Charlotte Car Accident Attorney
Injured in a Car Crash? Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. Can Help You Obtain Compensation.
If you have been involved in a car accident, especially where there was substantial damage, it’s important to secure the services of an experienced attorney who can help you obtain compensation. At the law firm of Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C., you will find a team of attorneys dedicated to helping car crash victims in Charlotte.
Our Charlotte car accident lawyers are relentless about getting results for our clients and have a track record for helping them obtain satisfactory outcomes.
At Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. we handle all forms of accident claims, including:
We understand that an injury claim is unique to its specific circumstances, and we ensure that you get the tailored strategy that your car accident case requires.
How to Obtain Compensation for Damages
The team at Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. is committed to putting forth every effort to pursue fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and all other costs. We are unique in that we have a skilled investigator on staff to assist with this process. This allows our car accident attorneys in Charlotte to gather all of the facts that will be needed to build a strong case.
Details that can help the outcome of a car accident case include:
- Proving the existence of injuries with medical records and examinations
- Showing the other driver’s liability as much as possible
- Producing evidence of the event, such as photographs, medical examinations, and anything else that could prove the other person’s fault
Again, each accident is unique and proving liability in a claim can be incredibly difficult. With the help of an experienced legal team, you can rest assured that everything is being done to ensure that you recover the maximum compensation for your injuries.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
First, contact the police as soon as possible. It is strictly illegal for someone to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident before exchanging appropriate information, whether they are knowingly fleeing or inadvertently leaving too soon. Call the police immediately if another driver tries to depart before identifying themselves. You should call the police after a serious car accident, anyway, as law enforcement officers can help redirect traffic away from any debris that might be left in the road.
When you call the police, try to provide them with the following details about the hit and run driver:
- Make and model of vehicle
- Color of vehicle
- Any license plate numbers you can remember
- What part of their vehicle collided with yours
- Direction they fled
- General description of the driver
With any luck, the police will be able to identify the driver and make an arrest. Our car accident attorneys will be able to bring a claim against them more easily if they are found.
Second, contact your insurance company. Did you know that hit and run drivers who are never identified are technically seen as uninsured motorists (UM) by insurance companies? If you have uninsured motorist insurance as part of your car insurance coverage, then you should be able to file an uninsured motorist claim that pays up to your policy maximum. We strongly suggest adding uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to your policy if you don’t already have it. For a typically low monthly premium, you can secure thousands of dollars of coverage that comes in handy for hit and runs and more.
Lastly, contact an experienced attorney. Allow us to act as your legal guides throughout this process, or as your advocates if your insurance company tries to wrongfully deny your claim. We offer free, initial case evaluations, so it costs you nothing to learn your legal options. Contact us today!
North Carolina Car Accident Laws
If you were seriously injured in an accident and are looking to file an injury claim, it’s important that you understand a little about North Carolina’s car accident laws.
- Statute of Limitations: In North Carolina, you have three years to file a claim if you sustain injury or property damage caused by a car accident.
- Wrongful Death Claims: If the car accident resulted in someone’s death, there is a two-year deadline to file a wrongful death claim.
- Contributory Negligence Rule: In North Carolina, you are not allowed to recover compensation if you share any fault for the accident. This doctrine is known as “contributory negligence.”
- Liability Car Insurance Minimums: North Carolina drivers must be insured for $30,000 for bodily injury liability for an accident they cause and $60,000 for an accident they cause involving two or more injured people. North Carolina drivers also have to be insured for $25,000 for property damage.
As you can see, time is not on your side. It is in your best interest to contact legal representation as soon after your accident as possible. This will ensure that your attorney has time to construct the best possible case strategy, as well as, ensure that all necessary evidence and testimonials are gathered and documented.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
There are several steps you can take directly following your accident to ensure your continued safety and to help prove liability later down the road.
