Get Answers to Your Most Commonly Asked Questions About Injury, Criminal, Divorce and Civil Law in North Carolina.

Questions about an accident claim?  We answer questions here.  Call for more information.

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  • 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.  The insurance adjuster.Insurance companies employ insurance adjusters.   Insurance adjusters work to resolve claims in the way that is most favorable for their employers, the insurance company. They are smart, knowledgable and experienced. The adjuster's job is to pay you the smallest amount of money that he or shepossibly can. Insurance adjusters are very good at what they do.

    Auto injury attorneys work with insurance adjusters to help people who have been injured recover fair compensation.  On average people recover 3.5 times more money with an attorney than without one. Experienced auto injury lawyers may be able to help even more.

    Insurance adjusters work to resolve claims in a way that is best for the insurance company.Attorneys are able to recover even more if they are experienced, knowledgeable, professional and effective.  That is why it is important that you find the right lawyer for you.

    Start your search for an injury lawyer quickly.How to Choose an Auto Accident or Injury Attorney

    1. Start immediately.  Start this process as soon after an accident as you are able.  It is important to have your attorney in place before you speak with an insurance adjuster.  Many people say things they should not say during preliminary conversations with the adjuster.  These mistakes can greatly reduce or eliminate entirely the value of your claim.

    Select your jurisdiction2. Identify your jurisdiction.  Where did the accident take place?  The law relating to accidents and injuries varies from state to state.  If your accident occurred in North Carolina, it is best to have a North Carolina lawyer.

    3. Identify your region.  It is best to get a lawyer who practices in the general area of the state where the accident took place because he will have more credibility with the insurance adjuster and he will have local knowledge that may be helpful to your claim.  Beware the lawyer that has offices in Wilmington and Charlotte.

    Identify your region.4. Find the INJURY lawyers.  Identify the injury lawyers in your region of your jurisdiction.  Even criminal defense lawyers have a broad or general understanding of how injury law works.  They may even be able to settle your case, but “When?” and “For what amount?”

    In cases involving serious injuries, what if there are other sources of recovery? Was the injured person working at the time? Is there a UM, UIM or umbrella policy? Should you be trying to preseve evidence such as photographs, videos and witness statements? Should you send a spoilation letter? Are there liens? Are they negotiable? To what extent? You friend who practices law may know some of these terms but does he or she have the experience to get you a fair settlement?

    Injury law grows more complex every year.  Comprehensive knowledge and experience is necessary to achieve a fair settlement for your injury claim.  You better believe the adjuster knows what he or she is doing.  This knowledge and experience cannot be gained from books.  It cannot be replaced by “bull dogging”, or “smooth talking”.  This knowledge and experience is fundamentally necessary and is attained by working on these types cases every day for many years. 

    Lawyers are graded by independant sources such as AVVO.5. Check their scores.  Perform an on-line search to identify a list of 3 injury lawyers in the right region of your jurisdiction.  Consider their experience, recognition and professional conduct to develop a short list of qualified injury lawyers.  Avvo, Super Lawyers, Top 100 or Best Lawyers are national independent research services that identify, evaluate and grade lawyers for each practice area.  The top lawyers will be identified or graded as such.  You can determine whether each lawyer has been identified as one of the best lawyers in the area of personal injury law by looking at his or her website or the website associated with each ranking service.

    Read lawyer reviews.6. Read the reviews.  Perform additional on-line research to determine what former clients say about the lawyers or law firms you are considering.  Client testimonials or Reviews are a great source of information.  Even great lawyers can have a negative review.  It may not be authentic. It may be generated by a competitor.  However, if you look at all the reviews together you should get a good idea of how the lawyer’s previous clients feel about the services they received.

     

    Consult with your attorney7. Consult with each attorney.  Make an appointment for a phone or face-to-face consultation with each lawyer on your list.  The consultation should be free of charge and obligation. 

                Ask about attorney fees and costs during the initial consultation.  Injury lawyers usually don’t charge for their services “up front”.  Instead, they charge a percentage of the amount recovered.  That is why they advertise, “No fee unless we win”.  This is almost always a good investment.  You are likely to recover more with an injury attorney even after the fee is deducted than you would if you represented yourself.  In addition, your attorney can avoid common mistakes that cause even the most sophisticated people financial harm.

