Bodily Injury in North Carolina
Persons who sustain “bodily injury” (or “personal injury”) in North Carolina as the result of an accident might be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Such injuries can be sustained in an automobile accident, or in an accident occuring on the property of someone else (i.e. “premises liability”). A worker sustaining an injury might have a claim under laws for “workers compensation.” Persons with injuries might also have claims under various “disability” laws or contracts.
Persons with bodily injury in North Carolina often face a complex set of issues. One issue is determining whether they have a claim against someone (including a business) for those injuries. Another issue is determining the appropriate medical treatment. Another issue is determining whether the person has sufficient funds for treatment for the injuries, which often involves health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. These payors can, in some instances, have a “lien” against the monetary recovery made by the injured person. (Stated otherwise, if the injured person receives a settlement for his injuries, he might have to pay some of those funds to Medicaid, Medicare, or a health insurer.)
A claim for bodily injury in North Carolina is further complicated if the person has a claim for lost earnings (or “lost earning capacity”). Such a person is often entitled to compensation for those losses, but he is expected to “mitigate” (or minimize) these losses. (This might mean, for example, that the injured person should seek other employment.) The rules for the appropriate measure of damages can be rather complex.
Bodily injury can consist of a simple muscle strain, or “whiplash,” that heals in only a few weeks. At the other extreme, bodily injury can consist of paralysis. (And of course there are claims for “wrongful death.”) In the middle of these extremes are countless degrees of injury to various parts, including back, neck, shoulder, knees, etc. In a serious accident, a person can sustain a brain injury . Some people sustain psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others sustain debilitating headaches. Virtually any type of injury is possible in an automobile or other type of accident.