Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer

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Jacksonville, NC Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury claim is one of the most important tools in civil law. Those who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence bear a variety of costs. Filing a personal injury claim with the help of a Jacksonville, NC, personal injury lawyer can help injured parties obtain compensation to cover the expenses incurred by these injuries.

Medical bills and property damage costs can add up quickly. Many injuries lead to missed work, and that can result in lost wages. There are also psychological and emotional costs that can come along with the injury as well. Often, the more serious the injuries, the greater the costs. For the most serious injuries, those costs could extend well into the future, possibly even a lifetime.

Silva, Kiernan & Associates, PLLC: Your Jacksonville, NC, Personal Injury Attorneys

A personal injury claim is the means by which these victims can seek compensation for all the costs that they’ve had to endure. While it’s usually insurance companies who are responsible for paying these claims, that doesn’t mean that they are easily forthcoming with what they owe. In many cases, it’s only through the process of a personal injury claim, or at least the legitimate threat of one, that proper compensation can be achieved.

To give yourself the strongest chance of making successful use of this tool, it can be important to work with a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer from Silva, Kiernan & Associates, PLLC. We push for everything that our clients are owed.

How Do You Prove Fault in a Jacksonville Personal Injury Case?

The central element of a personal injury case is establishing fault for the injury. Once this fault is established, there is the possibility of collecting restitution for the costs related to the injury. The burden of proof for proving this fault will fall on the plaintiff’s side. The plaintiff’s lawyers must use the evidence available to them, including:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Documents
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Expert witness testimony

All these can help an attorney make the case for the liability of the defendant. To prove liability, they generally need to prove the three elements of negligence.

Duty to Care

The first element that the plaintiff’s team needs to prove is that, in the given situation, there existed a duty to care. The idea is that, in a civil society, we owe each other a level of caution and care regarding how our behavior could impact others.

If there is some level of foreseeable risk of causing others to be in danger because of someone’s actions, that party has the responsibility to take reasonable precautions to address that situation. The specifics, though, of what this duty may be will depend on the nature of the situation in which the injury occurred.

Breach of Duty

Once a duty to care has been proven, the next element of negligence is a breach of duty. There must be something about the defendant’s actions that failed to meet the duty that was required of them in a given situation. This would mean that they failed to take the appropriate actions that would have mitigated the risk that others were subjected to. Generally, this involves a failure to behave as a reasonably careful person would have, given the same set of circumstances.

The specifics of what a breach would look like will be different, depending on the circumstances of the injury. For instance, in an accident involving a motor vehicle, it could be:

However, there are many niche situations, such as skydiving or guided wilderness expeditions, where most people are unlikely to understand what is and isn’t a breach. In these cases, it can be helpful to bring in an expert witness, most likely someone else involved in the same field, who can describe to the court what should have been expected and how what was done didn’t meet those expectations.

The Breach Led to the Personal Injury

The last element that must be proven by the plaintiff’s lawyers is a direct line connecting the breach on the part of the defendant to the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. In many circumstances in Jacksonville, they must first prove that the breach caused an accident. Then, they can show that the accident was what led to the injuries.

It’s important to recognize that there can be breaches that have nothing to do with the accident. For instance, even if you are speeding through an intersection, if another car runs a red light and collides with you, the speeding is not really the cause of the accident.

It also needs to be shown that the accident was the cause of the injury, as this completes the connection between breach and injury. You may believe that this connection is not particularly debatable, but it’s important to recognize that people have made fraudulent claims about their injuries.

There are some people who have claimed that pre-existing conditions were a result of the accident. Others have claimed that injuries that have been suffered after the accident were the result of the accident. Additionally, some people have also exaggerated the severity and impact of their injuries.

Therefore, it’s important that your lawyer be able to prove both the connection and nature of the injuries that were suffered.

Is Restitution Available in a Personal Injury Case in North Carolina?

The specifics of what can be compensated in a personal injury claim will depend on the particulars of the claim. However, any expense that’s going to be compensated must be shown to have a direct link to the injuries that were suffered. It’s this link that completes the chain of liability, showing that the injuries were the result of the breach that the defendant committed.

The compensation in a personal injury case will usually pay out two forms of damages and, occasionally, a third form. These kinds of damages are:

Economic Damages

There are a variety of costs of a personal injury that have a clear financial component associated with them. Those costs are compensated through the category of economic damages. These are costs like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages from missing work.

