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Personal Injury

What is contributory negligence in North Carolina?

North Carolina is one of the few states that still has “pure” contributory negligence. This means that, if you are involved in an accident in North Carolina, and it is determined that you were even 1% at fault for the accident, you cannot recover against the other party for any damages you received in the accident. The North Carolina Supreme Court has explained the doctrine of contributory negligence as follows: Every person having the capacity to exercise ordinary care for his own safety ag...
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Can a child be negligent in North Carolina?

The answer depends on the age of the child. North Carolina has developed what is known as “the rule of sevens” when determining whether a child is negligent or contributorily negligent. Children are divided into three groups depending on their age: Under seven: A child under seven-years-old is legally incapable of negligence under North Carolina law. Between seven and fourteen: Between the ages of seven and fourteen, a minor is presumed to be incapable of negligence. This presumption may...
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Why won’t the insurance company accept my claim?

The insurance companies for the at-fault driver are not in the business of paying claims unless they believe their insured is legally responsible for the accident and that your claimed injuries are related to the accident. They will conduct a full investigation of how the accident happened, which will include talking to their insured and trying to talk to you. If they talk to you about the accident, they will usually try to get you to say something that will prove harmful to your case. That is w...
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Understanding Automobile Insurance in North Carolina

When you are injured in an automobile accident in North Carolina, you need to understand the critical role insurance plays in determining your legal options. The following is a general overview of the various types of insurance that may be at issue. What is General Liability Insurance? General liability insurance is the insurance that protects the at-fault driver when they are involved in an accident. Under North Carolina law, a general liability insurance policy is required to have minimum co...
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What to expect after a car accident

You have just left your house and are heading to work. You are thinking about all the things you need to get done that day. You have just stopped at a red light when, suddenly, something slams in the back of your vehicle. When you wake up, you are lying on a stretcher with paramedics around you. What just happened? Whether you are involved in a relatively minor accident or a more serious one, there are several important things that you can do to protect yourself legally and to preserve eviden...
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What are “mediation” and “arbitration?”

Mediation is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral third party – a “mediator” – who is trained to help people discuss their differences. The mediator (who often is an attorney or a retired judge) has no power to decide or rule on the dispute.  Instead, the mediator’s goal is to help the parties themselves find the common ground necessary to reach a settlement.  Most civil actions filed in the Superior Court Division of state court or in federa...
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Attorneys’ fees, court costs, and other expenses – how much will this cost?

We offer clients a variety of fee arrangements that vary based upon the nature and complexity of the particular matter that we are asked to handle.  Certain types of matters, such as the preparation of estate plans and minor traffic law infractions, are typically handled on a fixed fee basis.  Other kinds of cases, including most civil litigation matters, normally are undertaken based on an hourly fee.  Still other kinds of cases – including but not limited to personal injury matters – may be ha...
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How long will my case take?

Law Books
There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question.  With respect to matters pending in court, the length of time before any case is resolved (whether at trial, by settlement, or otherwise) will depend on a variety of factors, including: The particular court in which the case is pending.  The Small Claims Division of state court, which handles summary ejectment (i.e., eviction) and other civil disputes in which the amount at stake is $5,000 or less, is designed to resolve cases within ...
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Do I really need to hire an attorney?

Estate Planning
Clarence Darrow is widely regarded as one of the most capable and accomplished trial lawyers in our nation’s history.  When he was charged with a crime in California, one of the first things Darrow did was hire a lawyer.  He understood the adage that “a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.”  Darrow was acquitted.  While there are exceptions to every rule, most people are likely to find themselves at a disadvantage when they attempt to navigate legal situations without the...
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