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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

Don’t Let Insurance Take Advantage of You With a Swoop and Settle Offer

Imagine you’ve been in a car accident – nothing serious, but your injuries are enough to send you to the hospital to get checked out. You have head, neck, and back pain. The doctors note some whiplash and send you home with pain medication and a caveat that you may feel worse the next few days. A few days later the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls and offers you a settlement for your hospital bills and an additional $500 to settle your case. You think, cool…an extra $500. And they want to settle so quickly. You’re busy and you’d just as soon put this all behind you. So you accept the offer and cash the $500 check.

Life is good. Or so you thought.

A month later you begin to get consistent migraines and you have tingling down your left leg that has gotten progressively worse. You go back to the doctor and learn that you have a concussion and a slipped disk, which will require an operation and weeks of rehab and treatment. The doc notes that these secondary issues likely stemmed from your car accident.

What do you do? You might as well cry. When you cashed that $500 insurance check, you settled with the insurance company whether you were aware of it or not.

The insurance company duped you into falling for what is known as the  “swoop and settle.”

By cashing that check, you absolved them of any further liability. And now you’re on the hook for your own medical bills. We’ve seen this rush to settle to be a favorite ploy among some insurance companies to try to trick injury victims into settling prematurely in an effort to pay them as little as possible.

The “Swoop and Settle” Insurance Tactic

Here is how swoop and settle typically works. An insurance company representative contacts you very soon after a wreck and makes you a lowball settlement offer. They know you have a lot going on, you’re probably in pain, have no car to drive, and could be missing work. And the insurance company may try to settle before any “secondary” injuries manifest.

This is a confusing time for victims, and the insurance company may try to take advantage of your confusion to get you to settle for way less than your case is worth, and to give up your rights before you know how badly you are hurt or before you have had time to talk to a lawyer to learn about the many rights you have to fight for more money. The idea is to get you to quickly settle for a miniscule amount before you even know the full extent of your injuries. To many people, this quick cash seems too good to be true. But you know what they say about that – too good to be true usually is.

Sadly, we’ve seen a lot of our non-English-speaking clients (especially Hispanic clients) become victims of “swoop and settle.” When one of our paralegals had called to make initial contact with a new client, he said his insurance company sent him a check and that he cashed it that morning. It was money in the mail and he didn’t think twice – so he took it to the bank. The insurance company didn’t give him a chance, but what’s worse is the check was only for $500.

We also represented a client who had an adjuster come into the client’s house, make an offer and sit on the couch, refusing to leave until someone accepted his offer. The client didn’t know what to do.

These are just two of dozens of examples of insurance company tactics we feature in our free downloadable booklet Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly. Read it if you dare. It’s a real shocker.

Beware the Recorded Statement

As part of any accident protocol, the insurance company will likely call you as soon as possible for a “recorded statement.” What you say to the insurance representative and the words you choose on this recorded statement are extremely important to your settlement. (Click here for five things not to say on a recorded statement.)

The recorded statement is so important, I advise my clients not to give one unless they have consulted with me first, or I am on the phone with them during that statement.

We’ve seen it time and time again. The representative may likely ask you leading questions that may get you to admit partial fault, or answer in such a way that your own words may be used against you in court, if it comes to that. Even something as simple as “How are you doing today,” needs to be dealt with carefully. If you respond, “Oh, I’m fine, thank you,” some insurance companies may try to interpret that to mean you are indeed fine from a medical perspective. When all the while, you were speaking rhetorically.

Other Insurance Tactics to Try to Pay You Less

Most insurance companies are for-profit companies. Their profit, not yours. And many of them have a variety of methods to try to keep as much of their money as possible. Click here to learn some surprising ways some insurance companies have devised to keep money you potentially deserve out of your hands.

Why Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Get a Lawyer

The real reason insurance companies don’t want you to get a lawyer? Insurance industry studies show that, on average, car accident victims who handled claims on their own received 3.5X LESS* compensation for their loss than they would have if they hired a personal injury lawyer.

What Can an Accident Lawyer Do for You?

We will deal with the insurance company and your medical bills for you. All you have to do is follow your doctor’s orders and heal up as quickly as possible. While you’re healing, we’ll do all the heavy lifting to try to:

  • Prove damages
  • Determine fault
  • Prevent and deflect insurance stalling tactics
  • Investigate claims
  • Secure evidence
  • Negotiate a fair settlement

You may have a right to maximum compensation for:

  • Medical and rehabilitation bills
  • Lost time from work
  • Cost of vehicle repairs
  • Diminished earning capacity for permanent injuries

Not only do we offer a free case evaluation, but you pay us nothing upfront and no attorney’s fee if we don’t recover for you.