                Select your attorneyThe percentage charged by an attorney usually increases if the case goes to trial.  Trials are sometimes necessary, but they can be risky and expensive.  If the case is set up correctly from the very beginning, you can minimize your risk of having to go to trial.

                Beware of lawyer who tells you how “AGGRESSIVE!!!” he is.  Posturing by overly aggressive lawyers can result in an unnecessary trial.  Your case is likely to settle for maximum value if it is structured correctly from the very beginning and if it is advanced by a respectful and respectable advocate.

    8. Select your attorney.  During the identification, research and consultation process, one lawyer or law firm should feel right.  It will feel right when the people with whom you will be working are experienced, knowledgeable and talented and when you feel like they are genuinely concerned for your best interests.

    Focus on getting better.9. Focus on you.  After you have selected your attorney, your focus should be on getting better.  Your attorneys should gather records, research the legal issues and produce a settlement package.  A settlement package is a collection of documents that include the law, facts, photos, bills and records that are relevant to your claim.  In addition, your attorney should negotiate with the adjuster to maximize your settlement amount and negotiate with lien holders and medical providers to minimize the expenses that must be paid out from settlement proceeds.  You should get the medical attention you need and follow your doctor’s instructions.

    Communicate with your attorney.10. Communicate with your attorneys.  Communicate with your attorneys especially as you approach the conclusion of your medical treatment.  Insurance adjusters are often looking for specific information.  Your lawyers may want you to ask your doctors to include specific information in your medical records.  It will be faster and less expensive if your doctors will include specific information in the records when they see you than it will be to go back later ask for this information in a deposition or a trial.

    Speaks Law Firm

    Speaks Law FirmFollowing these steps is the best way to find the right Injury Attorney for you. The Speaks Law Firm has extensive experience and a national reputation for vigorously representing injured people all over North Carolina.  We are comprised of outstanding legal professionals who care deeply for our clients.

    Clarke and the Speaks Law Firm have achieved National Recognition by attorney ranking sites such as AVVO and Super Lawyers.  Specifically, we are rated "10.0" out of a maximum score of 10.0.  We are rated  "Superb".  Superb is the highest possible rating.  We have earned "Top Car Accident Attorney" status by Avvo.com. In addition, for the second consecutive year Clarke has been selected to the Super Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers for his work in the legal field of personal injury law and criminal defense. Recently, Clarke was awarded the National Association of Distinguished Counsel's Nations Top Attorneys designation.  We look forward to speaking with you about your injury claim.

    We are happy to answer your questions.

    You can find important information about Auto Accident Injuries on our website, but you are welcome to ask your questions.  We answer these kinds of questions for people everyday.  We are happy to answer them for you.  There is no fee for answering these questions.  There is no obligation.

    Call Speaks Law Firm if you were injured in an accident.The North Carolina Auto Injury BookYou can reach out to us several different ways.  You can call us at (910) 341-7570 between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday.  You can chat with an online operator anytime by clicking on the live chat box below and to the left.  You can email us anytime by filling out the contact form on the right.  In addition, many of these questions are answered in our book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book, or our Magazine, The Road to Recovery.  Click on the links for your FREE copy.  However, you choose to contact us, we are glad that you made that decision.  We are here to help.

    Following these steps is the best way to find the right injury lawyer for you.  For more information, please contact us by phone or chat or you can complete the contact form by clicking here.

    This information is provided exclusively by Speaks Law Firm.  Please visit us at www.SpeaksLaw.com or call (910) 341-7570 for more information.

  • I was injured in a car accident. Do I need a lawyer?

     

    Auto Injury Lawyers at Speaks Law FirmYou are smart, tough and organized.  You have dealt with insurance companies before.  You deal with professionals all of the time. It was clearly the other guys fault. They have accepted liability. What is the big deal? Why do you need a lawyer for your auto injury claim?

    Like everything else, accident claims have gotten more complicated over the years.  The insurance adjuster knows information that you could not know. His job is to pay you less or not at all. He will tell you rules that help his company and ignore rules that help you.

