Getting in a car accident in North Carolina can be a shocking, disorienting experience. However, the best thing you can do after a vehicular accident is to seek medical attention. In addition to receiving the proper treatment you require, getting immediate medical care is important for health, insurance and legal purposes.
Vehicular accidents can cause a wide range of physical injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head trauma
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Cuts and lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Loss of limbs
- Shoulder and back injuries
- Leg and foot injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
Not all injuries manifest right away. Some, such as whiplash, can take hours or even days for symptoms to appear. Whiplash is most common in rear-end car accidents and causes ligaments in the neck to extend past their normal range of motion, then snap back violently. Common symptoms include neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and range of motion issues.
Other injuries are not visibly noticeable following a car accident, such as internal bleeding and organ damage. By seeking medical treatment as soon as possible following an accident, the physicians on staff provide the examinations and care necessary to prevent further complications. Waiting too long to receive treatment can cause serious health repercussions resulting in lasting issues. There is also the risk of fatal complications.
Treatment also means there is a medical record of the visit, which includes what injuries the car accident victim sustained, diagnostic testing, treatment, the prognosis, and how long they received care. A medical record provides the victim’s insurance company with evidence of their injuries for coverage purposes. If the victim needs to furnish information to the other party’s insurance company, the medical record once again provides evidence. As a result, the claim can be settled relatively quickly and the victim receives the coverage necessary to relieve medical costs and related expenses.
Why waiting to receive treatment is never a good idea
In addition to delaying essential medical care, those who wait to receive treatment or “suffer in silence” for months do themselves insurance and legal disservices. Some people say they do not want medical care after car accidents because they are afraid of hefty bills their insurance companies might not cover. This is never a good idea for health and safety reasons, and because there are some doctors who do not send invoices until after the patients’ insurance claims have been settled.
Some individuals have insurance that covers their injuries and related damages. Such coverage is referred to as “medical payments coverage” that pays for accident-related treatment costs, which is in addition to what the patient receives from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. As a result, they receive the medical care they need without paying large fees and have funds left over to cover other related costs, such as lost wages and physical therapy.
Steps to take after a Charlotte car accident
After pulling over to a safe area, if possible, it is important to check that everyone is all right and to call 911. Local police and EMTs should arrive on the accident scene quickly to assess the situation and provide emergency medical care as needed. Both the police and the local hospital will provide reports for insurance and legal claim evidence.
The victim should contact their insurance company to alert them about the accident as soon as they are able and consult an attorney regarding what steps to take next. The legal professional will ensure all documents are filed correctly and on time, and provide representation in the event of any issues. They will also help the victim, or plaintiff, determine what damages to request if they wish to file a legal claim. Most car accident damages include:
- Emergency medical costs
- Lost wages
- Ongoing medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
If the plaintiff perishes from their injuries, their surviving family members can seek damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Common wrongful death damages include:
- Medical costs
- Funeral or memorial service costs
- Burial or cremation costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
It can be challenging to determine what damages to ask for while recovering from a car accident. This is what makes counsel from a legal professional so important. Such individuals guide their clients through the claims process to avoid simple errors that can delay damage payouts.
If the car accident occurred in North Carolina, the plaintiff has three years from the date of the incident to file a legal claim as per N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 1-52. Should the plaintiff wish to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, they will no longer be entitled to compensation.
Should you need to file a legal claim following a car accident in North Carolina, do not hesitate to do so as quickly as possible. Call Price, Petho & Associates for experienced help. We have offices in Charlotte, Rutherfordton, and Rockingham, and provide representation for a wide variety of personal injury claims, including car accidents. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today.