Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
North Carolina Personal Injury Laws
Being injured in an accident can dramatically impact your life from a personal and medical perspective and also a financial one. When you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of others, the path to physical and financial recovery can be a complex one. Whether you suffered an injury in Asheville, Chapel Hill, or Greensboro, learning more about the laws that govern personal injury in North Carolina can help you navigate this process.
What Can You Do Right After An Accident?
Of course, seeking medical attention right away is important to treating your injuries. If you are able to take these additional measures, they may help also help your case.
Taking pictures of your injuries or property damage along with keeping track of all documents, appointments, bills, and time out of work can help you start your claim on the right track.
There are multiple factors that may influence your claim, such as:
- Who caused your injury
- The type of injuries you suffered
- In what location you were injured
- How the injury occurred
Learning more about North Carolina injury law can help you understand your rights, and finding a qualified injury attorney to advocate for you will put you in a better position to recover financial compensation for your loss.
Liability for North Carolina Injury Claims
Personal injury claims fall under tort law, which allows you to recover for damages incurred from the negligent or intentional acts of another person. North Carolina injury law differs from most states. These differences can have major implications for your claim and makes it even more important to hire a knowledgeable injury attorney to advocate on your behalf.
Negligence Claims in North Carolina
Typically, to receive compensation for a negligence claim in North Carolina, you need to show the person who injured you:
- Owed you a duty to act reasonably. for example should follow traffic laws
- Breached their duty and acted unreasonably, for example, ran a stop sign
- Caused your injuries as a result of their actions, for example you have a broken leg or whiplash
- Made you suffer damages, for example you have lost wages and unexpected medical bills
However, North Carolina is one of four states that follow the pure contributory negligence doctrine. This means that if it is determined that your actions at all contributed to your injuries, you cannot recover any damages at all.
Product Liability in North Carolina
A product liability claim allows you to hold anyone in the chain of manufacturing responsible for injuries caused by a defective product or warning label. These claims typically follow the doctrine of strict liability to hold the manufacturers responsible for your injuries. Recovery under strict liability means you can hold the company accountable by simply proving it is their defective product that caused your injuries without establishing negligence.
Premises Liability in North Carolina
Premises liability claims come from injuries sustained on the property of another person or business. North Carolina property owners are responsible for taking reasonable care to maintain the premises and inspect for potential dangerous hazards. Depending on your relationship with the owner of the property, they may have been required to warn about the existing hazard.
The North Carolina Injury Claims Process
The process of your claim will be specific to your situation and the injuries you have suffered. For minor injuries with less than $4,000 of damages, you may wish to handle the claim on your own in small claims court.
Car accident claims usually start with filing a claim and communicating with the insurance company of the driver who hit you, along with your own insurance company to receive compensation. However, North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence doctrine often leads to disagreements between the insurance companies when establishing who is at fault for the accident. If this occurs or you are dissatisfied with the settlement offer, you may opt to pursue a lawsuit.
Injury claims involving substantial bodily or property damage along with heavy financial burdens may necessitate litigation. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complications that go hand in hand with severe injury cases.
The litigation process typically begins with pretrial discovery, which consists of collecting evidence, taking oral depositions, hiring expert witnesses, and answering written questions called interrogatories. From here, you may opt to take a settlement offer finalizing your claim or proceed with a trial.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you have injuries that caused substantial damages, or your claim may be affected by North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence doctrine, hiring a personal injury attorney can be crucial. Starting your search for an attorney soon is critical as well. North Carolina law has statutes of limitations that set a period of time you may file a claim from the date of your injury.
An attorney can also review your case to determine the types of damages you are eligible for and assess what your damages may be worth given your specific circumstances. While attorneys are ethically bound not to promise a specific amount, working with an experienced attorney can help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
Many injury attorneys offer free initial conversations to go over your situation and explain the complexities of North Carolina injury law that your case may involve. Most injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, allowing them to get to work right away and allowing you to pay them a percentage of your compensation when you recover damages.