Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a crash, you need to protect yourself. You need someone who is obligated to protect your interests. The other driver’s insurance company, in many ways, will act antagonistically to you. And despite its appearance, your insurance company’s primary goal is to protect its own interests, rather than your own. Because insurance companies cannot concentrate solely on your best interests, it’s important that you hire an experienced Wilmington personal injury lawyer to fight for your case and protect your livelihood.
To get compensation that properly covers your injuries and losses, you’ll need the representation of an experienced North Carolina auto accident attorney. Joel Rhine and his team at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., have 30 years of experience standing up to large insurance companies. We’ve won hundreds of millions of dollars for clients. We can’t be intimidated, and we will fight for you.
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Rhine Law Firm, P.C., is happy to assist you with getting your crash report at no cost. Visit our police report request page and fill out our form. We'll take care of the rest.
Rhine Law Firm, P.C., represents those injured in any type of car wreck, from rear-end collisions to multi-vehicle highway collisions. Making a claim while recovering from serious injury can be challenging to do on your own. Our Wilmington car accident attorneys have represented many clients who have been hurt in vehicle crashes due to:
- Speeding by a truck, car, or motorcycle
- Failure of a car, truck, or motorcycle driver to yield
- Dangerous lane changing, passing, merging, or turning
- Distracted driving, including texting or talking on a mobile device
- Inadequate or improper vehicle maintenance
- Drunk, impaired, or tired drivers
- Teenage drivers
- Unlicensed and uninsured or underinsured drivers
- Recreational vehicles
- Collisions with bicyclists
- Semi-truck accidents caused by driver fatigue, negligence, overloaded trailers, or mechanical failures
- Truck underride accidents, which often cause catastrophic injuries or death
- Construction zone accidents
Negligent behavior can include running a red light, failing to yield, tailgating, and other activities that put other drivers at risk on the road. If a driver exhibits multiple negligent behaviors or pairs any negligent behavior with speeding, this may be considered reckless driving. Drivers convicted of reckless driving can face severe penalties and, if they cause accidents that hurt people, can be sued for the victims’ medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
Because North Carolina operates under the principle of contributory negligence, it can be one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to personal injury claims. Contributory negligence is the idea that a victim cannot recover any compensation if he or she was partially at fault for the accident that caused injury—as little as 1% at fault.
There is one other exception to contributory negligence, and that is the "last clear chance" doctrine. In this scenario, a driver who exhibits one act of negligence and cannot stop the impending crash is less liable than another driver who had the opportunity to avoid the accident, but did not. This is used as both a legal offense and a legal defense in contributory negligence cases.
However, this doctrine only applies to negligence. If a person crashes his car into another vehicle through reckless behavior, intoxicated driving, or some other reason other than ordinary negligence, then he or she is liable for the damages, medical bills, and other expenses caused by the accident.
If you did not cause the crash, you should generally file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Most insurance companies will assign an adjuster to handle the property damage claim and a different adjuster to handle the bodily injury claim. It’s important to note that adjusters will normally request that you make a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. If this occurs, never agree to make a recorded statement without first consulting with your attorney.
If you carry collision coverage, you have the option to file a claim for your vehicle damage with your own insurance company, which has a duty to act in good faith toward you. You will have to pay any deductible, but if you were not at fault, your insurance company will usually try to get reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance company. When they do, they must refund your deductible. You are generally required to provide a recorded statement to your own insurance company if they request it, but always check with your attorney first.
Your lawyer will investigate and pursue this claim against the at-fault driver. Let your lawyer communicate with the bodily injury adjuster. Once he or she sends a letter of representation to the bodily injury adjuster, they should not attempt to contact you further.
Several factors influence an insurance adjuster’s assessment of bodily injury claims, such as:
- The significance of vehicle damage and whether airbags were deployed.
- Results of medical examinations and if supporting evidence illustrates the injury, such as through X-rays or MRIs.
- If emergency medical services were necessary.
- The limits of liability under the insurance policy, and more.
