Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyer

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When you have been hurt in Wilmington, call the attorney team that punches above its weight! Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyer.

A personal injury lawyer jotting down notes on a notebook while seated in his office.Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters is an experienced attorney team that is ready to handle every aspect of your injury claim. We fight hard to obtain the evidence you need to prove damages, and we don’t tolerate insurance companies who try to get you to settle for less.

Our goal in every case is to do everything it takes to give your claim the highest chance of success while going after every penny of damage possible. We aren’t afraid to file a lawsuit and take the at-fault party to court, either!

So, if you’re wondering how to deal with medical bills after a motor vehicle accident, brain injury, workplace injury, or professional malpractice incident, don’t fret! Instead, call in the Heavy Hitters!

You’ll receive our services on contingency, meaning you pay nothing until (and unless) we win money for your injuries. Schedule a free case review and outline of the damages you could be owed when you call us today at 800-LAW-0804 or use our convenient form to contact us online.

Types of Personal Injury Cases a Wilmington Personal Injury Attorney Can Handle

Any time you have been hurt or have experienced catastrophic losses at the hands of another person or business, that’s a good time to think about lawyering up. The law protects people like you and me by holding negligent, wreckless, and criminal parties accountable for the costs of their own foolish ways.

The only catch is that you have to prove who’s at fault!

Hire our Wilmington injury attorneys when you want an experienced law firm that’s capable of holding liable parties’ feet to the fire.  We commonly handle hundreds of each of the types of cases listed below every year, fighting for Wilmington locals’ rights to seek fair compensation:

Even if you don’t see your particular case type listed here, it always helps to call up one of our experienced and knowledgeable injury lawyers in Wilmington! We’ll review your case for free and tell you what kind of strategies you need to win.

Work With Our Proven Attorney Team for NOTHING Up Front!

Hiring your own attorney to represent you puts you at a serious advantage when trying to recover money for your injuries.

The only thing that leaves most people hesitating is the burning question: “How can I afford a lawyer?” Well, “you don’t have to” is the true answer — one that many people do not expect!

Most personal injury attorneys are willing to take on cases under what’s known as a “contingency agreement.” What this means is that their payment is contingent on obtaining successful results for you.

Once you’ve received approval for your settlement, they’ll take a small, agreed-upon percentage out of the final damages you’ve earned.

If you aren’t able to get money for your injuries, then you pay nothing! That arrangement puts all the risk on us, your attorneys while giving you less to worry about.

Additionally, it puts the fire under your lawyer to produce results because we don’t get paid unless you do!

Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters will always be 100% up-front and transparent about the amount you’ll pay. Your first case review is always free and confidential, with no obligation to use our services after.

If we agree to take your case, you’ll be able to review and discuss a possible contract for our services. We promise you’ll never pay us anything upfront, and you won’t pay anything at all unless we’re able to recover the money you need to pay your bills!

How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?

The truth is that you can’t know if you have a case with a high chance of success until you talk to a legal professional. Personal injury attorneys handle thousands of cases each year, and they have a deep understanding of the laws and processes behind them.

They can review your case for free, discussing the broader details and helping you understand your best options for retrieving compensation.

If you’re wondering if you need to talk to an attorney, here are some signs that you could be eligible for a personal injury settlement:

  • You were seriously hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or other catastrophic incident
  • You’re worried about your ability to pay for medical bills and make up for missed work hours/used benefits
  • Your accident came out of nowhere, possibly as a result of someone else’s dangerous or careless behaviors
  • You’re dealing with insurers and aren’t exactly sure what damages to ask for or how to prove fault
  • You want a sense of justice that comes from holding irresponsible parties accountable for the harm they’ve caused you
  • A friend, family member, colleague, or local legal assistance clinic has recommended you talk to a lawyer about your injury or accident

In any case, remember that insurance companies work for their investors and shareholders, not injured claimants like you!