NC Car Wreck Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you see a check in the mail or are offered a settlement too soon, that is a red flag. If you cash that check, you just may be cashing in your financial future. Take your time and talk to an experienced car accident attorney before settling your case

Contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

 

*Insurance Research Council, 1999.

 

Who Pays for E-scooter Injuries?

If you’re in the Triangle area, you’ve undoubtedly seen at least one brand of electric scooter (most likely Byrd or Lime). These e-scooters, as they are more commonly known, have become a popular method of transportation. They have their good qualities, a handful of bad injury repercussions, and some downright ugly outcomes of the ramifications of these injuries.

The Good. On one hand, their arrival has created jobs, reduced pollution, helped to decrease traffic in some areas, and given riders a chance to get from point A to point B in a novel new way.

The Bad. Unfortunately, however, e-scooter injuries have increased exponentially.

The Ugly. When it comes to paying for these injuries, don’t look to the scooter companies. Or to insurance.

Common E-scooter Injuries

WRAL cited a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, which stated that head injuries are among the most common e-scooter mishaps (40%). Although this study was conducted in California, Triangle physicians also reported seeing broken bones (more than 31% of injuries), and arm, wrist, or hand fractures. Many are serious enough to require permanent plates and pins.

Injuries span all ages. From younger people under the age of 18, who are sometimes seen as risk seekers, to those over the ages of 50.

The JAMA study noted that nearly 5% of those injured, were intoxicated during the accident. Drinking and operating an e-scooter can lead to more serious injuries that have required some people to receive intensive care for bleeding on the brain or intracranial hemorrhages.

If that is not bad enough, even worse accidents have been reported. In recent months, there have been at least three deaths across the country related to e-scooters. One young woman riding a scooter in Ft. Lauderdale was so severely injured, it left her in a vegetative state. The woman’s mother is suing Lime based on the argument that Lime’s app includes language that specifically instructs people not to operate scooters on local sidewalks, pushing them onto city streets instead. The conundrum here is that operating a motorized scooter on the street is against the law in Fort Lauderdale, though the city does permit e-scooters to be ridden on sidewalks.

There have been so many accidents nationwide that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has entered the picture. The agency is studying the health risks associated with e-scooters by analyzing injuries to riders and pedestrians.

Safety Rules for E-scooters

As that story illustrates, the rules governing e-scooters are confusing. They vary from state to state and seem to change. In North Carolina, riders are not allowed to ride on sidewalks and they must wear helmets. Yet, these rules are routinely broken.

Who Pays for E-scooter Injuries?

Are riders completely held liable, or do the scooter companies provide insurance for its riders? According to Bird’s and Lime’s rental agreements, the rider assumes all responsibility.

When an at-fault driver of a car is involved in an e-scooter collision, that driver’s car insurance coverage may potentially apply. That might lead someone to believe that if they are a scooter rider and become injured as the result of a vehicle driver’s negligence, the driver’s auto insurance might pay for the scooter rider’s injuries. Not necessarily so.

Don’t think that the negligent driver’s insurance company is simply going to hand you over a fat check for all your medical bills and other expenses to fully compensate you for the injuries you suffered. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses – some of the world’s most profitable. They are so profitable, in fact, that in 2016, the insurance industry’s assets ($5.8 trillion) totaled more than the GDPs of all but two countries – the United States and China.

Insurance companies understand how to try to avoid paying you what you may potentially deserve. Click here for stories of individuals who have had to deal with insurance companies’ tactics.

Did You Contribute to an E-scooter Crash?

One more thing. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. What that means is if the insurance company can prove you were partially at fault – even just 1%, – you will most likely not get compensation.

Electric scooter accidents have been proliferating in NC cities and towns and across the nation. If you decide to ride an e-scooter, make sure you obey the rules and remain extra cautious to try to avoid injury to yourself or others.

Careful With Opioids – What Greensboro Is Doing to Try to Help

A colleague’s 16-year-old daughter recently broke her arm. Although the daughter had stated that the pain was not “that bad,” the ER sent her home with opioid pain medication. The mother gave her ibuprofen, instead. Smart mom.

This information happened to come on the heels of an article I recently read about Dr. Wayland McKenzie of Greensboro. Dr. McKenzie is a doctor who lost his license for overprescribing opioids – allegedly to addicts.

