Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney
Personal Injury Lawyer in Charlotte, NC
Life is complicated even on a typical day. A serious personal injury can throw a wrench into an entire way of life for an accident victim and his or her family. If you have been in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions or inactions, you owe it to yourself to seek the strength and knowledge provided by an experienced personal injury lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina.
At Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC, our team of personal injury attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience pursuing maximum compensation for accident victims and families with wrongful death claims throughout Charlotte, NC, and its surrounding areas. We will apply our years of experience and legal skills to help you obtain a full recovery from a personal injury claim, which could include any of the below claims:
Proof of Negligence in Charlotte, North Carolina
North Carolina is one of four states plus the District of Columbia that recognizes and applies pure contributory negligence. This old doctrine provides that if the plaintiff is even 1% at fault, then the plaintiff shall not recover compensation. In effect, the doctrine is a defense for the at-fault party responsible for your injury. Because of this doctrine, insurance companies and other potential defendants will use anything to claim or suggest that you, the injured party, contributed to your injury. They are trained, and they are aggressive. You need a personal injury lawyer who can be just as aggressive with them while being compassionate towards you.
The pure contributory negligence doctrine seems unfair, especially because it neither considers how egregious the injury is nor how little at fault the injured party was. This fact alone is reason enough to consult with an in Charlotte, North Carolina, if you have been injured due to the negligence of another person or entity. The stakes are high, but your pain and suffering may be even more so.
Proof of negligence is similar in North Carolina to the standard applied in every other state in the U.S. There are five elements of negligence that are required to establish liability:
- Duty of Care. It must be shown by the plaintiff that the defendant owed a duty of care to either commit an act or refrain from committing an act. For example, a grocery store owes a duty of care to keep the premises safe and warn customers of any potential hazards.
- Breach of Duty. It must be shown that the defendant breached its duty of care. For example, if a floor was wet at the grocery store, particularly in a location of the store where one would not expect a wet floor (e.g., the cards and magazine aisle as opposed to the fresh groceries section), and if no sign was provided to warn customers that the floor was wet, the store owner breached its duty of care.
- Causation. It must be shown by the plaintiff that the defendant’s breach of its duty caused the injury. For example, the floor of the card and magazine aisle in the grocery store was recently mopped, but no sign was placed on the floor to indicate it was wet. You want to browse the magazines, but as you walk down the aisle, you slip and fall, and subsequently, you sprained your ankle. The sprained ankle is proximately caused by the wet floor.
- Injury. The plaintiff must prove that he or she actually suffered an injury. For example, if you are in the grocery store in the aisle of cards and magazines, and you slip and fall, but then you get right back up and continue shopping as if nothing happened, the elements of negligence are not fulfilled. However, if you suffer an injury, for instance, you strike your head on the ground and suffer a mild concussion, then you can prove the fall due to the wet floor caused your injury, therefore, you should be able to recover for damages (especially through no fault of your own did you slip and fall).
- Damages. The plaintiff must prove she or he suffered actual damages, such as lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering. If you are injured (e.g., a bruise) but do not suffer any real damages, then you do not have a claim for negligence that is likely to be successful when filed with an insurance company or litigated before a judge and jury. There must be actual damages that stem from the injury caused purely by the negligence of another person or entity.
Personal Injury Claims in Charlotte, NC
Most of the time claims are settled out of the court system, but sometimes victims find themselves testifying before a judge and jury. Knowing the process will help relieve fears, but only a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you understand what the best direction for your case is.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If an experienced personal injury lawyer finds you have a negligence case, the first step to recovery of compensation is likely a claim and not a lawsuit. Depending on the nature of the injury, you will file a personal injury claim with an insurance company. Essential and central to the claims process is your demand letter. This demand letter is crucial to the success of your claim and the amount of money you are offered. A full investigation into the accident is necessary as well as complete medical records and any other documentation that supports your claim. Generally speaking, there are certain elements that any good demand letter must have, and they include:
- Description of the Accident. The letter will start with a detailed description of what happened, with a focus on liability, including the elements negligence above listed. You should have supporting documentation of any proof or evidence, including witness statements that corroborate your story.
- Description of Property Damage, Injuries, and Treatment. You will provide a section that outlines the damages you suffered. If there was property damage, list it in detail. You must also provide a detailed account of your personal injuries that resulted from the accident. These injuries may include any combination of physical, psychological and emotional injuries, and the treatment you received for any and all of them. You should have supporting documentation of any and all injuries and any and all treatment undertaken to remedy those injuries.
- Breakdown of Damages: Economic & Non-Economic. You will provide a breakdown of all medical expenses, loss of income, loss of capacity to earn, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and any other damage you incurred as a result of the negligence of the person or entity. You should have billing statements, receipts, or other information in order to verify your economic damages.
