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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in North Carolina?

Torts cases in North Carolina are legal actions that entail an individual suing another individual or corporate entity because of injury or damages suffered. Defendant entities may be private or government-owned. Injured parties can sue for damages less than $25,000 at the District Court of the state, while the Superior Court deals with higher values. The North Carolina State Industrial Commission is the entity handling cases of torts filed against the state. Aggrieved parties plead decisions by the commission to the Court of Appeals.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is North Carolina Tort Law?

Tort in North Carolina is an aspect of the law that permits an entity to sue another for losses or injury incurred during a direct or indirect interaction. A tort lawsuit aims to see to the compensation of the injured person and prevent further occurrences. Section 143 to 291 of the North Carolina statutes, also called the North Carolina Tort Claims Act, provides a legal interpretation to tort cases in North Carolina. According to the law, residents of the state may sue a government agency. It means that a person who has suffered harm because of government activities may file a claim against the government. Government employees in the capacity of their duties are immune from being sued. The immunity does not apply to intentional claims, where the employee intentionally inflicted harm on the individual. There are three types of tort in the state:

  • Negligence in duty
  • Intentional torts
  • Strict liability

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in North Carolina?

Tort cases in North Carolina vary, but some examples include:

  • Wrongful death claims
  • Negligence claims or claims of malpractice
  • Auto accidents causing personal or property damage
  • Premises liability claims

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in North Carolina?

Criminal and tort laws in North Carolina have a standard component of serving justice in favor of the victim. Here a few differences between them:

  • While the plaintiff may be a private or public entity in tort cases, the state is the plaintiff (prosecutor) in criminal law
  • As per a tort case, the court ruling should make the defendant compensate or restitute the injured individual and restrain them from further damage. On the contrary, the court ruling for criminal cases punishes the victim, either by hefty fines or incarceration.
  • Tort law entails civil rights and duties, while criminal law addresses offenses that are condemnable and punishable by law.
  • Arguments in tort law are based on equity. It means that the law focuses on fairness in judgment between both parties. Criminal law focuses on the defendant to determine if they are guilty or not.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in North Carolina?

Tort laws in North Carolina serve three primary purposes:

  • To provide relief to parties who have suffered losses or damages;
  • To impose liability on the responsible persons for the injury;
  • To serve as a deterrent to others.

It is important to note that the law adjudicates neither party in absolute terms but relative to damage or responsibility exhibited by each during the incident. In other words, the interpretation of the law is regarding the incident.

What is a Tort Claim in North Carolina?

A tort claim in North Carolina refers to a notice filed with the state to demand compensation for injuries caused by a public entity. It is the first step to filing a civil lawsuit to claim damages. A tort claim notifies the offending party of the incident and their role in causing harm or loss. If the offending party acknowledges the wrong and agrees to settle with the injured party, there may not be a lawsuit. If otherwise, the plaintiff may proceed to file a standard civil lawsuit.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in North Carolina?

Any party interested in filing a notice of claim must do so within three years from the injury. Wrongful death claims are two years. The recovery of damages should entail lost wages during recuperation, pain, suffering, compromise of wellbeing, property damages expenses, incurred medical bills, and benefits for irreversible damage or disability. Parties must fill and submit the Claim for Damages Under Tort Claims Act Form (Form T–1) to the North Carolina Industrial Commission by hand to:

Dobbs Building

430 North Salisbury Street

Raleigh, Nc 27603

Or mail to:

Industrial Commission Clerks’ Office

1236 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699

Parties should notarize the form before submission. Be ready to pay filing fees as an attorney’s check, certified check, money order, or electronic transfer. Parties unable to pay the fee must submit a Petition to Sue as an indigent. The Commission decides if to grant the petition or dismiss it.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in North Carolina?

A Claim for Damages Under the Tort Claims Act Form must contain the following information:

  • Claimant’s full names
  • Names of all state entities, agencies, institutions, or departments against which the claim is filed
  • Names of the involved state employee in the case
  • Amounts of damages demanded
  • The time and place of the incident
  • A brief description of the incident

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in North Carolina?

When a Claim for Damages Under Tort Claims Act notice reaches the commission, the concerned government agencies get a copy of each notice. The Commission also reviews the case and decides if it has merit. If yes, the Commission approves the claim. The Commission notifies the petitioner of the status of the case. The maximum compensation payable either in bulk or installments is $1million. If the Commission dismisses the case, the petitioner may file an appeal for a review of the case with the North Carolina Court of Appeals. If the tort claim is for strict liability, the respondent may opt for a settlement or file a counterclaim in court, leading to a lawsuit.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

Civil disputes of tort are complex. Besides, it could be quite intimidating for an individual to sue a government entity for damages. It can be useful to have a personal injury lawyer for several reasons:

  • They provide expert advice on how to get the best out of the lawsuit in terms of cost, recovery of damages, and time.
  • By representing a party in the case, they help to navigate the legal waters of the case to ensure a better outcome.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

Any party interested in a personal injury lawyer’s services can contact one either by online directories or using cursory internet searches. The North Carolina Judiciary provides links to a list of registered lawyers in the state and their specialty. Pro Bono services or low-priced options are available by contacting legal associations in the state.

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