If you have recently been in an accident or otherwise suffered a injury in North Carolina as the result of someone else’s negligence (for example: injured in an car accident, slip and fall, or by a defective product), you could possibly have worries and questions and are confused about what you should do:
- Will your medical bills be paid?
- Will the insurance company offer a fair amount for your personal injuries?
- Will your car be repaired?
- Will you be paid for the time you are losing from work?
- What do you do if the person who injured you doesn’t have insurance?
- Will the North Carolina personal injury lawyer you choose to represent you be competent?
HOW MUCH IS YOUR CASE WORTH?
North Carolina Injury Lawyers
Often one of the first questions asked by someone who has been injured in an accident is, “What is my case worth?” The only way to offer a valid opinion on this subject is to investigate the facts, review medical records and bills, find out if the injured person has permanent injuries, and check to see how much insurance is available. Only at that point can a reasonable estimate be made, and even then assessing the relative value of a case is not exact.
The value of the case should only be determined after:
- The client has finished medical treatment.
- All medical records have been reviewed.
- All medical bills have been obtained.
- All wage loss information has been received.
- The treating physician has been consulted to see if the client’s injuries are permanent.
- The facts surrounding the accident have been completely investigated to make sure someone else is responsible (negligent) and that the injured person did not contribute negligence to his accident.
- The source of collection is determined. This is usually the other person’s insurance company. In North Carolina accidents, if the other person doesn’t have insurance or the insurance is inadequate, the source of collection may be the injured person’s own insurance company.
We understand it’s tough being the victim of a North Carolina personal injury because someone else was careless. It’s even worse when you don’t understand the law and the process of getting your claim resolved. However, there are some general guidelines to help you in this process. There is a so-called trinity as to all personal injury claims: liability, damages, and source of collection. You need to establish all three or your case won’t be worth as much. Usually there is a dispute as to the extent of the damages or whether the other side is liable.
Liability means fault. Who caused the accident? Did someone act with less care than was reasonable under the circumstances? If so, that’s negligence. Did the injured person contribute to the accident with their own negligence?
Damages are the second necessary part of the personal injury trinity. If you were in an accident but weren’t injured or didn’t sustain any damage, you don’t have a claim. But if you have suffered a North Carolina personal injury, you are entitled to fair and adequate compensation. Strong lawyers believe the value of damages is based upon what they believe a reasonable jury would award as fair and adequate compensation. Some lawyers unfortunately base value upon whatever the insurance company will offer—even if it isn’t fair.
Generally, there are three types of damages:
- Economic losses to date: The primary past economic losses are expenses for medical care and lost wages.
- Future economic losses: These are usually expenses for future medical care and future loss of income.
- Past and future pain and suffering for the physical and mental anguish experienced: This is the most difficult area to prove. There are no books that juries are allowed to use to make this determination.
The question is what would a reasonable person take for these injuries. Understandably, it can be impossible to place an exact dollar amount on pain, permanent disability, or disfigurement. Many insurance companies use a mathematical formula to figure how much should be paid for personal injury cases. For instance, often adjusters multiply the past economic losses by 1.5 or 2 when the injuries are relatively minor and by 3 to 5 times when the injuries are more severe. Normally, the more serious and painful the injury, the greater the multiplier. However, you shouldn’t let an adjuster subject you to calculations that are not in your best interest. Your body, your injury, and the value of your claim shouldn’t be calculated by some formula that favors the insurance company. Your case must be examined by its own merits.
HOW DO WE EVALUATE YOUR CASE?
North Carolina Injury & Disability Lawyers
When the time is right (as discussed in How much is your case worth?), we prepare a Demand Brochure that clearly demonstrates the aspects of your case. The Demand Brochure is an extensive document that discusses in detail the facts of your case, liability issues, your injuries, your treatment, your future prognosis, and our evaluation of these issues.
Once the Demand Brochure is completed, we go over the Brochure in detail with you. We discuss with you all options available to you, ranging from settling with the insurance company to going to trial. We make sure you know what your choices are and the consequences associated with each choice.
