Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer

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Charlotte Car Accident Attorney

A car accident can happen unexpectedly for many possible reasons, and the victims of such an incident may have little to no idea how to prove fault and what type of compensation they could secure from the driver who hit them. If you or a family member recently sustained injuries in a crash caused by another driver, a Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you hold them accountable for the damages you suffered.

The Strong Legal Ally You Need After A Motor Vehicle Accident

A motor vehicle accident can leave many financial, physical and emotional burdens in its wake. You should not have to bear these burdens due to someone else’s negligence. If you were injured through no fault of your own you can pursue financial compensation for your damages including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. At Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC, we are trusted allies for auto accident victims in Charlotte and the southeastern United States. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you pursue full and fair compensation.

You may not be legally required to hire an attorney to pursue compensation for your damages following a car accident, but having trustworthy legal counsel on your side will dramatically increase your chances of maximizing your recovery in an efficient timeframe. Your Charlotte car accident lawyer can help prove fault for the accident, guide you through the auto insurance claim filing process, and build a personal injury suit if necessary for your full recovery.

Our firm approaches all car accident claims with the goal of helping each client recover as much compensation as possible in the most efficient manner. We can work diligently to secure the evidence you will need to prove fault for the accident and uncover the extent of the damages you can claim. Trust our team to represent you in your interactions with insurance carriers and to help build a compelling civil suit, if necessary, for your recovery.

How Did This Accident Happen?

The state enforces the fault rule for vehicle accidents, meaning the driver at fault for an accident is responsible for the resulting damages, and it will be necessary for an injured victim to prove fault before they can recover any compensation. We aggressively seek out the facts to determine how motor vehicle accidents occur and who is to blame. Our investigations often uncover evidence of negligence and wrongdoing such as:

  • Distracted driving. This is a leading cause of accidents throughout the United States each year and a clear breach of a driver’s duty of care to operate their vehicle attentively. Cell phone use behind the wheel is the most prolific form of distracted driving reported in the state. Anything that takes the driver’s hands away from operating their vehicle, their eyes off the road, or their attention away from driving can potentially cause an accident.
  • Drunk driving. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) by drugs or alcohol is a commonly prosecuted criminal offense in the state, and it is possible for an impaired driver to injure themselves and others in various ways. The driver responsible for an accident, because they were intoxicated, faces criminal charges in addition to civil liability for any damages they caused to others.
  • Reckless driving. Some drivers, unfortunately, engage in dangerous and reckless actions behind the wheel without regard for their safety or the safety of others. Excessive speeding, intentional moving violations, and other intentional reckless acts can lead to criminal prosecution as well as liability for any accidents the driver causes.
  • Stop light violations. Running red lights or stop signs can easily cause a serious accident. Even if there appears to be minimal traffic on the road and the way looks clear, a driver risks a serious collision if they fail to stop for a red light or stop sign.

These are just a few of the most commonly reported causes of car accidents throughout the Charlotte area. No matter how your recent accident happened, you will need to prove fault before you can recover any compensation for your losses. Even if you think you know exactly how your accident happened, the actual process of proving fault is likely to be more challenging than you initially expected, but the right attorney can help build the foundation of your claim.

When searching for a Charlotte car accident lawyer, it is vital that you find a legal team with proven experience handling cases like yours. Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC, has a long record of successful car accident claims for our clients in Charlotte and surrounding areas. We handle a wide range of motor vehicle accident claims, including those arising from car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle wrecks, bicycle crashes and pedestrian accidents.

Understanding the Role of Fault in Your Car Accident Claim

Proving fault is an essential first step for any car accident victim when it comes to their recovery. Under North Carolina’s fault rule, whoever caused an accident is liable for the resulting damages, and all drivers in the state must have auto insurance that meets basic coverage requirements. However, the state enforces a contributory negligence law that could arise in any case in which liability is contested.

Under the contributory negligence rule, a plaintiff cannot claim compensation from a defendant if the facts of the case show that the plaintiff is partially at fault for causing damages. Many believe this to be overbearing and anti-plaintiff, but the fact remains that if you bear any fault in causing your accident, you will be unable to seek compensation from any other liable party.

