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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.

 

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.

 

The Hard Truth About Getting Reimbursed for Hurricane Damages

By Christopher Bagley

With Hurricanes Florence and Michael sweeping through North Carolina less than a month apart in 2018, many Tar Heels have been devastated, with home, business, farm, and auto damages totaling billions of dollars.

ABC11 reports that 185,000 claims related to Hurricane Florence were filed with the North Carolina Department of Insurance, and FEMA received 80,000 claims.

If you are among those filing hurricane damage claims, you may discover that your insurance company is not as willing to help as you assumed.

While insurance companies may want you to think they have your best interests at heart, history shows that’s not always true.

Real People. Real Stories

Insurance Delays and Denials

Two years after Hurricane Matthew damaged one Goldsboro homeowner’s home in 2016, the homeowner is ready to give up. The insurance covered “just enough for a contractor to gut the home and replace a tiny portion of her ruined contents,” according to a WRAL news report.

Meanwhile, the flooring, walls, and the remainder of her belongings were damaged to an unlivable condition, forcing her to live in an apartment while continuing to pay her mortgage. As eastern North Carolina residents were still trying to pick up the pieces from Matthew, Hurricane Florence slammed into the NC coast two years later, damaging her property further. While FEMA rejected her initial buyout application, she hopes this second round of damage will qualify her for relief.

An Ugly Trend in Hurricane Damage Claims

Undervaluing hurricane damage claims is not new to some insurance companies. In fact, this trend seems to have become the new normal.

Hurricane Katrina

After Hurricane Katrina all but wiped out much of New Orleans in 2005, policyholders who believed they were treated unfairly by their insurance companies complained to the Louisiana Department of Insurance at the rate of twenty thousand complaints a month during the first six months after the storm. Thousands of policyholders sued their insurance companies, with more than 6,600 suits filed in federal court in New Orleans alone.

The New York Times reported on one victim that was offered just $41,000 of the expected $100,000 in damages. Another was offered only $16,000 to cover damage that he anticipated totaling $300,000 – less than 5% of what he needed.

The New York Times described the behavior of insurance companies two years after Katrina:

“Insurance companies may have paid out $11 billion to Louisianians in the two years since Hurricane Katrina, but they have also become a new villain in the tales people tell about the slow recovery here. Every neighborhood is full of horror stories about insurance companies that reneged on their promises, offered only pennies on the dollar in settlements, dribbled out payments, low-balled the costs of repairs, dropped long-time customers and sharply increased the price of coverage.”

Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy

Nine insurance companies were accused of wrongfully denying claims and misinterpreting terms following Hurricane Irene in 2011 and superstorm Sandy in 2012. In their attempts to underpay claims, some insurance companies interpreted the policies’ definitions of ground floors and basements in ways that surprised their policyholders.

Hurricane Irma

After Hurricane Irma left a swath of devastation in the Caribbean and Florida in 2017, some insurance companies left homeowners far short financially of what they needed to repair holes in their roofs and water damage in walls, reports Florida’s WINK News. One homeowner was particularly upset to see her “high accomplishment” investment of a home crumble with little support from her insurance company.

Why Do Some Insurance Companies Try to Delay and Deny Claims?

Time after time, some insurance companies have denied claims and underestimated hurricane property damages.

With roughly half a trillion dollars in cash reserves, why do some insurers force hurricane victims to put up such a fight to get what they need to repair their homes, businesses, and cars?

The stark reality is that most insurance companies are for-profit businesses. That is not wrong, it is just business. At the end of the day, like most for-profit businesses, they are looking out for their bottom line – even at the expense of unwitting policyholders.

Click here for shocking examples of some insurers that have tried to take advantage of policyholders in an effort to pad their own bottom lines.

Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

If you have suffered hurricane damage to your home, business, or farm, you don’t have to go through the fight alone to try to recover damages.

Our law firm has fought insurance companies for our clients since 1997. Moreover, we have many employees who previously worked for insurance companies, and they are uniquely familiar with insurance company tactics. We have seen, firsthand, so many ways they can try to delay or deny claims, we wrote a book of actual client stories called Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly. You can download it free and read these stories, yourself.

If you have or a loved one has been affected by the hurricane or other natural disaster, you deserve a team that will fight for you in an effort to try to get you the maximum amount you are entitled to. Call us at 1-866-900-7078 or click here to contact us for a free case evaluation.

