Get Answers to Your Most Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Injury Law in North Carolina.

Questions about an important legal matter involving a personal injury claim?  Many of those questions are answered here.  Call us or get information about the process here. 

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  • How much do I have to pay for the services I receive in an injury case?

    Services We Provide for Free

    • FREE Medical Referrals (even if you don't have insurance)
    • Free Rental Car Assistance
    • Free Vehicle Damage Claims Assistance  (We can help you avoid expensive mistakes and explain the process.)
    • FREE Consultation
    • No Fee Unless we recover for you!

      FREE BOOK

      Call to receive The North Carolina Auto Injury Book FREE (Valued at $16.95) or the Road to Recovery Magazine.  You can also chat (drop-down or bottom left) or simply call (910) 341-7570 or (877) 593-4233 to speak with me now.

      FREE 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.

       

  • What You Should 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 should know before you have that conversation

    But, she already knows what happened. She has the report. The report has detailed information about the accident. What is she really trying to do?

    She is looking for information that will help her do her job. Her job is to save the insurance company money by paying you less.

    Prepare for that conversation by calling us now.  The call is FREE and there is no obligation.  If you choose to retain us, there is no fee unless we win.  You can contact us anytime day or night on this site by chat or email contact.

    Here is a Checklist of what to do after an accident.

    Many people make mistakes during the first 72 hours after an injury that prevent them from recovering full and fair compensation for their injuries.  On this site you can get FREE information that will help you avoid these costly mistakes.  Also, you can call, chat or email for a FREE phone or face-to-face consultation.

  • 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 me to recommend an estate planning lawyer in California.  I don't know estate planning lawyers in California.  I was forced to think about it from your point of view.  This is the approach that I suggested for my friend.

    How Can I Find the Best Lawyer for my Case?

    Rear end collisionThe Google Search

    First, I would do some research on Google.  Let's say I would like to speak with an attorney about an injury claim arising from an auto accident. I might search the terms "auto accident", "injury", and "lawyer".

    Add Geographic Information to Your Search

    That search might give me candidates from New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.  I might then add a geographic limitation.  If my claim arose in southeastern North Carolina, I might add "Wilmington NC" rather than the name of the nearest smaller town.  Those search criteria should produce a list of candidates. 

    What is Next?

    Once I had a list of candidate, I would want to know three things:  1.  What do other lawyers say about the lawyer?   2.  What do former clients say about the lawyer?  3.  How do I feel about the lawyer?

    1.  What do other lawyers say about the lawyer?

    How can you find out about a particular lawyer's reputation among those who practice law and know good lawyers from bad lawyers?

    Door to Door

    You could go knock on the doors of twenty lawyers and ask.  That would take too long.  In addition, the results might not be reliable.  Does the lawyer you are asking know the lawyer you are considering?  Is the lawyer likely to give you accurate information that benefits you or simply refer you to his friend.

    Avvo.com

    Try Avvo.com.  Avvo is a national independent service that gathers information about all licensed lawyers.  The information gathered includes the lawyer's reputation in the legal community, experience in a particular field of law, and record for ethical conduct.  Based upon this information Avvo rates the lawyer on a scale of 1 - 10. 

    Note

    I would look for an Avvo rating of 9.0 or higher (10.0 is the maximum possible rating).  Our Avvo rating is "10".  Our Avvo badge is located on the home page of this site and below in the grey box.  In addition and for consecutive years, we have been identified as Superlawyers by Thomson Reuters and selected to the Top 100 Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

    2.  What do former clients say about the lawyer?

    I would look to see what this lawyer’s clients say about the service they received.  Did they feel like he or she was knowledgable?  Did they feel like he was responsive?  Did they feel like he did a good job for them?  Were they happy with the service they received?  Did they feel like they were treated fairly and with courtesy and respect?

    You can find client testimonials describing the experiences that our clients have had with our firm on Google, Avvo, and on this site under the Testimonials tab at the top of the home page.

    3.  How do I feel about the lawyer?

    Ask Questions

    I would always have a consultation with a lawyer before I retained him or her.  I would write down questions in advance of the consultation.  During the consultation, I would ask questions.  I would listen carefully to the answers. 