It’s relatively common for at-fault drivers to assert contributory negligence in their efforts to avoid liability for the accidents they have caused, and if an at-fault driver denies fault for your recent accident, their insurance carrier may refuse to pay you a settlement for your claim. This is one reason it is so crucial to connect with an experienced attorney as quickly as possible after your accident so they can immediately begin gathering evidence to support your claim.

The evidence you may need to prove fault for your recent accident could include traffic camera footage if any cameras were operating in the area around where your accident happened, testimony from any witnesses who saw the accident happen, cell phone data, vehicle computer data, and physical evidence from the scene of the crash. If you can do so safely, taking photos of the immediate aftermath of the accident can be very helpful to your case.

Your Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you obtain all the evidence that you will need to form the foundation of your case. The average person may believe they know who is at fault for their accident, but they may have little idea how to actually obtain the evidence they will need to firmly establish liability. They may also need help disproving allegations of contributory negligence before they can recover compensation for their losses.

Commonly Reported Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents are a leading cause of serious personal injuries throughout the Charlotte area. Even seemingly mild accidents still have the potential to cause adverse medical conditions to those involved, some of which can have symptoms that last for months or even years. More serious accidents have the potential to cause life-threatening harm or catastrophic injuries resulting in permanent disability.

Many car accident victims suffer cuts, scrapes, bruises, and soft tissue injuries that, while usually treatable, can be very painful and cause short-term debilitation. Other accident victims suffer more serious injuries such as internal organ damage, severe soft tissue injuries like whiplash, and broken bones. Some of the most serious injuries a person might suffer in a car accident include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and crushing injuries.

Safety devices built into most modern vehicles, such as airbags, seatbelts, and frames designed to crumple and absorb impact, can only mitigate injuries in an accident; they cannot prevent them entirely. It is also possible for these safety devices to cause injuries. For example, airbag deployment has the potential to cause facial and dental injuries, and if a seatbelt isn’t worn correctly, it may cause severe abdominal injuries.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident, it is vital that you seek immediate medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries are relatively mild, seeking prompt medical care can ensure that any injuries that have not yet manifested noticeable symptoms will not go unaddressed for too long. You will also create a record showing you promptly sought care after the accident, and this could be vital to your impending legal efforts to recover your damages.

Common Ways for Car Accidents to Happen

Any collision in a vehicle can potentially cause serious injuries and significant property damage, and it is vital for every driver to know the most common ways for car accidents to happen. Rear-end collisions are some of the most common accidents, and this type of accident happens when one driver hits another driver’s vehicle from behind. This could occur because of speeding, distraction, or following too closely.

T-bone accidents occur when a driver strikes another vehicle in the side. This is especially dangerous because if anyone is inside of the car on the side that is hit, they are likely to suffer extreme injuries. This type of accident most commonly happens when drivers run red lights or fail to stop for stop signs. These incidents may also cause head-on collisions in which two vehicles hit each other directly in the front.

Sideswipe accidents are common on highways when drivers attempt to pass one another too closely or if they fail to judge distances correctly when passing. Rollover accidents can also occur in these ways when sideswipes happen at high speeds or if drivers overcorrect to avoid a collision. It is also possible for an accident to happen if a driver loses control over their vehicle due to fatigue, intoxication, or distraction.

Most of the accidents reported in the Charlotte area happen because of negligence or failure to use reasonable care in certain situations. If a driver was negligent in causing your accident, you will need to prove they breached the duty of care they held in the situation and that this breach of duty directly caused your claimed damages. Alternatively, you may need to prove they broke the law in a manner that caused your accident.

While acts of negligence and illegal misconduct are the most common causes of car accidents, it is also possible for these incidents to happen because of mechanical defects and faulty maintenance. If your accident happened because of a defect in your vehicle, the manufacturer could be held liable with a product liability suit. If a mechanic performs faulty maintenance, they may bear liability for the accident.

Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim in Charlotte

State law requires every driver to have a personal auto insurance policy that meets basic coverage requirements. At minimum, a driver is required to have $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person injured in a single accident, at least $60,000 for bodily injuries to multiple persons injured in a single accident, and at least $25,000 to cover property damage.

