Have you been injured in a car crash or another incident where someone else’s negligence is to blame? If so, you’re likely wondering about the benefits of filing a personal injury claim and what compensation you might be entitled to receive.
Accurately calculating compensation in an injury case is a complicated process that depends on many factors, so it often requires the expertise of a personal injury attorney. Some of the relevant factors include the extent of your injuries and the nature of the negligent person’s behavior.
We’ll discuss these factors in more detail later in this article, but for now, we’ll start by talking about the three types of compensation you could receive from a personal injury case.
3 Types of Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
There are three types of compensation, or “damages,” that you can receive from a personal injury case. The three types of damages fall into two categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages seek to compensate you for your losses and pain, while punitive damages are designed to punish the negligent party.
Economic damages are a type of compensatory damages. They get their name because they provide compensation for the financial losses you’ve suffered due to your injuries.
Economic damages you may be able to receive compensation for include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Property repair expenses
- Therapy bills
- Household expenses
Non-economic damages are another type of compensatory damages. Rather than providing compensation for monetary losses, these damages compensate you for the general harm you’ve suffered. Because these damages can’t be calculated by adding up bills and receipts, a personal injury attorney will need to work closely with you to determine your non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairments
- Decreased quality of life or enjoyment
- Loss of consortium (harm to your spousal and family relationships)
Unlike the two types of compensatory damages, punitive damages in personal injury cases are fairly rare. A person only has a claim for punitive damages if the negligent party knowingly performed a reprehensible wrong act. The most common example in a car wreck case is drunk driving. Punitive damages are intended not only to punish the negligent party but also to warn others against engaging in similar behavior.
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3 North Carolina Laws That May Affect Your Compensation
Various laws and regulations can affect personal injury cases in North Carolina. Besides North Carolina’s general statutes, there may be other specific factors and unusual laws that affect your unique case (such as in dog bite cases or claims against the government), so speaking to an attorney about your case is crucial to understanding whether you have a valid claim.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time period in which you can file a lawsuit after you have suffered an injury. North Carolina’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. This means that you have three years from the date you sustained your injuries to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit (not three years to contact a lawyer!), and if you fail to file within that period, you will be barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries.
Contributory Negligence Law
Unfortunately, North Carolina is one of only a few states that still applies an unfair legal principle known as contributory negligence. Under North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws, if a court finds that you were even 1% at fault for your injuries, you won’t be entitled to receive any compensation. If you believe that there is a chance that the negligent party may try to lay partial blame on you for your injuries, you need to consult an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
Many states place limits on the maximum amount of compensation an individual can receive in a personal injury case. In North Carolina, these limits apply only to punitive damages, and they cap punitive compensation at a maximum of $250,000 or three times the total compensatory damages awarded, whichever is greater.
RELATED ARTICLE: What Is Negligence, Anyway?
Myers Law Firm: Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina
The personal injury attorneys at Myers Law Firm have years of experience calculating compensation and fighting back when insurance companies try to use contributory negligence laws to avoid paying victims. If you’re not sure whether you have a strong personal injury claim or what compensation you may be eligible to receive, the attorneys at Myers Law Firm are here to help.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.