    And, what about the rules? Do you know them? How could you be expected to know them? They are numerous and complex.

    Maybe you need a lawyer. Maybe you don't. But, you do need information - accurate information. We can provide it. We can answer your questions and give you reliable information.  With reliable information you can make good decisions. Good decisions produce good results.

    The call is free and confidential. There is no obligation.  There are lots of ways we can add value after an auto injury.

    1.   We Will Answer Your Questions.

    Should I talk with the insurance adjuster?Should I speak with the insurance adjuster? Should I give a recorded statement? Should I use my health insurance? Medicare? Medicaid? Is there a time limit on my claim? What happens if there is not enough insurance? The insurance adjuster knows the process. Shouldn’t you gather reliable information before you speak with her?  Call to speak with an experienced car accident attorney now.  The call is free.  There is no obligation.

    2.   We Will Maximize Your Claim.

    You didn’t cause the accident. It was the other person’s fault.  The Collision Report says so.  After an accident, you have unexpected bills. You may miss work.  You don’t want to pay for something you don’t need.

    So, why should you hire an attorney?

    Here is why:

    “Injured people recover 3 ½ times more when they were represented by a lawyer.” (-2004 Insurance Research Council study)

    Money doesn't solve every problem, but it sure does help.

    3.   We Will Help You Find the Right Medical Providers.

    We can provide medical referrals.Your Health is your top priority.  It is ours, too.  Should you go to the hospital? Your family doctor? A specialist? A Chiropractor?  What if you don’t have insurance? We will answer these questions for you. We will help you find medical professionals who will see you now and bill you at the conclusion of your case.

    4.   We Take Care of Everything.

    After an injury, we want you to get better.  We will take care of everything else. We provide:

    • Free Home and Hospital Visits;
    • Free Collision Report Review and Analysis;
    • Free Insurance Coverage Review;
    • Free Property Damage Assistance;
    • Free Medical Referrals; and
    • Free Car Rental Assistance.

    In addition,

    • We Open Insurance Claims.
    • We Collect Evidence and Witness Statements.
    • We Perform Necessary Legal Research.
    • We Communicate with the Insurance Adjuster.
    • We Negotiate with the Insurance Company.
    • We Pay your Medical Expenses out of the Insurance Proceeds.
    • You Focus on Recovering from Your Injury.

     5.   We Provide Peace of Mind.

    In addition to physical injuries, accidents can be mentally stressful.  We take care of your claim so that you can focus on healing.

    The law relating to accident claims is complex.  I have been working in this area of the law for over 20 years, and I still have to do legal research every day.  One mistake can end your claim.  We can answer questions and maximize your claim while you get better.  You owe us nothing unless we win.

    6.   We Protect Your Rights.

    We protect your rights.Within days of an accident, the insurance adjuster will contact you.  Do NOT speak to him or her without first speaking to me.  The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you.  His job is to save them money and pay you less.  He will ask seemingly innocent question looking for ways to deny all or part of your claim.

    We will take over all communication with the insurance company.  We will make sure that your words and actions are not taken out of context to undervalue your claim.  We will prepare the evidence, witness statements and the legal arguments in your case and present it in the most effective way possible in order to maximize the value of your claim.

    7.   We Get Results.

     

    $500,000                              $230,000                              $500,000

    Truck Accident                  Arm & Shoulder                                Hip Injury

                                                    Injuries

     

    $100,000                              $300,000                              $200,000

    Back Injury                          Premises Liability             Knee Injury

     

    $200,000                              $170,000                              $100,000

    Burn Injuries                      Head Injury                        Back Injury

     

    127,000                               $100,000                              $150,000

    Shoulder &                         Leg Injury                            Back Injury

    Knee Injury

     

    Results in injury cases are specific to the facts and circumstances in each case.  These results should not be used to form an expectation that you will get these same results.  If you would like for us to provide you with an analysis and opinion of what you could expect to recover for your claim, please call us now.  We will ask you for information about your particular circumstances.

