Whether you live in North Carolina or visit on vacation, there’s plenty to do and so much to see, which means residents and tourists spend a lot of time outdoors. You might drive to your destination or participate in fun activities like flying in an airplane or taking a boat ride. With so many people traveling throughout the state daily, accidents often occur. If you suffer injuries, it’s important to know if you have grounds for seeking restitution.
The fact that you have suffered injuries in an accident while traveling in North Carolina, or in the workplace or while visiting a public park, etc., does not necessarily mean you can obtain compensation for damages. A civil court judge may award this type of relief in certain circumstances. As the plaintiff who has filed a personal injury claim, you must demonstrate evidence to prove that several specific elements exist in your case.
If you’re at fault in any way, your injuries are not compensable in North Carolina
To understand what makes injuries compensable in North Carolina, it’s helpful to first understand a unique negligence law that exists in this state. In many other states, if you share culpability in an incident that caused you injuries, you may still seek compensation for damages against any party whose negligence contributed to the accident.
In this state, however, if you are even as much as 1% responsible for the damages that occurred, the law prohibits you from filing a personal injury claim against anyone else involved in the accident. There is no “comparative negligence doctrine” in North Carolina. If you were not at fault in any way, and someone else was, you can seek restitution for damages.
Plaintiffs must demonstrate evidence to obtain compensation for damages
If you file a claim against one or more parties following a car accident, plane crash, dog bite or a premises incident, such as falling on a wet floor, you must convince the judge or jury that the defendant (or defendants) you’ve listed in your claim are liable for damages. The following list shows three primary elements that must exist if you hope to gain the court’s favor in a personal injury claim:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- He or she (or they) failed to exercise due care (i.e., negligence).
- The defendant’s negligence was a causal factor in the accident or incident that resulted in injuries.
Injuries do not just include physical issues, such as brain trauma, broken bones or whiplash. There may be property damage involved in your case, as well as emotional trauma, loss of income, medical bills and more.
Take one step at a time, beginning with gathering evidence
If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim in North Carolina, you’ll want to be as prepared and organized as possible before proceedings begin. While it’s often possible to settle a claim out of court, you’ll also want to be prepared for litigation, just in case. In addition to gathering evidence (e.g., photographs of the accident scene, photos of injuries, medical records, securing witnesses or willing to testify in court, etc.), it’s also wise to seek legal guidance and support to increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.