If you have been involved in a car crash, you may have someone recommend to you that you seek the services of an experienced car accident attorney who can help you with your case. The typical reason is that a non-lawyer may not be capable of assessing all of the types of damages / compensation that they may be able to recover from the other driver’s insurance company following their car accident.
Without knowledge of North Carolina car accident law, an individual may unknowingly accept a far lower settlement ask for less than they may be entitled to under the law. In fact some injured people may not even pursue an injury claim at all because they may not know that they can! Some people avoid fighting with the other driver’s insurance company over their settlement, believing that the amount of money that they have been offered by an insurance company is fair. Others hold tight to the feeling that they aren’t “the type of person” to sue someone. The truth of the matter is that insurance companies aren’t out for a car accident injury victim’s best interests and utilizing a car accident lawyer and the Court (if necessary) doesn’t make you anything other than a person that wants to protect their rights!
Working with North Carolina car accident lawyers can allow you to be informed of how much your case may be worth. Your lawyers can also assemble the facts and evidence necessary to prove your case and its legal value.
To help you get oriented as to how much your case and injury claim might be worth, take a look at the following categories of car accident damages available to North Carolina car accident victims.
Recovering Your Medical Expenses After a Car Accident in North Carolina
Medical expenses are among the most immediate and quantifiable damages victims can recover after their serious car accident. The average person understands that if someone else was responsible for causing the accident that injured them, they are eligible to recover their reasonable and necessary healthcare costs.
What they may not know is how to accurately and thoroughly document these expenses so that they can recover nearly every penny they spent on their own healthcare. Even if their own private medical insurance provided the initial coverage for their treatments, they still have the right to seek compensation for those costs. (An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to tell you how your own private health insurance may affect your potential settlement – let them know about your health insurance when you speak to them!)
Additionally, a car accident victim may recover medical expenses, including:
- Hospital fees
- Emergency room charges
- Bills from doctors’, private practices, and specialists
- Prescription drugs and medication
- Physical therapies and other therapies that are medically necessary
- Incidental expenses necessary to receiving treatment, such as travel costs to and from your medical appointments.
A car accident settlement or award may include should certainly consider past related medical expenses, and it may attempt to predict all future medical expenses as well. For instance, a victim who will need multiple surgeries scheduled in the future may receive compensation in advance based on a projection of how much those surgeries may cost.
Recovering Loss of Earnings and Income After Your Accident
Injury victims will likely miss work and other income-earning opportunities. Since this outcome is the result of the accident, that lost income can potentially be recovered as part of an injury claim.
Officially, recovering lost income pertains to the loss of the victim’s time they could spend fulfilling their employment duties, the loss of their ability to perform ordinary work, and a reduced capacity to earn money in general.
Compensation for these losses will account for past, present, and future income potential. To project the possible lost future income, a jury is instructed to account for the injured party’s:
- Current age
- Their occupational duties, and how their ability to perform them was affected by the accident
- Their earnings history, including the value of past wages or salaries
- Their present or most recent earnings
- The nature and extent of their employment
- The loss of income potential from their personal business, if they have one
- The expected duration it will take for the individual to heal from any temporary injuries
- The potential impact on future earnings from any permanent loss of limb or loss of use of a bodily function
Physical Pain and Suffering
In cases of serious injury, car accident victims may be able to request a monetary amount intended to compensate them for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the car accident. This pain and suffering must be directly traced to the negligent actions of the defendant. Individuals wishing to add pain and suffering as part of their settlement will be expected to provide concrete evidence to support their claim. An attorney can often assist individuals with the process of documenting such evidence. This evidence can include information from a pain journal or a list of activities that are difficult or impossible because of the victim’s suffering.
Permanent Injury or Disability After Your Car Accident
Many car accident injuries are so severe as to cause the victim to permanently lose a limb partially or completely. They may also lose the full capacity of certain bodily functions, such as having an eyesight impairment as the result of retinal damage. Such damages may include the permanent scarring or disfigurement of a visible organ, even if the organ functions normally. Calculating the value of a lost limb is complex and North Carolina does not set forth specific guidelines.
Loss of Consortium, Loss of Society, and Diminished Life Expectancy
In instances where a major accident injury causes the victim to lose their ability to lead a normal life at home, they may be eligible to receive additional compensation. Such losses may include an inability to:
- Perform household chores
- Engage with children and loved ones in the same manner as before
- Provide domestic services that help keep the family functioning
- Have sexual relations with their spouse
In some rare instances, permanent damage to a vital organ may shorten the accident victim’s life measurably. They may be able to claim that loss of life as part of their general damages in the same vein as calculating lost future income or lost functioning of a limb.
Wrongful Death Car Accident Cases
In the event that an individual dies as a result of car accident injuries directly caused by someone’s negligent actions, the victim’s survivors and the representatives of their estate can file a wrongful death case in North Carolina.
A wrongful death claim will account for all medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and losses of a normal life as above. The final amount requested as compensation may also reflect what the individual may have been able to recover had they survived.
In cases of extreme “gross” negligence, malicious behavior, or behaviors exhibiting a lack of remorse for harmful actions, certain judges and juries may award additional compensation intended to punish the defendant. These awards are rare, but they are intended to add additional punishment to those who commit heinous acts as both a deterrent and a symbolic action of justice.
Punitive damages are awarded in only the most egregious of cases. Punitive damages are capped in almost every state and there are guidelines on who receives these damages after they have been awarded.
Recover Damages with Help from Our NC Car Accident Lawyers
The amount that a person may receive after an accident is based upon many factors. A judge will consider the amount of medical expenses the victim has already paid and how much they may have to pay in the future. The judge may also consider the time a victim is required to spend recuperating, whether the victim is able to return to work, and if the victim’s ability to enjoy life has been diminished.
If you have been hurt in an accident, reach out to Auger & Auger Law. An experienced member of injury team can review the details of your case at no cost to you and help you determine the type of damages that may you may be entitled to under the law. You do not have to take the insurance company’s word for it, speak to a lawyer about your options and what you may be entitled to! (855) 971-1114 We answer our phones 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.