What To Do After An Automobile Accident In North Carolina
If the accident in which you were involved resulted in injuries, all those who were injured should immediately obtain medical care and should consult an attorney who is experienced in handling injury cases.
If lone property damage to your vehicle or its contents was involved or you had entirely very minor injuries, this kit out answers most of the common questions that may arise regarding how to resolve your call.
When lone property damage or child injury occurs, a lawsuit with lawyer engagement by and large is not hardheaded. even a lawsuit that you handle without a lawyer ’ s aid may not be a fair choice. When your basal objective is to get your car repaired arsenic cursorily as possible, these delays can be counterproductive. In addition, if an indemnity company is on the early side, it will have an lawyer. Unless you besides employ an lawyer, you will be at a disadvantage. This kit focuses chiefly on your negotiating a colonization quite than hiring an lawyer. however, we are here to help if need far aid we have office locations in Raleigh, Durham, and Wilmington North Carolina .
AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE
Should I call the police?
North Carolina car accident police requires that a driver involved in a collision contact a law enforcement representation by the quickest means potential if there is : ( 1 ) wound to any person ; ( 2 ) death to any person ; or ( 3 ) total property damage of $ 500 or more. failure to do so is a misdemeanor. It does not take much damage at current compensate costs to exceed the statutory minimal, so it is always a beneficial estimate to contact the police .
In some cases, the parties may decide not to involve the patrol. Although this may at first appear to be less time-consuming, the patrol provide a valuable fact-finding resource. The patrol prepare a reputation that will include information from the accident scenery, such as point of affect and distance of skid marks, which may help to establish which driver was at fault. In cases where the police are not called, specially where there are no witnesses, the other driver or the policy company may be more probable to late deny fault for the accident .
What should I do until the police arrive?
Your first province is to find out if anyone was injured in the accident and make sure aesculapian personnel are called if needed .
You should exchange the information required by law with each of the parties involved in the accident. This includes the name, address, and telephone count of the driver of each vehicle american samoa well as each driver ’ s license numeral, license plate, automobile indemnity company, and the appropriate policy numeral. If witnesses do not wish to remain on the scene until the patrol arrive, obtain their names, addresses, and home and study call numbers .
Should I move my car before the police arrive?
Although it is better not to move your car after an accident ( this makes the probe easier ), North Carolina law prohibits stranded vehicles upon the main traveled fortune of the road except when they are disable. There, if you can, you may have to move your car to allow traffic to continue. If you can not move your car, then take reasonable precautions to warn others of your location. If you move your car, try to remember its claim placement. Provide this data to the investigating policeman. Before moving any cars, it is wise to mark on the roadway the position of each of the tires on all cars involved in the accident. Carry a objet d’art of chalk in your glove box for this function. If you have no methamphetamine, photograph the localization of vehicles from every fish .
What will the police do when they arrive?
The patrol are required to prepare an accident reputation. To complete the report, the investigating policeman will interview the parties involved in the accident equally good as other witnesses. The investigating military officer will gather allow physical evidence ( location at the point of impingement, duration of skid marks, whether each vehicle ’ south equipment was functioning by rights, etc. ) and the military officer will issue citations as the circumstances indicate .
even if citations are not issued, the officeholder will likely note circumstances contributing to the cause of the collision on the report. The police will besides require each party to prepare an “ exchange calling card ” which has the data that you may already have obtained from the other party regarding his or her identity and car indemnity information .
You should obtain the identify and badge number of the investigate officeholder and determine which agency he or she works for ( i, city patrol department, county sheriff ’ south department, NC Highway Patrol, etc. )
What happens after the investigation is completed?
If your vehicle is drivable, you will be permitted to drive it off. If not, you can make arrangements to have the vehicle towed, or the police will make arrangements. Be certain to get the identify and address of the towing ship’s company and the placement where your vehicle will be stored. If the patrol tow the vehicle, you may want to make arrangements vitamin a soon as possible to remove it to your own property because you broadly will be charged a day by day repositing fee while your cable car is on the storage lot. Be sure to check your own indemnity policy ; some policies will reimburse you for certain tow charges .
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ACCIDENT
Can I get a copy of the accident report?
At the accident picture, the investigating policeman will give you the number of the patrol report ( it should be listed on the exchange card ). Most accident reports are completed and available three to four days after the accident. You can obtain a copy from the internet in some locations or for a nominal fee at the Division of Motor Vehicles. You can ask for the report by its count, or by just giving the names of the drivers and the date and location of the accident .
You should get a replicate adenine soon as possible. It will provide valuable data that may help you deal with the insurance company or with the early driver .
