Jacksonville NC Car Accident Lawyer

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Jacksonville, NC Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths in the United States each year. These incidents happen for a wide range of reasons, but when they occur because of negligence or any form of willful misconduct behind the wheel, those responsible face liability for the damages they cause to others. While this may seem like a simple concept, navigating the aftermath of any car accident can be incredibly challenging, and there are various unpredictable complications any victim could face in their recovery efforts.

If you or a family member recently sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident in the Jacksonville, NC area, it’s vital to know your legal rights when it comes to recovering your losses. If you did not cause the accident, you should not be held liable for the damages caused by another party.The right Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to recover as fully as the law allows from your accident.

Christina Rivenbark & Associates have years of professional experience in North Carolina personal injury law, and we have handled many car accident claims on behalf of past clients in the Jacksonville, NC area. We know the challenges you are likely to face in pursuit of recovering your losses and can provide the guidance you need to approach all your recovery efforts with confidence.

Why You Need an Attorney After a Car Accident in Jacksonville, NC

It is technically possible to file an auto insurance claim on your own after an accident, and you may even manage to secure a favorable response from the insurance company. However, this is never a guarantee, and most insurance carriers in North Carolina look for any justification they can find to reduce settlement offers or deny claims for coverage.

When you have an experienced Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney represent you after an accident, they can help you draft a demand letter to an at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once an insurer recognizes that a claimant has legal counsel, they will be far less likely to attempt any unethical tactics or otherwise mishandle the claim. Hiring an experienced attorney can streamline the insurance claim process significantly, helping you secure the compensation you need more quickly than you could have managed alone.

Another advantage to hiring legal counsel you can trust after a car accident in Jacksonville, NC is the fact that you will be prepared for the subsequent legal proceedings you may need to pursue after your insurance claim. While North Carolina law requires all drivers to have auto insurance, not all drivers actually have it. Even when they do, it may not be enough to fully compensate for the damages caused by a serious accident.You have the best chance of maximizing your insurance claim settlement with an attorney’s assistance, and they can help you build a personal injury suit, if necessary, for your recovery.

Ultimately, it is always worth investing in legal counsel you can trust after a car accident in Jacksonville, NC. Once you have received medical attention for your injuries and you are stable after an accident, consult an experienced Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney as soon as possible before you speak with any insurance companies about the accident. While you typically must notify an insurer of your intent to file a claim within a day or two of the accident, you do not need to file your claim or discuss a settlement until you speak with an attorney.

Common Causes of Car Accident Claims in Jacksonville, NC

It’s possible for a driver to have an accident by losing control of their vehicle or making a variety of errors while driving. Severe weather, poor road conditions, and various other factors can all result in serious accidents. However, when a car accident happens because of a driver’s negligence or intentional misconduct behind the wheel, they face liability for any resulting damages. While their insurance may offer some initial compensation to a victim, they may face more extensive liability depending on the scope of the victim’s damages.

Some of the most commonly reported causes of motor vehicle accidents that generate civil claims for damages include:

  • Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the US. Even a few seconds of distracted driving is enough to cause a devastating crash. Your Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney could be invaluable in gathering evidence you will need to prove that an at-fault driver was distracted behind the wheel, such as cell phone records or traffic camera recordings.
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI). North Carolina prosecutes DWI offenses aggressively, and any driver who injures someone else due to impaired driving faces liability for all damages they cause. They will also face criminal charges and penalties that can include fines, jail time, and suspension of their driver’s license.
  • Speeding. Whenever a driver exceeds the speed limit, they are putting themselves and all others nearby at severe risk. Speeding significantly reduces the time and space a driver has to slow down or stop and avoid a collision.
  • Moving violations. Anything that disrupts the flow of traffic can potentially cause an accident. Running a stop sign, performing an illegal turn, or failing to navigate an intersection correctly are just a few examples of moving violations that can easily result in accidents.
  • Vehicle defects and malfunctions. When a mechanical problem causes an accident,several possible parties may be at fault.If the vehicle owner knew there was a problem with the vehicle but did not have it addressed in a timely manner, they could face liability for the resulting damages. If a defective part caused the accident, the manufacturer could face a product liability suit from the victim. If a mechanic failed to perform appropriate maintenance on a vehicle, they could face liability for any resulting damages.

