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Hiring an Attorney Can Make Things Happen – Often Good Things

It’s hard for some people to consider hiring an attorney after a car wreck. After all, you don’t want to be “one of those” litigious types. You just want what’s fair. And, you reason, so does the insurance company.

But when the insurance company starts playing games with your time and potential compensation, what are you supposed to do?

Here’s a story about one of our clients who gave the insurance company six ways to Sunday to treat him fair and square. But they never did. So he hired us.

It’s a classic case of an injured driver who reluctantly came to us after the insurance carrier unsuccessfully tried two typical defense strategies: the lowball offer to pay medical bills to an unrepresented victim, followed by a bogus denial threat. This client wisely hired us and heeded our counsel instead. Here’s the story…

The defendant’s vehicle had plowed into our client, smashing the vehicle’s front end. Luckily, the client emerged with moderate injuries. Initially, the client tried to work directly with the insurance carrier who verbally told him they would pay for his bills. The carrier made the process so convoluted that the client became frustrated. They gave him every excuse in the book except, “my pen won’t work.”  Finally, the client contacted us.

After our involvement, the insurance carrier then tried to deny him any recovery, causing further delay and frustration for the client. All of us, including the client, had had just about enough of their time-wasting tactics, and we were able to negotiate a settlement for our client that we were pleased with1.

PI Book

What Happens When You Hire a Car Wreck Lawyer?

While not all law firms are created equal, hiring a law firm can potentially make good things happen. Many on our teams have worked for the insurance companies before joining our firm. So they know effective strategies to show them we mean business.

As a matter of fact, studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5x more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own2.

NC Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

If you want a legal team you can trust to fight for your interests, click here for a FREE case evaluation, or call 1-866-900-7078. Our phone lines are open 24/7/365.

 

1 Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results. Client identity and certain circumstances have been removed or changed to protect their privacy.

2 Insurance Research Council, 1999

5 Common Sense Ways You Can Try to Avoid Rear-End Crashes

Rear-end crashes are among the most common collisions occurring throughout North Carolina and the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The agency found that about 87% of rear-end crashes involved distracted driving on the part of the at-fault driver. And in 81% of those crashes the lead vehicle was stopped.

A rear-end collision can change your life forever. Consider the story of Tony, one of our clients. He was living the dream and simply driving home from work one day when his life was forever changed. Click here to read Tony’s story.

5 Ways to Try to Avoid a Rear-End Collision

Rear-end accidents can often be avoided! And prevention is up to each of us. We can start by practicing five simple things every time we get behind the wheel:

  1. Don’t tailgate. Tailgating or following too closely behind someone else is just plain rude and inconsiderate, not to mention unsafe. If you don’t leave enough distance to stop, there’s a very real chance you will end up hitting another car – and likely blamed for the crash. Remember: one car length for every 10 mph.
  2. Don’t stop short or cut people off. If you slam on your brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pull in front of another car, cars around you may not have time to react. Look ahead and plan ahead.
  3. Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed. Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them. A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting the car in front.
  4. Don’t drive distracted. Pay careful attention to what is going on in front of you, behind, you and all around you – but not to your phone or that last cold French fry at the bottom of your fast food bag.
  5. Avoid drunk or drowsy driving. Both drunk and drowsy driving make it harder to pay attention to what is going on around you and can cause delayed reaction time. This makes rear-end accidents much more likely. Stop to rest if you are too tired to drive safely. And if you have been drinking alcohol, call a North Carolina designated driver service, Uber, Lyft or a taxi.

And remember this: It’s nearly always the driver who strikes the vehicle in front of him who is assumed to be at fault. That may mean facing liability in a civil suit in addition to dealing with the accident and injuries.

North Carolina Injury Lawyers Evaluate Your Claim FREE

If you’ve been injured in any kind of car wreck or if you’ve been denied for Social Security Disability, call us at 1-866-900-7078 or click here  for a free case evaluation.

 

* Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.

Teen Distractions Behind the Wheel Kill — 5 Simple Steps That Can Help Save a Life

Summertime means more teens will be driving on our roadways – and many will not be paying attention. Inattention behind the wheel among teens is so widespread that AAA refers to summertime when teens are out of school as the ‘100 deadliest days for teens.’

Crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, and distracted driving is thought to contribute to more than half of teen crashes. Worse, teen fatality rates are three times higher than other age groups.

