FAQs about Dog Bite Personal Injury Cases
My firm has been getting an abnormally high amount of calls regarding dog bites in Charlotte recently. If you’ve been bitten by a dog you may have a personal injury case against the dog’s owner or caretaker. Seeking help from a Charlotte personal injury lawyer is imperative, as these cases are unique and often insurance companies do not want to compensate you fairly for your injuries.
Who Suffers Most?
Statistics from a study conducted covering 1982 to 2013 sheds some light on the types of dogs that routinely attack children. The top three breeds attacking children are Pitt bulls, Rottweilers and German Shepherds. During the period studied, Pit bulls attacked 1114 children, Rottweilers 290, and German Shepherds 63. Interestingly, Pit bulls are noted for attacking adults at nearly the same rate as they attack children.
What Are The Typical Injuries?
Depending upon the breed and numerous other factors, the typical injuries from dog bites can be anything from minor abrasions to death. Especially in children, a dog bite attack often leads to emotional complexities down the road when relating to animals. What separates Pit bulls and their related breeds apart from others in the dog bite category is that Pit bull attacks lead to death far more often than the attacks of any other breed.
What Is The Trend?
Unfortunately, the trend is upwards. More dogs are attacking more often. Despite some high profile cases including that of Michael Vick (2007), Pit bull attacks have actually more than doubled in the past 7 years since Vick’s conviction.
Dog Bite Lawsuits
NC General Statutes Chapter 67 address dog bites and the law that governs them. Owners suffer misdemeanor penalties if their dog attacks causing more than $100 of medical treatment. Additionally, there is strict liability for civil damages. A dog bite personal injury case falls under the civil provision. Strict liability in this regard exists if the dog possessed a vicious propensity and the owner knew or should have known. Whether the dog was on a leash, whether the dog was provoked, and local ordinances regarding dogs are also taken into account.
Call An Attorney
If you have any questions about a dog bite or dog attack and would like to speak with a personal injury attorney in Charlotte about your situation, please call 704.749.7747. The call is free and I’m here to help.
The Layton Law Firm, PLLC is a Charlotte Personal Injury Law Firm. I’m writing this article today not to convince you to use The Layton Law Firm for your personal injury claim. Instead, I’m writing to convince you to seek the guidance of one of the Charlotte personal injury law firms, in general. If you have a legitimate injury, there are numerous reasons to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte.
Your Rights May Be Affected
First, the obvious. Charlotte personal injury firms and the attorneys that work for them make it their job to understand what your rights are, and how they may be affected by certain behavior. Waiting too long to file a claim, failing to seek the proper medical treatment and follow through with that treatment, even making statements to insurance companies—can all affect your otherwise valid personal injury claim.
Protecting Yourself Against Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are looking out for their best interests. If you negotiate a claim with an insurance company without the assistance of a personal injury attorney, you run the risk of getting less than what you deserve, and signing off on the right to pursue more money later.
Understanding The “Patience” Game
Your Charlotte personal injury lawyer will help you understand the frustrating amount of time it can take to settle a claim. But there are reasons. Charlotte personal injury law firms want to get paid on your claim as badly as you do, but they know that making a demand on the insurance policy too soon has a costly effect. As the client, your job is to follow your doctor’s orders, complete treatment, and give your personal injury lawyer the time he or she needs to put together the strongest case possible for you.
Negotiating Down Medical Bills
One way in which Charlotte personal injury law firms help you obtain a better result than you can on your own– even after you pay their fees– is their ability to negotiate down your medical bills. As part of representing you, the firm will present your medical providers with facts about the settlement and negotiate with them to get the bills down to a reasonable amount. The firm will also confirm that all medical liens by physicians and facilities against you are released as part of the process.
Charlotte personal injury law firms are all different. It’s my opinion that most firms will get you a similar result. That’s good news for clients trying to decide on a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte. What will be different is your experience with each law firm and each personal injury lawyer you work with. You deserve an attorney who is competent in legal matters, but who also understands it’s an emotional journey that you, the client, are on. Your personal injury lawyer should soothe your nerves, keep you confident and informed in the process of negotiating the claim, and make you feel cared for. Period. It’s just part of the job.
