North Carolina Car Accident Settlements: What You Need to Know for Maximum Compensation

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Written By Rocky Horton

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If you are seeking a car accident settlement in North Carolina, you or a loved one may have been involved in a serious crash. You may be wondering about the factors that affect the size of your settlement and how to maximize the payout to pay for your injuries and property damage. I wrote this short guide to give you a practical breakdown of North Carolina accident settlements, which includes the factors your insurers will take into account as well as some recent examples of similar cases in your state.

However, in my experience, the best thing you can do to learn more about your unique situation is to contact an experienced accident attorney near you. They will know the steps you should take, the statutes that are relevant to your case, and the factors you can control when filing for a car accident settlement in North Carolina.

Average Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina

This is an important point that I tell everyone who asks me about the average car accident settlements in North Carolina, or any state: average compensation amounts, if they could even be calculated, have no bearing on your case. I often speak to people who have researched cases, expecting to be able to get a certain amount from their claim without realizing that numerous factors change the calculation.

One thing I can tell you is that the CDC reports the total cost of traffic crash deaths in North Carolina as $2.26 billion (2018). Significantly, only $18 million of this was due to medical costs. The remaining $2.25 billion was for work loss costs. This should start to give you an idea of how future losses factor more heavily into the total settlement amount than current injuries in most cases.

I kept this information general because no two case settlements are alike or have any measurable impact on how much someone else will get in their situation. Since your situation is unique, any site that gives you a hard number as an average is running the risk of giving their potential clients false expectations. This is why an experienced attorney is your best guide to finding out the value of your case based on the factors that insurers and judges look for when awarding payment.

Factors That May Affect a Settlement

Breaking down the factors that can affect a settlement is clear-cut compared to trying to calculate the average payments for a whole state. Though each case is unique, investigations into the circumstances of the accident usually follow a pattern that attempts to identify and value each of these key factors:

  1. Were there injuries sustained, and if so, how severe are they?
  2. Was anyone killed in the accident?
  3. Were there multiple victims in the accident?
  4. Will you need medical treatment in the future?
  5. Will your injuries affect your ability to work?
  6. Can fault be clearly determined?
  7. What are the state’s statutes concerning fault?
  8. How much coverage do the drivers have?
  9. How long are you willing to wait to receive your settlement?

These factors affect settlements not only based on the reality of the situation but also on the evidence that is available to support the claim. In other words, it doesn’t matter how severely you were injured if you do not properly report and document the injury according to your insurer’s guidelines.

This is another area in which experienced attorneys can be a big help by knowing how to navigate the statutes of the state as well as the guidelines of the local insurers when filing your accident case.

Car Accident Settlement Examples

Car accident settlements increase in value when injuries are sustained that impact the victim’s ability to work or live as they used to. Recent cases in North Carolina include a man who fractured his thigh bone in a collision and was awarded $130,000. Yet, another case involving a head injury was awarded $300,000.

Severe injuries have been compensated in recent North Carolina accident cases as much as $3.25 million while minor injuries have received as little as $7,248. I’ve seen many minor injury cases where the settlement didn’t even cover the victim’s medical bills. This is why you need to understand how the factors listed above will affect your settlement size.

What Factors Will Affect the Size of My Car Accident Settlement?

In my experience, the primary difference between a high and low settlement is the presence of identifiable injury claims that can be conclusively connected to the accident and which impact the victim’s ability to work. If no one sustained injuries, or the injuries were not sufficiently treated by a medical professional in time to document them, the insurers will likely settle for a low amount to cover repair costs.

In addition to treating your current injuries, you may require extended medical treatment. Your attorney will use your doctor’s prognosis as a basis for calculating the cost of treatment moving forward, including therapy, medication, and transportation costs, as well as the cost of any procedures they think you will need. Once the initial treatments have been calculated, your attorney will use your tax records to calculate the value of any wages you will lose as a result of your recovery. 

Cases with multiple victims, especially when more than two cars are involved, are often rewarded larger settlements due to the extent of the damage. Commonly, these accidents involve larger vehicles such as 18-wheelers. Not only will many people seeking a car accident settlement in North Carolina lose wages while they recover from their injuries, but many of the victims in multi-vehicle crashes are never able to work at their jobs again.

Your coverage amount at the time of the accident, as well as the coverage of the other driver(s), also has a significant impact on your settlement since it determines what the insurance company is obligated to pay.

Seeking a Car Accident Settlement?

If you are seeking a car accident settlement in North Carolina, you’re likely looking for strategies to maximize the value of your case. In my experience, the biggest reason that car accident victims fail to get an adequate settlement is a failure to properly document their injuries after the accident. Insurance companies always look for ways to suggest that your injuries occurred after the accident, were the result of pre-existing conditions, or weren’t as severe as you claim.

This is why proper and timely documentation from accredited medical professionals is key to maximizing your settlement. Always accept medical attention at the scene, even if you don’t think you were injured, and see an emergency room doctor or your primary care physician as soon as possible after the accident, preferably the same day. Their prognosis will help you prove the value of your case to the insurers and the judge if your case requires a legal decision.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for Help

If you or someone you love is seeking a car accident settlement in North Carolina, you are likely dealing with numerous tasks for which you weren’t prepared. These include recovering from your injuries, notifying your employer, reporting to the insurance company, visiting your doctor, getting your car repaired, and more. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the complicated settlement process so you can focus on your recovery.

Every state has different statutes that dictate how cases are settled. An attorney near you will know the process of filing in your state, the right strategy for negotiating with the insurers, and the best ways to maximize your compensation so you get the settlement you deserve.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.