Charlotte, North Carolina, is a growing city with exponential population and business growth over the last decade. While this growth has benefited the city and its residents, it has also increased the number of personal injury cases. Personal injury claims are serious and can have a long-lasting impact on your life. If you have been involved in a car accident, dog bite, or another personal injury incident in Charlotte, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
At The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, we understand that you may face several questions after being involved in an accident. We are here to help answer those questions and provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your legal rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal process used to recover financial compensation for anyone injured due to the negligent, careless, or wrongful actions of another individual, government agency, business, or any other entity. It can be a tricky process with plenty of moving parts that can quickly get confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the steps involved.
Hiring a Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer
The first step to pursuing a claim is choosing a skilled personal injury attorney. You should be able to find one through a quick on-line search, you can ask friends who have been in similar situations for recommendations, or you can use the North Carolina State Bar Association.
Once you have decided on a lawyer, you must trust them completely; this will make your life much easier when settling your case.
What to Look For in Your Charlotte, NC Lawyer
There are several factors to consider when looking for an attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim. Experienced representation is a significant factor if your case goes to trial. While many lawyers have experience with insurance companies and the legal system, they must also know how to handle your specific case. Some other qualities you should look for when retaining a personal injury attorney include the following:
- Knowledge of the Law – Your attorney should know the ins and outs of North Carolina injury law. They will understand the statute of limitations, which party or parties need to be named if you end up having to file a lawsuit, and what types of damages are recoverable.
- Communication Skills – Skilled personal injury attorneys listen carefully before speaking to fully understand what their clients need from them. They can also explain things clearly so that their clients know exactly what is going on and why.
- Flexibility – Lawyers understand that each case is unique and that no two clients have the same needs. They will work with you to create a plan of action that meets your individual goals while also being sensitive to any special circumstances that may arise as the case progresses.
Personal Injury Law in North Carolina
Personal injury law is a broad category that includes a range of legal practices concerned with personal injuries, such as those caused by negligence or intentional conduct.
In North Carolina, there are many ways in which you can be injured as a result of another person’s negligence. These include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – Some of the most common personal injury cases involve motor vehicles, which can result in serious injuries or even death. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident because the other driver was negligent, you may have grounds for filing suit against them.
- Medical malpractice – Medical providers must provide safe and appropriate treatment to their patients; when they fail to meet these standards, patient care suffers. As a result, patients may seek compensation through medical malpractice lawsuits.
- Slip-and-fall accidents – Slip-and-fall accidents typically occur due to poor maintenance or unsafe conditions on someone else’s property; if this happens at any point during your visit, it could constitute negligence on behalf of the owner.
Remember, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in North Carolina is typically three years from the accident date. You have three years from your accident to settle your claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible party to toll the statute of limitations. If you fail to do so, you could permanently lose your right to compensation. It is important to talk to your lawyer about the statute of limitations in your particular case.
Understanding the Personal Injury Claim Process in Charlotte, NC
Understanding the personal injury claim process in Charlotte, North Carolina, is crucial because it will help you know what to expect and how long it will take to get through each stage of your case.
A demand letter is a formal letter written by the attorney to the insurer of the at-fault party. It informs the defendant of the nature of the plaintiff’s claim. With a demand letter, the injured party lays out their argument to the insurance company for why they should pay for the damages. This may include the following:
- Why the defendant is legally responsible
- A summary of the injuries suffered
- What medical treatment was required, and the cost of the associated medical bills
- How much income the plaintiff lost because of time off work
- Other damages suffered, such as pain and suffering
The insurance company may review the claim and decide to pay, or they may deny the claim. Insurers often deny claims because:
- Fault is disputed
- Lack of evidence to support the claims being made
- Allegations the injured individual’s injuries weren’t caused by the accident
If the insurer won’t pay the claim or offers a lower settlement than the claim is worth, the next step would be to file a complaint (lawsuit).
Filing a Complaint
A complaint is a formal request to the defendant and the court that a personal injury lawsuit is being filed in which the plaintiff seeks compensation for damages. A case can be filed against a business, government agency, or private citizen. In certain cases you can even file directly against the insurance company.
Once the complaint is filed, you and your attorney have to serve the complaint on the defendant. There are many ways service on the defendant can be achieved. The defendant then has 30 days to respond to the complaint. If they fail to do so, the court will award an entry of default in the plaintiff’s favor. In most cases, the defendant will respond by filing an answer to the complaint, and the claim will proceed as usual.
The Discovery Process
The discovery process is an integral part of your personal injury case. This process allows both you and the defendant to collect evidence that will be used during court. During discovery, both parties’ attorneys will gather evidence, investigate the claim, speak to witnesses, and question the parties involved.
For example, in cases of car accidents, evidence will be collected and reviewed, including police reports, medical records, photographs of the scene and vehicles involved, witness statements about what happened before and after the accident, any video footage taken at the time of the incident, such as security cameras, and so on.
Settlements for Personal Injury Claims in Charlotte, NC
If you have been injured and are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim, it is important to know that most claims do not go to trial. The majority of cases are settled before trial, often during mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to come together and discuss their case in an open setting in an attempt to settle the claim without having to go to trial.
If you decide to hire an attorney after being injured, they may be able to help get you a better settlement offer than what you would receive if negotiating directly with the other side’s attorney. However, every case is different, and there is no guarantee of how much money might be offered at this stage. Sometimes, there are no offers, like when the claim is denied, and trial is the only option.
Contact the Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor
Call the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor for a free consultation if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. We represent personal injury claimants throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Gastonia, Concord, and Huntersville.