accident was a proximate cause of your back injury.
  • And the specific damages you’re requesting stem from the accident and your back injuries.

So, what do you need to show these 4 things?

Plenty of evidence.

Don’t wait long after the crash to seek medical treatment. And be sure to keep all the relevant documentation, from crash scene photographs and police reports to medical bills and records. It may even be a good idea to keep a journal of daily pains and struggles until the court hearing.

And a knowledgeable NC personal injury lawyer.

Robert Louis Armstrong has been helping clients argue back personal injury cases for nearly 24 years!

Robert Armstrong | North Carolina Car Accident & Back Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one sustained a back injury because of a North Carolina car accident, it’s essential for you to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of medical bills, building a claim, and presenting your case.

Get in touch with Robert Armstrong’s office today!


10 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Fatalities in North Carolina

10 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Fatalities in North Carolina

On the busy roads of North Carolina cities, motorcycle accidents are far more likely to result in death than crashes involving other types of vehicles.

In fact, over 80% of motorcycle collisions across the country result in motorcyclist fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

And the number of yearly motorcycle deaths is only rising in NC!

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) studies show that motorcycle crash fatalities rose about 15.2% between 2020 and 2021. And over the last 5 years, the deaths have increased by nearly 25%.

1. Left-Hand Turns

Motorcyclists are more difficult for most drivers to see, which becomes especially dangerous when drivers take left turns through intersections.

Whether because of inattentive driving, distance misjudgements, or right-of-way mistakes, a surprising 41% of fatalities from U.S. motorcycle-vehicle crashes in 2019 happened while another vehicle driver turned left and the motorcyclist was traveling straight or passing/overtaking another vehicle (NHSTA).

 2. Speeding

Excessive speeding significantly decreases a motorcyclist’s chances of noticing and reacting to other drivers and surroundings in enough time to prevent an accident. And as speed rises, so does the risk of serious injury.

In fact, speed proved to be a major factor in about 33% of nationwide motorcycle deaths in 2019, according to the NHTSA.

3. Bad Lane Changes

Motor vehicle drivers frequently hit motorcyclists after neglecting to check their blind spot or use turn signals when moving from lane to lane.

4. Lack of Experience

Motorcyclists need significant training to handle their vehicle-just like people do when they get a motor vehicle driver’s license. Without the proper understanding of their motorcycle and local road rules, motorcyclists can put themselves AND other drivers in unnecessarily dangerous situations.

Unfortunately, a significant portion (30%) of U.S. motorcycle accidents in 2019 involved drivers who did not have valid motorcycle licenses.

5. Drugs & Alcohol

It’s never a good idea—nor is it legal—to drink alcohol or use drugs before driving, whether you’re handling a motor vehicle or a motorcycle. When driving a motorcycle, you need to have extremely sharp reflexes so you can react quickly to potential safety risks to you. And yet, 29% of motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 were under the influence of alcohol—more than any other type of motor vehicle driver.

6. Distracted Driving

Besides drugs and alcohol, there are a wide range of other things that can create distractions on the road—from texting to fellow passengers or riders to mere day-dreaming.

7. Lane Splitting

Many motorcyclists develop a bad habit of shifting between multiple road lanes and weaving through traffic. Not only is this illegal, but it also creates dangerous situations to which many drivers may not know how to respond.

8. Abrupt Stops

We can’t forget the all-too-frequent fender bender. Although rear-end accidents can be very serious for all drivers, motorcyclists have a greater injury risk because of their lack of external vehicle protection.

9. Parked Car Doors

A common problem for bicyclists and motorcyclists alike, “dooring” can be much more serious than it sounds. When a driver parks a vehicle on the side of a roadway and doesn’t watch out behind them for oncoming traffic, motorcyclists frequently cannot react in enough time to avoid a collision.

10. Road & Weather Conditions

Motorcycle crashes can have a wide range of external causes, such as:

  • Potholes
  • Crumbling pavement
  • Debris
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Absence of necessary road signs & signals.

