Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer

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Compassionate Auto Accident Lawyers

Automobile accidents are responsible for some of the most serious injuries that people sustain nationwide. These accidents can be incredibly traumatic, life-altering, and even fatal. Although the statistics for collisions are on the rise, drivers do not seem to be any more careful on the road.

When an accident happens, a Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you file an insurance claim and a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your injuries.

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents, as drivers take their eyes and attention off the road, thus failing to provide reasonable care for others on the road. As a result, careless and negligent drivers cause accidents that leave innocent parties like you injured.

If you or someone you care about has been hurt as a result of an irresponsible or reckless driver, you should speak with a Charlotte auto accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you file an auto insurance claim against the driver who caused your damages and a personal injury claim if your damages exceed the coverage of a car insurance claim.

Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys You Can Rely On

After the stress and pain of a car accident, you need dedicated legal care from a team focused on you and your family. At Elam & Rousseaux, PLLC, we have more than 90 years of collective experience representing parties who have been hurt in a wide range of different accidents.

We use our years of experience to provide you with support. Our team takes the time to focus on your case. We listen to your needs and those of your family. Then, we investigate the accident and build a claim to defend your rights. We can resolve your claims efficiently while maintaining compassionate and personalized legal care. Call 704-343-0000 or email us today to set up your free consultation with our Charlotte auto accident attorneys.

An auto accident can cause unimaginable strain. You may have to adjust to a new way of life while managing:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain
  • Lost income
  • Physical therapy
  • Property loss

During this time, handling legal claims can feel impossible. Unfortunately, insurance and civil claims must be filed quickly. When you work with the exceptional legal team at Elam & Rousseaux, PLLC, you can have professional support to manage your claims and cover those costs while you recover.

Types of Car Accidents We Handle in Charlotte

It’s important to find a legal professional who has worked with and succeeded in claims that are similar to your accident. Although every car accident is unique and comes with its own complications, an attorney who has some experience in a category of accident may better know the damages available, the parties who may be at fault, and what types of evidence are most important. At Elam & Rousseaux, PLLC, we offer representation for the following types of accidents:

  • Head-on accidents. These accidents often occur when drivers who are fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol drift over the centerline. Depending on the speed of the drivers and whether there is a commercial truck involved, these accidents can be fatal. When a driver does not die from their injuries, they can sustain disabling or catastrophic injuries that require a significant settlement.
  • T-bone accidents. T-bone accidents most frequently happen at intersections. Depending on the speed and size of each vehicle involved, these accidents can be minor, or they can cause severe injury and death.
  • Rollover accidents. These can result in severe brain injuries, head trauma, and crushing injuries. Some types of vehicles are better equipped to protect their occupants in a rollover than others.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents. Multi-car pile-ups and accidents can cause catastrophic harm. They are also very complicated cases, as multiple drivers and other parties could be at fault.
  • Drunk driving accidents. When someone drives their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their reaction speed and vision are limited, and they are less able to make rational decisions. In many cases, a driver who is under the influence is at fault for the accident, but this is not automatic.
  • Fatal accidents. Many types of car accidents result in instant fatalities or severe injuries that result in death, even after treatment. When injured parties die from an accident, and they are not at fault for the crash, their surviving family members or the manager of their estate can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. These claims can obtain coverage for the deceased’s medical costs and other income losses that the family is suffering.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

The cause of a car accident is important, as it can help point to the party or parties that are at fault. An at-fault party has to be determined for those who are not at fault to obtain compensation for property damages, injuries, and other losses. There are many different causes of car accidents, including:

Distracted Driving

This is one of the most common causes of car accidents, and it comes in many forms. Drivers may be distracted because they are texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, messing with a GPS or radio, or talking to passengers in the car. Any action that takes a driver’s focus or eyes away from the road increases the likelihood of an accident.

Speeding Accidents

Speeding can cause many types of accidents, including sideswipes, T-bones, rear-ends, and head-on accidents. When drivers are driving above the speed limit or too quickly for the road and weather conditions, they increase the chances that a crash will happen, and they also increase the resulting damage and injury caused by an accident. A head-on speeding collision is one of the most deadly forms of car crash.

Fatigued Drivers

Driving when tired is just as negligent as when a driver is under the influence or ignoring other traffic laws. Drivers who drive fatigued have a lower reaction speed. They may also fall asleep while driving. Proving that another driver was driving while fatigued can be difficult, but a qualified attorney can help find fault.

