Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyers – Raleigh, NC
Every year, thousands of people in North Carolina are injured in car accidents. These injuries often lead to significant medical bills, missed time at work and even permanent disability. If the accident was the result of negligent actions of another person, accident victims may be eligible to recover compensation through a legal claim. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries in a car accident, Riddle & Brantley may be able to help.
Our Raleigh car accident attorneys have more than 160 years of combined experience handling all types of civil claims. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Do I Need an Attorney After a Car Accident?
If you sustain injuries in a car accident, you’ll not only need to address your medical needs but may also need to handle insurance claims, police investigations, and other legal entanglements. If another person or party caused your accident due to negligence, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. While it is technically possible to represent your own interests in court, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will help you secure a more favorable result.
Car accident claims can be complex. An attorney can take care of all the elements of your claim and allow you to focus on recovery. The attorneys at Riddle & Brantley, know how to handle car accident claims, whether they involve legal action against a negligent individual, organization, or manufacturer. Your attorney will gather the necessary evidence to strengthen your claim and handle all interactions with insurance companies. Most importantly, your attorney is prepared to fight for justice on your behalf in settlement negotiations and, if necessary, in a trial.
When a driver fails to abide by the rules of the road, engages in reckless behavior, or intentionally breaks the law behind the wheel, anyone injured as a result may file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. Proving negligence in a personal injury claim for a car accident involves four basic elements:
- Duty. The plaintiff must prove the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff during the given situation. All drivers have a duty of care to follow the traffic laws, heed posted traffic signals, and operate their vehicles safely.
- Breach. The plaintiff must also show the court how the defendant breached this duty of care. For example, running a stop sign or a red light would constitute a breach of duty. Failing to address a known safety issue with a vehicle can also qualify as a breach of duty.
- Damage. The plaintiff must have suffered some injury or measurable economic loss to file a claim. If a defendant was negligent, but the plaintiff did not sustain any injuries or losses, he or she would have no claim.
- Causation. The plaintiff in a personal injury case must also be able to link the defendant’s negligence to the plaintiff’s damages. The plaintiff may only sue for the damages directly resulting from the defendant’s negligence, so the plaintiff will need to prove that the injuries did not happen from some other cause.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents
The speed at which an accident occurs greatly influences the outcome. Accidents that occur at higher speeds generally result in more significant damage and carry a greater risk of injury, but even seemingly minor accidents can result in significant injuries that worsen over time.
In North Carolina, nearly 28 percent of all car accident injuries occur between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm. In Raleigh, more than 36 percent of injuries occur during that time frame.
Some of the most common injuries that occur due to car accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Bone fractures occur in countless possible ways. While standard fractures may leave a bone in pieces, they do not break the skin. Compound fractures are severe injuries that break the skin, exposing the victim to infections. Any type of bone fracture can require significant medical care, and recovery can take months or longer. Some bone fractures may necessitate physical therapy or result in a permanent limited range of motion.
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Many car accidents involve significant momentum or sudden shifts in momentum that can damage the soft tissues of a driver’s body, such as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. While most of these injuries will recover in time, they can be extremely painful and limit the victim’s range of motion through recovery. Slipped spinal discs, inflammation, muscle stiffness and various other symptoms can persist for weeks or longer.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- A car accident may cause a driver’s head to hit the window or another object during impact, resulting in a potentially fatal head injury. A traumatic brain injury can cause various neurological symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, memory problems, sensory confusion, and more. Some traumatic brain injuries will require immediate emergency surgery to save the victim’s life, and some will result in long-term or permanent disabilities.
- Contusions, cuts, and scrapes
- Even minor injuries can cause intense pain and extensive scarring. Some deep cuts may even interfere with the victim’s ability to work as they heal.
- Spinal injuries
- Any damage to the spinal cord is permanent, so a driver who sustains such injuries may experience partial or full paralysis. Some of these injuries may result in significant damages to cover the costs of necessary ongoing medical care, physical therapy, and lost income due to inability to work.
