Gastonia, NC – Each year, over 200 people are injured in car accidents on North Carolina roads and many of them suffer serious injuries, which will require prolonged hospital stays, surgery, or rehabilitation treatment. This kind of medical care costs a lot of money, money that you need to recover from the insurance company. Unlike most other states, North Carolina has very strict negligence laws. If you’re found partly to blame, even to a small degree, you cannot recover damages. This is the main reason why you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Gastonia car accident lawyer right away. And you need to be very careful what you do and what you say after the accident.
Here are a few things that might help you.
Document the scene
Right after the accident, check on all the persons involved and call an ambulance if necessary. Do not move the car to the side of the road before taking plenty of pictures to show the exact position of each vehicle. Take photos of the damages to your car, look for road signs and take pictures, and have a good look at the road itself, in case some debris might have caused the crash.
Don’t admit to the slightest mistake
North Carolina follows a strict contributory negligence rule, according to which you cannot recover damages if you’re partly responsible for a car accident. When you talk to the other driver or the eyewitnesses, don’t say anything that might indicate guilt. Not one word! Do not offer excuses, don’t try to defend yourself, don’t say anything about how you were feeling before the accident, what you were doing in the car, what you were thinking. Nothing. Even a simple remark like you saying the accident happened at 8.22, could be used as proof that you were looking at your watch, so you were a bit distracted. You know that you were driving carefully, but the insurance adjuster can claim that one second when you checked the time makes you 2% to blame for the crash and you don’t get any money.
Get the eyewitnesses’ details.
When you make a personal injury claim, your lawyers will conduct their own investigation into the crash. They will want to interview eyewitnesses, which is why you need to get everybody’s name and contact info. Eyewitnesses can offer valuable clues as to what happened and some of them might have pictures or videos that can be used to support your claim.
Go see a doctor right after the car accident
Many car accident victims make the mistake of postponing a trip to the doctor or the ER. They may think they’re not seriously injured, but sometimes it’s the adrenaline rush caused by the shock that masks the pain. With certain types of back injury or spine damage, the symptoms might take days or weeks to manifest. Don’t wait for that. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove the injuries were caused by the accident.
Get a lawyer
Seasoned North Carolina accident lawyers can help a lot. First of all, they’ll take the pressure off your shoulders. They will take charge of all communications with the insurance company, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
As well as investigating the crash, your accident lawyers will calculate how much your claim is worth. Often enough, there’s a huge difference between the settlement the insurer puts on the table and the damages you are entitled to. Never accept the insurer’s first offer. Let your lawyers negotiate with the insurance adjusters and get you a fair deal.
If and only if a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyers will help you file a lawsuit.
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