The first thing that the insurance adjusters will consider is who caused your accident. If you were an innocent guest passenger, you will not have to worry about fault analysis. If you were one of the drivers, you or your lawyers should look immediately at all drivers’ actions to identify all driving errors and accident causes and to eliminate any argument that you may have contributed to causation. Remember, if your own errors contributed just slightly to causing the accident, you have no claims or payment rights in North Carolina!
While not a complete list, the following are the most common causes of car accidents:
- Failure to Yield — This is the most common cause of North Carolina car accidents. Drivers often fail to see other cars, pedestrians, or motorcycles, and they turn across the path of an oncoming car or pull out from a side street or driveway directly into the path of an approaching vehicle.
- Excessive Speed — This factor can be the sole cause of a car accident or a contributing factor among other causes. Excessive speed can be present even when traveling below the posted speed limit if weather or road conditions render it unsafe to travel at the posted legal speed limit. Insurance adjusters often try to blame the victim and suggest that the innocent driver was traveling at an unsafe speed. Remember, North Carolina law provides that if the victim did anything wrong that contributed to causing the accident, the insurance companies owe nothing for your injuries. Avoid admitting to excessive speed, and look out for the insurance adjuster’s efforts to blame you for the car accident.
- Failure to Reduce Speed — This is the charged traffic law violation when a driver strikes another car from behind. Rear-end collisions are very common and can be caused by failure to reduce speed or also by the sudden merge or sudden stopping of the front vehicle.
- Impaired Driving — While less common than other accident types, car accidents caused by drunk drivers frequently occur in North Carolina. North Carolina’s punitive damage laws allow the victim to collect additional payment in cases where a driver is highly intoxicated or guilty of multiple DWI offenses in North Carolina.
- Dangerous Road Conditions — North Carolina has a variety of road types, from major highways to winding mountain roads. In some rural areas, the roads are poorly maintained, making them more dangerous for drivers. Temporary dangers may be present (such as gravel, debris, oil, slick surface), and there may also be unsafe signage (missing stop signs) and unsafe intersections. In these cases, the NCDOT or other local agencies may also owe for the results of your car accident.
- Improper Equipment — This factor may be present on the victim’s vehicle or on the other vehicle(s) involved. Mechanical defects, such as unsafe brakes, unsafe tires, improper lighting, defective steering mechanisms, and other vehicle defects can be the cause of an accident. In some cases, we can also collect from the manufacturer of a defective product, opening additional fund sources to pay for your injury claims.
- Improper Merge and Unsafe Movement — Another common cause of North Carolina car accidents is failure to maintain lane. When a car occupies the blind spot of another driver’s car or truck, often, the driver will merge without warning directly into the occupied lane.
- Overreaction to Danger — This is a common cause of car accidents, and insurance companies often try to blame the victim for overreacting to a sudden danger. We can help you to prove that your reaction was entirely reasonable because of the sudden emergency that was created by the at-fault driver.
You or your lawyers should immediately investigate the collision scene, review the police report and all photographs, consider points of impact and extent of damage to all vehicles, and secure driver and witness statements. Look also for hidden defendants. For example, if a driver was working when he or she caused your accident, his or her employer would also owe for your accident claims. Consideration of all accident causes will allow you to properly identify all causes of your accident to ensure that you can prove all driver errors and collect the maximum payment from all other drivers and insurance carriers who owe for your injuries and vehicle damage.