If someone is asking you to sign a settlement or some other agreement, it’s always the smart call to have a lawyer look over it first. They’ll look out for your legal rights and guide you toward the available options that help you secure as much money as possible for the damages you’ve suffered.

Who Is at Fault in My Personal Injury Case?

The party that is responsible for your injury — and, thereby, liable for the financial and personal damages they inflict — will differ depending on the circumstances of your accident or incident.

Some of the most commonly named parties in a personal injury claim (or lawsuit) are listed below.

Dangerous Drivers

Car accidents are the most common way that people in North Carolina are fatally injured through no fault of their own. Every driver on the road has a responsibility to drive safely, obey traffic laws, and generally avoid dangerous or careless behaviors.

When a driver causes or contributes to an accident, they can be legally compelled to pay for the costs of injuries they inflict. These cases are typically handled through a liability insurance claim.

Rarely, a lawsuit may be needed, especially when the case involves multiple vehicles or a commercial driver.

Negligent Businesses and Property Owners

Businesses are responsible for specific types of harm they cause. Injuries caused by employed drivers or other forms of employee negligence become the responsibility of the company itself.

Similarly, if a business releases a product that causes harm to an innocent consumer, it can be sued for the defective product.

Finally, if a business or individual that owns and manages a property fails to protect visitors and occupants from known (or foreseeable) hazards, they can be held accountable for resulting damages.

Doctors and Other Professionals

Malpractice cases involve situations where a professional’s failure to follow industry standards leads to injury or another form of harm.

Medical malpractice is the most talked-about scenario for this type of claim. A malpractice claim can be leveled at a presiding physician (including when their staff was negligent) or the provider organization itself.

Rarely other forms of professional negligence can lead to injury. A housing contractor may fail to perform work as expected, leading to a fire or electrocution, for example.

Proving malpractice requires intimate knowledge of professional standards, state and local codes, federal regulations, and other guidelines set by professional organizations.

Parents of Out-of-Control Children or Owners of Dangerous Pets

Minors and other dependents who inflict harm on others could cause their parents or guardians to assume liability for the resulting damages. Owners of dangerous dogs and other pets likely to inflict harm can also be found liable for damages to victims, provided that they have reason to know that the animal was dangerous beforehand.

Proving Fault in Wilmington Personal Injury Cases

The overwhelming majority of personal injury cases will involve proving that the named party was negligent and that their negligence was the sole (or primary) reason that the injured claimant was harmed.

More specifically, a claim of negligence involves four distinct legal showings:

  • The named party owed a duty of care to the injured claimant, either because of specific laws/regulations or because of the general expectation to practice “ordinary care”
  • The named party committed a breach of duty, either through careless actions or a failure to exercise the expected level of responsibility in the incident
  • The at-fault party’s breach of duty was the most direct (proximate) cause of the claiming party’s injuries
  • The injured party suffered damages of a material or substantial nature that can be compensated for through the legal system

Can Personal Injury Cases Involve Something Other Than Negligence?

While negligence is the most common reason for a personal injury claim, there are two other types of bases for a claim (called a legal “cause of action”), according to the American Bar Association:

  • Strict liability claims only need to prove that someone suffered harm because of a dangerous animal, minor, or situation. The claimant does not need to prove that the liable party explicitly knew about the danger (except dogs are allowed one “free bite”) or that they failed to act in a certain way that could have prevented the danger, only that the danger existed. Note that North Carolina does not allow for strict liability product claims, unlike many other states
  • Intentional wrongful behavior states that the party is meant to commit a wrongful or purposefully harmful act. A criminal conviction is not needed to prove intent, but the injured party will have to rule out questions of whether the harm was accidental or even acceptable, given the specific circumstances.