Will My Health Insurance Continue if I File for Workers’ Comp?

By Ali Overby

Many people wonder how filing a workers’ compensation claim might affect their employment status and their benefits – especially their health insurance.

It’s important to understand that your employment relationship with your employer should remain the same even though you have filed a workers’ compensation claim for an on-the-job injury. Although you are pursuing a claim, you are still an employee of this employer and you should continue to receive benefits just as you always have. You should pay the same health insurance premiums, if any, that you are normally required to. Your employer should continue to pay their portion of your health insurance as they have been doing.

What Happens if I Go Out of Work Receiving Workers’ Compensation Checks?

If your authorized treating provider writes you entirely out of work or your employer is unable to accommodate your work restrictions, you will be placed out of work. You will stop receiving your regular paycheck and you should begin receiving weekly workers’ compensation checks from the workers’ compensation insurance company that services your employer.

This is called temporary total disability or TTD. Your TTD payments are two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to your work injury. While you are out on TTD it is important to talk to your employer about how to maintain your health insurance coverage.

If you usually contribute to your health insurance premium through payroll deduction, your employer may not automatically notify you that you need to continue making these contributions to maintain your health insurance.

Do not assume your regular health insurance contributions are coming out of your TTD check!

If your employer continues to make health insurance payments for you, but you are not making your usual contributions, your health insurance may end up being cancelled before you ever realize you owe anything. Talk to your employer, and find out if you need to send in a check each pay period to keep your health insurance coverage current.

What Happens to My Health Insurance if I’m Fired?

Unfortunately, you can still be fired by your employer even if you have an open workers’ compensation case. If you are terminated, you can expect your health insurance benefits to end the same way that they would for any terminated employee.

You have the option of temporarily continuing your health insurance under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Your health plan administrator must give you a notice stating your right to choose to continue benefits provided by the plan. You then have 60 days to accept coverage or lose all rights to those benefits.

If you elect to continue coverage through COBRA you will have to pay the full cost of the coverage plus a 2% administrative charge. If your employer was paying the bulk of your health insurance expense before your termination you can expect that health insurance through COBRA will likely be much more expensive than you are used to.

COBRA generally applies to all group health plans maintained by private sector employers (with at least 20 full-time employees) or by state and local governments. If you work for an employer that has fewer than 20 full-time employees, North Carolina has a state continuation program similar to COBRA. Either way, you may want to shop around and consider other insurance companies to find your best options for obtaining private insurance.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Attorneys

If you are concerned that your employment status or your right to health insurance benefits may have been unduly affected by your workers’ compensation case, contact one of our workers’ compensation lawyers right away. There is a lot at stake, and if you are trying to negotiate on your own against a big powerful insurance company, you are likely at a huge disadvantage.

There is no charge to call us for an initial case evaluation. It is completely FREE to you.

Click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

P.S. Think you can’t afford a James Scott Farrin workers’ comp attorney? Click here to see why you can.

Categories: Insurance Coverage

5 Things Your Insurance Adjuster Doesn’t Want You to Know (But We Do!)

People who have been injured will often come to us after they have tried to deal with the insurance companies themselves.

They may be frustrated with the lack of timely response from insurance adjusters. Some tell us the insurance company will not offer them enough to cover their medical expenses and other damages. Sometimes people are simply overwhelmed by the amount of phone calls, paperwork, follow-up, and excessive bureaucracy just to try to get the insurance company to cover damages. We know how they feel. We have dozens of people here who play paper chase with the insurance companies all day every day.

Here are some statements we often hear from people who call us for help. These are people who have never dealt with insurance adjusters and claims-filing entities. We work with these types every day. (Some of us used to work on the other side!) Here is what you need to know about your “friendly” insurance adjuster. And your “good neighbor” insurance company.

  1. The insurance adjuster handling my case seems very nice and is even willing to settle as soon as possible. But the settlement amount is so low. 

    The adjuster is not your friend and neither is the insurance company. Most insurance companies are in business to make money. The less money the adjuster offers you to pay your damages, the more money insurance companies keep for themselves. Fact is, it is part of an insurance adjuster’s job description to offer you as little as possible. Adjusters may seem pleasant and sympathetic to your circumstances. Perhaps they are. But the bottom line is you are not signing their paychecks.Adjusters go through intensive training programs to learn the art of negotiation. They can get very detailed, even covering the psychological aspects of negotiating in many instances.Insurance companies have auditing systems that show how much their adjusters paid out to claimants, based on the medical reports and what they can mitigate in their claimants’ files. Sometimes the adjuster’s pay can be tied to whether or not they meet the criteria the company has devised as “best practices” for payouts.

