Can I Recover Compensation Even if a Criminal Trial Found a Person Not Guilty?

Can I Recover Compensation Even if a Criminal Trial Found a Person Not Guilty?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Imagine the following scenario: You are driving along when all of a sudden another motorist veers into your lane of travel. Unfortunately, you do not have enough time to react and end of colliding with the other car. As police investigate the crash, suspicion arises that perhaps the other driver was under the influence of alcohol. A criminal charge is filed against the other motorist for driving under the influence of alcohol. Ultimately, however, the driver is found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Does this mean that you cannot recover any civil damages against the driver for your injuries? Thankfully, the answer is no – you can still recover damages even if a negligent party was found not guilty of criminal charges.

Criminal Case Burden of Proof – Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

If you are facing the above-described situation, do not fear. You may still have a civil case against the driver and may be able to recover damages. This is because the burden of proof in a criminal case is higher than in a civil case. The term burden of proof speaks to the quantity and quality of evidence the plaintiff must present to a judge or jury in order to win the case. In a criminal case, for instance, the plaintiff (the prosecutor’s office) must present enough evidence to convince the judge or jury that the defendant is guilty of the crime he or she is charged with “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system.

Civil Case Burden of Proof – Preponderance of the Evidence

By contrast, in a civil case the burden of proof is on the injured plaintiff to show fault or negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This generally means the plaintiff must show enough evidence to convince a judge or jury that his or her claims are more likely than not true. This is a much lower burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt.

A finding that an act did or did not occur “beyond a reasonable doubt” does not mean that the act did or did not occur “by a preponderance of the evidence.” For this reason, where there is a civil case and criminal case arising out of the same incident, usually the criminal case gets resolved first. A finding that something did occur beyond a reasonable doubt (such as drinking and driving) is sufficient to show that that same event occurred or did not occur by a preponderance of the evidence. If something did not happen beyond a reasonable doubt, however, the evidence can still show it happened by a preponderance of the evidence.

Bice Law, LLC Can Assist You

A plaintiff that does not meet his or her burden of proof in a civil or criminal case will have his or her case dismissed against the other party. Do not let this happen to you!  Contact Bice Law, LLC at (855) 5-BICE-LAW today. We are experienced in helping injury victims receive the compensation they deserve and can help gather and present the evidence needed in order to carry your burden of proof and win your case.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Share this article on Social Media!

Car Safety for Children in South Carolina

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

A news report today highlighted the story of a South Carolina man who was killed in Tennessee after he crashed his car along Interstate 40. The report indicated that the man’s two young children (ages 5 and 4) were also injured in the crash.  The five-year-old – a girl – is in critical condition. Law enforcement investigating the crash reported that there were child restraint devices in the car, but neither the children nor the driver were using any sort of restraint device at all. Had the children been placed in proper child restraint seats, crash investigators said, the injuries to the girl could have been much less severe.

Child Car Accident Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during 2011 approximately 650 children under the age of 12 died and nearly 150,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. During one single year, the CDC estimates that over 600,000 children 12 years of age and younger rode in a motor vehicle without using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seatbelt at least part of the time.

But child safety restraints can reduce the incidence of serious or fatal injuries in children.  The CDC found that child safety seats reduced the risk of death of infants by 71% and of toddlers by 54%. Children ages 4 years through 8 years showed a 45% less chance of suffering serious injuries in a crash when they were placed in a booster seat as opposed to only a seatbelt.

Car Seats and Recovery for Child Injuries

Just like an adult, a child who is injured in a car crash in North Carolina or South Carolina can bring a lawsuit against the negligent party for compensation for his or her injuries. The only difference is that, because the child is under the age of 18, someone other adult – usually either parent, a legal guardian, etc. – must bring and present the case on the child’s behalf. But because of contributory and comparative negligence rules in North Carolina and South Carolina respectively, failing to properly restrain your child may affect the amount you can recover. Recall that in South Carolina (which applies a comparative negligence standard), an injured person’s recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to the injured party. In North Carolina (which applies a contributory negligence standard), if the injured person is found to be at fault at all, then the injured person cannot recover any damages.

Contact Bice Law, LLC for Help

When you or a loved one has been injured because of the carelessness of another, contact Bice Law, LLC for assistance. We are skilled at reviewing the facts and circumstances of motor vehicle crashes and will work to get you and your loved ones the compensation you and they deserve. If you are concerned that you might be at fault (such as by failing to properly buckle children into appropriate restraint devices or failing to wear a seatbelt yourself), then contact us today at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Share this article on Social Media!

