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 North Carolina Child Protective Seats Court Diversion Program?
The North Carolina Child Protective Seats Court Diversion Program (CPSCDP) is a system that launched in 2013 that operates in select counties across the state.
According to Safe Kids North Carolina, about 200 children are fatally injured in car accidents annually across the state. CPSCDP was developed to help minimize the number of improperly installed car seats and also the number of parents or guardians who carelessly neglect to use a car seat when required. Counties can volunteer to enforce the program. As of this writing, 45 out of 100 counties in North Carolina have an operating CPSCDP.
What To Do If You are Cited For Improper Car Seat Use in NC
The CPSCDP mandates that parents or caregivers cited for failing to use a car seat or for improper car seat use must receive signed authorization from a safety technician that the seat has been correctly installed. The cited individual must also show proof that they completed education on car safety seats.
More than 40,000 children in North Carolina receive medical treatment each year due to car accident injuries. Use proper child safety restraints and if you are uncertain about whether or not the car seat is installed properly, visit a local sheriff's department for a free check or contact Safe Kids North Carolina to be connected with an authorized safety technician.
Our Lee County Car Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help You
If your child was injured in a car accident and may receive or will receive compensation from the negligent driver, learn about how minors receive settlements in injury cases.
How does bankruptcy affect a home foreclosure?
Foreclosure in North Carolina and any part of the country is generally not a lightning speed process. Plus, homeowners might have options to delay foreclosure. Bankruptcy is also not an overnight procedure. First, bankruptcy applicants must complete mandatory credit counseling followed by additional steps before proceedings begin.
Two factors can affect whether or not bankruptcy can help prevent or stop foreclosure on a home. One is time, the other is the type of bankruptcy the applicant files. Filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy places what is called an 'automatic stay,' a term that means most creditors must suspend their collection practices. How far along in the foreclosure process is the potential bankruptcy applicant? Would there be sufficient time to begin a lengthy bankruptcy application? The answers to these questions are best discussed during a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney who can review your unique circumstances and advise how state and federal bankruptcy law applies to your particular case.
Sometimes homeowners are offered foreclosure alternatives from their bank/lender. Short sales, forbearance, and other options could be available to the homeowner.
Contact our bankruptcy attorneys in Raleigh to schedule a complimentary consultation. We will discuss your case and explain complicated legislation in simple terms you can understand so that you can confidently decide your next step. Bankruptcy attorney Brent Adams explains more about the details you need for starting the process in the video above.
I need an attorney in Raleigh for a nursing home abuse case; how do I keep my parent safe during a claim?
Many adult children have to manage the care of a senior parent and use a nursing home facility to meet their parent's day-to-day needs. About 40,000 people are residents in certified nursing homes across North Carolina, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If the nursing home has exhibited some form of abuse that manifested in an injured or ill resident, the resident's family might contact the nursing home management to address the negligence. Family members are often concerned about how their loved one's care will change if they pursue a claim of abuse. Will upset nursing home staff take their frustration out on the resident? Will other residents suffer?
It may not be as simple as transferring a resident to another nursing home. Depending on the facility, some nursing homes have long waitlists. Family members might consider hiring an at-home caregiver for a short time until another facility is available. A family member might also volunteer to be a temporary caregiver themselves. If the senior has a condition that requires care in a special center, at-home options might not be options at all. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can help connect families with resources that will help place a nursing home resident in North Carolina.
You and your family might feel violated and guilty about choosing the care facility that you did. Not only is your loved one suffering, but you are too. Our legal team understands this and how time is of the essence to find a safe care provider for your parent. We can help you understand how the negligent facility can be held accountable.
Nursing home litigation in North Carolina courts, and any court, is not a quick process. Attorneys may be able to settle some cases without ever going to trial. No matter how a claim of abuse is handled, the well-being of the nursing home resident is paramount. If you or a family member are concerned about approaching nursing home administration with a claim of abuse while your loved one is in their care, contact our attorneys for a confidential consultation. We can help you understand your loved one's rights as a nursing home resident, alternative care options, and the different ways you can pursue an injury claim in North Carolina. Schedule a meeting with an attorney.
My child survived a car accident in Cary. How will a minor receive an accident settlement in NC?
