Prove Driver Negligence in a Charlotte Car Accident Case
Aug 30, 2017 by Brown Moore Law
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Life is complicated even on a typical day. A serious personal injury can throw a wrench into an entire way of life for an accident victim and his or her family. If you have been in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions or inactions, you owe it to yourself to seek an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC, our team of personal injury lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience pursuing maximum compensation for accident victims and families with wrongful death claims throughout Charlotte, NC, and its surrounding areas. We will apply our years of experience and legal skills to help you obtain a full recovery from a personal injury claim, which could include any of the below claims:
North Carolina is one of four states plus the District of Columbia that recognizes and applies pure contributory negligence. This old doctrine provides, generally, that if the plaintiff is even 1% at fault, then the plaintiff shall not recover compensation. In effect, the doctrine is a defense for the at-fault party responsible for your injury. Because of this doctrine, insurance companies and other potential defendants will use anything to claim or suggest that you, the injured party, contributed to your injury. They are trained, and they are aggressive. You need a personal injury lawyer who can be just as aggressive with them while being compassionate towards you.
The pure contributory negligence doctrine seems unfair, especially because it neither considers how egregious the injury is nor how little at fault the injured party was. This fact alone is reason enough to consult with legal counsel in Charlotte, NC, if you have been injured due to the negligence of another person or entity. The stakes are high, but your pain and suffering may be even more so.
Proof of negligence is similar in North Carolina to the standard applied in every other state in the U.S. There are five elements of negligence that are required to establish liability:
Most of the time claims are settled out of the court system, but sometimes victims find themselves testifying before a judge and jury. Knowing the process will help relieve fears, but only a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you understand what the best direction for your case is.
Making a Personal Injury Claim
If you seek legal counsel and the attorney finds you have a negligence case, the first step to recovery of compensation is likely a claim and not a lawsuit. Depending on the nature of the injury, you will file a personal injury claim with an insurance company. Essential and central to the claims process is your demand letter. This demand letter is crucial to the success of your claim and the amount of money you are offered. A full investigation into the accident is necessary as well as complete medical records and any other documentation that supports your claim. Generally speaking, there are certain elements that any good demand letter must have, and they include:
The demand letter must be complete, persuasive, and concise with a focus on the injuries and facts as much as applicable law and legal analysis. Calculating a proper demand amount also takes a thorough understanding of personal injury matters and experience. It is not easy. On the contrary, it is multifarious, daunting, and exhausting. It is strongly suggested that you seek a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte to guide you through the process at the least, and win your precise demand amount at the most.
More than 90% of claims are settled outside of court, but when the demand letter does not result in the desired outcome and the insurance company either (1) fails to accept the offer as-is and counteroffer with a reasonable amount; or (2) denies the claim altogether, the case may very well go to court. Your personal injury lawyer will discuss with you what your best options are.
Where to file your lawsuit is often a reason for frustration among victims of personal injury, and which is also another reason why having a lawyer work on your behalf so that you can focus on healing is best in these circumstances. That said, in simple terms, the court to file a lawsuit is determined in large part on the amount of the demand. For personal injury cases in North Carolina, if you are seeking less than $5,000 in damages, you will file your personal injury complaint in the Small Claims section of District Court in either the county in which you live or where the accident happened. Lawsuits ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 will be filed in District Court. Lawsuits more than $10,000 will be filed with the Superior Court of the county in which you live or where the accident happened.
The lawsuit starts with a complaint filed with the appropriate court and served on the defendant(s). The defendant(s), whether a person or entity, has 30 days after the complaint is served to file a response. At the same time, it should be mentioned, the defendant(s) has the option to file either or both (1) a countersuit if it believes the plaintiff harmed the defendant in any way; or (2) a cross-claim if it contends another party is responsible for the cause of the injury suffered.
In your personal injury lawsuit, you can request compensation for economic damages for “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses, lost wages, compensation for damaged property, and the like. You can also request compensation for non-economic damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. There is a cap of $500,000 for non-economic damages if your lawsuit involves medical malpractice. In limited cases, you may be eligible to request punitive damages if the negligence was egregious or the judge and jury determine the defendant should be “punished.” Punitive damages are also capped at either three times the compensation or $250,000, whichever is greater.
Timing is everything. Collection of evidence must be undertaken sooner as opposed to later or else risk it disappearing altogether. As such and if necessary given the circumstances of the individual case, a timely investigation may be appropriate.
The same also includes the time period to make a claim or file a lawsuit. In North Carolina, however, victims of personal injury tend to have a longer period of time before the statute of limitations expires and you can no longer file a claim or lawsuit. Most states allot one or two years, but in North Carolina you have three years from the time of the accident or the time you discovered the injury (in medical malpractices cases) in order to file a claim or lawsuit. That said, time goes by fast, especially when you are suffering and do not feel like doing anything else. You think: there’s tomorrow… but eventually there won’t be a tomorrow. You must find and hire a personal injury lawyer immediately.
WHY HIRE US?
Our legal team knows the complexities and challenges accident victims face. Not all law firms focus on handling the practical issues involved in a personal injury accident in addition to pursuing maximum compensation for accident victims. At Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC, our personal injury lawyers evaluate the circumstances behind the accident to determine if our client has a valid personal injury claim. We offer a hands-on approach to personal injury victims. When our personal injury lawyers evaluate your case, they will focus on several key aspects, including the following:
Our personal injury lawyers believe their job is to provide comprehensive services during a time of uncertainty. We are committed to helping accident victims hold at-fault parties accountable, while seeking maximum compensation for their ongoing medical needs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages associated with the personal injury accident. We also help clients understand how they can get their medical bills covered following a personal injury accident in Charlotte, NC. Our legal team provides practical advice encouraging you to follow your doctors’ orders. We want to help you get better and mitigate your losses.
Taking proactive measures can help you improve physically and psychologically. At the same time, you will be sending a strong message to insurance claims adjusters, judges and juries that you are making every effort to recover. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a highly skilled personal injury lawyer in:
We invite you to contact our Charlotte, NC, office online or call 844-452-3688 to schedule a consultation with a highly skilled personal injury lawyer. We are proud serve clients throughout Charlotte, Shelby, Concord, Gastonia, Kannapolis, Mooresville and Monroe, NC. We have the experience and legal skills needed to ensure you obtain a full financial recovery.