Robert Armstrong | Specialized North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s essential for you to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of medical bills, building a claim, and presenting your case.

Get in touch with Robert Armstrong’s office today!


Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in North Carolina?

Woman stressed and injured after a car accident

There’s no getting around it – car insurance is simply one of those things in life that is essential but oh-so frustrating to deal with. 

In fact, the cost and complexity that tends to come with automobile insurance often deter some drivers from getting ANY insurance coverage whatsoever. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6% of U.S. drivers – and 7.4% of North Carolina drivers – are uninsured. 

And this percentage becomes even greater in high-population towns like Wilmington, NC. 

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage? 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is insurance that provides protection for you, your passengers, and your vehicle if injured or damaged in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver.

This protection not only covers medical bills for everyone in your car, but it also covers any necessary vehicle repairs. 

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Really Necessary in NC?


Uninsured Motorist coverage is mandatory in North Carolina. 

Fortunately, NC-required car insurance policies (with the basic bodily injury and property liability measures) MUST also include UM protections.

Oftentimes, these minimum liability insurance policies include some Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), as well. 

But what about Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Is that required, too?

Yes…at least for some insurance policies.

North Carolina law dictates that car insurance policies with limits greater than the state’s minimum NC insurance standards must include BOTH Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

Even if the at-fault party has the lowest tier of liability insurance, their policy may not quite cover the entirety of your medical bills or damages incurred in an accident.

When this happens, your UIM policy should pay for expenses left uncovered by the underinsured driver’s insurance. 

Plus, UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive when compared to other levels of insurance.

How to tell if you have UM and UIM insurance? 

Uncertain whether you have adequate auto insurance coverage?

The first step – touch base with your insurance agent. 

Have more questions about Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Contact Robert Armstrong’s office.

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, it’s essential for you to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you with the complexities of insurance and other aspects of your case.

Get in touch with Robert Armstrong’s office today!

5 ignored rules of the road you must do now!

5 ignored rules of the road you must do now! Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

There’s an old saying that rules are meant to be broken, but this saying can be a dangerous one, especially when it comes to rules of the road. 

Failing to obey traffic laws can land you in big trouble— either in the form of a ticket, a severe accident, or both.

At the law offices of Robert Armstrong, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, our legal team wants to help you avoid accidents or getting any tickets by helping to remind you of traffic rules that are often forgotten. Here are 5 of the most commonly ignored rules of the road that you should start following — if you aren’t already.

  • Failing to use your turn signal 

Putting on your turn signal is crucial to do, though so many drivers tend to do so infrequently. There’s a reason you have a turn signal, and it’s not for decoration or effect. It’s to let other drivers know your next move, which is often essential information for other drivers as they, too, try to decide what their next move or direction will be, often in a split-second. 

Failure to use a turn signal can result in:

A ticket for unsafe movement. Unsafe movement can result in an increase in both your insurance and license, along with a fine. 

It can also cause another driver to run into you and cause an accident with injuries.


  • Traffic Lights 


North Carolina has specific traffic light laws that are unlike other states. 

  • For instance, one such law is North Carolina doesn’t allow motorists to make a left turn on a red arrow in a turn lane. 
  • Also, in some states, it’s illegal to enter an intersection if the light is yellow. However, in North Carolina, a solid yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you can enter an intersection while the light is still yellow, just not after it has turned red. 
  • Red light cameras are used in North Carolina. (However, they must have signs installed indicating to motorists that it is in use.) Red light camera violations are civil offenses as opposed to traffic infractions. The fine for a red light camera ticket is $50, and $100 if the ticket is not paid on time. 
  • Following too closely 

Safety professionals suggest that you abide by a two-second rule when following any vehicle. The two-second rule means you keep far back enough that it would take you two seconds to catch up to the car in front of you if it stops suddenly. North Carolina Code Section 20-152 makes it a traffic offense to follow other motor vehicles too closely. 

