Despite advances in technology and safety features, collisions occur far too often in Durham, a city that lies within the U.S. 15-501 and I-40 to I-85 corridors, not to mention the new East End Connector.
If you were hurt in a car crash caused by another person, then you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover money for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
At Johnson & Groninger PLLC, we’re dedicated to helping people who have been hurt in all types of collisions. Our Durham car accident lawyers will advocate for your right to compensation. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, and we never charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you.
Steps to take after being in a crash
If you can keep the following in mind, you’ll have a better chance of recovering from the crash. Your chances of obtaining maximum compensation will also improve.
1. Move your vehicle to a safer location
If it’s safe to do so, move your car off of the highway or street, preferably to a parking lot close by. If that’s not an option, get yourself to the safest place you can find if your physical condition allows.
2. Check yourself and your passenger(s) for injuries
Perform a quick self-check to try to get the best idea you can of how seriously you’re hurt. If someone else is in your vehicle, check to see if they’re hurt, too. The more information you give to emergency responders, the more effectively they can treat you.
3. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
The 911 dispatcher should send an ambulance once you tell them the extent of your injuries. Ask them to send a police officer, too, so they can investigate the collision. The officer will file a report that could be very important to your case.
4. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer
You should make sure that the police are called to document what happened. If there are witnesses who can help you, make sure the police officer talks with those witnesses.
5. Notify your insurance company
As soon as possible after the accident, you should report the collision to your own insurance company.
6. Gather evidence at the scene
If you are able to do so, collect information and evidence at the scene. This may involve taking pictures of the accident, getting contact information from witnesses, or asking for a copy of any police report. Do not apologize to the other driver; instead, simply provide them with your contact and insurance information.
7. Visit Urgent Care or your primary care physician
If you have been hurt in a car crash, the first and most important thing to do is to get medical attention for any injuries that you may have suffered.
Even if you think that you weren’t hurt — or that your injuries are minor — you should still get checked out by a doctor. An early diagnosis is often key to getting the proper medical treatment. It may also prevent the insurer from arguing that your injuries are worse than they otherwise would have been had you gotten medical care immediately.
8. Meet with a car accident attorney to understand your legal options
The other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you by phone, letter, or in person. Do not talk to the insurance company or an adjuster without talking to a Durham injury lawyer first. The insurance adjuster’s goal is to deny or minimize your claim to maximize profits for their employer, not to give you the maximum recovery.
Similarly, do not sign anything without first consulting with a Durham car crash attorney. Even if a settlement agreement seems fair, you could be giving up important rights by signing it. An experienced Durham personal injury attorney with Johnson & Groninger PLLC will represent your best interests and make sure that you do not inadvertently say something that could jeopardize your recovery.
Make sure you file a claim on time
Normally the statute of limitations in an automobile crash case in North Carolina is three years. However, if you intend to seek the services of a lawyer you should contact the lawyer well in advance of the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Possible damages you can claim
You should address the damage to your automobile right away with the adjuster for the person who hit you. If that adjuster will not pay the amount owed for damage to your automobile, your own insurance company will pay for the damage.
If there is a disagreement between you and the insurance company over the amount that the repairs will cost, you may get opinions from several automobile repair shops to assist in your negotiations with the insurance adjuster. If you think the adjuster has treated you unfairly, you may make a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Insurance. If we handle your personal injury claim, we will help you if there is a dispute over property damage.
The following is a quick look at the types of damages you may be able to recover.
Economic damages are tangible and are easily proven with appropriate documentation. These include your medical expenses and the money you’re losing (and may continue to lose) because you can’t work.
Non-economic damages are completely different — they’re subjective so they’re much harder to prove. You’ll need a seasoned Durham car crash lawyer to show non-economic damages such as lost quality of life, mental trauma, pain and suffering, and more.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
There could be more parties responsible for your injury besides the at-fault driver. If, for instance, the wreck happened because a defective tire blew out, you may be able to sue the manufacturer.
How our Durham attorneys prove negligence
Every Durham car accident lawyer on our staff is an expert in investigating car collisions. We’ll find the evidence needed to determine all the people or entities that contributed to your injury.
We fight the insurance company to get you the maximum compensation
You’re going to encounter a deep-pocketed insurance company. That company will do all it can to deny the compensation you deserve. But the attorneys with Johnson & Groninger PLLC know how to defeat this type of formidable opposition. We do it on a regular basis.
Car crashes are more frequent and more dangerous
You would think that the number of car crash injuries would decrease since vehicles are safer than ever before, but in North Carolina, nearly 115,000 motorists suffered severe injuries in 2021. Tragically, there were nearly 1,800 fatalities in motor vehicle accidents that same year.
Common car accident injuries
The injuries resulting from car wrecks can be devastating. These are just a few examples:
- Severe head injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance after a crash
While you need to report the crash to your insurance company, you don’t have to deal with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Let your Durham car accident lawyer handle communication with insurance adjusters.
Cost of hiring a car crash lawyer
You won’t have to pay any upfront costs when you work with Johnson & Groninger PLLC. We won’t receive any money unless you win your case.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
Not only do you need medical help for your health, but you also need to see a medical professional to protect your case. If you don’t, the insurance company will argue that you’re not seriously hurt. That will make it almost impossible for you to obtain the compensation you have coming.
Why work with Johnson & Groninger PLLC
Our attorneys provide aggressive representation on behalf of our clients. We won’t stop until we hold accountable those who are responsible for your suffering.