When are some doctors going to wake up and smell the poppy seeds? There’s an opioid crisis in our country and it has reached epidemic levels. Innocent victims of injuries continue to unwittingly fall prey to the highly addictive nature of opioid pain killers. Why? Part of the reason is because some doctors have been handing them out like candy for years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US in 2017. More than 67% of these deaths were from opioid overdoses.

Opioid Crisis in Greensboro Triad Area

North Carolina is among the states that showed statistically significant increases in drug overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017. In fact, a Winston-Salem Journal article reported that an average of four people die from opioid overdoses in North Carolina every day. The highest death rate among the 14-county region of the Triad and northwest North Carolina is Guilford County with 73 deaths in 2016.

Cone Health Pilots Opioid Peer-Support Program

In 2018, Cone Health launched a pilot project to try to combat opioid abuse. This one-year test program has put certified peer support specialists, each of whom have been in recovery for at least three years, in the emergency departments of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital and Wesley Long Hospital.

NC Personal Injury Attorneys in Greensboro and 13 Other NC Offices

As a personal injury attorney, I applaud this effort. I have been privy to cases involving the misuse of drugs and dangerous medical devices. These cases are heartbreaking and often preventable. Opioid addiction is insidious and can sneak up on victims before they realize their plight. Sadly, many of these addictions begin with a family doctor or ER prescription.

 

No permita que el seguro se aproveche de usted con una oferta de “Precipitarse y Resolver”

Imagine que ha estado en un accidente de auto – nada grave, pero sus heridas son suficientes para enviarle al hospital para ser evaluado. Tiene dolor de cabeza, cuello, y espalda. Los doctores mencionan latigazo cervical y le despachan a la casa con medicamentos para el dolor y la advertencia de que se podrá sentir peor en los próximos días. Unos días después, el seguro del conductor culpable le llama y le ofrece una transacción  cubriendo sus facturas del hospital y unos $500 adicionales para resolver su caso. Usted piensa, bien… $500 extra. Y ellos quieren resolver tan rápido. Usted está ocupado y quiere dejar todo esto en el pasado. Así que usted acepta la oferta y cambia el cheque por $500 en efectivo.

Todo está bien. O eso pensó.

Un mes después, empieza a tener migrañas consistentes y siente hormigueo por su pierna izquierda que progresivamente ha empeorado. Usted regresa al doctor y se entera que tiene una concusión y una vértebra dislocada, que requiere una operación y semanas de rehabilitación y tratamiento. El doctor dice que estos problemas secundarios probablemente surgieron por su accidente de auto.

¿Qué hace usted? Más le vale llorar. Cuando cambió el cheque del seguro por los $500 , usted resolvió el reclamo, sabiéndolo o sin darse cuenta.

La compañía de seguro le engañó  usando lo que se llama el
 “Precipitarse & Resolver”

Cambiando el cheque, usted los libró de responsabilidad adicional. Y ahora usted es responsable por sus facturas médicas. Hemos visto esta prisa por llegar a un acuerdo como la estrategia favorita de algunas compañías de seguro para intentar  engañar a víctimas de lesiones y transigir prematuramente  para pagar lo menos posible.

La Estrategia “Precipitarse y Resolver” del Seguro

La técnica de “Precipitarse y Resolver” típicamente funciona así : un representante de la compañía de seguro le contacta poco después del choque y le hace una oferta muy baja. Ellos saben que usted tiene muchas cosas que hacer, probablemente siente dolor, no tiene un carro para manejar, y puede estar faltando al trabajo. Y la compañía de seguro va a intentar resolver antes de que otras lesiones “secundarias” se manifiesten.

Este es un tiempo confuso para víctimas, y la compañía de seguro puede intentar aprovecharse de su confusión para que usted termine resolviendo el reclamo por mucho menos de lo que vale su caso, y que renuncie a sus derechos antes de que usted sepa cuan herido usted está o antes de que tenga la oportunidad de hablar con un abogado para aprender sobre los varios derechos que usted tiene para luchar por más dinero. El objetivo es tratar de que usted acepte una minúscula oferta antes de que usted sepa la magnitud de sus lesiones. Para muchas personas, este dinero rápido parece demasiado bueno para ser verdad. Pero usted sabe lo que dicen sobre eso – demasiado bueno para ser verdad usualmente lo es.

