If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you probably have a lot of questions. If you spent time in the hospital and have medical bills, you wonder if you are entitled to compensation. If the other person in the accident doesn’t have insurance, you wonder how you’ll receive the compensation you deserve. You also wonder how long it will take to settle your personal injury claim, and what determines the settlement amount.
Often, people will call us to ask questions about “simple” car accidents. In North Carolina, there are several things to consider after an incident has occurred. No matter how straightforward the situation may seem in the moments after impact, it’s extremely important to understand that your actions will determine what happens to you down the road.
Being involved in a car accident, no matter how minor, can disrupt your entire life. Especially if you have never experienced a motor vehicle collision, knowing what to do and how to respond can be confusing.
Yes, you should contact an attorney even if the other driver’s insurance company is offering to pay you money. Even though the individual who caused the accident is responsible for your damages, his or her insurance company has no legal obligation to treat you fairly or in good faith. The primary goal of an insurance company is to make money and the adjusters that the insurance company employes to handle auto accident claims are trained professionals. They are free to offer you arbitrarily low amounts for your injury and force you to either accept it or file a lawsuit. While the best adjusters maintain an appearance of friendliness and goodwill, they are always looking out for the insurance company’s best interests. In order to reduce the amount of of money that it will pay out in claims, insurance companies often attempt to settle potential injury claims for quick cash. These settlements come at a cost - in exchange for the money settlement, you give up your right to claim additional medical expenses or damages in the future. Insurance companies will often attempt to settle shortly after the accident, when the extent of the medical costs or injuries are not fully known. It can take days, weeks, even months, before injuries incurred during an automobile accident manifest themselves fully.