North Carolina Legal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When you or a loved one is injured in an accident, no one hands you a pamphlet containing all of the information you need to understand your case. In this section we strive to answer the basic questions that everyone has in the time following a car accident, on-the-job injury, medical malpractice, abuse, or other accident.
If you don't find the answers to all of your North Carolina injury questions here, we encourage you to contact our Raleigh injury lawyers for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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What is the Difference Between PPO and HMO?
A PPO plan offers a network of providers, but you are not restrained to only seeing those providers. However, seeing a network provider may result in a lower co-pay.
- You can see any doctor or specialist you want.
- Your hospital bills outside of your network will be covered.
- Premiums are usually higher than those of HMO plans.
An HMO plan allows you to see doctors and hospitals within their network. Your medical bills are only covered if you see doctors or specialists within the network. There are several restrictions to an HMO plan "such as allowing only a certain number of visits, tests, or treatments."
- With certain HMO plans, you will need to see a primary care physician (PCP) when determining your next step in treatment.
- You will need a PCP referral to obtain coverage when visiting a specialist or when receiving a special test.
- You will not receive coverage for medical visits outside your network.
- Premiums are typically lower for HMO plans vs. PPO plans.
How Will a Jury Determine if a Doctor Was Negligent?
For medical malpractice cases, expert witnesses are called to testify. An expert witness is a doctor, chiropractor, nurse, or other specialty doctors that are in the same practice as your doctor. They explain to the jury how your doctor was negligent. Their testimony weighs heavily on your case. An expert witness is incredibly expensive.
I Think My Doctor Was Negligent, How Can I be Sure?
Certain medical malpractice cases are not black and white. You will need an expert opinion to know for sure if you have a medical malpractice case. You might not be aware of your injury until several months after your surgery or treatment.
Brent Adams and his team of lawyers would be happy to consult your projected case with you. He and his team of experts could explain what action you could possibly take. To schedule a free consultation, call 877-273-6823 or click here. There is no obligation.
What is the Purpose of a Certificate of Merit?
A "certificate of merit" is a medical malpractice form many plaintiffs must file before they can proceed with their case. To file a certificate the plaintiff must have an expert witness review their medical records to see if the plaintiff's injuries were caused because of negligence. After this, the plaintiff's attorney files a certificate of merit as confirmation that the attorney has consulted with a medical expert. The plaintiff's case is granted merit.
What is the General Award for a Dog Bite Case?
There is no standard award for a dog bite case. The factors that go into determining the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive are the following:
- The cost of your medical bills.
- If you lost any wages.
- The amount of pain and suffering you experienced from your injury/injuries.
- The price of plastic surgery (if you have to receive plastic surgery).
- The cost of psychological counseling (if necessary).
If I am Bitten By a Dog, Do I Have a Lawsuit?
Just because you have obtained an injury from a dog does not mean you have a case. Several factors go into whether or not you can file a claim.
- If you received broken bones or your injuries that required surgery, contact an attorney.
- Most statutes state that if dog bites are obtained on public property or private, you are entitled to compensation. Check your local and state laws, and if there were any violations regarding your incident, contact an attorney.
- If the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite and did not warn you, contact an attorney.
Brent Adams and his team of lawyers have been serving the community for over forty years. If you believe you have a dog bite case, call 877-273-6823 or click here. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.
Who is at Fault When a Prescription Drug is Given Incorrectly?
The liability depends on the facts of your case and when the error took place. Your doctor should not write you an incorrect prescription. Your pharmacist also has a responsibility to dispense the proper dosage of your medication, and they must also know the properties and side effects of the medications they sell. Assigning blame can become confusing, if you think you may have a defective drug case or want to speak with an attorney, you can click here or call 877-273-6823. The consultation is free and there is no obligation to call.
The Dog Bite Did Not Break My Skin. Do I Have a Claim?
A dog bite does not necessarily have to break through your skin in order for you to have a claim. You may have a claim even if the dog's bite did not go through your skin completely because a dog attack, even a small one, can have a lasting impact on your mental health. A lawyer will have to assess your situation in order to determine whether or not you have a dog bite case.
If you would like to speak with an attorney, click here. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.
What is a "Preponderance of Evidence?"
A "preponderance of evidence" means the defendant is "more probable than not" the reason for the injury. The plaintiff only has to prove the defendant is over 50% guilty of negligence. This is what any plaintiff must prove in a civil case. In criminal cases, the plaintiff must prove the defendant is 100% guilty or "beyond a reasonable doubt."
In order to win a medical malpractice case, a "preponderance of evidence" is the level of proof that must be shown to the court. The plaintiff must prove by a "preponderance of evidence" the defendant was negligent and provided poor health services to the plaintiff. The plaintiff must further show they obtained an injury as a result of the negligent care.
Can I Sue the Hospital?
