New Bern Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been harmed due to the careless actions of another party, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Injuries caused by another’s negligence should never go uncompensated or unpunished. Yet battling powerful insurance companies on your own after an accident can seem like an uphill and lonely fight. You deserve justice, and a New Bern personal injury attorney can help you get it.
What Legally Constitutes a Personal Injury Case in North Carolina
Under North Carolina civil law, the legal definition of a personal injury that can warrant financial compensation involves multiple components. A personal injury is defined as any type of harm, illness, or impairment happening to an individual that directly results from another party’s negligent actions, intentional misconduct, or failure to exercise reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to others.
Simply meeting that basic definition is not enough for an incident to be considered a valid personal injury case worth pursuing compensation over in North Carolina. Certain characteristics and criteria must be met, such as the following:
- There must be clear evidence showing the injury, disability, or harm was directly caused by the demonstrable negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of an identifiable person or company. Establishing a clear link is crucial.
- The injury must have resulted in financial, physical, and emotional losses or damages. Some of the damages and losses include medical expenses, lost income, loss of consortium, disability, pain and suffering, property damage, etc. Speculative or unproven damages cannot be recovered.
- The incident must have led to some type of temporary or permanent impairment of the victim’s physical health and mobility, mental health, emotional well-being, or overall quality of life.
- The injured person must not have consented to voluntarily participate in an activity where that particular type of injury was an inherent, expected, and unavoidable risk. Assumption of risk can limit claims if risks are obvious.
- The victim must not have intentionally caused or inflicted the injury on themselves. They should not have purposely acted in a way that recklessly exposed themselves to the likelihood of harm.
Meeting the definition and criteria for a personal injury case under North Carolina law is the first step toward determining if you have a valid claim worth pursuing compensation over. Consulting with a personal injury attorney in New Bern for guidance is highly advisable before proceeding.
Common Sources of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims arise from various sources and scenarios involving negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct that causes harm or losses to someone. While the unique facts of each case differ, some of the most frequent sources of valid personal injury claims include:
Automobile, Motorcycle and Pedestrian Accidents
When cars, motorcycle riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians are involved in collisions due to another party’s negligent or reckless actions, serious injuries often result. Common accidents leading to injury claims involve speeding, distraction, failure to yield, drunk driving, ignoring traffic signals, dangerous lane changes, defective auto parts, and poor maintenance. Thorough accident investigations help determine all contributing factors.
Unsafe Property Conditions
Property owners are obligated to maintain reasonably safe premises for tenants, customers, and visitors or proactively warn of known hazards. When they fail to do so, resulting falls, injuries, or even death can warrant premises liability claims. Wet floors, poor lighting, stair defects, lack of security, and other dangerous property conditions regularly lead to lawsuits against property owners.
Defective Products or Drugs
When companies sell products or drugs that are dangerously defective in design and manufacturing or lack adequate safety warnings, they open themselves up to product liability claims if injuries result. Lawsuits hold the manufacturer accountable for putting profits over safety. Common defective product cases involve medical devices, children’s toys, vehicles, machinery, and consumer goods.
Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and healthcare providers must uphold reasonable professional standards of care. When improper treatment, failure to diagnose serious conditions, surgical errors, lack of informed consent, mistakes with medications or dosages, inadequate patient monitoring, or other forms of medical negligence lead to further illness, injury, or death, malpractice claims should be pursued.
Different Types of Evidence Needed in Personal Injury Cases
Proving liability and damages in a personal injury claim requires collecting and presenting various forms of persuasive evidence. Under the guidance of an experienced attorney, categories of evidence needed to prove your case may include:
Documentation of Injuries and Medical Treatment
Medical records, doctor’s diagnoses, X-rays or MRI results, prognosis reports, prescribed treatment plans, and medication lists help demonstrate the extent and severity of accident-related injuries and healthcare required. Dated photographs of injuries over time are also powerful.
Records of Related Costs and Lost Wages
Keep all receipts for medical expenses, prescriptions, medical equipment, damaged property, lost income, transportation for treatment, and hired home healthcare. Also, obtain employer reports confirming lost hours, reduced duties, and earnings decreases resulting from the injury.
Police, Incident & Inspection Reports
Make sure you get official documentation of the accident circumstances, property conditions, product specifications, security lapses, and policy violations from authorities. This provides efficient proof of dangerous conditions, failures to act reasonably, and code violations constituting negligence.
Photographic & Video Evidence
Photos and videos documenting the accident scene, unsafe property conditions, product defects, visibility issues, spill hazards, and lack of safety features are important. They help jurors visually understand the unreasonable hazards, defects, or dangers that caused the incident.
Eyewitness Statements & Testimony
Independent third-party accounts of the accident or negligent conditions, actions, inaction, or other breaches of care are persuasive evidence: written statements and deposition testimony counter-disputing accounts.
A personal injury lawyer in New Bern can use these evidence types strategically to prove liability and damages resulting from the defendant’s negligence or misconduct.
Why Working With a Personal Injury Attorney is Beneficial
If you suffer an injury in any kind of accident caused by another party’s negligence or misconduct, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney provides significant advantages during the legal process and claim. Benefits include:
Legal Expertise on Your Side
Personal injury law is complex, but attorneys have the specialized expertise and skills in this field to handle your case effectively. They understand injury laws and case strategies thoroughly. An attorney’s legal knowledge can optimize your claim.
