Lakota R. Denton is an Asheville Personal Injury Attorney who can help you with any questions you might have related to personal injury law, personal injury settlements and everything else related to personal injury cases in North Carolina.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law refers to the legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. In fact, the word “tort” comes from a Latin term meaning twist, wrong, or harm.
In contrast to criminal law, a tort action does not involve the government prosecuting the wrongdoer.
Rather, these legal cases involve a private plaintiff seeking compensation (usually cash) for the harm caused by the defendant’s actions.
What is Definition of Personal Injury?
Cornell Law School has the definition of Personal Injury from Nolo’s English law dictionary as:
“An injury not to property, but to the body, mind, or emotions. For example, if you slip and fall on a banana peel in the grocery store, personal injury covers any actual physical harm (broken leg and bruises) you suffered in the fall as well as the humiliation of falling in public, but not the harm of shattering your watch.”
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury case is simply a legal dispute, where you claim compensation for the injury sustained by you.
You can handle the legal dispute arising out of personal injury in four ways – filing a formal personal injury lawsuit, arbitration, mediation, and informal settlement.
Formal lawsuit: A personal injury lawsuit is filed formally in a civil court. The court becomes duty-bound to legally determine and pin the responsibility for your injury on the accused.
Once you file the case, you become the plaintiff and the perpetrator causing injury – company, person or business – becomes the defendant. While you sue for compensatory damages, the defendant will try to prove your injuries are a result of your own carelessness or irresponsibility.
Arbitration: This is the most formal alternative to litigation and sidesteps the delays occurring in the legal process. In this case, you are required to present your case to a neutral third party and abide by their decision.
This process is quicker, less expensive and flexible. The decision also is comparatively fairer, since arbitrators typically have more expertise in specific disputes than do judges. However, mutual consent of both the parties is required for agreeing to arbitration and selecting an arbitrator.
Mediation: This alternative method of dispute resolution through negotiation is facilitated by a neutral third party. Unlike in arbitration, the neutral third party is not empowered to decide. However, this short-term process is more structured and task oriented.
The job of the neutral third party is to supervise the exchange of information and the bargaining process, in order to help the parties to arrive at a common consensus and eschew unrealistic expectations.
Informal settlement: This is basically a negotiation between you and whoever you hold responsible for your injuries. This is an out-of-court settlement and does not involve a lawsuit. In such settlements, the insurers and attorneys of both sides give a written agreement that their sides will not take any legal action, but will resolve the matter through mutually agreed monetary compensation.
What Happens if I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
You would become the plaintiff in the personal injury case and the person who injured you becomes the defendant.
Attorneys for each side will begin gathering facts through the exchange of documents, written questions (interrogatories) or depositions (questions that are asked in person and answered under oath). This process is called discovery.
After discovery, many cases get settled before trial. Only a small percentage of personal injury actions ever go to trial.
Injured in Asheville North Carolina?
Lakota R. Denton offers a FREE consultation and will call you to discuss your personal injury case. You can contact Lakota at 828-333-5996 or fill out the online personal injury contact form.
Types of Asheville Personal Injury
There are a variety of situations that qualify as a personal injury. Some of the more common ones are:
Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car, truck and motorcycle accidents contribute most towards personal injury cases, especially in the United States. An accident may be caused due to the non-following of traffic rules, driving carelessly, etc. In such cases, either you or the other party may be at fault. If you have been in a car or truck accident, you need the services of Asheville car accident lawyer Lakota R. Denton.
Bike & Pedestrian Accidents: Being involved in an Asheville pedestrian or bike accident is a terrifying experience, and the results can be catastrophic. Only an experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyer can help you to maneuver the complicated and confusing landscape of an Asheville NC personal injury claim.
Having an Asheville North Carolina law firm who can advocate for your rights and fight for what you deserve is essential for you to protect yourself. This is particularly true for pedestrians, whose claims are often denied because of police officers’ prejudice against pedestrians.
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Brain injuries are some of the most serious injuries anyone can experience. Your brain is the most important organ in your body; anything that harms your brain will have a significant impact on your life. Lakota Denton can help you with your TBI personal injury case.
Medical Malpractice: If an injury or harm has occurred due to the omission or commission of a doctor or any other health care professional, it comes under medical malpractice.
Slips and Falls: This is one of the most common types of personal injury. Such injuries can happen at a workplace or at rented properties, where adequate safety and preventive measures are not taken against injuries, such as oil spills on the workplace floor, broken steps at a rented property and the like. The liability in such cases depends upon the situation and the law of the state.
Dog Bites & Animal Attacks: If someone’s pet dog bites you, you can very well sue the owner for personal injury in North Carolina. Over four million Americans suffer serious dog attack injuries each year. In and around Asheville, NC, dog bites are a common occurrence. Victim of Dog Attack? Contact Asheville dog bite lawyer Lakota Denton
Assault and Battery: You can claim personal injury if someone harms or injures you intentionally. In such an eventuality, you can not only lodge a criminal case against the perpetrator but also file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Defamation: Someone trying to defame you through libel or slander also constitutes personal injury, since it tarnishes your reputation through false statements. However, you will need to prove that someone has used false statements against you and it has amounted to actual harm in the form of financial loss.
