What Type of Damages are Available to North Carolina Car Accident Victims?
If you have suffered injuries from a car accident in North Carolina, you are probably feeling anxious and overwhelmed. In addition to healing from your injuries, you are likely facing medical bills and possibly an inability to return to work. If you are unable to return to work, you are likely concerned about paying your housing, food, and other essential expenses. If you are a parent, you are probably worried about paying your bills and taking care of your children who are dependent on you.
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our attorneys emphasize how difficult recovering from a car accident can be for our clients. Many times, our clients’ lives are put on hold while they await compensation. That is why we work efficiently to assist our clients in receiving compensation in as timely a manner as possible. Over the years, we have helped many North Carolina residents recover damages for their injuries. Every day, our Charlotte personal injury attorneys help our clients hold negligent drivers accountable. Contact our law firm today to set up your free initial consultation.When are Negligent Drivers Liable Under North Carolina Law?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a civil lawsuit. To succeed in a civil lawsuit, you need to prove that the defendant driver’s negligence caused your injuries. Drivers owe other drivers a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances. Drivers breach their duty of care when they act negligently, not reasonably. The plaintiffs need to prove that the driver’s negligent action or inaction directly caused their injuries. Finally, you will need to prove that you are injured and the extent of your injuries.Successful Car Accident Plaintiffs are Entitled to General Damages
Plaintiffs who prove all of the elements of negligence are entitled to general, compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are the most commonly awarded damages in personal injury lawsuits. North Carolina recognizes several different types of compensatory damages.
- Medical bills generally include all of the following expenses:
- Emergency transport via an ambulance
- Surgery costs
- Hospital stay costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Physical therapy costs
- Specialist appointments
- Diagnostic tests
- Future ongoing care caused by the car accident
- In-home health care aide
- Medical equipment
- Successful plaintiffs are also entitled to lost past wages. Lost income includes any commissions, wages, and bonuses you would have earned if your injuries had not occurred.
- If the car accident resulted in a permanent disability that prevents you from working, you may be entitled to the value of the wages you will lose in the future. In order to recover lost future wages, you will need to prove that the injuries you received make it impossible or extremely difficult for you to earn a living.
- Successful plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for their property damage, including any damage to their car.
In addition to physical injuries, many car accident victims experience mental and emotional suffering. North Carolina courts can award car accident victims compensation for their pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can be more difficult to prove than physical injuries. Skilled mental health specialists can testify as to someone’s mental health symptoms, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mental anguish
It is wise to keep a record of your mental health struggles that have resulted from your car accident. These documents can help substantiate your pain and suffering claims.In Egregious Cases, Plaintiffs May be Entitled to Punitive Damages
If the defendant acted fraudulently, with malice or with willful or wanton conduct, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Willful and wanton conduct refers to an intentional disregard for the safety of others. The defendant must have known, or should have known that his or her actions would likely result in damage or injury. An example of willful or wanton conduct would include defendants who were intoxicated at the time of a car accident.If You Have Suffered an Injury in a North Carolina Car Accident, We can Help
We understand the stress involved in recovering from a car accident. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our skilled car accident attorneys fight hard for our clients to receive the highest possible compensation. Contact our Charlotte law firm today to set up your free initial consultation.