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Personal injury can be defined as the physical injury inflicted on a person's body, as opposed to damage to property or reputation. The area of law that is implicated with respect to compensating the injured person and placing that person in as good a position as she or he was prior to the accident is tort law. Panchenko Law Firm serves clients throughout the Matthews, NC area and is home to a personal injury lawyer who can help you.

Here are some of our personal injury lawyer's practice areas:

  • Dog bites
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Free crash reports
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Workers' compensation
  • Product liability accidents
Personal injury or tort law covers situations in which a person's body, mind or emotions are hurt as a result of someone else's negligent actions or carelessness. This area of law includes all types of accidents associated with carelessness and even covers fatal instances of conduct known as wrongful death.

Generally, a case that involves personal injuries begins when the injured person, also known as the plaintiff, files a lawsuit against a person or business that was negligent. They are known as the defendants. A personal injury lawsuit is filed in the Civil Court and includes relevant claims against the defendants that demand monetary compensation, usually in the form of financial reimbursement known as damages. Said damages are meant to place the injured party in as good a position as they were prior to the injury-causing accident. It is not, however, meant to create a windfall for either party.

The following list details some of the most common personal injury cases that we have encountered throughout our practice. By no means is this list exhaustive, as personal injury law covers any kind of case where a person was injured. Some cases include:
  • Car accidents, bicycle accidents, boating accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents or accidents resulting in an injury to pedestrians.
  • Consumer Product Liability, which in North Carolina is not a Strict Liability Action, but a typical negligence standard that is outlined in Chapter 99B of the North Carolina General Statutes.
  • Injuries caused by an animal, such as dog bites.
  • Slip-and-fall injuries and other premises liability actions.
  • Injuries to reputation caused by defamation or to the mental wellbeing of a person by negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Most of the cases outlined above involve some form of negligence or carelessness. Negligence can be defined as a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like or similar circumstances. North Carolina generally follows the traditional common law rules of negligence.

Email us now if you have questions about personal injury cases.

Learn about establishing a case

In North Carolina, to establish a case of negligence, the plaintiff must prove:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation (cause-in-fact and proximate cause)
  • Damages
First, a defendant owes a duty to conform to a specific standard of conduct for the protection of foreseeable plaintiffs. Breach occurs when the defendant fails to conform to that standard of conduct. Moreover, the defendant's breach must be the cause-in-fact and proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm. To prove cause-in-fact, the plaintiff must show the harm would not have occurred but for the defendant's actions. To establish the defendant's breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm, the plaintiff must show the result of the defendant's conduct was foreseeable. Finally, damages include the plaintiff's past and future medical expenses, lost income, property damages and pain and suffering.

While you may be able to prove that the other party was negligent and caused you to suffer numerous injuries, you may still be barred from recovery because of Contributory Negligence. North Carolina, unfortunately, is one of the few remaining states that still follows this rule. Under North Carolina Contributory Negligence Doctrine, if you were found to be even 1% at fault in an accident, you may be completely barred from any recovery whatsoever. The policy behind this rule is justified by legislators in that as a plaintiff, you also owe a duty to the other person to exercise reasonable care on your own behalf. This antiquated rule also, allegedly, helps to keep insurance premiums down.

Last Clear Chance Doctrine and Medical Payments are meant to alleviate the harshness of this rule. Under Last Clear Chance Doctrine, you will be entitled to compensation even if found to have been contributorily negligent. This applies if after you have placed yourself in peril, the defendant knew or should have known that you were in peril and had the time and the means to avoid injuring you, but failed to use reasonably available means to avoid injuring you and as a result caused your injuries.

Medical payments, on the other hand, is a type of insurance coverage that you may obtain in North Carolina that will pay for your injuries regardless of who is found at fault for the accident. You may be wondering whether using this medical payments coverage will increase your premiums. The answer is no. Generally, insurance companies are not permitted to raise your premiums simply because you have used this coverage.

Having been involved in multiple car accidents myself, I understand the agony and the pain that a personal injury victim experiences. Aside from the physical injuries, emotional stress, loss of income and exorbitant medical expenses, you also have to deal with restoring your financial well-being, which more often than not proves to be very challenging.

Speak to a lawyer today about your accident.