  2. My adjuster said a lawyer won’t do anything more for me other than drag my case on and on. 

    Insurance companies do not want you to hire a lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, they know they may potentially have to pay you more money. They know we know what you need to know. They will call us ambulance chasers, sharks, greedy, and all kinds of names to try to prevent you from getting legal advice. And they certainly don’t want to go to court to try your case in front of a jury. The one thing insurance companies do not like is uncertainty. And juries are by their very nature an uncertainty. We will go to court in a heartbeat if we think it will help you get the compensation you may deserve. That is something the insurance companies don’t want to hear.

  3. My pre-existing shoulder condition prohibits them from paying me the full extent of my shoulder, neck, and back injuries. 

    Ah! The pre-existing condition. That’s an oldie goldie. We know better than to fall for that one. Some of our employees used to be insurance adjusters. Here’s what one of them had to say about this tactic:“As a former insurance adjuster, our job was to gather the evidence and point out all the potential negatives to try to reduce the payout. If a claimant had a prior neck problem, and the wreck caused an injury to their neck, we would argue that they may have caused aggravation to the neck so we would not offer 100%. Same with degenerative issues. We would focus on that to reduce payout.”The reality is many times pre-existing conditions are not an issue. But if the pre-existing condition becomes a real issue, we simply consult with our Johns Hopkins-trained registered nurse Attorney Naa Atsoi Adu-Antoh. She leads our firm’s medical review team – a team we believe is fundamentally important in our efforts to analyze clients’ medical issues as they relate to their legal cases.

  4. My adjuster told me that after I pay an attorney’s fee, I would probably get less than their offer. 

    An insurance adjuster might try to get you to buy into all kinds of assumptions. They are highly trained professional negotiators. They might challenge you to take them to court. “You just wait and see,” they might say, pretending like they welcome the chance. They might play the “take it or leave it” or “that’s my final offer” card. They might try to confuse you with all kinds of data and analyses and algorithms their statisticians have determined are “reasonable and fair” based on your medical bills and circumstances. They are banking on the fact that you won’t understand any of this. The list of deny and delay tactics is long. Yet it is effective in many instances! Not with us. We don’t scare. (And we understand their algorithms.) If it’s in your best interest, we don’t back down.

  5. 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 own1.

  6. The insurance company said to go ahead and take them to court. Facts are facts, and in my case, the facts are against me. 

    Court is expensive. That is among the main reasons insurance companies typically want to settle your case quickly. Yet they may not let on that they would rather settle than go to court in most cases. Even so, they may still discount the amount they potentially owe you for damages. They are assuming that you probably have no idea what you are potentially owed. They may try to make you believe they can only compensate you for medical expenses. Not other damages like mileage to and from your medical appointments, lost time from work, prescriptions, and loss of the use of your vehicle. And sometimes pain and suffering. You won’t hear those options voluntarily from the adjuster. But you will from us. And then some.

Insurance Companies Keep Millions by Limiting Payouts

The bottom line is this. Many insurance companies are all about their bottom line. They hold millions, and in some cases billions of dollars in reserves and earn interest and dividends on these assets. Many also have shareholders to answer to – large major shareholders like investment banks and mutual fund firms. Shareholders like to keep investing in profitable companies.

Sadly, it boils down to this. The insurance company is taking care of the shareholder and investor. The adjuster is taking care of the insurance company who gives them a consistent paycheck. Who is taking care of you?

You need to take care of you. We can help. Make sure you take care of your interests by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to deal with these issues.

Why Choose James Scott Farrin for NC Personal Injury, Workers’ Comp or Social Security Disability Claims?

It starts with great people. We have nearly 40 accomplished attorneys, many of whom have won awards for their service and advocacy inside and outside the courtroom, including Best Lawyers “Best Lawyers in America” 20172 and “Lawyer of the Year” 20173; “Super Lawyer” 20164 by North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, and Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite 2015”5.

They’ve authored books, spoken at seminars for other attorneys, and some are sought by the media for their legal expertise. One is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. All are advocates dedicated to fighting tooth and nail for each and every client.