As a father of two teenagers who will be driving on their own soon, these statistics alarm me. As a lawyer, I have seen an exponential growth in distracted driving crashes in recent years.

We’re Taking the Distracted Driving Message to High Schools

For these reasons and more my firm has partnered with EnDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) to offer a distracted driving educational program to area high schools.

This program was developed by Joel Feldman, an attorney whose 21-year-old daughter was tragically killed by a distracted driver. It is truly unlike any other we know of, and has been extremely well received by more than 300,000 students in 44 states and Canada. And it is recognized by traffic safety experts, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Governors Highway Safety Association, as one of the most effective programs for teens.

Joel worked with psychologists and teen safe-driving experts to integrate behavioral science, behavior change theory, and teen-targeted persuasion principles specifically designed to avoid any potential teen backlash of feeling as though someone is trying to restrict their freedom and rights.

We are excited about this effort. And based on feedback, we hope it will help make a positive impact in our communities.

5 Ways You Can Help Curb Distracted Driving

Because distracted driving affects all of us, it’s everyone’s problem. And this growing and deadly epidemic needs attention from all fronts. Here is what each of us, including you, can do to help try to render distracted driving unacceptable – period.

  • Model appropriate behavior behind the wheel. Don’t drive distracted
  • Download, print, and display the YES! I WILL family pledge and safe driving agreement from EndDD.org
  • Visit teendriving.aaa.com/NC for safety resources for your teen drivers
  • Start discussions early on, well before teens reach driving age
  • Take advantage of some of the latest apps (some free) and tech gadgets that can help make it easier for teens (and all of us) to avoid using phones while behind the wheel. Here’s an article by a USA Today affiliate which highlights some of them

I urge you to join me in modeling this behavior for our young drivers, so that eventually this dangerous practice will no longer be considered acceptable.

Putting the Brakes on North Carolina’s Rear-End Collisions

You’re driving along minding your own business when suddenly the driver in front of you slams on their brakes causing you to brake suddenly and unexpectedly – you barely miss hitting him. Good for you. You were paying attention.

Not good for you – the guy behind you was not. He was on his phone! One moment you realize he’s not going to be able to avoid crashing into your car, the next you find yourself face first in a deployed air bag.

Wouldn’t it be nice if cars could pay attention and act as a back-up for their drivers who are failing to meet their responsibility to pay attention?

Yes it would. And yes that technology is here.

(Good thing – especially for certain areas in North Carolina.)

Automatic Braking Technology Potentially May Help

The popularity of in-vehicle safety devices is nothing new. Seat belts, for example, were not even an option in many cars during much of the 1960s.  But since then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that safety technologies have saved more than 600,000 lives.

Ever-advancing auto safety technology could potentially make a big impact on reducing the number of car accidents in North Carolina. This is particularly good news for rural areas in our state, where WCTI reported our state ranked third in the nation for the most non-interstate rural road traffic deaths! And according to a WRAL.com report, it’s also good news for divers in Pitt, New Hanover, Vance, Person, and Stanly counties, as AAA data shows that this is where drivers are most likely to be involved in a car crash in N.C.

Clearly some N.C. drivers could use a little help behind the wheel. Enter automatic emergency braking systems (AEBS). These advanced braking technologies are designed to help reduce the chances of rear-end accidents, which caused one-third of crashes in 2013, according to NHTSA data. Why so many? A large number of drivers involved either didn’t apply the brakes at all or didn’t fully apply the brakes prior to the crash.

The agency reasons that AEBS systems can potentially help intervene by automatically applying the brakes or supplementing the driver’s braking effort to either avoid the crash or at least mitigate it. Admittedly these systems are not perfected yet, and some car manufacturers have had to recall some models because of these braking systems. But the agency feels AEBS technology has the potential for such great promise that it wants to see manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in newly manufactured vehicles. The rollouts would potentially begin with collision warning systems and then add autonomous emergency braking once the agency completes standards for them.

Two Types of Automatic Braking Technologies

When a car is directly in front of you and you are having difficulty stopping in time, even a few seconds can make a huge difference. AEBS may potentially help reduce the risk of human error when braking, by presumably adding those important seconds. Regulators claim that two new automatic braking technologies that show promise are the crash imminent braking (CIB) and the dynamic brake support (DBS).

