Thousands of injuries occur in Hickory and throughout North Carolina every day. While many of these incidents occur due to unpredictable events, others result from negligence and intentional misconduct. When one party injures another, the injured party has the right to pursue compensation for any damages they incur due to the other party’s actions. Therefore, a personal injury claim may be your best opportunity to recover your losses after being injured by another party’s actions. However, it can be challenging to determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury case and even more difficult to succeed with it if you do.
The right Hickory personal injury lawyer is a tremendous asset when you are unsure how to hold another party accountable for the damage they have inflicted upon you. Whether your case pertains to a physical injury, illness, or economic loss, it’s essential to know the value of legal representation in this difficult situation. Your Hickory personal injury attorney can potentially help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions and recover compensation for your losses.
If you have sustained an injury through no fault of your own, you may not be able to work now or for the foreseeable future. You may need long-term medical treatment, including rehabilitation or physical therapy. You may live with significant pain every day and be forced to give up activities that you love. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
For more than 20 years, Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, has been helping people in Hickory and Western North Carolina seek compensation after suffering serious injuries. Before dedicating his practice solely to the needs of injured people, attorney Lyndon R. Helton worked as an insurance defense lawyer. He knows the ways insurance companies try to delay, deny, or diminish claims so that they can profit at the expense of working people. This doesn’t have to be your fate.
Your recent injury may seem to be a straightforward issue. Another party harmed you due to recklessness, carelessness, or a willful desire to harm. In this situation, it’s understandable to assume that you should face minimal trouble in holding them accountable for their actions. However, this is often not the case. Many personal injury claims are more complex than they appear at first. You may be hesitant to shoulder the cost of legal representation in the face of your damages, but the reality is you stand to lose much more by neglecting to hire an attorney to represent you.
Instead of attempting to manage your civil case on your own while recovering from your injuries, you can have an experienced Hickory personal injury attorney represent your claim, so you can recover with peace of mind. An experienced legal team will know how to gather the evidence you need to prove liability for your personal injury and establish the full scope of your claimable damages. You are not only more likely to succeed with your case when you have an experienced attorney on your side but also more likely to maximize your overall recovery. Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC has extensive experience handling complex personal injury claims on behalf of our Hickory clients. We know how to uncover compensation channels that many claimants would likely overlook on their own.
Our personal injury law firm focuses on the needs of people who have claims involving:
The personal injury claim process is multifaceted, and it’s vital to approach this situation prepared and supported by an experienced legal team. Your case can unfold in various ways, and different types of personal injury claims will pose different challenges.
Insurance is typically the first available option for an injured driver to secure compensation for their damages when car accidents occur. North Carolina is a “fault” state for car accidents. Every driver must have automobile insurance coverage, and an at-fault driver is liable for any damages they cause to others. Therefore, if you are hurt in a car accident, you have the right to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance policy.
North Carolina law requires every driver to have automobile insurance that covers at least:
Drivers must also have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage that meets the minimum requirements for bodily injury and property damage. This type of coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver does not have insurance or enough insurance to fully cover a victim’s damages from an accident they caused.
While these insurance minimums may seem generous, the total damages from a severe accident may easily eclipse the coverage available from a minimum coverage policy. When another driver causes an accident with you or a loved one, you may need an experienced attorney’s assistance to succeed with an auto insurance claim against them. Dealing with insurance companies is rarely easy, and most insurers will look for any justifications for fighting claims for coverage. Your attorney can draft a demand letter on your behalf to encourage the insurer’s cooperation and fair treatment of your claim.
When insurance isn’t enough to fully compensate your losses, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your accident. A Hickory personal injury attorney can assist you in gathering the evidence necessary for clearly establishing the other driver’s liability for your damages. Your attorney will also help you prove the full scope of your damages, and it’s common for attorneys to reveal options for compensation that injured drivers could have overlooked on their own.
Property owners must address safety hazards found on their properties if lawful guests, visitors, or customers are likely to encounter those hazards. For example, a store owner must mark wet floors or other hazards so customers do not slip and fall. Hotel and apartment owners must promptly ensure appropriate security measures and promptly address structural hazards. Homeowners must also fix potential safety risks or at least warn guests about them if they might encounter them while visiting.
A property owner’s duty of care extends to those invited to the property for the property owner’s purposes and those who have implied permission to enter the property, such as mail carriers and utility company employees. Property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers or intruders. Therefore, if someone breaks into another person’s home or trespasses on their land and sustains an injury, they will not have valid grounds for a premises liability claim against the property owner.