We’ve gone to great lengths to help make sure we know how the “other side” operates by hiring attorneys who’ve represented insurance companies and large major corporations.

We also think it’s important that we have attorneys who are bilingual (as are many of our paralegals and staff).

Experienced NC Accident Attorneys Evaluate Your Case FREE

If you’re getting the run-around from your insurance adjuster or feel your best interests are not being considered, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

1  Insurance Research Council 1999

2, 3 For more information about rules for inclusion visit www.bestlawyers.com

4 For more information about rules for inclusion visit www.superlawyers.com

5 For more information about rules for inclusion visit www.businessnc.com

A Must-Read If You Want to Avoid Insurance Mistakes After an Accident

Who wouldn’t trust khaki-wearing Jake-from-State-Farm to be there for us, even at 3 in the morning? And good ol’ Flo from Progressive. You can trust her too – she’s like your quirky bestie. You can tell her anything.  AllState deep-voice guy? He’s not going to let anyone or anything mess with you. You’re in good hands.

Or are you?

Based on our experience? Not necessarily. There’s a reason why insurance companies spend so much money every year on “trust us” advertising.

Free Book on Avoiding Common Insurance Company Pitfalls

When you’re in an accident and you make a claim, why wouldn’t you think twice about giving one of these or any insurance company a recorded statement over the phone?

Why wouldn’t they believe you when you explain that you swerved into oncoming traffic because of a deer, and the car wreck was unavoidable and not your fault. And why wouldn’t they want to pay for all your medical bills caused by the accident, and time off work, or give you what your totaled car may really be worth?

Why would your insurance company try to low-ball you?

Because most insurance companies operate for profit. Theirs. And based on our years of experience of recovering more than $700 million in total* for over 30,000 clients they can’t be trusted to put your financial interests ahead of theirs.

Why do you think their ads emphasize the trust factor?

While many insurance company ads are admittedly enjoyable, dealing with insurance companies when you’ve been injured in a car crash – not so much.

That is why we developed a FREE 40-page Personal Injury Guide (How to take control of your personal injury claim, before it controls you). It’s a booklet we believe will help you try to avoid common pitfalls the insurance companies don’t want you to know about.

“No one should go through the personal injury process alone. If we can’t help, maybe this booklet will.”— Attorney and Shareholder, Michael Jordan

How to Deal With Your Insurance Company After a Car Wreck

Our book outlines some of the most common traps people fall into when trying to handle claims on their own, such as giving a recorded statement over the phone, not getting proper medical care for injuries, not pursuing all available coverage, even signing the wrong documents, and many other little-known traps the unwary can fall into.

The information highlighting common pitfalls, however, is just the beginning, covering just one chapter in our comprehensive guide. We know that when some people are injured in an accident, they may prefer to deal with the insurance company themselves instead of hiring a lawyer. We get it. Not every situation warrants legal help.

How to Understand Your Rights and Potential Barriers

That is why we created this easy-to-read guide. We wanted to help you try to understand your rights, the legal process, and potential barriers you may face after an injury in North Carolina. In the words of the guide’s author, attorney and shareholder Michael Jordan, “No one should go through the personal injury process alone. If we can’t help, maybe this booklet will.”

From the basics of the first things you should do after an injury, to dealing with specific injury types, to DWI victims’ rights, and even premises liability, we’ve tried to make this guide a key go-to resource for many different types of situations general and specific.

We’re Just As Available As Jake – (And We Won’t Raise Your Rates)

There’s a reason you’re reading this. If you have been injured, and if you find yourself falling into some of these common pitfalls the guide warns you about, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

We’re available at 3 in the morning too, just like Jake-from-State-Farm.

* Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

 

Will My Case Settle or Go to Trial?

If you're like most of my clients, you probably would like to avoid going to court. The good news is most cases don't. They're settled out of court instead.

But sometimes, if it's in our clients' best interests to tell their story to a judge and jury because the insurance company and the defendant aren't playing nice and won't give them a fair offer, that's exactly what we'll do.

One question clients often ask us is: How do we decide whether to settle or go to court?

