Estimated Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury attorneys learn very quickly the pitfalls of discussing estimated personal injury settlements with their clients. The value of your personal injury claim is dependent upon numerous factors. As a result, two cases with the exact same injuries may have very different results in terms of a personal injury settlement. Below are some common factors which affect your personal injury settlement.

The Facts – As you might imagine, depending upon the facts, two cases with the same injuries may have dramatically different results in terms of what they may settle for, or what a jury awards. For example, an individual who is rear-ended in a car accident and suffers a concussion has a different case than an individual who has a grocery store slip and fall and suffers a concussion. Strong facts which clearly establish liability or fault will boost the value of your personal injury claim. Weaker facts, for instance where each driver claims the accident was not their fault, may lead to complications unless evidence can be obtained firmly establishing fault of the other driver. If your claim involves wrongful death, pedestrians, or passengers, the outcome will differ as well.

Contributory Negligence – You can’t discuss estimated personal injury settlements in North Carolina without discussing Contributory Negligence. We’ve written extensively about Contributory Negligence in our blog because it affects many North Carolina personal injury claims. Generally speaking, Contributory Negligence is an affirmative defense. It is a rule in North Carolina which says that if a jury determines the plaintiff is 1% or more at fault, the jury is instructed to give the plaintiff nothing. This is an outdated rule and one your personal injury attorney must wrestle with in order to prove your case. While most claims do not go to court, insurance adjusters commonly introduce Contributory Negligence into the settlement conversation, to remind the plaintiff that there is a very serious risk in litigating a personal injury claim in North Carolina if it’s possible the jury determines the plaintiff was even 1% at fault.

Pre-Existing Injuries – While you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries, you will find the insurance company for the at-fault party will diligently research whether you had a pre-existing condition before this accident. Even a note in your prior medical records indicating a simple complaint regarding back pain, will be used to demonstrate you had existing back pain prior to this accident. The two sides will end up arguing over the extent to which this accident worsened the back pain, and assign a value to that.

Rule 414 – Rule 414 is a rule of evidence which personal injury plaintiff’s attorneys are familiar with. The rule says that the only evidence of medical billing which can be introduced into evidence in court, is medical billing which has actually been paid, and medical billing which is still owed or outstanding. In short, if you have $100,000 of medical treatment, and Medicaid pays $5,000 to the hospital, unless there is a remaining balance, your attorney will only be able to enter $5,000 into evidence at trial as medical billing. Because juries use medical billing dollar totals to help them calculate what they believe is a fair settlement, you can see how this tends to under-emphasize the extent of your injuries at trial. Your lawyer will also need to determine whether you have any Medical Liens as a result of your claim and negotiate them as part of settlement. Once again, two clients who have the same exact injuries but different insurance coverage, may see very different jury results in their personal injury verdicts.

Standard of Care – Generally, a claim of negligence requires you show that a standard of care was owed to you by another person and was not fulfilled. This is called a Breach of Duty, in the personal injury world. In many slip and fall claims, obstacles arise in proving that the standard of care was breached. For instance, you may be able to prove that there was water on the floor of the grocery store, and that you slipped in that water. However, if the store can prove that another customer spilled that water on the floor three minutes before you slipped in it, they will prevail on their argument that the store did not breach it’s duty to you—there wasn’t enough time for the store to discover and fix the dangerous condition. While there is no set rule for the amount of time a hazard must exist, slip and fall cases routinely turn on who created the hazard (another shopper or an employee), whether the store knew or ‘should have known’ about the hazard, and how much time passed since the hazard was created.

Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering is essentially what you endure as a direct result of the accident. When reviewing your settlement, the amount attributable to pain and suffering is anything above and beyond payment for medical bills and lost wages. Your lawyer will submit a demand package as part of the personal injury settlement process. That demand package will outline your pain and suffering and you will have a chance to review it prior to its submission.

Lost Wages – Lost wages are part of your claim. They will need to be verified by your employer. Your attorney will provide you with a form for your employer to complete, indicating your rate of pay, dates missed, and total lost wages. If you are self employed, you will need to provide copies of tax returns from prior years and other evidence that your lawyer will use to construct a lost wages claim for submission.

