It is important to know your rights and responsibilities following a car accident in North Carolina. Doing something wrong could hurt your chances of securing a settlement, while the right steps could maximize payout.

Throughout the claims process, insurance companies, the other driver and the other driver’s lawyer will work against you. Strengthening your case every chance you get can make all the difference.

Do: gather information yourself

 Although the responding police officer should gather information for you, it is in your best interests to collect the facts yourself. Take photographs of the accident and your injuries or property damage, if possible. Get the other driver’s name, insurance information and a contact number. Request a copy of the police report and all medical documents.

 Do not: hurt your chances of claim approval

The best way to maximize your odds of a successful insurance claim is not to admit fault for the car accident. North Carolina is a fault-based insurance state, meaning you will be responsible for paying damages if you caused the crash. Do not make it easy for the insurance company to refuse your payout. Do not admit fault.

Do: be careful when talking to claims adjusters

 An insurance claims adjuster will be in charge of reviewing your claim and deciding whether to approve or deny a settlement. The adjuster’s goal is to minimize your payout or to avoid paying you entirely. Be careful during conversations with the adjuster, as you could say the wrong thing and reduce your odds of a settlement. Do not grant permission to record a statement, as the law does not force you to do so.

 Do not: try to settle a serious injury claim alone

Negotiating with an insurance company after a serious injury accident can be difficult. Luckily, you do not have to go through it alone. Working with a personal injury lawyer can balance the scales between you and the insurance provider. Your lawyer can take care of the negotiation process or a legal battle while you focus on your injuries.