Personal injury claims can be challenging. Whether your injuries are from a boating accident or a faulty medical device, you deserve your full compensation. The North Carolina personal injury attorneys of the Ricci Law Firm are here to help you through this difficult time.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law was developed to give civil justice to those injured by intentional and negligent acts. Victims may suffer property, physical, or emotional damages. Since it is impossible to restore a person to the condition they were in prior to the accident, the law devised the “made whole” doctrine.
What Does it Mean to Make a Person Whole?
To make the victim whole under the law, damages are translated into a monetary settlement or verdict. For example, if a person suffers injuries in a car accident, they may be entitled to recover financial compensation for:
- The property damage to their vehicle
- The physical and emotional injuries caused by the accident
Monetary compensation can cover tangible and intangible damages.
What is the Difference Between Tangible and Intangible Damages?
Tangible damages consist of medical bills, repairs, and reimbursement for lost wages. However, intangible damages are more complex.
Intangible damages may consist of post-traumatic stress disorder, the physical pain of the accident itself, and the pain experienced during recovery.
What Does Personal Injury Law Cover?
Personal injury law covers a wide range of intentional and unintentional acts. Intentional acts usually consist of violence, like assault and battery. A victim is entitled to file a civil lawsuit against their attacker to recover compensation for medical bills and more.
In addition, victims can file a personal injury claim for unintentional acts. Negligence can lead to serious and lifelong injuries. For example, suppose a homeowner forgets to mention to their guest that the railing is loose on the balcony. If the guest falls and breaks their leg, they have the right to seek compensation under premises liability.
How Often Are People Injured Due to Intentional or Negligent Acts?
Thousands of people are injured each year due to intentional or negligent acts. While some situations can result in criminal charges, personal injury law deals with civil litigation. The criminal court system is in place to punish wrongdoers. The civil court system is in place to help make a victim whole under the law.
In the United States:
- 8 million people suffer fall injuries and are admitted to the emergency rooms
- An estimated 9.5% of all US deaths are from medical errors
- Recreational boating is responsible for 2,500 injuries in the last reporting year
- 2.8 million workers suffered occupational injuries
- More than 2 million people are injured in car and truck accidents every year
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a negligent accident, let our injury lawyers help you recover civil justice and the compensation you need.
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
A personal injury attorney represents the best interests of an injured party. When you or a loved one are harmed by an act of negligence, a personal injury lawyer will seek financial compensation on your behalf.
Injury attorneys will:
- Determine all liable parties
- Prepare the extensive paperwork
- File your claim with the appropriate insurance company
- Retain pertinent investigators and experts
- Investigate the details of your claim
- Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
Should the insurance company fail to offer a just settlement, a personal injury lawyer will represent your interests in court.
What Compensation Can a North Carolina Injury Lawyer Help Me Recover?
North Carolina injury attorneys can recover various compensational damages, depending on the circumstances of your case. Every personal injury claim is unique and may qualify for different damages.
Compensation For Medical Expenses
Serious injuries may require hospitalization, surgery, and ongoing treatment. Medical expenses can become overwhelming, even pushing families into financial hardship.
According to a study, 1 in 8 households will experience economic distress after a serious injury. Hurt individuals are vulnerable to losing their homes, credit, and are often forced into bankruptcy.
It is critical to recover compensation for all medical expenses related to your injuries, including:
- The ambulance ride to the hospital
- Surgery and other necessary treatments
- The hospital stay
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Home health care
In some cases, injuries are so severe they cause permanent damage and disability. A person suffering debilitating injuries will need compensation to cover their life-long needs.
Another economic burden are the wages lost when an injured person cannot work. Depending on the severity of their injuries, a person may need several months to recover before returning to work. Without income, a household can suffer extreme financial distress.
In addition, if a person has sustained disabling injuries, they may never be able to return to their previous employment. It may be possible to recover loss of future income damages. Your North Carolina injury attorney will need to show that you cannot perform the same tasks prior to the injury and that you cannot reasonably move to a different industry. Those who have suffered permanent brain damage or severe spinal injuries may qualify to recover loss of future income damages.
Pain And Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages refer to various physical and emotional pain caused by the accident and injuries. However, unlike lost wages or medical expenses, pain is intangible. It can be challenging to place a value on pain and suffering.
