If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you know how devastating the aftermath can be. Your car may be severely damaged and, more importantly, you may suffer catastrophic injuries. Even a wreck as minor as a fender bender can cause serious injuries, such as broken bones and whiplash.
After the collision, you may feel like you have no one to turn to and very few options to recover the money you have lost. The insurance company may send you a settlement offer, but chances are it will be a lot less money than you deserve — in fact, it may not even cover all of your bills. On top of that, you may be hesitant to call a lawyer to represent you. After all, if you can’t afford to even repair your car, how will you have money to pay a lawyer?
At Auger & Auger, our experienced car accident attorneys charge absolutely nothing upfront. We only get paid if we win your case, and you never have to pay out of pocket. Our payment comes from the settlement or verdict we are able to win for you. As such, our sole focus is to get you the most compensation possible. That’s been our policy for over 26 years, and we don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
If you have been injured in a wreck, give us a call today at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.
Though our lawyers have represented thousands of car accident victims throughout North and South Carolina, there’s no way for us to say exactly how much your case is worth. Every situation is unique, with its own factors and circumstances that will influence how much compensation you’re owed. However, our lawyers do know what types of compensation, or damages, they will fight for.
The first type of compensation is called economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate your for the real monetary losses you suffered because of the car accident. For instance, your lawyer may fight for lost wages, medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and more. Because you will have bank statements, receipts and other evidence, economic damages are generally easy to prove.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are more difficult to prove. These are intended to compensate you for your losses that aren’t related to money, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and more. Because there isn’t much physical evidence to prove noneconomic damages, your lawyer will consult experts to prove the losses you suffered.
In rare instances, punitive damages may be assessed as well. Punitive damages are intended to punish the person who caused the accident, and to deter similar behavior in the future. In North Carolina, you must prove that the person who caused the accident did so with malice or willful/wanton conduct. South Carolina is similar; you must prove the accident was caused by willful, reckless or wanton conduct. These are high standards to meet.
In North Carolina, punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages (that is, combined economic and noneconomic damages), or $250,000, whichever is greater. In South Carolina, the limit is three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, there are some exceptions to this South Carolina limit.
In North Carolina, there were more than 275,000 car accidents in 2017. These wrecks resulted in about 1,400 fatalities and almost 128,000 injuries. The most common cause for accidents was speeding, which was involved in a third of all accidents that year. Lane departure was another common cause, resulting in 22 percent of all accidents. Finally, distracted driving was the cause of nearly a fifth of all accidents.
That same year, there were about 142,000 collisions in South Carolina. These collisions resulted in almost 1,000 fatalities and more than 60,500 injuries. By far the most common cause of accidents was speeding, which resulted in nearly 42,000 accidents. Second was failure to yield right of way, which caused more than 27,500 accidents. The third-most common cause of accidents in South Carolina was improper lane usage or change, which resulted in more than 11,000 wrecks.
If you have been involved in a car accident, your first instinct will likely be to panic, especially with so much adrenaline coursing through your veins. But you will be able to operate better and process the situation more clearly if you take a deep breath and calm down. Check on everyone in the vehicle to determine if anyone is injured. If you or your passengers are seriously injured, DON’T MOVE THEM unless their life is in immediate danger, such as if the car is on fire. Call 9-1-1, request an ambulance and wait for help to arrive.
However, if you are not seriously injured, move to a safe location, such as the side of the road. While you’re waiting for 9-1-1 to arrive, check on the passengers in the other vehicle(s), following the same procedure as above. Be sure to also take as many photos as you can of the damage to the cars, your injuries, road and weather conditions, and anything else you may think is important.
When the police arrive, provide a statement that details exactly what happened, but avoid adding in your opinion about who was at fault. Be sure to get evaluated by the EMTs and follow their treatment instructions — including going to the hospital if they say so. You should also follow up with your regular doctor in the following days.
You should also trade your contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the wreck. While you’re talking to them, DON’T APOLOGIZE or otherwise admit guilt! Simply trade information and get a picture of their license plate (and their driver’s license, if possible) so they can’t claim they weren’t involved in the wreck.
Unfortunately, you will also need to deal with your insurance provider. When you call the agent, provide only the bare minimum information, including your contact information and the time and place of the accident. Remember, they will be recording the conversation to try to lower their payout. Provide the barest amount of information, then tell them to speak with your lawyer for further information.
Finally, call an experienced car accident attorney. Even if you aren’t sure if you need legal representation, the lawyers at Auger & Auger always provide free, no-obligation consultations to discuss your case. During that consultation, we will help you decide the best path forward.
Auger & Auger has been helping car accident victims throughout the Carolinas get the compensation they deserve for over 26 years. We know what it takes to fight the insurance companies both in and out of court, and we’ll use all of our resources to make sure you are represented effectively.
Give us a call today at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.