What is Personal Injury Law?
If you’ve been involved in an accident or injury case in North Carolina, both state statute and common law will interact to determine the potential outcome of your case. The attorneys of Schlosser and Pritchett can help you navigate these legal rules in order to reach the best possible result. It is important to know exactly what these statutes and laws are for your peace of mind, and Schlosser and Pritchett is here to help.
Personal injury law protects those who have suffered because of negligent or intentional harm inflicted on them by others. These harms are referred to in the legal system as torts. When a person intentionally harms someone else, causing them to suffer any sort of legal damages, this is referred to as an intentional tort. The tort of negligence happens when a person who owes a duty of care to another person fails to exercise reasonable care, causing them to suffer legal damages. A plaintiff will win a tort action if he or she proves by the greater weight of the evidence that the defendant committed either of these acts.
There are legal time limits to filing suit for personal injury. North Carolina law dictates that the injured party has up to three years to file a civil lawsuit, beginning on the date that they knew or should have known that they had been injured. This is known as a statute of limitations, and if the statute of limitations has passed, it is usually fatal to a plaintiff’s lawsuit. North Carolina also has a ten-year statute of repose, which means that a lawsuit is not valid if it is filed more than ten years from the defendant’s last act which gave the plaintiff the right to sue.
Schlosser and Pritchett are on your side. We can help you assess exactly where your case stands, and file a personal injury claim that preserves your legal rights to compensation for your injuries.
Contributory negligence and the last clear chance
In some personal injury law cases, the person or business that you are filing against may claim that you may be to blame for your injury. This is called contributory negligence. Contact the law office of Schlosser and Pritchett immediately if the defendant claims you are partially at fault, because under North Carolina law, this is a powerful defense. North Carolina is one of the few remaining states that follows the rule of pure contributory negligence – the idea that if a plaintiff is at fault to any degree for their injury, they cannot recover anything.
The legal exception to this rule is called the “last clear chance” doctrine. If the defendant knew, or could have discovered that the plaintiff was in danger before the injury, and the defendant had the time and ability to avoid the injury, and negligently failed to use that time and ability to avoid the injury, then the defendant had the “last clear chance” and the harsh rule of contributory negligence will not apply.
Caps on Injury Damages
When it comes to personal injury law, North Carolina has placed limitations on certain types of damages that an injured person can receive in a court case. As of 2011, North Carolina placed a cap on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life in medical malpractice cases. The limit for these damages is now set at $500,000.00. There is an exception to this cap for cases where the medical provider’s behavior was reckless, malicious, grossly negligent or intentional, and the plaintiff suffered certain types of disfiguring or permanent injuries.
Punitive damages are those intended to punish the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct which formed the basis of the lawsuit. Punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
This punitive damages cap does not apply in cases involving harm caused by an impaired driver.
As you can see, there are many rules and exceptions about damages in North Carolina. The attorneys of Schlosser and Pritchett can help you navigate these laws in order to reach an optimal outcome in your case, and can work with you through every step of the process to protect your rights.
Other Personal Injury Law Tips
When it comes to personal injury law, many don’t know their rights or even where to start. For instance: in most states, dog owners are protected to a certain degree the first time their dog injures someone or acts aggressively. This is known as the “one bite” rule. After the first incident in which the dog displays dangerous behavior, however, its owner can be found liable for the dog’s actions. As with any law, however, there are numerous specific exceptions. The attorneys at Schlosser and Pritchett can help you navigate these laws and any other type of injury lawsuit you may encounter.
It is in your best interest to hire a team that is knowledgeable in the terms of personal injury law. The attorneys at Schlosser and Pritchett are here to help you understand your legal rights. Whatever the case, you deserve to have your questions and concerns addressed and overseen by the best lawyers North Carolina has to offer.
A Partnership You Can Trust
When you’re hurt in an accident and personal injury law comes into play, Schlosser and Pritchett will be there to help! If you are disabled and can no longer work, you need legal representation that you can count on. As personal injury lawyers serving North Carolina, it is our mission to help you get through the difficulties that life throw at us.