The Reputation Of The Personal Injury Lawyer – If your personal injury attorney has a reputation of following through on claims, thoroughly investigating claims, and negotiating claims in good faith, we believe that you are able to maximize your settlement offer in your personal injury claim. If your attorney has a reputation of threatening to file a lawsuit but never follows through on that threat, you can imagine the insurance company may not take that lawyer’s claims as seriously as they will a claim from another law firm. One way to check the reputation of your lawyer is to look at their Google Reviews. We are proud of our history with clients, and thankful that they choose to leave reviews about their experience.

Hiring a personal injury attorney is key in successfully negotiating your claim. The attorney is not simply arguing over dollars and cents; instead, the attorney is building your case using all of the above factors. By persuading the insurance adjuster that the lawyer will succeed with their case, you are more likely to maximize the settlement offer from the insurance company. Estimating personal injury settlements prior to having all the facts, medical records and billing in hand is a bad idea for both you and your personal injury attorney. This process will require some patience, but hopefully your patience will pay off with a fair settlement or jury verdict.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article about estimated personal injury settlements was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

What Does A Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

The good news for personal injury victims is that a car accident lawyer does not cost anything up front. If you work with The Layton Law Firm, PLLC for your car accident, you will not receive a bill from us. In fact, we don’t get paid anything unless we reach a settlement or jury verdict in your favor. This is known as a contingency fee, and it means that the lawyer’s fee is “contingent” upon getting you a result in your case. Even then, our fee is an agreed upon percentage of the total settlement or verdict.

Why Doesn’t A Car Accident Lawyer Cost Anything Up Front?

If car accident and slip and fall victims had to pay a lawyer up front, most people would not get the representation they deserve. As a result, bad drivers and corporations would get away with bad behavior because people couldn’t afford to pay a lawyer to help them defend their rights. The contingency fee solves this problem.

Why You Can Trust Your Personal Injury Lawyer

One thing we love about the contingency fee is that you can trust your lawyer. If your lawyer thinks your case is a bad case, they won’t take it. And you won’t end up paying a lawyer by the hour to work on a bad case. If your lawyer has faith in your case—enough faith to take it on a contingency basis—then you know the lawyer believes in your case and is going to work hard to get you the best result. Finally, when it comes to deciding whether to accept a settlement offer, we believe you can trust your lawyer. After all, the lawyer is getting paid a percentage of the settlement. If the lawyer thinks the case is worth more, they will advise you not to settle. The contingency agreement keeps the lawyer and the client on the same ‘team’ even through tough decisions that often come up during personal injury cases.

Your Personal Injury Lawyer Wants To Get You As Much As Possible

Because your personal injury lawyer is getting paid a percentage of the settlement, they have incentive to do everything possible to maximize your settlement for you. It’s important to know that your lawyer and their staff are putting in extensive time and effort to build your case. They do all of this without knowing what the outcome will be. Again, because they believe in your case, you can have faith that they are doing everything possible to make sure you are treated fairly in the end. If they don’t get a result, the answer to the question “What does a car accident lawyer cost?” is “Nothing.”

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

Airbag Burns And Other Injuries

While they may save your life, airbags can cause airbag burns and other severe injuries, when deployed. Car accidents can be life changing, we are here to help you through every step of the process. This includes discussing airbag injuries, what makes an airbag deploy (or why your airbags didn’t deploy), and how this will affect your case.

What Makes an Airbag Deploy?

Modern vehicles are fitted with crash and pressure senses to determine if a crash has occurred. When a collision occurs, and it is detected by the sensors, the corresponding airbags are triggered and released. Airbags are designed by the manufacturer to deploy as quickly as possible, in order to stop a sudden impact on the human body from occurring. Airbags are fitted into the sides of a car and positioned in front of the upper body and head of any passenger or driver. While they are meant to prevent harm, certain aspects of airbags are dangerous and can cause serious injury, hence the precautions taken so that they only deploy during a collision.

