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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about auto injury claims, workers' compensation claims, and divorce & custody cases

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Questions about an injury claim, workers’ compensation claim or a divorce or custody issue? We want you to call us and ask your questions at (910) 341-7570. There is almost always a lawyer available to speak with you. The call is free and there is no obligation. If you prefer, you can gather more information on this site before you call. We answer many of the most frequently asked questions here.

The site is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. It is designed to give you the information you need to get started and to be knowledgable about the process as you search for the best injury lawyer, workers’ compensation lawyer, or divorce lawyer for you.

Personal Injury

What is personal injury law?

Personal injury law is the body of law that relates to compensation for injuries that are caused by others. No one ever wants to be injured. We go through our lives trying to avoid injuries. We tell our children “Be… Read More

Where did personal injury law come from?

Personal injury law comes from the law relating to torts in civil law. Tort law governs the rights and responsibilities of the unintentionally injured. Intentional or purposeful injuries are usually addressed by criminal law. Thousands of cases have shaped personal… Read More

I sustained serious injuries during a motorcycle crash in Wilmington, NC. A bakery truck turned left in front of me, and I was thrown from my bike in the collision. Because of my broken femur, I couldn’t return to work for over a month. Is the truck driver responsible for my lost wages?

At Speaks Law Firm, we’re happy to hear you are recovering from your injuries. Frankly, you were luckier than many other crash victims. North Carolina motorcycle accidents where a rider is thrown from his vehicle have an extremely high fatality… Read More

My husband and I were in an automobile accident in North Carolina. He had severe injuries, and eleven months later he died from complications of those injuries. Can I bring a lawsuit against the truck driver who collided with us, even though so much time has passed?

Yes. Specifically, you will want to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who caused your truck accident in North Carolina. When someone is injured as a result of another person’s negligence, he has the right to file a… Read More

I enjoy riding a motorcycle, in part because of the sense of freedom it gives me. I’m very offended by North Carolina’s motorcycle helmet law. Why should the state have the power to compel me to wear a helmet? I should be allowed to take a calculated risk if I want to, and it’s none of the government’s business.

No doubt you have noticed that every state has its own rules about motorcycle helmets. For instance, in South Carolina, the law only requires that riders under age 21 must wear helmets. In contrast, since 2008 North Carolina has required… Read More

I was injured in a Wilmington truck accident almost a year ago. It’s pretty clear that the trucker—who had been working too many hours without enough sleep—was responsible for the crash. Will my case go to trial? How long does this usually take before the case is concluded?

You have two questions there. Let’s address them in the order you give them. “Will my case go to trial?” Probably not, although we can’t say with absolute certainty. A North Carolina personal injury lawsuit, such as your truck accident case,… Read More

How can I find the best lawyer for my case?

Finding the Right Lawyer Once you have determined that you should speak with an attorney about a legal issue, another question immediately arises.  Who?  How can you find the best lawyer for my case? Recently, I friend of mine asked… Read More

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

    Who will pay for my injuries when another person was careless or negligent? An experienced personal injury lawyer in Wilmington, North Carolina, can help. We all have an obligation to each other to act responsibly. We must conduct ourselves… Read More

I was hurt in a car accident in Wilmington, North Carolina. My medical bills are outrageously high. The driver who caused the accident has the minimum insurance limits ($30,000.00) that are required by law. The adjuster has offered to pay the policy limits ($30,000.00). Should I get an attorney? What should I do?

State law requires each vehicle owner to carry at least $30,000.00 of liability insurance coverage.  You can purchase more.  Many people carry at least $100,000 in liability coverage per person and $300,000 per occurrence.  The liability insurance policy for the… Read More

What should you do after an accident?

After an auto accident, work place injury or industrial accident, your goal is to get back to where you were before the accident.  That includes fair compensation.  An insurance adjuster may try to talk with you.  There are critical things you… Read More

Auto Accidents

What should I do after an accident?

After an auto accident, you should first take inventory of those involved, including yourself, your passengers, other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians. If anyone is injured, you must contact law enforcement. Safety is your first priority. Nothing is more important… Read More

How do I know if I have a good case?

After an auto accident, it can be difficult to know if you have a good case or a bad case. You are probably not familiar with many of the words and concepts that are involved in an injury claim. Attorneys… Read More

How much is my case worth?

In determining the value of your claim, we take the facts of your case and look ahead. We project what a jury will award after a trial in the specific geographic region where we would try your case. This is… Read More

Is the insurance company’s offer fair and reasonable?

Securing a fair settlement offer is not magic. You don’t get fair compensation because of whom you know. Fair compensation is not the product of intimidation, “smooth talking,” or “bulldogging.” It is the result of hard work, knowledge, experience, organization,… Read More

Do I need a lawyer?

You are not legally required to use an attorney to settle an auto injury claim. And, after an auto accident injury, you have more bills and less income. The last thing you want is to pay for something you don’t… Read More

After an accident, what should I look for in a lawyer?