Most personal injury claims examine the following factors when determining pain and suffering damages:
- The physical pain caused by the accident itself
- The physical pain and discomfort experienced while in recovery
- Mental anguish, anxiety, and insomnia
Calculating pain and suffering will also depend on the value of similar cases. Experienced North Carolina personal injury attorneys can guide you through the process and estimate the complete value of your claim.
Emotional Distress Damages
Emotional distress pertains to severe and prolonged mental anguish and can be challenging to prove. Unlike compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress damages are based on a specific mental health disorder. For example, the following mental health issues may qualify for emotional distress damages:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Clinical depression
- An anxiety disorder
Victims must have a diagnosis from a mental health professional.
Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life Damages
Loss of enjoyment of life damages refers to the inability of an injured person to participate in the activities they enjoyed prior to the accident. This complex damage is often challenging to prove.
For example, suppose a painter suffered nerve damage to their dominant hand. While painting may not have been the source of their livelihood, it was a long-time hobby. Since the injury left the painter with a significantly diminished ability to paint, they may be entitled to loss of enjoyment of life damages.
Punitive damages are unique. All the above damages are considered compensatory, meaning the value is derived from the loss of something. Punitive damages are a means of economic punishment for gross negligence. The idea is to make the financial punishment expensive enough to deter others from similar negligent behavior.
Not every personal injury claim can qualify for punitive damages. It is important to speak to an injury attorney to see if your particular set of circumstances meet the requirements.
What Types of Claims Can Our Personal Injury Attorneys in North Carolina Represent?
Personal injury law covers a wide range of negligent accidents. At the Ricci Law Firm, we have extensive experience in several types of personal injury claims.
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries. Individuals are vulnerable to drowning, falls, and amputations from propellers. In the last reporting year, more than 3,000 people were injured in a boating accident.
An average of 63,000 bus accidents happen each year. Traffic accidents involving large buses can cause severe crush injuries, lacerations, and broken bones. The size and weight of these heavy vehicles, coupled with the lack of safety belts, considerably increase the severity of a collision.
Driver error is the leading cause of car accidents. Motorists often drive distracted, impaired, or recklessly. Liability is often challenging to prove. Insurance companies may try to minimize the claim payout. Having an experienced car accident lawyer look after your best interests is essential.
Catastrophic injuries are unique. They distinctively cause permanent and disabling injuries, including:
- Loss of cognitive function
- Severe spinal cord injuries
- Vision and hearing loss
A victim may heal. However, the bodily damage they sustain is so profound that they can never fully recover.
Defective Medical Device
The medical industry has put a great deal of time and effort into creating medical devices to ease pain and prolong people’s lives. However, medical devices are just as susceptible to defects as any other product. When a medical device malfunctions, people can experience serious and life-threatening consequences.
Drunk Driving AccidentS
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28% of all traffic accident fatalities involve a drunk driver. Impaired driving is considered gross negligence, meaning a person maliciously or willfully engaged in the act. Drunk driving accidents cause significant damage. Drivers are often speeding or driving on the wrong side of the road. Most head-on collisions are caused by a drunk driver.
Motorcycle riders are prone to catastrophic injuries in a collision. Riders are exposed to the elements, making them vulnerable to nerve-compromising road rash, traumatic brain injuries, and crush injuries.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is under-reported and poorly researched. When an infraction is reported, the claim is seldom investigated promptly. Often, abuse can go on for several months or years.
In addition, nursing home abuse is very challenging. The victim’s statements may be discredited due to advanced age or dementia. Scrapes and bruises are common due to the frailty of the elderly and may not be enough to support abuse.
Pedestrian accidents are on the rise. The aging infrastructure of metropolitan areas has not kept up with the increase of pedestrians on the street. While motorists are supposed to watch for pedestrians at all times, distracted and reckless drivers may not see a person in the crosswalk or on the shoulder in time to avoid an accident. Like motorcycle accidents, pedestrians are exposed and bear the full force of a collision.
Premises liability refers to unsafe conditions on a property. Property owners, including business owners and homeowners, have a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors. Some examples of premises liability include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Negligent security
- Dog or animal attacks
- Electrical accidents
If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation under premises liability.
