Here at the Hickory Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, our team has handled personal injury and auto accident cases for over twenty years. We have over a century of experience between us helping folks in Hickory get the compensation they deserve for damage and personal injury caused by others. We want to do the same for you.
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Is it worth getting a lawyer for a car accident in Hickory?
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you. That said, we think it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer after any car accident in Hickory, NC. Their knowledge and experience can help you decide whether it makes sense for you to hire legal representation.
Personal injury cases can be complicated, and every decision you make can affect what you receive in compensation. Insurance adjusters will try to lowball you. They want to pay as little as they can get away with.
Most insurance companies will call you within days, hoping to settle with you before you know that the ache in your neck isn’t going away or what that ER visit at Catawba Valley will cost you.
They want to catch you before you realize how injured you are. That way, you’re more likely to settle for a smaller sum than you’re entitled to, and it keeps you from being able to pursue them for more money later down the road.
A personal injury lawyer can ensure that you aren’t being taken advantage of by these predatory “nuisance-value” offers.
You shouldn’t have to navigate Hickory law. You’ve got a car to replace. You’ve got injuries to tend to. We’re here to handle your claim from start to finish, and if you don’t get paid, neither do we. You can trust us to give it our all.
When should you get a lawyer for a car accident?
It never hurts to get a free consultation. We can talk about the details of your specific situation and figure out if litigation is the best way for you to go.
There are a few signs, though, that usually indicate the need for an attorney.
- The Automobile Accident Resulted in Death or Serious Injury
If anyone died or was seriously injured, you’ll almost certainly be wanting an attorney. The cases get complicated, the settlements get large, and you may even have to file suit in order to get all of your losses covered. Also, the other party sometimes responds with a counterclaim, suing you in return. This adds even more complexity to the case, and you’ll be more likely to get your treatment costs covered with the help of expert legal advice from a Hickory car accident attorney.
- You Are Unable to Work or Need Long-Term Care
If you’re so injured that you can’t load the CNC, you’ll probably want a lawyer. You don’t know how long your injury’s going to last, and there’s a possibility it may be permanent. An accident attorney can help you compare what your labor is worth against how long you’ll likely be out of commission and what your treatment is likely to cost. From that, they can calculate what sort of compensation you’re entitled to, no matter what kind of work you do.
- There Were Three or More Vehicles Involved
More vehicles means more claims, more insurance companies, more possibility for injury, and more potential lawsuits. The number of interacting parties quickly snowballs. It’s not always just drivers and passengers involved either. Pedestrians can be injured, private property can be damaged, and public utilities like telephone poles can be struck, to name just a few. A personal injury attorney knows the best ways to coordinate communication between all the parties that are relevant to the lawsuit.
- A Motorist Without Insurance Was Involved
Hickory, like everywhere in North Carolina, requires every driver to be insured. Of course, not everyone follows that law. While Uninsured Motorist Coverage is designed to help in those situations, you may find your own insurance company hesitating to payout, since there’s no opposing insurance company to reimburse them. A good lawyer knows how to pressure your insurance company into fulfilling its obligation. They can also help you file a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist if it comes to that.
- You Need to Establish Fault
It’s not always obvious who contributed to a collision, but fault needs to be determined before the jury can decide who to award compensation to. An experienced car accident attorney can help you gather all the evidence you need to prove that you are entitled to compensation.
- You Are Being Sued
The other driver may end up suing you for damages. If this happens, they are sure to have their own attorney. It will be essential to have an attorney of your own to stand toe-to-toe against theirs. Having a skilled car accident lawyer at your back gives you the best chance to negotiate a favorable deal, and it ensures that you do not give up your rights to take action against them in the future.
- You Are Approaching the Statute of Limitations
If you wait too long to talk to a car accident lawyer, you may lose your opportunity to file a claim. Insurance companies may try to drag out the proceedings so that the statute of limitations expires and they don’t have to pay you compensation. We recommend you call a Hickory car accident lawyer for advice as soon as possible — especially if a lot of time has passed since the accident. Car accident attorneys are familiar with the tricks insurance companies use to wait out that deadline. We can help make sure you get compensated before it’s too late.
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor car accident in Hickory?
Looks can be deceiving, so it’s always worth doing things properly, even if the accident looks minor:
- Always exchange insurance information.
- Take photos of everything you can: license plates, paint scuffs, the scene of the accident, everything.
- Have yourself examined for injuries, just in case.
- File a report with the police immediately.
It’s better to do as much as you can at the scene of the accident, while everything is still fresh in your mind. The more you document now, the less you’ll have to remember later.
What happens after a car accident that is not your fault?
- File a Police Report
Even if the other driver flees, file a police report before you leave. Tell the story from your perspective, and let the police assign fault. Without this report, the claim process may take a lot longer, making it harder to get compensated.
- Make Notes
Collect information while you wait. Write down everything you can remember. Sketch a map of the scene and the moments leading up to the crash. Take down license plates. Look for witnesses. Note the weather. Take pictures. Document damage and injuries. Information is key in court proceedings. Gather as much as you can.
