Legally speaking, a personal injury is not only physical bodily hurt, such as sustained through accidents but encompasses injuries due to professional malpractices and even injuries due to defamation of character. The accused in this case is tried under the personal injury law that differs from state to state in the US.
What constitutes personal injury
You can sustain injuries due to vehicle accidents, defective products, professional malpractice, workplace accidents, abuse and so on. In most cases, these injuries are not intentional but may result from carelessness and negligence on the part of the perpetrator.
The court, in such cases, needs you to prove that the…
…party at fault was responsible for your well-being.
…accused failed in this responsibility.
…injuries sustained by you were due to the direct actions of the party at fault.
…damages were a result of the at-fault party.
It needs to be noted that though you may have sustained injuries due to the fault of the accused, you are also responsible to see that you do everything in power to avoid such accidents and injuries. For example, don’t drive when drunk, place a ‘Floor is Wet’ sign when mopping the floor used by the public to avoid slip and fall accidents, etc.
Personal injury law in North Carolina
States in the US differ as regards personal injury laws. North Carolina follows personal injury laws that differ in many aspects from most other states.
According to the North Carolina personal injury laws, the time limit set for personal injury lawsuits, called statute of limitations, is three years. You are required to file a lawsuit in a civil court within this time frame from the date of injury. In case you fail to do so and overstep the three-year deadline, the North Carolina courts may refuse to hear your case, making you lose on compensation.
However, if you do file your lawsuit within the stipulated window, but share some degree of liability for the incident that led to your injuries, the court may reduce the total amount of compensation that you receive from the defaulting party. The court follows, ‘a modified comparative negligence rule’, where the amount of compensation due to you is decreased by an amount equivalent to your fault percentage. And if your fault happens to be more than 50 percent, you are denied any kind of compensation from the at-fault party.
For example, if a vehicle rear-ends your vehicle and it is found that your brake lights were not working, then the court may put the percentage of your liability at 20 percent and the rest 80 percent on the accused. This means that if the compensation awarded in this case is $10,000, you will get only $8,000. So, be rest assured that if you do file an injury lawsuit in a North Carolina court, the adjuster will certainly raise the issue of the comparative negligence rule during the settlement talks.
North Carolina courts place limits on some kinds of damages that you can claim via a lawsuit if the court finds the accused liable for your injuries. For example, in medical malpractice cases and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, the compensation is capped at $500,000.
However, this cap is not applicable to injury cases that don’t result from medical malpractice. In any case, for all types of injury cases in the state, punitive damages can’t be more than thrice the amount of actual (compensatory) damages or $250,000. In North Carolina courts, the award of punitive damages for personal injury is rarely seen.
In cases of injuries caused by dog bites, North Carolina has a specific statute that makes the dog owner ‘strictly liable’, irrespective of the animal’s past behavior. In case your injury is caused due to the negligence of the North Carolina government or any of its employees or agencies, a different set of rules apply for getting compensation. However, the statute of limitations remains the same, but you are required to file your injury claim with the state’s Industrial Commission.
If you are located in the North Carolina area or get involved in a personal injury lawsuit in this state, you need to find a top Asheville injury attorney. One of the best in business is Lakota R Denton, who possesses expertise and years of experience as a personal injury trial lawyer.