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:
- Deck collapses
- Broken fencing and guardrails
- Faulty carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarms
- Inadequate security
- Parasailing accidents
- Boating accidents
- ATV and off-road vehicle accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Hotel or resort negligence
- Construction and manufacturing accidents
- Car accidents while on the job
- Hazardous working conditions
- Chemical exposure
- Repetitive stress 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:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including those that do not appear serious at first
- Spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis and other serious problems
- Soft tissue injuries
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Loss of mobility and motor skills
- Amputation due to a severely injured limb
- Neurological damage
- Severe burn injuries
Burn InjuriesThe 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 anguish and emotional duress
- Mental therapy
- Household and vehicle modifications if needed (wheelchair ramps, lifts, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- 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.
My Insurance Company Will Take Care of Everything
In spite of what their commercials may say, insurance companies always put their bottom line first. It's not all that unusual for an insurance company to deny valid claims or offer less compensation than is deserved. Denying a valid claim is referred to as an insurer acting in "bad faith." In such a case, you are entitled to file a bad faith claim against the insurance company. But, insurance companies retain armies of attorneys to litigate on their behalf. If you want to have a successful bad faith lawsuit, you're going to need aggressive and experienced representation. Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has been fighting for the rights of injury victims for nearly 30 years and will put their experience behind your claim.
Rhine Law Firm, P.C. Handles Accident Claims
We invite you to contact us at (910) 772-9960 or toll-free (866) 772-9960 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 handle the majority of claims on a contingency fee basis. We also offer Spanish interpretation and translation services.
“They worked hard for me after I was involved in an auto accident. I appreciate their efforts and making me feel like family.”