Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorneys
Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Clients in Jacksonville, NC
Personal injuries occur much too often because of someone else’s negligence or harmful actions. When a person gets hurt because of another party’s careless or reckless conduct, there are laws in place in North Carolina that allow that injured party to file a claim to seek financial compensation.
According to a fact sheet from the University of North Carolina Population Center, in 2010 more than 4,100 residents of the state died as a result of unintentional injuries, with 33 percent of those deaths resulting from car crashes and 21 percent resulting from falls from heights and slips and falls. Most of these fatalities could have been prevented with improved safety practices.
The dedicated lawyers at Dawson & Albritton, P.A. are committed to providing aggressive yet compassionate representation to injured plaintiffs in Jacksonville, NC. Contact us so an experienced personal injury attorney can begin working on your case today.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is a broad area of the law that says an injured person who was harmed because of another person’s actions (or inactions) can file a lawsuit against that responsible person in order to obtain damages.
A personal injury lawsuit is a type of civil law claim, which means that the responsible party cannot be held criminally liable for his or her actions, but rather can be held financially responsible for the losses that resulted from his or her behavior.
There are many different types of personal injury lawsuits, from car accident claims to medical malpractice lawsuits and wrongful death. A Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyer can discuss your personal injury case with you.
Types of Jacksonville, NC Personal Injury Cases We Handle
At Dawson & Albritton, P.A., we handle many different types of personal injury lawsuits in Jacksonville, including but not limited to the following:
- Car accidents;
- Slip and fall claims;
- Medical malpractice;
- Dental malpractice;
- Pharmaceutical malpractice; and
- Wrongful death.
If you have questions or concerns about your situation and whether you are eligible to file a claim, you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Timeline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury lawsuits in Jacksonville, North Carolina are governed by a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a legal term that refers to the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit before that lawsuit becomes time-barred.
Once a lawsuit is time-barred, which means that the statute of limitations “clock” has run out, then the plaintiff no longer can file a lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation for his or her losses.
Generally speaking, the clock on the statute of limitations begins “running” or “ticking” at the date of the injury. For example, the statute of limitations would begin running on the date of a car accident in which a plaintiff sustained injuries, or on the date of a surgery in which medical negligence resulted in a patient’s injuries.
Under North Carolina Law (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52), the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is three (3) years. As such, a plaintiff has three years from the date of his or her injury to file a lawsuit. However, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be shorter or longer depending upon the facts of the case.
For example, the statute of limitations may be extended in certain medical malpractice cases in which the patient did not discover the injury right away. Wrongful death claims in North Carolina typically have a two (2) year statute of limitations that begins on the date of the deceased’s death.
Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Most plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits will seek compensatory damages. There are two different kinds of compensatory damages, and both are designed to compensate particular kinds of losses that the plaintiff experienced:
- Economic damages: these damages compensate a plaintiff for objective monetary losses; and
- Non-economic damages: these damages compensate a plaintiff for subjective losses that would not have the same dollar amount for every person (such as a person’s pain and suffering).
Examples of compensatory damages can include but are not limited to:
- Hospital bills;
- Surgery costs;
- Follow-up doctor’s visits;
- Rehabilitative therapy costs;
- Medication costs;
- Lost wages;
- Future lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of the plaintiff’s enjoyment of life as a result of the injury.
In some cases, a plaintiff also may be able to seek punitive damages. Under North Carolina’s punitive damages law, this type of damages award is only appropriate in situations where the defendant committed “egregiously wrongful acts.”
Rather than being designed to compensate a plaintiff, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and to deter the defendant (and other future defendants) from committing a similar act. In order to recover punitive damages, a plaintiff must be able to show one of the following aggravating factors:
- Malice; and/or
- Willful or wanton conduct.
The aggravating factor must be proven by clear and convincing evidence, which is a heightened evidentiary burden for the plaintiff. Punitive damages are capped at $250,000.
How Contributory Negligence Can Impact a Personal Injury Claim
Contributory negligence is a defense that the defendant may raise to show that the plaintiff is partially to blame for his or her injuries. North Carolina follows a pure contributory negligence doctrine, which means that if the plaintiff is even 1 percent to blame for the injuries, that plaintiff cannot recover anything.
Accordingly, it is extremely important to avoid making any comments to insurers or to anyone else about your perspective on who was at fault for your injuries. Your personal injury lawyer can handle this and can gather evidence to prove that you do not bear any responsibility for the accident or injury.
Contact a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation for your losses.
An experienced personal injury lawyer in Jacksonville, NC can speak with you today about getting started on your claim. Our advocates provide personalized representation to plaintiffs in a wide variety of personal injury lawsuits. Contact Dawson & Albritton, P.A.to learn more about the services we provide to clients in North Carolina.