    8.   We Have an Excellent Reputation.

    We are an award-winning team of legal professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality legal service.  We have achieved recognition by national attorney ranking organizations.  Clarke has been selected for Super Lawyers for three consecutive years for his work in the area of personal injury law. Clarke is rated 10.0 out of a maximum of 10.0 by attorney ranking service AVVO.  In addition, Clarke is rated “Superb”, the highest possible rating for an Attorney.  Clarke has earned “Top Car Accident Attorney” status by AVVO.  Clarke has been selected to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Clarke has been awarded the National Association of Distinguished Counsel’s Top Attorneys designation.

    9.   We Have Extensive Experience.

    We have experience.We have represented thousands of individuals and businesses all over North Carolina and the surrounding states in state and federal court at the trial and appellate level.  In addition, Clarke has argued before the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on several ground-breaking issues.  He has been featured and interviewed in North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly and various news programs.  He is the author of the North Carolina Auto Injury Book.  Clarke has written and produced Road to Recovery, a magazine for people injured in auto and workplace accidents. Clarke has represented people against the state and federal government, Fortune 500 companies, large universities and every major insurance company operating in North Carolina.

    10.   We Are Available Now.

    We are available now.The auto accident lawyers at Speaks Law Firm are available to answer your questions right now.  Call (910) 341-7570 now to get your claim set up correctly from the very beginning.  If you are still not sure, you can chat with one of our live on-line operators (bottom left) right now or fill out the “How can we help you?” form (top right).  Contact us for a Free Case Review! No obligation.

     

  • I saw your TV commercial. You said, “No FEE unless we recover.” What does that mean exactly?

    If I were you, I would ask that same question. How can you just give something away like that? We have all learned the hard way about “the fine print."  You just want to read it and understand what it says.

    Auto accident lawyersThe answer is simple. I have been helping injured people for a long time.  I have seen thousands of collision reports.  I have talked with hundreds of law enforcement officers about traffic investigations.  I have worked with almost every insurance company doing business in the southeastern United States.  I have done these things every day over many years.

    Reading the Fine PrintI can look at a collision report and see things.  I can see things that other people may not be able to see.  Some of those things are helpful to your case and some of those things are not. Based upon what I see, I can determine in a minute or two if your claim has value.  I will need medical reports and medical bills to give a specific opinion as to the value of your claim, but I can quickly determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.

    A claim is worth pursuing if a person was injured because someone else made a mistake, if there was an injury and if there is some source of recovery.  Not every claim is going to be worth $1 Million.  Some claims are big. Some claims are small.  We help people with injury claims whether they are big or small.

    We have made a commitment to help injured people.  That is what we are going to do.  If you do the right things for the right reasons over time, you will be successful.  That is our philosophy.  It has served us well so far.

    Helping injured people recover money to which they are entitled under the lawSo, if we are unable to recover money for your claim, you do not have to pay us any money at all for our services.  If we do recover money, we deduct a percentage of it as a fee, pay medical liens and give you the rest. That places an incentive on us to recover as much as is possible under the law.  And remember, injured people recover 3 ½ times more when they are represented by a lawyer according to the 2004 Insurance Research Council Study.

    If you have been in an accident, call us and ask a few questions before you hire a lawyer or sign a form.

     

  • What services do you provide if I was injured in an auto accident?

    We can help injured people find medical referralsOne thing that separates us from other law firms is the comprehensive nature of the service we provide.  For example, we provide the following services FREE for the people we represent in auto injury claims:

    The North Carolina Auto Injury BookFREE BOOK

    Call to receive The North Carolina Auto Injury Book FREE (Valued at $16.95) or download it now by clicking on the Free Offer tab (right).  You can also chat (top or bottom left) or simply call (910) 341-7570 or (877) 593-4233 to speak with me now.

    Free consultation for auto injury claims at Speaks Law FirmFREE CONSULTATION

    In addition to the sources of information described above you can can call (910) 341-7570 or (877) 593-4233 for a Free phone or face-to-face consultation today.

    FREE INFORMATION

    You can read any of the hundreds of Library Articles, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Blog Posts and Client Testimonials and Case Results on this site FREE.

  • I was injured in an auto accident. It was clearly the other driver's fault. I am not sure if I should handle the claim myself or retain an attorney. Am I better off with a lawyer or without one?

