When you suffer injuries in a car accident, it’s understandable that you want to know who will pay for your damages and how much you can recover.
However, every car accident differs. Your experience won’t be the same as anyone else’s, which is why determining an accurate range for average car accident settlements is nearly impossible.
Your settlement could be significantly higher or lower.
Factors That Impact North Carolina Car Accident Settlements
Reaching an appropriate car accident settlement in North Carolina can be a complex process that depends on multiple factors.
These factors include the type and severity of injuries sustained, liability for the accident, the extent of damages, and the available insurance coverage.
We’ll look at each of these factors more in-depth and explain how they can impact the average accident settlement.
Injury Type and Severity
The type and severity of injuries sustained in a car accident are some of the most critical factors that your potential case value.
Injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more severe injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
The more serious the injuries, the higher your likely case value.
That is because severe injuries often result in a more extended recovery period and medical expenses, including hospital stays, surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
More severe injuries may require future medical treatment too.
Another critical factor that impacts a settlement is liability. North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that still relies on contributory negligence in car accident cases.
This legal theory is critical to know because it can dramatically change the outcome of your case. You cannot recover any compensation if you’re even 1% at fault.
As you can imagine, the insurance adjuster for the other driver will be looking to find a way to claim you had a percentage of responsibility, so the insurance company won’t be responsible for paying you anything.
To successfully prove liability against the other driver, you must prove the four elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care;
- The defendant breached their duty of care;
- The defendant’s breach is what caused the auto accident; and
- You sustained damages, such as medical expenses.
Your liability argument is only successful if you prove all four elements. Hiring a skilled North Carolina auto accident lawyer is crucial to help you build the strongest case possible.
You need an experienced negotiator familiar with the unfair tactics that insurance adjusters use to absolve their company of liability.
Your overall damages are also a factor in determining your potential case value. Damages include losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
If the accident resulted in significant property damage and injuries, and the other driver is liable, the potential settlement is likely to be higher.
Additionally, if the accident resulted in serious injuries that affected your ability to work long-term or will require ongoing medical treatment, your total damages can be much higher.
Insurance coverage is another factor that can impact a settlement.
North Carolina requires drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance coverage. However, it might not be enough to cover your total damages.
Minimum auto liability insurance requirements in North Carolina are:
- $30,000 for injury to one person in one accident,
- $60,000 for injuries to two or more parties in one accident, and
- $25,000 for property damage in one accident.
If your total damages are $100,000 and the at-fault driver has only $30,000 in coverage, you might receive partial compensation. But you may struggle to recover the full value of your claim.
You may be able to sue the defendant directly, but that will be effective only if the defendant has assets available to pay a judgment against them.
When the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance, you may be able to file a claim with your own auto insurance if you have an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
In some cases, there may also be third parties that carry liability.
For example, if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident, their employer may be liable. Or if a defective auto part contributed to the accident, the manufacturer may share responsibility.
An attorney can help you identify all potentially liable parties and avenues of recovery.
Why You Should Hire a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in a car accident in North Carolina, we highly recommend retaining a skilled car accident lawyer to help you pursue a compensation claim.
A car accident lawyer at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC can help you to understand your rights and available legal options. We will work with you to build a solid case to support your claim for damages.
We will gather and preserve the necessary evidence, including medical records, bills, accident reports, witness statements, and more.
Your attorney will handle all communication with the defendant’s insurance company. That includes negotiating a potential settlement on your behalf.
If there’s a chance that someone else also has liability, we’ll identify and name all potential defendants.
As with other types of personal injury claims, you have only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in North Carolina.
For car accident injuries, the usual deadline is three years from the date of the accident. Some exceptions exist that could decrease or increase the potential filing time.
However, if you miss the statute of limitations deadline, the court will not be forgiving. The court could bar you from recovery entirely.
That’s why we recommend hiring a lawyer early on. It’s easier to gather evidence and preserve witness testimony several weeks after an accident versus 18 months later.
By working with a skilled and experienced car accident lawyer at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, you can increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement and getting the compensation you deserve.
Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Determining average car accident settlements can be very challenging.
Rather than looking for information on overall North Carolina accident settlements, find out your individual car accident case value.
At Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, we can help you understand how the different factors impact your potential settlement.
Please get in touch with our office if you have questions about your potential case value.
Collectively, our lawyers have decades of personal injury experience and know what it takes to build a solid case for compensation after a car accident.
We offer free, no-obligation consultations, so you have nothing to lose by meeting with a lawyer in our office.