Call A Charlotte Personal Injury Firm
If you have been injured, you should call a Charlotte personal injury attorney today. I can be reached at 704.749.7747. If I can’t assist with your case, I will be happy to refer you to another personal injury lawyer who I trust to assist you. Don’t get taken advantage of in the meantime.
The Layton Law Firm offers free personal injury consultations in our Charlotte office or by phone. Typically, during the consultation, the attorney will ask you to explain the event leading up to the injury, the injury itself, and the treatment for the injury to date.
As the client in a Charlotte personal injury consultation, your goal is to decide whether the attorney is competent, and whether you want to work with that attorney. There are several personal injury attorneys in Charlotte who all do an extremely well job representing their clients—finding the right fit for you is key.
What Can I Establish During My Consultation?
You can establish the attorney fee schedule during the consultation. You should also be able to get a general idea of the time frame the attorney believes will be required to review your case. If the attorney takes the case, he should be able to clearly explain to you the timeline for working together—when do you expect treatment to end, how long does it take to get out a demand letter to the insurance company, at what point will you know if you need to file a lawsuit, etc.
Questions You Should Ask
I always encourage personal injury clients in a consultation to voice their biggest concerns. The responses mainly relate to whether the firm is willing to file a lawsuit if necessary, and what happens to medical bills during the life of the claim or case. It’s important to get comfortable with these concepts prior to deciding on a Charlotte personal injury attorney.
Schedule A Consultation
If you’d like to speak with an attorney, call 704.749.7747. The call is free. Or, you can complete a quick form and we will contact you to set up a convenient time to have your consultation and explain the process. You can complete that form HERE. We’re here to help.
If you are trying to decide on a Charlotte personal injury lawyer, there are a few things to consider. Most all Charlotte personal injury lawyer contracts will cover the same provisions in terms of a contingency fee paid to the lawyer. This is the classic “We don’t get paid if you don’t get paid.”
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Reviews
In addition to making sure the personal injury attorney’s fees are fair, you may want to look at Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews online. Google and Yahoo are the most respected review sites and you can typically find personal injury attorney reviews for attorneys in your area. Finding an attorney whose personality is compatible with yours is important. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure the lawyer and the lawyer’s office communicates with their clients regularly about the personal injury case. Don’t be afraid to ask them how often you’ll hear from them.
Establishing A Timeframe
A Charlotte personal injury attorney should be able to give you a general timeline for how long it will take to reach certain milestones in your personal injury case. Typically, the law firm makes sure you’re following physician’s directives, communicates regularly with your physicians, and makes routine requests for updated information from the doctor treating your injury. Once you’ve completed treatment, the personal injury attorney can begin to put together a claim on your behalf.
Your Personal Injury Claim
Your personal injury claim will consist of a number of components, from loss of enjoyment of life, to medical bills. One important aspect of maximizing your outcome in a personal injury lawsuit is negotiating with doctors to lower their bills. Your Charlotte personal injury lawyer will do this on your behalf, typically once you get close to settlement with the insurance company.
Will Your Personal Injury Lawyer Go To Trial?
Most cases do not go to trial; however, it’s important to hire a personal injury attorney whose firm is willing to try cases. This gives the law firm greater negotiating power with insurance companies, and gives you the confidence you need to know that the firm can litigate if necessary. Any personal injury law firm will need to study the facts, the physician’s findings and other relevant information prior to committing to taking a case to trial for you.
If you have any questions about personal injury or are interested in speaking with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer, please call me at 704.749.7747. You can also fill out a short questionnaire here and we will call you today. We’re here to help.
Whether you slipped on a wet floor in a gas station or tripped over misplaced items in a retail store, if you’re injured at a place of business you may have a premises liability case. These cases often turn on both the negligence of the business owner or operator, and whether the injured individual was at fault to any degree.
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. Contributory negligence is discussed further HERE, but if the injured party is found to be 1% at fault, it may be a bar to recovery from the defendant/property owner.
In establishing a case for negligence in an injury sustained at a place of business, the question commonly turns on the condition of the property and whether the owner was negligent in the maintenance of the property. Some facts that may be taken into consideration are whether a wet floor sign was present, how long the condition existed prior to the slip and fall, or whether the owner knew or should have known about the condition. Quite often, an injured party can establish the condition existed numerous times on the property in the past and the owner did nothing to remedy it, negligence can be established.
