If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if, and when, you should hire a Personal Injury Lawyer . The Bishop Law Firm represents personal injury clients in Raleigh and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We do not get paid unless you win (contingency fee basis). Call us today for a free case review, (919) 615-3095.
Personal Injury Law
If you are injured through no fault of your own in North Carolina, you may have a personal injury claim. NC is a contributory negligence state which means that you must not be at fault (even 1%) for your accident in order for you to recover on your injury claim (but see Last Clear Chance Doctrine). This is unfair for injured victims, but is still the law in North Carolina.
NC is one of few remaining contributory negligence states (Alabama, Maryland, Virginia and D.C.). Most states use comparative negligence (or a form of it) which allows a injury victim to be compensated based on their amount of fault.
For example, in a car accident, if the victim was speeding and was hit by another driver who ran a red light, the jury would be asked to determine how much at fault the accident victim was. If the jury decides that the victim was 25% at fault for speeding and the settlement was $100,000, the victim will pay $25,000 and the defendant will pay $75,000. This view of negligence is much more favorable for an injury claim.
If you are injured through no fault of your own in North Carolina, you can recover the cost of your accident related medical bills, lost wages and pain & suffering. After being injured, you should file a claim with the insurance company for your bodily injury. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your injury claim. The question is then: if or when to hire a personal injury lawyer?
When to hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Though you may believe that this post will tell you to “always” hire a Personal Injury Lawyer, that is simply not the case. While hiring a Personal Injury Attorney to evaluate and maximize your claim is helpful, it is not required. The circumstances of your accident, the type and severity of injuries, and the compensation sought are factors to think about when deciding whether you should hire a Personal Injury Lawyer.
If you have sustained a minor injury, have not missed time from work or do not feel that you have pain & suffering damages you may not need a Personal Injury Attorney. For example, say you are involved in a motor vehicle wreck through no fault of your own. The accident was a fender-bender, you did not suffer bodily injury that caused you to go to a doctor for treatment, and the only compensation you seek is for the property damage to your vehicle. In this case, you do not need a Personal Injury Lawyer to help you with your claim.
In contrast, say you are in a movie theater and fall down poorly-illuminated stairs while exiting the theater. The fall results in a broken leg, ligament tears in your wrist, and a concussion. You are required to go to the Emergency Room and follow up with countless doctors’ visits until your injuries have healed. Due to your injuries, you are written out of work by your doctors and/or must miss time at work to attend medical appointments. In addition, you want to be compensated for the non-economic damages you endured and may continue to experience in the future. In this case, you should hire a NC Personal Injury Attorney .
When to hire a personal injury lawyer, also depends on the injured person’s comfort level in dealing with the insurance company. Many personal injury victims hire an attorney from the beginning while others wait until negotiations with the insurance adjuster have failed. It can be tricky to communicate enough information to the adjuster to get them to approve your claim while not giving extraneous information that can result in a denial of your insurance claim.
Unfortunately, it is common knowledge, that insurance companies want to pay as little for a personal injury claim as possible. These companies make money from collecting premiums not paying claims. If you have sustained severe injuries, hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible would be your best move. In addition to having legal advice on what information to give the insurance company, you also can focus more on recovering from your serious injury.
Some insurance companies will try to settle your case too soon to avoid paying for all needed medical treatment while other adjusters will delay your claim until the statute of limitations has run. If negotiations with the insurance company are not successful and you do not file a court case before the statute of limitations ends in your state, you will not receive compensation for your injury.
You will definitely need a Personal Injury Attorney if you want to pursue litigation against the insurance. A Personal Injury Lawsuit can be complicated with admissions, interrogatories, request for documents and more. Preparation for trial is the key to success. Failing to give the defendant information or giving too much information can be detrimental to your legal action.
How to choose a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When looking at potential Personal Injury Attorneys, here are a few things to consider:
Does the attorney have the necessary resources to effectively prosecute your claim? Ask those in your family and/or social networks for Personal Injury Lawyer recommendations – you are bound to get one or two! Usually, if someone you know has had a good experience with a personal injury firm, you can set your expectations accordingly. If you can’t obtain personal recommendations, read the attorney’s online reviews .
What is the potential attorney’s demeanor? You must be able to trust that your attorney will handle your claim with professionalism, respect, and an understanding of the personal injury litigation process. Always remember, if you are not happy with your attorney or the way they are handling your case, you can terminate the representation.
Third, and finally, is the potential attorney willing to provide you with clear, well-reasoned legal advice? When searching for and interviewing a potential Personal Injury Lawyer, ask questions! For example, if you suffer from a pre-existing condition, and wonder how it will impact your case, an experienced, professional Personal Injury Lawyer should be able to adequately respond to such questions.
Here at The Bishop Law Firm, we understand that a victim’s choice to hire a Personal Injury Lawyer can be difficult. We strive to offer insightful, creative, and professional legal representation to our clients while fighting for their fair compensation.
We provide free case reviews for individuals who have been hurt through no fault of their own and we are a contingency fee law firm (we don’t get paid unless you win).
We represent clients with injury cases in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Wilson, Louisburg, Smithfield, Rocky Mount and Roanoke Rapids. Call us at (919) 615-3095 to have an attorney review your case – for free!