What happens if traffic citations are issued?
In most automobile accidents, the investigating military officer will determine whether North Carolina law has been violated and indicate all violations on the accident report. The policeman might besides issue a ticket to one or more of the parties involved. For more dangerous violations of North Carolina police ( for case, DWI and heedless drive ), a criminal collar may be made. In most cases, however, a tag is considered an misdemeanor and is handled in the District Court. As a practical matter, if the investigating policeman indicates a irreverence on your part, you ’ ll have a unmanageable time convincing the other driver ’ mho insurance company to pay your property damages .
If you receive a ticket, the date and time for you to appear will be printed on it. At that time, you can admit the violations and pay the ticket or plead not guilty, present testify, and argue that the ticket was improperly issued. You have the correctly to retain an lawyer for these matters. For the more serious criminal matters or if person was injured in the accident, it is particularly fresh to consult an lawyer .
If your ticket is for an misdemeanor, a plea of “ creditworthy ” can be used against you in a late civil trial for damages. however, a receive of province at test can not be used against you in a late civil trial for damages .
Your policy company is required to issue you a document proving fiscal province which shows that you have the insurance coverage required by North Carolina police. If you do not have this document at the time of the accident, you may be given a citation. Prior to the hear on that ticket, you can present testify to the woo that you had indemnity at the time of the accident and that citation will normally be dismissed.
If you did not have indemnity at the time of the accident, you are discipline to a potential very well and abeyance of your driver ’ randomness license and car adjustment .
What should I do after the investigation is completed?
promptly notify your insurance caller of the accident. If your car is calm drivable, you should obtain a animate estimate from a reputable soundbox shop. You besides should take photograph which show all the damage to the vehicle from respective angles. If you believe the car is a entire passing, you should make some attempt to determine the pre-accident value of the car. You may do this by reviewing the newspaper classified ads to determine the sell prices of like cars. You should besides check with use car dealers in your area to determine the monetary value of like cars and consult the National Automobile Dealers ’ Association ( NADA ) Price Guide Book ( www.nada.com ) and other valuation services online at the local library or at your bank .
last, you should prepare a written statement of the circumstances surrounding the accident while those facts are fresh in your mind. Maintain a file folder in which you keep all apposite papers ( patrol report, photograph, diagrams, estimates, agreement from indemnity companies, etc. )
Should I get written statements from the witnesses?
It generally is advisable to obtain a argument from witnesses to the accident. These statements should be written, dated, and signed. This should be done as soon after the accident as possible, while the accident is still fresh in their minds. These statements can be highly valuable if the early driver or that driver ’ sulfur indemnity company later claims the accident was all or partially your fault. Be mindful that if the witness statements indicate some fault on your region, the other side may finally use them against you .
The investigating policeman normally will list witnesses on the patrol report card, and he or she besides may obtain statements from them. Statements may be included in the report if any are obtained .
DEALING WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANIES
Which insurance company should I contact?
The “ change menu ” or other information you have obtained from the other driver should tell you if that party has insurance. If you believe the accident was the fault of the early driver, you should contact that driver ’ second indemnity ship’s company. As a precaution, you should besides report the accident to your own policy ship’s company .
What will the insurance companies do?
The policy companies will investigate the claim and make a determination regarding liability or defect ( that is, who is responsible for the accident ). The indemnity caller frequently will ask you to give a written or recorded argument of your interpretation of the accident. Before providing any type of statement to the indemnity companies, you should make every effort to prepare for the statement and organize your thoughts so the statement is an accurate description of what happened. You should not give a statement while taking medication that impairs your ability to think and communicate distinctly. You should besides be careful to answer only the questions asked. Do not volunteer any data .
What happens when more than two vehicles are involved?
multiple vehicle accidents can become very building complex. If you believe two or more early parties were at defect for the accident, you should contact each party, or the insurance company for each. In North Carolina, both parties may be responsible for all of your damages .
What if the accident was partially my fault and partially the fault of the other driver?
If you think the accident was partially or wholly your defect, you should contact your own policy company. North Carolina is a “ conducive negligence ” state. This means that if you are partially at fault in the accident you are not entitled to any recovery against the other driver. rather, you need to make a call under the collision coverage of your own policy. In effect, you can only recover from the early driver ( or under your uninsured motorist coverage ) if you were not in any way at fault .
What should I do if the other party does not have insurance?
All vehicles in North Carolina are required to have minimal levels of liability insurance. unfortunately, some drivers are not in conformity with the police. If the early party was not insured, you can make a call under your uninsured motorist coverage with your own indemnity company. It will apply up to the limit of the coverage it affords .
