If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, there are several things that you need to know. First and foremost, it is important to understand the legal implications of being at fault for an accident. North Carolina follows a contributory negligence doctrine, which means if you are even partially at fault for an accident, you may not recover damages.
At The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, our Charlotte car accident lawyers have years of experience helping car accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about your rights when at fault for an accident, contact us today for a free consultation.
What to Do After a Car Accident
After you have been involved in a car accident, the first thing that you need to do is seek medical attention. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is important to get checked out by a doctor. This will ensure whether you may have any internal injuries and create a record of your injuries and treatment.
Stop and Stay Safe
The next thing that you need to do is stop your vehicle. If you can, make sure to take photographs of the collision and the location of the vehicles. Once that is done, see if you can safely move your car to the side of the road. This will help to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road and your continued safety. Once you have stopped your vehicle, turn on your hazard lights. This will alert other drivers that you are stopped on the side of the road.
Call the Police
The police will investigate the accident and will create a report. This report can be used as evidence in a car accident case.
Collect Information from Other Drivers
You should collect information from the other drivers involved in the accident if you can. This includes their name, contact information, insurance information, and license plate number. You should also take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and the location of the collision as referenced above. These pictures can be used as evidence in your case. A dashboard camera is an effective tool for capturing what happened.
Contact Your Insurance Company
After gathering all of the necessary information, you should contact your insurance company. You will need to provide them with the information you have collected from the other drivers. They will also want to know about your injuries, if any.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you do not believe you are at fault for an accident, you should contact a car accident attorney. An attorney can help you through the legal process and represent you in court if necessary.
Fault in North Carolina
In North Carolina, the law is not as clear on who is at fault in car accidents. The driver who was negligent or violated a traffic law is typically at-fault for the accident. However, even at the top of an accident report, it states that determinations of fault are for the state courts or the insurers. That is due to a unique doctrine in North Carolina called contributory negligence.
Contributory Negligence in North Carolina
Contributory negligence means that you cannot recover damages if you are partially at fault for an accident. This means that if you are involved in an accident, it is important to seek the help of an experienced car accident attorney, particularly before you give any statements to the insurance companies.
Is North Carolina an At-Fault State?
North Carolina is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who is at fault for an accident is responsible for damages. If you are involved in an accident, you should contact a car accident attorney to help you with your case and avoid any possible contributory negligence pitfalls.
What Are the Penalties For Being At Fault in a Car Accident?
The penalties for being at fault in a car accident can vary depending on the accident’s severity. In some cases, you may be required to pay damages to the other driver if their damages exceed your liability coverage. You may also face fines or jail time. A criminal or insurance defense attorney can advise you about your case and ensure that you are aware of all potential penalties.
What Damages Are Covered If You Cause a Car Accident in Charlotte?
If you are at fault for a car accident, you could be required to pay for the damages incurred by the other driver. These damages can include:
- Medical Bills – If the other driver is injured, you may be required to pay for their medical expenses. This can include hospital bills, doctor’s visits, and prescription costs.
- Property damage – If the other driver’s property is damaged in the accident, you may be required to pay for the repairs. This can include damage to their vehicle or any damaged personal property.
- Lost wages – If the other driver cannot work because of the accident, you may be required to pay for their lost wages. This can include the time they miss from work and any future earnings lost.
- Pain and suffering – The other driver may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. This can include both physical and emotional pain.
In most instances, if you are at fault for a collision, your insurance company will handle the claim for the injured party up to your policy limits and provide you with an attorney if you end up being sued. However, our friendly suggestion is to carry more than the minimum limits the law allows to avoid ending up in this situation.
How is Fault Determined for a Car Accident?
The fault for an automobile accident is determined by reviewing evidence from the crash. Evidence commonly used to determine liability in a car accident claim include:
- Police Report
- Witness statements
- Photos of the accident scene and damage to vehicles
- Video footage, if available
- Data from car accident reconstruction experts
- Medical records
Will My Insurance Pay If I am At Fault for a Car Accident?
If you are at fault for an accident, you may be responsible for paying for any damages that are not covered by your insurance policy. In some cases, your own insurance company may pay for the damages you cause in an accident. However, it is important to speak with your insurer to determine what is covered and for how much.
It is important to speak with an experienced car accident attorney to ensure that you know your rights and what steps to take if you are involved in an accident. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.
Can I Recover Damages For My Vehicle?
If you are found to be at fault for a car accident, you will not be able to recover damages for your vehicle under the minimum policy requirements in North Carolina. However, if you have collision coverage on your insurance policy, your insurance company will pay to have your vehicle repaired. If the cost of repairs exceeds the value of your car, your insurance company will declare it a total loss and will pay you the fair market value of your vehicle.
Insurance Requirements in North Carolina
North Carolina Insurance Law requires all drivers to have liability insurance provided by a North Carolina licensed company. Liability coverage protects innocent drivers and passengers against injuries and property damage caused by negligent drivers. Driving without insurance is so prevalent in North Carolina, the legislature also made having uninsured motorist coverage mandatory.
How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Who’s At Fault?
Once you report the accident to your insurance company, they will assign an adjuster to the case. An insurance adjuster is an individual who is responsible for investigating an insurance claim. The adjuster will investigate the accident to determine who is at fault. They will interview the parties involved in the accident, review police reports and other evidence, and determine who was at fault for the accident.
If the insurance adjuster finds you even 1% at fault for the accident, they will deny your claim based on North Carolina’s contributory fault laws. It’s important to note that even if you are not at fault for an accident, the insurance company puts itself first. They will do everything they can to prevent paying you a settlement.
Will My Car Insurance Rates Increase If I’m At-Fault For the Car Accident?
If you are the at-fault driver in a car accident, your insurance rates will likely increase. How much they will increase depends on various factors, such as the severity of the accident and whether or not you have been in any accidents in the past. If you have been in several accidents in the past, your rates may increase significantly.
Contact a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Today
If the insurance company is claiming you are partially at fault for a car accident, it is important to contact a car accident lawyer for your case. Our auto accident attorneys have experience with all personal injury cases, including car accidents. We are not afraid to take on insurance companies to help you obtain fair compensation. We value the attorney-client relationship and will work tirelessly to protect your rights.
Contact The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor today for your free initial consultation and learn more about what we can do to help you. We will answer your questions and explain all of your legal options.