Toys, kitchen appliances, and electronics sold on the market are considered to be safe. However, even a small defect can render a product dangerous. Manufacturers, designers, and distributors have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the products they create, make, and sell.
Like buses, large trucks pose a unique hazard on the road. Due to their size, large trucks can cause severe and life-threatening injuries. In some cases, a truck’s cargo is hazardous or highly toxic, contributing to the severity of injuries. Accident victims have suffered amputations, decapitations, and crush injuries.
At the Ricci Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys can represent a wide range of claims. Acts of negligence cause serious and life-changing injuries every day. We will fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
Do I Need an Injury Attorney to File My Claim?
Accident victims often face a multitude of problems when filing their claims. A personal injury attorney can help overcome challenges and secure a fair settlement.
Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance adjusters may use unsavory tactics to reduce or deny a personal injury claim. During an interview, they may ask seemingly simple questions whose answers can hurt a case. The insurance company may offer a settlement far below the value of a claim but will pay it quickly. Having a skilled injury lawyer represent your claim can shield you from unfair practices and protect your right to full compensation.
Filing an injury claim requires extensive paperwork. In addition, gathering supplemental documentation and evidence involves a great deal of leg work. Most personal injury cases will need:
- Detailed medical records, including any ongoing treatment and therapy
- A police report, if applicable
- Pictures of the accident scene and injuries
- Witness statements
- Video footage of the incident
An attorney can gather all the critical evidence on your behalf, prepare, and file your claim.
Injury claims have strict deadlines. The initial paperwork must be submitted within a certain amount of time, typically two years from the incident. However, once a claim is filed, the insurance company may periodically request additional information under another deadline. Missing only one of the set time constraints can jeopardize your entire case.
When you are recovering from severe injuries, you may not be in the best mindset to file your own claim. Dealing with the physical pain and emotional trauma of an accident can be overwhelming. It is easy to let a deadline slip.
However, attorneys make their living preparing and filing claims against strict deadlines. While you concentrate and healing and putting your life back together, a personal injury lawyer will handle the details.
Our North Carolina injury attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If they do not offer a fair settlement, we will fight for the verdict you deserve in court.
How Can My North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Establish Negligence?
Establishing negligence in an injury claim is crucial. Depending on the circumstances, proving fault can be challenging. An experienced injury lawyer will need to establish the following four factors:
- Duty of care: The person or entity owes a duty of care, or an obligation to keep another person safe from all reasonable harm. For example, a grocery store owner has a duty to ensure their customers are safe. However, they may not owe a duty of care to a burglar trespassing on the property.
- Breach of duty: A breach of duty occurs when the owner fails to live up to their duty of care. In keeping with the above example, suppose there is a spill in the grocery store. If the wet floor remains unmarked and a customer slips and falls, a breach of duty has occurred.
- Causal link: There must be a link between the breach of duty and the person’s injuries. For instance, the customer in the above example slips on an unmarked wet floor. Any injuries they sustain can be linked directly to the wet floor and, therefore, the breach of duty.
- The breach of duty caused damages: Finally, a personal injury case only exists if someone has sustained harm. Damages typically refer to physical harm, whether it is your injuries or property damage. However, economic and emotional injuries may be considered.
Negligence is a complex legal concept at the root of every personal injury claim. You need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to establish liability.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?
Once our injury attorneys have successfully recovered your compensation, the settlement is paid out in one of two ways. Either the monetary damages are paid out in a lump sum or as a series of periodic payments. To decide which payout option is best for you, consider the following;
- Lump-sum payment: The advantage of receiving a settlement all at once is its liquidity. You have the freedom to invest the money however you wish.
- Structured Settlements: Receiving a settlement in increments gives you the ability to manage your money. If you are concerned about mishandling a large sum all at once, consider taking your settlement in structured payments tailored to your needs.
Contact Our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Today
At the Ricci Law Firm, our injury lawyers have years of experience helping hurt individuals and their families. We understand the devastating impact serious injuries can have on your life.
If you have been harmed in a negligent accident, contact a personal injury lawyer in North Carolina today. Schedule a free consultation the discuss the details of your unique situation.