Types of Damages You Can Pursue Through an Injury Claim in Wilmington

Every personal injury claim is unique, and the damages you seek will depend entirely on your specific situation. With that said, there are a number of common claim areas victims will be able to pursue:

  • Past medical bills, including all emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, diagnostic services, testing, medication, transport, ambulatory services, specialist fees, and other reasonable costs made necessary by the accident.
  • Projected future medical expenses, paying the victim in advance for all care they will need, either temporarily or permanently, including physical rehabilitation, home modifications, medical devices, follow-up appointments, and long-term nursing care.
  • Lost wages refer to all forms of income and benefits that could have been earned had the victim not been hurt. This claims area encompasses all wages lost from an inability to work regular shifts, but it also incorporates benefits (like sick leave) lost by salaried employees as well as any bonuses, commissions, tips, and other forms of compensation they would have earned, based on averages from the past 6-24 months.
  • Personal property coverage for any repairs or replacements needed because of the accident. Vehicle repairs are a commonly claimed item, but victims can also seek compensation for damaged electronic devices, clothing, jewelry, bicycles, and other equipment and belongings.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses are not directly related to the above but are still made necessary by the injury. Rental car costs and the costs of parking at medical appointments are common examples, but there may be others, so always save receipts in the wake of an accident!
  • Pain and suffering damages paid for the immeasurable personal costs inflicted through the unpleasant experience you have gone through, in addition to the fact that you were forced to miss out on activities and time spent with loved ones because of your injuries.
  • Wrongful death damages for injuries that prove fatal. This coverage area is supposed to pay surviving beneficiaries and dependents for the loss of income to the household, the costs of the loved one’s funeral and burial, and the personal pain and suffering they have gone through.

Other coverage areas may be provided, depending on the details of the available policy. For example, many drivers have Gap Insurance on their vehicle, which provides coverage for the costs of paying off a loan or lease in full should the owner owe more than the vehicle is worth.

Always consult with an attorney to discuss what damages can be claimed and how to best document them.

Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters will perform an exhaustive accounting of all damages you have suffered. We may also work with medical professionals, medical billing experts, household economists, and other parties to fully assess the losses you and your family will experience as a result of your personal injury incident.

North Carolina’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

North Carolina provides a statute of limitations of three years for tort claims related to personal injury and other losses.

While that may sound like a long time, the truth is that time can pass more quickly than you imagine, especially after a traumatic injury event. Worse, vital evidence may be lost, and the at-fault party has more time available to cover their tracks, such as by seeking a release from the courts for the harm caused by specific interests.

By the same token, if three years have passed since your incident, don’t assume that you have no legal recourse. The time period for a statute of limitations can be paused under specific circumstances.

For example, if someone didn’t discover they were harmed until long after the incident — or their exposure to a harmful substance — then the period may be extended.

Also, the statutory period may be paused when the victim was a minor, when they had been legally incapacitated for an extended period, or when the supposed at-fault party has fled the state and cannot be located.

In any case, it is always most prudent to reach out to an attorney as soon as you can in order to start preparing your case earlier. The more time you have to investigate, research, and litigate your claim, the higher the likelihood that your outcome will be favorable.

How Does Contributory Negligence Affect Wilmington Injury Claims?

“Contributory negligence” refers to a situation where the person who is hurt and who is trying to recover money for their damages from a liable party has contributed to the circumstances of their own injury.

An example of contributory negligence could involve something as simple as failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign before moving through an intersection. It’s something we may do every day, but unfortunately, it’s enough to sink your entire claim in Wilmington.

See, the state of North Carolina is unusually strict when it comes to personal injury claims. Unlike most other states (32, to be exact), North Carolina completely bars a victim’s ability to recover if they have contributed even 1% towards the circumstances of their own accident.

In most other states, the party would, instead, simply have their final award (or settlement) reduced by the percentage of fault they contributed.

Knowing this law, insurers and other named parties may do everything they can to pin at least some blame on the injury victim. They have the burden of proof to assert this claim, at least, according to North Carolina law, but it still puts pressure on victims to be extremely careful during their claims.

Hiring your own Wilmington personal injury lawyer arms you with the knowledge needed to avoid mistakes that could cause you to miss out on a settlement. It also puts someone tenacious and experienced enough to fight back against accusations of contributed fault.

