General Information About Automobile Accident Claims
If you have been in injured in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to monetary benefits to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. North Carolina is a “fault based” state, meaning, you go after the person’s insurance who was at fault in causing the accident. This is called Liability Insurance.
The Liability Insurance carrier is responsible for compensating you for any medical bills you have incurred, any time you missed from work (regardless if you use vacation or sick leave) and a reasonable amount for your pain and suffering. In addition, if your injury is permanent, you are entitled to “future damages” including future medical bills, future lost wages and future pain and suffering you may incur. The insurance company will generally not pay your medical bills as you treat, but rather they want to settle with you in one lump sum payment. Thus, you should be extremely wary of any insurance adjuster that wants you to quickly accept an amount of money in exchange for a Release. You should NEVER settle your claim until you are 100% recovered and are assured that your injuries are completely healed. If you settle before that time, you may be cheating yourself out of future damages.
If you cannot settle your claim with the insurance company, you do have the option of filing a lawsuit. This means that you can put your claim in the North Carolina court system and have a jury decide the value of your case. You do NOT have to be a U.S. Citizen to obtain benefit from our Court system. The mere fact you were injured in the State of North Carolina allows you to bring forth your claim, regardless of citizenship.
If you have been injured, do not trust the insurance company to offer you a fair amount. It is best that you seek legal representation if your injuries appear to be significant or cause you to miss time from work. You have three years from the date of an accident to either settle your injury claim or file a lawsuit. If you do not meet this time frame, you are forever barred from pursuing a claim against the insurance company.