Your Car Accident Injury Claim: Settle or Sue in Court?

Your Car Accident Injury Claim- Settle or Sue in Court- Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

It’s fun to imagine a dramatic courtroom and a judge or jury handling your car accident claim, but the reality is that most car accident injury claims are settled without a lawsuit ever being filed — and the ones that are filed don’t usually make it all the way to trial.

Sometimes, it’s necessary and better for the injury victim to go to court and let a judge or jury hear your case. Other times, it’s more practical to pursue a settlement. Each case is different, and there are many factors at play.

What are the advantages to settling your car accident injury claim?

Here are a few pros of settling your claim before filing a lawsuit:

  • You get paid faster.
  • Your attorney costs could be lower — Litigating personal injury cases through the court system is a very costly undertaking. This could affect your settlement amount in the end.
  • You don’t take the chance of a jury or judge not ruling in your favor — i.e. you don’t end up with a settlement amount of 0 dollars.
  • You avoid the headaches of dealing with court hearings, depositions and other elements of a trial — Taking a case all the way to trial is a very long process. We’re talking months, if not years, in some cases. In the meantime, attorneys for the defense will likely do things that will try to “wear you down,” like looking into your personal life and threatening to disclose details in court that you don’t want shared into a public record.
  • You don’t have to deal with the appeals process post-trial — Even if a judge or jury rules in your favor and awards you the amount of money you deserve, the defense can — and often will — file appeals and post-trial motions that could seriously delay you getting your check.

What are the advantages to going to court?

Although most cases settle before court, there are a few advantages to taking your case all the way. These include:

  • You might get more money — If you take your case to a judge or jury and prevail, you might be rewarded with a much higher amount of money than the insurance company would have settled for.
  • You have a better chance of recouping all of your out-of-pocket costs – If a judge or jury rules in your favor, all those little expenses that you did not foresee coming after your accident could be repaid to you.

Ultimately, you should always consult with your attorney before deciding whether to settle or file a lawsuit. He or she is the best person to help you make that decision.

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

 

Why Medical Care is Necessary After a Car Accident

Why Medical Care is Necessary After a Car Accident Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Oftentimes, when you are in an automobile accident, your adrenaline starts flowing immediately after the crash. When that happens, it’s hard to determine whether you have injuries, because the symptoms of serious injuries are not visible at the time of the accident.

That’s why it is so important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident.

There are two main reasons for needing to seek medical attention immediately:

  • The longer you wait to see a doctor, the harder it will be to prove definitively that your injuries were caused by the vehicle accident.
  • If you don’t seek medical attention immediately, you are putting your health and wellness at risk.

What are the symptoms of serious injury after a crash?

Although injuries are not always immediately felt after an accident, there are some symptoms that can occur right after a crash — or several days or weeks later. Here are a few signs that you might be seriously hurt:

  • Severe pain
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Dizziness

What should you do before you see the doctor?

Here are some things you should do while you’re in the waiting room of the hospital or doctor’s office, if you’re able to:

  • Take pictures of scratches, cuts, gashes, bruises or other wounds that are visible.
  • Write down the pain and symptoms you’re feeling and write down your best account of what happened and what caused the accident.

What should you do after you see your doctor?

After you see your doctor, it’s imperative that you do the following things:

  • Properly document the medical expenses you incur.
  • Continue to document those expenses if there are more doctor’s visits to come.
  • Ask your doctor for copies of your medical records.
  • Seek an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your case.

Reviewing your medical records

When you obtain copies of your medical records, you should review them thoroughly and make sure the following things are completely accurate:

  • Your doctor’s description of the car accident. Make sure all of the details are factually correct.
  • Your doctor’s listing of your symptoms. Did he include them all? Did he explain them well?
  • Your medical history.

Why are these things so important? Insurance companies and defense attorneys will comb through these details over and over, looking for any inconsistencies that they can use to attack your credibility and not pay you the award to which you are entitled.

If you find any errors while you are reviewing your records, make sure your doctor corrects them and gives you new copies of the corrected records.

Car accidents are a huge pain in more ways than one. That’s why it’s so crucial that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to counsel you and ensure you get the monetary compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office 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 (fault) and how much compensation you deserve (damages) is no small feat.

In North Carolina, the laws can be tricky to navigate. It’s important that you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

What are the laws regarding damages in North Carolina?

There are basically two types of compensation when it comes to automobile accidents

  • Economic – the actual costs you incurred because of the accident, such as medical bills or lost wages
  • Non-economic – emotional pain, distress, suffering, etc.

In many states, there are limits to the amount of non-economic damages  you can receive from an automobile accident. In North Carolina, however, there are only caps in place for medical malpractice suits and punitive damages. For medical malpractice suits, damages are capped at $500,000. For punitive damages, the maximum award is $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages. However, if the wreck was caused by someone driving while impaired, then there is NO cap.

It’s important to note that state laws can change at any time. That’s why you need to consult with an attorney before you proceed.

What is contributory negligence in North Carolina?

If you are indeed receiving monetary damages from an automobile accident, there are three standards used in the judicial world to judge your conduct and calculate how much money you will receive:

  • Contributory negligence (Strictly followed in North Carolina with significant exceptions that still allow for recovery)
  • Pure comparative negligence (followed in States like New York)
  • Modified comparative negligence (followed in States like New Jersey)

In North Carolina, contributory negligence rule is used in civil cases. What does that mean? It means that if you were partially at fault in the automobile accident – no matter how little at fault you were – you cannot legally receive any damages. There are exceptions to this rule. If the defendant had the “Last Clear Chance” to avoid causing the wreck then you can recover. You may also recover where the defendant’s conduct was intentional or wanton and willful or where you were faced with a “Sudden Emergency”.

Even if a jury or judge decides that you were only 3 percent at fault and the other driver was 97 percent at fault, you will not be eligible for damages, even if you suffer serious injuries or experience other negative fallout from the crash.

North Carolina is one of only four states left in the United States – along with the District of Columbia – that follow the contributory negligence standard.

How long do you have to file a personal injury claim in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, there is a three-year time limit to file a claim after an automobile accident. If you file a claim after that window, your case will likely be dismissed. However, if a death were involved then your time limit may be shortened to a two year limit from the time of death (not to go beyond 3 years from the date of the wreck). Similarly there are exceptions for infants (anyone below the age of majority in NC, which is 18 Yrs old) and incompetents.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the offices of Robert Armstrong today.