You could be ticketed for this offense if you do one of the following:

  • You follow a vehicle more closely than is reasonable given the speed of other cars, traffic, and road conditions.
  • When driving on a highway other than in a business or residential district, you follow another vehicle and do not allow enough space for an overtaking vehicle to enter and occupy the area in front of your auto without danger. 
  • Staying out of the left lane except for passing 

The far left lane of most highways are to be used only for passing slow-moving vehicles. 

Unfortunately, it’s something that countless drivers forget — or choose to ignore — and it’s no fun for vehicles behind you. It can obstruct the flow of traffic and cause accidents. 

  • Texting and driving 

Texting while driving is among the most careless distracted driving infractions you can make. It only takes a couple of seconds with your eyes off the road and on your phone to cause a serious — and potentially deadly — crash. 

North Carolina State Law prohibits texting and emailing while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 with provisional licenses are prohibited from all cell phone use while behind the wheel, even hands-free. North Carolina is a “primary law” state, which means that the police can stop you and issue you a ticket solely for violating this law. It is illegal for drivers to:

  • Manually enter letters or text in a cell phone to communicate with another individual
  • Read an email or text transmitted to or stored in an electronic device

There are exceptions to this ban on texting and driving, however. The law will not apply in these situations:

  • The driver is lawfully parked or stopped
  • The person is a police officer, firefighter, or ambulance driver texting while they are performing official duties
  • The technology used is a factory-installed or after-purchase GPS
  • The person is using voice-operated technology

Learn More from Attorney Robert Armstrong 

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable and not your fault, but you should follow these rules to decrease your chances of a crash. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident in Wilmington, North Carolina, contact Robert Armstrong today.

Types of compensation in an auto accident case

types of compensation in auto accident case Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

When you’re in an automobile accident — whether it’s a fender-bender or a serious crash with injuries — determining who caused the accident or who is at fault and how much compensation you deserve is no small feat. 

If you live in a state where you may be disqualified from receiving any type of compensation if you are at-fault, even in the slightest can make this task even more complex. 

In North Carolina, the laws can be tricky to navigate. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have an experienced personal injury attorney like Robert Armstrong on your side. From Robert Armstrong’s office, here’s more about the types of compensation you could receive in an auto accident case.

North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence State

Most people know that North Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning that the individual found to be at fault must compensate the other driver, or motorcyclist, for damages and injuries. 

However, North Carolina also adheres to the contributory negligence standard of law. Contributory negligence states that you will not recover damages if you have any liability whatsoever for the accident, even as little as one percent. 

Therefore, if a victim’s negligence contributed to causing the accident, the victim recovers nothing. Examples of this include: 

  • as a driver, speeding
  • as a pedestrian, jaywalking or making sudden or unexpected movements
  • riding with a driver that you know is drunk, reckless, or sleepy
  • riding in a car that you know is defective (for example, without working headlights), and
  • interfering with the driver’s operation of the vehicle.

Compensatory Damages 

In car accident cases, the damages the injured person receives are known broadly as compensatory damages. As the name suggests, the purpose of these damages is to compensate you for actual losses caused by the crash. These losses can include: 

  • Loss due to medical bills and other medical expenses
  • Loss in wages due to missing work as a result of the car accident
  • Potential loss of future income  
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Continuing or lifetime treatment of injuries due to accidents
  • Punitive Damages 

The calculation of these damages typically depends on the bills and medical records you present in the case showing what you spent. So it is imperative that you keep a record of everything after an auto accident. 

Amount of Insurance 

A common factor that may influence the amount of compensation in a car settlement in North Carolina is the amount of insurance the at-fault driver has on their vehicle. 

North Carolina law requires that drivers keep a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in coverage for property damage for any single person involved in an accident. 

If the damages you are seeking are greater than the rate of the other person’s insurance, you may not be able to receive all of what you need to cover your costs. 

Personal Injury Claim

In North Carolina, there is a three-year time limit to file a personal injury claim after an automobile accident from the date of the accident.