- Internal injuries
- Some car accident injuries will not be immediately noticeable. Internal organs may rupture or suffer injuries from the forces acting on the body during an accident or from poorly fitted seatbelts.
Your top priority after any car accident should be medical attention, even if you think you only sustained minor cuts and scrapes. While you may need to wait for the police to allow you to leave the scene of an accident, seek medical treatment as soon as you are free to leave. If you delay, you could allow an existing injury to worsen. Some injuries may not manifest noticeable symptoms immediately, and the adrenaline rush from the accident may dull pain sensations for a while.
If you delay medical care, you put your health at risk and may jeopardize your chances of succeeding with a lawsuit later, should you choose to pursue one. Delaying treatment may also cause problems when it’s time to deal with insurance claims, as adjusters may use the delay as justification for lowering or denying your claim. In a personal injury lawsuit, the jury hearing your case will assume that if you did not seek immediate medical care, your injuries couldn’t have been as bad as you claim. Instead of risking your chances of securing legal compensation for your damages or your wellbeing, seek medical care as soon as possible after any car accident.
Raleigh, NC, Car Accident Statistics
More than 460,000 people call the Raleigh area home, and the average commute time is around 22 minutes. In 2017, there were 17,763 motor vehicle collisions in Raleigh, leading to more than 4,400 injuries and 29 fatalities. In Wake County, there were a total of 13,020 crashes in 2016 – up from 11,692 in 2015.
Total Crashes in Raleigh, North Carolina: 2001-2017
From 2001 to 2017, there was an increase in traffic collisions of nearly 33 percent in the city of Raleigh. During the same period, injuries from motor vehicle collisions increased by nearly 28 percent.
North Carolina Car Accident Laws
Each state has specific laws concerning car accidents. The statute of limitations, N.C. Gen State § 1-52(16) (2016), for personal injury and property damage, is three years in North Carolina. This means a plaintiff has three years to file an accident claim, beginning on the date of the accident.
North Carolina also follows a contributory negligence law, meaning a plaintiff may not recover compensation for damages if the plaintiff shares any fault in causing the accident in question. This is in strict contrast to the modified comparative negligence law that most other states follow, which allows plaintiffs to partially recover compensation when they are partially at fault. When you decide to file a claim, your attorney will advise you as to the merit of your case and whether you could absorb any fault for the incident.
Insurance Requirements in North Carolina
North Carolina state law requires all drivers to purchase and maintain auto insurance coverage that meets the state’s minimum insurance requirements. The minimum policy must offer 30/60/25 coverage, or $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person per accident, $60,000 bodily injury liability total per accident, and up to $25,000 in property damage coverage. North Carolina drivers must also purchase uninsured motorist coverage in the event of an accident with a driver who does not have insurance. All drivers in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina must carry proof of insurance with them at all times while driving.
All drivers have the option of purchasing more extensive coverage or additional types of coverage, but more coverage generally means higher premiums. It’s crucial to balance how much you’re willing to spend in premiums and how much coverage you think you need. You get what you pay for.
Types of Accidents
The most common causes of car accidents in North Carolina are alcohol consumption, speeding, and distracted driving. A distracted driver may not notice a car changing lanes ahead fast enough to slow down and prevent an accident. Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment and ability to safely operate a vehicle, and a DWI/DUI offense can lead to significant legal penalties as well as civil claims from anyone injured by the drunk driver. Speeding and aggressive driving can also cause accidents, so it’s crucial for Raleigh drivers to stay vigilant and attentive at all times on the road.
Getting Help – Call Riddle & Brantley Today!
Proving negligence in any type of personal injury case is difficult, so injured Raleigh drivers need legal representation they can trust to handle these claims. The attorneys at Riddle & Brantley, have the experience and resources to handle the toughest car accident claims. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Raleigh personal injury attorneys. After we review the details of your case, we can let you know what type of claim you may have.