Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal Injury Attorneys in Jacksonville, NC
While mishaps are pretty common in our world, it does not mean that yours has nay less confusion or pain. Whether you fell outside a local shop or had another personal injury in Jacksonville, NC, occur to yourself or a loved one, you may be at a loss for what your next steps. It is normal to have some questions about your rights when it comes to personal injury. Any questions you may have can be answered by the personal injury attorneys at the Carolina Law Group. Call one of the personal injury attorneys today to discuss your claim.
What counts as a personal injury case?
Personal injury cases will include legal disputes that occur when someone suffers some harm from an injury or an accident, and there is someone who is responsible for that harm suffered. If you fall in front of your own home because you didn’t ice the driveway, there is not likely a personal injury case. But if you fall in front of a restaurant because they did not salt the walkway, you may have a personal injury case.
These cases are formalized through civil court proceedings that work to prove that the other person is legally at fault. However, it is more common for these disputes to be settled in a more informal setting before the lawsuit is filed.
The first type of lawsuit that can be filed for a personal injury in Jacksonville, North Carolina, is an informal lawsuit. Most disputes over fault for an injury or an accident will be resolved through an informal settlement early on. This settlement will include attorneys who represent both sides, those who are involved in the dispute, and their insurers.
During this time, both parties will negotiate in the hopes of coming to an agreement that is agreeable to both sides. Once the negotiations are finished, a written agreement is signed by both parties. This agreement requires both parties to forgo any further action in regards to this situation because they chose to resolve the matter during this settlement.
If you do not agree to the terms, such as how much is being offered for the accident, you do not need to sign the agreement and can take it to court. But once you sign the agreement, you are forgoing your chance to do a personal injury in Jacksonville, NC trial in return for the money both parties agreed.
In some cases, these personal injury cases can be taken to a more formal setting. Unlike criminal cases, a personal injury case will start when the plaintiff, or the private individual, files a complaint against another persona, business, or government agency who will be the defendant. The plaintiff will allege that the defendant acted irresponsibly or carelessly in connection to the accident the plaintiff received and this behavior caused harm. The personal injury attorneys in Jacksonville, NC, can help you to go through the process of filing a lawsuit, so you stand the best chance of winning.
There is also a middle ground between the two that you and your personal injury attorneys can go with to reach a settlement in your claim. This middle ground is known as mediation or arbitration. Arbitration is a formal alternative to litigation. The disputing parties will each have time to present their case a third party who must remain neutral. That third party will render a decision after hearing both sides. Many times arbitration is used to resolve disputes for public and private issues because it is more efficient compared to litigation and provides more flexibility in the process.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations with Personal Injury in Jacksonville, NC
As the plaintiff, you will have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. This time period is known as the statute of limitations. In most cases, the time that is covered by the statute of limitations will start at the time the plaintiff is injured or when they discover they have been injured if this happens a bit later. Questions you have about when the time starts on your injury can be answered by one of the personal injury attorneys at Carolina Law Group.
Each state will be able to establish their own statutes of limitation, and each jury can read these differently. For example, in North Carolina, the statute of limitations on personal injury is three years from the time of the injury.
What are the Laws that Govern These Injuries?
Unlike some other areas of law, the law for personal injury in Jacksonville, NC has been developed through various court decisions as well as treatises by legal scholars. Some states have taken this a step further and written out the law into statutes, but the court decisions are still the main source for the law when it comes to a legal case surrounding an injury or an accident.
What Counts as a Personal Injury?
Personal injury cases can vary because there are many types of injuries that will count under this umbrella. Any time that you are in an injury or an accident, and someone else is responsible and can be held legally for it, you are dealing with a personal injury. It does not matter whether the accident was caused by malicious intent at all.
Some of the different types of personal injury in Jacksonville, NC that you may have included:
- Car wrecks
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Collisions with tractor trailers
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Slips and falls
- Wrongful death
- Defective products
Each of these will need to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and injuries that you suffered. With a car wreck, you must prove that the other party was going against the posted road signs or that they were driving in a reckless. If the other driver went the wrong way down a one-way street, for example, and you were in an accident that resulted in injuries, you may have a personal injury case. The same can be said about motorcycle wrecks.
Slips and falls can often occur, especially during the winter. If you are out by a business, and the owner or an employee did not salt the walkway after a storm, if there are items out that can cause you to trip, or the floor was wet without the proper signage to alert you, it is possible that you have a personal injury in Jacksonville, NC case.
Defective products are another area of personal injury that your attorney can discuss with you. Just because a product breaks does not mean it is defective. But if the defective part of the toy causes you to get injured or puts your life or the life of a family member in danger with normal use, then you may have a case. For example, if you have a car seat for your child that does not latch onto the base properly and it comes out while driving, you may have a case.
What are the Personal Injury Damages?
North Carolina is similar to several other states in that there are some limits on the damages that you can receive for personal injury in Jacksonville, NC. These damages will only be awarded by a jury when they find that the defendant is indeed liable for the injuries of the plaintiff.
In the state of North Carolina, in terms of medical malpractice online, damages that are non-economic, such as compensation that is only awarded for pain and suffering, are capped at $500,000. This is just for medical malpractice though, and the caps are different for other types of personal injury cases.
Outside of medical malpractice cases in North Carolina, other personal injury cases can’t have damages that are over three times the amount of actual damages, and that caps out at $250,000. You will not be able to receive more than the $250,000 at most for your personal injury in Jacksonville, NC, but if your actual damages are low, you can’t get more than three times that amount.