Do not wait longer than the three-year limit. You risk dismissal of the case and no chance of recovering any compensation for your injuries. 

However, if a death was involved in your case, then your time limit may be shortened to a two-year limit from the time of death (not to go beyond three years from the date of the wreck).

Contact Attorney Robert Armstrong for more information

If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the offices of Robert Armstrong today. We will do everything we can to make sure you are compensated the amount you deserve. Contact (910) -256-1233 to schedule your first consultation. 

What is Contributory Negligence?

What is Contributory Negligence Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

If you are involved in a vehicle accident, the term contributory negligence might come up. Contributory negligence is the legal term for the actions of an injured person who may have played a part in causing their own injury. 

For example, if you are hit by a car while riding your bicycle, but you were riding on the wrong side of the road, you could share the blame for the accident, and your compensation could be affected. Another example would be dining in a restaurant and having a severe peanut allergy but failing to notify the restaurant. If you eat something with peanuts and have an allergic reaction, it may be partially your fault for failing to tell the employees. 

Not every state has the contributory negligence law; actually, few do. North Carolina happens to be one such state. As a result, contributory negligence can be a challenging lawsuit. Personal injury attorney Robert Armstrong, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, is here to help you navigate it and understand the basics of the law. 

How does North Carolina’s contributory negligence law work?

North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that still abide by the contributory negligence law. 

This rule means that if a judge determines that you are at fault in any manner — even if you are just one percent at fault for the car accident — you cannot recover anything in damages even if the other party is ninety-nine percent at fault. 

(This law is different from most states in which you can be partially at fault and still receive compensation.)

Last Clear Chance Doctrine 

North Carolina does have legal doctrines which can override contributory negligence. 

One example is the Last Clear Chance Doctrine. North Carolina courts have outlined the elements of the last clear chance doctrine as follows:

  • The plaintiff, by the plaintiff’s own negligence, put themselves into a position of helpless peril;
  • Defendant discovered, or should have discovered, the position of the plaintiff;
  • The defendant had the time and ability to avoid the injury;
  • Defendant negligently failed to do so; and
  • Plaintiff was injured as a result of the defendant’s failure to prevent the injury.

Essentially, if the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly, you might still be able to receive money for damages. The Last Clear Chance Doctrine is usually a case-by-case basis, so having a lawyer on your side could significantly improve your chances of using this tactic effectively. 

Duty of Care

Duty of care is a legal term that refers to the responsibility one person has to avoid causing harm to another. 

It is a type of social contract that includes individuals’ implicit responsibilities towards others within society. In most cases, every person has at least some duty of care toward others. 

When a person engages in an activity, they are under a legal duty to act as a reasonable, ordinary, and prudent person in the same or similar circumstances, often known as the “standard of care” or the “reasonable person standard.” Everyone must take reasonable care to avoid injury to others.

Standard of Care Provision

Contributory negligence is calculated by something called the standard of care provision, which is an offshoot of duty of care. 

An at-fault driver’s conduct is measured against that of a reasonable, ordinary, prudent person. The “reasonable person” standard is measured objectively in that it does not consider the emotional state, opinions, or status of the at-fault party. In other words, the at-fault party is deemed to have knowledge of things known by the average member of society and expected to act as one would under similar circumstances. 

Three simple takeaways for the Standard of Care Provision include: 

  • Standard of care applies to what a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.
  • To be considered contributory negligence, you must have done something that was both negligent and caused the specific injury or damage that is at the center of the claim.
  • Just because you may have been negligent, it still must have caused or contributed to your injury in order to bar recovery.

In North Carolina, children are not held to the same standard of care for negligence as adults. 

Contact Attorney Robert Armstrong 

Located in Wilmington, North Carolina, Robert Armstrong is here to help you navigate the challenges that occur with the contributory negligence law or any other issues with your car accident case. As an experienced personal injury attorney firm, we are committed to working through the complexities of your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help contact (910) -256-1233 for a consultation. 

Do your personal injury medical records have red flag? What are they?

