Imagine for a moment that you are driving along East Kingston Avenue in Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood, enjoying the sights and sounds of a peaceful afternoon. Your reverie is shattered when your vehicle collides with another vehicle in an intersection.
You’ve just been in a car accident. Do you need a lawyer?
There is no universal answer to that important question. The appropriate response really depends on the circumstances of the motor vehicle crash. Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios and see which answer to that question best suits each one.
A collision with no injuries
Before the crash, you were traveling slowly and so was the other driver. The low-impact collision crumpled part of your vehicle’s left front-end and did the same to the other vehicle’s right front.
You feel fine and the damage appears to be limited to your vehicle. Do you need to contact an attorney?
In this situation, you probably don’t need an attorney to resolve a dispute over who was at fault.
After the crash, make sure all involved are safe and then use your phone to take photos of the vehicles. Also, be sure to call the police and file a report.
North Carolina’s contributory negligence system determines fault after a crash. If your actions contributed to the accident in any way, you’ll be unable to receive compensation.
In a crash that did not involve injuries, it might make the most sense to file a claim with your insurer. If the other driver was at fault, your insurance company will seek compensation from the other driver’s insurer.
However, it’s wise to see a doctor after a crash to be sure you did not suffer any injuries. Not all injuries are immediately apparent (especially true in whiplash in rear-end collisions).
A crash with injuries
Now let’s look at a Charlotte crash in which the vehicles are traveling at higher speeds at the moment of impact.
First of all, check to see if you or any passengers have injuries. If you or a passenger has been injured, call 911. If you have been seriously injured, try to remain calm and still. Wait for medical personnel to arrive and help you.
The most important thing in this scenario is to get the medical attention you need.
Later, when you have time to collect your thoughts, you will find yourself asking that important question: Do I need a lawyer?
One way to get the answer appropriate for this situation is to simply contact a law firm that offers free initial consultations. Speak with an attorney, telling them briefly about the extent of your injuries and the circumstances of the crash.
Some law firms offer representation in cases in which the injuries were minor, while others focus exclusively on representing clients who have suffered serious injuries.
An experienced lawyer can help to determine who was at fault for the crash and whether you should pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.