Car Accident Lawyers Serving Wilmington, North Carolina
Car accidents leave people in Wilmington seriously injured every day. If it happens to you or someone in your family, you should get information about whether you are justified in seeking compensation for your losses.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Hardison & Cochran help people who have suffered serious injuries in car accidents in Wilmington, New Hanover County and across southeastern North Carolina. If another motorist’s carelessness has caused you injuries, medical expenses, or lost wages, one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers can help you understand your legal options and represent you if a claim is in order.
The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran have more than 30 years of experience standing up for North Carolinians who have been injured in auto accidents. Schedule a free consultation about the prospects for recovering compensation in your car accident case. Contact us today.
What Types of Injuries Can Be Compensated?
A car accident claim seeks to ensure that the victim does not lose money because of injuries that were someone else’s fault. In most cases, medical expenses make up the largest share of accident expenses.
Among the most common injuries we see are:
- Soft Tissue Injuries. Blunt force trauma in a collision can cause sprains, strains lacerations and other damage to muscles, ligaments and tendons. Soft tissue injuries to the back or neck can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues. “Whiplash,” which most often occurs in rear-end collisions, is a serious soft tissue injury to the neck.
- Broken Bones. Fractures range from greenstick fractures to compound fractures, in which a broken bone pokes through the skin. The older a person is, the harder it is for a broken bone to heal fully and correctly and the longer the recovery.
- Chest & Abdominal Injuries. Impacts with interior surfaces of a vehicle in a collision can crush the sternum, rupture the diaphragm, break ribs or hips and/or damage internal organs like the liver, spleen, bowels and kidneys. These kinds of injuries typically require emergency surgery.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis, which is the loss of function in one or more limbs (paraplegia) or over larger portions of the accident victim’s body (quadriplegia). There is no cure for paralysis and, even with the least loss of function, lifetime medical costs for a paraplegic run into millions of dollars.
- Head/Traumatic Brain Injuries. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to torn tissue, bleeding or other physical damage to the brain. A concussion is a mild form of brain injury that usually clears up over a few weeks. But a severe brain injury can cause lasting cognitive damage, communication problems and behavioral and emotional changes. TBIs are treated with medication, ongoing counseling and, in some cases, surgery.
There are many car accident injuries that require emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation. Disabling or long-lasting injuries can cause the accident victim to no longer be able to work for a living and may lead to depression or other emotional problems. You may be able to recover your financial losses through a car accident claim handled by an experienced personal injury attorney.
How We Pursue a Car Accident Claim in Wilmington
A person who has suffered serious injuries in a car accident may face tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills, loss of income from missed work and potentially diminished earning prospects in the future, as well as physical pain and emotional trauma.
If another driver was responsible for the car accident, the at-fault driver can be legally compelled to compensate the innocent accident victim for his or her losses. This is the role of auto liability insurance, which car owners in North Carolina are required to maintain, or other types of insurance, such as business liability insurance.
A car accident attorney can help you pursue a claim for compensation and work to ensure that the insurance company does not take advantage of you. If you do not have an attorney advocating for you, the insurance company will work to pay as little as possible to settle the claim or deny responsibility altogether.
We investigate car accidents. At Hardison & Cochran, our attorneys work with investigators and accident reconstruction experts as needed to determine precisely how a client’s car accident occurred and who should be held responsible. We analyze whether speeding, drunk driving, fatigued driving or distracted driving contributed to the crash and collect evidence to build a solid case. We also determine whether additional parties should be held liable, such as an at-fault driver’s employer or a bar or restaurant that served alcohol to an underage driver.
We consider the full impact the car accident has had on you. Once we determine who is at fault, we identify all the insurance policies that may be sources of compensation. We gather your medical records and consult with your doctors about your recovery prospects. We assess the changes in your lifestyle to determine what the car accident has truly cost you and your family.
We seek full compensation for your losses. We send a demand letter to the insurance company and outline your claim and evidence to support it, and the amount you are owed for your injuries. North Carolina civil law allows you to seek compensation in a car accident claim for:
- Medical expenses. Compensation to pay for all doctor and hospital bills, medications, physical therapy and other medical care related to the accident. This includes the cost of ongoing care or delayed medical treatment.
- Lost income. Compensation for economic damages you have suffered due to missing work, including lost wages and other income, such as the value of unrealized employment benefits. In cases of lengthy recovery or disability that affects your ability to work, we would calculate and seek compensation for lost earning capacity.
- Property damage. This is typically the cost to repair or replace a vehicle involved in the car accident.
- Pain and suffering. North Carolina allows non-economic damages for the physical pain and emotional suffering you endured as a result of your injury.
- Punitive damages. In certain cases, we can demand compensation to punish a wrongdoer who caused a car accident through willful acts or malicious conduct.
Our Wilmington accident attorneys negotiate aggressively and are ready to go to court. Most car accident cases are settled without going to court. But when an insurance company will not do what is right, we will proceed to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. We can continue to press for a proper settlement as we prepare to present a strong and persuasive case in court.
Hardison & Cochran can handle all of the paperwork required for your insurance claim, including obtaining referrals for medical care, car repairs or other assistance. You should be allowed to focus on your medical care and recovery.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident in Wilmington
Under North Carolina’s statutes of limitations, most personal injury lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of injury. Because of the time necessary to investigate and gather evidence, then locate and negotiate with responsible insurers, it is best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after a serious car accident.
At Hardison & Cochran in Wilmington, your initial legal consultation about a potential car accident claim is free. As we investigate and pursue your claim, we do not charge any fee unless we recover money for you.
After a car accident, you should:
- Call police. Report your accident with a 911 call to obtain assistance and to get the basic facts of the accident in a police report. Do not let anyone talk you out of reporting the accident.
- Get medical care. If you need emergency care, ask for an ambulance. Otherwise, see a doctor within 24 hours of the crash. Numerous serious injuries have symptoms that develop after a day or longer. In addition to receiving needed care, seeing a doctor creates a record of your injuries.
- Cooperate with the other driver and police. Gather your license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance to give to police so they can make a report and share this information with the other driver. Do not discuss the details of the accident with the other driver or make accusations. Do not admit fault when speaking with police.
- Document the accident. Take photos of the accident scene and damage to cars, skid marks and your injuries. As soon as you can, write out or record in your own words what happened. As you go forward, save all bills, receipts, reports, and correspondence related to the accident and your injuries.
- Contact your insurance company. Report the accident but decline to record a statement and do not sign anything from an insurance company unless advised to by your attorney. Be careful not to blame yourself for the accident or to downplay your injuries. Be wary of quick settlement offers.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in the Wilmington, NC, Area
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident someone else caused, it is crucial that you take steps to protect your legal rights. When handled properly, you can recover full compensation in a car accident claim. The car accident attorneys of Hardison & Cochran care about what you are going through, and, most importantly, we know the law and how to make it work for you.
Contact a Wilmington car accident attorney at Hardison & Cochran. Rely on the personal injury attorneys that North Carolinians have turned to for 30 years. Call us toll-free at 800-434-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We are ready to help you.