Aggressive Drivers

When drivers operate their vehicles recklessly and aggressively, accidents are more likely. Actions such as tailgating, ignoring stoplights and stop signs, brake checking, not responding to changes in road conditions, and refusing to yield the right-of-way are all aggressive or reckless actions.

Driving While Impaired (DWI)

Driving a vehicle while impaired is illegal, and it makes accidents more likely because drivers are less able to make rational decisions. DWI places everyone on the road in danger. When a drunk or impaired driver causes an accident, they may face civil penalties from injured parties in addition to criminal charges. However, a drunk driver may not be the only party at fault for the accident. Other drivers could be found at fault, as well as parties who served the drunk driver alcohol.

Mechanical Failure and Defects

Car accidents may not be caused by either driver’s negligence but by a malfunction or failure in an essential part of a motor vehicle. The brakes and tires may have a defect, or they may fail and cause an accident. Even failures in minor systems in the car can result in an accident.

Sometimes, this means that the manufacturer of the component or the vehicle can be held liable for the accident through a product liability claim. In other accidents, a driver failed to get maintenance when they should have known their car needed it, or maintenance and repairs were done improperly.

Bad Road Conditions

When weather conditions are bad, those on the road must respond to those conditions, and they may need to drive slower or use more caution. If they fail to reasonably alter their driving to accommodate the weather conditions, they may be liable. The road can also be dangerous if it:

  • Is uneven
  • Isn’t properly draining stormwater
  • Has potholes and cracks
  • Has hard-to-read road signs

If the private or government agency that is responsible for the road’s upkeep is failing to maintain it, they may be held liable for accidents.

Each different cause of a car accident comes with its own complications and requirements to prove who was at fault. A qualified attorney is essential to determine the negligent party.

Don’t Wait to File a Claim

Every state institutes a time limit on how long an injury victim has to file a claim before they lose their right to recover compensation, which is called the statute of limitations. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for car accident cases is the same for any personal injury case: three years from the date of injury. If you don’t file within these three years, you lose the right to receive compensation for your damages.

If you would like to file a claim against the government or government entity, you have the same amount of time to do so, but the process to file is a bit different. An attorney from our firm will be able to explain how these laws may affect your case.

It’s also important not to wait long after an accident to talk with an attorney. While three years may seem like plenty of time, important evidence to support your claims may only be available for a short period of time after your accident.

It’s important to contact an attorney quickly after your accident so they can begin compiling and securing this evidence, such as traffic footage, witness statements, and other important evidence. It also gives your attorney time to effectively negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

The time limit to file a car insurance claim varies based on the insurance company, but it should be done as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss the window to receive the compensation you deserve.

If a loved one was involved in a car accident and died from their injuries, family members have a time limit of 2 years to file a wrongful death claim.

Is North Carolina a No-Fault State?

When determining fault in a car accident, most states have a no-fault policy. North Carolina is one of only a few states that follow the “at-fault” policy, which could potentially leave you in a compromising situation. With the fault-based system, the at-fault driver must pay for any damages as a result of the accident, including noneconomic damages. Injured drivers file insurance claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver is uninsured, the injured driver may use their own uninsured driver policy while also filing a civil claim against the driver.

To even begin to file a claim, fault must be determined. This system can make a car accident claim complicated, so it’s in your best interest to hire a knowledgeable Charlotte auto accident attorney. We will work hard to make sure that you receive the full and fair compensation that you deserve after an accident.

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in North Carolina?

If one party behaved negligently, recklessly, or maliciously, they would likely be at fault for the accident. In most car accident cases, the at-fault party is blamed on the basis of negligence.

Both car insurance claims and personal injury claims must determine the at-fault parties. When the compensation in a car accident claim does not cover the damages, a civil personal injury claim can be filed. To prove negligence in a personal injury claim, there must be evidence of the following:

  1. The party owed the injured parties a duty of care. Drivers on the road owe each other a duty to act reasonably and responsibly.
  2. The party breached the duty of care. Certain careless and negligent actions can be considered a breach.
  3. This breach directly led to the accident. This is essential for a claim. A party may have acted negligently, but if their actions did not cause the accident, it is unlikely they will be liable.
  4. The accident caused the injured party legally recognizable damages. This includes economic damages like bills and lost income, along with noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.

In certain car accident cases, multiple parties may have been partially liable. North Carolina is one of the most difficult states for injured parties to obtain compensation for their losses. This is because the state operates under contributory negligence laws. Any party that is found to be even partially at fault for the accident is unable to file for compensation.