Insurance Companies Don't Want to Go to Court Any More than You Do

The vast majority of personal injury cases settle. Some of the most appealing reasons for both sides to want to reach a settlement are:

  • Jury uncertainty. You can pick a jury, but you cannot control them once they are seated in the juror's box.
  • Compensation assurance. Settling allows you to eliminate the variable of not knowing how much a court may or may not award the plaintiff (you).
  • Public image. Who knows what ripple effects the jury's decision could potentially have on how the plaintiff is portrayed by the insurance company's lawyers?
  • Most insurance companies are for-profit businesses. And jury trial expenses can add up fast. Likewise, the plaintiff's court expenses are paid out of any settlement money.

With that said, the insurance company should know your attorney is 100% willing and able to take your case to trial.

The willingness to take cases to trial affords us the ability to try to negotiate your case from a position of power. If the insurance company is under the impression that you and your attorney have any hesitation about presenting a strong case to a jury and judge, they might feel they have the upper hand and withhold some of the compensation you may deserve.

Understanding Your Options for Settlement or Trial

Whether it's in your best interest to try to settle or go to court, we do our homework. And from day one, we involve each and every client in their case. We try to keep you informed and we ask that you do the same with your legal team.

We ask a lot of questions. We want to know what happened, who was involved, and how you were impacted. We research how the law applies. If necessary, we speak with doctors, insurance companies, state agencies, witnesses, and experts to try to determine all the facts of your case, not just what may be favorable to you. We're not looking for quick easy answers. Our goal is to try to obtain the most compensation that our clients may deserve. The more we know, the better we can represent you.

As we said, insurance companies typically don't want to go to court any more than you do. But if we feel they are not being fair, and we believe a jury trial is in your best interest, we won't hesitate to go.

While most of our cases are settled out of court, if your case does go to court, we will try to prepare you every step of the way.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Our law firm is one of the largest personal injury firms in North Carolina. And we have vast resources to draw from. Some of our best resources, in my opinion, are our paralegals, administrators, and others who work "behind the scenes" with our lawyers to help research and prepare your case - for a possible settlement or trial.

Some of our staff members previously worked for the very same insurance companies we deal with day in and day out. So they know their negotiation tactics.

When there's no doubt on the insurance company's part that we are ready, willing, and able to challenge them in court, often a settlement may look very good to them. Whatever the course, we are with you all the way.

If you were involved in a car wreck, don't worry about whether your case will settle or go to court. Let our experienced car accident lawyers discuss this with you once we have the facts.

Contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE and let you know if we think we can help you.

Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Road Debris – Who Pays for Your Damages?

A colleague of mine was hauling one of those large plastic toddler play houses in the back of her truck recently, when suddenly the roof of the house blew off right onto the roadway, causing traffic behind her to swerve into other lanes to avoid crashing into the roof. She pulled over and retrieved the runaway roof, thankfully avoiding injury to herself or other drivers.

The incident prompted a conversation about injuries and accidents from escaping debris. Who is responsible? What role does insurance play? And just what would have been the legal consequences to my colleague if that roof had caused an accident and injury in North Carolina? Points on her license? A fine? Traffic court? Jail?

Road Debris Causes Numerous Crashes Says AAA

A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that unsecured loads falling off cars and trucks have been blamed for more than 200,000 crashes on U.S. roads between 2011 and 2014. There were 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths from those incidents during that time.

More than a third of those deaths occurred because drivers swerved to avoid the debris.

Roadway debris can be a serious matter. One of our clients was severely injured in a life-altering way because of roadway debris.

What NC Law Says About Debris on NC Roads

Drivers responsible for creating road debris can face fines in every U.S state. All 50 states have laws that make unsecured loads illegal, according to AAA, with fines that range from $10 to $5,000. North Carolina's fines are capped at $100.

North Carolina says you must properly secure all items on a vehicle. If you don't and you cause an accident, you may be held liable. Specifically NC law states:

"No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is constructed and loaded to prevent any of its load from falling, blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom, and the vehicle shall not contain any holes, cracks, or openings through which any of its load may escape."

Legal penalties for infraction are determined by the degree of the infraction. It could be misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the degree of willful negligence.

Will Auto Insurance Cover Road Debris Accidents?

But what about auto insurance? Will it pay for your damages or injuries if you crash as a result of running into or trying to swerve from road debris? In many instances, yes.

Crashing Into an Object

If your vehicle is damaged from running into or running over an object in the road, then your collision coverage should most likely pay for repairs.

Flying Objects That Land on Your Car

If the object flies through the air and hits your car, then your comprehensive coverage may come into play.

