How Are Damages Established in a Tort Claim in North Carolina?

Home / FAQ / Personal Injury FAQ / How Are Damages Established in a Tort Claim in North Carolina?

A lawyer discusses damages in a tort claim in North Carolina.

The total cost of your medical care will likely increase as you heal from an injury, and may amount to a tremendous expense. Following an accident, you may also be unable to work and require money to meet your basic needs. Finding out what damages you can seek after an accident in North Carolina and how to do so is essential. After sustaining an injury in an accident due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for the total value of your damages.

What Is a Tort Claim?

In general, personal injury law aims to restore the injured party’s health. The legal system should restore your financial standing to what it would have been in the absence of the accident. In other words, damages (the cash you can receive as compensation for an accident) are intended to pay for the costs associated with your injuries.

The first step of a tort claim is to determine who is responsible if you were injured in a North Carolina accident, whether it was a slip-and-fall, an automobile accident, or something entirely else. If a party (person or business) caused your accident and you are not legally responsible for it, you are entitled to compensation. However, North Carolina tort law utilizes the rule of contributory negligence, which details that if the plaintiff (the injured party) is found to bear any responsibility for the accident, they are ineligible to receive any compensation.

The value of your claim is the next issue to be addressed after liability has been proven.

A plaintiff receives compensation for losses due to the accident through compensatory damages. You can receive both economic and non-economic damages under compensatory damages.

Economic Damages

Economic losses are those that incur a specified monetary expense. Economic damages could include the following:

Medical Costs

A personal injury award typically covers the cost of medical care to cover any past medical expenses you may have incurred and any anticipated future medical expenses. Your lawyer will evaluate your future medical requirements and how much they’re likely to cost in collaboration with professionals like doctors, accountants, and actuaries. The expenditures of your medical care may also include prescription medications, doctor and hospital visits, assistive devices, rehabilitative therapies, and other expenses relating to your physical recovery.

Lost Wages

Salary and earnings are another type of loss that can be claimed. This could involve lost pay if you had to return to a different employment than you had before the accident, time off work due to your injuries, and a reduction in earning potential. The gap between what you would have made over your lifetime and what you will make as a result of the injury is known as “loss of earning potential.”

Property Loss

Property loss may include, for instance, the expense of replacing or repairing your car if you sued for damages due to a car accident. If any property was harmed due to the injury, including your home or other possessions, you are entitled to the fair market value of any items lost.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are not quantifiable in terms of money. This class of damages also compensates for your losses, but since they may be intangible, it is more challenging to put a monetary value on them. Examples of non-economic damages include:

Emotional distress: A plaintiff is compensated for the non-physical repercussions of an injury through emotional distress damages. This could include any psychological issues that develop after a traumatic event or significant injury, such as fear, anxiety, sleep issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

Loss of enjoyment:  There is more to life than just the necessities. Can you enjoy your time even if you can’t eat, sleep, or function well? If you’ve lost a significant amount of enjoyment in your life, such as if an accident left you unable to play the piano or made you a crippled athlete, you may suffer. You don’t have to be Beethoven or an Olympian to experience enjoyment loss. Anyone who has been hurt to the point where they can no longer perform the activities they once enjoyed, whether it be playing with their children or walking their dog, may be entitled to compensation for their loss of enjoyment.

Loss of consortium:  Contrary to popular belief, loss of consortium claims are not just about sex. You may be able to file a loss of consortium claim if a loved one was injured in an accident and can no longer care for you or your children or give you the love, affection, companionship, or comfort they once did.

[H2] Awards for Punitive Damages in North Carolina

As a punishment or deterrence to a defendant, punitive damages are assessed separately from (or in addition to) compensatory damages when the defendant’s actions were malicious, willful, or particularly heinous.

If a plaintiff in North Carolina receives punitive damages, it will depend on a few different factors, such as whether the defendant acted with deliberate or careless behavior, the degree of any deceit, malice, or willful conduct, and the defendant’s financial capacity.

The court does not typically allow the plaintiff to include evidence pertaining to the defendant’s wealth or assets when the plaintiff sues the defendant for costs associated with their harm. However, you may offer this proof if you file a claim for punitive damages. In addition, the plaintiff’s attorney may present proof of available insurance so that the judge or jury can determine how much compensation would exhaust the defendant’s own resources. Punitive damages in North Carolina are limited to either $250,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages. 

Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer is one of the best tools you can utilize whenever you are hurt in an accident and seeking compensation. These are attorneys who focus on assisting you in obtaining a settlement that would enable you to pay your debts while you recover from an injury. There are numerous advantages that personal injury attorneys may offer you that will be crucial in assisting you in more effectively coping with an injury.

Working with a personal injury lawyer will provide you with the best chance to receive the compensation you require. Their knowledge can give you the resources you need to communicate effectively with organizations and people who can help you get compensation for your injuries. You will be in the best possible position to obtain the financial aid you want to more effectively manage the limits associated with an injury with the aid of a personal injury attorney.

Contact Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’

Who is protecting your interests after you sustain an injury due to the carelessness of another party? Here at Tatum & Atkinson, `the Heavy Hitters,’ we represent accident injury victims, whether they have sustained a catastrophic injury or any other type of injury due to a party’s negligence. With over 65 years of collective experience, we know how to combat insurance companies effectively and experienced lawyers who seek to safeguard their own financial interests and the financial interests of negligent parties.

When you have suffered a serious injury as a result of the negligence of another, you are entitled to just financial compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in North Carolina, such as those at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’  you can rest assured that you will receive the best outcome for your case. Call (800) 529-0804 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation today.