Injury Claims and Recovery Explained by a Raleigh Personal Injury Lawyer
Coping with serious injuries or the death of a loved one because of the negligent acts of another can be the most difficult times of our lives. Not only are you experiencing physical and emotional pain, but you are probably worried about financial matters such as medical bills and your lost wages and income due to the loss of your ability to earn a living. In times like this, you need someone by your side every step of the way to help you understand what your legal rights are for pursuing a claim, how the personal injury litigation process works, and whether you should hire a Raleigh personal injury lawyer to represent you.
At Martin & Jones, we understand what you are going through because we work with people in your situation every day, and we’ve been helping people and their families for nearly 40 years. While it is impossible to know exactly what you can expect in your unique circumstances without talking with you one-on-one, our personal injury attorneys have put together the following overview of how personal injury claims generally work in North Carolina in order to answer some of your most pressing questions. Of course, you can call us anytime for a more detailed, no cost, no obligation consultation.
What Types of Situations Can Give Rise to Personal Injury Claims in North Carolina?
Under personal injury law — also called tort law — a legal action can be brought by a Raleigh personal injury lawyer on behalf of an injured person (called the plaintiff) who is seeking damages for losses he or she suffered following the negligent or intentional act of another (the defendant).
Motorcycle Accidents in North Carolina
Motorcycle accidents are some of the most severe motor vehicle accidents we handle. Because they are smaller and lighter than trucks and passenger vehicles, motorcyclists are exposed to tremendous risk of serious injuries and even death in an accident. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones are common in motorcycle accidents, injuries that may require months of intense medical treatment.
A Raleigh personal injury law firm that regularly handles motorcycle accidents can give you a tremendous advantage when it comes to pursuing your claim. Understanding the bias against motorcyclists and what commonly causes accidents, they will build a strong case to help you get the compensation you need.
ATV and Four-Wheeler Accidents
Unlike motorcycles, ATVs and four-wheelers do not face hazards from other drivers. Instead, four-wheelers and ATVs are inherently dangerous vehicles. That said, they are sometimes defective – they lack necessary safety features, or the way they were designed or manufactured rendered them unsafe in a way that isn’t immediately apparent. However, these are complicated cases to prove – you will have to pursue your claim against a corporate entity that will probably deny any responsibility for your injuries.
Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
Dog bites and other animal attacks can also result in severe injuries, especially for children and the elderly. These injuries may require extensive medical treatment and can result in permanent disfigurement or disability. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s dog or other vicious animals, you may be able to get compensation for your injuries and other losses.
The law pertaining to dog bites and animal attacks varies from state to state, and North Carolina’s laws are very complicated. A Raleigh personal injury lawyer that knows how to handle dog bite cases will be able to evaluate your case and determine whether you have a claim.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents in North Carolina
Property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that their property is safe for guests and visitors. Unfortunately, they can fail to fulfill that obligation in several different ways. For example, they may fail to warn of known hazards, fail to inspect the property to discover hazards, or simply fail to maintain the property in a reasonable manner. Slip, trip, and fall accidents can result in injuries that are often much more serious than you might expect. Whether you were injured on public, private, or commercial property, you may be able to hold the property owner liable for your injuries, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Our Raleigh Personal Injury Lawyers Handle Pedestrian Accidents
When pedestrians are struck by a moving vehicle, it almost always results in severe injuries and even death. Common causes of pedestrian accidents are as follows:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failure to yield
- Reckless driving
Determining the cause of the accident will be critical to your success. An experienced Raleigh personal injury law firm will be able to review your case’s facts, reconstruct the accident, and determine exactly what happened. Because North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, it’s important to prove that your own negligence in no way contributed to the accident.
You may also need to consider whether you should pursue a claim against some party other than the driver. For example, perhaps the intersection was poorly lit or the crossing signals were malfunctioning. If injured in a construction zone, perhaps the construction company failed to provide a safe alternate route when they closed the sidewalk. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you need a Raleigh personal injury lawyer that will consider every angle of your case.
Our Raleigh Personal Injury Law Firm Can Help You After a Bicycle Accident
Cyclists have a right to use our streets and roadways, but many motorists do not keep an eye out for them while driving. As a result, the drivers involved in bicycle accidents often report that they “just didn’t see” the cyclist. While accidents are sometimes unavoidable, many bicycle accidents result from negligence on the part of the driver. Similar to pedestrian accidents, you also need to consider other factors that may have contributed to the accident. Was the bike lane unsafe in its design? Was there appropriate signage? Did poor road conditions force you out into traffic? Because the injuries cyclists suffer in an accident can be so serious, it’s important to consider every potential source of liability.
Amusement Park Accidents
Amusement parks are fun, but when park owners are negligent, they can also be very dangerous places. Amusement parks can be held liable for injuries resulting from the following:
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents due to lack of maintenance or failure to warn patrons about dangerous conditions
- Injuries suffered on rides due to negligent maintenance or defective equipment
- Injuries sustained in assaults due to inadequate security
Amusement park accidents can be very tricky. They often go to great lengths to defend themselves against potential liability, and it may be difficult to collect the evidence you need to prove your claim. A Raleigh personal injury law firm can handle your case for you so that you can focus on your recovery.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Drowning accounts for a significant number of deaths every year. When someone drowns due to a lack of maintenance or failure to provide adequate supervision, the property owner may be held liable for wrongful death.
