KELLUM LAW FIRM – NEWS & RESOURCES
How Will My Injuries Claim Be Impacted By The Outcome of A Criminal Case Against The Driver Of The Other Vehicle?
Many accident injury cases are complicated. Not only are the material facts of the accident often difficult to determine exactly, but insurance companies can be very aggressive in defending their responsibility with respect to their client. And in addition to these common problems in being properly compensated, negligent drivers are often also charged criminally when they are involved in an accident. These charges obviously apply when a drunk driver has been involved in an accident, but excessive speed and reckless driving behavior can also be a basis for criminal citations in egregious cases. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys understand this could present an additional obstacle in obtaining proper financial compensation for their clients, and they will move quickly to establish liability.
Criminal Charges And A Potential Settlement Delay Following A Car Accident In NC
The primary issue with a criminal charge for the opposing driver is that it can delay the actual civil trial if one were to occur. Many times insurance companies will know this well in advance and attempt to settle the case without allowing the injured claimant to use the results of the criminal trial as evidence in a civil trial. This is because the evidence could be used for punitive damages consideration in a subsequent civil trial. Insurance companies want to avoid this at all costs when the charged defendant has extensive insurance protection, such as a truck driver with a shipping company employer that could be held liable as well. The evidence exposed in a criminal trial is valid and can be used in a civil trial without question. The result is that a delay in a settlement agreement can often be an advantage for the injured victim, even when waiting for financial recovery presents a hardship.
Claim Defense from Insurance Providers
Another way a criminal charge can impact an accident injury claim is that it may provide encouragement for the insurance company to deny responsibility. This is especially important in North Carolina because of the antiquated contributory negligence law used when determining fault in personal injury cases. This is the most restrictive comparative negligence law in the nation, as any injured claimant can be barred from financial recovery if they are even 1% at fault for their own accident. Insurance companies know this law exists for their advantage, and they abuse it regularly in injury cases that go to trial. Just because a negligent driver is guilty of a criminal charge does not mean they will be held liable for damages in an accident claim. Insurance companies are not focused on obvious and just compensation. They are focused on protecting the guilty client and avoiding paying any injury claim.
Most auto accident cases contain standard compensatory elements for medical bill recovery, ambulatory bills, and lost wages for time away from work when this applies. Injured parties must be employed at the time of the accident for this to be a part of a claim. The real component of the claim that makes the victim financially whole after the fact is the non-economic damages for long-term pain-and-suffering for dealing with the injury for the remainder of their life. This is calculated either by a multiplication factor based on the total compensatory special damages or a per diem allowance calculation. Per diem is generally used when an injured victim cannot claim lost wages. In addition, punitive damages can be available in serious egregious cases where the negligent driver exhibited “gross” negligence. The evidence revealed in a criminal trial can easily become solid evidence when considering punitive damages, an experienced North Carolina auto accident attorney should be retained to fully prepare and present the case. This could create an additional delay, but the outcome can be well worth the wait when true financial justice can be awarded by a sympathetic jury. Insurance companies know this, and they will work diligently to establish even technical fault on the injured party. Extent of injury does not matter to the insurance provider.
It is important to remember that all auto accident cases are unique in some aspect, and even minor details can result in a denied claim when the case is not represented by legal professionals who understand the nuances in North Carolina’s law. If you’ve been involved in an accident on New Bern’s roads and highways, contact an experienced and aggressive auto accident attorney even when it appears the case is obvious with respect to fault. A criminal conviction does not always guarantee an injury settlement will follow. Always obtain legal representation when seeking whole damages because it can be the difference between proper compensation or no compensation at all.
The content on this website is provided for general information only. It should NOT be construed by the reader as LEGAL ADVICE. The LAWS of the Nation and of the State of North Carolina are subject to frequent change and addition. Such changes and additions may periodically render the general information on our website out-of-date, thus, we disclaim any and all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken by the reader based on his or her interaction with the content of this website.
OUR ADVICE TO YOU:
It’s often the case that the outcome of an accident or injury claim can hinge on the smallest of details. While it may seem appealing to try to handle a case on your own, it’s rare that acting independently of a lawyer will yield the best results for the plaintiff. Therefore, whilst we encourage you to read the useful articles at our website, we strongly recommend that you seek sound legal advice before attempting to deal with any type of accident or injury claim on your own.