Determining Liability in Your Case
Arguably, the most important element of any personal injury claim is the issue of liability. You can only bring a claim if you can prove that another person or party is legally liable for your damages. Generally speaking, the liable party is the party at fault for the accident or event that caused your injuries. For example, a negligent driver who caused an accident that left you severely injured would, in most cases, be the one liable for your resulting medical bills and other damages.
In order to have grounds for a personal injury claim in North Carolina, you must be able to prove the following elements:
- Duty of Care: You must prove that another person/party owed you a duty of care, meaning they had a legal responsibility to take reasonable actions to prevent you from coming to harm.
- Breach of the Duty of Care: You must prove that the person/party who owed you the duty of care breached this duty, typically by acting negligently or unlawfully.
- Damages: You will also need to prove that you were injured and suffered damages, which can be either economic or non-economic in nature, as a result of your injuries.
- Causation: Lastly, you will need to establish that the direct or proximate cause of your injuries and damages was the breach of the duty of care.
At Payne Law Firm, we conduct exhaustive, comprehensive investigations and case preparation in order to establish all of the above elements on your behalf. We often work with industry experts, such as accident reconstructionists, economists, expert witnesses, and medical professionals, in order to build the strongest possible case.
Damages in Personal Injury Claims
Anyone who has been involved in an accident is likely concerned with the damages they will be able to recover. “Damages” refers to various economic and non-economic losses a person sustains as a result of being injured or losing a loved one due to negligence or wrongful conduct.
Every case is different, meaning the exact damages you will be able to recover could vary slightly. However, most personal injury cases allow plaintiffs to recover the following:
- All medical costs associated with the accident/injuries
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Future projected medical expenses
- Lost wages/income
- Future lost earnings
- Loss of earning ability (disability)
- Property damage
In some cases, victims of egregious negligence or unlawful conduct can also recover punitive damages. These are meant to punish the at-fault person or party and send a message that such conduct will not be tolerated.