Do your personal injury medical records have red flag- - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Unfortunately, when it comes to personal injury claims against insurance companies, insurance companies will always try to offer you less money than you deserve to compensate you for injuries you sustained in a car accident. That’s just the way the insurance business works.

An experienced personal injury attorney like Robert Armstrong will work tirelessly to make the insurance companies pay what they owe, but often there are “red flags”  that insurance companies look for in your medical records as a way to justify paying you less money.

What are some of the red flags that insurance companies will identify?

There are several factors that come into play when insurance companies examine your medical records. Red flags include:

  • Degenerative changes – Degenerative means that your symptoms are chronic and that your condition continues to deteriorate or is irreversible. If your symptoms are degenerative, it will usually show up on tests like MRIs and X-rays. Typically, degenerative conditions are caused simply by the aging process, but degenerative changes could start to appear in your body as early as your 20s, so degenerative characteristics could realistically show up on almost anyone’s imaging tests. Insurance adjusters are quick to point out soft tissue injuries and claim that they are degenerative changes and not the direct result of a car accident. With the help of a good lawyer and the honest testimony of a medical professional, it could be proven that you weren’t having any discomfort or symptoms before the crash, even if there are degenerative signs that show up on your MRI or X-ray.
  • Pre-existing conditions – If you broke your arm in a car accident, and it just so happens that you broke the same arm in a skateboarding accident two years ago, an insurance adjuster could try to link your current pain and aftermath of the injury to your last painful injury. The same could hold true for prior car accidents, slip-and-falls, or any other pre-existing injury. That’s why it’s so important to have the testimony of a doctor or other medical professional.
  • Treatment gaps – If your doctor recommends that you go to physical therapy once a week, and records show that you consistently miss appointments and aren’t following your doctor’s orders, it could be a big red flag for the insurance adjuster. It’s common for crash victims to try to heal on their own without having the inconvenience of seeking medical treatment, but it’s important you don’t do that. Remember that an insurance company will do everything in its power to try to prove that you haven’t been completely honest and forthcoming about your injuries. Don’t give them any leeway.

There are many other red flags that could show up on your medical records, but with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney you can still get the settlement you deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.

Do you need a witness to prove an auto accident case?

Do you need a witness to prove an auto accident case- - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

If you were in an accident and it wasn’t your fault, how do you prove that someone else was to blame? You need evidence to prove that you’re telling the truth, and witnesses are an extremely valuable tool in helping you and your lawyer build your case.

Can you still prove your case without a witness? Certainly. But it’s a little harder to do, and there are steps you need to take immediately after the crash to help yourself obtain evidence.

What do you do when you have witnesses?

If someone at the scene saw what happened, that’s great news! It’s a much easier case to prove if you have a witness on your side. What’s even better is if the witness happened to get pictures or video of the crash.

Here’s what you should do at the scene if you are not seriously injured and are able to do so:

  • Make sure you ask any and all witnesses to recall every single detail about what they saw.
  • Record all of their statements
  • Get their names and contact information so they can be contacted later about the case.

What do you do when there are no witnesses to the accident?

If no one was around and no one saw the accident, you should take the following steps immediately after the crash, provided you are not seriously injured and are able to do so:

  • Get out your camera phone, and start taking pictures of everything. Is there broken glass? Snap a picture. Tire marks on the road? Snap a picture. Anything and everything that might help your case, snap a picture.
  • If you are injured and stuck in one place, then record yourself and describe your injuries, recount what happened, and talk about the pain and what you’re feeling at the scene.

It may seem like an odd place and time to be snapping pictures and recording yourself, but the more evidence, pictures and recordings you have, the better the chances of you getting the amount of money you deserve when you pursue your claim.

Plus, it will help you to keep your story consistent as time goes by.

What’s the most important thing you can do after an accident?

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, the most important thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.b

Should Your Car Accident Claim Include Pain and Suffering?