We at Tatum & Atkinson have seen insurers and others try this trick time and time again. When they want to scare you, we can help you protect your legal rights.

We know the arguments and types of evidence that can potentially save your bacon. While we can’t guarantee you that every claim is winnable, we promise to use every option on the table to keep your claim alive — and give it the full chances of success it deserves.

Steps of a Typical Injury Claim

Not every claim will follow the same process, but it helps to understand how the average one plays out.

In most cases, all the injury victim has to do is identify the at-fault party and then file a claim with the appropriate liability insurance policy. They and their attorney will then negotiate with the insurer to arrive at a reasonable settlement for damages suffered.

Only rarely do cases have to advance to a lawsuit, much less a court case. It’s usually when insurers refuse to settle or constantly deny coverage that the injured claimant is forced to step things up. In some situations, though, it makes sense to sue someone quickly in order to protect your chances at a successful claim.

Below, we’ve outlined how both processes may look from the perspective of a typical injured claimant.

The Insurance Claims Process

After an injury has happened, the following steps typically play out as the injured party opens and pursues a claim:

  • Information exchange: After any accident, whether it happens on the road or somewhere else, make sure to obtain the contact and insurance information of the driver, property owner, or other main responsible party involved.
  • Incident report: The accident is reported (preferably to law enforcement) or otherwise documented as soon as possible
  • Prompt medical care: The injury victim seeks a medical diagnosis to establish the extent of their injuries, preferably with no delays
  • Personal injury lawyer contacted: A personal injury lawyer can be brought into a case at any time, but it can protect the injured claimant if they talk to an attorney before contacting insurers.
  • Claim opened: A claim can be opened at any time, and the claimant doesn’t have to provide all of the information right at the beginning. It’s often best to report the possibility of a claim to insurers promptly but avoid providing firm details until you’re medical prognosis and the related extent of damages are fully known.
  • Investigations and damages estimate: Once a claim has formally begun, insurers will appoint an adjuster and other potential representatives to investigate the fault and verify the number of damages. It’s in the claimant’s interests to do the same! An attorney can provide extensive resources during this stage.
  • A demand letter is presented: While the injured victim can wait for the insurance company to put forth the first offer, they have the option of beating them to the table. A demand letter documents all damages, past and future, and presents legal reasonings for why the named policyholder is responsible for them.
  • Negotiations commence: After insurers put forth their own settlement offer, the claimant has the opportunity to persuade them to provide a more reasonable amount. A personal injury lawyer can assist with negotiations, using their experience and knowledge of the claims system to seek the best settlement available.
  • Disputes, appeals, and other procedures: Sometimes, part or all of a claim is denied for various reasons by the insurer. The insurer may also dispute fault, or the named party can take other measures to try and stop the injured party from going forward with a claim. An attorney can help the claimant appeal denials and handle other legal procedures in order to protect the validity of the claim and fight for a reasonable settlement.
  • Settlement is signed: Barring any complications, once an adequate settlement is offered, the injured claimant can sign their release and receive their money.

Sometimes, insurers are quick to offer a reasonable settlement amount — especially when they know a proven attorney team is there to hold them to the letter of the law. Other times, it can take a few weeks or months of back-and-forth to reach a settlement.

In addition, you and your attorney may need to take extra time to investigate your accident or explore your medical condition further. There’s also the possibility that you may have to make some hard decisions as you pursue the settlement you need.

Throughout this process, your attorney is there at your side, fighting for you every step of the way while keeping you informed of all available options.

