After a car accident it is normal to have numerous questions ranging from who is going to pay for the medical bills to how is your car going to get fixed. In catastrophic injury cases people question how they will take care of their families if they or a loved one is unable to work again. The last thing you want to question is whether you have the right lawyer. What follows is some of the most commonly asked questions by prospective clients:
“What makes your office different from those I see advertising on TV and that send me letters?”
Results and individualized case management. Our lawyers have been recognized by the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Bar as LRS Lawyers of the Year for two straight years. We have handled thousands of car accidents for people injured throughout North Carolina without advertising our services on TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, or the Yellow Pages. Our clients chose us not because of advertising but because we got results for their friends, family and colleagues (for more information please review our advertising policy). Our firm is based on word of mouth and no one speaks louder than a successful client. Our clients recognize that lawyers who solicit people for business might not be the most qualified lawyers to handle their case.
We will sit down with you on day one to learn about you, your case, and your desired outcome. The same lawyer will work with you from the inception of your case through its conclusion. This level of service limits the number of cases we can take on throughout the course of a year. However, this allows us to fully investigate and prosecute each case with the sole goal of achieving the best possible outcome. Once retained to handle your case our office provides three layers of daily and weekly review of every client’s claim. The administrative staff assigned to your case monitors it on a daily basis regarding medical records and billing. The lawyer and paralegal assigned to the case monitors it on a weekly basis ensuring you get the medical treatment you need, handle any legal issues which arise and resolve the case to your satisfaction, which could be via settlement or trial.
“The other driver was clearly at fault and hit me from behind. Why do I need a lawyer since the insurance company has to pay?”
One of the most common mistakes people make following an accident is assuming that since fault is clear the insurance company has to pay for all of their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. This is categorically incorrect and has no basis in fact or law. North Carolina is a liability state. This means that insurance companies are not required to pay anything until the case has settled. Further, insurance companies do not pay the medical bills until they have reviewed the records and have satisfied themselves that the treatment was causally related to the car accident. The underlying motive of insurance companies is to reduce their exposure to loss. In other words, the less they pay per claim, the larger their profits at the end of the year. Insurance companies look for common mistakes made by individuals during their treatment when determining the dollar value to assign to a claim. In essence, they look to avoid payment by claiming the treatment was not related to the car accident.
This is when the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney becomes invaluable. Our clients meet with our lawyers on day one. We explain what insurance companies are looking for to avoid paying on their claim and how they can protect themselves. It is imperative that a well-informed client explain their medical situation to their doctors as clearly and as simply as possible from the very beginning of their case. Some of the most common mistakes made by people are the easiest to prevent, unfortunately, the mistakes end up being the most costly.
“How do I prove who was at fault?”
Insurance carriers know the more time that passes after an accident the harder it becomes to gather evidence as to the cause of the wreck. This becomes important when you have two different stories about how the accident took place. A familiar situation is when two cars collide in an intersection and both drivers claim they had the green light. If there is a witness, that person’s statement needs to be secured as soon as possible. Claimants cannot rely on their own insurance company or the adverse carrier to do this, especially if the witness would give a statement adverse to their insured. As time passes memories fade, people move or pass away. Failure to secure the witnesses statement may result in a key piece of evidence being lost forever. There are many reasons insurance companies deny claims, the most common of which are discussed in the article Denied Car Accident Claim.
Our lawyers work to find every possible source of money to compensate you for what you’ve been through. Our investigations include, but are not limited to, DMV insurance checks, asset checks, and private investigations. We make sure our clients are fully informed about the financial and legal aspects of their case every step of the way. In the ever changing landscape of personal injury law and Damages our lawyers have the experience and resources to get our clients everything the law says they deserve. Further, our lawyers handle all aspects of insurance subrogation, at no additional cost, to put more money in the pockets of our clients.
In some situations it may not be objectively clear who the at-fault driver is following an accident. Our lawyers have worked with dozens of engineers across North Carolina in a variety of car accident cases. An engineer is uniquely qualified to reconstruct the accident using physical evidence. After a reconstruction the engineer is in a position to provide testimony regarding how the wreck took place. Many times our engineer can provide explanations as well as disprove the defense’s claims. We have represented hundreds of individuals where their claim was denied prior to us becoming involved. Through the use of highly experienced engineers we have won millions of dollars for those same clients. You can view some sample verdicts and settlements of cases many of them were denied by the insurance company. To us, a denied case does not equate to a closed case, just another challenge to overcome.