If you rejected uninsured motorist coverage, you can make a call under the collision of your own policy, assuming the damages exceed your deductible. If you do not have any insurance available, however, your only choice will be to attempt to recover your damages from the driver or owner of the car that caused the accident .
If you want to have your car repaired immediately, you will most likely have to pay the cost yourself, and then try to recover that expense from the other driver or his policy company. You can start that work by sending the early driver a letter, along with copies of the estimate of repair bulls, and ask for payment for the price of the repairs. It may be necessary to work out a payment schedule if the early person is not able to pay all the damages at once .
If the person creditworthy for the accident refuses to pay your damages, your only recourse may be to file a civil lawsuit.
Am I entitled to a rental car?
As a basic rule, if the other driver caused the accident, and your cable car is not safe to operate or is undergo repairs, you are entitled to a rental car or compensation for the passing of manipulation of your car while it is inoperable. Whether the other driver ’ south insurance company will assist in providing you with a rental car varies .
Some insurance companies provide a rental car for your use until your vehicle is repaired. In that case, you generally will not have to pay any money out of your pocket. early insurance companies require that you rent a car on your own and the company will reimburse you at a fixed daily rate. This rate normally is fairly humble, so you should shop around to get the best rental rate .
Some policy companies compensate you on a weekly footing while others will not reimburse you until your entire claim is settled .
Although you are entitled to a cable car that is comparable to the car that was damaged, as a hardheaded matter, most policy companies willingly compensate you merely for basic transportation system at a reasonably low rate. If you rent a more expensive car and pay for the deviation out of your own pouch, it may be difficult for you to obtain the deviation from the policy company without a lawsuit .
The rental car will be available to you until your car either is repaired, or the policy company “ totals ” your car. You are entitled to a rental car or loss of use recompense even if you have other transportation available to you .
Some car lease companies have “ refilling car ” rates that are lower than regular rental charges. Be sure the rental company knows you are temporarily replacing a damaged vehicle .
If you are unable to make appropriate arrangements with the other driver ’ randomness indemnity company, you should check your own policy to see whether or not you have coverage to provide a rental vehicle .
last, be mindful that most indemnity companies will not pay the “ Collision Damage Coverage ” expense that the rental car party might charge. When renting a car, consult your indemnity agent to determine if your own policy includes collision coverage for the rental car. If it does you can provide your policy information and waive the collision damage coverage .
GETTING YOUR CAR REPAIRED
What damages am I entitled to?
by and large, where repairs are appropriate, the sum you can collect from the early driver or his insurance company is the difference in the average market value before the wreck and the bazaar market rate after the bust up. The actual cost of repairs or appraisal of repairs is testify of the damages .
even though your car is repaired, it might have a reduced value known as diminished measure. This is particularly true if the repair cost is 25 percentage or more of the respect of your cable car at the time of the accident. Determining a fairly amount for diminished measure is unmanageable. It has been our have that if the vehicle is not more than two years old you can expect to claim disparagement and receive an extra 20 percentage to 30 percentage over the monetary value of repairs to over the reduce respect of your vehicle. In any case, specially if your car is older than two years, we suggest that you contact an appraiser for an opinion. Ask for diminished measure before you conclude your property damage claim .
If I am not at fault, which insurance company will repair my car?
If it is clear that the other party was at fault in causing the accident, and if you have collision coverage on your automobile policy, you have two choices : You can insist that the other driver ’ second policy ship’s company repair the car or you can have the repairs paid for by your indemnity company under your policy .
When the other driver’s insurance company pays to repair my car…
If you do not have collision coverage, or if you are unwilling to pay the deductible, you should seek to have the driver who was at fault or his policy company pay your damages. That insurance company may be cooperative and satisfy you that the repairs will be done in a prompt and satisfactory manner .
If your car is drivable, the other party ’ sulfur policy caller may want you to go to a drive-in claims office for an appraisal. You should make arrangements with the adjuster assigned to your claim for an appropriate time. If the car is not drivable you should notify the adjuster of the placement of the car so it can be viewed. In some cases, arrangements will have to be made to have the car towed to a principal for an appraisal. besides, be certain to let the company know if the car is being stored and the storehouse charges .
When I use my own collision coverage to repair my car…
If you can not come to a quick agreement with the other driver ’ randomness indemnity company regarding the responsibility for the accident and the amount of the damages, this will delay your car from being repaired. In this shell, you should have your own insurance ship’s company pay for the repairs. When your company repairs the vehicle, it will cover the entire repair price ( excluding your deductible ) careless of who caused the accident .
