Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What do “loss of consortium” and “loss of society” mean in the context of a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit?

    The simplest way to define “consortium” as a term of art in personal injury law is to admit that it means “sex.” When a reckless or negligent act leaves a person so disabled that he or she can no engage in sexual activity with a spouse or life partner, grounds for claiming monetary damages for loss of consortium exist.

    Loss of society is a broader concept that covers diminished capacities to feel and express love and affection, provide care for others and offer advice and guidance. People who suffer injuries in accidents caused by someone else can claim monetary damages for loss of society, as can the spouse or child of an accident victim.


  • What are noneconomic damages in a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit?

    Broadly, noneconomic damages are compensation for losses that cannot be precisely calculated. Medical bills and lost wages are economic losses, while North Carolina laws related to personal injuries, wrongful deaths and medical malpractice list noneconomic damages as

    • Pain,
    • Suffering,
    • Emotional distress,
    • Loss of consortium, and
    • Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice.

    Which types of damages will be available depend on the facts of the case. Consulting with a knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury attorney will clarify what can be claimed.


  • How does a Virginia medical malpractice attorney prove that a duty of care exists?

    Types of evidence that show the existence of a health provider’s or health care facility’s duty of care to a patient include

    • Patient records generated by the provider and kept by the facility
    • Bills issued to the patient
    • Prescription orders issued by the provider
    • Insurance claims that name the provider or facility
    • Procedural notes kept by the provider

    These kinds of paperwork, even when they are all digital, establish the existence of a relationship between a patient and a provider or facility. Once such a relationship exists, the provider or facility has a duty of care.


  • Who has a duty of care to a patient who suffered from a medical error?

    Health care providers and health care facilities can be held legally responsible for breaching their duty of care for a patient.

    Examples of practitioners who can be named as defendants (“respondents” in legalese) in medical malpractice cases include

    • Doctors
    • Surgeons
    • Anesthesiologists
    • Radiologists
    • Nurses
    • Pharmacists
    • Chiropractors
    • Osteopaths
    • Dentists

    These licensed health care providers are legally responsible for the actions and decisions of their assistants and aides. So, for example, if a pharmacy technician dispenses the wrong drug to the wrong patient, the pharmacist who was supervising the technician at the time that the error was made would be named as the defendant in the medical malpractice lawsuit.

    Examples of health care facilities that take on a duty of care include

    • Hospitals
    • Clinics
    • Group practices
    • Pharmacies
    • Nursing homes
    • Assisted living communities

    The facility is responsible for hiring, training, equipping and supervising health care providers, as well as for ensuring that patients receive services in a clean and safe setting.


  • What does “duty of care” mean in a Virginia medical malpractice case?

    A duty of care exists when a clear and mutually understood health care relationship exists. The most-widely recognized situations where a duty of care exists are when a doctor examines or treats a patient and when a patient visits a health care facility seeking a diagnosis or treatment.

    Any health care provider can take on a duty of care, including, but not limited to, nurses, dentists and pharmacists. The key to establishing the duty care is that the health care provider knows that the actions taken and decisions made will directly affect the patient.


  • What types of injuries result from swimming pool accidents caused by negligence?

    In addition to fatal drownings, there are other injuries that can occur that leave victims with severe and often permanent injuries. Near drownings leave victims in a state of being unable to breathe and with no heartbeat. Although resuscitation may help the victim to begin breathing again, they often suffer deprivation of oxygen to the brain, leaving them with severe mental and physical injuries.

  • What are the most frequent causes of swimming pool drownings?

    • Defective drains which cause suction drownings
    • Diving board accidents
    • Failure to supervise
    • Negligent lifeguarding
    • No fence around the pool
    • Overcrowded pools
    • Poor water depth markers
    • Slippery surfaces

  • How prevalent are non-boating drowning accidents?

    According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 10 non-boating drowning deaths that occur each day in this country. Many of these incidents occur in swimming pools and many of the victims are young children.

    These incidents spike during the summer months. In 2017, 163 children younger than 15 years of age fatally drowned in swimming pools. Seven of those victims lived here in Virginia.

  • How can a victim prove that their injuries now required them to hire someone to perform daily activities they used to do themselves prior to the accident?

    • Make a list of all the household chores they performed before they were injured
    • Make a list of all the chores they are now unable to do because of their injuries
    • Detailed record and expense of what it cost to hire other parties to take care of these tasks since the victim was injured

  • What is “reasonable value of services” in a personal injury case?

    When a victim is pursuing financial compensation for the services they are no longer able to perform themselves because of their injuries, they must show how much these services cost. However, the victim must make an effort to find service providers that offer reasonable rates. This can be done by providing evidence of the going rates for the particular service in the area the victim lives in.