Car accidents do not discriminate. Anyone of any age or background might be a victim at some point in their life. Sometimes children are involved in car accidents. Children who suffer accident injuries might be impaired for life, depending on the severity of the crash. Insurance companies or a court will determine the value of compensation for these injuries, but when the settlement or award is finalized the transfer of funds is different for a minor than for an adult.
In North Carolina, a minor who receives a settlement from a motor vehicle collision usually will not receive funds until they reach the age of majority, 18. Certain statutes within North Carolina law stipulate how and when a minor will receive a settlement. Before the victim reaches the age of 18, the settlement is kept in a interest-bearing common fund by the Clerk of Superior Court. However, the Clerk charges a fee to hold the funds, and the small interest that accrues generally covers the cost of the Clerk fee.
There is one exception to holding the settlement in a common court fund: A structured settlement. Instead of being held by the Clerk, the funds are used to by an annuity, which has favorable interest when compared to the common fund. A structured settlement also offers a level of flexibility that the court fund does not: The parent or guardian of the minor can decide the terms of the structured settlement.
Navigating complicated laws while advocating for the best interests of a minor can be challenging for parents. Let us know if you have questions. An initial consult is free of charge and we can help you understand all options so that you can make the best decision for your loved one. Call 800-910-5879 to schedule a spot on our calendar.
I was in a car accident and have no health insurance, but I need surgery. My claim is not settled yet, what should I do?
Individuals who were hurt in a motor vehicle accident and who do not have health insurance might feel like they have no way to pay for healthcare options. If liability is clear in the case, which our accident attorneys can help assess, then we may be able to connect the victim to a source of money for their surgical needs.
Accident victims should follow the treatment guidance their doctors provide after an accident. If physical therapy, medications, or surgery is required, it is important to follow through with treatment. Medical records will be gathered and submitted as part of a motor vehicle claim. If medical records show a gap in treatment, such as an individual missing therapy appointments, this could negatively impact your claim. The other party may suggest injuries worsened or were caused by some other act during this gap in treatment. This is one of the many mistakes accident victims often make unintentionally. We explain more errors and how to avoid them in our free book Mistakes That Make Wreck Your North Carolina Case.
If you are concerned about covering the costs of surgery and you do not have health insurance, contact our car accident attorneys in Raleigh and Fayetteville so that we can connect you with groups that provide a source of money for these purposes. Simply complete an online contact form here or call 877.BRENT.ADAMS.
Can a teenager receive workers' comp benefits in North Carolina?
Teenagers can be eligible for workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina. Eligibility depends on several factors. One involves if the work injury is recognized as an eligible condition under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. Secondly, if the injury or illness arose out of the course and scope of the young worker's job. One of the more significant factors is how much time has passed since the work-related injury or illness occurred or was discovered. North Carolina's statute of limitations for work injuries is two years, which means if more than two years has passed since an injury occurred, the victim forfeits their rights to a benefit claim. Our attorneys can explain some exceptions.
Our workers' comp lawyers in Raleigh can also explain how pre-existing injuries or illnesses might be covered by workers' comp, which generally entails whether the worker's job duties or work environment worsened a pre-existing condition.
Facing a work injury is challenging, and doing so as a young adult is even moreso. Legal language can be confusing to understand. Our lawyers help individuals understand workers' comp regulations in simple terms. This helps teens and their parents or legal guardians make informed decisions about the steps they need to take to recover from their injuries. We offer free case evaluations, which can be scheduled by calling 877-BRENT-ADAMS or by completing the form on the right side of this page.
I work in North Carolina and I am concerned my employer does not have workers' comp insurance, how can I verify this?
North Carolina workers can verify if their employer has insurance by searching a free online database provided by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. You can access the Insurance Coverage Search System here and our workers' comp lawyers explain more about the process in "Verify a North Carolina Employer's Workers' Comp Insurance."
Although this does appear to answer a question with a few more questions, there are three issues you might be concerned about in addition to whether or not coverage is in place:
From your question it appears you work in North Carolina, but is your employer based in North Carolina? That might affect how a work injury claim is filed. Some employers are based out-of-state and maintain satellite offices elsewhere, including our state. Sometimes these employers have new hires sign letters stating they acknowledge any work injury claims that arise will be filed in the state where the company is headquartered. Since workers' comp limits vary state-to-state, this could prohibit the amount of compensation the worker is eligible to receive. However, there are some cases where these letters could be void and the individual might still be able to pursue comp claims under North Carolina statutes. Have your case reviewed by an attorney to learn your best options.