Should Your Car Accident Claim Include Pain and Suffering- Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You might have heard the term “pain and suffering” in association with lawsuits, but what is it — and is it prudent to go for pain and suffering in your car accident claim?

Pain and suffering is a legal word that describes a wide range of injuries you might have suffered if you were in a car accident. That’s not just physical pain. It could also include emotional and mental trauma, like losing sleep, depression, worry, inconvenience and loss of quality of life.

Pain and suffering is included in the “non-economic” side of damages, i.e., it’s not easily seen on paper in the form of medical bills, lost income, the cost to fix your car or buy a new one, and other things like that.

Pain and suffering isn’t an easy thing to calculate. How do you put a number on emotional distress, anxiety and fear? Although there’s no written statute on how exactly it is determined, there are ways that it can be factored in, and with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney you should receive a fair amount of money for your pain.

What factors are considered in pain and suffering?

Here are some of the things insurance adjusters, lawyers and judges look at when calculating pain and suffering:

  • How severe were your injuries?
  • How much physical pain and overall discomfort are typically associated with your injuries?
  • How have your injuries affected your life? Are you unable to play sports? Are you unable to be a good partner in your relationship? Does your injury prevent you from your hobbies?
  • How long will it take you to completely heal from your injuries?
  • Are you on pain medication for the long-term, or are you required to have long-term physical therapy?

What methods do adjusters and lawyers use to determine pain and suffering?

There are two popular methods that lawyers and insurance adjusters use to calculate a starting point for pain and suffering:

  • Per-diem – they set a dollar amount for each and every day you lived in pain
  • Multiplier – this is a number based on your economic damages — a multiple of your medical bills and lost income.

How do you negotiate a higher amount of pain and suffering?

Getting the most for your injuries, as well as your pain and suffering, is a job best left up to an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she is able to better gauge the severity of your injuries and the potential monetary value of your pain and suffering.

These monetary awards can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. There’s a lot at stake.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.

How do Police Reports factor in as Evidence in Your Car Accident Injury Case

How do Police Reports factor in as Evidence in Your Car Accident Injury Case Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Anytime you have been in an accident that involves injuries, the police will be called to the scene.

Although there might be citations issued at the scene, after police conclude their investigation of the crash and what caused it, there will also be a police report about the accident.

When are police officers dispatched to the scene of a crash?

In some states, police officers are always dispatched to an accident, even if no one is injured. In other cities and states, however, the following circumstances will bring a police officer to the scene:

  • Passengers, drivers and/or bystanders were injured.
  • The crash is obstructing the flow of traffic.
  • The driver or drivers are suspected of driving while intoxicated.
  • The people involved in the crash are fighting or causing a disruption at the scene.

The first thing you should do if you’re injured in a car accident is call 911. The 911 operator will assess whether paramedics and/or police need to be called.

If you’re injured in a car accident, call 911. The dispatcher will ask you questions about the type and extent of your injuries. If she decides the injuries require paramedics, she will dispatch them to the scene, along with the police.

What kind of information will officers gather at the scene of a crash?

Some of the information officers will want to know for their report includes:

  • The date, time and place of the crash
  • Statements from witnesses, drivers and passengers
  • The insurance information and personal information of drivers and passengers
  • A written narrative from the investigating officer saying what happened and what caused the accident
  • Other factors that might have contributed to the crash, such as weather conditions or road hazards
  • Detailed descriptions of any property damage that might have happened as a result of the crash — these could also include photos.
  • Descriptions of the vehicles involved — i.e. year, make, model and color

Typically, police reports are finished within five business days after the crash. You can usually get a copy for a nominal fee.

How does the police report factor into your claim?

Although insurance company claims adjusters will conduct their own investigations — and sometimes they will challenge the findings of the police report — in most cases, the police report is the key document in deciding which party is at fault.

Here’s why:

  • The police officer was at the scene. The insurance adjuster was not.
  • Officers are trained to analyze the crash and all the factors that caused it, particularly which driver was at fault.
  • Police officers generally have more credibility than claims adjusters.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.