South Carolina Traffic Facts

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety maintains a record of crash statistics for the state. This data can be extremely informative and interesting in identifying trends in car crashes. For instance, when reviewing several years of such statistics at once, state leaders and others can determine if car crashes are increasing when certain factors are present and, if so, whether anything can be done to reduce or eliminate these factors.

Snapshot of South Carolina Statistics

For 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there was a traffic collision in South Carolina about every five minutes. This included fatal collisions (which occurred about every 11 hours), injury collisions (occurring about every 17 minutes), and collisions which resulted in property damage (occurring every 7 minutes).

The statistics go further to show that one person is killed in a traffic collision every 10 hours, while one person is injured every 11 minutes. Driving under the influence (driving with a  breath or blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08) led to a fatal collision about every 23 hours, while a vehicle occupant who was not wearing his or her safety belt was also killed about every 23 hours. Motorcyclists and pedestrians were both killed at a rate of about one every 4 days, while a bicyclist was killed every 28 days.

In terms of age, a teenage driver was involved in an injury or fatal collision about once every one and one-half hours, while a child under six was seriously injured or killed every six days.

What Do the Statistics Tell Us?

Statistics like these can be helpful, even when they are not compared to data from other years. For instance, these statistics show that riding a bicycle in South Carolina does not place one at as great a risk for being involved in a fatal accident as riding a motorcycle or walking. While injury or fatal car collisions can be caused by a multitude of factors, the chances of a fatal or injury car crash occurring increase when one of the drivers is intoxicated or one of the individuals involved is not wearing his or her seatbelt. Young drivers and young children seem to be at an elevated risk of injury or death as well.

Compensation After a Car Collision

When you or a loved one is injured in a South Carolina car accident, an attorney will examine all the facts surrounding your accident in determining what compensation you are entitled to. The behavior of the drivers and any passengers – for example, if he or she was intoxicated, not wearing his or her seatbelt, etc. – can all be considered in determining not only who is at fault but what compensation, if any, the injured driver or passenger is due.

At Bice Law, LLC, we are experienced in helping injured drivers and passengers recover compensation after car wrecks in North Carolina and South Carolina. Regardless of the circumstances of your car crash, contact Bice Law, LLC at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free consultation.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Share this article on Social Media!

What is a Wrongful Death Case?

Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

Anytime a loved one passes, the remaining family members can be expected to experience a wide range of emotions. This is especially true when a loved one passes because of the acts or carelessness of another person. When this happens, surviving family members face a myriad of stresses: the pain and grief associated with losing a loved one, the panic and anxiety about how to pay for the deceased’s final medical treatments and funeral expenses, and the uncertainty of living without the deceased’s income all prey on the minds of the surviving family members.

If your loved one is killed because of someone else’s negligence, it is important to know that the law allows you and other surviving family members to bring a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the death.

Basics of a Wrongful Death Suit

In a wrongful death suit, a personal representative of the deceased brings a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased against the individual or entity responsible for causing the death. The personal representative can be the person’s executor or executrix (if the person had a will and designated such a person) or a surviving adult family member.

The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death in North Carolina (three years in South Carolina); after this time, the courts will generally refuse to hear the case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff (the representative of the deceased) must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the deceased’s death was caused by the negligence or intentional act of another.

What Can I Recover from a Wrongful Death Suit?

If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, the personal representative can recover expenses such as:

  • Expenses for any medical care or hospitalization the deceased incurred as a result of the injury that ended in death;
  • Reasonable funeral expenses;
  • Damages to compensate for the reasonable earning potential of the deceased;
  • Damages to compensate for the loss of comfort and companionship of the deceased; and
  • Any punitive damages the decedent could have recovered.

Do I Need a North Carolina or South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney?

While you do not need the assistance of an attorney to file a wrongful death suit, choosing to have an experienced North Carolina or South Carolina wrongful death attorney on your side can make a huge difference. Not only are such attorneys familiar with what needs to be shown in order to recover compensation and what sort of evidence meets this burden, but they can also help you navigate the challenges of this difficult time.

At Bice Law, LLC, we know and understand the difficulties presented by a loved one’s unexpected passing. We stand ready to help you get the compensation you and your family deserves and hold those responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. Contact us at (855) 5-BICE-LAW today for a free consultation.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

Share this article on Social Media!