- Swap Information With the Other Driver
The other driver may be uncooperative. This probably means they know they’re at fault! Insist on taking down their information, and insist that they take down yours. If they flat out refuse, at least be sure to catch their license plate. The police can use this to find the party’s contact information, but it takes time, so it’s better if you can just get that information directly from them. Also be sure to collect contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident — their testimony could be invaluable.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Be sure to call your insurance company as soon as you can. They’ll talk to you about your coverage and get started on filing your claim to make sure you fall within the statute of limitations. They’ll also help you feel more prepared for the possibility that the other driver was uninsured. The way it generally works is that your insurance company will pay you according to your policy, and then they will go after the other driver’s insurance company for reimbursement. Ideally, you won’t have to deal with the other driver’s insurance company at all. If your expenses cost more than your insurance covers, a lawyer can help you decide whether or not you should file suit.
- Go to the Doctor
Even if you feel fine, get checked out. Adrenaline suppresses pain, so you might not know you’ve got a minor injury yet. It might be hours or even days before you realize that you’re injured. Whiplash and spinal injuries are very common and serious conditions. Internal bleeding can go completely unnoticed until it’s too late. Don’t take that chance. Get yourself looked at. Don’t just schedule an appointment with your regular doctor, either. Go to an urgent care clinic or the ER at Catawba Valley. They’ve got the expertise to make sure there’s nothing life-threatening going on.
- Talk With an Experienced Attorney
Hickory law is complicated, and you simply can’t know what you don’t know. A good personal injury lawyer does. The single best way to make sure that you don’t make crucial mistakes that result in out-of-pocket medical expenses is to get a free consultation from a personal injury attorney in Hickory. We’ll talk about your unique circumstances and help you decide what makes the most sense for you.
Can I get a settlement for a car accident without a Hickory lawyer?
Certainly. If the other insurance company is sure that they would lose a court battle, they will contact you as soon as they can to offer you a settlement that is usually well below what you are entitled to.
Car accidents are incredibly common. There are over 2,000 a year, right here in Hickory. More than 500 of those crashes resulted in injuries.
That’s a lot of medical bills for insurance companies to cover. They keep their businesses profitable by offering the smallest settlement they can. Many people who accept this settlement don’t realize how insufficient it is until they see their medical bill.
I can’t say it enough: consultations are free. It doesn’t hurt a thing to give us a call to talk about your accident, and it might hurt a lot not to. Even if you do end up deciding to represent yourself, at least you’re going in with more information.
In the end, we can’t force you to call. We still want you to get the best settlement you can. So here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Assume that whatever the adjuster first offers you is much less than you’re entitled to.
- Don’t panic. Stay calm. Ask them to justify their assessment. Pay close attention and look for errors in their story. Try to see how high you can push them right then and there. Don’t agree to anything just yet. Tell them you’ll think about it.
- Write a letter, making your demands. Tell your side of the story. Tell them why their assessment is wrong. Be detailed. Be complete. Use actual figures. You’re not likely to get everything you’re demanding, but it tilts the scale and sets the playing field for further negotiation.
- Expect them to counteroffer with less than your demand. Here you get to decide whether you think this is going to cover you or whether you need to counter their counter.
- If you just can’t reach an agreeable settlement, then the case goes to court. You should really consider getting a lawyer involved at this point. At the very least, do your research. Taking a claim to litigation introduces court fees and other expenses, as well as lost income from the time you spend in court. You’re going to want these covered, too, so make sure you know how those numbers are before you enter that courtroom.
What is a reasonable settlement for a car accident in Hickory, NC?
We usually see settlements fall between $14,000 and $28,000, and the average is somewhere around $21,000. Every case is different, though. There’s no formula.
Most accidents are caused by negligence, and we tend to see the same causes over and over again:
- Drunk Driving — Alcohol was involved in 70 crashes in Hickory over 2019. Half of those resulted in injuries. Not only did those drivers face criminal charges, but they were also held liable for the accidents they caused.
- Distracted Driving — Anything that takes your eyes off the road increases your chances of hitting something or someone you didn’t notice in time, whether texting, fiddling with the radio, or even turning your head to talk to a friend. Distracted driving constitutes negligence.
- Speeding — You don’t have to be exceeding the posted speed limit to be found negligent. Driving unreasonably fast for the road condition is all it takes, regardless of what number is on the sign.
- Defective Cars — Neglecting the upkeep of the car itself can be ruled a contributing factor: bald tires, worn brakes, dim headlights, etc. It’s not always the driver’s fault either. A defective part or faulty repair can also lead to an accident, at which point the part manufacturer or mechanic would be held liable.
- Roadway Negligence or Maintenance — Sometimes, it’s the road itself that causes the accident. In these cases, we go after whoever was responsible for keeping that road safe to drive on.
Again, there’s no formula for figuring out an appropriate settlement. You aren’t going to get compensated for medical bills if there were no medical bills. Every situation is different. Every case is unique.
Your initial consultation is free. Give us a call. Let us see if we can help you.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys in Hickory, NC.
Our team of experienced car accident and personal injury lawyers, investigators, and case managers are ready to serve you at our Hickory, NC office:
120 3rd St NE
Hickory, NC 28601