Filing a Lawsuit and Going to Court

Some cases can only be resolved through a lawsuit. When this happens, the following process may take place:

  • A civil complaint (lawsuit) is filed with the appropriate court. The lawsuit names parties alleged to have a fault and the damages associated with their actions.
  • The subject of the complaint has time to respond. This subject may be an at-fault driver, a property owner, a business, or (most often) the insurer that refuses to cover their liability. Their response can accept fault, offer counter-claims, or dispute the facts. A hearing may take place to formally address any positions and allow discovery to commence.
  • Discovery refers to the period when information is exchanged and the case if fully investigated. Parties may be summoned for questioning during a deposition. Both parties can also conduct interviews (called interrogatories when an expert witness is used) and request specific documents or other information.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can take place. Common forms include mediation or a negotiated settlement. Many suits are settled during this period so as to avoid the further time and expense of litigation on behalf of all parties involved.
  • Motions may be filed. Both parties have the option to request summary judgment, meaning that the court orders one party or the other to accept specific terms. The defending party could file a motion for the case to be dismissed, or they could ask that certain types of evidence or even legal arguments be suppressed. This period can be lengthy, sometimes delaying trials by months or even years.
  • A trial is held if no motions succeed and the parties can’t come to an alternative agreement. A jury may be summoned to judge the case, or a judge (or other authoritative body) can hear the case and decide for themselves. Both sides will present their arguments and evidence. At the conclusion, the subject of the complaint may be found liable in part or in full, and they may be ordered to pay a certain amount of damages, often based on the amounts proposed by the plaintiff. The subject may also be found completely not liable.

A Lawsuit Can Often Be the Best Tool to Get Paid After Your Injury!

Know that filing a lawsuit doesn’t have to mean your case will be fought in court. Often, both sides will go back and forth for some time but then be willing to come to the negotiation table to settle the matter.

Nevertheless, filing a lawsuit provides injured parties with many advantages, not the least of which is showing that they are serious about their rights to seek damages. Many times, insurers or other parties will balk when they see that someone has gotten an attorney and is now willing to get the courts involved.

The act of filing a lawsuit, therefore, can quickly put matters to rest.

In other cases, a lawsuit will continue until the situation changes for one party or another. In many cases, the defending party will realize the substantiality of the evidence showing fault, or they will see that efforts to have the case dismissed or summarily judged have failed.

This is when they may then come to the negotiation table.

Know that, in any case, Tatum & Atkinson are willing to go all the way to court and argue your case in front of a jury if that’s what it takes to get you compensation. We have a history of winning million-dollar verdicts on behalf of our injury clients, so don’t worry if your case goes all the way to court.

We’ll be there, at your side, to minimize the effort required of you while you try to heal and fully recover.

Leading Causes of Personal Injury in Wilmington

Injuries happen every day in Wilmington, but not all of them are avoidable. At the same time, many injuries are caused by the negligence of others, especially careless drivers.

Looking specifically at 2022 injury data from North Carolina’s Department of Health paints a clearer picture of the leading causes of injury. Unsurprisingly, motor vehicle-related accidents rank highly among them!

Selected Leading Causes of Fatal Injury in North Carolina in 2020

  1. Unintentional poisoning, including overdose and fatal drug interactions (3231 deaths)
  2. Motor vehicle traffic accidents (1701)
  3. Accidental falls, including slips and falls and negligent nursing care (1549)
  4. Drownings, including boating accidents (126)

Selected Leading Causes of Injury Hospitalization in North Carolina in 2020

  1. Accidental falls, including slips and falls and negligent nursing care (26,169)
  2. Motor vehicle traffic accidents (7,666)
  3. Accidental overdose, drug interactions, and other poisoning (5,320)
  4. Burns (1,330)
  5. Struck by/against, including ATV accidents and products-related injuries (1,063)
  6. Other traffic accidents, including single-vehicle wrecks (934)
  7. Accidental firearm injuries (867)

Note, too, that injury hospitalizations across the state increased dramatically (10% overall) from 2016 – 2020.

Wilmington Car Accident Statistics

Anyone who’s braved Carolina Beach Road on a busy summer weekend can attest to the fact that their lives may be put in danger in Wilmington at any time!

Unfortunately, car accidents are no laughing matter, having the potential to forever alter lives in the blink of an eye.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation shows that New Hanover County had the following accident statistics from 2022.