This is another reason it’s important to have a lawyer building your claim. They can work to prove that you were not at all to blame for the accident so that you can receive compensation for your injuries.

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina?

Every car accident claim has a different value based on the unique damages, injuries, and harm caused by the individual accident. An accident settlement may be anywhere from a thousand dollars to several hundred thousand. This relies entirely on factors such as:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Whether there are any long-term costs from the injury
  • The amount of time that the injured individual had to take off work
  • The individual’s typical income
  • If the individual is unable to return to work

The compensation in a car accident settlement is directly proportional to the damages that you suffered as the injured party. If a car accident claim covers a portion of the damages, a civil injury claim can cover the remainder. The damages that are available in a civil personal injury claim include:

Medical Costs

Although some medical costs are likely covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance or your own personal injury coverage insurance, more severe or long-term injuries will have more severe costs. These costs may not be covered by insurance claims. A civil claim can cover the remaining costs for:

  • Surgeries
  • Prescriptions
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Physical therapy
  • Hospital transportation
  • Hospital stays
  • Any other medical costs

A personal injury claim could also cover future medical costs that are expected from the type of injuries you have. Medical complications or ongoing treatment should also be considered when determining a fair settlement.

Lost Income

After a car accident, you may have to take days or months off work to recover, depending on the severity of your injuries. You may be able to return to work under limited hours or with a lighter workload, but you are still not able to make your full wages. When you lose income as a direct result of your injury, a civil claim can seek compensation for those lost wages.

Lost Earning Capacity

When you suffer a disability that prevents you from returning to your job in full capacity or even from working in the field you are trained for, it can be financially straining. The income you would have earned in your lifetime that you no longer can earn could be compensated through a personal injury claim.

Property Damage

Property damages to your motor vehicle are typically covered by insurance claims. A civil claim could cover some property damage, including damage to items in the vehicle. A repaired vehicle is often worth less, and this lowered value may also be compensable.

Pain and Suffering

These are noneconomic damages, meaning that they do not have clear financial value, like property damage or the cost of medical bills. Noneconomic damages include:

  • Emotional suffering
  • Physical pain
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement

These and other damages reflect the non-financial pain you are suffering.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are another form of damages, but they are the most uncommon. Punitive damages are only awarded in certain circumstances and have a cap. The at-fault driver may be forced to provide you with punitive damages if you prove that they were liable and at least one of the following applied:

  • They were malicious.
  • The damages were the result of willful intent.
  • There was fraud present.

The cap for these damages is $250,000 or three times the total of noneconomic and economic damages. These damages are assigned solely to punish an at-fault party.

What Are the Benefits of Working With a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer?

There are many ways that an attorney can help with claims after a car accident, easing your stress and improving the chances of the claims’ success. Some of the benefits of working with an attorney include:

  • A thorough investigation into your claim. When you work with an attorney, they can carefully and thoroughly review the accident, the factors leading up to the accident, and all the available evidence. They can determine the at-fault party and work to find evidence to disprove any claims by the insurance company that you were at fault.
  • Maximized and fair compensation for damages. Many people filing personal injury and car insurance claims underestimate the damages they are owed and, therefore, take a settlement that covers only some medical bills and lost income. An attorney understands all the future costs that are available and can determine the value of your noneconomic damages.
  • You do not have to negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney can handle that for you, as they have experience in talking with insurance providers. They also know when negotiation is no longer effective and when it’s necessary to take a claim to court
  • Eases your stress. By letting an attorney handle legal complexities and stressful issues, like insurance companies, you can take the time after a painful and traumatic injury to relax and recover.

Without an attorney, you or your loved ones will have to manage the claims process, and you are unlikely to receive as much compensation. A knowledgeable attorney can support you throughout the claims process and advocate for your right to compensation.

Providing Compassionate Representation

When we take on a new client, we are committed to treating you like you are an individual and not a statistic or a number. We know just how stressful and life-altering being involved in an accident can be. From the moment you are in the collision, your life may be drastically changed. While you are trying to heal, you should not have to fight with the other party or with insurance companies. Let our Charlotte auto accident attorneys and team act as your advocates.

We are here to ensure that your best interests are represented and to work toward a positive outcome on your behalf. When you need compassionate and effective support, contact the team at Elam & Rousseaux, PLLC, today.

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