These coverage amounts may seem generous, and in some cases, drivers are able to resolve their accident claims through insurance alone. If your damages fall within the extent of the at-fault driver’s policy limits, a successful auto insurance claim should yield full compensation for your damages. Drivers also have the option to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, which could be invaluable to anyone injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage in your policy, you can file a claim to your own insurer if you are hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This should not cause you to incur penalties such as increased premium rates, but remember that every insurance policy is different, and it is crucial that you know and understand the terms of your policy. If you do not have this coverage option, you will need to file a civil claim directly against the at-fault driver.

When insurance is available to you in your recovery efforts, the right attorney can make filing your claim much easier. Remember that an insurance company has no incentive to pay out your claim and will typically fight back against a claim in whatever way it can. Almost all car insurance claims are contested in some way, and some insurance adjusters will even engage in bad-faith tactics to take advantage of desperate claimants, hoping they accept lowball settlement offers.

If you have an experienced Charlotte car accident lawyer representing you, the insurance carrier will be far less inclined to attempt any bad-faith handling of your claim once they recognize that you have legal representation. Your attorney can manage your interactions with the insurer and verify that it handles your claim in good faith. Once you receive a settlement offer, your attorney can determine whether it is fair and reasonable under the terms of the policy.

Building a Personal Injury Suit for a Car Accident in Charlotte

When insurance will not fully cover your damages from a car accident, a personal injury claim can enable you to seek full compensation for the losses you suffered. Success with any personal injury claim in Charlotte will require accurately identifying the party or parties you believe to be responsible for your damages and then proving they are solely responsible for causing your damages.

Your Charlotte car accident lawyer will know how to secure the evidence you may need to prove that another driver’s negligence directly caused your accident. Alternatively, you will need to prove that they broke the law, such as by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that their illegal behavior directly caused the accident. Your attorney will be invaluable for the help they can provide in building the foundation of your claim.

Once you have established fault, the next step of your recovery process is proving the full extent of the damages you suffered because of the defendant’s negligence or illegal misconduct. While you may have some understanding of the damages that could be available to you in your claim, having an experienced attorney’s help will ensure that no claimable damages are overlooked and that you can accurately value all the damages you seek from the defendant.

Claiming Compensation for Medical Expenses

The majority of personal injury claims filed in Charlotte pertain to physical injuries. When another party is responsible for physically harming you, they are liable for the extent of the medical care you need to fully recover. This not only includes your immediate healthcare expenses following the accident but also the future medical treatment costs you are likely to incur if you suffer a serious injury.

Some of your medical expenses may be recovered through an auto insurance claim. The at-fault driver’s policy must have bodily injury liability coverage that you can claim to repay hospital bills, prescription costs, ambulance transportation fees, and all other healthcare expenses arising from the accident. Additionally, you have the right to seek compensation for future medical treatment you would need if you suffered any serious injury requiring ongoing care.

Recovering Compensation for Lost Wages

A personal injury could leave the victim unable to work while they recover from their injuries. In this situation, the party responsible for causing their injuries absorbs liability for the wages the victim is unable to earn. If the victim needed to use accrued paid time off hours or vacation time in the immediate aftermath of their accident, the at-fault driver would be liable for the value of this time taken to recover.

Additionally, the injured claimant has the right to seek compensation for diminished earning capacity. If they suffered any injury that prevented them from returning to their previous job or prevented them from working at all in the future, the defendant is liable for the income the victim is no longer able to earn. If your earning capacity has been impacted this way, your Charlotte car accident lawyer can help accurately calculate the future income you otherwise could have earned.

Property Damage in Car Accident Claims

The at-fault driver in a car accident case is liable for the victim’s vehicle repair or replacement costs. Their auto insurance may cover some of these damages, but any amount that cannot be repaid through insurance must be claimed through a personal injury suit. Your attorney can help secure copies of repair bills and vehicle value estimates to ensure you receive appropriate compensation for the full value of your damaged or destroyed property.

Claiming Pain and Suffering Compensation in Your Personal Injury Claim

While you may be entitled to claim substantial compensation for the immediate and future economic damages you suffered from your recent accident, you are also likely eligible to claim compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced. North Carolina law does not cap pain and suffering compensation in most personal injury claims, nor are plaintiffs required to use specific formulas to calculate these non-economic damages.

