Protecting the Rights of Injured Clients
Durham Personal Injury Attorneys
Representing the Seriously Injured Since 1999
If you were involved in an accident or traumatic event that left you injured, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your resulting medical bills, financial losses, and other damages, like pain and suffering. To have a personal injury case, you must prove that someone else is legally responsible, or liable, for your damages. In most cases, this involves proving that someone else caused the incident that led to your injuries, usually through negligence, wrongful acts or omissions, or intentional misconduct.
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Durham County, North Carolina, you probably have many questions. At Hyland + Padilla, PLLC, we understand the complexities and nuances of personal injury claims, and we're here to help. We offer customized strategies and straightforward advice so that you can make the best decision possible for your situation.
Regardless of your situation, Hyland + Padilla, PLLC is here to help. We assist clients in all types of personal injury cases, including those involving:
- Car accidents
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workers’ compensation
Contact us today at (919) 891-8361 to learn more about how our Durham personal injury attorneys can assist with your personal injury claim. Your initial consultation is completely free.
North Carolina Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury laws in North Carolina govern how individuals can seek compensation if they are injured due to the negligence of another party. These laws encompass a wide range of circumstances, from car accidents to slip and fall cases.
Personal injury cases often hinge on the concept of duty of care. This means that individuals have a legal responsibility to act reasonably and avoid causing harm to others. If someone breaches their duty of care and causes an injury, they may be liable for damages.
Remember, North Carolina follows a legal doctrine known as "contributory negligence" when determining liability in personal injury cases. Contributory negligence is a legal principle that can significantly impact a plaintiff's ability to recover compensation for injuries. Under this doctrine, if the injured party (plaintiff) is found to have contributed in any way to the accident or their own injuries, they may be barred from recovering any damages from the other at-fault party (defendant).
Here are some key points to understand about North Carolina's contributory negligence law:
- Strict Rule: North Carolina's contributory negligence rule is one of the strictest in the United States. Even if the plaintiff's fault is minimal and accounts for just 1% of the accident, they can be completely barred from recovering damages.
- Defendant's Argument: To invoke contributory negligence, the defendant typically argues that the plaintiff's actions or inaction were a contributing factor to the accident or their injuries. This can be a challenging defense to overcome, as it places a heavy burden on the plaintiff to prove that they were entirely free of fault.
- Exception: Last Clear Chance: There is a limited exception in North Carolina called the "last clear chance" doctrine. If the defendant had the last opportunity to avoid the accident and failed to do so, despite being aware of the plaintiff's peril, the plaintiff might still recover damages. This doctrine acknowledges that even if the plaintiff was partially at fault, the defendant had a final chance to prevent the accident.
- Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence: It's important to note that North Carolina follows contributory negligence, whereas many other states use a comparative negligence system. In comparative negligence systems, the plaintiff's recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault but is not necessarily barred entirely.
In North Carolina, you usually have only three years from the date of injury to file your personal injury lawsuit. If this three-year statute of limitations expires before you bring your claim, the court will almost certainly dismiss it, and you will be unable to pursue compensation for your damages.
There are few exceptions to the statute of limitations, but some exist. Even if more than three years have passed since you were injured, we encourage you to reach out to our firm to learn whether one of these exceptions could apply to your case.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Filing a personal injury claim requires taking several steps; it is important that you follow these steps to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
The first thing you should do is seek medical attention and document your injuries. Keep copies of your medical records and follow all your doctor’s recommendations. This is important not only for your overall health and wellbeing, but it also provides valuable evidence for your future injury claim.
If possible, you should obtain as much evidence as you can, possibly including but not limited to:
- Copies of medical records
- Medical bills
- Accident reports
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Physical evidence, such as a damaged vehicle or torn clothing
- Expert testimony from qualified parties
At Hyland + Padilla, PLLC, we can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your personal injury claim. Our attorneys have access to invaluable resources, including expert witnesses and accident reconstruction experts, as well as the in-depth legal knowledge necessary to aggressively pursue even the most complex of cases.
Proving Liability in Your Personal Injury Claim
Another important step in filing a personal injury claim is proving liability. “Liability” is a legal term that refers to one party’s legal responsibility to pay for the financial and nonfinancial losses, or “damages,” of another.
In most cases, to prove liability, you must prove the following elements:
- You were injured, and your injury led to measurable damages for which you can be compensated. If you were not injured, you do not have a personal injury case.
