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Answers to Your General Questions About Charlotte Personal Injury Claims

May 11, 2017 - Personal Injury by

personal injury claim lawyer in Charlotte NC

There are a wide range of different ways that a person could end up needing to file a personal injury claim in Charlotte, North Carolina. There are medical mistakes, slip and fall accidents, defective products, automobile collisions, intentional assaults, and many other forms of personal injury that may occur. 

In some cases, these situations will involve criminal charges. In other cases, there will only be a civil claim or personal injury claim. In any event, if there is a criminal case, this may affect any civil claim that may be pursued. Today, we’ll look at some of the general questions that you may have about a Charlotte personal injury claim

What Court Has Jurisdiction in Your North Carolina Personal Injury Claim?

One of the first questions you’ll need to answer with a civil personal injury claim is which court has jurisdiction. If the damages are less than $25K, then you can pursue your claim in the District Court. However, if the damages are greater than $25K, then the Superior Court will have jurisdiction, and this is where you will file your claim. In circumstances where the at-fault driver is a resident of another state and your damages exceed $75K, then your case may end up in federal court.

What Statutes of Limitations Apply to Your NC Personal Injury Claim?

Every state imposes statutes of limitations on civil claims, including personal injury claims. These tell you how long you have from the date of your injury to pursue any kind of civil litigation. In cases where you are filing a claim with an insurance company, you want to initiate that claim as soon as possible to give yourself plenty of time to negotiate for a fair settlement within the insurance policy. In cases where there is no insurance company, you may want to initiate a civil personal injury lawsuit as quickly as possible to give yourself time to negotiate with the defense before the case goes to court. Most personal injury claims are resolved outside of court, but if you run out the statute of limitations, then you will not be able to sue, and the defense and/or insurance company will have no reason to negotiate with you. 

Usually, a personal injury claim in North Carolina, is subject to a three year statute of limitations. It starts on the date that the incident occurred or on the date it was discovered. The incident, or the beginning of the statute of limitations, is called the ‘cause of action.’ However, this is not the case for every single personal injury claim. Following are some of the actual statutes for different types of civil claims involving personal injuries in Charlotte, North Carolina:

  • Assault and Battery Injuries: 3 year statute of limitations 
  • Libel or Slander (Injury to Reputation): 1 year statute of limitations
  • Medical Malpractice Injuries: 3 year statute of limitations with some exceptions
  • Premises Liability Injuries: 3 year statute of limitations
  • Automobile Collision Injuries: 3 year statute of limitations
  • Product Liability (Defective Product) Injuries: 3 year statute of limitations
  • Work Related Injury (Workers’ Comp Claim): 2 year statute of limitations
    • Typically does not involve a lawsuit, only a workers’ comp insurance claim
  • Wrongful Death: 2 year statute of limitations

How the Filing Process Works for Charlotte Personal Injury Claims

When you initiate a civil claim for a personal injury in Charlotte you become the plaintiff, and you are filing a complaint. The person you file the complaint against will then become the defendant. It may be a person or a business, for example. The defendant will be served with the complaint, and they will have thirty days to respond. In some cases, they may respond with a crossclaim, indicating that someone else is actually at fault for your injuries. In others, they may respond with a countersuit, indicating that you are actually at fault for injuries that they sustained. 

How Damages Are Calculated in Charlotte, North Carolina, Personal Injury Claims

There are many different forms of damages that you can recover compensation for in a personal injury claim. All of these damages are divided into clear categories, which are the economic damages, the non-economic damages, and the punitive damages. Economic damages are those that are actual financial expenses and losses. This will be your medical expenses, your lost wages, and your lost earning potential, for example. 

The non-economic damages include your non-financial losses. This will be your pain and suffering, your emotional trauma, and any other damages that are not financial. Together, your economic and non-economic damages are the compensatory damages of your case. The punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are those that are awarded to the plaintiff in an effort to punish the defendant for egregious negligence or willful misconduct. 

In medical malpractice cases, there is a cap on non-economic damages.  When this law was implemented the cap on non-economic damages was set at $500K; however, it adjusts for inflation and is now approximately $532,000.  This cap will not apply when the medical malpractice which injured an innocent victim demonstrated substantial disregard for the rights and safety of others.  Presently, the attorneys at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC are the only attorneys in North Carolina who have successfully obtained a jury verdict finding that a medical provider demonstrated substantial disregard for the rights and safety of others.  In that case, the client was not subject to the cap on non-economic dages.

 When it comes to punitive damages, the cap is $250K or three times the compensatory damages (the greater of the two). Further, there are contributory negligence rules which means that you may be found to be partly at fault for your own injuries. If so, you cannot recover any compensation. Some states have comparative negligence rules, where you can recover compensation that is reduced by your percentage of fault. North Carolina’s contributory negligence rules prevent you from recovering any compensation at all, even if your percentage of fault is less than that of the other party.  There are only a few other states in the United States that follow this antiquated doctrine in the law.

The Benefit of Working with a Charlotte, NC, Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are considering pursuing a Charlotte, NC, personal injury claim, you would be wise to contact a skilled personal injury attorney in Charlotte, NC to learn more about your rights and options. The attorneys at Brown, Moore & Associates will provide a consultation to discuss how these laws apply to the unique variables and circumstances of your case. It is our goal to make sure that you get the compensation that you are owed and do not get taken advantage of by any insurance companies. Call today to learn more.