Greenville, NC Car Accident Lawyer
Auto Accident Attorneys in Greenville, North Carolina
Being involved in a car accident is a confusing, scary, and painful experience.
It can be difficult to know what to do or whom to talk to after an accident. After the bills start to pile up for the victim, one of the most common questions we get asked is whether there is a claim for compensation.
Attorney Harry Albritton & the experienced car accident lawyers with Irons & Irons P.A. have extensive knowledge about car accident lawsuits. We are here to help you navigate the complex legal process of collecting compensation for the harm you suffered at the hands of another driver on the road.
Common Types of Car Accidents
There are many types of car accidents that can cause injuries to victims. Some of the most common ones we represent clients for include rear-end crashes, front-end accidents, side collisions, and rollovers.
Rear-end crashes represent a significant portion of collisions in North Carolina. A rear-end collision happens when the driver of another vehicle behind you is not paying attention and runs into the back of your vehicle. Rear-end accidents happen because of distracted driving, such as checking a cell phone, texting, checking the GPS, changing the radio station, or even fatigue.
Driving under the influence also causes a number of rear-end accidents because the driver lacks the response capabilities to stop in time.
Front End Accidents
Another common type of car accident is a front-end accident. This is unfortunately one of the most fatal types of car accidents, given the amount of force that typically comes with this type of collision.
A front-end accident occurs when one driver runs the front end of their vehicle into the front end of another vehicle. Front-end accidents can happen for a number of reasons, including mechanical failure, drowsy driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and more.
Side collisions are another common type of car accident in North Carolina, especially at intersections. They are also called T-bone or broadside collisions.
This type of accident occurs when one vehicle improperly enters the intersection when they do not have the stoplight or the right of way.
One example of a side collision is when a car runs a red light or makes a turn without checking for oncoming traffic. These types of accidents can cause significant injuries to the victim, especially if the impact is on the driver’s side of the vehicle. An experienced car accident lawyer can review the facts of your case and explain how the type of car accident may affect your claims.
Rollover accidents can occur when a vehicle tries to accelerate in soft soil or when it rides up on a guardrail or curb. Vehicles can also roll onto their side or their hoods when a driver attempts to make a turn while going fast downhill.
Rollover accidents are particularly dangerous, especially if a passenger is not wearing a seatbelt. Occupants can be violently tossed about and are at risk of damaging their spinal cord, which can lead to paralysis or death.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in North Carolina
Human error is the primary cause of auto accidents all across North Carolina. Some of the most common causes of car accidents we see include:
- Distracted driving: Texting and driving is what most people think about as distracted driving, but it can be anything that takes your focus off the road.
- Failure to follow traffic laws: Speeding and running a red light or stop sign are common traffic violations involved in car accidents.
- Driving under the influence: Getting behind the wheel after taking medication or having a drink is not a good idea and could be against the law. DUI can involve either alcohol or narcotics, including prescription drugs
- Reckless driving: When a driver is speeding a certain amount over the speed limit, driving aggressively, not looking when changing lanes, etc., it can be deemed reckless.
- Tailgating: Drivers who follow other vehicles too closely put themselves at risk for a rear-end collision if the vehicle in front of them stops suddenly.
- Inexperienced drivers: The reason that many younger drivers get into accidents is linked to their lack of experience. Some newer drivers freeze up when faced with a potential accident situation.
- Driving at nighttime: The risk of getting into an accident at nighttime is greater, simply because you have less visibility. Other drivers may struggle to see your vehicle or a pedestrian who is crossing the road.
- Fatigue: Fatigue or driving while sleepy is especially common in large truck accidents where those drivers are on the road for days at a time.
Some accidents involve non-human elements as well. Road hazards, wild animals, adverse weather, and defective vehicle equipment can also play a role in numerous North Carolina auto accidents.
Car Accident Injuries
Car accident victims can suffer injuries that range from relatively mild to life-threatening. In our experience, we have seen clients who have suffered from the following:
- Soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, and bruises. Although these injuries will usually heal in a couple of months, more serious soft-tissue injuries might require surgery.
- A first-degree burn can heal on its own after being cleaned, but more serious third-degree burns will require skin grafts and could result in amputation of affected limbs.
- Cuts or lacerations. Deep cuts can become infected and leave unsightly scars, which can cause intense emotional distress, especially when they are on visible parts of the body.
- Nerve damage. Any swelling can put pressure on nerves, causing constant pain and possibly leading to nerve damage if the pressure is not promptly relieved. Permanent nerve damage can impede a person’s mobility.
- Traumatic brain injuries. A TBI can impair a person’s speech, memory, cognition, and mobility. Many people also suffer from severe mood swings. A mild TBI can clear up in a few months, but moderate or severe brain injuries might require months or years of intense rehabilitation.