After reviewing all pertinent information with you, and after gaining your approval, we send the Demand Brochure to the negligent party’s insurance company. We then negotiate with the insurance company to receive a settlement offer. After a settlement offer is received, we talk with you and let you know how much money you will net (in your pocket) so you will have a chance to fairly evaluate your options.
This process continues until the insurance company submits what we believe is their best and final settlement offer. If you accept this final offer, money from your settlement is usually in your hands in approximately 30 days. If you decide not to settle, then we will move forward with litigation and let a jury decide the value of your case. We will do everything in our power to obtain the verdict you deserve.
Why do you need a lawyer?
If you have suffered an injury, you may feel overwhelmed by confusion or helplessness. Unfortunately, insurance companies are positioned to take advantage of the confusion you are suffering and your desire to move on with your life. Insurance companies make profits by convincing you to settle for a fraction of what your case may be really worth. You have been hurt once through no fault of your own, so don’t get hurt again by the insurance company because you fail to get an experienced North Carolina injury lawyer to help you.
HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING TO ME?
North Carolina Injury Lawyers
Unfortunately, a North Carolina personal injury at the hands of a negligent party can happen to anyone at any time. Take for example John (not his real name), a client of our firm. John is a hard-working, honest man who was driving home one day when a careless driver broadsided his car, resulting in a serious auto accident.
John didn’t go to the hospital immediately, thinking he only had a sore neck. However, over the next few days, John’s neck pain started to get worse. He could hardly turn his head and could barely sleep at night. He had not gone to the hospital right away, and he thought he could not make an injury claim with the insurance company for the pain and suffering he was experiencing.
After a few days, the pain became too much for John, and he went to see his doctor. His doctor told him he had a serious injury and began treating him immediately.
When he submitted his claim to the insurance company, they gave him the usual runaround: the insurance adjuster was never available when he called and would never return his phone calls. When he was finally able to establish contact with the adjuster, he was told he wasn’t hurt badly enough—and had waited too long to get treatment—to be compensated. The insurance company would not pay for his medical care or compensate him for his pain and suffering. John didn’t have any money, he was hurting, and now he was scared.
John didn’t have a lot of money. He had worked hard for what he did have, and he was beginning to see that money slip away. He began asking himself, “Who will pay my doctor bills? Do I have a right to be compensated? Do I need a lawyer? How do I choose a lawyer who is experienced and will do the best job for me?”
John was confused and felt desperate for money. By the time John came to our firm’s lawyers, he was ready to sign his rights away so he could at least get something to help pay his bills and ease his mind. Fortunately, John came to us for help before he signed away his rights to the insurance company.
We were able to arrange for medical care for John while we filed suit to force the negligent party’s insurance company to live up to their legal obligations. Most importantly, we sat down with John and explained what his rights were for the personal injuries he had suffered, including the pain and suffering he was experiencing and the wages he had lost as a result of the accident. We gathered John’s medical records and bills and then over a period of several months of negotiations, we were able to obtain a fair and just settlement for his damages. His settlement did not take away John’s permanent injuries, but it paid him based upon what John deserved. He might not have been so fortunate if he hadn’t hired an experienced North Carolina injury lawyer.
Lawyer Myths Exposed
North Carolina Injury & Disability Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in North Carolina, you normally only have one chance to get the compensation you deserve. Because of this, choosing a lawyer to take on this task for you will probably be one of the most important decisions that you make in your lifetime. Consequently, exposing some commonly held myths about lawyers may help you make the right choice.
Myth #1: All lawyers have about the same amount of experience and training.
This is one of the biggest myths about lawyers. The fact is the experience and training that lawyers have differs greatly from lawyer to lawyer. Some lawyers may have years and years of experience drafting wills and dealing with real estate transactions, but is that the type of lawyer you need to represent you in your personal injury case?
The North Carolina personal injury law firm you hire for your injury case should have lawyers with a proven track record of negotiating and settling cases, as well as trying cases in front of juries and winning.
