People can be careless and even reckless at times, suffering from lapses in judgment that can change someone else’s life. When negligent conduct results in injuries or a wrongful death, people who are hurt or suffer the loss of a loved one have certain legal rights. This includes the right to pursue a claim in court seeking compensation. The knowledgeable North Carolina and South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson help their clients assert their legal rights against negligent parties following a car accident, a slip and fall, or another form of negligence.
In negligence cases, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This requires legally admissible evidence of four distinct elements: duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation. To establish the duty element, the plaintiff may make reference to a statute or ordinance that prohibits certain behavior, such as yielding to oncoming traffic while entering the interstate. This duty of care may be said to have been breached if eyewitnesses testify that the defendant did not yield the right-of-way to the plaintiff as he or she should have done, thereby causing a car accident. The plaintiff’s doctor may testify as to the physical injuries suffered by the plaintiff in the accident and render an opinion as to how the plaintiff’s condition can be expected to affect their future.Important Considerations in Personal Injury Cases
Negligence cases are always subject to a statute of limitations. This is the time period during which the plaintiff and a personal injury attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina may file a claim for damages. The statute of limitations can vary from state to state, so it is important to speak to an attorney about your specific situation. There may also be a statute of repose in some types of personal injury cases, such as product liability and medical malpractice actions. When a statute of repose applies, the statute of limitations can be shortened considerably. For example, if the statute of limitations in a particular state allows the plaintiff three years to file a claim, but the statute of repose limits liability for defective products to a period of 12 years after a product is originally purchased, a person who is hurt by a 10-year-old product actually only has two years to file a claim. Claims in which a governmental entity is a named defendant can also have fairly short deadlines for filing formal notice, which can be a prerequisite when a North Carolina or South Carolina personal injury attorney files a negligence lawsuit in these situations.
In most personal injury cases, a plaintiff’s own negligence may be taken into consideration by the jury in determining whether he or she is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. How the plaintiff’s negligence is considered varies according to the law of the state in which the accident occurred. North Carolina follows a rule called “pure contributory negligence,” in which a plaintiff who is even slightly at fault is barred from recovering damages from a defendant who was primarily responsible for an accident. South Carolina has a more generous approach, only barring recovery in cases in which the plaintiff was more than 50% to blame for the accident. If the jury finds the parties equally at fault in a South Carolina personal injury case, the plaintiff receives half of his or her total money damages award.Seek Counsel from a Personal Injury Lawyer in North Carolina or South Carolina
Time is of the essence in personal injury cases, not only because of the filing deadlines established by the statute of limitations, statute of repose, and formal notice requirements but for several other reasons as well. Evidence can be subject to spoliation, and an accident scene following a car or truck accident or a slip and fall can change very quickly. Witnesses can disappear or be influenced by heavy-handed insurance adjusters working for the opposing party. Thus, it is best to talk to a lawyer right away if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Asheville, Franklin, Rutherfordton, Waynesville, Spruce Pine, Greenville, Spartanburg, Gaffney, or the surrounding areas. To schedule a free consultation with the team at Grimes Teich Anderson, call us at 800-533-6845 or contact us online.