Three Common Injuries Caused by Airbags

Abrasions

Abrasions to the upper body are quite common in airbag Injuries. This includes abrasions to the head, chest, arms, and neck, often manifesting as airbag burns. The chemicals released upon airbag deployment consist of various high temperature gases. They create and release sodium hydroxide, a highly irritant substance to human skin. This substance, when mixed with  other chemicals, can cause serious skin injuries. Some of these injuries include: chemical and thermal burns, traumatic lesions, and irritant dermatitis. Non-skin injuries resulting from the release of these chemicals consist of possible ocular damage, bone fractures, and damage to the ear and ear area.

Conducive/Concussive Damage

The sudden release and immediate impact of the upper body on an airbag following a vehicular collision can cause serious contusions and possible concussive side effects. These contusions, or extreme bruising, can affect the face, neck, shoulders, arms, and chest and side area. These contusions can be extremely dangerous and painful, affecting a wide area very quickly, combined with possible seat belt damage, yielding similar results.

This sudden impact can also have concussive results. A concussion is a serious injury. Diagnosing a concussion can be difficult but by seeking medical attention immediately after the accident, you can identify the signs of a concussion and take measures to treat it.

Broken Bones and Scarring

There are fourteen bones in the human face. The direct impact of an airbag applies enough pressure to seriously damage or even break any bone with which it makes contact. Cartilage damage can leave permanent scarring in the nose and ears and lead to breathing problems and difficulties later in life. Your personal injury settlement should reflect a doctor’s opinion as to whether you will have permanent damage from airbag injuries, including scarring such as that detailed above. These injuries are not just temporary, they can prevent work and severely interfere with your day to day life.

Airbag Malfunction

In certain instances, airbags have been known to spontaneously deploy. This is a serious danger to every driver and passenger as it can cause damage to the driver from the airbag deployment, as well as cause a car wreck if the driver is unable to properly operate the vehicle with the airbag deployed. There have also been cases in which a collision occurs and the airbags malfunction, and fail to deploy. If you were in an accident and your airbags failed to deploy, and if that failure caused you injuries, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer of the vehicle or airbags.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

 

Hit And Run Accident Lawyer

If you were the victim of a hit and run accident, we’re here to fight for you. You may think the only option is to either put a claim in with your insurance company or pay for your damages yourself. In fact, after a hit and run accident, North Carolina drivers have the option of accessing the Uninsured Motorist Coverage on their own policy. An experienced hit and run accident lawyer will help prove your case to the insurance adjuster and obtain best results for you in this difficult fact pattern.

Establishing Liability After A Hit And Run Accident

Insurance adjusters see a lot of insurance fraud. Every day, someone claims to have a slip and fall claim, or claims to be the victim of a hit and run. Before an insurance company will pay for damages to your property or pay for your personal injury, you must prove their obligation to do so. In a hit and run scenario, the only proof you have is the damage to your vehicle. Even with that, you have the burden to prove to the insurance adjuster that another driver caused that damage and that the incident was the other driver’s fault. You may have a police report, but again, that report will only contain your statement to the officer that another vehicle hit you. It is not strong evidence.

The Layton Law Firm will examine your fact pattern, photographs of the damage to your vehicle, and other pertinent information to help establish fault. In some cases, there is footage of the incident available through a request with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. This requires a hearing to obtain the footage but it can often make all the difference in whether you recover anything for your injuries from the hit and run accident.

Accessing Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If your personal injury lawyer can establish that another party was responsible for your damages and injury, and fled the scene, the lawyer will be able to successfully trigger a claim under the uninsured motorist provision of your policy. A claim placed under this designation should not have any negative consequences upon your insurance rates, and allows you access to the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Fighting Your Own Insurance Company

For a time, while your underinsured motorist claim is active, you and your insurance company will be adversaries. For this reason, it’s extremely important to have a personal injury lawyer represent you. Most clients we speak with who have tried to make an underinsured motorist claim for a hit and run have been denied by their insurance company. We are usually able to reverse that decision.

Addressing Personal Injury Liens

Your personal injury attorney will also make sure that the medical providers who have liens against your injury settlement pursuant to N.C.G.S. 44-49 and 44-50 are addressed as part of the settlement. Individuals who settle their own claims without addressing these liens may find out after the fact that they owe most of the settlement to third parties—this entirely undoes the benefits of having negotiated your own settlement.

Speak With A Hit And Run Accident Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

Will A Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Personal Injury Case?