Access to Investigative and Expert Resources
Personal injury attorneys have connections with and access to critical resources the average person lacks. These include professional investigators to gather evidence, respected medical experts to assess injuries, and other experts to analyze lost earnings.
Negotiation Experience Battling Insurance Companies
Insurance company teams use crafty tactics to lower claim payouts, leading to unfair settlements. Personal injury lawyers are experienced negotiators who know how to counter insurer schemes and relentlessly negotiate to maximize compensation.
Courtroom Trial Experience, If Needed
While most injury claims settle pre-trial, an attorney experienced in taking cases through litigation provides leverage during negotiations. If a fair settlement can’t be reached, seasoned trial lawyers have the skills to effectively argue cases in court.
Objective Guidance and Case Analysis
An attorney provides unbiased guidance the victim can’t give themselves. They analyze all aspects of a case and determine liability, damages, and next steps objectively, advising clients on optimal strategies.
Peace of Mind During Recovery
Knowing experienced attorneys are fighting legal battles allows clients to focus energy on healing physically and emotionally after traumatic accidents. Legal help provides reassurance and eases stress.
Accountability and Frequent Communication
Ethical attorneys act in clients’ best interests and keep them updated on case progress. Experienced lawyers are able to get clients the maximum damages permissible under the unique circumstances of each case. They are accountable for obtaining the best possible results.
Potential Types of Compensation in Personal Injury Claims
When injured physically, emotionally, or financially because of another party’s negligent or intentional misconduct, victims may legally recover various types of compensation with the help of an accomplished personal injury attorney. Some forms of monetary damages that can potentially be pursued include:
These include all financial costs from accident-caused injuries, both past expenses already incurred and future medical costs projected over one’s lifetime. Types of medical expenses include:
- Hospital bills
- Ambulances services
- Surgery costs
- Fees for doctor visits
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Prescription medications
- Assistive devices like wheelchairs or crutches
- In-home nursing care
- Any other healthcare services required for treating crash injuries
Lost Earnings and Diminished Future Earning Capacity
Reimbursement for all income already lost from missed work days is essential. However, claims must also make up for the impact of any permanent disabilities that reduce the victim’s ability to work the same job or number of hours. You can work with economists to calculate and prove projected lost earnings over your career span.
In accidents resulting in property destruction, such as a severely damaged vehicle after a collision, the at-fault party covers repair costs or replacement value if the vehicle is beyond repair. Documentation like repair estimates from auto body shops supports these property damage claims.
Disability Accommodation Expenses
If injuries lead to long-term disability, the at-fault party should compensate for the costs of modifications allowing independent living. This includes things like installing wheelchair ramps, comfort height toilets, stair lifts, roll-in showers, van lifts, and other renovations. Costs of disability devices like motorized chairs are also recoverable.
Pain and Suffering Compensation
This subjective damage category accounts for both physical pain and mental and emotional suffering tied directly to the injuries. The impacts on quality of life, loss of enjoyment of regular activities, trauma, grief, anxiety, permanent scarring, reduced mobility, and other non-economic damages warrant compensation.
Loss of Consortium Damages
Injuries from negligence often heartbreakingly strain the victim’s closest relationships. Severe disability can profoundly diminish a couple’s relationship and ability to share life experiences together. The victim’s spouse may suffer the loss of emotional and physical support, companionship, and those small moments that collectively form a bond.
North Carolina Laws That Can Impact Your Personal Injury Claim
You have every right to go after compensation following an injury from someone else’s negligence. Certain laws can influence the outcome of your case. Some North Carolina laws include:
Product Liability Defenses (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 99B-4)
This is a product liability statute. It identifies three defenses a defendant can raise in a product liability case. These defenses are:
- The customer misused the product.
- The customer knew about the defect in the product and still used it.
- The customer failed to exercise reasonable care in using the product.
If the defendant can establish any of these defenses, they will not be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Statute of Limitations (§ 1-52)
You have three years from the accident date to settle your claim or file a lawsuit against negligent parties. Missing this deadline means that you lose all legal rights to pursue a claim
Damage Caps (§ 90-21.19)
Non-economic compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress is capped at $500,000 in medical malpractice cases, regardless of damages. No caps apply to economic damages.
Police Report After Incidents in North Carolina
Getting a copy of the official police report as soon as possible is vital. This report can be crucial documentation and evidence to support a potential personal injury claim.
Be sure to get badge numbers and contact information for all officers at the scene to identify later who wrote the report. Since reports take time for the officers to complete and gain departmental approval, wait at least a few days following the incident before attempting to get a copy.
To obtain the report, contact the records division of the responding law enforcement agency. Ask them to locate and provide a copy of the specific police report, providing your name and the incident date.
Let Our Team Help You Seek the Justice You Deserve
Suffering from injuries or loss because of someone else’s negligence can make you feel powerless. Working with a compassionate New Bern personal injury lawyer means you will have someone with you every step of your journey. From investigating faults to calculating damages to securing rightful compensation, our team is eager to help you. You deserve to get the most out of your case. Contact us for a free consultation to get started.
Visit Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers at our New Bern office
2129 S Glenburnie Rd
New Bern, NC 28562