What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit in North Carolina?
A personal injury claim arises when a person is injured as a result of another person’s negligent or intentional conduct. Personal injury cases can be brought in North Carolina when either the plaintiff—the injured person—or the defendant—the party at fault for the incident that caused the plaintiff’s injury—resides in North Carolina at the time an action is filed.
Personal injury claims are called “torts.” When a person intentionally injures a person, this is called an “intentional tort.” When a person injures someone by accident, this is called an “unintentional tort.” Most personal injury claims involve unintentional torts. Insurance companies write policies that protect persons when they unintentionally injure someone and become liable for the injury they caused. Most insurance polices do not cover intentional conduct.What is a Personal Injury Claim?
“Personal injury” is an area of law that covers injuries and accidents that cause harm—both physical and emotional—to persons. When a distracted driver causes a crash and the driver of the other vehicle or passengers in either vehicle suffer injury, the injured persons can bring personal injury claims against the distracted driver. Unless an injured person settles a claim out of court, an injured person, or plaintiff, must bring a lawsuit or administrative law claim to recover any compensation for the following losses related to an incident:
- Medical treatment;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Property damage;
- Emotional distress.
North Carolina employs the doctrine of strict contributory negligence. This means that if an insurance company can prove that an injured person contributed to the injury-causing incident in any way, the injured person is barred from obtaining any compensation. In other states, the amount an injured person recovers may be reduced by the percentage of the person’s fault. In North Carolina, by contrast, even where an injured person is only one-percent at fault for one’s injury, the injured person is barred from recovering any compensation.Value of a Personal Injury Claim Depends on a Range of Factors
The amount of damages to which an injured person may be entitled is generally related to the nature and extent of a person’s injuries. In many cases, a personal injury attorney may employ financial experts to determine the future financial losses an injured person will suffer as a result of a personal injury. Experienced personal injury attorneys can assist injured persons in determining a claim’s value by:
- Investigating and thoroughly documenting an incident and related injuries;
- Uncovering all potential causes of a personal injury incident;
- Determining the identity and whereabouts of all potential at-fault persons;
- Gathering evidence to use in support of a personal injury claim;
- Compiling and organizing medical bills and other case expenses;
- Analyzing the effects of an injury on future earnings and earnings potential;
- Formulating arguments to make in support of a claim for damages.
Our legal system is a “self-help” system. That means that a person can represent oneself in nearly any kind of claim, including in a personal injury claim. In many cases—especially those in which the at-fault party’s liability is clear—an insurance company will contact an injured person directly and offer to pay the person a specified amount of money in exchange for a release of all claims.
While an injured person may receive the money quickly, the money may not be enough to cover the medical bills and liens that have arisen from the injured person’s medical treatment. The release of claims absolves the insurance company of any liability for those bills or liens. The injured person is left holding the proverbial bag.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to identify the many players and all of the moving parts in a personal injury action, and the attorney can work to protect an injured person’s interests. Various entities—insurance companies, hospitals, chiropractors—may be interested in seeing a person recover from one’s injuries, they are also driven by a financial interest that is adverse to the injured person’s interests.
The interest of a personal injury attorney working on a contingency basis, by contrast, is exactly the same as that of the injured person: maximizing the amount of money the injured person receives from an insurance company, and minimizing the amount of money the injured person has to pay to third parties.Contact Us Today
The professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC will fight hard to make sure an injured person receives the compensation that one deserves. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys. Call us at 704.370.2828 or fill out our contact form online. Arnold & Smith, PLLC handles personal injury cases throughout the entire Tar Heel State.