- The other party owed you a “duty of care.” This means that they had a legal responsibility to act with a reasonable level of caution toward you in order to prevent injury or damage.
- The other party breached or failed to uphold the duty of care, most often by acting negligently, recklessly, wrongfully, or intentionally.
- The other party’s breach of or failure to uphold the duty of care was the proximate cause of your injury and related damages.
- You were not in any way at fault for the incident that led to your injuries. Under North Carolina’s rule of contributory negligence, you cannot file an injury claim if you are even 1% at fault.
Depending on the specific factors involved in your case, proving liability can be challenging. We encourage you to reach out to our team at Hyland + Padilla, PLLC for help with your claim. Since 1999, we have successfully represented the rights of the severely injured and their families, securing more than $40 million in compensation on their behalf.
Types of Damages You Could Be Entitled to Receive
The purpose of filing a personal injury claim is twofold: first, it allows you to seek justice and hold the liable party accountable for the harm they have caused you. Second, it allows you to seek fair compensation for your losses, or “damages.”
While every case is different, you could be entitled to the following types of damages in your personal injury lawsuit:
- Medical expenses, including future projected care costs
- Expenses associated with in-home assistance and care
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Lost income, wages, and/or employment benefits
- Loss of earning ability and future income
- Punitive damages, which are meant to punish the liable party for gross negligence or wanton/willful misconduct
Our Durham personal injury lawyers can carefully review your case during a free, no-obligation consultation and determine what types of damages you may be entitled to recover. Should we take your case, we will work to develop an innovative legal strategy and build a powerful, persuasive case with the goal of maximizing your recovery.
Work with a Reliable Legal Team
We understand that this is a very difficult time in your life; our Durham personal injury lawyers are ready to help you navigate the legal process and ease the stress you are under so that you can continue to heal and move forward with your life.
Here are some of the advantages of enlisting our services:
- Legal Expertise: When you work with us, you benefit from our legal expertise and experience in handling personal injury cases. Our team understands the intricacies of North Carolina's laws and can navigate the complex legal system on your behalf.
- Case Assessment: We can provide a comprehensive assessment of your case, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. We will determine whether you have a viable claim and can offer guidance on the best course of action to pursue.
- Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Our team can promptly and thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your injury, gather crucial evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts if necessary. This ensures that we build a strong and persuasive case on your behalf.
- Negotiation Skills: We are skilled negotiators and can engage with insurance companies and at-fault parties to pursue fair and just settlements. Our goal is to secure the maximum compensation possible for your injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and other damages.
- Litigation Representation: In the event that a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, we are fully prepared to take your case to court. We will provide strong and effective representation, advocating for your rights and interests before a judge and jury.
- Legal Guidance: Throughout the entire process, we offer clear and informed legal guidance, ensuring you understand your options and the potential outcomes of your case. We keep you informed at every step and help you make well-informed decisions.
- No Upfront Costs: Our personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay any legal fees unless we secure a settlement or win your case in court. This arrangement ensures that you have access to legal representation without upfront costs.
- Maximized Compensation: We are committed to securing the compensation you deserve, covering medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
- Peace of Mind: Dealing with a personal injury can be a stressful and challenging experience. Having us on your side provides peace of mind, knowing that you have a dedicated and experienced legal team working tirelessly to protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf.
We proudly serve clients throughout Durham County and the surrounding areas, and our multilingual staff can assist you in both English and Spanish.
You do not owe anything unless we recover compensation for you. Call (919) 891-8361 or contact us online to learn more during a free consultation.
Over $40,000,000 Recovered We have won over 40 million dollars for our clients since 2012 and counting.
Over 7000 Cases Handled We have represented thousands of personal injury clients since 1999.
“I came to Hyland and Padilla after an automobile accident. Mr. Padilla worked very hard on my case. His primary concern is for the well being of his clients. He was caring, professional, honest and patient. His staff was always helpful and pleasant as well” - Toni B.
“Very happy and great full with the results. Thank you for helping the Hispanic community very happy with the results blessings. Andrea and Stefani did A great job.” - Jazmin A.
“Mr Padilla is extremely helpful with your personal injury. His staff is great. I wouldn't go anywhere else. I have worked with Mr Padilla several times over the years. He is a wonderful caring attorney. He will go all out to make his client happy.” - Carolyn H.