     

    Look before You Buy

    Call us at (910) 341-7570.  Ask all the questions you can think of and then decide if you feel like an attorney will help.  After you have all of the information, you will be in a better position to decide.  The consultation is free.  There is no obligation.  

    What We Do

    Speaks Law Firm maximizes recovery in auto accident claims.We approach each case like it is our only case.  We look at each case like an individual corporation.  Corporations do two things:  maximize revenue and minimize expenses.  We maximize the revenue by negotiating the highest settlement offer. Then we minimize the expenses by negotiating the lowest possible payments to medical providers and lienholders. That is how we can get the most money for you, the person who was affected most by the accident. We follow this procedure in every injury case.

    Is this about Money?

    Yes.  It is about money, but not because we are greedy or because we want you to have something for nothing.  It is about money because you have bills, liens and loss.  It will take money to pay the bills, satisfy the liens and compensate for your loss. 

    I am not the kind of Person who likes to Sue People.  I just want to be treated fairly.

    Contrary to what T.V. programs would have you believe none of our clients are trying to recover something for nothing. We do not represent people who say they were injured when they are not.  We do not represent people who try to exaggerate claims or defraud insurance companies.  We represent good people who were legitimately injured by careless people in real accidents.

    Do the Right Thing:  An Analogy

    If my son throws a baseball through our neighbor’s window, what should he do?  Should he pull his cap down over his eyes and sneak off to the garage?  No.  He should knock on the door and say, “I am sorry”.  He should pay to fix the window.  He should pay for the materials, the labor and the clean up.  He should not have to pay to fix a clogged drain, a squeaky door, or a missing shingle, but he should pay for the damage he caused.  It is the same with car and other accidents.

    The Law in Auto Accident Cases

    Legal help with automobile accident claimsThe law requires the person who caused the wreck to pay for the damage.  The law requires drivers to purchase insurance so that if a driver hurts someone by accident while driving, he or she will not be financially devastated by an honest mistake.  If it was not a simple honest mistake, the responsible driver may face criminal prosecution for illegal conduct.

    My Job as an Injury Lawyer

    I cannot repair cracked collar bones, fractured fibulas or torn connective tissue.  I cannot make injured people well again. You will need talented medical professionals to do that.  Those medical professionals, talented as they may be, do not work for free.  Medical treatment costs money.  And, what if there are future medical expenses?  What if you miss work?  What if you have a permanent scar or some type of permanent disability?  What if you cannot run again? Or walk?  What about the pain that you have experienced following the accident, the treatment and the recovery?  The only tool that exists to address these unfortunate yet inescapable consequences is money.  It is my job to get enough of it to pay for these damages.

    Insurance companies want to pay the smallest amount possible in auto accident claims.One More Thing

    For the insurance company, it is entirely about money.  They will pay the smallest amount they can possibly get away with in every case.  For them, this is math problem; not a moral dilemma.  It is the job of every insurance adjuster to save money for the company by paying out the least amount possible for claims.  Insurance companies, like other companies, are obligated to their shareholders to maximize revenue and minimize expenses.  Premiums payments produce revenue. As an injury claimant, you are an expense.  The recorded statement they ask you to provide will reveal their intentions if you know where to look.

    How we Maximize Recovery

    Documentation in an auto injury claimFirst, we look at all possible sources of recovery including owner’s policy, driver’s policy, employer’s policy, victim’s policy, worker’s compensation policy, umbrella policy, other policies and individual assets.  Then we gather information that is legally and factually relevant to the claim.  We present it in a way that is compelling and specifically designed to match with the computer valuation models used by insurance companies to assess claim value.  Finally, we add context to tell your story and how you were affected by the accident.

    Minimize Expenses

    Almost every injury claim settlement will involve expenses.  Medical providers who advance services may have liens.  Health insurers like Blue Cross, Medicaid, Medicare, Tri-Care and others may have liens, as well.  There may be other liens, costs and expenses that arise.  We have legal tools and experience to negotiate these lien amounts to help us achieve our goal of fair compensation.

    Why are liens important?

    The insurance company is going to gather information about these liens.  They are legally required to satisfy the lien before they pay any money to you.  They will ask you to sign a medical release so they can get this information.  Will there be anything left for you after these liens are satisfied? Is it wise to take that chance?

