Car wreck injuries create problems most of us never think about, until a wreck happens. If you’re hurt, you may need medical treatment, you may miss work, you may experience pain and suffering. Will the insurance company pay for that? What about the damage to your car? These are the questions that the award-winning personal injury attorneys at the Miller Law Group can answer for you. We have other articles about damage to your car, so this post will focus entirely on your injuries. Some of these answers are different if you’re own the job when you’re hurt, so check out our articles on workers’ compensation. Contact us with further questions about any of this.
If you are injured in a car wreck, it doesn’t matter if you were in a passenger vehicle, a bicycle, or a motorcycle, and it doesn’t matter if you were hit by a driver in their own car or by a tractor-trailer or another commercial vehicle, your rights are the same. You are entitled to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost income (including lost vacation time), and for your pain and suffering. These are called “compensatory damages”. If you are likely to have those losses continue in the future, then you are entitled to future damages as well. You can recover for your medical expenses even if your health insurance pays for some or all of them, because you will often also have to pay your health insurance back. You can recover for lost income even if you took vacation or sick leave to cover your time from work, because you earned that time off, and now you have to give it up because someone else was negligent and caused your wreck. Compensatory damages exist for two reasons: first, they compensate the victim, and second, they deter the defendant (and others in the future) from repeating the same or similar conduct.
In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages exist to punish the defendant for particularly dangerous conduct, and to deter that defendant and others from repeating such dangerous actions in the future. North Carolina only allows punitive damages for drunk driving, racing, and significantly exceeding the speed limit (for example, driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit.) While our Courts have not addressed this issue as of 2019, it’s likely that wrecks caused by distracted driving, like texting and emailing while driving, are also grounds for punitive damage claims.
For all damages, it’s important to remember there are no guarantees: if you have to go to court, a jury will have the final say as to what you can recover, and you will have to present evidence to prove your case. Insurance adjusters know this, and they will negotiate with you or attorneys based on what they think a jury might do. The best way to know and protect your rights is to consult an attorney who knows what they are doing. Many lawyers will claim to know what they are doing, but the award-winning attorneys at the Miller Law Group have been trying cases like these for over twenty years, all across North Carolina. In most cases, our lawyers can tell you whether you need a lawyer in just a few minutes of reviewing your case. That’s important because we only want your case if we think you can do better with us, than without us. If we can’t help, we’ll tell you so. If we think we can help, we’ll take your case on a contingency fee, so we only get paid if we get you a recovery. Contact us today to learn what we can do to help. The consultation is free. At the Miller Law Group, our top-rated personal injury lawyers are here to help. We’ve got your back.