Every year, too many lives are turned upside down by the reckless decisions of drunk drivers.
Driving while impaired can culminate in irreversible, life-changing consequences for victims, leading to physical, emotional, and financial hardships.
The journey towards healing and justice isn’t always straightforward; but, with the right approach, it can be navigated with resilience and determination.
This article helps shed light on some vital steps that anyone wrongfully injured by a drunk driver should consider and how our Greenville car accident lawyers can help.
As advocates for those injured due to the negligence of others, we believe that it’s essential for victims to be empowered with knowledge – Kevin Jones, Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Seek Immediate Medical Attention Following an Accident
The moments following traumatic car accidents are often a whirlwind of emotions, where pain and clarity can take a backseat.
It’s quite common for accident victims to be overwhelmed by adrenaline and shock, two powerful things that can temporarily numb pain and give a deceptive sense that everything is OK.
It’s not unusual for accident victims to downplay, misinterpret, or outright dismiss injuries, saying to themselves, “I’m fine.”
For some, just being alive after a traumatic car accident overshadows serious injuries, including broken bones and head injuries.
In fact, some traumatic brain injuries result in victims not understanding the full nature and extent of what may be a life-threatening injury.
Undetected internal injuries and latent symptoms can also be waiting to emerge. Some injuries only become evident hours, days, or even weeks later. Common accident injuries include things like:
- Back, Neck, and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Cuts, bruises, and abrasions
- Muscle and ligament strains
- Whiplash – Soft Tissue Injuries
- Broken Bones and Fractures
- Internal Bleeding
- Concussions and Memory Loss
- Inability to focus
The first thing to do after an accident is to seek medical attention, even if you feel fine. A thorough medical evaluation can detect any hidden injuries and prevent them from worsening.
Document Your Injuries and Keep Track of Medical Expenses
Medical records are crucial pieces of evidence that help establish the extent of your injuries and support your claim for compensation.
As stated, given the unpredictable nature of injuries in car accidents, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even seemingly minor injuries can quickly escalate if left untreated.
In addition to seeking immediate medical attention for physical injuries, it’s also essential to prioritize mental health after a traumatic event like a car accident. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to develop anxiety, depression, or PTSD in the aftermath.
Documenting your injuries and keeping track of medical expenses can help provide a clear picture of how the accident has impacted your life physically, emotionally, and financially – Kevin Jones, NC Accident Lawyer
By seeking medical care without delay, accident and drunk driving victims help ensure they’re not overlooking potential harms that might have long-term implications.
Healthcare professionals bring a trained eye, capable of identifying and addressing injuries that might elude the untrained observer. Their intervention helps ensure any harm, visible or hidden, receives the appropriate treatment.
Moreover, visiting a medical facility promptly results in a documented record of the injuries and the care provided.
This documentation is more than just a medical history; it’s tangible evidence.
In legal disputes, these records can play a crucial role, acting as proof of the trauma and damages sustained, potentially confirming the injured party’s claim for damages.
Beware Insurance Adjusters: A Cautionary Tale for Accident Victims
In the emotionally charged aftermath of an accident, the unexpected outreach from insurance adjusters might initially seem like a comforting gesture.
Their approach, often cloaked in sympathy and concern, can make it appear as if they are genuinely interested in the victim’s well-being.
Yet, this facade hides a more calculated motive that car accident victims should be wary of.
Some adjusters, while professionally cordial, primarily serve the agenda of their employers, the big insurance companies – Kevin Jones, Accident Lawyers Greenville NC
The insurance companies, driven by the motive of profit, dictate the adjuster’s role and objectives.
It is not inherently wrong for an insurance company to protect its interests in a car accident claim.
However, the methods employed by certain insurance adjusters to do so can be questionable at times.
One of their chief tactics is to seek statements from victims soon after the incident.
On the surface, this seems like standard procedure, a mere formality in the claims process.
But the underlying intent may be more sinister.
These seemingly innocuous conversations are opportunities for adjusters to find inconsistencies, contradictions, or even admissions, no matter how minor, to mitigate or eliminate the company’s liability – Kevin Jones, Greenville Accident Lawyer
They aren’t interested in full and fair compensation after car accidents. They don’t represent car accident victims or your legal interests.
It’s within this context that providing statements, especially when emotions are raw and memories might be muddled, becomes a potential pitfall.
A single misphrased sentence or an unintentional omission can be weaponized, leading to reduced claims or outright denials.
Engaging with the Greenville car accident lawyers at Dodge Jones Injury Law Firm before speaking with adjusters can help ensure that a car accident victim is not only aware of their rights but also proficiently guided in their interactions.
This strategic move helps maintain the integrity of the insurance claims process, serving to balance the scales of justice.
Why it makes sense to hire a Greenville Personal Injury Lawyer
Navigating the world of personal injury law can be challenging and overwhelming for many individuals.
The legal system is layered, and to the untrained eye, its many facets can be difficult to decipher.
This is where an experienced car accident attorney in Greenville NC can serve as a beacon of clarity.
We are not just well-versed in the letter of the law but also have substantial experience in the insurance claims process.
One of the primary roles of a Greenville car accident lawyer is to demystify this system for our clients.
We translate legal jargon into everyday language, making the process more transparent and understandable.
By doing so, we remove some of the inherent intimidation and anxiety that can come with legal proceedings associated with auto accidents in Greenville, North Carolina.
Beyond this, attorneys offer a compassionate ear.
We understand that behind every case, there’s a human being with concerns, fears, and hopes.
We are not just representing a claim; we are advocating for an individual, ensuring that your story is heard.
Car accident lawyers also bring a depth of experience in dealing with insurance companies.
Insurance adjusters in North Carolina often have vast resources at their disposal, and an individual might feel dwarfed when facing them alone.
