North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit - Pre-Trial Motions

NC Personal Injury
By Kimberly BishopJune 25, 2024

A Personal Injury Lawsuit is unnerving for everyone involved, Plaintiff, Defendant and especially witnesses. Today, we are trying to address one of the stickiest issues at pretrial: Motions.

The Bishop Law Firm represents victims in personal injury claims in Raleigh, CaryFayettevilleDurhamRocky Mount, WilsonSmithfieldLouisburgChapel HillRoanoke RapidsGreensboroWinston SalemGreenville and surrounding areas in North Carolina.

We do not get paid unless we win your case, and we offer free case reviews.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit

What can you recover from NC personal injury lawsuits?

Under North Carolina law, a victim can recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering and possibly punitive damages from a personal injury case. A deceased person's family can also recover for the wrongful death of their loved one.

See North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer

Personal injuries include injuries caused by someone else's negligence. This includes injuries sustained in car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, dog bites and more.

See North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If the at-fault party or their insurance company will not offer an injured person fair compensation, a personal injury lawsuit may be the victim's only way forward.

This post discusses pretrial motions which are an integral part of a personal injury lawsuit.

Pre-Trial Motions

The general rule to remember is that you can file a motion, or a motion can be filed against you. Honestly, no matter which side of the coin you are on, you are going to have to put in some work by responding and showing up in court (or by Zoom) ready to argue your motion or against their motion.

Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State A Claim, Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

A terribly written complaint can result in a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim. Make sure your complaint is strong enough to withstand a motion to dismiss. Verified complaints carry more weight.

If you have alleged the wrong parties to a suit, Defendant may file a motion to dismiss the wrong party. Even if you have the right party, they may still try to file a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

No matter how great your efforts are, you cannot know everything about all defendants and their relationship to each other. When you file the complaint, include all necessary parties, and gather intel about them. Remember, it is easier to dismiss a party than to bring a party in later.

Also read North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit - Trials at Pre-Trial

Motion to Compel, Motion to Continue, Motion to Produce...

You are being asked or are asking the Defendant to do something: provide documents, get a witness deposed or perform a site inspection, etc. This ask can be producing discovery, allowing a reconstructionist to visit the site of the accident, essentially anything that must be done prior to trial to make your case.

The test for what is discoverable is a low bar, so it would be safe to assume that most things asked for in discovery are discoverable. But even with the lowest bar, some requests are outlandish and irrelevant. Object when necessary and be prepared to argue your motion if a motion to compel is filed against you.

Please note that simply because evidence is discoverable, does not mean that it is admissible.

As a practical point, you should have asked Defendant(s) to comply with your request prior to filing the motion. The judge will want to know what effort you have made prior to the day of the motion to resolve this issue. He/She will not look upon your request kindly if Defendant has never heard of your request until the motion hearing.

Motion for Summary Judgement

No genuine issue as to any material fact is the standard for MSJs and surviving a motion for summary judgement will require giving the judge a strong preview of what your case will look like to a jury. In my experience, the judge will be reluctant to fill in any blanks so make sure you have your ducks in a row.

Get affidavits early on as well as depositions of everyone relevant to the case. File Motions to Compel evidence that Defendant's don't want to give you. What they don't want to give is the best evidence. Be prepared to fight for it.

Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine are used by either side of the bench to exclude evidence from the jury's ears (and eyes). Occasionally, a Motion in Limine can be used to exclude irrelevant evidence but most often the motion is used to exclude evidence that either side finds prejudicial against their client. What one side finds prejudicial may in fact be highly dispositive to a jury. You have to fight this pre-trial motion to get all relevant evidence to the jury for them to make the right choice.

Do you need a North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer?

Pre-Trial Motions can be the death of a personal injury claim. Hiring a North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer to file litigation on your behalf is the smartest move a victim can make. Unfortunately, the legal system in NC can be unfair to victims (especially in the case of contributory negligence or punitive damage claims). Even the most meritorious claims and defenses must be correctly argued to survive for the jury to hear at trial.

If you need a personal injury lawyer, The Bishop Law Firm represents injured victims in NC. We offer free case reviews and we do not get paid unless we win. Good luck!

Read more about  NC Personal Injury Lawyers

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