As lawyers with decades of experience in motor vehicle liability work, we are well aware that most crashes are not accidents. Many people use the terms “accident” and “crash” interchangeably. We do the same on this page, but the terms have different meanings.
It’s important to understand the difference if you want to bring a lawsuit against another driver. The word “accident” implies no one is at fault, while “crash” suggests someone is responsible (“liable”). When someone is liable for your crash, they’re responsible for paying damages that you experienced as a result of the collision.
A Charlotte personal injury lawyer from Johnson & Groninger PLLC can fight for justice and for the maximum compensation available for your case. Call us at (704) 200-2009 to schedule a case consultation.
Damages You May Be Able to Recover
Damages are a form of financial compensation for the hardships you’ve endured as a result of your crash. While recovering damages can’t take away your injuries or the pain they caused you, they can compensate you for what you have been through in an attempt to make things right. There are two main types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages. We will discuss both below.
Punitive damages are separate from compensatory damages, and are different in that they essentially fine the negligent party as punishment and award the money to the victim. However, punitive damages are available only in extreme cases; for example, where the defendant knowingly acted in a way that could harm others.
For instance, punitive damages MAY be available in car accident cases where the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. Now let’s look at economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are awarded to compensate victims for financial hardships or losses that they face as a result of their crash and injuries. The best example of this is also the most commonly recovered form of economic damages: medical expenses.
After being injured in a car accident, you are suddenly expected to pay hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills to treat your injuries. This is an expense you would never have had to worry about had the negligent driver not caused the crash.
Medical expenses can be extremely expensive, and the more severe the injuries, the more medical care you’ll need. Ambulance transports, emergency room visits, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, different forms of therapy, imaging tests, bloodwork, and medical devices are all medical expenses that can quickly add up.
Fortunately, many plaintiffs are able to recover economic damages for current and future medical expenses related to their injury.
Another common form of economic damages that plaintiffs can recover is lost wages. If you were out of work for a period of time following your injury, that loss of income can be a source of financial stress. If you missed work because of your injury, you can often recover the lost wages you would have earned.
Similarly, if you are permanently disabled as a result of your injury, you may not be able to work anymore, and can sometimes recover future lost wages. In this case, though, you would need to prove that yo ur injury leaves you incapable of working.
Non-economic damages financially compensate victims for injury-related hardships that are not inherently financial in nature. The most common example of this is damages for pain and suffering. Although the pain and suffering of an injured person can seem difficult to quantify, plaintiffs can often recover non-economic damages for pain and suffering. The impact of an injury on your overall quality of life does matter, so it’s only fair that compensation is issued for that hardship as well.
Many injured victims of car accidents not only have physical injuries, but also psychological or emotional trauma that can cause distress and suffering. This is why non-economic damages exist—to compensate a victim for intangible losses and hardships that resulted from their crash and injuries.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you or a family member have been involved in a catastrophic car crash in Charlotte, you may be wondering what your next step should be. The answer is that it’s time to consult an attorney. At Johnson & Groninger PLLC, you’re not a statistic to us. Keep reading to find out some of the ways in which we can help.
Maximum Compensation for Injuries
If you were injured in a car crash, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. But financial compensation isn’t just handed over; you’ll have to fight for it. The right car accident attorney will help you prove that the car “accident” was someone else’s fault, and maximize your compensation. Whether temporary or permanent, treatments for injuries sustained in a car accident are expensive, and you should not be left to foot the bill for injuries that are not your fault.
Making Sure You Are Getting the Right Medical Care
Part of our job is familiarizing ourselves with your injuries and medical treatment. While we would never give you medical advice, we do see many injuries repeatedly and may suggest that you return to your doctor for follow up advice or referral to a specialist. We want you to focus on getting better while our attorneys focus on winning your case.
Protecting You From Predatory Insurance Companies
Attorneys can also help you by protecting you from predatory insurance companies. The average person assumes that the company they pay to insure them is going to take care of them. But make no mistake, insurance companies are notoriously predatory, and their primary goal is to keep as much money in their own pockets as possible.