Crash Imminent Braking (CIB)

CIB works by identifying when your vehicle is going to strike an object such as the car in front of you.  This system kicks in regardless of what the driver is doing. If the system determines that a crash is about to occur, the braking system is designed to automatically apply your vehicle’s brakes.

Dynamic Brake Support (DBS)

The DBS system aims to enable your car to respond as quickly and effectively as possible when you brake suddenly. If the system determines that the driver’s braking is not adequate to avoid the accident, the system is designed to provide added braking assistance to supplement the driver’s braking efforts.

N.C. Car Wreck Attorneys Evaluate Your Case FREE

Sadly, many drivers just don’t pay attention. They’re distracted by cell phones, flying sippy cups, cheese stuck on a burger wrapper – or all these things simultaneously.

With the proliferation of advanced safety devices like collision warning and AEBS systems, perhaps we, as lawyers, won’t have to deal with as many accidents caused by inattentive drivers.

But if you are the victim of this all too common situation, contact us as soon as possible or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

#1 Killer of Teens is Car Accidents — Could Defensive Driving Courses Help?

You never forget your first one.

Your first driver’s license, that is.

Remember when you first got your driver’s license and you couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of your mother’s station wagon? Funny how many things we’d eagerly volunteer to “go get” for our moms. Windows down, radio blaring, checking ourselves out in the rearview mirror, looking to see who sees us. (Never mind that you’re driving a mom mobile.)

The carefree days of teenage driving. It’s a rite of passage.

For today’s teens, it’s a rite that is fraught with responsibilities, distractions, and hazards many times over what we faced. Are your teen drivers prepared? Really prepared?

Car Accidents #1 Killer of Teens

Nationally, car accidents are the #1 killer among teens – and texting while driving is the #1 reason for those highway deaths, WRAL reported. Just in the first three months of 2016, nearly half as many teens have died in car accidents on North Carolina’s roads than in all of 2015, according to WRAL.

Put that on your Twitter page and tweet it (but not while driving).

To the Rescue! Defensive Driving Schools for Teen Drivers

To help teens become better prepared for today’s increasingly perilous driving environment a number of defensive driving schools and courses have been popping up nationwide, many here in North Carolina. This is not your father’s Driver’s Ed 101. It’s Driver’s Ed on steroids. Teens get up close and personal with roadway hazards by getting behind the wheel with a professional instructor to learn how to maneuver in an effort to avoid hazardous situations.

carHere is a statistic from one such school – Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe). This statistic is so alarming, even your over-confident teen driver may stop Snapchatting long enough to pay attention.

There’s an 89.2% chance a teen driver will be in a car accident during the first three years of driving.

The laws of rounding indicate that’s nearly a 100% chance. But don’t take away the keys just yet.

According to B.R.A.K.E.S, teens who have completed the free* four-hour B.R.A.K.E.S. training are 64% less likely to be in a car crash in the first three years of driving.

B.R.A.K.E.S is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens. All of the instructors have backgrounds in various professional driving instruction, including racing, law enforcement, or stunt driving in movies. The school is AAA-approved, endorsed by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, and Consumer Reports listed the organization among its preferred list of defensive driving schools. KIA sponsors them by supplying the cars that the teens drive in the program.

The good news for North Carolina teens (and parents!) is that, although B.R.A.K.E.S offers training throughout the U.S., it is headquartered in Charlotte and offers monthly training courses at the Zmax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as periodically in the Raleigh area. Here are some of the defensive skills they teach new teen drivers, according to their website.

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

The accident avoidance and slalom course is a two part course that forces students to make a split- second reaction to negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control. This part of the course is designed to simulate an animal or object jumping out in front of a car. The second part of the course is a coned slalom course where students must negotiate their vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning, and eye scanning.

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

The drop wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover from a drop wheel situation by regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway. Drop wheel accidents are among the highest causes of injuries and deaths across the U.S.

Distraction Exercise

The distraction course forces a driver to negotiate a tightly coned course while being distracted by the instructor. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.

Panic Stop Exercise

The panic stop course is designed to teach students the proper technique to stop a vehicle in the shortest distance while maintaining control. Students experience first-hand the effects of an A.B.S. (Anti-Lock Braking System) and its ability to keep the wheels from locking while pulsating brake pressure.

Car Control and Recovery Exercise

The skid pad course is designed to prepare students how to drive in bad weather situations and not to lose grip (control). The students are taught how to properly recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.