The amount of pain and suffering compensation you could foreseeably obtain from a successful personal injury suit will largely depend on the extent and severity of the damages you suffered. For example, a plaintiff who has sustained life-changing permanent injuries is likely to secure more pain and suffering compensation than a plaintiff expected to make a full recovery from their injury in the short term.

Your Charlotte car accident lawyer may seek pain and suffering compensation for you that reflects your anticipated recovery time, or they may opt for seeking a large lump sum calculated by multiplying your total economic damages by a factor that reflects the severity of the harm you suffered. For many personal injury plaintiffs in Charlotte, their pain and suffering compensation amounts to more than the total of their compensation for economic damages.

Punitive Damages in Car Accident Cases

Punitive damages exist to punish a defendant for their behavior rather than to repay a victim’s loss. While a plaintiff and their attorney may make recommendations to the court when it comes to the amount of punitive damages a defendant should pay, this decision typically comes down to the discretion of the judge and/or jury handling the case.

The state’s cap on punitive damages in most civil cases is $250,000 or three times the total of the plaintiff’s compensatory damages, whichever is greater. If the defendant in your claim broke the law in causing your injury, your Charlotte car accident lawyer can explain whether punitive damages are likely to factor into your recovery and, if so, explain what to expect in terms of the amount you could receive.

Resolving Your Personal Injury Suit in Charlotte

When you build a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver in Charlotte, you will need to submit your complaint to the court within the statute of limitations; otherwise, you lose your chance to claim compensation. The typical statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is three years from the date the injury happened. Once you submit your complaint, your case could either proceed to settlement negotiations or to litigation.

When a defendant accepts liability for the accident they caused, a swift settlement behooves them as it will reduce how much they will need to spend on legal counsel. During settlement negotiations, the parties involved in the case meet privately to discuss mutually acceptable terms for resolving the situation. As long as both parties are open to compromise, they could potentially resolve their case in a fraction of the time litigation usually requires.

Your Charlotte car accident lawyer can guide you through the settlement process and negotiate for you. They will ensure that all relevant facts and evidence are considered and that you receive a fair offer from the defendant. If settlement is not an option or settlement negotiations fail, the case will need to go to litigation under the review of a judge and/or jury.

Litigation can take much longer than settlement, and there is no guarantee for either party that the court will see things their way. While it is possible for the parties involved in a case to exercise more control over the outcome of the settlement, the judge and/or jury will have the final say in litigation, determining fault for the damages and the extent of compensation owed to the plaintiff.

If your car accident happened because the other driver was intoxicated or otherwise broke the law, they are likely to face criminal prosecution from the state along with your civil suit. These cases will unfold separately but may interact in various ways. For example, the sentencing judge in criminal court could order the defendant to pay you restitution, and they may face harsher penalties due to the fact that their actions resulted in great bodily harm.

Getting You The Help You Need

Ultimately, a car accident case has the potential to escalate into a complex and contested legal battle, even if fault for the accident seems perfectly clear at first. The right Charlotte car accident lawyer can be an invaluable asset for helping you prove liability, establishing the full extent of your claimable damages, navigating the insurance claim filing process, and building a comprehensive personal injury suit that seeks maximum compensation for your losses.

The attorneys at Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC, take a client-focused approach to legal counsel in every car accident claim we accept. Trust our team through every stage of your case, providing detailed answers to your questions as they arise and helping you prepare for each new step in your recovery efforts. We have cultivated a strong reputation as a leading choice for personal injury counsel in Charlotte due to our commitment to achieving top results for our clients.

We work with our clients closely to understand how motor vehicle accidents have changed their lives. We want to hear from you, too, to learn about your accident and how it has changed your life. This way, we can begin to gain an understanding of the financial resources you will need to pay your bills and rebuild your life after this accident.

During your initial consultation with a Charlotte car accident lawyer, you can ask whatever questions you feel are necessary to judge whether we are suitable for handling your legal counsel. The attorneys at Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC, have extensive experience with car accident cases, and we are ready to leverage this experience in your case. Our attorneys are here for you. To arrange a free legal consultation, contact us today online or by telephone at 704-569-9800.

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