    Attorney Fees

    Fee Structure

    Attorney fees in injury cases are generally structured the same from one law firm to another.  The consultation is free.  There is no fee unless we recover money.  The fee is calculated as a percentage of the recovery.  The percentage may be different from firm to firm, and it increases if the case goes to court. This is because of the additional time, energy, expertise and risk associated with court.  You do not have to pay the fee in advance.  Instead, the fee will be deducted from your settlement proceeds. 

    The Attorney Analysis

    It makes sense to use an attorney if you will receive more money with an attorney than you would without an attorney. 

    Critical Factors

    You want to make sure of two things.  First, you want to make sure that your attorney can maximize the value of the claim and minimize the expenses.  Second, you want to make sure that your attorney charges a reasonable fee.  (Remember the attorney fee is charged at the conclusion of the case as a percentage of total recovery.) 

    After an auto accident, call us for information.Are you better off with an attorney after an Accident?

    You are better off with the right attorney.  The right attorney can maximize the claim, minimize the expenses and charge a reasonable fee.  That will lead to fair compensation.  This is true whether your injuries are catastrophic or minor.  Call for more information.  (910) 341-7570.

  • My car was totaled in an auto accident that was not my fault. How much should the other driver’s insurance company pay me for my car?

    North Carolina Auto Accident Lawyers

    How much should the insurance company pay me for my damaged vehicleWho should pay?

    The driver who causes an auto accident is responsible for the harm he causes.  In car wreck cases, harm usually comes in the form of property damage and bodily injury.  The driver’s auto insurance company has employees who are responsible for “handling” claims for the insurance company. The employees are called insurance adjusters.

    Who is "the adjuster"?

    The responsible driver’s insurance company will assign one insurance adjuster to the property damage claim.  A different adjuster will be assigned to any injury claims. The property damage adjuster will determine what amount to give you for the damage to or loss of your vehicle.  She will also determine whether you should get a rental car.

    The insurance adjusterWhat is the adjuster's job?

    It is important to remember that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company.  The insurance company pays her salary.  Her job is to resolve claims in the best interest of the insurance company. An adjuster will often say, “It is our policy to . . . “

    What factors complicate the process?

    The law requires the responsible party to pay for the damage caused by their insured driver regardless of their internal policies.  However, some of the laws that relate to property damage and injury claims are tricky.  Health insurance, third party payors, liens, and other issues complicated the process.  It gets even more complicated when there is more than one insurance company involved.  This issue often arises when your vehicle is totaled, when you need a rental car, or when there is more than one driver at fault.

    What about Property Damage?

    You may be able to handle the property damage component of your claim yourself.  The insurance company should pay the cost of restoring your car to its pre-accident condition.  If your car was totaled, you can determine the value through various on-line auto valuation sites.  If the damage for your car was greater than 25% of its value, then it must be reported on the vehicle title and you may have an additional claim for deminution in value.

    insurance adjusters save money for their employers after a North Carolina Car AccidentShould I take care of the Property Damage myself?

    Although you can handle the property damage claim yourself, we prefer to take care of it for our auto injury clients.  The laws can be confusing.  The adjusters have greater knowledge and experience than most people do in dealing with these types of issues. In addition, it is always hard to know if you are being treated fairly unless you deal with these claims frequently.  Normally, we do not charge a fee for handling this part of an auto injury case.

    Who should I call?

    If you have questions about your property damage or car rental after an auto accident or injury in North Carolina, pick up the phone and give us a call.  We work with people from Charlotte to Wilmington, North Carolina.  If we cannnot help you, we may be able to refer you to a good lawyer in your area.  You can also chat with an operator 24/7 about your case.

  • How much will the insurance company offer?

     

    How much will the insurance company offer?

    what should i do after a wilmington nc auto accidentIf 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 interests are in conflict with yours.  The adjuster will use that information, knowledge and experience for the benefit of his or her employer.  His or her employer is the insurance company.  The insurance company makes more money if they pay you less for your claim.  Level the playing field a little by learning some of what they know.

