Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: ” If an incident report was filled out, do I have a right to receive a copy?”
Accidents are common and can happen in an instant. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities reached an all-time high in 2021. Chances are great that at some time in your life you will be involved in a traffic accident. Fortunately, most accidents are minor fender-benders. However, sometimes a crash results in severe injuries, lifelong disabilities, or fatalities. When an accident happens that is caused by someone’s negligence, that person is responsible for any damages.
When you want to seek compensation for damages due to a negligent car accident, you will need to work with the insurance company. It can also be helpful to seek guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney. Here are some tips to consider when you file a claim and work with the insurance representative.
It is best to gather as much information and evidence about the accident as possible. Your attorney will also work to get information, but there is much you can do immediately after the crash to help your claim. Take photos of the damage and of the location of the accident if you can. Make sure you call the police. Law enforcement will get details of the incident and take statements from drivers and witnesses. Get medical treatment as soon as possible. You will also need to keep medical records and bills that you incurred as a result of your injuries.
Keep in mind that the insurance company will utilize the information and details that you provide to make a determination as to whether the other driver was negligent, and if so, how much compensation you should receive. In North Carolina, the law allows for compensation only in cases in which you were not at all negligent. This means that the other driver must be entirely responsible for causing the accident and your injuries in order for you to collect anything from the negligent driver.
Be Careful When Talking to Insurance Representatives
The insurance representative will want to obtain a statement from you about how the accident happened. It is important to watch your words carefully during the conversation. Keep in mind that what you say could provide the company with information that they might use to show that you were at fault for the accident. The insurance company typically wants to pay out as little as possible and therefore, they might try to deny the claim or lower the amount of compensation they offer. It can be a good idea to talk to your attorney before you speak with the insurance company.
Do Not Wait Too Long to File a Claim
The law limits the time to file a personal injury claim. Generally, you have up to three years to file a claim in North Carolina. The three-year time limit begins on the date of your injury. Remember that it takes time to file a legal claim, and many weeks or months might be spent gathering the documentation necessary. Therefore, you will not want to wait until the last minute. If the insurance company does not provide an adequate settlement, it may be best to take further legal action by filing a lawsuit.
Do Not Accept a Low Settlement Offer
Most accident insurance claims get settled before they head to court. Very often, the insurance company wants to end the claim as quickly as possible and with as little payout as they can. All too often, an insurance company offers a settlement check very soon after the accident. If you accept and cash the check, you are usually waiving your right to seek further compensation or take legal action later. Although you might need the money, take care to avoid accepting a payout that is too low. Consult with an attorney to discuss the details of the case before you make a decision.
The time following a serious accident can be difficult and traumatic. You don’t need to go it alone. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will help to gather information and work on your behalf to negotiate a settlement that covers all your expenses and needs. Do not wait too long to discuss the matter with a lawyer because the law limits the time to file a claim. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.
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