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Wilmington Passenger Injury Attorneys

Were You A Passenger Hurt In A Car Accident?

If you were a passenger in a car accident and were injured, what should you do? Aside from seeking any necessary medical attention, you should know that you have the same rights to file an injury claim. If you were a passenger involved in a motor vehicle accident, the lawyers of Rhine Law Firm, P.C., in Wilmington can help. We represent car crash victims and their families throughout North Carolina.

We Stand Up For Passengers' Rights in Wilmington

As a passenger, you have the right to seek compensation for injuries you sustained as a result of someone else's negligence. Our attorneys will take steps to determine the cause of the collision, whether it was the negligent actions of another driver or the carelessness of the person who was driving the vehicle in which you were riding. If the latter is the case, we strongly recommend you have separate counsel from him or her to prevent a conflict of interest.

Passenger injuries are common in multicar collisions, especially those involving 18-wheelers. The catastrophic injuries, such as head or spinal injuries that are often sustained in such accidents, can result in extensive medical bills, lost wages, long-term disability, and diminished quality of life. We have decades of experience helping clients pursue full and fair compensation to which they are entitled for these setbacks.

However, keep in mind that this can be a complicated process. When you were the passenger involved in a crash, many different factors must be determined. One of them is which driver is at fault for the car accident. Another is quantifying the compensation you deserve. As an experienced Wilmington personal injury firm, we can guide you through the process of litigating a claim against the at-fault driver or his or her car insurance company.

Avoid Being Take Advantage of by Insurance Companies

Auto insurance companies have representatives looking out for their best interests and they know that you may sue for personal injuries. Passengers are often friends or relatives of the driver who is at fault. The insurer knows that in these instances the passenger would rather not sue. Do not be taken advantage of in this situation by accepting an insufficient settlement offer. If there was more than one driver that caused the accident, it may be necessary to file claims with both insurers to fully recover. These are just a couple of reasons why it is critical after being injured in a car accident to retain legal counsel with the knowledge and experience to assist you.

NC Liability Insurance Requirements

The state requires motorists to maintain auto liability coverage that covers injuries and property damage that are the driver’s responsibility (i.e., for when that driver is "at fault"). This coverage applies to the driver and other family members in the household, as well as to individuals that the driver allows to borrow his/her car. The state-required minimums of liability coverage are:

  • $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
  • $60,000 of bodily injury coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 of property damage coverage

Damages typically associated with bodily injury include medical costs, funeral costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Property damage includes damage to another person’s vehicle, or coverage for other property such as objects the driver hit during an accident.

Medically-Specific Coverage & Uninsured Motorist

Medical Payments Coverage (“Med-Pay”) is an optional coverage. Some states call a similar coverage personal injury protection (PIP); however, it is not available in North Carolina under this name. Med-Pay coverage is designed to pay medical expenses for an insured and passengers stemming from an accident without regard to fault. (Not everyone will have Med-Pay in North Carolina, but your attorney can check.)

Uninsured motorist insurance provides coverage when the driver at fault does not have liability coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage when the driver at fault has liability limits that are insufficient to cover the expenses incurred.

Riding as a Passenger with a Drunk Driver

North Carolina is one of only a few states that has strict contributory negligence. If you choose to ride as a passenger in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated driver, the driver (or his insurer) may contend that you contributed to your injuries and are not eligible for recovering damages. The law states that even if you were just partly to blame, you may not be eligible to receive compensation. Another rare scenario is if you were to knowingly allow an intoxicated driver to operate your vehicle and ride as a passenger; in which case you may be charged with aiding or abetting a DUI. In fact, the Charlotte Observer recently reported a case where this occurred involving a former North Carolina State Senator.

Punitive Damages in Auto Accidents

North Carolina law allows for punitive damages under certain circumstances. The plaintiff must first clearly prove one of the three following aggravating factors: fraud, malice, or that the actions of the defendant were conducted in a willful or wanton manner. Willful or wanton actions may be intentional or done with conscious disregard or indifference for the rights and the safety of others. These damages are designed to punish the offender and to deter others from demonstrating similar behavior.

Awards for punitive damages in auto accident lawsuits are very uncommon. The standard required is high and difficult to prove. These damages are limited to three times the total of the other awarded damages in the case or $250,000, whichever is greater.

When It Really Matters - Contact a Wilmington Passenger Injury Lawyer at Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

As a passenger in a car accident, it is sometimes more difficult to file a claim than if you were the driver. Let the experience of the Wilmington car accident attorneys of Rhine Law Firm, P.C., assist you in the process. We invite you to contact us at (910) 772-9960 or (866) 772-9960 toll-free today for your free consultation. Office hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments also available.

Additional Information

“They worked hard for me after I was involved in an auto accident. I appreciate their efforts and making me feel like family.”

ReviewerFive Stars

-Becky, posted at Google Review

When it Really Matters When it Really Matters

Contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

Working with our firm means your needs will be met and your questions answered by someone who knows your name and the details of your case — every time you call.

Contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C., at (910) 772-9960 or (866) 772-9960 toll free for a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend appointments upon request. Office hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments also available. We also offer Spanish interpretation and translation services.

Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

1612 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 300
Wilmington, NC 28403
Toll Free: (866) 772-9960
Phone: (910) 772-9960
Fax: (910) 772-9062
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Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, Rhine Law Firm, P.C. represents clients statewide. We Regularly Meet With Clients After 5 P.M. And On Weekends

*Disclaimer: This is an advertisement by Rhine Law Firm, P.C., 1612 Military Cutoff Rd., Suite 300, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403. The Rhine Law Firm, P.C., is licensed to practice law in the state of North Carolina and does not seek to practice in any other state or jurisdiction. To the extent that you reside in a state other than North Carolina, the Rhine Law Firm, P.C., may associate counsel licensed to practice law in that jurisdiction if necessary to comply with any and all rules of professional conduct.

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This advertisement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, either express or implied. Prior outcomes do not guarantee any future results. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. Do not rely on this advertisement in making any medical decision. Please call your physician before making any medical decision, including altering your use of any drug or treatment.

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