Is your employer self-insured? Similar to the question posed above, some states allow employers to maintain self-insured coverage. This means the worker must pursue a work injury claim internally. If staff within the company delay or fail to acknowledge the illness or injury as work-related, the employer may be able to file a complaint with the state. This is another complicated situation that an attorney's guidance would be of great help with.
Is your employer committing fraud? Some employers violate the workers' comp insurance requirement--they either fail to acquire coverage or they fail to acquire coverage and lie about the policy information. The North Carolina Industrial Commission launched a fraud-detection system to help identify and inspect employers who might be in violation.
Am I able to collect veterans' disability benefits for a brain injury if I was originally injured before I started to serve?
Individuals who have a pre-existing condition that is exacerbated due to military service might qualify for veterans' disability benefits. Eligible health conditions do not necessarily need to initially occur during active duty or the scope of military service. An individual might be eligible for benefits if combat or another military activity or military environment caused an existing brain injury (or other condition) to become worse.
Military members could experience a number of situations that might intensify an existing condition. Whether a blast-related concussion or a slip-and-fall head trauma increased the severity of a brain injury, the individual or someone working on their behalf can gather medical records and prepare an application for veterans disability benefits.
Brain injuries could fall on a wide spectrum of severity. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can range from sporadic memory loss to permanent memory loss, partial paralysis to full paralysis, unpredictable emotions that cause a danger to others or oneself, or inability to care for oneself. Depending on the nature of the injury, the individual might require daily visits from a home health aide, 24/7 professional care, home modifications, and more. Veterans disability benefits can help contribute to these costs, treatments, or replace lost income. When an individual applies for veterans' disability benefits, the Department of Veterans' Affairs will issue a disability pay rating. The rating will determine the value of the monthly compensation the applicant is entitled to receive.
Individuals who had an injury prior to starting their military career and whose injury became worse as a direct result of military service should review their case with a veterans disability attorney before preparing their application for benefits. Our North Carolina injury law firm provides a complimentary consultation with a veterans disability attorney. Reviewing an application with an attorney can ensure all required documents and supporting materials are completed accurately and by certain deadlines. Contact us to schedule a consult with a North Carolina veterans disability attorney.
How is mediation different from arbitration?
Sometimes injured parties try to avoid a jury trial and instead rely on out-of-court negotiations and settlement options. If direct negotiation with the negligent party (or parties) fails to reach an adequate settlement for the victim, the victim could opt for mediation or arbitration. Our North Carolina injury lawyers frequently participate with both of these options and help prepare clients for each. To understand the differences between these out-of-court options, first understand how each work:
Mediations are informal gatherings between the opposing parties and are overseen by a mediator. The mediator is an objective neutral party who helps both sides move forward toward a mutually agreeable settlement figure. The accident is discussed in detail. The victim and their counsel provide medical bills, estimates of lost wages, and accident evidence to accurately quantify their losses. The mediator moves back-and-forth between both sides delivering settlement offers until both parties agree on terms.
Arbitrations involve a small arbitration panel that acts similar to a jury. The victim and the defense each choose a member for the panel, and a third objective panel member is also included. All case materials are presented to the abritration panel, and the panel determines the settlement.
Out-of-court settlements are usually attractive because they:
- Reach a settlement faster than court proceedings in most cases.
- Require less expenses. Court costs are avoided.
However, there are downsides to settling outside of court:
- Settlements could be smaller. The American Healthcare Association studied awards and found that arbitration settlements were approximately 35% lower on average than similar cases that followed a jury trial.
- Decisions are often binding. Mediation and arbitration decisions are generally final. Appeals for arbitrations are rare. Without a jury trial in a court, the victim has no means of appealing the case and having the case heard by a new jury and judge.
The length of a jury trial is not easy to predict. Sometimes accident victims simply want to move on with their lives and avoid a lengthy trial. Our attorneys can help advise what would be in the victim's best interests depending on the circumstances of their case.
If you would like to hear more about these out-of-court options, are attorneys discuss them during a legal podcast here. We also provide free case evaluations.
Note: As of this writing, a pending federal proposal could change how credit card companies include arbitration-only clauses in their contracts. Pending federal legislation changes would also affect nursing homes that use binding arbitration agreements. Learn more at the previous link.
