A Virginia and North Carolina Licensed Attorney Describes Differences in States’ Laws for Car and Truck Accidents with Injuries
I am licensed in both VA and NC because Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads, Virginia area where I am headquartered has a lot of traffic running back and forth across the border between the two states. Not every Virginia lawyer is allowed to practice in North Carolina and vice-versa so if you have an accident which happens on the Outer Banks or in Elizabeth City but you live in Chesapeake you need to make sure that the injury lawyer you hire is allowed to practice in both states.
The differences between Virginia and North Carolina as far as car accident cases with injuries include the loss-of-consortium claim, the deadlines for filing suit and the way that the auto insurance works.
Loss of consortium is the fancy lawyer word for the idea that if my wife is injured that I also suffer harm because she may not be able to do things for me and our children that she would be doing if she were healthy. The loss-of-consortium claim recognizes the importance of the marital relationship and that husbands and wives often depend on each other to provide basic household services like chores including laundry, yard services, cleaning and other daily living activities. Obviously there is an emotional component also to the care, comfort, guidance and other aspects of the relationship between spouses. The loss-of-consortium claim exists in North Carolina so that if a man is hurt his wife may also have a valid claim for the aspects of his injury that affect her. Virginia however does not have loss of consortium.
Another difference between the states has to do with the deadlines for filing suit in court. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. It is the time period within which the case must actually be brought into the courthouse or all rights are forever lost.
In Virginia there is a two‑year statute of limitations on both personal injury cases and wrongful-death cases. There are very few exceptions except for children. On the other hand North Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury but strangely only a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful-death cases. A wrongful-death case is an accident case where the person actually loses their life as a result of the injuries suffered rather than surviving. If a lawyer misses a statute of limitations that is a clear violation of their ethical duties and is a form of legal malpractice.
The third obvious difference between the law of North Carolina and Virginia as it pertains to personal injury cases such as car accidents is in the way the insurance system works. There are various differences but they include the way that medical payments coverage works which is the coverage which helps pay some of your medical bills if you have it on your policy and the way that the underinsured motorist coverage works which is when the person who hits you and causes you an injury has less insurance than you do and so you get the benefit of your own higher limits.
A third area is with hit-and-run unknown motorists. In North Carolina if there is no contact between the vehicles you cannot make a claim even if somebody runs you off the road and causes you a grave injury. As an experienced personal injury attorney I know the ins and outs of how insurance works in an automobile accident in Virginia or North Carolina so that I can make sure to maximize your recovery and get you every dollar that you’re entitled to if you’ve been hurt by somebody else’s needless mistake on the roadway.
The Norfolk and Virginia Beach based personal injury law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries as well as wrongful death, railroad injury cases and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling auto injury accident claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010. Cooper Hurley represents people hurt in accidents in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at (757) 455 -0077 or contact us through this website.