    1.  How the Insurance Company is Viewing Your Claim

    Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, no for you.In determining the value of your claim, you must take the facts of your case and look ahead. You imagine what a jury would award if it heard the facts of your case after a trial.  This is the process in every case, even if your case never goes to trial.  And, if your case is set up correctly from the beginning, you may very well avoid court altogether.

    2.  Factors that Typically Increase Claim Value

    In general, more serious injuries with greater medical bills produce higher settlement values than less serious cases with lower medical bills.  Also, insurance companies will pay more for cases involving permanent injuries or death as long as these cases are properly diagnosed, treated and documented from the very beginning.

    3.  The Evolution of the Claims Process

    Evolution of injury claimsThe process for calculating the value of a particular case has grown more complicated over the years.  Twenty-five years ago, injury lawyers used a very basic calculation to estimate the settlement value of a case.  We would calculate the medical bills.  Then we could demand three times medical bills as a settlement for the claim.  The use of computers has changed that process forever.

    4.  How Computers have Changed How they Value Claims

    Insurance companies now use computer models to calculate the value of your case.  Claim data is entered into the computer, and the computer gives an estimated value or a range of values.  The insurance adjuster’s settlement authority is derived from that estimated value or range.

    5.  How Computers have Changed How We Prepare Claims

    What is a fair settlement value for my wilmington nc auto accident claimThe use of this computer model has changed the way settlement values are calculated.  More importantly, this process has changed the way we prepare and present a claim.  Our settlement demands are much more thorough, complete and comprehensive these days.

    6.  Documenting the Presence of Positive Factors

    Today, in order to get a fair settlement for an injury case, we must identify the positive settlement factors that apply to your case.  We cannot just describe these factors over the phone to the adjuster.  The adjuster may listen politely.  He may ignore these factors in the claim evaluation.  We must document the factors and support them with credible legal, factual or medical evidence.

    7.  Documenting the Absence of Negative Factors

    Precision documentation is the key to obtaining fair value in your north carolina auto injury claimIn addition, we must avoid negative factors.  An example of a negative settlement factor is “pre-existing medical condition".  Adjusters and health insurance providers may use these negative factors to reduce the value of your claim.  We may have to provide legal, factual or medical evidence to demonstrate that a particular negative settlement factor does not apply to your claim.

    8.  Factors that Determine the Value of Your Claim

    Below you will find 15 questions.  The answers to these questions can directly impact the value of your auto injury claim.

    1.  Do you have a respected lawyer?

    2.  Was the collision clearly someone else’s fault?

    3.  Was the other driver ticketed?

    4.  What are your medical bills?

    5.  What are the nature and extent of your injuries?

    6.  Should you expect future medical expenses?

    7.  Have you lost income as a result of your injuries?

    8.  Have any of your bills been paid by a third party, such as health insurance or Medicaid?

    9.  Are there liens against the proceeds of your case that you are responsible for paying?

    10.  Is there any permanent injury or loss of use of a particular part of the body?

    11.  Did you have any pre-existing injuries?

    12.  Did you have any particular susceptibility to injury?

    13.  Was the responsible driver driving for his or her employer at the time of the collision?

    14.  What are the limits of the responsible driver’s insurance policy?

    15.  Do you have any insurance coverage that may pay for some of your injuries?

    9.  Other Factors

    There are many other factors that may apply.  It is worth repeating that these factors should not be addressed orally over the phone.  The adjuster may acknowledge your assertion and then ignore it from the settlement calculations.  Each factor must be supported with evidence or documentation.

    10.  A Word of Caution

    Be careful when dealing with an insurance adjuster for an injury claimIn addition, all injury lawyers say they are aggressive.  You have heard the ads, right?  However, as you can see here there is more to this process than being aggressive.  In fact, a hyper-aggressive attorney can result in the unnecessary trial of your case.

    11.  The Art and Science of Settlement

    Securing a fair settlement 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.” Insurance adjusters are too smart and sophisticated to be bullied by a overly-aggressive lawyer. Fair settlements are the result of knowledge, experience, organization, diligence and determination. It is both an art and a science. 

