Personal injury law gives a person the right to go to a civil court to pursue legal remedies for an injury or any losses they incurred from an accident caused by another party's negligence. Even though legal procedures are similar nationwide, laws may vary state-to-state with each one having unique requirements of their own. If you have been injured or think you have grounds for personal injury litigation in North Carolina, there are a few key laws you need to remember when you are in the process of filing your claim.
Limited Window for Personal Injury Lawsuits
When you are considering filing a lawsuit, there is a period of time you are allotted to take legal action. This is most commonly referred to as the statute of limitations. All states have different deadlines on when legal action must take place. North Carolina gives a plaintiff three years to begin this process, from the time of the injury to bringing the lawsuit to civil court. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the three year time frame, the North Carolina courts have the right to refuse hearing your case and you won't be able to receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Shared Fault May Affect Compensation
Although you may have been the recipient of physical injuries from an accident, the amount you're compensated depends on whether you had any role, or are partially to blame, for the incident. Sharing a degree of liability has the potential to seriously reduce the damages you receive. In such a case as this, North Carolina enacts the "modified comparative negligence rule," which, simply put, means the compensation you receive depends on the percentage of the accident you were at fault for. If the courts find you more than 50 percent at fault for the incident, you are unlikely to collect any compensation from the defendant.
Determining Damages From Injury Cases
Damages is what a plaintiff is awarded in the case of a personal injury and can come in the form of reimbursement for lost wages, medical expenses, and payment of damaged property. Each state has a "cap" or maximum amount of damages they are allowed to award, depending on the case. In North Carolina, victims of medical malpractice can receive up to $500,000 for their pain and suffering. This is only in the case of medical malpractice. In personal injury cases, damages exceeding simple compensation, or punitive damages, cap at $250,000 or three times the compensatory, whichever arrives first.
If you've been injured due to someone else's recklessness, next to establishing which party is at fault, it's important to take the following steps to ensure your claim is settled fairly and in a timely manner:
- Record everything you remember about the accident, including the location, names of the involved parties, witnesses, police officers and insurance company representatives, etc. Collect and keep any evidence, like photographs if it was a car accident or damaged personal belongings.
- Inform the responsible party that you intend to file a claim against them.
- Seek the legal representation of a personal injury lawyer.
Finding an experienced personal injury attorney will help you immensely when you find yourself knee-deep in the complexities of a personal injury lawsuit. This imperative step will help you receive the proper compensation for the injuries you acquired from your accident.