Personal Injury Laws Specific to North Carolina

Your health and well-being are everything. When you are injured, every aspect of your life is impacted. All too often, injuries are accompanied by chronic pain, significant expenses, and inhibited earning power. It can feel as though you will never be able to dig yourself out of the rubble that has buried you. But there is hope. You do not have to dig yourself out on your own. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to move forward.


The “One Free Bite Rule”

North Carolina dog bite laws can be a whirlwind to navigate if a dog has bitten you. Unfortunately, North Carolina is still one of only 18 states that offers leniency toward owners of aggressive dogs with the “one free bite rule.” This rule makes claims for compensation after a dog bite more difficult. Luckily, there are other provisions to protect you. An owner is liable if the dog is older than six months, if the dog’s guardian is not present, and if the animal runs loose at night. They are also liable if the dog holds a previous bite record.


It is essential to collect as much evidence as possible after a dog bite or attack. Immediately after an attack, contact Animal Control, take pictures of your injuries, get information on the dog, and seek medical attention. If there are witnesses, take down their information for future reference. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the process and help you receive compensation for the physical and emotional trauma you have received.


Caps on Medical Malpractice Damages

North Carolina has a cap of around $50,000 ($562,338 as of January 1, 2020) on medical malpractice cases. This cap applies to non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life. However, there are several exceptions to the cap. Economic damages, such as medical bills and lost income are not included in the cap. Furthermore, the cap does not include recklessness, gross negligence, and malice that causes permanent disfigurement and injury.


Time Limits on Filing Suit

There is always a time limit to when you can file a lawsuit. The amount of time between the event and the time of filing a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations, and it varies according to the type of lawsuit. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations is three years for personal injury cases. If you submit a claim after three years, your case will be dismissed, and your hopes for redress will be lost. It is critical to file your suit soon after the injury occurs.


Shared Fault

As in many states, North Carolina supports shared fault in personal injury cases. If you file a claim against an individual or business for an injury, they are likely to raise a countersuit claiming that you are at least partially to blame. The court will then determine the percentage of fault for both parties. If you are considered responsible for less than half of the fault, your compensation amount will be decreased accordingly. If your percentage of fault is higher than 50%, you will be denied compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help fight your case and establish your responsibility at a fair percentage.


Injury Suits Against the Government

It might seem incredible, but the government is immune to liability and lawsuits. Most states require you to file a “notice of claim” before you can file a suit. This is asking for permission from the state to sue the state. In North Carolina, any injury caused by an individual or agency employed by the state needs to be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This has a statute of limitations of three years, as with other injury suits. Working with a personal injury lawyer is especially important with injury suits against the government, as these suits can be incredibly confusing.


When an injury is caused by another person, company, or agency, you should not have to fight the battle to physical, emotional, and financial recovery alone. You deserve compensation from the guilty or negligent party. It is essential to know your rights and get the help you need to get back on your feet again. If you have any questions about those rights, or if you would like to speak to personal injury law specialists, then please visit our website here.