If your indemnity company pays for the repairs it may attempt to collect the amount it paid from the early driver ’ randomness insurance ship’s company providing that driver was a demerit. If your company is successful in doing this, it should besides collect the deductible that you have previously paid, and it should be returned to you. You should request that your company do this for you .
In some cases, you may find it easier to work with your own policy company which may be more will to make repairs to your satisfaction than the early party ’ mho caller. obviously, your own indemnity party would like to keep you as a customer, whereas the other indemnity company has no alike bonus .
If I am partly at fault, which insurance company will repair my car?
If you are tied partially at blame, the other driver ’ south indemnity company has a legal defense under North Carolina law. therefore, you are left with making a claim under your own collision coverage, if that is available under your policy .
Will my insurance rates be affected if I make a claim under my own insurance policy?
If the accident clearly was not your defect, your agio should remain insensible by any call under your own collision coverage provided your policy company receives payment from the at-fault parties ’ policy. If your company attempts to increase your premium as a consequence of an accident that was not your fault, you should discuss this with your insurance agent. If you receive no gratification contact the NC Insurance Department 1-800-662-7777. If the accident was partially your fault, expect your company to increase your agio .
Can I select a body shop to make the repairs on my car?
The indemnity ship’s company ( yours or the other party ’ south ) must compensate you for the amount reasonably necessary to repair your car. Often policy companies have arrangements with certain compensate shops for reduced rates, and they will ask that you have your car repaired by that patronize. Although you have the legal mighty to select the workshop where your car is to be repaired, the policy company is required only to compensate you for the fair repair cost ( which may be less than your own workshop of option would charge ). You may be responsible for the dispute if the extra costs are unreasonable .
The choice of body shops is a matter subject to negotiation with the insurance party. however, it is against the law for the policy company to “ steer ” you to a body shop. If the estimate given by the policy company ’ randomness shop is far lower than the estimate you received from the rectify workshop you select, you should have your repair workshop discuss the count with the policy adjuster. alternatively, ask your repairman to review the policy company ’ second estimate and target out to you why that estimate is unreasonably broken. You should take this information to the policy company to see if you can work out a compromise .
If no agreement can be reached, you have the choice of either accepting the company ’ mho repair estimate or paying your haunt workshop to do the work and then file a lawsuit against the responsible party ( or your indemnity ship’s company, if you are making a claim under your own collision coverage ) for the price of repairs. This is a difficult matter because the policy party may hire an lawyer to contest your lawsuit and the cost of resolving the case in court may exceed what you reasonably can expect to receive .
Who is responsible for faulty repairs?
If you discover that the repairs have not been completed satisfactorily, discuss this immediately with the insurance company and the repair patronize. If the shop class is unwilling to make far repairs that you think are necessity, or if the company refuses to authorize far repairs and the haunt denounce claims that the repairs were satisfactory both in terms of the quality of the parts used and the craft, you have limited options .
generally, faulty craft is the province of the repair or torso shop, as it would be if you were having compensate exploit performed in the absence of policy. If satisfactory results can not be worked out, you may need to take your fomite to another body shop to correct the problems. This would give ascent to a claim against the original body workshop ( and possibly the indemnity company ) and may require a lawsuit .
Know your body shop ’ s repute before you commit to repairs. It is by and large best to avoid a denounce recommended by the policy caller. Always go to an independent car body workshop .
Can I insist on new or dealer manufactured parts?
Repair shops, often at the direction of the indemnity companies, may attempt to repair the cable car with used parts or with parts manufactured by person early than the original manufacturer of your car .
For example, if your car is a Chevrolet, the repair workshop may attempt to either install used parts or parts which are not manufactured by General Motors. If you are having the repairs performed under the collision coverage of your own policy, be certain to check the policy to see what it says with gaze to the type of parts that can be used for the repairs. You can negotiate with your indemnity company at this orient .
If the other party ’ s policy company is paying for the repairs, you generally are in a better position to insist on newly or manufacturer quality parts if you can show there is any potential defect in the parts that the repair shop class or insurance company wants to use. If the parts proposed are of demonstrably less quality ( for example, they are not treated for rusting, or are not deoxyadenosine monophosphate potent as the parts that were in your original car ), you have a good argument that new or higher timbre parts must be used .
Used parts in good condition should be satisfactory since the parts in your car which are being replaced besides were used at the prison term of the accident. once again, this comes down to a charge of negotiation with the indemnity ship’s company. unfortunately, if the policy company refuses to negotiate and you feel powerfully about the matter, your merely recourse may be to file a civil suit .
