The Different Types of Personal Injury Claims in North Carolina

Every year, North Carolina residents suffer injuries in incidents caused by the negligent or intentional conduct of third parties.

When a person causes and injury to another, the person causing the injury may be liable to the injured person, and the responsible person may be ordered by a court to pay money damages to the injured person.

Most personal injury claims in North Carolina involve negligence, or unintentional conduct. Claims involving unintentional conduct are more common than intentional injury claims because accidents—incidents that are unintentional—are often covered by a policy of insurance.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Are the Most Common Personal Injury Claims

The most common personal injury claims stem from motor-vehicle accidents. Every year, millions of Americans suffer serious, sometimes fatal, personal injuries in car accidents. In a motor-vehicle accident case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted negligently and that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the victim’s personal injuries.

A driver engages in negligence when one breaches a duty owed to a third party. Many of the duties imposed upon drivers are set forth in a state’s motor-vehicle statutes. Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable caution and due care. If a driver fails to use reasonable caution and causes a collision, the driver may be liable to persons injured in the collision even if the driver did not violate a motor vehicle statute.

Breaches of Medical Standard of Care Can Lead to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

When a medical professional fails to treat a patient in accordance with the accepted standard of care, an injured patient may bring a claim against the medical professional. A claim brought against a medical professional is called a “medical malpractice” action. Medical malpractice actions commonly arise from one or more of the following medical errors:

  • Misdiagnosis;
  • Improper prescriptions;
  • Surgical errors;
  • Mistakes in administering prescriptions;
  • Pharmacy errors;
  • Birth injuries;
  • Failure to diagnose serious medical conditions.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be incredibly complex. An injured patient must prove that the medical professional failed to adhere to the applicable standard of care when administering treatment, and that this failure caused the patient to suffer injury. If a doctor failed to diagnose lung cancer after viewing diagnostic reports such as radiographs (X-rays) or computed tomography scans (CT scans), a plaintiff would need to prove that a reasonable doctor would have detected a tumor and rendered a correct diagnosis.

The plaintiff would also need to prove that but for the misdiagnosis, one would have received treatment faster, which could have prevented the spread of the cancer, and ultimately stopped it from becoming more serious or terminal.

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is three years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the injury. It is important to act quickly on medical malpractice actions in North Carolina, because a plaintiff must hire a medical expert who will qualify to testify regarding the standard of care before filing suit.

Premises Liability Lawsuits Arise From Negligence of Property Owners

So-called premises liability actions arise when a person is injured as a result of the negligent conduct of a property owner. Property owners in North Carolina must warn persons of any hazards that are not readily apparent. Of course, property owners do not owe trespassers such duties.

The traditional “slip-and-fall” or “trip-and-fall” cases may be more difficult to pursue in North Carolina than in other jurisdictions because the Tar Heel State employs the doctrine of strict contributory negligence. That doctrine means, in effect, if one does not watch one’s step and falls, one will not be able to win money damages from a property owner for the fall.

North Carolina’s laws regarding dangerous dogs, on the other hand, is strict. A person is injured by a dog that has run off from an owner’s yard will have a strong negligence case against the dog owner.

Persons Injured in Workplace Accidents May Have Multiple Claims

When workers are killed or injured on the job, their representatives can file Workers’ Compensation claims through their employer. In some cases, workers can maintain workers’ compensation and personal injury claims arising out of the same incident.

Contact an Attorney

If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury arising from the negligent or intentional conduct of a third party, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced professionals. Call us at 704-370-2828 or fill out our online contact form. Arnold & Smith, PLLC handles personal injury cases throughout the State of North Carolina.

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