Ultimately, it’s possible for a car accident to happen in many different ways, and determining liability isn’t always an easy and straightforward process. Success with your recovery efforts after a car accident in the Jacksonville, NC area will largely depend on your ability to gather physical evidence, witness testimony, and appropriate documentation to prove fault for the accident and firmly establish an at-fault driver’s liability for your damages.

North Carolina uses a fault rule to resolve car accidents. This means that whichever driver is responsible for causing an accident assumes liability for all other drivers’ damages. It’s vital to establish fault for both an auto insurance claim and a personal injury suit, and both may be necessary to fully recover from an accident resulting in serious injuries.

What to Expect in the Auto Insurance Claim Process

You have the right to file a claim against an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy if they caused your recent accident due to negligence or misconduct. Typically, you must notify their insurer of your intent to file a claim in as little as the first 24 hours after your accident. However, if you are seriously injured, this time limit is flexible to account for your condition. You will also need to notify your own insurance carrier even though you were not at fault for the accident.

Once you are able to do so, contacting an experienced Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney can make the auto insurance claim process much easier and more likely to generate suitable results. Your attorney can help you draft a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and review the terms of their policy. This will ensure you receive appropriate compensation for your losses. Under North Carolina law, an auto insurance policy must include:

  • At least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per individual and a minimum of $60,000 in total coverage for accidental bodily injury liability. This may sound like more than enough to settle medical expenses after a car accident, but serious injuries can easily eclipse available insurance coverage.
  • At least $25,000 in coverage for property damage liability per accident. This means that when a driver causes an accident with another driver, their policy must cover at least $25,000 worth of vehicle repairs or other property losses.
  • While not strictly required, North Carolina drivers are strongly encouraged to purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. This optional coverage could come into play if a driver who does not have auto insurance causes an accident. You could file a claim against your own policy for some initial compensation before pursuing a civil claim against the at-fault driver for your remaining damages.

Your attorney can help you file your claim with the insurance company with all the required supporting documentation. If there are any issues with your claim or if the insurer makes requests for additional information, your attorney can handle these on your behalf. Once the insurer offers a settlement, your attorney can determine whether it is suitable for your damages under the terms of the policy.

An experienced attorney is an invaluable asset for maximizing the compensation you receive from an auto insurance claim. Additionally, if you encounter any problems with an insurance company representative’s handling of your claim, your attorney can address this matter on your behalf and ensure you do not encounter any bad faith dealings from the insurance company.

Filing a Personal Injury Suit in North Carolina

Even if you manage to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible from an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, the settlement you receive may fall short of compensating the full scope of damages you incurred from your recent accident. In this situation, you would have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to obtain compensation that insurance won’t provide.

To succeed with your personal injury suit in North Carolina, you must identify the party responsible for your accident, prove they caused the accident through negligence or intentional misconduct, and then prove their actions directly caused your claimed losses. An experienced Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney will be invaluable in this situation, and you can expect several vital legal services from the team at Christina Rivenbark & Associates:

  • Our team can obtain photos from the scene of your crash, traffic camera recordings, vehicle computer data, and cell phone records, if necessary, to prove fault for your recent accident.
  • We can help you secure expert witness testimony in support of your claim when an accident results from complex or technical reasons. For example, your attorney could arrange for an accident reconstruction expert to carefully explain how your accident happened in an understandable way.
  • Your attorney can help you accurately assess the full scope of damages you can claim in your suit. While most people can calculate immediately recognizable losses like medical expenses and vehicle repair costs, they may struggle to calculate long-term damages like ongoing medical treatment costs and lost future earning capacity.

If a defendant claims you were at fault for the accident, your attorney can help you gather any contradictory evidence you may need to prove that you do not share liability. North Carolina enforces a contributory negligence law, so if a plaintiff in a civil suit shares any level of fault for their damages, they lose the right to recover compensation from the defendant.

An experienced attorney is an invaluable asset in any personal injury claim. Instead of attempting to meet strict court filing deadlines and other procedural requirements for your case while managing the aftermath of your accident, you can recover with peace of mind knowing an experienced legal team is handling your recovery efforts.