Do I have to sign a release?
At the time you pick up your car from the shop where repairs were made, you might be required to sign a secrete giving up any future claims against the creditworthy party and his indemnity company for the property damage to your car. You should ask the haunt workshop to allow you to inspect and test drive the cable car before signing the free to make indisputable there are no apparent defects or problems .
Be certain to read the publish form you sign and make sure it is express entirely to property damage and does not give up any early claims you might have, including those for bodily injuries .
besides, examine the check you receive to make indisputable it is noted that this payment is for property damage only. You should not endorse and negotiate a check that indicates payment of all claims or requital in full moon .
What if my car is “totaled”?
In some instances, particularly with older cars, the cost of haunt will exceed the fair market value of your cable car. Where a car is considered to be destroyed and not reasonably capable of rectify, you are entitled to the remainder between the vehicle ’ s respect before the accident and its salvage respect if any, after the accident .
In North Carolina, a fomite is totaled if the cost of repairs exceeds ( including consequential costs ) 75 percentage of the bonny market retail value of the fomite. The fair marketplace retail value before the accident can be determined in the NADA Pricing Guide Book .
If your car is totaled, the insurance company, as a condition of paying you the value of your car, may require that the car and the title be turned over to the company .
alternatively, the company will establish a “ salvage value ” for the cable car and you may be able to negotiate with the indemnity company to receive the fair market value of the car less the salvage respect. In this case, you keep the car. however, the car can not be driven until you have had it repaired, inspected, and received a “ Salvage Title ” from the DMV .
If you disagree with the figure the insurance party uses regarding the fair market value of your car, you can negotiate with the adjuster using information from the sources mentioned previously. unfortunately, most indemnity companies use their own military service to estimate value, and they are not always uncoerced to give you more than that overhaul indicates the car is worth .
If you have made late and major improvements to the vehicle that are not considered ordinary sustenance, you should provide copies of these invoices to the policy company ’ second representative. This is particularly dependable of older vehicles .
You should besides ask for reimbursement for taxes, title transfer and registration fees when negotiating .
If they are offering you substantially less than what you believe your cable car is worth, your only option may be to file a civil lawsuit .
What is I later find I was injured in the accident?
If you have signed a general release form which is not limited to property damage, any future injuries might be your own province, even if the other driver was at blame. The indemnity company has no right to require you to give up any potential bodily injury claims in order to settle your place damage title. Be certain that any dismissal you sign is limited to place damage only. If you discover at any time after an accident that you were injured by the accident, promptly contact an lawyer who is experienced in handling accidental wound claims .
Who will pay the medical bills?
sometimes when a person is injured in an car accident, the injuries do not become apparent until weeks or even months after the accident. If this occurs, seek medical care at once. If you do have accident-related injuries, you should consult an lawyer who is experienced in handling injury cases. Most attorneys who commit personal injury law are will to consult with you about accident-related injuries for free. If you retain them to represent you, they will generally work on a contingency basis, which means the lawyer will earn a fee only if the character is successful .
A kind of sources may be available from which you may recover checkup expenses. First, if you have a medical policy plan ( through work or differently ), that coverage will, in most instances, enforce. additionally, a standard coverage which is available on most automobile policies is checkup payments coverage. If you have aesculapian payments coverage under your own policy, it broadly entitles you to have your checkup bills reimbursed up to the pin down policy limits for you or anyone in your car who is injured in an accident. These payments are made regardless of who is at fault .
If the early driver was at mistake but was uninsured, you can proceed under your own uninsured motorist coverage to have your policy company handle your accident-related medical bills. If the other party has indebtedness insurance you besides can contact that indemnity company for payment .
If you were on your job at the time of the accident, contact your employer about filing a workers ’ compensation title .
In some instances, an insurance company will require you to pay your medical bills and then it will reimburse you. There constantly is the hypothesis that the insurance company will deny that the wound is accident-related, depending on the measure of time that elapsed between the accident and your first base treatment by a sophisticate. For this reason, it is critical that you have any injuries which appear to be accident-related examined by a sophisticate a soon as potential after you experience symptoms .
Martin & Jones has made every feat to ensure that the information in this booklet is right and up-to-date. however, laws change, and specific fact solutions may require the lotion of a different rule of police. For this reason, you should consult an lawyer if you have farther questions about automobile accident claims .
Martin & Jones provides the information in this booklet for informational purposes entirely. It is not intended as and should not be considered as legal advice, nor does it imply any form of attorney-client relationship with Martin & Jones .
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