Depending upon the duty owed the injured by the property owner, establishing negligence requires different proof. The duty a landowner owes a guest for instance, is different from the duty a landowner owes a trespasser—if at all. The same would be true for the duty owed by a restaurant owner to a patron.
Four Prong Negligence Test
In any negligence case, the following must be established:
- Did the defendant owe a duty to the injured party;
- Was there a breach of that duty;
- Were the plaintiff’s injuries the foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligence;
- Were there damages and what were they;
Call An Attorney
If you have any questions about an injury you sustained on property owned and operated by another, please call me at 704.749.7747. The call is free and you deserve answers.
Auto Accidents And Fault
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in North Carolina, it makes sense to talk to a personal injury attorney about it. While North Carolina can be a rather difficult state to recover as a personal injury plaintiff, if you have an experienced lawyer and law firm, you can achieve a good, fair result.
Contributory Negligence In North Carolina
Every state’s rules for recovery in a negligence case are different. North Carolina follows the common law rule of contributory negligence. This means that if a plaintiff is even 1% responsible or at fault, they are barred from recovery. A simple example in an auto accident would be you were rear-ended but you had come to a sudden stop at a green light for some reason.
Practical Application of Contributory Negligence In North Carolina
While the 1% rule is an obstacle for plaintiffs in auto accidents in North Carolina, it is not insurmountable. First, the rule anticipates a jury finding the plaintiff 1% at fault. Juries are unpredictable and as a result, most personal injury claims never make it to a jury.
While the defendant’s attorney will almost always raise the contributory negligence in North Carolina as part of their defense, the net result is typically that it’s being used to lower the number in a dollar negotiation with the plaintiff’s attorney. Most defendants are not prepared to test the theory with a jury, and negotiations resume.
Don’t Let Contributory Negligence Deter You
Even if you believe you may have been at fault in some way, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to a personal injury attorney. It may be that your behavior doesn’t amount to fault, and the attorney will be able to tell you that. Additionally, experienced personal injury attorneys take cases in North Carolina every day where the plaintiff contributed in some small way to a much larger injury sustained at the hands of the defendant’s negligence.
If you have questions or would like to speak with a personal injury attorney in Charlotte, please call me at 704.749.7747.
In many personal injury cases, there are damages to property. Clients commonly ask whether the law firm will be paid out of the proceeds for property damages in personal injury claims.
You Have A Choice
While the standard personal injury agreement between the client and the personal injury attorney dictates that the law firm receives roughly 1/3 of the settlement, there is an exception for property damages in personal injury. You can often negotiate the property damage element of your personal injury claim on your own and avoid any attorney’s fees.
If the attorney does handle a standard property damages claim, it does not typically make sense to pay the firm 1/3 of the recovered amount—you’re left with less than what you deserve. We typically offer to handle property damages in personal injury for a flat rate, if the client desires.
The most common example is regarding property damages in personal injury is damage to an automobile. In that case, the bluebook value is commonly known or discoverable and the client can feel confident they are getting an appropriate settlement for the vehicle without the help (and fees) of the attorney or law firm. Additionally, when there is an established value like Bluebook, there is not much negotiating the law firm can do on your behalf to dramatically increase what the insurance company is offering.
Other Property Damages In Personal Injury
Alternatively, if the property that was damaged was intangible (reputation, loss of business) or not as easily defined as a bluebook value (an antique, a collectible), you may consider having the law firm handle the property damages in personal injury on your behalf.
The law firm will only suggest handling property damages in personal injury if it is going to make sense to you, in the long run. Some clients simply feel more comfortable paying a flat rate to have the peace of mind that a lawyer assisted in handling the claim. This is important for a few reasons: 1) knowing the full value was recovered, and 2) insuring that the client doesn’t unknowingly and mistakenly settle any additional rights for bodily injury when negotiating the property damage claim.
Call An Attorney
If you have any questions about property damages in personal injury, please call for a free consultation. Most consultations can be done over the phone and you deserve answers. 704.749.7747.