A dad’s testimonial about putontheBRAKES.org

“My son and I attended BRAKES at the LA County Fairgrounds on April 26th. Yesterday, he was alone driving home from a high school baseball game approaching an intersection, on a green light about 45 mph. At the very last second, a car turned left in front of him. My son hit the brakes hard, engaging the abs, and steered away from the car as he stayed hard in the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. He attributed his reaction and collision avoidance to everything he learned at BRAKES. He described how, during the incident, he had anticipated the other driver turning in front of him and he knew the ABS engaged because of the feel and knew to stay on them as he steered away. The scenario was virtually identical to what he experienced at the school. Your school paid for itself 1000 times over last night. Thank you so much.”

 

North Carolina Defensive Driving Training

Here is a list of some of the defensive driving courses in NC as of May 2016.

Charlotte

B.R.A.K.E.S once a month

Offers courses once a month at the ZMax Dragway in Charlotte. Four 4-hour classes are offered each weekend – two on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Raleigh

NCSHP Training Center, 380 East Tryon Road, Raleigh, NC 27529

Franklin

Street Survival School Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Sutton Public Safety Training Center, 225 Industrial Park Loop, Franklin, NC 28734

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

The last thing we want is your teen in an accident. Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake. If you’re in that unfortunate situation, let us help with the legal issues. Click here to contact us 24/7, or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

*B.R.A.K.E.S training asks for a $99 refundable deposit to hold your reservation. If you choose to leave your deposit, it will turn into a donation, which is tax deductible.

Isn’t My Insurance Company Looking Out for My Best Interests?

In an effort to illustrate why you probably shouldn’t deal with insurance companies without a lawyer on your side, let’s play make-believe.

Let’s pretend you are the head of a large profitable company. An insurance company. The competition on the insurance company playground is tough. Some don’t always play fair and they’ll do anything to take business (translation: money) away from your insurance company. Even if it means trying not to pay out money to accident victims.

Experience has taught us that the insurance company playground can have its share of bullies. Bullies who have been known to try to take money away from accident victims, just like schoolyard bullies try to take candy from little kids! And just as appalling, some clients may not even know they’re being bullied into giving away their candy!

Here’s a perfect example* as recalled by one of our negotiators:

“We often hear about some insurance adjusters who will put $500 checks and releases on the cars of people who have been in wrecks to encourage them to take the settlement money. If the people sign the checks, sometimes there’s nothing we can do. They don’t realize they’re signing away their rights. This happens a lot in the Latino community because the releases and checks are in English.”

Dealing with Insurance Companies up Close and Personal

If this isn’t shocking enough, check out some of the stories in Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly. It highlights even more actual situations as told by our own employees – wonderful people who stand up for what’s right day after day. These good folks – lawyers, paralegals, negotiators, and hard-working administrators – fight tooth and nail to try and achieve results. We believe our firm stands out precisely because of who these people are and how much they care.

The anecdotes and insights in these stories are real (although unfortunate) accounts. They serve as a microscopic view into what the real world of dealing with some insurance companies can look like up close and personal. And it shows how we have made a difference for thousands of clients*.

N.C. Personal Injury Law Firm Offers FREE Case Analysis

Years of experience has taught us a painful lesson. Sometimes, some insurance companies (and others) don’t play nice. We won’t stand for that kind of abuse of the system, the laws, and especially our clients – 30,000 for whom we’ve recovered over $600 million total since 1997!*

If you’ve been injured and you feel like you’re getting the run-around from the insurance company, click here to contact us right now or call 1-866-900-7078. We’re here 24/7, and we will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

PS: If you feel like you need a bath after reading through Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly, click here for a collection of soul cleansing stories that reveal just how far we have been known to go on our clients’ behalf*.

*Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results. These are specific examples of experiences we have had with some insurance companies, adjusters, clients, or others. These stories do not necessarily represent any industry as a whole. These descriptions of events are based on upon the recollections of individual staff members.

Are UBER and Lyft Insured if You’re Injured in a Car Wreck?

E-hail ride sharing services like UBER and Lyft are super convenient. You just download their app, enter your pick-up location and credit card information, and a driver will pick you up and take you where you need to go.

But what happens if your super convenient UBER or Lyft driver is involved in a car crash and you are injured? Who pays for your injuries?