In the case of more serious injuries, it’s possible that there could be needs related to them that extend well into the future. If that’s the case, those will be addressed as well. Expenses like future medical bills and lost earning capacity if you are unable to return to the same work as before are also a part of economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

The costs of an injury often extend beyond those with a bill attached to them. Nearly every physical injury includes a component of pain and suffering. In addition to that, though, there are an array of potential psychological costs that could impact an injured person. Mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and loss of use of a body part are just a few of the psychological impacts a person could suffer.

These losses are given a financial value, even though money won’t solve any issue directly. Hopefully, though, the money can make the situation more manageable by addressing other issues and concerns.

Punitive Damages

Although not awarded in most cases, there is a third form of damages that doesn’t address the costs you have faced. Rather, it acts as a referendum on the behavior of the defendant. These won’t be awarded in most cases. However, in situations where the behavior of the defendant is particularly egregious or malicious, these damages may be added as a kind of punishment for the defendant’s actions.

What Could Limit the Restitution You Receive?

One of the things that could most negatively impact the damages award in a personal injury liability claim is North Carolina’s doctrine of pure contributory negligence. Under this system, the defendant’s team is given the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff is at least partially responsible for the injuries that they suffered. This shifts the burden of proof to the defendant’s side, and they must prove the components of negligence regarding the plaintiff.

In most states, as long as the plaintiff is not 50% or more at fault for their injuries, they are still able to collect damages that are discounted proportionate to their share of fault. In a few states, even a plaintiff who is 99% at fault can still collect 1% of damages.

North Carolina, though, is one of only five states that operates off a system of pure contributory negligence. This means that if the plaintiff is discovered to have any responsibility or fault for the accident and their injuries, they may be barred from collecting damages altogether. One of the most important things your lawyer can do is prepare to defend against these kinds of accusations.

What Does a North Carolina Accident Attorney Do?

Working with an Onslow County accident attorney can be essential to maximizing the potential restitution that you receive in a personal injury claim. They can help you in several ways.


One of the first things that we do is engage in a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding your injury. This is critical for understanding who may potentially be liable and for gathering evidence that can be used to prove their negligence in court. A part of our investigation will also be considering how a case may be made for your negligence and how that may be argued against as well.


Typically, before a trial, there is a period of negotiation. This usually involves an insurance company that is responsible for paying out these kinds of claims. Having a lawyer negotiate on your behalf can be a valuable asset. Insurance companies have a frustrating tendency to lowball their offers to people who negotiate for themselves.

An insurance company is more likely to make an appropriate offer with a lawyer present, as an attorney has a comprehensive knowledge of the trickery that is often employed by insurers. Additionally, a lawyer’s presence makes the threat of a case going to court more credible. This can lead to a smoother negotiation process with the insurer.


There are times, though, when it’s simply not possible to find a settlement that both parties are willing to agree to. If that’s the case, we can be ready to take the claim to court and argue for liability on the part of the defendant. We also need to demonstrate the costs for which damages are owed, using medical bills, property damage bills, and other documentation.

Our team can also be prepared to defend against accusations that you were at fault, which could take away your damages under North Carolina’s doctrine of pure contributory negligence.

Seek the Compensation That You Deserve With the Help of a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer

Getting injured because of someone else’s negligence is a challenging experience. There’s the pain and suffering that comes with being injured, the medical bills that follow, and possibly bills from property damage. More serious situations often require time away from work and the lost wages that come with that.

There can also be more serious psychological costs as well. The most serious of injuries can be permanently life-altering, and the injured may have lifelong costs to deal with. All these things, though, are the responsibility of those that caused the injury.

In reality, it is usually going to be the responsibility of an insurance company to compensate the injured party. Getting them to pay as they should, though, often requires some encouragement.

A personal injury claim is the legal tool that allows victims of these injuries the opportunity to seek the compensation that they deserve. There are times when even the credible threat of a possible claim, such as an attorney representing you in negotiations, can lead to a more serious potential settlement offer that avoids taking the claim to trial.

Working with an Onslow County accident attorney can give you a better chance of receiving the restitution that you’re owed. With Silva, Kiernan & Associates, PLLC, you can have a team behind you that negotiates firmly on your behalf and is ready to make your case in court if necessary. Contact us today if you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence.

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