2022 New Hanover County Crash Data

  • Total accidents: 5,617
  • Injury crashes: 1,313
  • Total crash injuries: 1,885
  • Fatal crashes: 19
  • Total crash fatalities: 19
  • Alcohol-related crashes: 301, 3 fatal
  • Pedestrian crashes: 41, 4 fatal
  • Bicycle crashes: 31, 0 fatal
  • Motorcycle crashes: 32, with 7 fatalities

5-Year Annual Crash Averages for New Hanover County (2018–2022)

  • Total accidents: 5,685
  • Injury crashes: 1,410
  • Avg crash injuries: 2,059
  • Fatal crashes: 21
  • Avg crash fatalities: 23
  • Alcohol-related crashes: 276, 5 fatal

Worth noting is that while only 4.9% of accidents involved alcohol, across a five-year average from 2018–2022, an astounding 23.4% of fatal crashes involved alcohol. In other words, drunk driving is extremely likely to result in one or more fatalities in the event that a crash does happen.

According to NCDOT data, there’s a crash in New Hanover County every 1.2 hours. Someone is injured in a crash every 4.4 hours, and someone dies in a crash once every 15 days, on average.

On a cost basis, crashes inflict a total economic impact of over $556 million annually, based on a three-year average analysis of available data. That’s $74,233 per crash and a cost of $30.44 for every 100 miles traveled by every driver across the county, regardless of whether they’ve been in a crash or not!

Clearly, the economic toll of crashes is high. It can easily be felt at the personal and household level, but it also has a way of affecting communities. When people are hurt, unable to work, and unable to pay their medical bills, it can have ripple effects throughout Wilmington.

Our goal, as injury attorneys, is to fight as hard as we can to help you and your loved ones recover everything you’ve lost!

Let an Experienced and Proven Wilmington Personal Injury Law Firm Fight for You!

At Tatum & Atkinson, we call ourselves the Heavy Hitters for some particularly good reasons. Chief among them is the fact that we never back down, and we go after the liable party with everything we have.

Our goal is always to make all the best moves to put you in a position to win your claim. While we can’t guarantee that every case will result in money recovered for you, we can say that our deep experience and legal knowledge can give your case a fighting chance.

Working with Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters means that you can get the following benefits while we handle your claim.

  • Guidance and advice through every step of your case, keeping you informed of your best available strategies and in control of the big decisions.
  • Help when dealing with insurers, potentially preventing common mistakes that can sink your claim before it ever truly has a chance to succeed.
  • Rigorous investigation of fault using all resources at our disposal
  • Collaboration with medical professionals to ensure you’re getting all the treatments you need to heal and that your condition and prognosis are fully understood
  • Accurate valuation of all damages, including the projected future costs of medical care, lost wages, and other projected damages
  • Deep knowledge of the legal and claims system, giving you insights into winning strategies that have helped other claims succeed
  • Fearless negotiation and advocacy in the face of insurers, defense attorneys, and others who want to pretend like they can play hardball
  • Preparation for a lawsuit and possible trial in cases where parties refuse to settle or where legal powers are vital to the continuation of your claim

Call in the Heavy Hitters! You’ll Never Pay Up Front for Personal Injury Law Services in Wilmington

When you’re ready to step up in the face of someone who hurt you and who doesn’t want to pay, call in the Wilmington legal team that’s ready to fight.

Tatum & Atkinson focuses exclusively on car accidents and other types of personal injury claims. We’re dedicated to our clients, and we give them a fighting chance at obtaining all the compensation they need in order to fully recover after their accident.

When you’ve been hurt, it’s easy to feel tired or even scared. Insurers and liable parties may pretend like you don’t have a leg to stand on, or they may try to lowball you with unacceptable settlement offers.

In this situation, what you need is a heavyweight legal team in your corner, and that’s where the Heavy Hitters can come in to slug it out for you! Get answers to all of your questions, and find out how much your case could be worth when you call  800-LAW-0804 or contact us online to schedule your free case review today.

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