UBER and Lyft Carry $1 Million Coverage Per Accident

You may be covered. Each company carries $1 million per accident to protect passengers and others in the event that one of their cars is involved in a car wreck.

And depending on the circumstances of the accident, there might be other coverages available to you if there are delays or problems with the primary coverage. In some instances the at-fault driver’s liability insurance may kick in.

Lots of ifs.

uber

UBER and Lyft Accident Coverage vs. Taxi Coverage

UBER and Lyft, in most instances, carry higher liability than is typical of taxis in most cities. Take the $1 million per incident insurance limits and compare them to those of taxis in three of America’s largest cities. Wallet Hub, a social media company that compares financial products, offers these comparisons:

  • Chicago taxi: $350,000 per incident
  • Los Angeles taxi: $750,000 per incident
  • New York City taxi: $100,000 per person; $300,000 per incident

What if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?

If you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, UBER and Lyft carry a $1 million policy limit, to help try to ensure that your medical expenses are covered.

If you are injured as a passenger in a taxi cab, you may file a claim with the insurance company of the taxi driver. You may be limited, however, to the policy the driver is covered under. If the taxi cab driver does not have uninsured motorist coverage and you do not have your own personal uninsured motorist coverage, then pursuing compensation can be difficult.

Using a Lawyer Could Potentially Triple Your Compensation1

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer to represent them received three-and-a-half times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own2.

While using the new e-hailing services, like UBER or Lyft, or using a traditional taxi is a personal matter of choice, if you end up in a car wreck, we believe it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.

Based on our experience, it can be hard enough for accident victims to try to get compensated fairly from their own insurance companies, let alone, dealing with other insurance companies.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers May Be Able to Help

  • In 2015, alone, we recovered over $75 million (gross) for over 2,700 clients1
  • We have recovered over $600 million (gross) for over 30,000 clients since 19971
  • These numbers don’t include the $1.25 billion we helped recover against the U.S. government for 18,400 claimants in a historic class action case1
  • We’ve done this because we have quality professionals – many who’ve worked on the “other side” (insurance companies). Over 35 attorneys. Over 100 staff. Seven attorneys board certified in North Carolina in their fields – a differentiator that fewer than 4%3 of North Carolina attorneys can claim

If you’re injured while riding in a cab or UBER or Lyft, click here to contact us 24/7, or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

1 Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin led a team of firms to recover $1.25 billion for African-American farmers from the U. S. government for discrimination.

2 Insurance Research Council 1999

3 Percentage calculated from figures supplied by the North Carolina State Bar, through December 31, 2015.

 

 

 

“I’m Afraid My Child’s Father/Mother Will Take the Money from Their Accident Settlement”

At our firm, many of us are parents. We understand that your child being hurt in an accident is the worst thing that can happen to you.

Since cases involving minors are often more complicated and so much is at stake, we recommend all parents reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney for advice. (Click here to talk to one.)

But many parents have initially been afraid of involving an attorney because they believe their child’s absentee mom or deadbeat dad might suddenly appear once they hear their child might be entitled to a settlement. Those fears are often well-founded, but the right attorney can help try to make sure funds go where they’re really needed.

Two Circumstances Which Can Immediately Exclude the Other Parent

We’ve seen our share of cases where the parent handling the case does not want the other parent involved. Oftentimes it takes some compromise, but there are two legal scenarios we’ve utilized to keep the other parent out of the equation:

  1. A parent must be on the birth certificate in order to be involved in the case. If the other parent is not on that document, then he or she cannot be involved – period. That is why we would advise you to give a copy of the birth certificate to your attorney as soon as possible.
  2. A Court document granting the signing parent sole custody. This means that a judge previously signed an order after a hearing, and determined that the legal and physical custody of the minor belongs solely to one parent. A copy of this documentation should also be given immediately to your attorney.

If neither situation exists, then the insurance company can legally require the other parent to be involved or sign off prior to completion of the settlement. But there are ways to reduce the risk that a parent will affect a minor’s personal injury claim.

Keeping the Other Parent Out of Decisions – Guardian ad Litem

If you can’t provide legal documentation of custody, but still don’t want participation from the other parent, you may be able to ask your attorney to hire a “Guardian ad Litem.”

A Guardian ad Litem is either a trained community volunteer or, more likely, a licensed attorney, without interest in the outcome of the case. This person is appointed by the Courts to investigate and determine the best interests of any child who is the subject of a Court case.