It is not likely that you can sue the hospital. Hospitals are not typically responsible for a doctor's mistake if the doctor is not a direct employee of the hospital. A majority of doctors are independent contractors, not employees of the hospital. This makes suing the hospital nearly impossible. You would have to sue the doctor directly if they are an independent contractor. However, there are exceptions to this rule, which are as follows:
- Hospitals are responsible for a contracted doctor's malpractice if the hospital does not inform you that your doctor is not an employee. This information is usually provided in admission forms.
- A hospital may be responsible for an Emergency Room's malpractice due to the fact several Emergency Room patients are not conscious, so they cannot be informed about their doctor's employee status.
If I Am Misdiagnosed, Do I Have a Case?
No, you do not necessarily have a case. Depending on the information available to your doctor at the time you were diagnosed and the steps he or she took will determine whether or not you have a case. This information must be "weighed against the applicable medical standard of care." If you received low-level care compared to another medical professional in the same practice, you may have a case. If your misdiagnoses came from a poor standard of care resulting in an injury, you will have to prove this in order to make a worthy claim.
What is the Purpose of Informed Consent?
A doctor is required to have a conversation with you before performing a procedure or giving you treatment. Your doctor should give you knowledge about the possible outcomes, potential negative consequences, side effects, and complications. This conversation is called "informed consent." If your doctor did not have this conversation with you, you could obtain an injury from a surgery or form of treatment. Informed consent is not necessary for emergency situations when an unconscious patient needs urgent care.
Can I Reopen My Medical Malpractice Case After it Has been Settled?
No, you cannot reopen your case once you have received some type of settlement. The same rule is applied to lawsuits. Once your case is over, you will sign a release which prohibits you from taking any more legal action. It is vital for you to understand the extent of your injuries and losses before you make a settlement. You will not receive more compensation after the settlement has been completed.
What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice?
A medical malpractice happens when a patient is injured due to the negligence of a medical professional. A medical malpractice case can only be won if you show that a doctor was negligent. Here are three ways you can determine if you have become victim to a medical malpractice:
- If the doctor failed to diagnose you or misdiagnosed your condition, this may constitute a medical malpractice case.
- If the doctor did not follow a proper procedure, you may have a case.
- If you were not warned of the risks involved with a prescription or procedure, you may have a medical malpractice case.
Other components must also be taken into consideration when determing if you have a medical malpractice such as:
- The prior doctor-patient relationship
- Damages incurred due to the injury
What Are the Damage Caps in NC?
North Carolina does place a limit on the amount you can receive as compensation for a medical malpractice.
A law in 2001 set the cap for non-economic damages at $500,000 for medical malpractice lawsuits. Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Non-economic damages vary depending on the case. In 2014, the cap began changing with inflation and it will continue to change each year.
The cap does not apply to parties who suffered from disfiguration, permanent injury due to the defendant's recklessness or gross negligence. If a case meets this criterion, there is no cap on the compensation that could be awarded.
An award for loss of income, medical bills, and other economic damages are also not restricted by a cap.
What is a Medical Malpractice?
Any negligent injury caused by the treatment you received from a doctor, hospital, nurse, chiropractor, therapist, surgeon, or other medical practitioner is considered a medical malpractice. Failed treatment or diagnosis resulting in loss of income, long-term suffering, injuries, or death are also considered medical malpractices. If you believe you have experienced a medical malpractice, call 877-273-6823 or click here to send Brent Adams and his team of lawyers a message. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation to call.
If I Can Prove Negligence, Will I Win My Case?
Just because you can prove the other party was negligent does not mean you will win your medical malpractice case. You must prove that your damages were caused by the result from poor "standard of care." Damages can include medical bills, loss wages, pain and suffering, lasting injuries, or death.
What is a Defective Drug?
We trust our doctors and physicians to give us the right medication, and we trust our pharmacists to package it correctly. We also put faith that the manufacturing company of these products provides the public with the proper information in order to keep us safe. However, in certain cases, patients will obtain injuries or illness from a medication due to the manufacturing company, the physician's prescription, or the pharmacist's packaging. This is a defective drug, and if you have experienced an issue with a defective drug, you may be entitled to compensation.
You can click here to contact Brent Adams and Associates. Brent Adams has been practicing law for over forty years, and he wants to help you if you have been hurt by a defective medication. Call 1-877-273-6823 to schedule a free consultation. There is no obligation to call.
What Should I Do if My Doctor Neglected to Tell Me My Medication Was Part of an Experimental Program?
Your doctor has a responsibility to keep you updated about crucial information regarding your treatment such as side effects of the medication they are prescribing and whether or not you involved in an experimental program. If this information was not given to you, you have the right to file a claim. You must give your permission before a physician can use your information in a study.
What Damages Could I Have Compensated if I Win My Medical Malpractice Case?
If your medical malpractice resulted in an injury, you can receive a reward for your medical bills, wage loss (for the past and future), and compensation for your pain and suffering or disfiguration. Wrongful death cases can result in compensation for medical bills, loss of family members, and loss of companionship. These rewards go to the family of the deceased person.