Damages in Winston-Salem Car Accident Cases
Usually, a car accident leads to two distinct damage claims: the damage to personal property, such as the car, and bodily injuries. Property damage is fixing or repairing the car for the fair market value of the car at the time of the harm. The damages for bodily injuries include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, future impairment, permanent scarring, and things of that nature.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a Winston-Salem attorney to learn what damages you may be able to claim and how to best move forward in your car accident case.
Caps on Damages
The party who is at fault for the collision is responsible for paying property damages. For compensatory damages, there are no statutory caps. There may be limits on the amount of available insurance available, but that is not a statutory cap on damages.
A person’s auto insurance will typically cover property damage and help protect them against car accident damage claims from other people. That includes liability for bodily injuries. A person’s own policy might provide them with medical payments coverage to help with some of their medical bills.
Med Pay in Car Accident Cases
North Carolina has something called medical payments coverage, also called Med-Pay, that is similar to personal injury protection coverage (PIP) as it is called in other states. It is not required in Winston-Salem. It is something that a person has to buy from their auto insurance carrier in addition to coverages they normally understand to be full coverage.
The impact Med Pay has on a car accident case is that it provides some money to help the injured person pay for some of their medical expenses, but only medical expenses. It cannot be used for other damages of a Winston-Salem car accident.
When the injured person does not have Med-Pay, they use on their health insurance coverage if they have any. They can also establish a negligence claim against the at-fault person to recover from their liability insurance.
Everyone should have Med-Pay if they can afford it, as much as they can buy. A common misconception about it is that it can pay for things like time missed from work or pain and suffering, however, Med-Pay is only for medical expenses.
Role of An Attorney
An attorney tries to identify all of the available sources of recovery; all of the available insurance. The attorney identifies those coverages and helps gather the necessary evidence to support each element of damages they are trying to recover. The attorney gathers all the medical records, medical bills, documents about lost wages, and then submits that information to the insurance company to resolve the claim.
The attorney will also develop the claim, secures relevant evidence, gets photographs of the scene and of the property damage, obtain recordings of any 911 calls, and create as complete a picture as possible to support the claim. If the claim cannot be settled, it might become necessary to file a lawsuit at some point. A person would want to have that evidence to support the claim and be prepared if they have to litigate the claim.