If you are in a car accident, your first thoughts should be of the safety of yourself, any passengers, and passengers of the other car. Thoughts then turn to the condition of your vehicle. The next thought is usually about money. You wonder how you are going to pay for all these expenses. If you were not at fault, you can get help with your costs and possibly recover additional damages. The highly skilled car accident lawyer in Winston Salem, NC, Roderick T. McIver, of the McIver Law Firm, can help you recover the maximum settlement available.
The legal precedence for auto accident settlements in North Carolina is a strict contributory negligence rule. This law means you can collect zero damages if you are as little as 1% at fault. The other driver must be 100% at fault for the accident, and it is our job to prove that.
How Is Liability Determined?
Five factors are required to determine liability in an auto accident case.
- Duty of Care – Each driver has a responsibility to every other driver to maintain safety on public roads.
- Breach of Duty of Care – We must show that the at-fault driver did not show the proper duty of care.
- Cause of Accident – The breach of duty of care was the sole cause of the accident.
- Foreseeability – The at-fault driver should have been able to foresee that an accident would occur if he did not follow proper duty of care.
- Damages – We must show that all damages sought are a direct result of the accident.
We can proceed to the next step once we have determined that the other driver was at fault. Calculating your damages can be a detailed and lengthy process. We will work closely with you to ensure you receive all the damages you are due.
How Are Damage Amounts Determined?
There are three possible types of damages available after a vehicle accident.
Economic damages are the actual costs shown on estimates, bills, and receipts you have paid or are due to pay.
- Medical expenses – Bills owed for care received and cost estimates for future care recommended for your recovery.
- Lost wages – These are statements from your employer for work missed due to injuries from the accident. This category also includes future periods of disability.
- Property expenses – These are estimates for the vehicle repair or replacement. If there are any other property losses, this category includes those also.
This category is more difficult to calculate a monetary amount for but are expenses directly related to the accident. They are not exact amounts from bills and receipts but projected totals for losses to your person.
- Pain and suffering – This amount is an accumulative total for past and future years of prolonged chronic pain.
- Physical impairment, scarring, and disfigurement – This damage total is an estimated amount to compensate for a permanent physical deficiency.
- Decreased quality of life – This amount is for the loss of consortium, inability to enjoy life, depression, or anxiety you will have to live with.
These damages are usually only awarded when there is malice or recklessness on the part of the at-fault driver. We must prove that the driver disregarded acceptable standards when the accident occurred. Some examples are excessive speed, reckless driving, and driving under the influence. Improper vehicle maintenance can also fall under this category if that negligence caused the wreck. Some examples are faulty brakes, burned out lights, broken blinkers, and malfunctioning engines.
How Can The McIver Law Firm Win Your Case?
Our accident reconstruction specialists will go to the scene of your accident to gather evidence. They will take photos and measurements. If you have any pictures of the accident with the cars in place, these can be extremely helpful. We will speak to the responding officers, and any witnesses. We will recreate the accident to show the liability of the other driver.
When we take on your case, you no longer have to deal with those annoying insurance companies and opposing attorneys. We will do that for you. It is best if you contact us immediately after your accident. Once you have given your official statement to the opposing counsel, it can be difficult for us to work around it.
It is necessary for you to provide all paperwork related to your accident, so we can establish the damages due to you. Emergency room discharge summaries, car repair estimates, and medication purchase receipts are all crucial pieces to the puzzle, and we want each one. In order to show how much this accident has actually cost you, we need all of your paperwork.
The other driver’s insurance carrier may offer to settle the case to avoid a trial. We will represent you in those negotiations. If there is no satisfactory settlement, we will represent you in a courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC.
How Can You Help Us Win Your Case?
It seems simplistic, yet so many clients come to us and have cases we cannot win because they are partially at fault. It is heartbreaking for our team to see someone seriously injured in a wreck but unable to collect damages because they shared liability. These are a few tips that will help you if you are ever in an accident.
- Do not drive while under the influence: If you register a small amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, you will not collect damages.
- Obey the traffic laws: Do not speed or change lanes carelessly. If there is an accident and there are witnesses to this behavior, you will be deemed somewhat at fault.
- Keep your vehicle in proper working order: Keep all lights and blinkers working. A well-trained defense attorney can make you look partially at fault due to improper maintenance.
- Do not assume any fault at the scene: Do not apologize to the other driver or the officer. Clearly state your view, and do not elaborate. Take pictures of the vehicles and accident scene, and get witness names and phone numbers.
- Contact The McIver Law Firm immediately so we can get to work for you!
Contact Winston-Salem Car Accident Lawyer Roderick T. McIver Today!
As we have covered, many factors go in to the amount of compensation that any injury victim will receive following a car accident in Winston-Salem. Due to North Carolina’s strict contributory negligence laws, bringing a strong case to bear is more important than it may be in other states. To do so, hiring an injury attorney with over 30 years of experience, like Roderick T. McIver of the McIver Law Firm, handling this exact type of case is tremendously important.