Without a good lawyer, it’s very easy to fall for insurance companies’ tricks and be robbed of the compensation you deserve. A Charlotte car accident lawyer can handle the correspondence between you and the insurance company (your insurance company or the one that insures the other driver), so they can’t trick you into helping them deny liability and/or coverage.
North Carolina’s Negligence Law May Affect Your Case
North Carolina has a tough contributory negligence law. Essentially, an injured person who is even partially at fault cannot collect damages according to the law, even if the negligent person was obviously at fault.
So, if you are found to be partially negligent or deemed to have contributed to the crash at all, you cannot recover any damages due to the contributory negligence law. Read more about our recent win against contributory negligence. If you’ve been injured in a car crash and have any questions about your ability to seek compensation, call our Charlotte car accident attorneys today.
Car Accidents in Charlotte
In 2020, there were more than 27,000 vehicular crashes in Charlotte. Of those accidents, there were 116 fatalities and nearly 14,000 injuries. Many of these crashes resulted from drunk or distracted driving and affected pedestrians and bicycles as well as other motor vehicle drivers.
One of the most dangerous areas of Charlotte to drive in is along I-85, which stretches from Alabama to Virginia and is ranked the 10th deadliest highway in the nation.
The Charlotte Department of Transportation analyzed crash data from 2016 to 2020 to identify the areas of the city with the most serious car accidents (which are typically crashes, not accidents) often resulting in injury or death. The top 10 most dangerous intersections and roads in Charlotte are:
- N Tryon Street and University City Boulevard
- Eastway Drive and Central Avenue
- Freedom Drive at Pacific Street
- The Plaza and Murdock Road
- South Tryon Street and Lions Mane Street
- Wilkinson Boulevard and Boyer Street
- West Brookshire Freeway and North Crigler Street
- West Sugar Creek Rd and I-85
- EW T Harris Boulevard and Windsor Gate Lane
- West Boulevard and Ross Avenue
Common Car Accident Injuries
Vehicle crashes result in a variety of injuries. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of injuries sustained by victims of car crashes.
Brain injuries occur as a result of a sudden impact or trauma to the head. These injuries can range in severity from a mild concussion to a traumatic brain injury leaving a victim permanently disabled. Brain injuries usually result in swelling of the brain that causes headaches, confusion, and cognitive issues.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord are very serious. Depending on what part of the spinal cord is injured, victims could be left with paralysis like paraplegia (paralysis in both legs) or quadriplegia (paralysis in arms and legs).
Back and Neck Injuries
The impact of a car wreck often results in neck injuries such as whiplash, or back injuries such as herniated discs. These injuries can heal, but often restrict range of motion and are associated with pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Chest and Internal Injuries
Although seatbelts and airbags are designed to keep drivers and passengers safe during an impact, they are sometimes a contributor to internal injuries as well. Seat belts can cause injuries such as bruising or tearing of muscles in the chest or damage to internal organs like the stomach. Upon impact, airbags can contribute to cracked ribs or punctured lungs.
Fractures are any breaks in a continuous piece of bone. The impact of a car accident often causes fractures in the arms, collarbone, or ribs.
Anxiety and Other Stress-Related Disorders
The traumatic experience of being in a serious car crash can have psychological consequences as well. Many people develop anxiety disorders, panic disorders, or other stress-related psychological issues from the trauma resulting from the crash.
Hurt in a car crash in Charlotte? Johnson & Groninger PLLC can help.
If you have been injured in an automobile crash, our Charlotte car accident lawyers can help. Being in a crash and recovering from your injuries are stressful enough; you shouldn’t have to worry about fighting your case by yourself on top of that.
A North Carolina personal injury attorney from Johnson & Groninger PLLC can help you in the battle to win your case, getting you the maximum compensation available after your injury.
With five staff attorneys, our team has decades of experience. Plus, the firm itself just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Valerie Johnson and Ann Groninger, who have been practicing law together for 20 years, have been recognized on the list of Best Lawyers in America for multiple years in a row.
If you were hurt in a crash and need legal representation, call us at (704) 200-2009 to schedule a case consultation with one of our attorneys. Don’t wait until the medical bills start to pile up—call our Charlotte car accident attorneys today!