A pre-existing injury will affect your personal injury claim because your attorney will need to establish the difference between your physical and mental condition at the time of the car accident, and after the car accident. In other words, the at fault party is only responsible for the damage they cause as a direct result of the accident.

Most commonly, pre-existing injuries are back or neck injuries, shoulder injuries, and knee injuries. As you might imagine, it’s easy to distinguish a pre-existing shoulder injury from a head injury which stemmed from the accident. In that case, the at fault party would not be responsible for the shoulder injury because it is not related to the accident. A much more difficult situation to sort through is one where a client has a pre-existing back injury, and the most recent car accident worsens that back injury. The at fault party only wants to pay for the additional damage which was caused by the car accident.

Medical Records Prior To The Accident

One way to prove that the injuries you are experiencing are a direct result of the accident, is to prove you did not have those conditions prior to the accident. Quite often, insurance adjusters will ask you to provide a few years of prior medical records. If you were treated for back pain the year prior to the car accident, you can count on the insurance adjuster arguing that the car accident only aggravated the back injury, but did not cause it. As a result, the adjuster will lower the value of your claim, affecting the settlement value of your case.

Treatment After The Accident

The insurance adjuster will also carefully review your medical records after the accident. For this reason, if possible, you should treat with the same physicians or team of health professionals after the accident, that you treated with before the accident. Those professionals are in the best position to make a statement as to your injuries prior to the accident, versus after the accident.

The Eggshell Plaintiff Theory

There is an eggshell plaintiff theory in North Carolina. While this is not a statute, it is a result of common law or case law over the years. The general rule that comes from the eggshell plaintiff theory essentially states that just because an injured party was prone to a particular injury does not mean they should not be compensated for it. For example, assume a particular individual has a condition which makes them more susceptible to suffer PTSD from a traumatic event. If the accident causes them PTSD, the at fault party is still responsible for that. This is true even if most other individuals would not have had PTSD from the event. The at fault party is not responsible for the underlying susceptibility to PTSD, but they are responsible for the PTSD which was caused by the accident.

Before And After

Your personal injury lawyer will address any pre-existing injury concerns by demonstrating to the adjuster the difference between your life before the accident and after the accident. While medical records and medical billing help to establish this, the attorney can also gather additional evidence to support this. Your inability to participate in activities such as horse back riding or running, or your inability to interact with your grandchildren in the same manner after the accident as before the accident, all count toward the value of your car accident or slip and fall claim.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?

It doesn’t cost anything to hire a personal injury lawyer when you work with The Layton Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm works on a contingency basis. This means we only get paid if we are able to reach a settlement or a jury verdict for you. If we are unable to reach a settlement or verdict for you, you will not receive a bill.

The contingency arrangement allows those injured in car accidents, workers’ compensation accidents, and slip and fall accidents to obtain legal representation without spending money to do so. This is an extremely important aspect of our legal system. By providing clients with legal representation, personal injury lawyers are protecting every day consumers from large insurance companies and their corporate legal teams.

How Do I Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is easy. When you work with The Layton Law Firm, PLLC, you can complete most of the intake online. There are a few docs which need to be signed. We can meet with you in the office to sign that paperwork, or if it’s more convenient for you, we can mail or email it to you to sign. We’re flexible. Whatever is easiest for you works for us.

Once you have signed a contract with the firm, we will send a Letter of Representation to the insurance company for the at fault party. The letter of representation will confirm we represent you in the personal injury matter. It also requests all transcripts or recordings of conversations or statements you may have made to the insurance adjuster for the other side.

Will The Layton Law Firm Take My Case?

We can’t take every case that we are presented with; however, you deserve to speak with a lawyer about your case so you can understand your rights. Our free consultations are meant to help us understand your case, and provide you with what we believe to be your options for moving forward. If we are unable to take your case for some reason, we will explain why, and try to refer you to another law firm we think would be a good fit for the case.

Is My Case Too Small For A Personal Injury Lawyer?

Many clients mistakenly believe that personal injury lawyers only take large cases. This simply is not true. We take on minor accident cases every day at our firm, and we are just as interested in helping and protecting those clients as we are in working on larger cases.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

 

Who Pays For Your Rental Car After An Accident?