You should know that many lawyers who handle large numbers of personal injury cases never take them to trial! Many lawyers prefer “out-of-court settlements” even if they are offered less than the case is worth primarily because they don’t have the skill or experience to take their cases to trial. You can bet that the big insurance companies know whom these lawyers are and will take advantage of the situation. Big insurance companies, being what they are, will almost never offer what you deserve if they know your lawyer is not willing to take your case to trial.
Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer you’re considering the tough questions: “How many cases has your law firm tried in front of a jury? How many have you won? How many years of experience have you had as a personal injury lawyer?” These are the kinds of questions you should ask any lawyer you evaluate and are questions we at Daggett Shuler injury & disability lawyers would welcome the opportunity to answer. Remember, the law profession is like any other profession when it comes to experience. When you need help, make sure it’s the best help available so that you can benefit from their experience and skill.
Myth #2: All lawyers are skilled negotiators.
Not always. Dealing with big corporations and insurance companies can be intimidating; they often have the resources of well-paid, savvy lawyers who are trained to be tough negotiators.
You need a lawyer on your side who knows these big companies’ weaknesses and who knows how to drive the hardest bargains – someone who has the experience earned through involvement in hundreds of negotiations involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The fact is most North Carolina injury cases are settled out of court, which is where the negotiations take place. If you don’t have a lawyer who knows the art of smart and tough negotiating, you could be the one who loses.
Myth #3: All lawyers devote the necessary amount of time and energy needed to your case.
When you hire a lawyer, he or she should have the resources needed to dedicate to your case, but that doesn’t always happen. Some lawyers have so many cases they hardly ever look at them, much less devote the hours necessary to negotiate a fair compensation. Some hardly ever talk to their clients.
Your case, no matter how big or small, is important and should be a priority to the lawyer you hire! You need a lawyer who is committed to providing quality personal service to all of his or her clients. Someone who will treat your case with the importance it deserves.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP ME?
North Carolina Injury Lawyers
Too many people who have suffered a North Carolina personal injury are too scared, intimidated, guilt-ridden, or otherwise reluctant to seek the help they need. Some have had bad experiences with other lawyers. Some have already been intimidated by the big company with which they’ve been dealing. Some simply believe that it is wrong to bring a claim for personal injuries.
Once these people talk with a qualified personal injury lawyer about their claims, their rights, and the legal process, they feel much better and more at ease with the situation. They are then able to understand that it’s okay to be compensated for personal injuries, and they feel reassured that they are doing the right thing. At our law firm, clients also appreciate the opportunity to conduct an initial consultation with a lawyer at no charge, and with no pressure.
Daggett Shuler injury & disability lawyers would like to offer you, with no pressure and absolutely free of charge, a free evaluation—a chance for us to evaluate your case and a chance for you to evaluate us. We’ll talk about your North Carolina personal injury, your legal rights, and any other questions you may have about your case.
We’ll also answer any questions you have about our legal experience, including cases that we have settled and tried before juries. During this interview, we hope to:
- Find a way to get you compensated for your injuries
- Find out if the big insurance company you are up against is withholding benefits you are entitled to or pressuring you to make a quick settlement
- See if you’ve been exposed to risks you may not know exist, the likes of which could spell disaster for you and your case
We understand that this can be a difficult time, but waiting any longer for an answer to your questions may only cause more stress and concern.
Our goal, above all, is to create an opportunity where you will feel comfortable talking with an expert about your legal options; only when you are in a situation where there is no pressure will you be able to make the decision that is best for you.
The case evaluation is free, and if you decide to hire Daggett Shuler injury & disability lawyers, you also pay no hourly fees. We only get paid when we collect money for our clients who have North Carolina personal injury claims, and those clients are never required to pay hourly fees. We only get paid if you get paid. Therefore, we have an incentive to devote ourselves to your case and fight for your rights to receive the kind of compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
After the complimentary consultation you are still free to hire someone else. At least you will have the benefit of evaluating all of the relevant information and having your questions answered in a no-pressure environment before you make that important decision.
If you want to take advantage of the free consultation about your case—with no obligation—contact a North Carolina personal injury lawyer at Daggett Shuler today to schedule an appointment at your convenience.
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