- Spinal cord injuries. Damage to the spinal cord can render a person paralyzed from below the point of injury. Even if not paralyzed, a car accident victim can suffer impaired sensation which makes it hard to move around.
Regardless of the injury, accident victims should receive medical care as quickly as possible. Doing so improves the odds of recovery.
North Carolina Insurance Coverage Amounts
Each state has laws that require that all drivers carry a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. In North Carolina, the requirements are:
- $30,000 per single person claim for injuries or death;
- $60,000 total claim for injuries or death; and
- $25,000 for property damage per incident.
If you opt to carry the minimum amounts of liability insurance, the law also requires that you carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This coverage allows you to file a claim with your own carrier in the event the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance.
There is also something called underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Your UIM coverage would provide coverage in the event the other party’s limits were not high enough to compensate you for all your damages. For example, imagine the at-fault driver’s coverage was only $30,000 and your medical bills were $40,000 alone. If you carry underinsured motorist coverage, then your policy could potentially compensate you for the remaining $10,000.
North Carolina Damages Cap
The state has something called a “damage cap” which can limit the amount you can receive in compensation for a personal injury claim. The limit is $250,000, which is specific for punitive damages, but otherwise will only apply to medical malpractice claims.
What Compensation Is Available for Car Accident Injuries in NC?
North Carolina is one of the few states that still operates under a pure contributory fault standard when determining compensation for car accident claims. Under contributory fault, a car accident victim is completely barred from recovering compensation for their claims if it is found that the victim is even one percent responsible for the accident. The driver of the other vehicle must be found one hundred percent at fault in order for you to collect compensation for a car accident claim.
An example would be when a jury finds the other party was at fault for turning left directly in front of you, but they also determined you were driving several miles over the speed limit, finding you 10% at fault. This means you will collect nothing for your injuries and pain and suffering, which is what makes the rule of contributory negligence so antiquated and unfair.
However, if the other driver is found entirely at fault, the victim in a car accident lawsuit can collect both economic and non-economic damages for the injuries caused by the accident.
Economic damages include:
- Present and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Lost future income and benefits, and
- Any property damage caused by the accident.
Noneconomic damages include:
- Compensation for pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Disability, and
- The loss of enjoyment of life.
In some cases, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages. Under North Carolina law, the court will award punitive damages only under specific circumstances. If the defendant was liable for your damages, at least one of the following aggravating factors must be present:
- Fraud, or
- Willful or wanton conduct.
Receiving an award for punitive damages is not commonplace. It is typically reserved for cases where the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
A personal injury attorney is critical to the success of a car accident claim, especially considering the stringent rules of pure contributory negligence in North Carolina. First and foremost, a personal injury attorney can handle your case so that you can focus on what is most important – your recovery.
A lawyer eliminates the stress and confusion that comes with managing a legal case, so you do not have to handle it along with all of the health and financial concerns that come after an accident.
Car accident lawyers also protect you from insurance companies looking to take advantage of you after the accident. Insurers will be crafting an argument to blame you at least in part for the accident within hours after the accident to bar compensation for your injuries and extremely limit settlement negotiations. Hiring a lawyer mandates insurance companies to go through the attorney with any requests for a statement about the facts of the accident or any settlement offers for damages.
An experienced car accident attorney can review the facts of your case and estimate the full value of your claims after an accident. They can handle the negotiations with insurers and make sure that you are not being offered a settlement that is worth far less than what you are owed.
If a proper settlement is not offered or fault is being disputed in the accident, Greenville car accident lawyer will take your case to trial. This involves all trial preparation, witness and evidence gathering, and crafting the best possible argument for your case.
Our office has a history of success in helping clients obtain compensation for their injuries
To illustrate, the following highlights a few of our verdicts:
- $50,000 to a retired man struck in the rear by a negligent driver;
- $95,000 to a woman T-boned by a company truck at an intersection; and
- $100,000 to a client who suffered orthopedic injuries being struck by a driver running a stop sign.
Furthermore, many of our clients have shown their appreciation for our services by writing testimonials, one of which is listed below:
“I would recommend Albritton and his team for your needs. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident 6 years ago and I tried to find a local attorney to handle my claim. It took me several years to finally find a law firm that would represent me. Albritton’s team took me on as client and assisted me during this lengthy legal process. They were very knowledgeable and kept me informed. They treated me and my family like family during this process and made this process smooth”- Eartha K. Heard
Talk to a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the Greenville, NC area, the clock is ticking on the window to file a claim for damages. Call the office or contact us today to speak with Harry Albritton of Irons & Irons P.A. Schedule a free review of your case with one of our Greenville skilled car accident attorneys.