A Guardian ad Litem’s opinion is generally weighted more heavily because he or she is a neutral party with no investment in the outcome of the case.

This is a good option for parents who are both involved in their child’s life, but cannot agree with one another on how to proceed. In this situation, it would be best for both parents to agree that a neutral third party, i.e., a Guardian ad Litem, be appointed to handle the matter.

However in the case of an absentee parent, such as an incarcerated or transient parent, you will likely have to show documentation that the parent has generally had no interest or role in the minor child’s life.

How North Carolina Laws Protect Your Child’s Settlement

Most parents in these situations fear the other parent will try to siphon money from the minor’s settlement proceeds. Fortunately, North Carolina courts have considered this possibility.

To protect a minor’s settlement, the State requires that settlements for minors, over a certain amount, be placed with the Clerk of Court to be held in trust for the benefit of the minor until the minor turns 18 years of age. The settlement may also, if large enough, be invested and form a structured settlement with the Court’s approval. If the minor’s settlement is approved by the Court, then the minor’s portion of that settlement is placed with the Clerk of Court until age 18. At that time the minor can request that the Court release his or her settlement proceeds after showing valid identification, proof of address, and allowing the Court time to process the request.

Reimbursing You for Medical Expenses

A parent has no claim to the settlement proceeds of a minor with the exception of out of pocket medical expenses paid by that parent. A parent may request at the Court approval hearing that a judge order reimbursement to that parent by showing proof of payment of such expenses. It is ultimately the judge’s decision as to whether the parent is reimbursed and for what amount.

A parent’s claim for expenses is not a separate claim and will come directly from the minor’s portion of the settlement. Because there is no separate pot of money with which to reimburse a parent for a minor’s medical expenses, a judge will not make this decision lightly and will weigh all factors available, including, but not limited to, the minor’s injuries, age, permanent impairment, future medical needs, as well as the amount of the settlement.

Insurance Company May Use Your Situation Against You

We have seen some insurance companies try to use the fact that another parent is involved to delay settlement or settlement negotiations, especially if the insurance company is contacted by the other parent directly, or the other parent hired an attorney.

However, your attorney can try to help you overcome these obstacles in several ways, including hiring a neutral Guardian ad Litem, and/or by working directly with counsel hired by the other parent to protect the child’s best interests.

Either way, your attorney should not let an insurance company prejudice your child’s rights by delaying settlement negotiations or refusing to settle due to the involvement of another parent.

North Carolina Car Wreck Attorneys

We’re attorneys, but we’re also parents. We understand that sometimes you have to fight tooth and nail for your child’s best interests – and we’d like to do that on your behalf.

If we have to fight to keep the other parent at bay, we will pull out the tools in our legal toolkit to try to make that happen.

If you need help to try to ensure the best outcome for your child’s accident recovery and future click here for a FREE case evaluation or give us a call at 1-866-900-7078. We’re here for you 24/7/365.

How Much Can I Recover After My Car Accident?

After you’re injured in a car wreck, it’s bad enough you have to suffer as a result of your injuries. But the suffering gets even worse once the bills start pouring in – the ER visit, car repairs, X-rays, physical therapy, you name it.

Little wonder a common question we often hear is: “How much will I receive from the insurance company for my accident?”

While each case is specific to its own particulars, understanding a bit about how insurance policy limits work in North Carolina can offer valuable information in your financial recovery efforts.

Tip! Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received 3.5 times* more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own.


How North Carolina’s “Fault” System Affects Your Bottom Line
After a car accident in North Carolina, authorities will assign fault to one or more drivers.

These drivers (and their insurance companies) bear liability for damages or injuries their actions caused. In other words, they may be responsible for paying medical bills, car repairs, time out of work, pain and suffering, and physical damages of those who were not at fault.

Some states assign percentages of blame, such as, say, 80% to one driver and 20% to the other. Everyone pays according to their percentage of fault.

Not so under North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. This rule says that if you’re found to be even 1% at fault, you could be barred from recovering anything, even if the other driver was 99% at fault! (North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that still has this rule on the books.)

Tip! If you think you may have contributed to your accident even the slightest bit (speeding, jaywalking, texting, etc.), it would be prudent to talk with a personal injury representative right away.


Policy Limits in North Carolina

Who pays and how much gets paid can depend on what the at-fault driver’s policy limits are. All North Carolina drivers are required to carry a certain amount of auto insurance coverage. This coverage has maximum and minimum policy limits, which are used to cover damages.