What Should I Do if I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer  

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, more and more individuals find it necessary for one reason or another to place their parents and grandparents in a nursing home or other assisted living center. While many of these facilities are staffed with nurses and caregivers who are passionate about providing care to elderly individuals, some facilities do not have your loved one’s best interests at heart. In fact, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, as many as one in ten elderly adults experienced some form of abuse. What are some of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse that you should look out for?

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

  1. Details from your loved one. Some victims of elder abuse may be so ashamed that they do not describe abuse. But if your loved one is willing and able to speak, listen to him or her. If your loved one describes instances of abuse or neglect, you should at least investigate further.
  2. Unusual occurrences or injuries. Does your loved one have unexplainable marks, cuts, bruises, or other injuries? Does he or she appear or act different when you come to visit? Do staff members at the home refuse to let you visit alone with your loved one? All of these and other odd or unusual occurrences can indicate abuse or neglect is occurring. If you do notice an unusual occurrence, be sure to write down what it is you observed as soon as possible. Include as many details as possible – you may need this information later.
  3. Evasive management. If you do have concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, it is important to discuss these concerns with the administrator or manager of the facility. How the management responds to your concerns can indicate whether your fears are justified. If the facility’s management dismisses your concerns, treats you flippantly, or otherwise fails to provide satisfactory answers to your concerns, abuse or neglect may be occurring.

 What Should I Do to Protect My Loved One?

If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected by a nursing home or care facility in North Carolina or South Carolina, you should first try and speak with the administration or management of the facility. Sometimes a facility is unaware of employees who are abusive or neglectful. Once such an employee is brought to their attention, they can take disciplinary actions against the employee. They may even offer to compensate your loved one or your family in some manner.

If a meeting with the facility does not adequately address your concerns, or if your loved one suffered injuries because of the abuse or neglect, speak with us at Bice Law, LLC. Your loved one can recover compensation for their losses and expenses through a personal injury lawsuit. If the person who abused or neglected your loved one was an employee of the facility, the facility itself may be responsible as well. Contact us at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free consultation today.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Share this article on Social Media!

Statute of Limitations and Your Personal Injury Case

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

After being injured in North Carolina or South Carolina, a flurry of activity usually ensues. Various insurance agencies and/or attorneys will contact you regarding the accident. If you or another person was injured, there will undoubtedly be medical appointments to attend. Filing a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you do not act promptly, you may find that you are unable to bring a lawsuit at all because of the statute of limitations.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

Generally speaking, a statute of limitations is a law that states how much time a plaintiff has in which to file a lawsuit. Unless there are certain extenuating circumstances, if a plaintiff does not file a lawsuit within the prescribed timeframe, that plaintiff may not bring a lawsuit against a defendant. For instance, suppose that a car crash injures Janice which was clearly the fault of Robert. If Janice does not bring a lawsuit for compensation against Robert before the statute of limitations runs out, she may not be able to file a lawsuit at all to recover for her damages.

North Carolina’s and South Carolina’s Statutes of Limitations

The statutes of limitations for personal injury cases in North Carolina and South Carolina are three years. This means that a person injured in a car crash or other accident has only three years from the date of the accident or injury within which to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for those injuries. For instance, suppose that Amanda and Tom are involved in a car accident in November 2014. Amanda suffers serious back and neck injuries and believes Tom is at fault for causing the accident. Amanda will have until November 2017 to bring suit against Tom for her injuries; if she tries to file suit after that time, her suit will be dismissed for being outside the statute of limitations.

Important Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is not as rigid as it might first appear. In some instances, it may be possible to file a lawsuit seeking compensation even though the actual incident happened more than three years ago. These exceptions are extremely narrow, however, and usually apply only in cases in which the defendant defrauded or affirmatively lied to the injured plaintiff, or where an injury was not immediately noticeable. For instance, suppose Amanda feels fine after her car crash and a medical evaluation shows no obvious signs of damage. Four years later, Amanda has severe neck pain and she returns to the doctor. The doctor diagnoses her with a serious spinal cord injury caused by the car crash. Amanda may be able to file her lawsuit, even though more than three years have passed since the date of the accident.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The statute of limitations is meant to ensure lawsuits are brought quickly so as to avoid situations wherein people are sued decades after an accident or long after witnesses and evidence have disappeared.  That is why it is important to contact us as soon as possible after an accident or injury. We will make sure your rights are protected and your lawsuit filed in a timely manner.  Contact us at (855) 5-BICE-LAW today.

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Share this article on Social Media!