Car Accident While on Active Duty: What Happens?

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There are thousands of active duty service members in our region of North Carolina. Every day, many of these servicemembers leave their base at Camp Lejeune to travel on the local roads. Unfortunately, some may be involved in car accidents that can cause them injury.

If you are an active duty service member, and you have been injured in a car accident, you have the same rights as any other person. You can obtain full and fair financial compensation when you are able to prove that someone else was to blame for the accident. The Jacksonville, NC, car accident attorneys at Horton & Mendez can fight hard on your behalf.

What to Do After an Active Duty Car Accident in North Carolina

Even though you are serving the American public when you are on active duty, you still have the same rights as any other citizen. Being involved in a car accident does not change things.

There are two steps that you must take after any car accident:

Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries.

They can worsen over time if they have been left untreated. In addition, the insurance company may argue that you made your own medical situation worse by failing to seek medical care in a timely manner.

You must hire an experienced attorney.

Another driver’s insurance company does not care that you are an active duty servicemember. All they see is that you have a claim that may cost them money. They will do whatever they need to so they can compromise your legal rights. An experienced attorney will defend your rights and seek as much compensation as possible for your claim.

Getting Medical Care After an Active Duty Car Accident

The first thing to know: you have the ability to choose and direct your own medical care after the car accident. You do not have to see and be treated by a military doctor. You can see any physician that you want, both for your initial treatment and your follow-up care.

You certainly have the right to see a doctor on base if you choose, if there is a doctor who you know and trust. If you believe that you can get quicker and more convenient care on base, that may be the best thing for you. However, you can also go off-base if you think that it would be more advantageous. You have the freedom to do whatever you think is best for your own situation.

TRICARE Coverage for Your Car Accident Injuries

TRICARE will cover your car accident medical care until you can receive a settlement check from the responsible driver’s insurance company. TRICARE works the same as any other medical or health insurance provider in that it must be reimbursed for the costs that it has already paid once you get a settlement. TRICARE would have its own lien against your settlement.

You need to be mindful of the TRICARE lien. It would be automatically deducted from your settlement. Your attorney can attempt to negotiate a TRICARE lien or file a hardship waiver. You do not want to end up with little to no money for yourself because everything that you get goes to reimburse TRICARE.

It is essential that you know the value of your claim and what has already been spent on your medical care. The good news in this regard is that your attorney would not be paid a percentage of the money that is labelled towards reimbursing TRICARE.

How You Can Qualify for Compensation After a Car Accident?

Other drivers on the road owe you a duty of care. If they breached their duty of care, and it caused you injury, you are entitled to compensation. Like any car accident case, you need to have evidence that shows what the driver actually did under the circumstances so you can compare it to what the reasonable driver would have done.

There may be other ways that you can qualify for compensation, even if you cannot prove the other driver was at fault, but it would be more limited.

Compensation for an Active Duty Car Accident

The fact that you are in the military does not limit the compensation that you can pursue from the responsible party. You are still entitled to the full costs of both your economic and non-economic damages. Your military career may make the computation of damages more complex.

What if I have to leave the military after a car accident?

If you have suffered more than moderate injuries in a car accident, you may no longer be able to serve in the military. Car accident injuries can keep you from meeting the physical qualifications required to remain in uniform.

If you cannot serve after a car accident, you would need to calculate lost wages for the rest of your military career, including potential promotions that you would have received. You may also need to factor in other types of compensation, such as housing allowances and pensions. There may be significant disagreement over the lost wage compensation to which you are entitled. Again, a personal injury attorney would be invaluable as you seek to argue what your path in the military would have been without your car accident injuries.

One option that is not available to you is a lawsuit against the federal government. The Feres Doctrine does not allow servicemembers to take action against the government for injuries that are connected to their military service. Thus, you would be obligated to pursue compensation from the other party involved in the crash.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Jacksonville, NC Today

If you have been hurt in a car accident, the lawyers at Horton & Mendez are the determined fighters that you need to keep the insurance company from taking away your rights. We get to work so you can have peace of mind.

Contact us right after the accident, and we can begin to protect you as soon as possible.

Call us today at 910-405-7751 or message us online to start the legal process with a free consultation. You owe us nothing unless you win your case.

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