If you or a family member was injured or someone you know has died as a result of an automobile accident, certain legal rights exist to protect you. You may be entitled to compensation for personal injury including: medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, loss of consortium, permanent injury and possibly punitive damages. Often you must act swiftly after an accident to preserve the evidence you need to pursue these recoveries and be made whole for your injuries. That is why our firm employs investigators with years of experience to swiftly gather the needed evidence. For many people the first question is whether there is a claim upon which they can recover. If there is negligence (simply fault) and damages (some injury) typically one can recover damages, from an automobile collision. Negligence is the breach of a duty owed causing an injury. For example, another driver owes you a duty to stop for a stop sign and not fail to stop resulting in an accident. Not only must negligence be proven, you must not be negligent yourself. North Carolina law recognizes the principle of contributory negligence. In North Carolina, if you, through any negligence of your own, contribute to your own injuries, then you are barred from recovering damages from another party. Damages must also be proven in order to recover from another’s negligence from a car accident. Damages, entitling the person to lost wages, medical bills, permanent injury and pain and suffering, are called compensatory damages. You may also be able to recover punitive damages which are damages awarded to the injured person to punish and deter the flagrant nature of the wrongful conduct. An example of a situation which may involve punitive damages occurs when the other driver causes the automobile accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the case of a drunk driver causing the crash, often punitive damages are recovered in addition to the compensatory damages. Our attorneys have tried these cases to juries as well as taken them on appeal all the way to the North Carolina Supreme Court to assist our clients when they are injured by drunk drivers. Sometimes your automobile crash claim may have taken place while you were working. At Keel O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC we often have clients in serious accidents that use the expertise of several of our attorneys at once. If you are out of work for over a year, Social Security Disability may be an option they have not considered. Susan O’Malley is a NC Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law. She is available to help our seriously injured clients obtain the disability benefits they deserve. If you were working at the time of the collision you may also need assistance dealing with your company’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Even if the workers’ compensation carrier provides all the needed assistance, they may claim a portion of your settlement or verdict as part of a lien on your recovery. Our attorneys are experienced at arguing against and trying to reduce these workers’ compensation liens – assisting you with every aspect of a serious injury crash. If someone you know has died due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing, you should look at protecting the rights of the decedent’s estate. The personal representative of the estate may have a claim against the negligent person or entity. No one wants to be involved in litigation, but if you were seriously injured in an automobile accident due to no fault of your own, a jury trial may be the only way to truly recover the full value of your case. Our lawyers handle and try jury cases involving injuries from auto accidents where there are head injuries, herniated discs, neck injuries, back injuries, broken bones and injuries resulting in surgeries. Our auto accident lawyers have tried cases for the seriously injured throughout North Carolina. This allows our clients to take advantage of the benefit of our collective experience and assures your case is being handled by an experienced trial attorney.
"UPDATE: To protect your safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we offer video conferencing, as well as telephone conferences, in place of face-to-face meetings. Please contact our office today to set up a remote consultation."