Generally, if the at-fault driver renders your vehicle inoperable, that person’s insurance must compensate you for the loss of use of your vehicle. They may provide you with a rental, but they are permitted to pay you a reasonable rental rate for a reasonable time for the loss of use of your vehicle, even if you do not actually get a rental. If your vehicle is not totaled and is able to be repaired, they will owe you for loss of use for the reasonable repair time. If your vehicle is safely drivable, you will be expected to drive it while parts are being delivered to the repair shop, etc., and will be compensated or provided a rental car for the time when the car must be in the shop.
If your vehicle is totaled, you should be provided a rental or otherwise compensated if a substitute vehicle is not immediately available. You may recover for loss of use for the time it takes to reasonably acquire a substitute (usually this means buying a new car). The law does not define how long this is, but typically you can get about two weeks of rental time, depending on the circumstances. Again, you do not have to actually rent a vehicle to receive compensation for loss of use of your vehicle.
If you incur very minor injuries that do not require medical attention, it is probably not worthwhile to pursue the matter further with an attorney. Your best course of action is to focus on having your car repaired. In accidents resulting in moderate or severe injuries, you should always consult with an attorney.
If you were at fault and caused the wreck, you do not have a claim against the other driver’s insurance company for injuries or vehicle damage. If you carry collision coverage on your insurance policy, you can file a claim on your own insurance to repair your vehicle. If the other driver is injured and ends up filing a lawsuit against you, your insurance company is usually required to provide a lawyer to represent you. Our attorneys do not represent drivers who caused the wreck.
The state requires all motorists to maintain auto liability insurance coverage. The minimum requirements are $30,000 per person for bodily injury, $60,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for damage to property. In addition, uninsured motorist coverage is required, and many drivers opt to purchase underinsured motorist coverage.
- Liability for bodily injury: This coverage pays for damages to others in an accident. Examples include expenses for medical treatment, rehabilitation, funeral costs, pain and suffering, and more.
- Liability for damage to property: Covers damages to property of others, including repairs to a damaged vehicle or replacement of totaled vehicle.
- Uninsured motorist: Used when the at-fault driver in an accident does not have insurance.
- Underinsured motorist: Used when the at-fault driver in the accident has insufficient insurance to cover the damages.
North Carolina law allows passengers to bring claims for damages against all at-fault drivers involved in an accident. Passengers who are in a vehicle that is involved in an accident are prohibited from leaving the scene until cleared to do so by law enforcement.
There may be times when a collision is caused by a poorly designed or improperly manufactured vehicle. In these cases, the defective part's maker may be liable for any damage it caused. There have been numerous cases in the past where defective tires, airbags, brakes, and other parts have caused injury and death.
Any injury resulting from a car wreck is unexpected and inconvenient, to say the least. However, the lasting effects of a catastrophic injury or wrongful death require justice.
Our firm can help you hold negligent or careless drivers and their insurance companies financially responsible for your medical expenses, rehabilitative costs, income loss, home modifications (if necessary) and most importantly, the pain and suffering you have endured.
If you have been injured in a car accident, we invite you to contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C., (910) 772-9960 for a free initial consultation with one of our Wilmington personal injury attorneys regarding your legal needs. Our law office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. We offer Spanish interpretation and translation services.
- Do You Have Your Car Accident Kit?
- 6 Things To Do If You’re in an Auto Accident in North Carolina
- 4 Important Types of Auto Insurance in North Carolina
- Catastrophic Injuries in a Wreck Can Change Your Life
- Official Website of the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
- Motor Vehicle Safety - CDC
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Car Accident Overview
- Bicycle Accidents
- Defective Guardrail
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Hit-And-Run Accidents
- Intersection Accident
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Passenger Injuries/Rights
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Recreational Vehicle Accident
- Rideshare Accidents
- Soft Tissue Injury
- Sue Drunk Drivers
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists
- Vehicle Rollover
- Police Report
“They worked hard for me after I was involved in an auto accident. I appreciate their efforts and making me feel like family.”