Damages and Compensation in North Carolina Car Accident Claims

Once you have exhausted the recovery available to you through insurance, you have the right to pursue further compensation from the defendant with your personal injury claim. However, you must be prepared to show not only clear proof of the full extent of your economic damages but also proof they are the direct results of the defendant’s actions and not some other cause. The economic damages you are likely able to claim from a defendant in a North Carolina personal injury suit include:

  • Vehicle repair costs. In the event the at-fault driver does not have insurance, or if their property damage liability coverage does not fully cover your property losses from an accident, you can seek compensation for outstanding losses in your personal injury claim.
  • Medical expenses. A serious injury could require expensive emergency care as well as costly ongoing treatment. Whenever a defendant causes a physical injury or illness to a plaintiff, they are liable for all medical expenses necessary for the victim to reach maximum medical improvement. Your Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney will be an invaluable resource for accurately calculating the full amount of medical expenses you can claim in your civil action.
  • Lost income. A serious car accident could leave a victim unable to work for an extended time. An inability to work and expensive medical bills can quickly create a very challenging financial situation for the victim and their family. You have the right to seek compensation for your lost wages after an accident, and the right attorney will help you prove the full amount of lost income the defendant owes.
  • Lost earning capacity. Unfortunately, some car accidents result in catastrophic injuries that prevent victims from working or living independently in the future. If a defendant caused any permanent harm that prevents you from working in the future, your attorney can help you hold them accountable for the future income you would have reasonably expected to earn if you hadn’t been injured.

The total amount of claimable economic damages in your personal injury action could be much more than you initially expected if you choose the right attorney to handle your case. However, this may not be the end of the compensation you can seek from a defendant.

North Carolina law recognizes physical pain and emotional suffering as compensable losses from a personal injury. While it may seem difficult to assess abstract losses like these in monetary terms, there are various methods an attorney may use to determine fair pain and suffering compensation for a client. North Carolina law does not limit how much pain and suffering compensation a plaintiff can seek, and you can consult your attorney to determine a fair amount for your claim.

Beyond your economic damages and pain and suffering compensation, it is sometimes possible for a plaintiff to obtain further compensation at the discretion of the judge handling their case. For example, if a defendant displayed clear disregard for the safety of others or their behavior otherwise exceeded the scope of typical negligence, the judge handling the case has the authority to award punitive damages to the plaintiff alongside their other damages. As the name implies, punitive damages intend to punish a defendant’s bad behavior, and the amount they pay ultimately depends on their overall financial status.

FAQs About Jacksonville, NC Car Accident Law

How Soon Should I Call a Lawyer After a Car Accident in North Carolina?

Your personal health and safety and that of your passengers should be your primary concerns immediately after any car accident. However, once you have addressed your immediate medical needs, you should work quickly to secure legal counsel from a trustworthy attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you hire a Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney to represent you, the more time they have to build a compelling case on your behalf.

Do I Really Need to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in NC?

You and another driver may be able to privately resolve a minor fender-bender without resorting to a civil claim, and it is also possible to resolve an accident with an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. However, not all car accidents can be resolved this easily, and there are many ways disputes may arise regarding your claim. It’s also possible for insurance to fail to cover the full scope of your damages, and you will need an attorney’s help in this situation as well.

How Can an Attorney Help With an Auto Insurance Claim in Jacksonville, NC?

Insurance companies are legally required to process all claims they receive in good faith and must honor the terms of the policies they offer. However, this does not mean an insurance company representative will seek to award you the maximum amount of compensation possible for your claim. Insurance companies tend to look for any reason they can find to deny claims or reduce settlement amounts. Having an attorney draft your demand letter will significantly increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement offer in a timely manner.

How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?

A car accident can potentially be a life-changing event, depending on the scope of the resulting damages. You have the right to seek full compensation for all the economic losses you sustained because of another driver’s actions.You also have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. Your Jacksonville, NC car accident attorney can provide an estimate of your claim’s total potential value.

Does Hiring an Attorney Make a Difference After a Car Accident?

It is technically possible to file an auto insurance claim and a personal injury suit without legal counsel, but you face several significant risks if you attempt this. Legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset, no matter what your case entails. The right attorney can streamline the insurance claim process, obtain a suitable settlement, and vastly improve your chances of success with a subsequent personal injury claim.

Schedule your Free Consultation

Christina Rivenbark & Associates has years of professional experience in North Carolina personal injury law, and we have helped many car accident victims in the Jacksonville area maximize their recoveries from these incidents. We know the common challenges you are likely to face in your recovery efforts after a car accident and want to help you approach them with confidence. If you are ready to speak with an experienced Jacksonville car accident attorney about your recent accident, contact us today and schedule your free consultation with our team.


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