That said, swimming pools present numerous hazards in addition to drowning. Swimming pool owners or operators may be held liable for accidents arising from the following:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Lifeguards who do not have adequate first aid training
- Faulty or inadequate safety and first aid equipment
- Inadequate security
If you or someone you love has suffered an accident at a swimming pool, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney at a Raleigh personal injury law firm as soon as possible.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Elevators and escalators are ubiquitous in office buildings, shopping malls, and other commercial or public spaces. While most of them are safe, they can easily cause serious injury and sometimes death when they malfunction. Malfunctions may be due to the property owner’s failure to maintain it or manufacturing or design defects. A Raleigh personal injury law firm can review your case, determine who is responsible for your accident, and help you understand your options.
Other Serious Accidents Managed by Our Raleigh Personal Injury Lawyers
This is not an exhaustive list. If you’ve suffered an injury that you believe was due to someone else’s negligence, a Raleigh personal injury law firm can review your case and evaluate your claim. This could include the following:
- Construction accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Injuries at sports stadiums and other entertainment venues
The North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has been representing injured people across the state of North Carolina for nearly 40 years. We know how to gather the evidence you need to build a strong case. We know how to hold parties accountable for their negligence so that you can get the compensation you need.
What Will I Have to Prove in Order to Hold the Defendant Responsible for My Injuries?
Regardless of how you were injured, laws regarding negligence and recovery of damages will apply. In order to succeed in a personal injury claim, you and your Raleigh personal injury lawyer will need to prove that:
- You were owed a duty of care by the defendant,
- The defendant breached this duty of care,
- Your injuries were the result of this breach of duty, and
- You suffered damages as a result
What If I Am Blamed by the Defendant for My Own Injuries?
Under North Carolina’s contributory negligence law, if you contributed to your own injuries, you may lose your right to recover compensation for your losses. There are legal exceptions to this general rule, for instance if the defendant was grossly negligent or had the last chance to avoid the injuries. North Carolina is one of the only states that still follows this strict contributory negligence standard when deciding personal injury claims.
Do I Really Need a Raleigh Personal Injury Lawyer?
This is a question some folks ask only after they have given a statement that damages their claim or worse. There is nothing that prevents you from dealing with the insurance companies on your own, but there are plenty of practical reasons to work with an attorney who knows the law and will prevent you from falling into the traps that skilled insurance investigators sometimes seek to use.
Will I Have to Go to Court to Recover for Damages?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are handled through a settlement process before the parties go to court. This is done informally, without court intervention, and involves the injured party, the person who caused the harm, their lawyers, and the insurance companies all getting together to work out an agreement. If you enter into settlement negotiations and end up accepting the settlement amount offered, you will not be able to pursue the case further in court. But in cases where the defense either refuses liability or offers an amount that is too low, you can elect to pursue litigation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
We Maintain Relationships with Insurance Adjusters
Your personal injury claim will be reviewed by an insurance adjuster, and your Raleigh personal injury lawyer will regularly communicate with him or her in attempts to negotiate a favorable settlement. We leverage our positive relationships with insurance adjusters and our reputation for not recommending unfair settlements to help move your case along and ensure fair compensation. However, when insurance companies do not offer fair compensation, we will explain and recommend filing a lawsuit. We will of course always follow our injured client’s instructions on settlement.
It Costs You Nothing to Work With a Martin & Jones Attorney Unless and Until You Recover
You are already burdened with out of pocket costs like medical bills and lost wages, and you likely have a long road of physical and emotional recovery ahead of you. The bills will continue to pile up. Trying to figure out the complicated personal injury claims process on your own can worsen the burden. A consultation with an experienced accident attorney does not add to your financial burdens because it costs you nothing. And if you do decide to work with a Martin & Jones Raleigh personal injury lawyer, you will not incur any fees or costs unless or until your case is either settled to your satisfaction or you recover in court.
The Right Raleigh Personal Injury Attorney Will Not Settle For Less Than Your Case is Worth
Establishing the defendant’s fault is just one aspect of bringing a successful personal injury case. Being able to prove the amount of damages — past, present, and future — that you are entitled to recover requires professional skill, knowledge and sometimes liability and damages expert witnesses.
A seasoned trial lawyer knows how to present evidence of loss through solid investigation and expert analysis and testimony. Your attorney will also know whether, along with compensatory damages, you could be entitled to punitive damages, which could be as much as $250,000, or three times your actual damages. Further, when you work with Martin & Jones, you work with a firm that has a proven track record of success. The other side is well aware of our decades long reputation for fighting for our clients. They know that we will not back down if the case doesn’t settle for a fair amount.
We are ready, willing, and able to proceed to mediation and/or trial if that is the best course of action in your case. Having a Raleigh personal injury lawyer from Martin & Jones by your side can be a game changer when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies.
How Long Do I Have to File My Claim?
As a general rule, and there are many exceptions, under North Carolina’s statute of limitations you have three years to file a lawsuit for damages following an accident, but there are numerous exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the accident resulted in fatalities, you may only have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Also, if the injury was caused by a defective product, such as a car or piece of equipment, the statute of repose may greatly reduce the amount of time you have to bring a legal claim. There are different rules if the victims are minors or if there is a government entity involved in the case.
Contact a Raleigh Personal Injury Lawyer at Martin & Jones Today
Even though you think you might have years to file your lawsuit, this does not mean you should delay in contacting a Raleigh personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation. The insurance company representatives are usually building its case and it is in your best interest to speak with a personal injury litigation lawyer and begin the investigation process into your claim as soon as possible. Do not allow evidence to disappear. Memories of police and witnesses fade over time. Evidence can be lost or altered over time. You are invited to reach out to us online or by phone at 1-800-662-1234.