Car Accident Claims in North Carolina
It may seem counter-intuitive, but an Accident Report and who the investigating officer cites for an accident is not the end all-be all in North Carolina, whether you are in Charlotte, Greenville, Hickory or anywhere in between. Most people, particularly those who have never had to deal with this before, are shocked to learn this. However, if you look at a North Carolina Accident Report, at the very top of the page, it reads:
“This Report is for the use of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The data is collected for statistical analysis and subsequent highway safety programming. Determinations of “fault” are the responsibility of insurers or of the State’s Courts.”
North Carolina is a contributory negligence State. That means if the insurance company can put any percentage of fault on you, even as little as 1% (one percent), the insurance company can deny your claim. This is an extremely harsh rule that only a handful of States still use and can lead to seemingly unjust results. That is why it is important to have a car accident attorney, like the ones at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., who will fight for you in your corner. With offices in Charlotte, Hickory and Greenville, North Carolina, we are just a click or a phone call away, and if we are not in your city, we can come to you!
Contributory Negligence is one of the reasons why we do not recommend giving a statement to the insurance company without first talking to one of our car accident lawyers to see if we can help. Something that may seem as innocent as “my light was green so I entered the intersection,” can be construed against you. Unfortunately, in North Carolina, green does not mean “go,” but rather it means “proceed with caution.” You cannot rely blindly on the color of your light, particularly in a large intersection with multiple lanes. The insurance company is going to take many factors into consideration in trying to assess you 1% blame for the accident so that they do not have to pay anything, even if their insured driver is 99% at fault. We have an in-house investigator who can talk to witnesses, obtain any potential video, take vehicle and scene photos, and find out why the officer wrote the report the way he or she did.
Even if you get past the liability (fault) issue, there may be issues with property damage. There are so many questions surrounding the nature and cost of the repairs or even whether a vehicle can or should be repaired. Maybe you are better off having your vehicle repaired versus declared a total loss. If your vehicle is a total loss, is the insurance company offering a fair value for the vehicle? What if the offer is not enough to pay off what you owe or to purchase a new vehicle? If the vehicle is repaired, is there a claim for diminished value? How long does the insurance company have to keep me in a rental car? These are all issues that the car accident attorneys and staff at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C. have handled and addressed countless numbers of times.
Then there are issues surrounding any injuries you have sustained in the accident. Should the medical providers bill my health insurance? Does my health insurance have to be paid back? Why hasn’t the at-fault driver’s insurance paid my medical bills yet? What if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to pay my medical bills? What if I will need future medical treatment? We help our clients navigate these issues every day in Charlotte, Hickory, Greenville or any city in North Carolina and welcome the opportunity to see if we can help you.