A car accident in Taylorsville, NC can turn your world upside down in an instant. Many victims of other drivers’ errors go from being on a drive they take for granted to dealing with injuries, bills, and the mental anguish and stress of the situation. These things leave people feeling depressed, anxious, and unsure about how to set their lives back on track. If you’re in this situation, hiring a Taylorsville car accident lawyer can help boost your peace of mind and chances of success in a claim.
While money can’t solve everything, there is a legal path to resolving your concerns and clearing a way to work on managing the non-monetary concerns that come from an accident. The opposition, though, to receiving these damages is often the liable party’s insurance company. They aren’t likely to pay out everything they should without being pushed, but a legal team like that of the Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, can often provide the push that’s needed.
Because a car accident claim is a kind of personal injury claim, proving fault follows the personal injury process. As the plaintiff, the burden of proof will be on your lawyer to prove the components of negligence on the part of the defendant.
Providing that proof will require evidence, which could include photos and videos, eye-witness testimony, car crash expert witness testimony, or anything else relevant to the situation. There are generally three elements that need to be proven to demonstrate fault in a car accident in Taylorsville, NC.
The first thing your lawyer needs to prove is a duty of care. This is generally a given when considering anything involving motor vehicles. A duty of care means that the defendant had a duty to be careful and consider the risks of their actions or inactions on those around them.
There was an expectation that they make reasonable accommodations in their behavior to ensure the safety of others. Given the danger and potential damage that vehicles can cause, this duty is fairly universally understood.
The next thing that the plaintiff must be able to show is that the defendant had a breach of duty. This means that they didn’t live up to the duty they had and did not act as a reasonably careful person would have in the same circumstances. Most often, in a car accident, this can mean a driver failing to adhere to traffic laws, driving recklessly, or driving distracted.
Finally, the plaintiff’s lawyers must show that the breach on the part of the defendant was the cause of the accident and injuries. This is not always as clear as it may seem. For instance, we could imagine a case where a car has a broken headlight, which could be considered a breach in some circumstances.
However, it’s unlikely that the broken headlight would be seen as contributing to an accident where that driver is rear-ended at noon on a Sunday. Therefore, the plaintiff’s team must tie the breach directly to the accident.
The plaintiff then must show that the accident led to the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. This is not always clear-cut either, and the defendant could argue that they were the result of prior conditions, occurred after the accident, or are simply being overstated. Consequently, the plaintiff must be able to connect the injuries with the accident that resulted from the breach.
The costs that are compensated for in a car accident, known as damages, must tie directly to the injuries that were suffered in the accident. Your lawyer will need to be able to make the case that they are the direct result of the injury. These damages will mostly be awarded in one of two categories:
An important consideration when thinking about damages in a North Carolina car accident case is the pure contributory negligence doctrine that the state operates under. In most states, liability on the part of the plaintiff, if proven, is given a percentage value, and their ability to collect damages is reduced by that percentage.
However, in North Carolina, any liability on the part of the plaintiff means that they cannot collect any damages. Therefore, it is critical that your lawyer be able to defend against a claim of liability on your part. Part of their investigation, in addition to looking for evidence against the defendant, will include looking for evidence that can be used to defend you against claims of liability.
After a car accident, there are some things that can be very important to do, as they can help your case or even potentially harm your case. Some of these things include:
A: All personal injury claims in North Carolina, including car accidents, are subject to pure contributory negligence rules. What this means is that if the plaintiff is found to be at fault for the accident in even the most minor of ways, they will lose all rights to collect damages. This can be frustrating and a concern for many people.
However, it is worth recognizing that to prove this fault, the burden of proof switches to the defendant’s side, and they must prove the three components of fault. As a result, there is ample opportunity to defend against these accusations, and it’s not a reason to abandon hope. Even if you have concerns regarding your possible fault, it is still a good idea to let an experienced lawyer evaluate your case, as you may have a stronger defense against the allegations than you realize.
A: A car accident claim will need to be filed within the time limit set by the statute of limitations. Because a car accident is a form of personal injury, this means that the claim must be filed within three years. There are, though, a few variations that could come into play depending on when injuries were discovered, who the defendant is, and if the injured parties were minors.
However, it’s always better not to wait. A car accident lawyer can help determine that your claim is within the statute of limitations, and the sooner you get them involved, the more time they will have to be able to prepare your claim.
A: Both settling a case and taking a case to court have their benefits and potential downsides. Generally, the risk and reward component of taking a case to court will be higher. It’s possible that you may win the case and get a little more than you could have settled for. However, it does open you up to the risk of losing the case, which is a greater concern in North Carolina because of the pure contributory negligence rules involved.
The benefit of a settlement is that while the payout might be slightly less than could have been achieved through a win in court, it’s not subject to the risk of what could cause a case to be lost in court. Additionally, avoiding a lengthy, expensive court case often means the money is in the hands of the victim of a personal injury much more quickly.
A: A car accident lawyer’s job is to act as your representative and advocate through the negotiation of a settlement or through the civil claim process. The foundation, though, of their efforts will be rooted in a thorough investigation of your injury and the accident that caused it.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can begin investigating the car accident that you were in. They will look for any video or photographic evidence, consider the damage to the vehicles, and possibly even work with collision professionals to put together a strong argument for what occurred and who was at fault. With that basis to argue from, they can negotiate firmly on your behalf or take the case to court if necessary.
The ripple effects of a car accident extend well beyond the initial collision. There are injuries, property damage, medical bills, and disruptions to a person’s normal life, sometimes permanently. These things can often be disheartening, particularly when you weren’t at fault for what you are now facing. Fortunately, though, there is a legal path to seeking damages to cover the costs of the accident.
It can be challenging to push back against the big insurance companies and seek what you deserve. If, though, you have a knowledgeable and skilled attorney on your side, your case can stand firm against their team of lawyers. At the Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, we can be the help needed for your situation. If you’ve been in a car accident and need the right representative to help get the compensation you deserve, contact us today.