Choosing a professional can be difficult. For example, before an NFL team selects a quarterback, they gather reliable information. They watch hours of film. They conduct interviews. They ask the player to submit to rigorous physical and psychological evaluations. They… Read More

How do I find the best auto accident lawyer?

Communication is an important component of any attorney-client relationship. Great lawyers communicate openly with their clients. That does not mean that they sit by the phone, waiting to answer any question you have the moment it pops into your head.… Read More

I just bought my first motorcycle. I’m a little concerned about safety. My biker friends think that’s funny—they like to show off their road burn and boast about how drunk they were when a particular accident happened. Are they right to say that motorcycle crashes are no big deal?

I just bought my first motorcycle. I’m a little concerned about safety. My friends think that’s funny. Are they right to say that motorcycle crashes are no big deal? Yeah, we’ve met some bikers like that too. One guy we… Read More

Premises Liability

My grandmother lives in a residential nursing home in North Carolina. I just found out that there was a small fire there a couple weeks ago, and that Gran had to be taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Is it worth talking about this with a North Carolina personal injury attorney?

Any property owner has a duty to provide reasonably prudent care for the safety and well-being of people who are present on the premises. The law says that the obligation varies a bit depending on the nature of the relationship… Read More

What types of injuries are associated with a house fire?

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association indicate that approximately 384,000 residential fires in the United States in 2010 caused 13,800 injuries and 2,665 deaths. While the deaths represent enormous—and potentially avoidable—tragedies, the nonfatal injuries also merit attention. In many… Read More

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Car Accidents

How much will the insurance company offer?

How much will the insurance company offer? If you have been injured in an auto or truck accident, the insurance adjuster has information that you do not have.  Insurance adjusters are knowledgeable and experienced.  They are not necessarily bad people, but their… Read More

I was in a serious car accident on I-40. I know I need a lawyer. Internet. TV. Yellow pages. Their ads all say the same thing. WE ARE AGGRESSIVE!!! I suppose that is important, but how can I find the very best lawyer for my injury claim?

Why Finding the Right Lawyer is Important North Carolina law requires those who cause auto accidents to pay for the expenses that result.  The at-fault driver is required to have auto insurance for this very reason.  Insurance companies employ insurance adjusters.   Insurance adjusters work to… Read More

Truck Accidents

Workers' Compensation

What should I do if I’m injured at work?

If you’ve suffered an injury on the job, there are certain steps you should take as soon as possible. The first and most important step is to seek medical attention for your injury. Your well-being is always the most important… Read More

How do I file for workers’ comp?

Ideally, the entire filing process should be led by your employer. That’s assuming, however, that your employer and your employer’s insurance carrier follow the proper procedures. Many employers and insurance companies are more interested in their bottom line than anything… Read More

Does my employer have workers’ comp insurance?

In the state of North Carolina, it is legally required for an employer with three or more employees to have workers’ comp insurance in accordance with the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. This applies to all businesses including LLCs, partnerships,… Read More

Child Custody

Divorce

My wife and I both agree our marriage is over. But, we have three children together, and we’re worried the divorce will hurt them. Should we stay married for the sake of the children? Or, if we get a divorce, how can we make sure the children get through it okay?

You have your priorities right. You both recognize that the long-term well-being of your kids has to be the top consideration in determining the way you end your marriage. A North Carolina divorce has tremendous potential to inflict lasting pain… Read More

After divorce, are fathers forgotten?

Our grandmothers were homemakers.  They were cooked, cleaned and cared for children.  Men worked.  After a long day they sat down, put their feet up and read the paper. They watched the news and played golf on Saturdays. Our parents’… Read More

What are the causes of divorce?

What Causes Divorce? There are lots of different causes for divorce.  Every case is different.  However, in my experience three factors contribute more than most. First, constant disagreement over financial issues causes many marital problems.  Income, expenses, savings, investments and… Read More

Should I get a divorce?

Wilmington Divorce Attorney Ashley Smith Is it absolutely necessary? When considering divorce, it is important gather information and consider it carefully.  At Speaks Law Firm, we don’t encourage divorce. We don’t take it lightly. We understand how families are affected.… Read More

What should I look for in a divorce lawyer?

North Carolina Family Lawyer:  Rule 1 – Do No Harm Divorce and custody cases can be heartbreaking and painful. They are almost always emotionally and legally challenging for all of those involved. Because most divorce and custody cases are emotionally… Read More

Do I Need To File For Legal Separation?

Many of my clients share the same concern when it comes to separation and divorce.  They have been living separately from their spouse for some time, but have not filed for “legal separation”. They are concerned that this will prevent… Read More

Fathers' Rights

What is fathers rights anyway?

Wilmington, NC Divorce and Custody Lawyers The Increased Role of Fathers in the Modern Family Too many times today we see judges rule against men in divorce and custody cases, our firm has devoted a significant quantity of its family law practice… Read More