Depending upon the situation, the at fault driver should pay for your rental car after an accident. However, the obstacle to this is that the at fault driver’s insurance company wants to investigate the claim. This is true even if it is a rear end accident with clear liability. The insurance investigation can take a few weeks—too long for you to wait for a them to approve a rental car.

Your Insurance Policy May Have Rental Coverage

You should check to see if your insurance policy has rental car coverage. Your North Carolina auto insurance policy may have rental car coverage. If it does, the rental car will be paid for by your insurance company. Then, your insurance company will pursue the at fault driver’s insurance company for a reimbursement. The good news is you don’t have to wait for an investigation to take place before being provided with a rental car after the accident. When you speak with the insurance company, you should also confirm whether you have Medical Payments coverage to assist with your medical bills and medical liens from the car accident.

You Can Pay For Your Rental Car After An Accident

Another option is for you to pay for the rental car after the accident. Not a good option, but if you do pay for the rental car, you can seek reimbursement from the at fault driver’s insurance company once their investigation is complete. Keep in mind, the at fault driver’s insurance company will do everything they can to pay the lowest daily amount for a rental car. It is a rare situation to be reimbursed in full for a rental car you paid for on your own.

Legal Representation Often Makes All The Difference

If you’ve been in an accident and you can’t get the other driver’s insurance company to pay for a rental car, call a lawyer. Having legal representation makes all the difference when it comes to personal injury claims. If our firm represents you for your personal injury, we will assist you with your property damage claim at no additional charge. This includes providing guidance as to how to get the at fault driver’s insurance company to pay for a rental car.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

Your minor auto accident or motorcycle accident is important to us, no matter how small. Even in cases or claims where most of the damage is property damage (vs. personal injury or bodily injury), we can and want to help.

Clients quite often don’t know what their rights are in an minor auto accident, and it’s not always as easy as making a claim with the at-fault party’s auto insurance company. Quite often, those claims are denied or individuals are ignored by the insurance company, in hopes they will give up or go away. Additionally, there are times when an insurance company will offer a dramatically low value for your damaged property based on a quote provided by a third party they have a strong relationship with. Having a personal injury lawyer represent you, even if your claim is only for property damage, helps prevent this type of behavior.

Call our office for a consultation today. We’ll discuss what happened, and help you determine your options, which may range from pursuing a claim against the at-fault party’s insured, to simply determining what insurance is available for you to pay your existing medical bills or compensate you for your damaged property.

If you have questions about a minor auto accident or motorcycle accident, take the next step toward recovery and call 704.749.7747 today. We’re here to help.

Lost Income From Car Accidents

If you’re in a car accident, chances are you will have lost income. Lost income from car accidents can be recovered in a personal injury claim. Your Charlotte personal injury attorney must establish or prove the amount of time lost, the wages associated with that time, and the connection to the accident. The key is documenting all aspects of your lost wages claim in order to recover lost income from your accident. You can significantly change how much your car accident is worth, with a successful lost wages claim.

Establishing Your Wages Prior To The Car Accident

In order to claim lost income from car accidents, you must first establish the wages you were making before the car accident. The personal injury adjuster will want to see proof of your wages, which can be established by some or all of the following:

Tax Returns

W2 Forms

Pay Stubs

A Signed, Notarized Wage Form From Your Employer

When you provide one or more of the above items to your personal injury lawyer, they can use that documentation as the foundation to prove the wage you were earning right before the car accident occurred. Unless there was a change in your employment status, it is safe to assume the same wage would have been paid to you if you continued to work and had never been in the accident.

Establishing Your Missed Hours

Your employer will need to complete a Lost Wages Form for your injury lawyer. Typically, someone at your job with authority to do so will complete the form. The form will need to disclose your average weekly hours, your hourly wage, the date range during which you missed work, and the total hours missed. With this information, your lawyer can calculate the total wages lost as a direct result of the accident.

Claiming Lost Earning Capacity

There are some instances in which your car accident may lead to a permanent reduction in your ability to earn wages. For instance, if your car accident leads to a permanent disability rating, it will most likely mean you can no longer work full time, or can no longer perform the job you performed prior to the accident.

