Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death
Have you lost someone close to you, or have you or a loved one suffered a very serious injury due to the actions of someone else? If so, then you, your loved ones, and whoever suffered have the right to claim damages and compensation under North Carolina Law.
Claims for very serious injuries, or “catastrophic injury”, can be filed by the person injured and/or their loved ones. Wrongful death claims are filed by loved ones seeking damages for their loss. While you cannot put a price-tag on the life of a loved one, or the suffering and quality of life lost due to injury, you can seek compensation for the related expenses, any expected financial loss in the future, and possibly more for the physical and emotional pain endured.
There are many details to work through to figure out whether a case can be won or not, which is why you should contact our experienced attorneys if you believe you have a case. We can work through the details with you thoroughly, and determine the best path to take to get the outcome you deserve. It is best not to hesitate, as North Carolina has a statute of limitations of only three years to file an injury claim, and only two years for wrongful death claims.
Requirements for a Valid Lawsuit
When filing a lawsuit for catastrophic injury or wrongful death in North Carolina, it is not enough to prove that the plaintiff was injured or killed in relation to the actions of the person being sued. This is because North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning that for a victim to seek damages from an accident, the accident must be of absolutely no fault of their own. While this does protect people from being liable to accidents they did not fully cause, it also makes it difficult for victims to be treated fairly. This is one of many reasons why it is essential to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney will make sure to strike down every piece of evidence the defendant uses blame the accident on the victim.
Below are some answers to additional questions you may have about filing a personal injury lawsuit:
As personal injury law, also known as tort law, is handled in civil court, you will need to pursue a lawsuit to seek legal compensation for damages.
Personal injury law gives you the right to attend civil court and seek monetary reward for your pain and suffering, and any losses you might have incurred due to your unfortunate accident.
The law offices of Tarlton Polk have experienced personal injury lawyers who know how to get you the results you deserve. Getting injured due to someone else’s negligence or behavior can be a traumatic experience and we want you to know that you have rights.
Generally speaking, if a person files a personal injury lawsuit against another person or business, then the other party can either decide to settle the matter out of court, or they can choose to take it to trial. In our experience, most people end up settling out of court. This is because a jury trial can sometimes be a lengthy and costly process, and the defendant could end up getting more than what he or she chose to settle for in the first place.
If the defendant chooses to take your civil matter to trial, then the jury selection process would begin before your case would be set for trial. The entire process of a civil jury trial is similar to a criminal jury trial, with the exception that there is no right to a speedy trial since civil cases are not considered criminal cases.
If the accused doesn’t admit fault or chooses not to settle out of court, then yes, evidence will be examined during the civil trial. Regardless of how you think your personal injury case might play out, it is always a good idea to hold on to any evidence you may have obtained, or give it to your attorney.
There are many different types of personal injury cases, some are more generalist while others are very specialized to certain circumstances or liable parties. Some categories are:
- Automobile Injury: Car accidents, due to negligence or otherwise, causing injury
- Defamation: Injury from damage to reputation, finances, and more resulting from false and harmful claims.
- Premise Liability: Injury on a premise due to inadequate safety
- Product Liability: Injury caused by products not meeting safety standards
- Malpractice and Professional Negligence: Any form of professional malpractice that causes injury. Most common are for medical and nursing malpractice, but damages from other professions can be worthy of filing a lawsuit.
If you suspect you have a valid personal injury case, but are not certain,
hen we suggest that you find legal representation immediately. Failing to hire a qualified personal injury attorney can end up causing you to lose any chance of monetary compensation that you deserve. We would also like to remind you that it is best if you do not speak to anyone about this matter besides your attorney, because anything you say or do could be brought back up in civil court.
Catastrophic injuries are the most severe injuries, typically resulting in permanent disability or other lifelong consequences such as chronic pain, long-term need of medical care, and more. These injuries completely change the life of the victim and the victim’s loved ones who often take on the role of being their lifelong caretakers. This means that there are directly quantifiable losses that you can seek compensation for, such as the cost of medical treatment and loss of income due to the victim and/or family member losing work. Additionally, you can seek damages for less concrete aspects of the injury, such as loss of quality of life and potentially as punishment for the defendant’s negligence.
There are several kinds of injuries that can and have been considered catastrophic by North Carolina courts, including but not limited to:
- Amputation: injuries causing the loss of any limb or significant part of a person’s limb.
- Central nervous system injuries: any injury to the head, brain or spinal cord that can cause paralysis or loss any loss of important bodily function, such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).
- Loss of Sensation: serious loss of vision, hearing or other senses.
- Organ Damage: any damage to vital organs that may require ongoing medical care and possibly transplantation.
- Scarring and Disfigurement: very serious and visible disfigurement, scarring, or burns that are either permanent or long-term and can be extremely costly to repair.
- Traumatic Emotional Distress: any damages that incur long-term and extreme emotional distress, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Wrongful death in North Carolina is any death that results from a wrongful act, whether the act was due to neglect or otherwise another person’s fault. This claim exists to give the families of the deceased a way to seek damages for the loss of their loved one.Typically, the damages are related to financial losses loved ones suffered, such as hospital expenses or loss of income from the deceased, though additional damages can be sought for loved ones suffering emotional distress from grief.
While wrongful death lawsuits do not have to go through the detailed evaluation to determine the extent of an injury as catastrophic injury claims do, they still need careful evaluation for other factors. Namely, determining the financial loss in the long-term and being able to argue for that compensation in full, takes a lawyer with the skills and experience to do so. A skilled attorney will also be sensitive to concerns of reputation, as it can be frowned upon for family to seek damages for a loved ones loss, as they may appear to be putting a price tag on their life. A skilled personal injury attorney is not only professional and thorough but compassionate, and will help to reassure you that seeking damages is your right, and not in any way an act of greed.
Do These Claims Cover all Causes of Injury or Death?
While there can be many events or actions that can lead to somebody causing another person catastrophic injury or death, there are some specialized areas of personal injury law that deal with specific circumstances.
Among the most common wrongful death and catastrophic injury lawsuits are those related to vehicle accidents, though any case where a person causes another person’s injury or death could be a potential lawsuit. Deaths and injuries caused by workplace accidents are also subject to lawsuits, though the cases are governed by North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation laws. Medical malpractice is another very specialized area of personal injury law, as they require proving that the medical practitioner caused the injury or death through negligence, and it was not the result of inherent medical risk.
Request a Consultation with Tarlton | Polk's Personal Injury Lawyers
If you believe you have a case, the best thing to do is discuss it with an experienced attorney. You will need an attorney who understands this complex area of law and can fight hard for you while also being honest about the viability of your case and what additional information you will need to win. The attorneys at Tarlton Polk Law have the skills and experience in this area of law as we understand both sides to these issues being both criminal defense and personal injury attorneys. This gives us a unique advantage in handling these lawsuits in a fair, respectable and honest manner that puts your best interest front and center.