I live in NC and have credit card debt. Can creditors call my employer about debts?
Federal and North Carolina state laws govern how credit card companies can communicate with you regarding debt collection. Creditors may only communicate with the debtor. If the bill collector calls the debtor at work, the debtor can immediately request that they stop calling their place of work.
If the debtor makes this request and the creditor continues to call, these creditors who contact a debtor's employer violate state and federal laws and could be liable for fines as a result. Depending on the violation, the debtor may be able to receive $1,000-$4,000 for each violation that the creditor has made. The debtor might also recover attorneys' fees as well.
Individuals who receive calls from creditors at work can simply tell them to stop calling. Sometimes that is not enough. Debtors can also send a written demand to cease calling to the credit card company. If the creditors continue to call, having documentation of the request can help build a strong case to pursue creditor violations.
Individuals with mounting credit card debt and other bills might consider filing for bankruptcy for debt relief. Contact our Raleigh bankruptcy lawyers with your questions and learn more about filing for bankruptcy in North Carolina.
Is there a deadline to apply for Social Security Disability benefits?
Many people are concerned about when they should file a claim for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Individuals postpone filing for disability for a number of reasons:
- An individual might have a condition that may or may not yet qualify for disability. The condition could become more severe over time and the applicant might be waiting since they are uncertain about qualifying. Temporary conditions do not qualify for disability; generally the condition must last or be expected to last one year or more.
- The individual is still working, perhaps in the same or a reduced capacity. If the worker earns certain wages they could be disqualified from disability.
- The disability application process is confusing to the individual and they do not know where to start.
It might help to understand more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits. The SSA will decide whether or not the applicant is eligible for benefits. If the application is denied, the applicant faces an important deadline should they choose to appeal. The SSA imposes a 60-day deadline to appeal a denied claim.
Are you waiting to apply for disability? If you are not sure whether or not you will qualify our Raleigh and Cary Social Security Disability attorneys will provide a complimentary case evaluation. Less than 50 attorneys in North Carolina are Board Certified Disability Benefits Specialists, and one of those attorneys practices at Brent Adams & Associates. Let us help you understand the benefits you might be entitled to and how to move forward with an application.
What are autocycles and are they legal in North Carolina?
Autocycles are three-wheeled vehicles that share different structural features than a three-wheeled motorcycle. Autocycles have steering wheels, seat belts, air bags, and are enclosed vehicles. If a vehicle has these features and meets North Carolina autocycle definition requirements, then as of October 1, 2015 these types of vehicles are defined as autocycles state-wide. As with any vehicle, individuals should research registration and insurance requirements and options prior to operating a vehicle on public roads.
If a person was hurt in an accident involving an autocycle in North Carolina, they should create a log of their injuries, document vehicle and property damage, learn about injury and damage claims process, and contact injury attorneys to learn their rights. Severity of injuries varies on many factors, and even accidents that don't appear to cause too much physical damage could be responsible for underlying soft tissue damage or long-term brain injury. Individuals should not be rushed to settle their claim. Instead, take time to learn the statute of limitations, legal rights and entitlements, and focus on getting well.
Can the dealer charge for recalled part replacement? My car has a faulty suspension system that has been recalled, but the dealer wants to charge for the part.
No. Defective motor vehicle parts that are included in a recall issued by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) are required under federal regulations to be repaired or replaced at cost to the manufacturer--not at cost to the owner of the vehicle. If the dealer wants to charge the car owner for the recalled part replacement, the owner should refuse to pay these fees and contact the auto manufacturer. At the following link our Raleigh injury lawyers explain more about accident cases involving recalled parts, the rights consumers have during a recall, and why dealers are not permitted to charge vehicle owners for recalled part repair or replacement.
How often do medical diagnosis errors occur?
A report released in September 2015 by the Institute of Medicine found that diagnostic errors are not easily tracked. The report studied more than a decade of medical records and determined that there is no streamlined formal process for monitoring medical diagnosis errors and the outcomes that result.
Patients who experienced a misdiagnosis from a doctor or other medical professional might suffer with their condition by not getting the appropriate treatment in a timely manner. In some cases, the patient could die without the right treatment. In other cases, the wrong treatment could be prescribed and make the condition get worse. In any of these circumstances, a patient might consider the possibility of a medical malpractice case.
