How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Drunk Driving Accident?

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An hourglass with the sand ran out, resting on a desk, with a blurred man on a laptop in the background reaching for it.North Carolina has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim for damages from a motor vehicle accident. You have three years from the date of the collision to file your lawsuit or claim.

If someone was killed in the accident, the family has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.

It is never wise to wait until the deadline to file for damages. Evidence can disappear and facts become convoluted.

It also takes time to gather all documentation and other evidence about your case and then adequately prepare your claim or lawsuit. It is best to begin the process soon after your accident.

There are situations where waiting is beneficial, such as waiting for medical treatment to complete to get accurate evidence of cost, but this strategy should be discussed with your lawyer as other aspects of your case can be prepared while you wait.

Does a DUI Have a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations in North Carolina for a DWI, driving while intoxicated, or DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is two years. A drunk driver has to be charged within that time frame.

A statute of limitations is meant to protect against charges being filed after an extended amount of time has passed. If too much time has passed, the case becomes stale because witnesses forget details, and evidence may disappear.

It is important to note that DUI charges are filed in criminal court which is independent from civil court, where your personal injury case is filed.

What Is the Best Way to Begin?

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident is overwhelming.

You probably have multiple bills adding up, you may have lost your only method of transportation, your physical injuries are painful and are preventing you from returning to work, and the driver’s insurance company just tried to offer you a low settlement offer.

The team at Tatum & Atkinson understands your frustration. We have over 60 years of combined experience in dealing with these situations, and the best way to begin is by calling us at (800) LAW-0804.

Your circumstances are unique, and we will tailor our approach to your case accordingly. We can guide you through the process or take over and just keep you informed of our progress.

The most important thing for us is that you recover both physically and financially as soon and as completely as possible.

Call as Soon as Possible

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin building your case. We will start working by:

  • Investigating the Collision
  • Gathering Evidence
  • Getting Witness Statements
  • Collecting Footage From Nearby Businesses and Homes
  • Examining the Police Report
  • Hiring an Accident Reconstruction Specialist
  • Acquiring Dashcam and Bodycam Video From Police
  • Getting the Results of Any Additional Blood Alcohol Content Tests Not Included in the Police Report

We will use this information to determine the fault of the other driver through negligence or reckless conduct. We will also build a defense against any accusations of negligence on your part.

North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Law

According to Forbes, contributory negligence in North Carolina prohibits anyone with a shared fault in causing the collision from seeking compensation for damages. Insurance companies often use this law as a way to avoid parting with their assets.

Your lawyer at Tatum & Atkinson will combat any false accusations that come your way. Through a thorough investigation of the accident itself, we will discover what really caused the crash and have evidence to back it up.

Individualized Strategies

The details of your case will determine how we proceed in negotiations with the insurance company or in building a solid personal injury lawsuit. Whether or not a settlement offer will be accepted is always your decision, but we will make sure you are making an informed decision.

Whether or not we bring your case to trial will also be your decision.

We work for you. We have the experience and expertise that you can trust, and we will guide you through the entire journey towards your fair compensation.

Compensation to Expect

You can expect to be compensated by the driver or their insurance company to recover your losses from:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Estimated Loss of Future Earnings
  • Rehabilitation Costs
  • Prescription Medication
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Property Damage
  • Wrongful Death

Medical Expenses

You will be fully compensated for all accumulated medical bills along with future medical expenses that you may receive to treat any accident-related injuries.

Be sure to get medical attention as soon as possible after the accident so that you will have documentation linking your injuries to the accident.

Lost Wages

The time you spend unable to work while recovering from your injuries is time that you are not earning your regular income.

You may be using up your allotted sick time or disability, but these often pay a reduced rate and might not last long enough for your recovery. You may even lose your job entirely.

You should be compensated for these financial losses.

Estimated Loss of Future Earnings

If you have to work at a reduced capacity due to injuries caused by the accident, you can claim your loss of future earnings.

Rehabilitation Costs

Depending on the nature of your injuries, there is a strong possibility that you will require some type of rehabilitation. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain management, and psychotherapy are some examples of rehabilitation.

Prescription Medication

The cost of medicines that your doctors prescribe for you because of your accident will be reimbursed. This amount includes the cost of medication you will be required to take long-term as long as it directly results from the accident.

Pain and Suffering

Common injuries, such as brain and spinal damage, are debilitating and permanent. All pain, the reduction of your enjoyment of life, and emotional damage will receive a value for your compensation.

Property Damage

Your vehicle and whatever property you had with you that was damaged during the accident will be added up for the cost of repair, replacement, or any reduction in value.

The same applies to damage to your property that the defendant caused if they were in a single-car accident and damaged your home.

Wrongful Death

The family of victims who were killed by a drunk driver can file a claim for wrongful death. If convicted, the defendant will have to pay monetary compensation to the family or dependents.

The defendant will likely face homicide charges in criminal court as well. Do not forget that the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims states that they must be filed within two years of the victim’s death.

Contact the Heavy Hitters to Get Paid Fast

Filing a claim for damages against an aggressive insurance company may seem daunting at first, but the compensation makes it worth it. A drunk driving accident lawyer will fight this battle for you, so you can relax and focus on your health.

The drunk driving accident lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson will negotiate to get you the best compensation possible and take your claim to court if necessary. You will not pay our attorneys anything until you get paid.

Call us at (800) LAW-0804 for your free consultation to see how we can help you.