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 North Carolina 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. Call us today for a free case review, (919) 615-3095 or start online now.
North Carolina Personal Injury Law
If you are injured through no fault of your own in North Carolina, you may have a personal injury claim. Negligence is the underlying theory of recovery for most injuries in North Carolina.
Negligence requires that the at-fault party owed the victim a duty; that there was a breach of that duty; and that breach was the actual and proximate cause of the victim's injury.
Unfortunately, North Carolina Personal Injury Law uses contributory negligence which means that the victim must not be at fault (even 1%) for their accident in order for them to recover on their injury claim (but see Last Clear Chance Doctrine). This is unfair for injured victims but is the law in North Carolina.
However, an injured party should never rely on an insurance adjuster's findings regarding fault. An independent investigation by a North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney is necessary.
Under North Carolina Law, if you are injured through no fault of your own, you can recover the cost of your accident related medical bills, lost wages and pain & suffering. Punitive damages can also be awarded where the at-fault party's conduct was egregious.
After being injured, you should file a claim with the insurance company for your personal injury case. An adjuster will be assigned to your injury claim. Most personal injury claims that involve car accidents will have two adjusters (property damage adjuster vs. bodily injury adjuster).
While some insurance adjusters are wonderful people, they are paid to process personal injury claims for the insurance company. Do not confuse cordiality with a guarantee of fair financial compensation. Some adjusters don't even want to pay for the full cost of a victim's medical expenses.
The question is then: if or when to hire a personal injury lawyer?
What do North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers do?
Before we discuss when/if to hire a North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer, you need to know what they do for your personal injury claim.
As discussed above, negligence is the primary theory of legal liability under Personal Injury Law. Thus, personal injury attorneys gather evidence to substantiate negligence on the part of the at-fault party to attain fair compensation for victims.
Auto Accident injuries, slip and fall injuries, premise liability injuries and wrongful death are just some of the types of cases that a NC Personal Injury Lawyer can help with. In every type of case, negligence must be established.
Police reports, incident reports, videos of incident, 911 calls, emergency personnel findings, vehicle black box data, accident reconstruction and witness statements can all be imperative to establishing negligence.
Once negligence is established, evidence of damages (medical records, medical bills, statement of lost wages, opinions regarding permanent disability) are necessary to attain financial recovery.
Adjusters do not like to pay for pain & suffering so in order for a victim to receive it, it must be demonstrated clearly to an insurance adjuster. The physical pain and mental suffering that an injured person experiences would seem to be tied to the amount of medical expenses, but that is not always the case.
The standard for attaining punitive damages is even higher. Attaining punitive damages requires thorough investigation of the at-fault party and the circumstances of the injury.
A NC Personal Injury Lawyer can help gather all this evidence to show the real cost of your injury to an adjuster or the jury, if need be. An experienced personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf and help you decide if filing a personal injury lawsuit or accepting the insurance adjuster's offer is the best choice for your case.
Also read What do Raleigh Car Accident Lawyers do?
When to hire NC Personal Injury Lawyers?
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, 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 damage you endured and may continue to experience in the future. In this case, you should hire a NC Personal Injury Attorney.
Victims with serious injuries that have far-reaching effects (traumatic brain injuries, fall accidents with broken bones, injuries from motorcycle accidents and wrongful death) definitely need the legal services of a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Hiring 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 Personal Injury Attorneys 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 a trial is the key to success. Failing to give the defendant information or giving too much information can be detrimental to NC Personal Injury Cases.
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 Raleigh Personal Injury Lawyer can be difficult. We strive to offer insightful, creative, and professional legal representation to our clients while fighting for fair compensation in personal injury cases.
We represent clients with wrongful death claims, motor vehicle accidents, workers compensation, fall accidents, and other serious accidents. We provide free case reviews for individuals who have been hurt through no fault of their own due to another's negligence. We also do not get paid unless you win.
The Bishop Law Firm represents victims in personal injury claims in Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids, Greensboro, Winston Salem, Greenville and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We do not get paid unless we win your case and we offer free case reviews. Contact The Bishop Law Firm today, (919) 615-3095! We wish you or your loved one a speedy recovery.
Also read: North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer