- August 2, 2023
- Sumwalt Anderson
- Truck Accident
A truck accident can be a terrifying event, and it can have severe repercussions on your life. Whether you are hit by a commercial truck, a big rig, or a semi-trailer, it is certain to knock your life off course.
The strain of medical bills, repair costs, or the cost to replace your vehicle entirely, is overwhelming enough. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one or a permanent disability, it can seem insurmountable. That is why you need a dedicated support team at your back, like those at Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm.
We will work with you to protect your rights after a truck accident and help you recover financially so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. First, it is important to know how to file a truck accident claim in North Carolina.
Filing a Truck Accident Claim in North Carolina
When you are in a truck accident, it is important to file your truck accident claim with the police and with your insurance company as soon as possible. Take care of yourself by getting medical attention and an estimate from a mechanic for any damage to your vehicle. Then, you need to start working towards filing your claim. Here are the steps you will need to follow:
#1: Exchange Insurance Information with the Truck Driver
Exchange insurance information with the truck driver. North Carolina is a fault state, so if the other driver is proven to be at fault for your accident, their insurance should cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. If the driver flees the scene without exchanging information, try to get a picture of their license plate or relay as much information as you can for the police report.
#2: File a Police Report
You may need to call 911 to receive medical attention for yourself or a passenger. Even if you come out of the accident physically unscathed, you will need to file a police report after the truck accident. Be honest and detailed in all your information so that the police report gives as accurate a depiction of the event as possible.
#3: Document Everything at the Scene — and Away from the Scene
Take pictures of any damage done to your vehicle, as well as any injuries you or any passengers have suffered. Get witness statements and pictures of the accident scene itself. Even if you have filed a police report, you will need to keep your own records. This will help to prove the liability of the truck driver if you have to file a suit.
If you receive medical attention, keep the medical report and any invoices. Collect your estimate from the mechanic to present as evidence of your damages.
#4: Hire a Truck Accident Attorney at Sumwalt Anderson
Do not go any longer than you must without legal representation. Hire our team to offer you the support you need. North Carolina’s truck accident laws can be complex, and insurance companies often try to weasel their way out of paying for damages. We will handle your case with care and compassion and will work to provide you with the compensation you deserve.
#5: File a Claim with the Insurance Company
Review the insurance policy and file a claim as soon as you can. Make sure to have all the evidence on hand but keep your interaction with the insurance company to the point. File a detailed report, record the conversation, and leave it at that. Your attorney will take it from there, and in most cases, we recommend that our clients let us handle the insurance company.
The reason for this is that insurance companies are, primarily, a business. Their goal is to make a profit. If they must cover your damages, that can cut into their profits. Insurance adjusters are professionals when it comes to looking for holes in your story, twisting your words, or otherwise trying to find some loophole to ensure the insurance company will not have to pay. Fortunately, our team has extensive experience defending your right to your compensation.
North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Accident Law
North Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning that if the truck driver is found to be at fault in your case, you can sue them to recover damages. However, the state also follows a rigid contributory negligence standard when it comes to accident law. According to contributory negligence, if you are even partially responsible for the accident, the defendant will not owe any damages.
Insurance companies love contributory negligence laws. The insurance company’s attorneys and adjusters will work to try to establish that you may have been partially at fault for the accident, thus absolving them of any need to cover your damages. Therefore, it is important to carefully document everything, as well as to let your legal team at Sumwalt Anderson handle interactions with the insurance company.
What Are Truck Accident Claims Worth in North Carolina?
Every case is different, so the possible compensation will vary depending on your specific truck accident claim. You will likely be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs (in the event of a death)
- Lost wages
- Property damage and repair costs
- Disability, when applicable.
However, you may also be entitled to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are awarded when it is proven that this accident has caused you a great deal of emotional harm, for which the truck driver is responsible. You will need to speak with a mental health professional who can give an opinion regarding your condition. Some non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of society, companionship, and/or consortium.
In extreme cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant for an egregiously negligent or malicious act, or to deter others from engaging in the same conduct. This is often the case with driving under the influence and sometimes hit-and-run cases. These may not apply to your case. It is important to discuss punitive damages with your legal team to determine whether you should pursue them.
The US average settlement for semi-truck accidents, for instance, is around $15,000.00. However, this falls within a wide range. Truck accident settlements can be less than ten thousand or they could reach well into the millions. The severity of damages and the extent of the driver’s negligence play a factor in your settlement, as well as the state in which you live. Because there are so many factors, it is difficult to figure out an average for truck settlements in North Carolina specifically.
What If Your Truck Accident Case Goes to Trial?
In most cases, we will be able to settle your truck accident case with satisfactory compensation in mediation, avoiding the hassle of a trial. We will negotiate with the insurance company and present your case to the best of our ability. The insurance company may counter an offer, which we will relay to you along with a recommendation of how to respond. If you accept the offer, you can receive that compensation and begin moving on with your life.
In some cases, however, the insurance company may present an offer that simply is not acceptable. We will attempt to negotiate, but if they are unwilling to negotiate, we will advise taking the case to trial. Ultimately, the decision is yours, as the client and the victim of the accident.
Going to trial can be stressful. It may mean having to rehash painful details for the court and even for a jury. It can also be tricky because of the contributory negligence law. If the court finds that you are even partly responsible for the accident, you will not be awarded any damages. It is for this reason that we make every effort to settle the case outside of court.
On the other hand, a trial can be rewarding. If we win your case, you can receive a significantly larger payout than you might have received from an insurance settlement. At Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm, we have experience handling both settlements and court trials with successful results, so we are ready for whatever your case may require.
We will bring forward all our records and documentation of the case as evidence, as well as obtain records like driver logs and truck camera videos that may document the case. We can also hire expert witnesses to add gravity to your case. We will fight to ensure you get the maximum compensation that you deserve in your case, whether it be in or out of the courtroom.
Let Our North Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys Help You with Your Case
Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm is committed to personal injury law, including truck accident cases. We have decades of combined experience helping clients through traumatic accidents so that they can get the compensation they deserve.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you or to schedule a free consultation: (704) 377-3770.