Personal Injury

If you or a passenger are injured, personal injury protection or medical payments would likely pay for treatment of injuries.

Getting the At-Fault Driver to Pay

If the accident was the result of someone failing to secure a load, you may be able to make a claim against the other driver's liability insurance.

It's always prudent to file a police report, which can help establish the facts for your insurance claim.

Road Debris Safety Tips

If You Are Driving

  • Try to look farther than two or three cars ahead, so you potentially have time to change lanes before you reach a hazard.
  •  In many instances it can be safer to hit the debris than to swerve to try to avoid it. (Remember that more than a third of road debris deaths occurred from swerving.)
  • If you're on a roadway at night (and it's not foggy and there's no traffic), drive with your high beams on so you can potentially spot debris in the road.
  • Call 911 to report hazards in the roadway.

If You Are Carrying a Load

  • Properly secure the load on your vehicle. Test your cargo before you leave. If it moves, secure it better.
  • If you lose something, pull to the side of the road where it is safe and call 911. Keep your seatbelt fastened until help arrives.

Get Free Advice From Experienced NC Road Debris Lawyers

Proving liability can be tricky because North Carolina laws on road debris can be vague and leave lots of room for interpretation. Based on our experience in fighting the insurance companies for compensation for damages and injuries, we strongly advise getting an experienced roadway debris lawyer.

If you have been injured by roadway debris, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Our experienced auto accident lawyers will evaluate your case for FREE.

If You Ignore a Recall and You’re Injured, Will Insurance Pay?

From the latest VW emissions cheating device scandal to GM ignition switch malfunctions to the Takata airbag recall (the largest recall ever), car and car parts recalls seem to have accelerated exponentially over the past several years.

Over the past 50 years, 400 million cars have been recalled - as many as could stretch around the earth's equator almost 45 times! That's a lot of recalls.

When a recall is issued, the manufacturer and/or the dealer, sends a notice to the owner outlining steps to fix the problem. But surprisingly many auto owners either don't pay attention to the recall notices or ignore the issue when notified. If that happens, and an injury occurs to the owner or to others, who is liable for damages?

Here's what attorney Mike Jordan had to say about this issue when interviewed on WNCT 9 On Your Side, Greenville.

Denied Social Security Disability Benefits? Don't give up. Tony didn't.

If you've been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, don't be disheartened. Sometimes even the most clearly disabled are denied the first two or even three times.

That was certainly the case with our client, Tony (click here to read his full story).

Tony went from working in a job he loved, to being so disabled after a car accident that he can't eat, sleep, or even go outside on a sunny day. He vomits almost daily and his headaches are so severe they sometimes cause him to cry. Within a year he dropped from 155 to 123 lbs. - and he's 6'2".

Even though he's disabled by almost anyone's definition, the Social Security Disability administration denied him benefits. Twice. But he didn't give up and neither did we. It took some relentless work, but eventually we won him disability benefits1 - including back-due benefits - and he became immediately eligible for Medicare.

Don't Give Up After Being Denied Benefits

The moral of this story is that it's not unusual to be denied benefits the first or even the second time you apply. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, 67% of Social Security Disability applicants applying for benefits are denied the first time around, and 88% are denied the second time.

Sometimes All You Need Is Experienced Legal Help

A good Social Security Disability lawyer who is familiar with the system may be able to help you through the complicated and cumbersome process and may even potentially speed up your claim.

Think you can't afford to hire an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer? Think again.

Many, like our firm, work on contingency, which means you don't pay us one penny in attorney's fees unless we get you your benefits. Don't give up because you are frustrated or because you think you cannot afford legal help.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from our NC Social Security Disability Attorneys

If you are disabled, ask one of our Social Security Disability lawyers if they think they can help before you wade through the disability process alone.

One of our Social Security Disability attorneys is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law. Out of the 28,000 licensed North Carolina lawyers, only 51 can make that claim2. That same attorney also happens to be vice chair of the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee.

Yet all of our Social Security Disability lawyers and paralegals know their way around the system and its processes. It's what they do. And helping those in need is their passion. If you've been denied once, twice, or even three times, don't give up. Contact us instead. Better yet, contact us before you apply. We are here to fight for the benefits you may rightly deserve. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your situation.

 

1Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

2Figures provided by NC State Bar December 31, 2015

 

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 G Cromwell Dr.
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

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
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