If you were injured in an incident or accident caused by another party’s negligence in or around Hickory, North Carolina, you might wonder who will pay your bills and whether you need to hire an attorney. Every personal injury case is different, and no one answer fits every situation. Proving liability against the other party is paramount for bringing a personal injury case in North Carolina.
Determining Liability in a North Carolina Personal Injury Case
North Carolina is one of the only states that follows the legal theory of contributory negligence. You cannot collect financial compensation if you are partially at fault for your injuries, even 1%. The defendant’s insurance company will try to attribute some liability against you, thereby eliminating any payout under their insured’s policy.
If you were not at fault, you need a Hickory personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Insurance companies rely on your inexperience negotiating personal injury claims, so they might intimidate you or pretend to be on your side in hopes you will say something they can use against you.
Severe Injuries and Permanent Damage
If you have serious or permanent injuries, hiring an attorney is highly recommended. These are complex cases to negotiate, and you need a legal advocate on your side. You might settle too early, not factoring in future treatment, or settle too low, not understanding the full value of your claim.
Insurance Denials and Litigation
If you plan to sue the defendant, you need a skilled litigator who can represent you. Perhaps the defendant’s insurance company wrongfully denied your claim. Your only recourse at this point is to file a lawsuit.
In addition, you might need to consider hiring an attorney if you have been handling your claim independently for a couple of years. Like other legal matters, North Carolina has a deadline to file a lawsuit, called the statute of limitations. For most personal injury matters, the statute is three years from the date of injury. Failure to file within the deadline means you could be barred from recovery.
Some cases might involve complicated liability or multiple defendants. You want an experienced attorney on your side who can ensure all responsible parties are held accountable. Because of contributory negligence, no one is going to be quick to accept responsibility for your injuries. In a large truck accident, for example, you might be dealing with a claim against the truck driver as well as the trucking company. With a slip and fall in a grocery store, you might have a claim against the store tenant and the building owner.
You May Not Need an Attorney in a Minor Accident
With minor injuries that healed on their own, you might not need an attorney. North Carolina personal injury lawyers may not take cases that involve only minor injuries and little damage. In these situations, you might be better off negotiating on your own; otherwise, you will lose a percentage of your settlement in attorney fees.
Before deciding whether you need an attorney, meet with a few Hickory personal injury lawyers first. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. You have nothing to lose by speaking with an attorney who can suggest the best course of legal action that makes sense for your individual situation.