So, for example, if you’re passing through an intersection and someone runs a red light and hits you (“their fault” scenario), their insurance company is responsible for paying your damages within the policy limits – but not one cent over.

What If My Damages are Greater Than the Policy Limits?
If your damages are greater than the limits on the policy of the at-fault driver, you do have options – options we highly recommend utilizing an experienced auto accident lawyer for. Some of those options include:

  • Collect Through Uninsured and Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorist Coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is required in North Carolina. This coverage protects you if another driver is at fault but does not have insurance, or have enough insurance to pay for your damages. Simply stated, UM/UIM coverage provides you with an additional means to collect damages for your injuries and other expenses incurred.
  • Sue the defendant.
  • Recover under an umbrella policy (an additional liability coverage many people have).

What if the other driver’s insurer claims that you contributed to the auto accident, even if you believe you didn’t? Or what if you suffered serious injuries, but the insurer is contesting the extent or costs of your medical treatment? What if you actually did contribute to the accident? No matter the scenario, it is prudent to let an experienced personal injury lawyer evaluate your situation.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers May Be Able to Help Collect

  • In 2015, alone, we recovered over $75 million (gross) for over 2,700 clients1
  • We have recovered over $600 million (gross) for over 30,000 clients since 19971
  • These numbers don’t include the $1.25 billion we helped recover against the U.S. government for 18,400 claimants in a historic class action case1
  • We’ve done this because we have quality professionals – many who’ve worked on the “other side” (insurance companies). Over 30 attorneys. Over 100 staff. Seven attorneys board certified in North Carolina in their fields – a differentiator that fewer than 4%2 of North Carolina attorneys can claim

Don’t leave your settlement to chance – or to the insurance companies. Click here to contact us right now or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online  – 24/7.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

1 Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin led a team of firms to recover $1.25 billion for African-American farmers from the U. S. government for discrimination.

2 Percentage calculated from figures supplied by the North Carolina State Bar, through December 31, 2015.

How Many Beers Can You Drink in an Hour and Still Drive?

You’ve seen the ads: “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” You’ve heard the DWI statistics. But unless you have personally felt the effects of drunk driving or you work as a personal injury lawyer representing actual people whose lives have been ripped apart by the real devastation a drunk driver can cause, it probably doesn’t hit home.

But home is exactly where drunk drivers hit – and hit hard.

Families shattered. Children and teens’ lives cut short. Or left permanently disabled, severely disfigured. Brain damaged.

I’ll never forget one case in particular. It haunts me to this day.

A man was in his vehicle, stopped in traffic. The other driver – the drunk driver – had skipped out of work early and started drinking with his buddies. He was so drunk when he got behind the wheel that he plowed right into my client’s car, hitting him so hard, the man was ejected from the vehicle and killed. The man had a wife and young children, and was a pillar in his community. This one irresponsible, irreversible event plunged his family into a downward spiral.

While we could not help this poor family’s emotional burden, our team went into overdrive to get that family everything we could to help ease their financial burden. We left no stone unturned to get them a settlement that would help pay for therapy, loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and punitive damages, among other things*.

Drunk Driving: The Facts

So here are those statistics again.  Read them. But this time read them knowing that each statistic represents a real person. Real people just like you and me.

NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts reported that in 2013, every 52 minutes a death occurred as a result of a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 or higher.

That’s 10,076 deaths.

A BAC level of .08 g/dL, is about four standard drinks in one hour for a 170-lb. man or three drinks in an hour for a 140-lb. woman.

Among those fatalities, 68% were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher – or roughly six to eight drinks in an hour.

Those 10,076 deaths represented 31% of all traffic fatalities for that year! Simply put, drunk drivers were behind a third of all traffic deaths!

The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013 was nearly four times higher at night than during the day.

The highest rates of drunk driving occur among drivers aged 21-24. This age group makes up 35% of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal collisions.

 

We all know what alcohol does to the body and brain – slowing our reactions, blurring our vision, making us brave, making us take unnecessary risks. Here are some links worth sharing with friends, family and others – especially teens and twenty-somethings.

Drunk Driving Links Worth Sharing

And, it bears repeating, if you’ve been drinking, call a cab, or Uber or Lyft. Contact a sober friend or relative. Use public transportation. Use your head – DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.