January 24, 2014
One of the most difficult cases arise from the death of a loved one. Recently I held an initial meeting with a new client regarding the loss of her spouse in a Charlotte car wreck. For the first 45 minutes of the meeting my paralegals and I listened to our client talk about how she met her husband, their life together, his work, their kids, their vacations, their home, their plans for the future, his funeral. Prior to the initial meeting I asked my potential client to bring in pictures of her husband and any video she would be willing to share. It was clear from the stories, pictures and video that they had a wonderful life together.
Many lawyers (experienced or otherwise) fail to learn about the life of the victim or the surviving family members to adequately represent them. While the “technical client” in a Charlotte wrongful death case is the administrator of the Estate the lawyer must also follow the recommendations of the beneficiaries, which in most cases is the surviving spouse and adult children. If the wrongful death attorney fails to learn about the loss through the eyes of the beneficiaries it can have a negative result on the case.
Wrongful death is a create of statute. As such, the statute determines what element of damages are available to beneficiaries. One of the elements deal with (in plain English) the relationship between the victim and their family. When an attorney is arguing with the insurance company or in front of a jury they need to be able to get across what the loss of the loved one meant to the survivors. This is why it is helpful, almost necessary, to spend significant time viewing videos, pictures and hearing stories from survivors. It is only through getting to know the victim through their loved ones that a lawyer is truly able to adequately represent the Estate.
January 16, 2014
I have been fortunate and honored to represent thousands of people involved in car accidents across North Carolina. Too many times however people have been seriously injured when there isn’t enough insurance to fully compensate them. The minimum insurance policy in NC is $30,000.00. With the cost of medical care increasing daily one or two visits to an emergency room can exceed the policy of a minimally insured individual.
I constantly stress to my clients to check their own policy. While you can’t insure the other person you can protect yourself by having high underinsured insurance (UIM). Many of the retail insurance companies try to sell you on having the cheapest policy. However, cheap also may mean poor coverage. Many people are surprised when they shop around that additional coverage only costs a few dollars more. There is nothing worse than suffering a life changing injury only to find out that the other person only has minimal coverage and you didn’t purchase UIM coverage. For only a few extra dollars so many clients would have been fully compensated for their injuries. To talk about insurance issues or how your UIM comes into play after you have been involved in a car accident please feel free to speak with one of our personal injury lawyers.
May 21, 2013
My clients ask about the role of the insurance adjuster in a car accident case. Typically the insurance adjuster’s job is to investigate the claim, and if coverage and liability is accepted, assess the risk to the insurance company based on the injuries and treatment presented. In other words, before an adjuster looks at paying a claim they first look out whether coverage should apply and then look at whether there is negligence on the part of their insured. Assuming the claim is accepted the adjuster will look at the medical records for the treatment received. Many times the records will be reviewed by a medical professional as well. The goal of the review is to attempt to not cover the treatment by arguing it is not related to the car accident. Many times individuals will say and do things to their doctor or adjuster when they do not have the benefit of a competent personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, many of these mistakes cannot be fixed and can result in significant loss of value to the claim. The adjuster will evaluate all of the information and, depending on the risk, offer a settlement amount accordingly. As such, people are surprised to learn that they have significant control over how their case will be evaluated. It is best to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case to ensure you get all of the compensation you are legally entitled to.
April 4, 2013
After getting into a car accident many people look to secure the services of a lawyer to explain their rights and represent them against the insurance company. The obvious question is how do you compare lawyers to find the best Charlotte personal injury lawyer for you.
To be successful, a personal injury lawyer needs to have a solid grasp of the law, which is constantly changing, as well as a reputation as someone who will take a case all the way through trial. The latter point cannot be understated. Insurance companies and defense attorneys keep track of personal injury lawyers, their settlements, lawsuits, and trials. When settlement offers are made, insurance companies know if a particular lawyer is one who is willing to fight the case or capitulate and settle. If you hire a personal injury attorney with a propensity to settle cases and an unwillingness to file lawsuits you run the risk that your settlement offer will reflect that fact.
Any lawyer can advertise their services but getting the best personal injury lawyer for you requires that you speak with the lawyer and find out how many lawsuits they file on a monthly basis, are they willing to try your case if need be, and how familiar are they with the court system. The Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Rosensteel Fleishman have handled thousands of cases from claim stage through trial. We do not advertise our services as our current clients do that for us based on their satisfaction. Matthew Fleishman, who handles personal injury and medical malpractice was honored by the Mecklenburg County Bar with the 2012 LRS Lawyer of the Year for Charlotte Mecklenburg County.
February 19, 2013
Starting in October 2011 the North Carolina Legislature changed the law of damages in North Carolina tort cases. Under the old law insurance companies were unable to take a credit for payments made by the Plaintiff’s health insurance company. Under the new law insurance companies are only required to pay the amount paid by the health insurance company to pay off the medical provider’s bill. Thus, the liability company gets the credit set of from the health insurance company’s contract with the medical provider. Therefore, individuals who pay the premium for their health insurance, effectively reduce the amount the at-fault driver’s insurance pays. Further, no credit is given the Plaintiff for their premium. The current law is a boon to the insurance industry to the detriment of the individual. As such, insurance companies are emboldened to offer less money on a case because they have less of a risk. As such, more cases will require litigation to get the Plaintiff what they want and deserve.
In October 2011 the North Carolina Legislature changed the law of damages in North Carolina medical malpractice cases. The law institutes a CAP of $500,000.00 for pain and suffering damages (non-economic damages) regardless of the injury sustained. For example, a woman who losses her breasts because she was incorrectly diagnosed with breast cancer can only receive $500,000.00 for her injury. This arbitrary amount has no bearing on the injury suffered or long term damage to the individual. While there are ways to circumvent the CAP it is extremely difficult. As such, Plaintiff’s with limited economic damages have become difficult cases to handle as insurance companies know they have limited value.
As juries throughout the country have become more conservative insurance companies have reduced their settlement offers. This has resulted in an increase in the number of cases which require litigation. The personal injury lawyers of Rosensteel Fleishman have noticed a sharp increase in the number of referrals from personal injury lawyers in Charlotte and throughout NC to us to handle the case. Many lawyers do not take cases to trial, preferring to settle. Our lawyers are recognized as trial lawyers willing to take a case to a jury. While we welcome referrals from other lawyers we caution that some mistakes make early on in a case can’t be fixed when we take over. It is imperative that the injured party (whether by car accident, slip and fall, etc.) ensure that their rights are being protected.
One of the tactics used by insurance companies in determining value of a Plaintiff’s insurance claim is focusing on the property damage to the vehicle. The lower the damage amount the less willing the insurance company is to settling the case for fair value. The reason for this is based on perception. The insurance company is betting that a jury seeing limited damage to a vehicle will make the assumption that the person inside the vehicle wasn’t injured. Nowhere in the equation does the carrier focus on whether the individual was actually injured in the car accident. The focus is only on whether the individual can prove it. As NC juries have gotten more conservative it has only emboldened insurance companies to limit insurance settlements. As such, it is very important that from the very beginning of your case you begin preparing your case as if it is going to trial. Failure to do that may result in a significant reduction in the value of your claim.
Call (704) 714-1450(704) 714-1450 to make an appointment to speak with a personal injury attorney, or stop by the office during regular business hours. We will schedule an appointment that meets your needs. There is no fee for the initial consultation. Whether you call, come in the office or request a home visit you will speak directly with a personal injury lawyer who can answer your questions.