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When you or a loved one suffers a life-altering injury where a complete recovery is unlikely, your future may also be forever changed. Instead of the life you may have planned, you now face many unknowns, including financial burdens like medical bills that you did not anticipate.

While you may not be able to undo the severe injuries suffered, one thing you can do is seek compensation for your losses if someone else was responsible. A Fayetteville catastrophic injury lawyer who specializes in cases involving serious injuries like brain damage, paralysis, or amputation could help you recover much-needed compensation as you adapt to your new life. Call a skilled personal injury attorney and arrange for an appointment to begin discussing your potential legal options.

Establishing Fault

When an injury occurs that forever affects an individual’s quality of life, a plaintiff bringing a cause of action must establish that the party who caused their injuries was negligent. In Fayetteville, there are four factors a plaintiff needs to prove to establish fault:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. The duty is to exercise a certain degree of care, meaning, to act in a manner that an ordinary, reasonable person would act
  • The defendant breached that duty. The plaintiff must show that the defendant acted unreasonably
  • The breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff has to prove that the careless and willful actions of the defendant were the actual and proximate cause of the injuries, meaning the plaintiff’s injuries were reasonably foreseeable as a result of the breach
  • The plaintiff suffered actual damages. The plaintiff must show that they experienced damages either to their person or property

An accomplished personal injury lawyer could help an injured individual establish fault and recover damages.

Role of Contributory Negligence in a Catastrophic Injury Case

In most states, the doctrine of contributory negligence prevails, which allows for damages to be reduced by the amount the plaintiff’s fault contributed to the injuries suffered. But in North Carolina, the state follows the doctrine of contributory negligence. That means that if the plaintiff’s negligent actions at all contributed to their injuries, they cannot recover damages. However, under North Carolina General Statutes § 1-139, the defendant has the burden of proof for such a defense.

If a defendant does argue that a plaintiff is contributorily negligent, the plaintiff can raise the defense that the defendant had the last clear chance – the time and ability – to avoid the injury and failed to do so, and that the defendant’s failure to avoid the injury-causing event was responsible for the incident despite the plaintiff’s contributory negligence.

Moreover, if the defendant invokes the doctrine of contributory negligence but the plaintiff can prove that their actions were particularly egregious, meaning they constituted willful and wanton conduct, then the plaintiff’s own negligence could be excused in that case. A dedicated Fayetteville catastrophic injury lawyer could advocate on behalf of an injured individual and fight for fair compensation.

Talk to a Fayetteville Catastrophic Injury Attorney

When you or a loved one suffers an injury that dramatically impacts your life, you may feel hopeless and afraid about what is next. But with the expertise of a seasoned Fayetteville catastrophic injury lawyer, you could recover the crucial compensation needed to help as you define your new life.  Reach out to a lawyer with experience in catastrophic injury cases. Call today to discuss your situation.