Step 1: Move to a Safe Area (If Possible)
If the automobile accident is relatively minor, move vehicles out of traffic to a safe location. Park your vehicle, turn off the engine, and turn on the safety hazards. If moving your car isn’t an option, turn on your hazard lights to warn other motorists to move around the scene of the crash.
Step 2: Check for Injuries
Check yourself for any injuries, then check your passengers if they suffered any harm. If any serious injuries are evident, seek immediate medical attention by contacting an ambulance.
Step 3: Call the Police
Even if there are only minor injuries involved in the collision, it is wise to contact law enforcement. An officer can provide a police accident report that can be used as valuable evidence when dealing with car insurance companies and other parties.
Only describe how the accident occurred and avoid admitting fault or blaming the other drivers involved. If you do not know the facts, let the officer know. Allow law enforcement to objectively determine who is to blame and how the events transpired.
Step 4: Gather Information
Collect the following information from others involved in the crash:
- Names and contact information (i.e. phone numbers and addresses) of drivers and passengers involved, as well as eyewitnesses
- Vehicle descriptions (i.e. make, model, year, and color)
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance companies and policy numbers
- Police officer’s name and badge number
- Accident scene address and/or location
Step 5: Document the Scene
Whether you use the camera on your smartphone or a portable digital version, take photographs of the accident scene. Pictures are considered one of the most convincing pieces of evidence in a car accident claim or personal injury lawsuit. Snap photos of each vehicle, the damage involved (both exterior and interior), license plates, any injuries, skid marks, road conditions, street signs and traffic lights, and the entire scene of the collision.
Step 6: Report the Accident
Notify your insurer and start the claims process immediately at the scene. Just like speaking to the police, only provide the basic details and do not admit fault. If you are too upset by the accident, sometimes a police officer and provide your insurance company with more accurate information.
Step 7: Hire a Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in the crash, you must consult an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney can protect your rights and best interests against other parties and insurance companies. He/she can determine your available legal options and help you obtain compensation for your injuries and property damage.
Steps NOT to Take After an Automobile Accident
We are often focused on figuring out what we should do – but there are some things that are just important not to do following an accident. Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make that may get them into trouble down the road.
Things to Avoid Doing Following a Vehicle Accident:
- Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company unless you have a legal obligation to do so. When a claim is reported to the liability insurance company and adjuster is assigned to investigate the claim. One of the first things an adjuster will want to do is to get recorded statements from the drivers involved. While an insured has an obligation to provide a statement to their own insurance company and assist in the investigation, there is no such duty to cooperate with a liability insurance company for the other party. Many people assume that since they are making a claim, it is necessary to give a statement to a liability adjuster and if the accident is “clearly not their fault” giving a statement will expedite the handling of their claim. The problem is there may be two or more versions of how a car accident occurred.
In North Carolina, the doctrine of contributory negligence provides that if any party is negligent in any degree in bringing about their own injuries they are completely barred from recovery from the other party. Insurance adjusters know this and will look for any evidence negligence on the part of the claimant to deny the claim. The best way to do this is by using the claimant’s own words in their recorded statement. Many people are poor judges of time and distance when it comes to automobile accidents. People say minutes when they mean seconds and feet when they mean yards. We have seen these types of “verbal missteps” cost people their claims time and time again.If some type of statement is absolutely necessary to move the claim forward, then a written statement is the best option. Written questions can be prepared by the insurance adjuster investigating the claim and answered after careful consideration by the claimant. In the alternative, the claimant can provide a brief narrative of how the accident occurred.
- Don’t refuse to provide health insurance information to your medical providers. Anyone who has been admitted to a hospital knows that one of the first items of business is determining who will be responsible for the bill. Some people believe that because they are involved in an accident that their medical providers should not utilize their health insurance. While it is true that a liability insurance company may ultimately be liable for any medical expenses, even the most straightforward claims take time. A liability claim should generally not be settled prior to the claimant receiving all the treatment they need.
