Catastrophic Injuries

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Representation

As the term implies, accidents are unexpected. Most people do not spend time preparing for the unlikely event of being injured, even those who work in dangerous jobs like construction or who participate in extreme sports. However, should the unthinkable happen, you'll want a dedicated advocate on your side who will put your interests first in seeking compensation from any parties that may be liable for your injuries.

At Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we help clients determine their legal options for filing personal injury and wrongful death claims for accidents caused by the negligence of others. We will put our decades of legal experience behind you in seeking the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. From our office in Wilmington, we represent clients injured throughout North Carolina.

Pursuing Just Compensation for Your Injuries

While much of our practice focuses on those injured by defective products, dangerous drugs and medical devices, and motor vehicle accidents, we routinely represent those injured in any context. Our Wilmington accident lawyers have experience with claims involving:

Catastrophic Injuries

Many of these accidents result in catastrophic injuries: injuries that are considered life-altering. These include severe physical conditions like paraplegia or quadriplegia, or brain-related conditions that render someone cognitively impaired. Pursuing a legal claim while trying to recover from these injuries may seem like an insurmountable task. But when you work with our firm, we will advocate on your behalf and take care of all the legal details of your claim, guiding you through the process, step by step. We also have access to the forensic, engineering, and medical experts needed to help maximize your compensation.

Common examples of catastrophic injuries include:

Burn Injuries

The CDC says there are approximately 1.1 million burn injuries severe enough to require professional medical attention every year. Burns often occur in industrial accidents, explosions, or in house, electrical, or automobile fires. The three primary types of burns are thermal, chemical, and electrical. Scalds or hot-water burns are possible as well.


North Carolina is among those states with plenty of access to water, including the Atlantic Ocean, Fontana Lake, Lake Norman, The Nantahala River, and dozens more. Boating, surfing, whitewater rafting, and other activities are abundant. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals ranks North Carolina 9th in volume of aboveground swimming pools, and 7th in volume of commercial swimming pools. Unfortunately, more water access leads to more potential for drowning. In the United States, there are about 3,500 drownings per year, many of which are the result of someone’s negligent actions.

Negligence and Liability in North Carolina

North Carolina is what is known as a contributory negligence state, which differs from a comparative negligence state. In a comparative negligence state, an injury victim can be awarded damages, even if he was partially responsible for the accident. In a contributory negligence state, an injury victim cannot be awarded damages if he shares any amount of responsibility at all for the accident. For instance, suppose you were hit and injured by a drunk driver one night. If it turned out that one of your headlights was burned out at the time of the accident, a court could find you 1% liable for the accident - meaning you could be awarded NO damages at all.

Damages Available in a Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim can result in compensation for a host of damages, including:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent injury or disability
  • Loss of limb
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of career or earning capacity
  • Mental anguish and emotional duress
  • Punitive damages
  • Household and vehicle modifications if needed (wheelchair ramps, lifts, etc.)

Punitive Damages

In personal injury cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the offender and also to deter others from conducting similar actions. They are only applicable if the defendant’s actions are fraudulent, willful or wanton, or done with malicious intent. Conduct that is willful or wanton in nature is not merely gross negligence - it must have been consciously done. North Carolina statute caps these damages at a maximum of three times the compensatory damages in the claim, or $250,000.

Wrongful Death Claims

Losing a loved one is devastating. When someone’s negligent actions lead to the death of another person, the personal representatives of the deceased may bring a claim of wrongful death. After the death of a loved one, the following wrongful death damages may be recovered by a family:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased before death
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of future benefits, such as healthcare and retirement
  • Loss of love, affection, companionship, guidance, marital consortium, etc.
  • Loss of household services the deceased performed, such as childcare, vehicle and property maintenance, bookkeeping, etc.

Statute of Limitations in Personal Injuries Claims

North Carolina maintains a three-year statute of limitations for bringing actions of personal injury. For wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years; time begins on the date of death.

Our Promise to You

  • National Practice with a Local Presence
  • Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Won
  • Over 30 Years of Experience
  • Experienced, Thorough & Dedicated Attorneys
  • Spanish-Speaking Services Available
  • Evening & Weekend Appointments Available Upon Request

Rhine Law Firm, P.C. Handles Accident Claims

We invite you to contact us at (910) 501-2474 to discuss your case in a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Wilmington personal injury lawyers. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments also available. We offer Spanish interpretation and translation services.

Additional Information

  • “Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”

    - John
  • “We were blessed to have them fighting for us and never giving up.”

    - Stewart
  • “Joel and Chris were there for us in every need.”

    - Mary
  • “Rhine Law Firm has a friendly, caring, professional staff and they worked hard for me.”

    - Becky
  • “We were very pleased with the outcome of working with Rhine Law Firm.”

    - Former Client


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