Question

Do I Need A Lawyer After A Car Accident In North Carolina?

John M. McCabe - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: John M. McCabe

Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A.
Cary, NC
Phone: 919-833-3370
Fax: 919-833-3371

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Answer

Several studies, including those commissioned by the insurance industry, have shown that in most car accident cases, reputable lawyers achieve higher settlements and better outcomes than people who try to handle their cases by themselves. The reason for this is that years ago, the insurance companies started business-wide practices of purposefully underpaying claims and making low-ball offers in hopes that people would just take the money and not pursue their case. But when these same people hired experienced lawyers, the settlement offers, including what had previously been called “take-it-or-leave-it” offers, usually increased. Ultimately, whether you need to hire a lawyer following a car accident in North Carolina depends on a number of factors. One of the biggest factors is whether you were injured in the accident.  In general, if you have suffered minor injuries that did not require medical treatment, you may not need to hire a lawyer. However, in cases involving more serious injuries, such as those involving missed time from work, hospitalizations, surgeries, or death, it usually is in your best interest to hire a lawyer. This is because, under North Carolina law, you are entitled to different types of damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, as well as for permanent injury. There are no mathematical formulas to calculate the value of a person’s pain and suffering or the extent of his or her permanent injury. However, lawyers who have been handling cases for many years know the fair value of these damages.

Along the same lines, if you have injuries that impact your ability to work, you likely will need a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to obtain the evidence to show how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn money. Many times, this will involve the hiring of expert witnesses.

Similarly, if your injuries require ongoing medical treatment, a lawyer can gather the evidence needed to establish what the costs of your future medical needs will be. Without this evidence, insurance companies will not offer compensation for future medical care, even if it is obvious that you’re going to need ongoing treatment.

Another factor to consider is whether the at-fault driver’s conduct was so egregious that you might be entitled to punitive damages. This could include cases where the at-fault driver was drunk, driving at a high speed, or texting while driving. A lawyer can help determine if you are entitled to punitive damages and gather the evidence needed to prove your case.

In short, if you have been involved in a car accident in North Carolina, you should contact an experienced, reputable lawyer. I also recommend that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible following a car accident so that you can avoid some of the common pitfalls in these cases. My firm offers free consultations, so it will not cost you anything to speak with one of our lawyers and get our input on whether we can help you with your case.  

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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