Most medical providers will not wait till a claim is resolved to get paid and will put any outstanding bills into collections. While recent changes in North Carolina law allow the liability insurance company to take credit for any discounts or write-offs provided to a claimant by their own health insurance, we believe the better practice is to file all medical bills with health insurance to avoid collections.
- Never sign a scheduled release. A scheduled release is a release that is offered to a claimant very early, within days sometimes, of a claim. It offers the claimant in a small sum of money upfront along with a promise by the liability insurance company to pay reasonable and necessary medical bills up to a certain limit for a certain amount of time following an accident. A few insurance companies over the years have made it their mission to get these releases signed within the first 48 hours of an accident. We know of a few instances they have been offered to clients while still in the hospital.
The reason these scheduled releases are such a bad idea is that shortly after an accident the claimant may not know the full extent of their injuries. MRIs, CT scans and other diagnostic tests are often delayed by medical providers until it is determined they are necessary when their patients do not improve over time. Arbitrarily capping the amount of medical expenses that the insurance carrier could be liable only benefits the insurance company.
In addition, the scheduled release usually agrees only to pay “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses incurred after an accident. We put the words reasonable and necessary in quotations because what is reasonable and what is necessary is often a matter of dispute between claimants and insurance companies. By signing a scheduled release in advance, the only compensation in dispute would be is what is reasonable and necessary medical care. It will be nearly impossible to find an attorney file a case on a contingency fee where the only dispute is the amount of proper medical bills. By signing the release you have eliminated the possibility of receiving compensation for additional pain and suffering, lost wages, or other damages if they become due.
- Don’t just exchange information and leave the scene. There are plenty of reasons to call the police and officially report an accident. Once you have driven away from the scene of an accident with only a piece of paper with a name, phone number, and insurance company policy number, a variety of bad things can happen. Here is a compilation of the things we’ve heard: wrong name, bad phone number, insurance canceled, “I’ve thought about it in the accident isn’t my fault”, “the driver didn’t have permission to drive my car”, “go to my body shop and they’ll fix it and send me the bill and I’ll pay it”, “I wasn’t hurt so how could you be?” Bottom line, if you believe the other driver is responsible for either injury or damage to your vehicle, call the police.
North Carolina Car Accident Statistics
Unfortunately, driving is a risky activity, and statistically, an accident isn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” If you’re lucky, you will only be involved in crashes the result in minimal vehicle damage and no injuries.
In 2017, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported the following accident statistics:
- A total of 275,067 traffic crashes were reported.
- 1,396 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents.
- 127,964 people suffered injuries caused by car accidents.
- Out-of-state drivers were involved in 6.7% of all reported crashes.
- Teenagers were involved in 52,385 traffic accidents.
- 10,687 teens suffered car accident injuries.
- 78 teens were killed in fatal car accidents.
- The city of Charlotte had 43,598 auto accidents.
- The city of Charlotte had 97 fatal motor vehicle accidents.
- The city of Charlotte had 18,669 car accidents that resulted in injury.
As you can see, motor vehicle accidents happen often and frequently involve injuries. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident in the Charlotte area, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team of accident attorneys.
We Help Our Clients Repair Their Lives
When our firm takes a case, we look at the various ways to pursue compensation. In most cases, the obvious choice is by going after the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, our Charlotte car accident lawyers also know that many unique situations can arise that can help us bring your case to the maximum possible value. As an additional service, we are prepared to help deal with damage to your vehicle, helping you obtain a rental car and more.
People love working with our North Carolina law firm because:
- We have recovered $200+ million in damages for clients.
- We have handled 1,000+ cases in courtroom trials.
- We have been representing clients since 1979.
- We make ourselves available 24/7/365 for client convenience.
Since our establishment in 1979, we have developed a strong record of success with helping car wreck victims in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina. Recently, we have obtained as much as $9 million in settlements for motor vehicle accident cases. Our team can help you.