What Sorts of Damages Can You Seek After a North Carolina Car Crash?
A car accident can leave you with serious injuries, hefty medical bills, property damage, and psychological trauma. You may also have to take time off work, incurring lost wages and increased financial loss as well.
While the law can’t undo what happened and take your pain away, it enables you to collect money for your losses from all at-fault drivers, other parties or companies who share financial liability for your injury claims, and from their insurance carriers. In North Carolina, here are some of the car accident damages that can be presented and collected following a vehicle accident.
Compensatory damages come in three broad categories: special, general, and wrongful death.
Also known as “specials,” these damages compensate you for economic losses resulting from the accident, including:
- Medical expenses: These include past, present, and future health care expenses, such as prescription drugs, ambulance costs, ER visits, hospital stays, surgeries, specialist appointments, follow-up visits, rehabilitation, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, medical equipment, in-home care, and more. If injuries are ongoing or permanent, you must prove through medical testimony that you will require future medical care, and show the cost of future care before the opposition has to pay for your anticipated future medical needs.
- Property damage: You can claim the costs to repair or replace your vehicle and also collect for other damaged property, such as a broken laptop or cell phone. You may also be able to recover related expenses, such as towing costs.
- Lost wages: If you’ve taken time off work due to injuries and your doctor confirms that you were medically unable to work, you can collect for all missed income arising from the car accident. Even if you have paid sick time or vacation pay, you can still collect for the time you miss from work. If you’ve suffered a permanent disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working in the future, you can also seek compensation for reduced future earning capacity.
Unlike special damages, which reflect economic losses and are easier to quantify, general damages compensate you for intangible non-economic harm, such as:
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering (e.g., anxiety or depression)
- Physical disfigurement or impairment
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
Wrongful Death Damages
This class of North Carolina car accident damages is available to families who have lost a loved one in a vehicle accident. A close family member can seek both general and special damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Compensation for the loss of financial contributions and support previously provided by the injury victim
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
Unlike compensatory damages, which reimburse the victims of motor vehicle accidents, punitive damages aim to punish at-fault drivers and deter others from committing similar acts. This is a civil penalty and financial fine paid to the victim by the at-fault driver.
North Carolina law allows punitive damages in cases involving:
- Willful or wanton conduct
In the car accident setting, the only ground we see to support a punitive damage claim is proof of willful or wanton conduct. Willful or wanton conduct is defined as an intentional disregard for the safety of others. The courts in North Carolina are typically rather strict in these cases, and claims for punitive damages are fairly rare in our state. Typically we see punitive damages awarded in drunk driving cases, and some judges only allow the claim in cases involving repeat offender drunk drivers. Severely dangerous driving and excessive speed and/or racing would also justify asserting a claim for punitive damages.
Speak to an Experienced North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today
North Carolina laws relating to allowable car accident damages are complicated. At Nagle & Associates, P.A., we can help you identify every claim you have for money damages, and we can help you gather and present the evidence necessary to secure the highest possible settlement or trial verdict. Our team can also negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you don’t end up with an inadequate settlement. Carl Nagle, our lead attorney, worked as a claims adjuster and insurance defense lawyer for years. He knows how the industry works and how to fight to collect the highest possible payment for every client.
Nagle & Associates offers a discounted legal fee of 25% of the settlement and 33% for litigated or tried cases, compared to the industry standards of 33% and 40-44%, respectively. You pay nothing until and unless a settlement or trial jury verdict is reached.
Call (866) 631-2228 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our team will explain how North Carolina car accident damages work and help you understand your options. We serve accident victims in Winston-Salem, NC, Raleigh, NC, and statewide.