Unfortunately, misinformation (including alternate facts) about NC Personal Injury is rampant in our community. In this article, we attempt to address common misconceptions about NC Personal Injury.
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NC Personal Injury Overview
If you are injured through no fault of your own due to the negligence of another you may have a NC Personal Injury case against the person or company that injured you. You can recover the cost of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering and in some cases, punitive damages (rare). But as with most things legal, it’s more complicated than it sounds.
Ten Common Misconceptions about NC Personal Injury
- Injury means “bodily harm,” not harm to your vehicle or your pride. You have to actually have sustained a bodily injury that you have received or are receiving medical treatment for. Damages to your vehicle are not handled under NC Personal Injury. You do need medical treatment to substantiate your claim that you experienced “bodily harm.”
- Fault is another confusing concept in NC Personal Injury cases. NC is a contributory negligence state which means that if the victim is at fault (even 1%) for their injury, they cannot recover. You may feel that the person that hurt you is at fault but fault is determined by who received a citation or the individual circumstances of each case. Simply because someone injured you does not mean that you have a NC Personal Injury case. Also, if you are injured at work, you may have a NC Workers’ Compensation case instead of a NC Personal Injury claim.
- NC Personal Injury is not the lottery. Many injured individuals become angry or resentful after their accident and believe that a personal injury case is their opportunity to severely punish the person that injured them by demanding an exorbitant amount for their settlement. While we believe that every injured victim should be compensated justly for their injury and losses, we encourage clients not to have unrealistic expectations about their personal injury settlement.
- Larger personal injury settlements mean that the victim has sustained greater harm. Simply straining a muscle and receiving chiropractic treatment is not going to result in a large personal injury settlement. The largest personal injury settlements come with life-long disability/death (catastrophic injury) and neither of those are really worth the money that you or your family will receive. A loved one is priceless.
- You have three years (generally) to file a NC Personal Injury case in the county in which you were injured. Filing a court case is not the same as filing a claim with the insurance company. If the insurance company holds your case until the NC statute of limitations runs out, you can be left with no way to recover your losses and get nothing.
- Unfortunately, some negligent parties simply do not have a way to pay for the damage that they have caused. If someone hits you in a car accident and they do not have insurance or personal assets, there is nothing that you can recover. Also, if you suffer a dog bite on rental property by a dog whose owner is unknown, you may not be able to find out who is responsible for your injury.
- In NC, if you are injured by a local government agency you may not be able to recover against them due to governmental immunity. Officials acting in their governmental positions can also be immune to a NC Personal Injury case.
- In almost every NC Personal Injury case, medical expenses and lost wages have a significant affect on pain & suffering amounts. If you have few medical bills and very little time missed from work, that leads to a logical conclusion that you did not suffer a substantial amount. While this is not always true, an injured person will struggle to receive a substantial amount for pain & suffering under these circumstances. In addition, most insurance adjusters will not give money for pain & suffering before a suit is filed.
- Rushing to settle a personal injury case is a bad idea. A case should not be settled until you receive the medical treatment that you need. If you have not received the medical treatment and been billed for it, how will you know how much money you need to be compensated for in medical expenses? If your doctors have determined that long-term care is going to be needed, the cost of the care needs to be included in your settlement amount.
- No one needs legal advice to settle their NC Personal Injury case. While it is true that some people do not need a lawyer, others do. Complicated accident circumstances with complicated medical treatment and long term affects need to be investigated and presented to the insurance company and jury, if necessary, to ensure that a victim receives all compensation they or their family is entitled to.
Personal Injury cases can be confusing and it helps to have an NC Personal Injury Lawyer on your side who can help.
We represent personal injury victims in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Fayetteville, Smithfield, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids, Louisburg and other areas in North Carolina. Our firm does not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews, (919) 615-3095 . We wish you a speedy recovery!