“Do I need to wait to hear from the insurance company before I see a doctor?”
Your health is more important than anything else. As such, you do not need anyone’s permission before receiving treatment for your injuries. Along with your health, proving medical causation is one of the most important legal aspects of your case. In essence, this means proving that the accident caused the injury you are complaining of. Many people make the mistake of failing to tell their doctor all of their symptoms or waiting too long to go to the doctor after the accident. Since the burden of proof is on the claimant these common mistakes allow the insurance carrier to argue a lack of causation, thereby avoiding payment. As such, the longer they can delay you from treating the more they benefit.
When cases are litigated in North Carolina the Plaintiff has the burden of proof for each and every element of their claim. Medical causation can be the most obvious element to the injured party and the most confusing to the jury. Defense attorneys and insurance companies spend countless hours and dollars distorting medical causation to sway a jury and eliminate their need to pay or at least reduce the jury’s eventual award. Gaps in treatment can result in irreparable damage to your claim. We tell our clients to always make their health the number one priority and get the care they need.
“What is contributory negligence?”
During your initial meeting our attorney will take the time to explain the law to you in a way that makes sense. In most cases North Carolina is in the minority of states in how they view the law of negligence. What this means for our clients, their cases and their future is paramount in how our lawyers handle each case. One of North Carolina’s most confusing negligence laws deals with the legal theory of contributory negligence. Insurance companies will look to deny your case if they can show contributory negligence.
Contributory negligence deals with the negligence of the plaintiff. If the insurance company can show that you contributed in any way to causing the accident they will look to avoid making any payments whatsoever. This includes payments for medical bills, pain and suffering and damage to your vehicle. This is why we do not let our clients speak with the insurance company.
“Should I speak with the insurance company before speaking with a lawyer?”
One of the most common questions we hear from our clients deals with whether they should speak with the insurance company for the at fault driver. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of speaking to the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. There is no legal requirement to speak with the insurance company. The insurance adjusters are trained to ask specific questions to elicit a response which might irreparably harm the claimant’s case. Our lawyers do not let our clients speak with the insurance carrier.
We believe in being as candid with our clients as possible. We believe the only way to represent people is to be as clear and transparent with them as possible so that they can make the best decision for themselves. The first thing our lawyers will explain to you is that after being injured in a car accident you can bring a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. From the point of view of the insurance carrier the value of the claim is dependent on how clear the liability is and the extent of the injury. In many situations the insurance carrier will attempt to reduce its exposure by arguing that their insured was not at fault, partially at fault, or that the wreck did not cause the injury claimed by the plaintiff/claimant. Our lawyers will explain what each defense means as well as the counterargument.
Our lawyers have handled auto accident cases all over North Carolina and are regularly brought in to assist other lawyers with their client’s cases. It is not without a small amount of pride that we continue to serve thousands of people across NC despite the fact that we have never advertised our services via TV, radio or send letters to people’s houses. Many clients who have experience with other law firms are surprised by the level of communication and transparency they receive from our office. You will have complete access to your attorney and you will have the ability to speak with them about your case at any time.
Unlike the majority of personal injury lawyers we do not advertise our services. We choose to let our results, clients, the medical community, local media, other North Carolina lawyers, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg County bar speak for us. As we do not advertise, our costs are much lower, which allows us to put more money where it belongs, in the pockets of clients. There is no fee to speak with one of our Charlotte personal injury lawyers. We handle car accidents in Charlotte, Gastonia Concord and across North Carolina. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your case.
The follow data was taken directly from the NC DMV which provides statistics of the number of car accidents in NC per year. The latest year for which data has been compiled is 2016. The entire report can be found on the NC DMV’s website at Statistical Crash Information from 2004 through 2016 We advise all clients to closely examine their insurance policy following an accident. We stress this to ensure that our client’s are covered and protected if they are involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured. It is an unfortunate fact that many drivers in NC have the minimum limit of insurance allowable by law. With the staggering prices for medical care this may leave very little for the client. The best way to protect yourself is by securing the highest limits you can afford for uninsured or underinsured coverage. We also recommend that you purchase insurance from a carrier you don’t see advertising on the TV 24 hours a day.