    Insurance companies seek to maximize profits.12.  The Insurance Company's Motivation

    For the insurance company, this is not a moral analysis.  They have little incentive to “do the right thing”.  Insurance companies are businesses.  Businesses have a purpose. The purpose is to maximize profits. For them this is a mathematical analysis.  What is the smallest amount of money we can pay to get rid of this claim?  Your claim is an expense.  They maximize profits by minimizing how much they pay you.

    13.  How the Right Lawyer can Help

    It may sound like going through this process complicates your claim.  It does not.  It simplifies and clarifies the processes.  Claims that are properly documented, settle much more quickly and for much more money.  We can show the insurance adjuster each of the positive settlement factors that apply to your claim.  We can show why negative Call Speaks Law Firm to speak with an experienced professional about your auto injury claimfactors should not apply.  We can do this by making sure that your case is properly diagnosed, treated and documented from the beginning. Call (910) 341-7570 now for a free consultation with experienced professional.  There is no obligation.  Or click follow this link for additional information about finding the right injury lawyer.

  • I was in an auto wreck that was not my fault. How can I get a fair settlement from the insurance company for the damage to my car after the collision?

    Auto Collision Property Damage Claims

    Auto collisions produce two types of claims.  You may have a claim for property damage resulting from damage to your car.  You may also have a separate claim for personal injury resulting from injuries to your body.  The focus of this article is on the resolution of property damage claims.  There are other articles on this site that are devoted to auto and other injury claims.

    Property damage claims are based upon the principle that people should pay for the damage caused by their mistakes.  A person who causes a wreck by inattention is responsible for paying for the resulting damage.  Most people don’t have money available to pay these types of unanticipated expenses.  The law requires drivers in North Carolina to purchase auto liability insurance coverage.  The insurance will pay for the damages caused by its insured drivers.

    The Adjuster(s)

    The insurance company for the responsible driver will assign an adjuster to each claim.  If there is more than one insurance company involved, there may be more than one adjuster.  Each adjuster involved is responsible for resolving the claims in the way that is best for his or her employer-the insurance company.

    Property Damage

    Property damage claims used to be straightforward and uncomplicated.  The insurance company is responsible for putting you back into the same position financially that you were before the collision.  That means they must pay to have your vehicle repaired or replaced.  They may also be required to pay for a rental car for a reasonable period of time after the collision.

    Like everything, these claims have grown more complicated over time.  Below are some of the issues that arise with increasing frequency regarding property damage after an auto collision?

    • Am I eligible for a rental car?
    • What kind of rental car can I get?
    • How long can I keep the rental car?
    • What about the personal items that remain in my car?
    • I have three kids, are we supposed to squeeze into a compact car?
    • Should my car be repaired or replaced?
    • Where can I take my car for repairs?
    • How do I know that my car will be repaired correctly?
    • What should my insurance pay?
    • What should their insurance pay?
    • My car was severely damaged.  It is worth less money even after repair.  Who pays for that?

    These questions must be addressed at an early stage of the claims process.  Historically property damage claim were usually resolved without incident.  However, your discussions with the adjuster regarding property damage can have dramatic, negative and unexpected consequences.  See the attached article.

    How We Help With Property Damage

    Some of these issues arise in almost every case.  I could write an entire book on how to deal with these issues.  Instead, I would prefer to handle your property damage claim for you.  We can make sure that your property damage claim is resolved fairly.

    The Cost for This Service

    We provide this service (valued at $500.00 or more) for free when we handle your auto injury claim.  We do this so that you will not make any mistakes trying to “do it yourself”.  These mistakes can reduce or eliminate the value of your claim for personal injuries.

    If you have questions about this or anything else relating to your auto injury claim, give us a call at (877) 593-4233.

     

  • I was injured in a car wreck. Does it matter if the other driver received a traffic citation?

    Most auto collisions are caused by the inattention of one or more of the drivers involved.  The responsible driver is usually cited by the investigating officer.  The citation shows what the responsible driver did to cause the collision.  It is important evidence that shows who is responsible for the collision and why they are responsible.  You and your lawyer should review the citation. 

    Also, the responsible driver will have to address the citation in court.  The responsible driver may pay the citation, go to court himself, or hire a lawyer to go to court for him.  It is also important to review the court file for the citation.  It may contain an admission of liability or other evidence that is helpful to your auto injury claim.