- Demand Amount. Your total demand amount will include the sum of all your economic damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages) and non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering). The former damages generally have a value attached to them already; the latter, however, must be calculated using standardized methods that an experienced personal injury lawyer will know.
The demand letter must be complete, persuasive, and concise with a focus on the injuries and facts as much as applicable law and legal analysis. Calculating a proper demand amount also takes a thorough understanding of personal injury matters and experience. It is not easy. On the contrary, it is multifarious, daunting, and exhausting. It is strongly suggested that you seek a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte to guide you through the process at the least, and win your precise demand amount at the most.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Experience You Need
More than 90% of claims are settled outside of court, but when the demand letter does not result in the desired outcome and the insurance company either (1) fails to accept the offer as-is and counteroffer with a reasonable amount; or (2) denies the claim altogether, the case may very well go to court. Your personal injury lawyer will discuss with you what your best options are.
Where to file your lawsuit is often a reason for frustration among victims of personal injury, and which is also another reason why having a lawyer work on your behalf so that you can focus on healing is best in these circumstances. That said, in simple terms, the court to file a lawsuit is determined in large part by the amount of the demand. For personal injury cases in North Carolina, if you are seeking less than $5,000 in damages, you will file your personal injury complaint in the Small Claims section of District Court in either the county in which you live or where the accident happened. Lawsuits ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 will be filed in District Court. Lawsuits more than $10,000 will be filed with the Superior Court of the county in which you live or where the accident happened.
The lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the appropriate court and served on the defendant(s). The defendant(s), whether a person or entity, has 30 days after the complaint is served to file a response. At the same time, it should be mentioned, the defendant(s) has the option to file either or both (1) a countersuit if it believes the plaintiff harmed the defendant in any way; or (2) a cross-claim if it contends another party is responsible for the cause of the injury suffered.
In your personal injury lawsuit, you can request compensation for economic damages for “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses, lost wages, compensation for damaged property, and the like. You can also request compensation for non-economic damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. There is a cap of $500,000 for non-economic damages if your lawsuit involves medical malpractice. In limited cases, you may be eligible to request punitive damages if the negligence was egregious or the judge and jury determine the defendant should be “punished.” Punitive damages are also capped at either three times the compensation or $250,000, whichever is greater.
The Timing of a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit in Charlotte, NC
Timing is everything. Collection of evidence must be undertaken sooner as opposed to later or else risk it disappearing altogether. As such and if necessary given the circumstances of the individual case, a timely investigation may be appropriate.
The same also includes the time period to make a claim or file a lawsuit. In North Carolina, however, victims of personal injury tend to have a longer period of time before the statute of limitations expires and a claim can no longer be filed. Most states allow one or two years, but in North Carolina, you have three years from the time of the accident or the time you discovered the injury (in medical malpractices cases) in order to file a claim or lawsuit. That said, time goes by fast, especially when you are suffering and do not feel like doing anything else. You may think that there is tomorrow, but eventually, the time you have to file a claim will come to an end. The best thing to do is find and hire an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately after you suffer the injury.
Why Hire a Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer?
Our legal team knows the complexities and challenges accident victims face. Not all law firms focus on handling the practical issues involved in a personal injury accident in addition to pursuing maximum compensation for accident victims. At Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC, our personal injury lawyers evaluate the circumstances behind the accident to determine if our client has a valid personal injury claim. We offer a hands-on approach to personal injury victims. When our personal injury lawyers evaluate your case, they will focus on several key aspects, including the following:
- Circumstances of the accident
- Extent of your injuries
- Long-term needs, including medical treatment, personal care and accommodations for any disabilities
- Liability: Determining who was negligent and
- Insurance issues: Identifying the financial resources available to you
Our personal injury attorneys believe their job is to provide comprehensive services during a time of uncertainty. We are committed to helping accident victims hold at-fault parties accountable while seeking maximum compensation for their ongoing medical needs, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages associated with the personal injury accident. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will also help clients understand how they can get their medical bills covered following an accident in Charlotte, NC. Our legal team provides practical advice encouraging you to follow your doctors’ orders. We want to help you get better and mitigate your losses.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina today at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC
Taking proactive measures can help you improve physically and psychologically. At the same time, you will be sending a strong message to insurance claims adjusters, judges, and juries that you are making every effort to recover. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a highly skilled personal injury lawyer.
We invite you to contact our personal injury attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina. Call to schedule a consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are proud to serve clients throughout Charlotte, Shelby, Concord, Gastonia, Kannapolis, Mooresville and Monroe, NC. The dedicated personal injury lawyers at Brown Moore & Associates have the experience and legal skills needed to ensure you obtain a full financial recovery.