Filing a Personal Injury Claim in North Carolina
Answers to all of your questions about filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit
You have the right to hold the people and companies who caused an accident accountable for your injuries or the death of a loved one. To hold the responsible parties liable, you need experienced and respected personal injury lawyers on your side. One thing we have learned over the years is that people often have a lot of questions about the process itself. What steps do they need to take? What does our team do? What kinds of questions will you be asked? What happens after the case is over?
Here, you can find the answers to those questions. We’ll explain how personal injury claims work in North Carolina from start to finish, and outline what you can expect. We invite you to take a deeper dive into the personal injury claim process:
Frequently Asked Questions about personal injury
What is a personal injury lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal dispute that arises when one person (the plaintiff) claims to have been injured or harmed as a result of the negligent or intentional actions of another person (the defendant). The plaintiff seeks compensation for the harm they suffered, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Personal injury lawsuits can arise from a variety of situations, such as car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, medical malpractice, and product liability. To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must generally prove that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the plaintiff's injuries were caused by that breach.
Personal injury lawsuits can be complex and require a thorough understanding of the law and legal procedures. An experienced personal injury attorney can help.
What types of cases does your law firm handle?
Price, Petho & Associates handles every kind of injury claim there is, from head injuries and spinal cord injuries to fractures and nerve damage. We only represent injury victims, never insurance companies. We invite you to learn more about our services here. Our practice area car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, product defects, slip and fall Injuries, animal attacks and many other personal injury practice areas.
What are the statutes of limitations in personal injury cases?
When any act of negligence causes you harm, it’s critical that you speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. North Carolina requires that you must file your claim within three years of the date of the accident to preserve your claim.
There is just a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death actions if a loved died due to the negligence of others.
You should never rely on the statute of limitations, however, for several reasons:
- There may be shorter time limits. For example, if you have a claim against the North Carolina Department of Transportation or other North Carolina entities and agencies, then you normally must give the government notice within a much shorter time frame.
- The two- and three-year statutes of limitations are just the outer limit (for wrongful death and personal injury claims). It is never a good idea to wait until the eve of a statute of limitation running before filing a lawsuit. Many times discovery will reveal additional defendants that could be liable for your injuries. Waiting until the last minute could jeopardize your claim against these additional parties and forfeit additional insurance that may have been available to you.
- Preparing your case takes time. One of the most important aspects of an injury claim is the damages being sought. Your attorneys must have time to carefully review all of your medical records and determine whether the documentation supports the injuries being claimed. In some cases, it may be necessary to see other doctors who specialize in your specific type of injury. Your attorneys may need to discuss your care with your providers or may request your doctor to provide written affidavits in addition to the medical records to support your claim.
There are also special rules when it comes to claims involving minors. In North Carolina when a minor (anyone under the age of 18) is injured as a result of someone else's negligence, there are actually two claims: one claim for the guardian or parent of the minor, and a second claim belonging to the minor. The guardian’s claim is limited to the medical expenses and other expenses incurred in treating the minor's injuries. The statute of limitations on the guardian’s claim is three years.
The minor, however, has their own claim for the Injury itself. This includes pain-and-suffering, scarring disfigurement, etc. The statute of limitations on the minor's claim does not begin to run until the minor turns 18.
Can I afford a personal injury lawyer?
Yes, you can. In personal injury cases, it is customary that the lawyer who handles your personal injury claim represents you on a contingency fee basis. In many practice areas, such as contract disputes, lawyers charge by the hour – win or lose. When a contingency fee contract is signed between the client and the lawyer, the lawyer and client agree that the lawyer will:
- Only receive compensation when there is a settlement on behalf of the client or there is a verdict that favors the client. Typically, when the insurance company pays the check, we prepare an accounting that shows exactly how much you get and how much our law firm gets. Our compensation is a percentage of the final settlement or verdict.
- Pay any outstanding costs from the proceeds normally before any other payments are made. Outstanding costs may include filing fees, court fees, the cost of depositions, expert witnesses, and other expenses. Our firm does normally advance the costs. We’ll explain what records you should keep so you can be reimbursed for any costs such as the cost to go to your doctor. We’ll get a complete record of all your medical bills and the costs for any medical reports.
- Pay any outstanding healthcare claims. Your health insurance company or healthcare provider may have a claim for reimbursement or payment.
- Prepare a written agreement that sets forth the terms of the agreement such as the percentage the lawyer will receive. The agreement is signed by both our law firm and by you, the client.
- Work ethically and diligently on your behalf.
Do you have a personal injury lawyer near me?
Yes, we do. While our central office is located at 1430 Elizabeth Ave. in Charlotte, we have additional satellite offices located in Rutherfordton and in Rockingham. If you’re too ill to come to our office, we will make arrangements to see you at your home, a healthcare facility, or through a video conference.
Talk with an experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyer today
Price, Petho & Associates has been aggressively fighting for personal injury victims since 1979. Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys understand that the work we do at the beginning of your case is often critical to a successful settlement or verdict at the end of your case. We’re ready to help you obtain justice today. Put our decades of experience to work for you. Please call or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We serve Charlotte, Rockingham, Rutherfordton, and all of North Carolina.