In order to claim any sort of permanent lost earning capacity, you will need a doctor to verify your disability. Your personal injury lawyer can work with you in order to obtain an opinion from an independent medical examiner, which will indicate your lost wage earning capacity. This opinion will serve as evidence, whether your claim is a Workers’ Compensation claim or a personal injury claim.  It’s important to note that the attorney for the insurance company will most likely find a way to provide an opinion which argues there is not permanent lost earning capacity resulting from the accident. Both sides will argue these points as they negotiate the lost income from your car accident.

Claiming Lost Wages If You’re Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, you can expect a much more difficult process regarding a lost wages claim from a car accident. Self-employed individuals are often paid inconsistently due to the nature of being self-employed. Your attorney will work with you to gather as much information as possible in order to support your claim. What is most beneficial is to have a strong history of self-employment income which can be compared to your income after the accident.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Concerned about getting a fair offer from an insurance adjuster for your car accident? Get legal protection today—it’s only a phone call away. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article regarding “Lost income from car accidents” was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

If you have significant economic losses from a personal injury claim and you’re having trouble paying bills, you may consider a Bankruptcy filing. You can read about your options on our Bankruptcy Blog.

Passenger Accident Claims And Insurance

If you are a passenger in a car accident, you will potentially have numerous options available to compensate you for your personal injury claim. Except for in limited circumstances, passengers are not at fault for car accidents. This means liability (who is at fault) will not be contested. Instead, your claim will be fought over the injuries and which insurance company should pay for those injuries.

Pursuing Your Passenger Accident Claim

Working with a personal injury law firm will protect your rights as you attempt to recover for your injuries from the car accident. The personal injury lawyer will also help you sort through the liability associated with the accident. The first thing the lawyer will ask for is a copy of the police report from the accident.  Typically, the police report will contain statements from both drivers, together with a diagram of the accident. There are numerous sections of the police report where the attending officer makes notes which help tell the story of the accident. These notes contain everything from the estimated speed of the vehicles upon impact, to the road conditions. Lastly, the police report will also make note of any citations given to either driver, which can dramatically help or affect your case depending upon the citation.

If you do not have a police report from the accident, we can assist you with obtaining one at no cost. Just click HERE to request one.

Starting Your Personal Injury Passenger Accident Claim

Assuming the police report indicates the other driver is at fault, the most logical entity to pursue is the insurance company for the other driver. In North Carolina, there are insurance minimums that each driver must carry. The minimums in North Carolina are $30,000 for one person for bodily injury (“Personal Injury”), and $60,000 for injuries to two or more people in a single accident. Additionally, each driver must have $25,000 in property damage coverage; however, if you are a passenger the property damage aspect will most likely not affect you.

If you are a passenger, this means that the driver of your vehicle may also be injured. You can see how, depending upon the severity of the injury, the injuries for all individuals in your vehicle may exceed the amount of insurance the at-fault driver carries. If this is the case, you can also pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim by starting a second claim with the insurance of the driver of your vehicle.

Your personal injury attorney will advise you as to the specifics of this claim, and you must be careful not to settle for less than the full policy amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy if you intend to pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim. Lastly, the underinsured motorist limits must exceed the limits of the policy of the at-fault driver. If your claim comes to this crossroads, your personal injury attorney’s skill set in navigating underinsured motorist coverage will help you tremendously.

What If Your Driver Is At Fault?

If the driver of your vehicle is at fault, this will not prevent you from recovering for your injuries. Provided you did not contribute to the accident, your lawyer can start a claim with the insurance company for your driver. The minimums mentioned above will still be in effect.

Recovering With Medical Payments Coverage In Passenger Accident Claims

Your personal injury lawyer can also pursue a medical payments claim for you. If you or the driver of your vehicle have medical payments coverage on you auto policies, you can submit medical bills from the accident. You will be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary medical expenses which stem from the accident. While these amounts are typically $1,000-$5,000 they can make all the difference in settling a personal injury claim. This is particularly true of a smaller claim.

If you are able to recover medical payments coverage, your lawyer should be able to successfully argue for you that your medical payments coverage is not subject to the Medical Liens in personal injury created by N.C.G.S. 44-49 and 44-50, which helps you to retain more of your settlement funds.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today About Passenger Accident Claims

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article “Passenger Accident Claims And Insurance” was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.