Many premises liability claims pertain to slip and fall incidents. Therefore, if you or a loved one suffered a slip and fall injury while lawfully present on someone else’s property, you likely have grounds for a personal injury claim under North Carolina’s premises liability laws.
Dogs are popular pets throughout North Carolina and are generally friendly toward people they know, but any dog is capable of causing extreme damage if they bite someone. North Carolina imposes a strict liability rule for dog owners, meaning if a dog bites or otherwise injures a person, the dog’s owner is strictly liable for the resulting damage.
Dogs are capable of inflicting painful and damaging injuries. Bites can cause puncture wounds, traumatic soft tissue damage, and severe bleeding. If a dog knocks a person to the ground, the victim could sustain a brain injury or broken bones. Dog attacks are also traumatic experiences. As long as you can prove you were legally present at the location where your dog attack occurred and did nothing to provoke the dog into attacking, you likely have grounds for a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner.
North Carolina enforces strict workers’ compensation laws, and virtually every employer in the state must carry workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee sustains an injury at work or while performing work-related duties, they have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If approved, their claim will cover any medical treatment costs the employee incurs and provide ongoing benefits while they are unable to work. These disability benefits can be paid on a partial or total disability basis and may be permanent or temporary, depending on the unique details of the claimant’s situation.
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws typically prevent injured employees from suing their employers for work-related injuries. There are exceptions to this rule, however. For example, if an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, if they intentionally caused the employee’s injury, or failed to adequately address significant workplace safety hazards promptly, these could potentially justify a personal injury claim against the employer.
It is also possible for an injured worker to have grounds for a personal injury claim against a third party outside their workplace. For example, if a third party injures an employee at work, the injured employee would have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim against the third party. The personal injury claim could secure compensation for damages that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover, such as lost income not covered by disability benefits and the employee’s pain and suffering.
A “catastrophic injury” is any injury resulting in permanent harm. Some personal injuries will heal completely with time, rest, and appropriate medical treatment. Unfortunately, full recovery isn’t always possible for every personal injury victim. If another party is responsible for any injury resulting in permanent disability, the victim has the right to seek compensation for their immediate damages and anticipated future losses.
For example, a personal injury claim typically enables a plaintiff to seek compensation for their immediate and future medical expenses. The victim of a catastrophic injury may need ongoing medical assistance for years or even the rest of their life. North Carolina also allows personal injury plaintiffs to claim compensation for their pain and suffering, and a catastrophic injury typically results in severe physical pain and extensive emotional distress. Your Hickory personal injury lawyer will help you determine a fair amount to seek in your claim based on the severity of your injuries and the likelihood you will experience long-term complications from your injuries.
If a victim dies from a catastrophic injury caused by another party, the at-fault party would be liable for wrongful death. While similar to personal injury claims, wrongful death claims involve several vital differences, are generally more complex than personal injury cases, and require the attention of experienced wrongful death attorneys.
North Carolina’s personal injury laws allow plaintiffs to seek compensation for all damages caused by the defendants responsible for their injuries. Damages in most personal injury claims are either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are generally easy to calculate and prove with documentation. These damages include:
It’s common for personal injury victims to initially undervalue their claims, not realizing the true potential values of their recoveries until they secure legal representation. When it comes to non-economic damages, these pertain to the victim’s pain and suffering. While this is a subjective issue, your Hickory personal injury lawyer can help you calculate a reasonable amount to include.
Attorneys typically base pain and suffering calculations on the extent of the plaintiff’s injury and whether they face long-term or permanent complications. Attorneys often multiply their clients’ total economic damages by one to five to determine fair pain and suffering compensation, so non-economic damages are likely to form the bulk of a plaintiff’s recovery for a severe injury causing permanent harm.
While your case may be worth much more than you initially expected, it is essential to understand how North Carolina’s contributory negligence law works. If the court determines a plaintiff is even slightly responsible for causing their claimed damages, they lose their ability to seek compensation from the defendant. Some defendants may assert contributory negligence as a defense against liability for plaintiffs’ damages. If you have any concerns about contributory negligence factoring into your personal injury claim, your Hickory personal injury lawyer will advise you on how to manage this issue.
Regardless of the type of personal injury you experienced, it is important to understand how your case will progress and what steps you will need to take to recover compensation from whoever caused your injury. The first challenge you face is accurately identifying the party or parties responsible for your damages. Depending on how your injury occurred, one or more parties may bear fault for your damages.