A personal injury attorney in Greenville NC helps level the playing field, keep negotiations fair, and look out for your best interests.
In essence, while the legal system can be intricate and intimidating, a personal injury attorney serves as a guide, ally, and advocate.
Our role is to support, educate, and stand by our client’s side, making a potentially harrowing journey a more manageable and human one.
When is the best time to hire a lawyer?
We think the best time to hire a lawyer for a car accident claim is immediately after the wreck has occurred.
In the wake of an accident, victims are often bombarded with a myriad of concerns ranging from physical injuries to emotional trauma, and amidst this chaos, critical legal timelines and processes begin.
Engaging with an attorney from the outset also helps ensure that evidence is preserved, witnesses are interviewed while memories are fresh, and your rights are safeguarded from the beginning.
This prompt action can be pivotal, as certain pieces of evidence, such as skid marks or vehicle damages, can be quickly fade, be removed or repaired.
Additionally, there might be strict legal deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, which dictate the timeframe within which a lawsuit or claim can be filed.
For example, the Statute of Limitations in North Carolina for a Wrongful Death cause of action is less than that for a personal injury claim for damages that did not result in a fatality.
Missing these deadlines can jeopardize your right to recover damages in any way, even if the person who caused your injuries and losses is 100% liable.
Should give a statement to the Insurance Adjuster?
Insurance companies are quick to act, often reaching out to victims in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Their goal, more often than not, is to settle quickly and for the least amount possible. Having legal representation early on can prevent victims from inadvertently accepting lowball offers or making statements that might later be used against them. An attorney can help navigate these conversations, protecting your best interests.
Furthermore, the sooner an attorney is brought into the picture, the more comprehensively we can assess the situation, advise on potential courses of action, and build a robust case if litigation becomes necessary. It also provides peace of mind to the injured party, allowing you to focus on recovery while your legal matters are being handled. In summary, while you might consider waiting or attempting to handle matters on your own, we firmly believe the complexities and stakes involved make it prudent to seek legal counsel without delay after an accident.
Is Drunk Driving Gross Negligence?
In North Carolina, drunk driving is not only a criminal offense but can also be considered a form of gross negligence in civil litigation. Gross negligence is typically defined as a conscious and intentional disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable harm to others. Drunk driving can fall within this definition because operating a vehicle while impaired compromises the driver’s ability to make sound judgments, react quickly, and drive safely, thereby putting others at significant risk.
The very act of driving under the influence demonstrates a blatant disregard for the rights and safety of others on the road. It’s widely recognized, both legally and socially, that alcohol impairs coordination, slows reaction times, and hampers decision-making. Therefore, drunk driving may be seen as a substantial deviation from the standard of care expected of responsible drivers.
Gross Negligence and Damages
The characterization of drunk driving as gross negligence can profoundly impact a damages claim for injuries in several ways. For one, it can increase the amount of compensation awarded to the victim. In drunk driving personal injury cases, punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future, can be sought in addition to compensatory damages.
Moreover, the label of gross negligence can influence the overall perception of the case. Juries and judges might be less sympathetic to a defendant who was driving while intoxicated, given the widespread public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. This societal condemnation can tilt the scales in favor of the injured party, potentially leading to larger settlements or verdicts.
Is there a cap on Punitive Damages in NC?
Unlike some other states, North Carolina has a cap on punitive damages for many personal injury claims.
However, there are exceptions to this cap, and one of the notable exceptions is for injuries caused by a drunk driver.
This means that if a victim can establish that their injuries were a result of an accident caused by a driver under the influence, the potential punitive damages could significantly exceed the usual limit.
Punitive damages are meant to serve two primary purposes: to punish the wrongdoer for their egregious conduct and to deter similar behavior in the future.
Given the severe risks associated with drunk driving and the conscious decision to engage in such a dangerous activity, juries may be more inclined to award these damages in drunk driving cases.
Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers – Dodge Jones Injury Law Firm
Navigating the aftermath of an accident, particularly one involving drunk driving, is never a straightforward journey.
It can be a tumultuous time filled with pain, questions, and the quest for justice.
In the heart of North Carolina, where the complexities of contributory negligence intertwine with the potential for uncapped punitive damages against drunk drivers, victims often find themselves at a crossroads.
Every individual’s story, their pain, and their hope for a better tomorrow deserve acknowledgment and understanding.
At such pivotal moments, the support of those who not only understand the law but also genuinely care can make all the difference.
The Dodge Jones Injury Law Firm in Greenville NC stands as a beacon for those seeking guidance, compassion, and advocacy. A car accident lawsuit isn’t always required.
We recognize that behind every case is a person, a family, a life irrevocably changed.
Our Greenville car accident lawyer helps with a wide range of different issues, including recovery of damages for lost wages, medical bills, future expenses, and even wrongful death claims.
As we reflect on the implications of drunk driving in our state, it becomes evident that while laws and penalties serve as necessary deterrents, it’s the human touch, the genuine compassion, that truly aids in healing.
For those affected, reaching out for experienced legal counsel isn’t just about claims or compensations; it’s about finding a partner in the journey towards recovery and justice.
In the landscape of North Carolina’s legal intricacies, having a trusted advocate by your side, like the team at Dodge Jones, can be the first step towards reclaiming a sense of normalcy and hope.
Helpful Information about Accidents
- What you need to know about Personal Injury cases in NC
- Who is responsible for an accident?
- With negligence, there’s no such thing as an “accident”
- Trucking Accidents: They’re different – What you need to know
- Who has the Burden of Proof to prove CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE?
- What does UM/UIM mean?
- What is MedPay and How Does it Work?
- Are Motorcycle Accidents treated differently?
- More information about DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS IN NC