Our Raleigh injury lawyers handle medical malpractice cases and encourage individuals to learn about this complex area of law by finding out more about:
North Carolina medical malpractice attorney Brent Adams also wrote a book The Truth About Medical Malpractice Claims to help possible malpractice victims understand the challenges associated with these cases. This book is free to individuals in North Carolina, and the book can be ordered at the form on the right side of this page.
I was hurt at work a year ago and an incident report was written that day. Now a year has passed and I'm still not better - is it too late to file for comp benefits?
It is good to hear that the work incident that caused your injury was documented timely. Since the incident was logged in a company report on the same day of your injury, it is fairly clear that your employer has received written notice of your injury within the 30-day window imposed by North Carolina workers' compensation regulations. Under the provisions, a worker must notify their employer in writing within 30 days of the date of injury.
Sorry to hear you still have not recovered yet. On the other hand, it is also good to hear that only one year has passed since your injury. The North Carolina Industrial Commission requires an injured worker to file a Form 18 within two years of the date of the work accident. Since your injury only occurred a year ago, you are still legally entitled to start the workers' comp benefit application process.
Hopefully you have sought medical treatment for your work injury and alerted healthcare professionals how your condition developed and that it was a direct result of an accident in your work environment. Medical records are very important in a workers' comp claim. A detailed healthcare history of a work-related condition generally serves claimants well.
Now that so much time has passed since your initial injury you might wonder how long you need to wait to receive benefits. At the following link our workers' comp lawyers in Raleigh explain how long claimants must wait for comp benefits.
Do my injuries qualify for workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina? I got hurt two weeks ago and have not told my employer yet.
Possibly. Qualified workers who are injured during the course and scope of their employment should report their injury to their employer in writing within 30 days of the incident. Our workers' comp lawyers in Raleigh provide an example of a simple letter a worker can use to notify their employer of the incident. Some leniency is granted if this notification is delayed to the employer. However, there is a two-year statute of limitations for work injury claims and a Form 18 must be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission within time limits.
Whether the worker qualifies is conditional on three factors:
- Worker status. Is the worker truly an employee or an independent contractor?
- Part of employment. Did the injury occur during the course and scope of the employee's work?
- Circumstances. Was the injury caused by a deliberate act or was it a true accident?
Of course, in addition to the above the worker must be injured or diagnosed with an illness that stems from work-related causes. One of the first steps to begin a workers' comp claim is medical attention. The worker should immediately advise the attending medical provider how their injuries are connected to their workplace. This helps establish medical records pertaining to the potential claim. The injury does not necessarily need to be caused by something in the work environment, the injury could also be worsened or exacerbated by the workplace to be considered compensable.
After reviewing the items above, the next helpful step would be to consult with workers' compensation attorneys. This should not come as a cost on the injured worker. Most attorneys, like the ones at our firm, provide complimentary case evaluations. Feel free to schedule a confidential evaluation with one of our workers' comp lawyers in Raleigh, which can be held at one of our other locations, in the privacy of your own home, while you recover in a hospital, or via phone conference.
I have a moped in North Carolina, do I need to have insurance?
Yes, as of July 1, 2016 all moped owners are required to carry minimum liability insurance coverage with limits no less than $30,000/$60,000/$25,000. Learn about moped registration requirements.
Moped insurance in North Carolina is required and failing to maintain adequate coverage results in revocation of the license plate. Aside from regulatory fines and consequences, without insurance coverage, an individual involved in a moped accident could face significant financial loss. If the moped operator is hit by an uninsured driver - who will cover bills if injuries prevent the moped driver or passenger from working? If another party suffered damage or injury due to the moped driver's fault, how will the moped driver compensate the victim?
Mopeds and scooters are popular across North Carolina, and seen frequently on and near the campuses of NC State and UNC Chapel Hill as these vehicles are fuel-efficient and budget-friendly. These often fit into students' tight budgets. However, opting not to obtain insurance coverage to 'save money' is often a poor choice. If the moped driver causes an accident, bodily injury coverage can be used toward victims' medical bills, while property damage coverage can be used toward repair costs to damaged property. Without insurance coverage, the at-fault party is generally personally responsible.
If you have questions about a moped accident in Raleigh or elsewhere in North Carolina, contact our accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys can explain how liability is determined in a crash, what you are legally entitled to, and how the injury claim process works in our state.
