Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from Our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers
The Durham attorneys at Twiggs, Strickland & Rabenau answer some of
the most common questions about accidents, personal injury, and wrongful
death cases. Keep in mind that these answers are for general information
purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for legal advice. We
hope you find the answers to these questions helpful.
personalized consultation to discuss your situation,
contact our Durham personal injury lawyers at (919) 701-8132.
How do I file a personal injury claim in North Carolina?
Your first step should be to retain an experienced
personal injury lawyer. Once you have filed a formal claim, the insurance company for
the negligent party generally offers a settlement. This offer will undoubtedly
be less than the damages you claimed. Our attorneys advise you, based
on the facts of your case and your likelihood of success in court, whether
you should take the offer or take the case to trial. If you and the insurance
company cannot agree, then your case must be resolved in court. At trial,
both sides have an opportunity to offer evidence and testimony. At the
end of the trial, our attorneys make a compelling argument to the judge
and jury that you should be fully compensated for your losses.
What is a typical settlement amount?
If a case is resolved by settlement, the amount is based on the facts of
the case, the law applicable to those facts, and the negotiating skills
of your attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer reviews and interprets
all of your information to determine the appropriate value for your claim.
Factors that are taken into account include:
- Past medical bill amount
- Future medical bills
- Past and future loss of income
- Your age and state of health at the time of injury
- Any permanent limitations caused by the injury
- Impact on future earning capacity
- Activities you can no longer do
- Activities you can do but do not enjoy as much
- Prognosis for further problems
- Strength of lay witness testimony
- County in which your case is pending
The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injuries. If a fair
settlement cannot be reached, you need a skilled trial lawyer who can
effectively present your case to a jury at trial.
How much is my case worth?
Many factors determine how much compensation you may receive, including
the severity of your injuries, your age and past medical history, the
law applicable to your case, the county in which your case will be tried,
the quality of your witnesses, the negotiation and trial skills of your
attorney, and the amount of insurance coverage or the amount of assets
that the responsible person has to pay your claim.
Can the insurance company refuse to pay medical bills if my car was not damaged?
While the insurance company might try to draw a direct correlation between
damage done to your car and the severity of your personal injury, it is
possible that the body sustains damage even if the car did not. The reverse
may also be true, a car might experience major impact but the people might
only suffer minor cuts and bruises.
How is the amount of damages determined in wrongful death cases?
The value of each wrongful death case is based on the particular facts
of each case.
Factors that determine the amount of recoverable damages in a wrongful
death case are:
- Expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Reasonable funeral expenses
- The present monetary value of the decedent to the persons entitled to receive
the damages recovered
This includes compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected:
- Net income
- Services, protection, care, and assistance of the decedent, whether voluntary
- Society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice
- Punitive damages pursuant to Chapter 1D of the General Statutes, and punitive
damages for wrongfully causing the death through malice or willful or
wanton conduct, as defined in G.S. 1D-5
Estimates of future earnings usually require testimony from an expert witness.