A car accident can be a life-altering event. Sometimes, in a more serious accident, hospital bills can mount. In those instances, a personal injury case aided by an attorney can help get your finances and life back on track.
Mark V.L. Gray II is the managing attorney of Gray Legal Group, a North Carolina based personal injury attorney. For those pondering a personal injury claim, Gray offers four key insights.
1. Know who is at fault
For a personal injury claim to have legs in North Carolina, Gray said, the injured party cannot be at fault.
“In North Carolina, the rules are very strict,” he said. “We are one of the few states that follows contributory negligence. If it is considered that you contributed at all to the accident, you are not allowed to recover medical damages.”
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If there is contention about who is at fault, a police report is considered the most objective determinant. So it is important for those intending on pursuing a personal injury claim to obtain a copy of that document. Photos of the accident can also be helpful in proving fault, Gray said.
2. There must be an injury
“Something that most people have a misconception is that being in a car accident means you have a case,” Gray said. “Getting hurt in an accident is what makes a case.”
In terms of the strength of the case, a court will evaluate damages, meaning how significant the injury and the associated financial ramifications are. Damages can include medical bills and lost wages. Just think, how much have I been damaged that an outsider can understand and place value on. No other person can feel your pain, the only way to paint the picture is through your medical treatment and the resulting bills and diagnoses. Because of that, keeping track of your medical bills is an important aspect of a personal injury case.
3. There are two types of claims
When there is an auto accident there are two types of claims. A property damage claim is the standard one to restore your car to its previous form or recoup value. A personal injury claim is independent of any sort of property damage claim.
“Your insurance company will file the property claim on your behalf,” Gray said. “But when it comes to an injury claim, insurance companies don’t really know the extent of an accident. For a personal injury claim, you have to file a notice of claim, which might be where you want to consult an attorney.”
4. Representation matters
Most firms, including Gray Legal Group, will work on contingency with personal injury claims, meaning the attorneys take a small cut of whatever the case yields and you don’t have to pay up front. Having the right attorney by your side is the best way to make sure that you maximize your case.
“You technically can do your case without a lawyer, but don't expect the same outcome. You technically could fix your plumbing issues yourself, but you're probably not going to get the same result as when you hire a plumber," Gray said.
“This is what we do for our clients at Gray Legal. We are going to make sure that if it gets to this point, you are going to get the best resources and funds for your claim.”
Click here to learn more about Gray Legal Group.