Tristemente, hemos visto a muchos de nuestros clientes que no hablan inglés (en especial clientes hispanos) convertirse en victimas del “Precipitarse y Resolver”. Cuando uno de nuestros paralegales llamó a un cliente nuevo por primera vez, él dijo que la compañía de seguro le envió un cheque y que lo había cambiado en efectivo esa mañana. Fue dinero en el correo, y no lo pensó dos veces – así que lo llevó al banco. La compañía de seguro no le dio oportunidad, y lo peor es que el cheque solo fue por $500.

Nosotros también representabamos a un cliente que tuvo a un ajustador de la compañía de seguro que fue a la casa del cliente, hizo una oferta y se sentó en el sofá, y se negó a irse hasta que alguien le aceptara la oferta. El cliente no supo que hacer.

Estos son solo dos, de docenas de ejemplos, de las estrategias de las compañías de seguro que tenemos en nuestro folleto gratis Compañías de Seguro (y otros) Comportándose Mal que usted puede descargar de nuestra página web. Léalo si se anima. Es realmente impactante.

Cuidado con la Declaración Grabada

Como parte de cualquier protocolo de accidente, la compañía de seguro probablemente le llamara lo más pronto posible para obtener una “declaración grabada.” Lo que usted diga al representante del seguro y las palabras que usted escoja son extremadamente importantes para la transacciónde su reclamación. (Haga click aqui por cinco cosas que no debe decir en una declaración grabada.)

La declaración grabada es tan importante, que yo le aconsejo a mis clientes que no provean una antes de consultarlo conmigo primero, o solo si yo estoy incluido en la llamada telefónica durante la declaración.

Lo hemos visto una y otra  vez. El representante probablemente le hará preguntas para dirigirlo, que pueden hacer que usted admita culpa parcial, o que responda en tal manera que sus propias palabras pueden ser usadas en su contra en la corte, si llega a esto. Algo tan simple como “¿Cómo te sientes hoy?,” requiere ser manejado con mucho cuidado. Si usted responde, “oh, yo estoy bien, gracias” algunas compañías de seguro pueden tratar de interpretar que eso significa que usted está bien desde la perspectiva médica, aunque usted solo respondió retóricamente.

Otras Estrategias de Seguros para Pagarle Menos a Usted

La mayoría de las compañías de seguro son compañías con fines de lucro. El lucro de ellos, no el suyo. Y muchas de ellas tienen varios métodos para intentar  retener tanto dinero como sea posible. Haga click aquí para aprender maneras sorprendentes que algunas compañías de seguro han creado para quedarse con dinero que usted posiblemente merece, de sus propias manos.

Por qué el Seguro no Quiere que Usted Contrate a un Abogado

¿La verdadera razón por la cual las compañías de seguro no quieren que usted contrate a un abogado?  Estudios de la industria de seguros muestran que, en promedio, víctimas de accidentes de auto que manejaron su reclamo sin ayuda legal recibieron 3.5 VECES MENOR* compensación por su pérdida, de lo que hubieran recibido si hubiesen contratado a un abogado de daños corporales.

¿Qué puede hacer un Abogado de Accidentes por Usted?

Nos ocuparemos de la compañía de seguro y sus facturas médicas por usted. Lo único que usted debe hacer es seguir las órdenes de su doctor y recuperarse lo más rápido posible. Mientras usted se recupera, nosotros haremos lo difícil e intentaremos:

  • Probar daños
  • Determinar la culpa
  • Prevenir y bloquear tácticas evasivas de los seguros
  • Investigar el reclamo
  • Proteger la evidencia
  • Negociar un acuerdo justo

Usted puede tener derecho a la compensación máxima por:

  • Facturas médicas y de rehabilitación
  • Tiempo faltado al trabajo
  • El costo de reparaciones a su vehículo
  • La disminución de la capacidad de generar ingresos por daños permanentes

No solo ofrecemos una evaluación gratuita para su caso, usted no paga nada por adelantado, y no paga los honorarios de abogado si no obtenemos compensación para usted.

Abogados de Choque en NC ofrecen Evaluación Gratuita de su Caso

Si usted ve un cheque en el correo, o le ofrecen un acuerdo demasiado pronto, eso es una señal de peligro. Si usted deposita o cambia el cheque, usted puede estar intercambiando su futuro financiero. Tome su tiempo y hable con un abogado de accidentes de auto con experiencia antes de llegar a un acuerdo.

Contáctenos o llame 1-800-968-5342 por una evaluación gratuita de su caso.

 

*Insurance Research Council, 1999.

 

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

144 Woodridge Court
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078