If you were severely injured and do not remember the events that led to your accident, an attorney can help secure evidence to build the foundation of your case. For example, if you were knocked unconscious in a car accident, you may not be able to provide a description of the driver who hit you or your vehicle. You will need to rely on experienced legal counsel to help gather the evidence that will form the foundation of your case.
If your personal injury happened from an act of negligence, there are several elements of negligence you will need to establish to hold a defendant accountable:
If a defendant has broken the law in causing your personal injury, establishing fault is generally easier. Your legal team can help secure police reports and any other evidence you will need to leverage in your civil suit against the defendant. It’s possible for the criminal case against the defendant to influence your recovery. For example, a judge could include restitution to you as one of the defendant’s penalties.
Your Hickory personal injury lawyer can be invaluable when it comes to gathering evidence to support your case. You may be able to identify a few immediately noticeable damages you can claim, but the average person is unlikely to know the full extent of damages they can claim from a defendant.
Once you have established liability, the next challenge you face is proving the full scope of the damages the defendant inflicted with their actions. You must have evidence that shows the full extent of your economic damages, such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost income, and your attorney can help determine suitable pain and suffering compensation to seek with your claim.
A compelling civil claim will encourage a defendant to agree to settlement negotiations. When a defendant is clearly to blame for a personal injury, it behooves them to settle the case privately outside of court. Settlement is a streamlined option for resolving a civil case that allows all parties involved to save time and money they would otherwise need to spend in litigation.
During settlement negotiations, the plaintiff and the defendant meet privately at their convenience, accompanied by their respective attorneys. The goal of settlement negotiation is for the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution so they can avoid the stress, expense, and time investment required for litigation. However, settlement may not be an option if a defendant denies liability or disputes the extent of damages sought by the plaintiff.
When a personal injury claim must be resolved in litigation, it will take much longer than settlement, and the judge will have the final say on the outcome of the case. Some civil claims will involve juries, but the majority that proceed to litigation are presided over by a judge. The plaintiff risks obtaining less compensation at the judge’s discretion, but they could also recover additional compensation to account for legal expenses and their additional stress during proceedings.
If you or a loved one is struggling in the aftermath of a personal injury that someone else caused, the fault for your damages may seem clear to you, but it’s common for injured plaintiffs to struggle when it comes to finding legal counsel they can trust. Take time to research your local options for legal representation and choose a representative who has proven experience handling cases like yours.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free or low-cost initial consultations for prospective new clients. You can think of a consultation with an attorney as an interview and an opportunity for you to ask important questions about your case. Your consultation offers the chance to get an idea of what it would be like having the attorney represent you. During your consultation, the key details you should evaluate include:
The Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, has the experience, resources, and skills needed to successfully represent your impending personal injury claim in Burke, Catawba, or Caldwell County. You have a limited window of time in which to file your case, so it is vital that you reach out to our team as soon as possible to start the claim filing process.
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you may be owed compensation. At Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, we provide free initial consultations where you can discuss your case and get the legal guidance you need to proceed with an injury claim. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers, call our Hickory office at 828-328-9966 (toll-free at 888-321-0494) or send us an email.
Your case is worth either what we negotiate with the insurance company or the amount awarded by a judge and/or jury after trial.
We will examine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your case in order to arrive at a figure that fairly compensates you. The amount depends on the type and severity of your injuries. It also includes the type of treatment you received (surgery vs. no surgery), the amount of medical bills, length of treatment, frequency of treatment, any “gap” in treatment and the possibility of future medical bills as well as any lasting and permanent disability and injury.
Every case is different. There is no formula. Our goal is to get you the best result possible.
Insurance companies take advantage of the emotional, physical and financial turmoil following an injury. The bottom line is the insurance adjuster’s job is to help the insurance company increase its profits. He or she will do so at your expense, unfortunately. It is as simple as that.
In most cases, you absolutely should not do this. The release will be very broad. Insurance companies will attempt to get records other than those related directly to your injury. It isn’t any of their business whether you received marriage counseling in the past or the last time you needed to see a gynecologist or urologist. You probably don’t have to give them that information.
If the insurance company agrees to pay what is fair, then your case will not go to court. Our goal is to get you justice as soon as possible. That can usually be achieved quicker through aggressive negotiations than through lengthy litigation and trial. However, every case we take in, we assume we will go to trial and we begin preparing them in that fashion. A wise man said that “it is best to always be prepared,” and we do just that.
Didn’t see an answer to your question? Do you need more information specific to your case? Then contact our law office in Hickory, North Carolina, and schedule a free initial consultation with one of our highly trained and experienced personal injury lawyers. Reach us online or by calling 828-328-9966 or 888-321-0494 (toll free).