A car accident can bring out a wide array of emotions within you all at once. Anger at the other driver, confusion at what to do next, fear of how it will affect your insurance or even relief that you are alive. One of these dominant feelings can make it difficult for you to focus on what you need to do afterwards to receive coverage for your damages and personal injuries.
Many North Carolina drivers have lost out on thousands of dollars of compensation after a crash because they either forgot to do something or approached a task the wrong way. If you want to recover safely, you need to avoid the following mistakes most people make after an accident.
Not getting enough evidence
As you should know by now, the two drivers in the crash must exchange information such as their phone numbers, driver’s license, insurance information and license plate numbers. Before the other car leaves, you need to take pictures of the accident scene. Take pictures of areas where your car was damaged, the road conditions and parts of the other driver’s car that hit you. If the police comes to inspect the scene, ask for a copy of the report to keep as potential back-up information in court.
In North Carolina, proving fault is especially crucial when it comes to motor vehicle accident lawsuits. It is one of the few contributory negligence states in the country, meaning that you do not receive any coverage if the court determines that the other driver is not 100 percent at fault. If the defense finds just one excuse that the victim deserves blame (such as wearing dark clothing during a walk at night), then the victim gets nothing even if it is primarily the defendant’s fault. While some are petitioning for this law to change, drivers should focus hard on getting the evidence they need in the meantime.
Contacting the insurance company before an attorney
One of the first instincts most people have after an accident is to notify their insurance company after the crash. While all victims should contact them at some point after the crash, they shouldn’t do this immediately. Insurance companies may try to help you, but they will prioritize their needs over yours and try to minimize the amount of compensation you actually deserve.
The North Carolina Bar Association suggests that drivers should consult a lawyer to discuss potential options and to make the insurance report for them. Attorneys have enough experience dealing with these issues to help you know what your next step should be after the accident. Given how stingy North Carolina’s car accident laws can get, you should consider your legal options before contacting your insurance company to get as much coverage as you need.