Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury law, a type of tort, in North Carolina can be difficult to understand. There are no statutes passed by the North Carolina Legislature defining how a personal injury claim can be pursued. Rather, personal injury is what is referred to as part of the common law. Common law is built from decisions made by courts over a period of time, which that court will follow in the future.
A Jacksonville personal injury lawyer will work with clients who have been injured through no fault of their own, to fight for fair compensation for their injuries. If you have suffered due to the negligence of another, contact an experienced injury attorney right away to begin your claim.
Common Personal Injury Claims
One primary example of a personal injury claim in Jacksonville is negligence. Indeed, most personal injury claims are claims of negligence. When a person slips and falls on another’s property or is the not-at-fault driver in a car accident, the core of that claim is negligence.
Negligence in North Carolina is described in the case of Dunning v. Forsyth Warehouse Co., 158 S.E.2d 893 (N.C. 1968), as “the failure to exercise proper care in the performance of a legal duty which the defendant owed the plaintiff under the circumstances surrounding them.” In the above example of a slip and fall, if a grocery store did not properly clean up after a spill of milk, they may be negligent if a person slips and falls.
Or in a car accident, all drivers have a duty to ensure that they are driving in a safe manner. Therefore, a driver who rear-ends another driver at a red light may be negligent.
Jacksonville personal injury attorneys evaluate people’s cases to determine if negligence is entirely the fault of the non-injured party. This is important since North Carolina is a “contributory negligence” state.
Defining Contributory Negligence
Contributory negligence is the legal doctrine that if a person is even one percent to blame for the accident in which they were injured due to another’s negligence, they cannot recover any compensation from the other party.
The case of Newton v. New Hanover County Bd. of Educ., 342 N.C. 554, 564 (1996) states that “A plaintiff is contributorily negligent when they fail to exercise such care as an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under the circumstances in order to avoid injury.”
Therefore, using the above examples, if a store places warning signs around the milk spill, the plaintiff may be contributorily negligent if they ignore those signs and walk through the puddle.
How a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Insurance companies can be very aggressive with unrepresented plaintiffs. They understand the concept of contributory negligence and may attempt to intimidate people by convincing them that the accident was somehow their fault.
Jacksonville personal injury lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies, and will work hard to show that the other party was the sole negligent party in the claim. Attorneys then demonstrate how their client’s injuries were the direct result of the other party’s negligence. Through this process, most cases avoid trial.
If a trial is necessary, however, litigators examine every piece of evidence, speak with any expert witnesses, and prepare clients to testify on their own behalf.
North Carolina requires that a personal injury suit be filed within three years of the accident taking place. Time is of the essence, so contact an experienced attorney today.