Types of Injuries for a Personal Injury Claim
You can ask for damages and compensation for:
Pain and suffering: The physical pain you suffer due to injury, and which you may have to endure in the future too, comes under pain and suffering.
You are entitled to compensation for pain and serious discomfort for the accident or injury and its aftermath.
Deformity: If your injuries have resulted in marks or scars or fractures that have deformed you, you can file for compensation for deformity.
Emotional distress: This may result from more serious accidents and the compensation is for the emotional impacts of an injury. Such emotional distress may include panic, nervousness and sleep loss. In some states, this is made a part of pain and suffering.
Medical expenses: You will not only get awarded for damages for medical expenses in treatment but also get compensated for the estimated cost of future medical treatment and medical care.
Loss of earning: Loss of earning capacity resulting from your injuries qualifies you from monetary compensation. This loss of earning may include lost wages or salary, bonus, commissions and perks. You can file a claim for them.
Loss of future earning: The compensation will also include the money you would have made in the future had it not been for the acciden
Loss of enjoyment: If your injuries prevent you from enjoying your usual pursuits, such as hobbies, workouts, and other recreational and leisure activities, you can claim ‘loss of enjoyment’ damages.
Proving Personal Injury in Court
If you are the victim of personal injury, you need to prove that you are innocent and it is the defendant that has caused the injuries. You will also have to prove that the defendant was duty bound to fulfill their legal duty by doing or not doing something that has caused your injuries.
For example, if a machine you are working on comes loose and injures you, then the employer can be sued for negligence in not maintaining the machine. Similarly, in case of a car accident, you can sue the driver who has caused the accident injuring you.
If your case can not be settled, then you must be ready to go to trial. Its key then to have a personal injury lawyer who is also a trial lawyer.
Lakota R. Denton is a trial personal injury lawyer and has taken many cases to trial.
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury damages are termed ‘compensatory’ since the perpetrator compensates you for your injuries. In most personal injury cases, the compensatory damages are in the form of money that is paid to the injured person by an individual or company that is responsible for such injuries.
Compensatory damages for property damage and medical bills are easily quantifiable, but compensation for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment are harder to quantify. The quantum of damage award can be mutually agreed in a negotiated settlement among the parties, insurance firms and the lawyers. It can also be ordered by a jury if the personal injury claim is filed in the court.
Timeline of a Typical Personal Injury Case
The duration of a personal injury case may vary from a few months to a few years from the date of filing the complaint. The duration depends upon the time spent on finding the fault, evaluating the injury level and determining the kind of personal injury sustained.
The time duration also depends upon the jurisdiction where the injury occurred, since each jurisdiction follows different laws.
Lakota R. Denton has done a number of YouTube videos on the subject of Asheville, NC Personal Injury law, including the video below on the normal timeline of a North Carolina personal injury car accident case.
Usually, the timeline starts as soon as you are involved in an accident of some kind. If you are involved in a car accident, then you should right away collect as much evidence as you can from the scene of the accident.
Typical steps involved in a car accident case
After an accident, gather evidence and take photos
Call Personal Injury Lawyer ASAP and hire
Get medical treatment and goto DR – Get Well
Your accident lawyer will be gathering info in order to create a demand letter
Creation of demand letter to send to insurance adjuster with facts and numbers
Wait for 30 days for a response from insurance people, OR file lawsuit if no response
When insurance people respond, they will usually have a settlement amount offer
Client must decide if the settlement amount is fair and if so, the case is over
If the settlement is not fair, then the next step is to file a personal injury lawsuit
Once the case is filed, the judge analyzes the evidence to decide who is legally responsible for your injuries. For this, you are given a chance to present your case and, at the same time, the defendant is also given an opportunity to refute your claims.
The defendant is at liberty to submit evidence to prove his or her innocence. Ultimately, it is up to the judge to determine who is guilty and what quantum of compensatory damages should the defendant pay.
Contact a Top Personal Injury Attorney
An Asheville personal injury may not only cause pain and emotional stress but also undermine the quality of life of the victim. Since proving such injuries is a tedious process, it becomes difficult to determine how long a North Carolina personal injury case may take. More complex the case, the longer it will take to settle.
It’s vital that you contact a top Asheville personal injury attorney like Lakota R. Denton to help you with your accident claim questions. There is no risk involved and no fees associated with talking to an accident lawyer. It makes sense to talk with a personal injury expert who deals with insurance adjusters on a regular basis.
Other Personal Injury Questions
Other Personal Injury and Auto Accident related questions:
How to get money from a car accident without a lawyer?
Asheville Automobile accident attorneys near me
When to get a lawyer for a motor vehicle accident?
How to choose an Asheville NC Automobile accident attorney for judicial proceedings?
Contact NC Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured and need to speak with a skilled Asheville personal injury lawyer, Contact Lakota R. Denton for a free, no pressure consultation.
We’re here to help. If you have questions, Call or Email and we would be happy to discuss your case with you.
Attorney Lakota Denton
Lakota Denton has been practicing in his own firm since 2013, focusing solely on personal injury. He is a member of the American Association of Justice, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar association, the American Bar Association, the National Trial Lawyers, and was awarded Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, the 2014 Top 40 Lawyers under 40, and the Avvo clients choice award. [ Attorney Bio ]