While your attorney will do the work putting together your demand, it’s important to have a cursory understanding of damages in a personal injury case. Depending on the type of behavior that led to the injury, the damage claim will differ slightly.
Generally speaking, your attorney will work together with your physician in an attempt to quantify what are known as compensatory damages in a personal injury case. Essentially, the theory behind compensatory damages is you’re asking for an amount which is meant to make you whole again. Not only will your demand include a demand for medical bills and treatment associated with those bills, but any other amounts designed to reflect what you’ve been through as a result of the accident.
Additionally, your damages claim will reflect your physician’s opinion as to whether you will reach full recovery. Quite often this aspect of the claim is known as loss of enjoyment of life. If you’re not the same and never going to be the same as you were prior to the accident, your attorney will put a dollar amount on that.
Many clients and lawyers are intrigued by large settlements in personal injury cases. Quite often, those large settlements have a Punitive Damages element to the claim being made. That is, if the behavior of the defendant rises to the level of intentional or if the defendant is held to a higher standard of care than other defendants, a punitive damage claim is intended to deter the defendant from engaging in the behavior in the future.
Discuss It With Your Lawyer
Negligent acts give rise to compensatory damages when the plaintiff has been harmed. If the behavior can be shown to rise above negligence, punitive damages can often be assessed in addition to compensatory damages. Call a personal injury attorney today to discuss your case to make sure you’re protected, and to get a better understanding of the process. I can be reached at 704.749.7747.
My work as a bankruptcy lawyer in Charlotte, NC has led me to many personal injury cases. Oftentimes, it is a personal injury sustained through a car accident, a slip and fall, medical malpractice which is the root cause for financial trouble. Regardless, when you’re unable to work due to the negligence of another person or company, you deserve to be compensated.
Knowledge Is Power
When you have a bankruptcy attorney examine your personal injury case, you get the benefit of not only someone to competently represent you in your demand for compensation, but also someone who understands your options for debt forgiveness and debt negotiation. After all, what is your personal injury award really worth to you if all of it goes to the costs associated with the accident and medical treatment?
Negotiating Your Claim Aggressively
By negotiating aggressively with all parties involved, you can insure that you’re receiving as much compensation as possible from the party at fault. You can also be assured that you’re successfully negotiating down the cost of the treatment you received in order to establish your damages. This ultimately means more money for you.
Find The Right Fit
It’s important to find a personal injury attorney who suits your needs—competent, caring, attentive. I would be happy to speak with you about your accident and do my best to provide guidance. If I’m not the right attorney for your case, I’ll help you find one through the many great Charlotte attorneys I have come to know through my 15 years of practicing law.
Call me today to discuss your accident. There’s no charge and I’m happy to help. 704.749.7747.
If you have an ongoing personal injury lawsuit, or a potential personal injury lawsuit, you must disclose it when filing your bankruptcy. This does not mean you will lose the personal injury awards in bankruptcy. If your injury occurs after filing your bankruptcy, generally the lawsuit and any award you may receive from it are exempted from the bankruptcy estate and the proceeds are yours to keep.
Compensation and Filing of Bankruptcy
Compensation Received Prior To Filing—If you’ve received compensation for your personal injury prior to filing your bankruptcy, your compensation is part of the bankruptcy estate and must be disclosed. Your bankruptcy attorney may be able to exempt or protect some or all of the compensation.
Compensation Received After Filing—You must disclose the existence of the personal injury claim or potential claim when filing your bankruptcy. Depending upon the facts, likelihood of recovery, and ability to value the claim, the Trustee will then make a determination as to whether to pursue the claim on your behalf, work with your existing personal injury attorney, or abandon the claim from the estate altogether.
Disclosure Is Key
In any case, if your injury took place prior to the filing of the bankruptcy, you must either disclose the compensation you have received, or in the alternative, disclose the potential for compensation. This puts the Trustee on notice and keeps you in compliance with the federal rules of bankruptcy. You’ll work with your bankruptcy attorney when filing your petition, and when preparing to discuss the claim with the Trustee.
If you have any questions about bankruptcy or personal injury awards in bankruptcy, please feel free to call me at 704.749.7747.