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F.A.Q.s

Personal Injury

Who can file a Wrongful Death suit?

According to North Carolina law, only the executor, administrator or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a suit on behalf of the surviving spouse, children or parents.

What is the statute of limitations for negligence claims?

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for negligence is three years. If you miss that deadline, you have no legal recourse. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is two years.

What is an Intentional Tort?

The legal terminology for Personal Injury law is “tort” law, which originates from the French word for “wrong.” Intentional tort is when personal injury is caused by a person acting with deliberate intent to injure another person. The most common intentional torts include assault, battery, false imprisonment, infliction of distress, fraud, coercion and trespass.

What types of damages are awarded in Personal Injury cases?

There are three basic kinds of damages awarded in Personal Injury cases: compensatory, punitive and nominal. Compensatory damages compensate for losses related to income, medical treatments, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Punitive damages are not based on actual injuries sustained. Rather, they are designed to punish the defendant for fraud, malice or willful conduct. Nominal damages are minimal damage awards acknowledging that the plaintiff was legally wronged, while at the same time recognizing a lack of evidence establishing that the plaintiff suffered actual damages.

Social Security Disability

Do I really need an attorney to represent me?

Anyone can represent you before the SSA, but statistics compiled by the SSA show that individuals represented by an attorney are awarded benefits more often than those without attorney representation.

If I am awarded benefits, how much will I receive?

If you are found disabled and awarded benefits, you will receive past-due benefits and future monthly benefits. The exact amount will depend on your work history.

What do I do if my claim is denied at the reconsideration level?

You have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Since the judge is not bound by the prior decisions on your claim, the hearing is the most important step in the claims process.

Will the Social Security Administration approve my claim?

Most applications are denied at the initial level. Once you are denied, you can file a Request for Reconsideration. This is where legal representation is most valuable. Three to five months after the Request for Reconsideration is filed, the SSA will issue another decision. Unless a significant change in your condition has occurred, this request will likely be denied. An experienced attorney may be critical to being granted benefits at a hearing.

How do I file a claim for Social Security Disability or Social Security Income?

The first step is to complete and file an application for disability benefits and/or supplemental security income. Our office can assist you in filing an application, or an application can be obtained at your local Social Security office.

How does the Social Security Administration define disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disability” as the inability to perform substantial gainful activity for 12 continuous months by reason of physical or mental impairments.

Workers’ Compensation

What if the accident was partly or all my fault?

Workers’ compensation is a fault-free system. The relative responsibility of the employee or the employer in causing the accident is not relevant in determining whether the worker is entitled to compensation benefits.

Can I sue my employer?

Generally, the injured worker may not sue his or her employer for ordinary negligence. The Workers’ Compensation Act protects employers from direct suits by their employees for on-the-job injuries. If a third party outside of the company causes the injury, you can sue the third party in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim against your employer.

Do all employers in North Carolina carry workers' compensation insurance?

All employers in North Carolina who regularly employ three or more workers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. A subcontractor employed by a general contractor must carry workers’ compensation insurance if he or she has one or more employees.

How long do I have to file a workers' compensation claim?

You must file a Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) within two years of the date of injury. In occupational diseases, you must file a Form 18 or Form 18B with the NCIC within two years of being advised by a doctor that you have a work-related disease.

How long do I have to report a workplace injury?

You should report the injury immediately to your employer and provide a written notice of injury to your employer within 30 days of the injury.

What types of injuries are covered under workers' compensation?

Workers’ Compensation covers injuries that occur while an employee is carrying out activities for the benefit of their employer. The injury must be an accident and must be the result of a specific traumatic event.