Answers To Common Questions From Auto Accident Victims
The days and weeks following an auto accident are often painful and stressful. You might have many questions about your rights and legal options for pursuing compensation. On this page, we have provided answers to some of the most common questions our attorneys receive from car accident victims. After reading, we invite you to contact Farris & Thomas Law and ask us your own questions during a free initial consultation.
What should I do if the other driver’s insurance company contacts me?
You have no legal obligation to speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company and it is in your best interests to avoid doing so. When contacting victims, insurers are often asking questions designed to get them to admit fault or to accept an immediate low-ball settlement offer.
Speaking to the other party’s insurer will only jeopardize your case. It is far better to politely refuse to have a conversation with them and to direct them to speak with your attorney (if you have one).
What should I say to my own insurance company?
Your exact obligations will be detailed in your insurance policy. In most cases, however, policyholders are required to inform their insurer about the accident reasonably soon after it happens (if the accident is serious enough that insurers will likely be involved).
Typically, you should give your insurer the basic facts about what happened and when, while avoiding any talk of fault and refusing to give an official statement. There will be time to sort out these details later, and you don’t want to say anything that could unintentionally weaken your case.
If I was partially at fault for the crash, am I still eligible for compensation?
Sadly, the answer is often no. North Carolina recognizes a legal principle which nearly no other state uses, known as “contributory negligence.” Under this principle, you are barred from compensation if you contributed to the accident in any way, no matter how minor.
This is why it is critical to avoid saying anything that insurers might interpret as an admission of fault. Even if you believe you were at fault, you should avoid saying so (except to your own attorney). There may have been factors leading to the accident that you weren’t aware of, and you shouldn’t attribute fault to yourself until all of these facts are known.
What are my legal options if I was injured as a commercial driver?
If you drive professionally, an auto accident is typically considered a workplace accident. Because of this, you can often seek workers’ compensation benefits. Our attorneys can help you file your claim, and we can also discuss the possibility of seeking additional compensation in a separate personal injury lawsuit. If the car accident was the fault of someone unconnected to your employer, you may be able to file what’s known as a third-party liability lawsuit, seeking additional damages not covered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering.
Can I afford to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Usually, the answer is yes! In North Carolina, nearly all personal injury attorneys (including those at our firm) work on a contingency fee basis. That means we don’t charge any upfront fees and we only get paid when we help you recover money. When we are successful, our fees are paid as a portion of however much we help you obtain. In short, working with a personal injury attorney is financially low risk and can greatly improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Case For Free
Based in Wilson, Farris & Thomas Law serves clients throughout the surrounding areas of North Carolina. To ask us your own questions during a free initial consultation, just call 252-787-4463 or reach out online.