NOTE: The above information is as of this writing in July 2016. Legislation changes over time and individuals should confirm with the NCDOT and the NCDMV regarding state insurance and registration requirements for their unique vehicle(s).
My NC disability claim was denied in the 1980s, is it considered a 'Hyatt Case?'
More than 75,000 individuals are eligible for reconsideration of their disability claims after a landmark case Hyatt v. Shalala. Since the Hyatt ruling, individuals who qualify for reconsideration are often referred to as 'Hyatt Cases.' Individuals who believe they are eligible for the protections afforded by the court ruling should consider a few points:
- Time the disability was claimed. The court orders apply to Social Security Disability cases that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Denial. The case law applies to individuals whose disability claims were denied in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Reason for disability denial. The lawsuit pertained to certain types of claims with little to no substantial evidence of medical improvement and were being denied by officials who arbitrarily decided the claimant's disability had improved. Many of the lawsuit cases referenced pain. Other conditions such as hypertension or diabetes were also cited.
Hyatt Cases are generally one of the most difficult types of disability cases to win. Claimants must meet all the criteria and documents should be gathered and prepared properly. Fortunately, our firm has an attorney who is a Board Certified Social Security Disability Benefits Specialist and who has successfully won a Hyatt Case. Contact our office for a free case evaluation.
What is Burt's Law and does it apply to my nursing home abuse case?
Burt's Law is a piece of legislation in North Carolina that was signed into law on May 19, 2015 by Governor McCrory. It went into effect December 1, 2015. Burt's Law, also referred to as Senate Bill 445, imposes additional penalties on staff and volunteers of nursing homes and facilities that care for individuals with mental illness or other disabilities.
Burt Powell was the victim of sexual abuse at a nursing home not far from Hickory, North Carolina in the town of Conover. Powell's abuse was inflicted on him by the nursing home manager. The nursing home manager exploited his authority over staff and threatened their jobs if they informed Powell's family of the abuse. At the same time, the manager threatened to hurt Powell's family if he revealed the abuse. The new law is named in Burt Powell's honor and was drafted in efforts to encourage staff and volunteers to come forward and report abuse immediately.
Burt's law applies to staff and volunteers of group and nursing homes in North Carolina. These individuals are now required by law to report any instances of abuse, whether intentional or accidental, to authorities within 24 hours of witnessing abusive acts. Failing to report abuse in this time period results in a misdemeanor charge.
Witness statements, facility documents, and other evidence might help prove if Burt's Law applies to your particular abuse case. Our nursing home abuse attorneys in Raleigh and Cary offer case reviews at no cost to you. Our legal team can explain more about this law and others that apply to the unique circumstances of your incident. All of our consults are confidential and provided wherever is most convenient for you. We can meet you in your home, a hospital, or at one of our five offices: Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Dunn and Clinton.
What damages are collected for dog bite injuries in NC?
Dog bites cause a number of injuries. The extent of injuries, where the attack occurred, and the circumstances surrounding the accident (the dog's history) can affect out-of-court claim negotiations as well as a jury's decision should the case move to trial.
Common awards for damages involve pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Medical expenses might not be limited to wound care. Some attack cases require facial reconstruction, multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy for emotional trauma, and more. Severe nerve damage could permanently impair mobility for some victims, who might need to rely on disability payments as a result.
The owner of the dog might be liable for local fines in addition to compensation due to the victim. For example, Cumberland County approved of an Animal Control ordinance in May 2015 that imposes a $500 fine on the owner of a dog that causes injuries requiring medical attention.
Depending on how the accident occurred and if the dog has a history of aggression, the owner might be found liable for inadequately containing their animal or not providing appropriate restraints for a 'dangerous dog.'
Generally, a victim of an attack can pursue a claim through the dog owner's homeowner insurance policy - which might be possible even if the accident occurs off premises. Dog bite claim payments from homeowners insurance liability claims in 2011 totaled approximately $479 million, which accounted for one-third of all homeowners claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, not all dog owners also own houses, which means an insurance claim is not always available to victims. Schedule a complimentary case review with one of our dog bite attorneys to learn about every available option for compensation in your case. We have offices in Fayetteville, Dunn, and Clinton, as well as parts of the Triangle, but we can come to you or your hospital if needed.