Also, it is unlikely that you will receive punitive damages with personal injury in Jacksonville, NC, but your personal injury attorneys can help you understand how this works better.
What About Dog Bites?
Dog bites have a special place in the law when it comes to personal injury. Most states will protect a dog owner if an injury from a bite occurs for the first time, as long as there is no reason to think that this will be a regular occurrence or that the dog is dangerous to others. This rule is often called the one-bite rule and can protect dog owners if their dog has never had problems before and they may have been aggravated or had another reason for biting.
This rule is not in effect for North Carolina. In this state, the owner is held as strictly liable. This means that no matter how the animal has behaved in the past, the owner will still be responsible for any personal injury that their dog may cause. If you have been injured by a dog bite, you may have a case. Contact one of the experienced personal injury attorneys in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to discuss your claim.
Does Medical Malpractice Fall Into Personal Injury?
It is possible that medical malpractice could fit into personal injury. This occurs when a health care professional or a hospital causes injury to their patient through omission or negligence. This could result in errors in aftercare, treatment, diagnosis, or health management. There are several characteristics that must occur for the claim to be personal injury including:
- Violating standard of care: Patients have a right to expect that their doctor will provide care that meets certain medical standards. If this standard of care is not met, your attorney will be able to establish negligence.
- An injury was caused through negligence: It is not enough that your doctor violated the standard of care. You must also prove that the injury would not have occurred if the standard of care was taken into account. The negligence must be proven to cause the injury. If the injury occurred without the negligence, or the negligence did not cause an injury, then you do not have a personal injury case.
- The injury ended with significant damages: These lawsuits are really expensive to litigate. To make it work for the costs, the patient needs to show that there were significant damages that occurred here. If the damages are pretty small, the cost of pursuing this case can easily be greater than the amount you may recover. Usually, you must show loss of income, disability, huge bills in the past and the future, and more for this part to show.
There are many examples of medical malpractice, even if many of these do not go to court, simply for the cost of doing so. Some examples of medical malpractice that may count as a personal injury in Jacksonville, NC include:
- Failure to recognize some obvious symptoms
- Failure to do the proper testing
- Not looking at patient history or counting it in.
- Poor aftercare
- Discharging patient too early for their issues.
- Wrong site surgery or other issues with surgery
- Improper medication or dosage for that patient
- Care that caused an unnecessary surgery
- Ignoring or misreading the lab results
- Misdiagnose or failure to diagnose.
Remember, just because some of these may have occurred to you does not necessarily mean that you have a medical malpractice case. These are some of the hardest personal injury cases to work with because you must not only prove that an injury occurred, but you must also prove that the doctor was negligent about their care. If you have a rare disease and the doctor ran tests and tried to find an answer, but still misdiagnosed you, it may be hard to prove medical malpractice in this case.
How to Negotiate Your Personal Injury Case
Once you have suffered from a personal injury in Jacksonville, NC, it is time to find the legal counsel to help you understand your next steps. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Carolina Law Group will be able to sit down with you and discuss what happened and explain what they need from you and what will happen next in the process.
The first step is to calculate your special damages. These are sometimes known as economic losses and are the damages for which money is only a comparable substitute for what you lost. Sometimes it is known as the out of pocket loss rule. Some items that you can include in this are:
- Property damage
- Burial and other funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
Not only can you figure out past economic losses, but you can include future ones as well. Future economic losses are harder because you must estimate how much your medical expenses will be or how much you will lose out on wages due to your injury.
The second thing that you and your personal injury attorneys can figure out is your general damages. These are often known as non-economic losses and are losses where the money will only be a rough substitute. Some of the items that you can include for general damages are:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of companionship and society
- Shock and other mental anguish issues
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Emotional distress
- Physical suffering and pain
Depending on the case and how severe the injury is, these can be up to five times what you would receive in special damages. The amount is going to vary by state, and in North Carolina, there are some rules in place that cap out how much you are able to earn from personal injury cases.
You and your personal injury attorneys will be able to work on step three together, which is to adjust the value of your claim. There are a few things that you must factor in before submitting an amount for this case. These factors include:
- Multiple defendants: If you are pursuing a case against more than one defendant, you may need to discuss how each of these will pay.
- Liability: Cases that can establish liability easily will end up with a higher settlement compared to those where the liability may be in dispute. If you can be partly blamed in the settlement, your amount will not be as high.
- Characteristics of the plaintiff: Sometimes your own characteristics can influence how much is in your settlement. Things like your occupation, past medical history, age, and more can influence the settlement.
- Where the case is tried: You will find that some venues will determine how much you get out of the settlement. Those venues that are considered more conservative will often award a lower settlement compared to those in urban areas. Deciding on a good location for your case can make a big difference.
- Mitigating damages: It is possible for the damages to be mitigated if it is reasonable to do so. For example, if you didn’t get treatment right after an accident and because of this, the injuries are now harder to treat, the value of a claim can be reduced because of this issue.
When you are pursuing personal injury in Jacksonville, NC, your personal injury attorneys will be able to go over these points and discuss them with you to make it easier to understand what will happen with your case.
If you have suffered from a personal injury in Jacksonville, NC, you may feel hurt and confused. Knowing your rights and having someone on your side can help you to get the compensation you need, even if the injury was not caused by malicious intent. When you are dealing with a personal injury, make sure to contact our personal injury attorneys at Carolina Law Group today!