Information and Resources For Anyone Injured in a Car Accident in the State of North Carolina
A little over 10 years ago, I was involved in an auto accident that changed my life and the way I viewed accident victims.
At the time, we were living in a suburb of Orlando, Florida, and I had just exited the highway. As I turned, I noticed that there was a car stopped in the middle of my lane, facing the wrong direction. I did what any normal driver would do, I slammed on my brakes.
Unfortunately, the two drivers behind we weren’t so observant.
I was rear-ended… twice… First when the car behind me hit me and then when the car behind him hit him into me a second time.
How Your Life Can Change in the Blink of an Eye…
In the weeks and months that followed, I was forced to miss countless hours of work as I attended medical and chiropractic appointments. I suffered injuries to my elbow and lower back that cause me problems to this day.
My car was badly damaged, but could be fixed.
Basically, I was lucky.
Aside from a little time off work and a sore back here and there, I got out of this accident relatively unscathed.
The insurance company did the right thing and paid for my medical bills and the repairs to my car. Because I did not have long-lasting injuries, I did not seek any additional damages.
But not everyone is this lucky, and there were a number of steps I took immediately following the accident that put my in position to receive maximum compensation had that been necessary.
You see, when you are involved in an accident, you don’t know what damage has been caused. You don’t know how you will feel in a day, a week, a month…
Some people get better quickly, and some have injuries that take months or even years to heal.
Because of this, you must take appropriate steps at the time of the accident to protect yourself.
5 Steps To Take to Protect Yourself After an Auto Accident
Here are some of the things I did to protect myself after my car crash. Had I messed up any one of these things, it would have been extremely problematic for my claim.
1. Take Pictures of the Scene
Back in 2007, the iPhone had just come out. I still carried a flip phone I’m pretty sure. But regardless of the type of phone I had back then, I guarantee it didn’t have a camera! So I walked across the street to a gas station and bought a disposable camera to photograph the scene.
You should always have a camera in your glove box, especially if you don’t have a smart phone with a camera. You want to take pictures of the scene, the person who hit you, the vehicles, license plate numbers, the intersection, etc.
2. Call the EMT’s (if necessary)
If there is any chance that you were injured, you need to call an ambulance to send out a paramedic to check you out. Even if nothing is wrong, you want to have those “baseline” stats of what happened at the scene. Also, if you ever end up in court, you don’t want a defense attorney blasting you on the stand because you failed to call for medical help at the scene.
3. Call the Police
There will be a strong urge to exchange information with the other driver and go about your business without calling the cops. But not only is this against the law, it could prove fatal to your accident claim. Always call 9-1-1 to report the accident.
4. Read and Re-Read the Police Report Before You Sign Off on It
When I was in the accident in Orlando, the police officer initially listed me as the at-fault party. Clearly, this was incorrect, and I only caught this because I read the officer’s report carefully before signing off on it. Had I just glanced over the report without paying it much attention, my claim could have been reduced or even denied.
In addition, because of a legal doctrine called contributory negligence in North Carolina, if you were at fault for the accident, the insurance company will deny your claim outright.
5. Don’t Sign any Paperwork or Talk to an Adjuster Without reviewing our Free Resources first
You will need to call your insurance company to report the accident and get a claim number. But they are likely to send you a bunch of forms and information that they want you to review and sign. They may ask you to sign a release for your medical records “so that they can properly process your claim” and ask you to take part on a recorded telephone call.
We highly recommend that you not do any of this without reading our free special report, “The Five Fatal Mistakes that Will Sink Your Injury Claim in North Carolina“. This free report will give you the information you need to determine whether you even need a lawyer to help you, and how to find the right lawyer if you do. In addition, it will give you a heads up to some of the “minefield” that the insurance adjuster is hoping you will step on so that they can close your file quickly, with as little cost as possible.
If you have a question for us, you can submit it confidentially online by clicking here. You can also call The Hart Law Firm at (919) 883-4861. We are happy to speak to you and answered any detailed questions you may have.