Personal Injury Claims in Charlotte: Investigation & Claim Preparation
Determining liability and identifying insurance coverage in North Carolina claims
The investigation of the accident is the very first step in the claims process that we undertake on your behalf. In addition to taking your statement, we obtain a copy of any police or investigative reports, speak to witnesses and to other parties, obtain photographs of the scene and any vehicles involved.
In addition to speaking with non-expert witnesses, Price, Petho & Associates may speak with traffic reconstruction professionals, product safety experts, doctors skilled at analyzing medical malpractice, and other people.
Frequently Asked Questions about personal injury claim investigations
How do authorities investigate an accident?
The police are normally called to investigate any type of motor vehicle accident including car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. In fact, if someone is injured, it is generally mandatory to contact the police. The priorities for the police are to help anyone who is injured get medical help and to prevent any other accidents from happening.
The police will ask everyone for the car registration, driver’s license, and insurance information. They’ll then examine the accident site and speak with the drivers to determine how the accident occurred. The police will prepare a written report that includes all the driver and accident information they observed, including whether an ambulance or emergency medical transport service needed to be called. The police report is usually available at the local police station.
The police may also prepare citations if they think a driver was speeding or violated a traffic law. In some cases, such as if they believe a driver was intoxicated, they could file criminal charges.
The police report is just a starting point. The report is not a determination of liability.
Accident investigators understand what to look for such as the speed limits, number of lanes, tire tracks, amount of traffic, visibility lines, and many other details. The investigators also examine vehicles involved in crashes to determine if the location and type of damage indicate fault. They examine what conditions caused someone to fall such as broken tiles, warning signs, and conditions that could lead to slippery floors.
Our investigators are skilled at speaking with any witnesses who may have helpful information. The investigators take photos and videos and may canvas nearby areas to inquire if anyone nearby may have images or videos of the relevant events.
They’re also skilled at looking for and examining any other types of helpful evidence.
What are traffic reconstruction experts?
In most vehicle accident cases, it’s fairly clear how the accident happened and who is responsible. In some cases, we may work with accident reconstructionists who use engineering principles, computer graphics, and vehicular data to show how the accident happened. These professionals are more commonly used when there are multiple collisions, multiple victims, and when liability is otherwise uncertain.
Price, Petho & Associates works with skilled reconstruction professionals and other expert witnesses when necessary to help prove driver negligence.
What other investigations may be necessary?
We may also work with product safety experts, fire professionals, building code experts, engineers, architects, and other experts to help show an accident happened. We also work with our network of doctors to help show if your treating doctor committed medical malpractice.
The professionals we work with are normally experienced at both determining liability and explaining what happened to juries in non-expert terms.
Which documents are reviewed in an accident investigation?
Each party to a case can request to see the relevant documentation the other party has.
Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers want to review all the insurance policy terms and limits, any records of driver distraction such as smartphone use before your accident, notices or prior complaints to property owners, all medical records and reports in medical malpractice cases, hours of service records and electronic logs in truck accident cases, and many other records.
Normally, the defense lawyers will want to examine all your medical records and any other relevant information.
If a defendant doesn’t fully comply, we will ask the judge assigned to your case to order the defendant to comply.
How do your lawyers prepare a property damage claim?
Lawyers typically prepare property damage claims by following these general steps:
- Gathering information. The lawyer will gather information about the property damage, including the cause of the damage, the extent of the damage, and the value of the property before and after the damage occurred. This may involve conducting an investigation, reviewing photos, and obtaining estimates for repairs.
- Evaluating insurance coverage. The lawyer will review the insurance policies to determine the coverage available for the damage. This includes assessing whether the damage is covered under the policy and what the policy limits are.
- Assessing damages. Once the information is gathered, the lawyer will assess the damages and determine the appropriate legal theories to pursue. This may include claims for repair costs, total loss, loss of use, or diminution in value.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. The lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement for the damages. This may involve submitting documentation of the damages, providing evidence of the value of the property, and engaging in settlement discussions.
- Filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to provide a fair settlement, the lawyer may file a lawsuit to recover damages for the client. In this case, the lawyer will prepare the necessary legal documents, present evidence to the court, and argue on behalf of the client.
In general, preparing a property damage claim involves a thorough understanding of the law, the facts of the case, and the insurance policies involved. It requires careful attention to detail and a strong ability to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that the client receives a fair and just settlement.
How do I know how much insurance coverage the other party has?
In North Carolina, car insurance coverage is required by law. The minimum coverage required is liability insurance, which covers damages that drivers may cause to other people or property while operating their vehicles. That minimum is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per incident (30/60). Beyond liability insurance, several other types of car insurance coverage are available, including:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage protects you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured.
- Collision coverage. This type of coverage pays for damages to your vehicle in the event of a collision, regardless of who is at fault.
- Comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused by non-collision events, such as theft, fire, vandalism, or natural disasters.
- Medical payments coverage. This type of coverage pays for medical expenses incurred by you or your passengers because of an accident.
- Personal injury protection (PIP). PIP coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related expenses in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
If you are having difficulty obtaining information on the other party's insurance coverage, you may want to consider speaking with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer from Price, Petho & Associates. An attorney can help you obtain the necessary information and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
It is important to note that even if you know the other party's insurance coverage, it does not necessarily mean that you will receive the full amount of the policy limits. The insurance company may dispute liability or damages, or the other party may have multiple claims against their policy. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
Do you have a personal injury lawyer near me?
Yes, we do. While our central office is located at 1430 Elizabeth Ave. in Charlotte, we have additional satellite offices located in Rutherfordton and in Rockingham. If you’re too ill to come to our office, we will make arrangements to see you at your home, a healthcare facility, or through a video conference.
Assert your rights. Contact our experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyers today.
Price, Petho & Associates has been a strong advocate for personal injury victims for more than 40 years. We understand how to conduct investigations and discovery, precisely because we’ve tried and settled many cases and obtained many strong verdicts. We understand how the information we obtain in these investigations and the discovery process are used to convince insurance adjusters and juries of the strengths of your claim. To assert your rights after an accident, please call or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We represent accident victims and families in Charlotte, Rockingham, Rutherfordton, and across North Carolina.