    Beware the Big Talker

    It is illegal and unethical for a lawyer to promise results in a case.  If your lawyer makes lofty guarantees about the results in your case, he is violating important ethical principles and the law.  If he will break those rules, will he break other rules that are in place for your protection?

    In addition, each case requires investigation, research and careful analysis.  How can he guarantee a result unless he has done these things?  Great lawyers under promise and over deliver.  They make conservative estimates and careful predictions because they know that people depend on what they say.

    Consider This

    After that meeting I would consider three things.  1. Does he know this specific area of the law? 2. Do I feel like I can trust him? 3. Do I feel like he can help me? 

    The Best Lawyer for my Case

    At the conclusion of the consultation, I would feel like I had enough information to decide if this lawyer was the best lawyer for my case.  To set up your phone or face-to-face consultation, please call (910) 341-7570 or (877) 593-4233.

     

  • What should I do after an accident to protect myself legally?

    Wilmington, North Carolina Auto Accident Lawyers Created a Checklist to help you after a car wreck.

    Auto Accident Injury Checklist

    • Write down the date and details of the accident.Photograph scene and injuries after your NC auto injury accident
    • Take photos that will tell the story of the accident, your injuries and your recovery.
    • Write down the names and addresses of witnesses.
    • Request a copy of the Accident Report. (We can help you get a copy.)
    • Review the Accident Report for accuracy and completeness.
    • Seek immediate medical attention if there is any chance you were injured in the accident.
    • Write down the name of the provider and practice for every medical professional you see for injuries resulting from the accident.
    • Do NOT give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster without a thorough consultation with an experienced injury lawyer.
    • Call  (877) 593-4233 for a free telephone or face-to-face consultation in order to protect yourself from financial loss.   
    • Gather insurance documents for your health and auto policy.

    North Carolina Auto Injury ChecklistFor more information about how we can help you avoid costly mistakes after an Auto Accident Injury in North Carolina contact us by filling out the "How can we help you?" form at the top of this page.

     

     

  • 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 vehicle of the responsible driver is required to pay for the medical and other expenses of those who were not at fault.  The policy will pay up to the limits of the policy.  In other words, where there is $30,000.00 (or $60,000.00) of liability coverage, the insurance company could be required to pay that entire amount, but no more.

    Where the damages are greater than the limits of the insurance policy, the injured person must look for other sources of recovery.  These are some of the questions your lawyer will ask in order to comprehensively address this complex issue:

    • Does the responsible driver have a different liability policy that you could access?
    • Was the responsible driver working for his employer at the time of the accident?
    • Does the responsible driver have an umbrella insurance policy?
    • Does the injured person have underinsured motorist coverage?
    • Does the responsible driver have assets that could be seized and sold in order to pay some or all of the judgment beyond the limits of the insurance policy?* 

    * This particular analysis can be complicated.  Before you reject the insurance companies offer to settle the case for the policy limits and proceed with a lawsuit, you must think clearly and carefully.  If you were seriously injured by the negligence of another person, you are probably angry.  Who could blame you? I would be.  Of course, you want the person responsible for the accident to pay for the damage they caused.  In fact, the law requires it.

    However, if the negilgent driver does not have the assets to pay for damages beyond the limits of the insurance policy, you will be wasting valuable time and money.  You may want to perform an asset search in order to determine whether this is a viable option.  The process of securing and enforcing a judgment can be expensive.  If the responsible person does not have sufficient assets, then you will have wasted time and money for no reason.

    Where damages exceed insurance coverage you need an experienced personal injury lawyer more than ever.  A good lawyer may be able to find additional sources or recovery.  He or she may be able to perform an informal asset search.  From that he will be able to determine whether you should you accept the policy limits or fight for more. 

    Even if there is not enough money to pay all of the medical expenses from the available insurance policy, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.  He may be able to negotiate down the amount of the outstanding medical bills.  He may be able to use financial leverage and statutory laws to get your bills paid and still put a substantial amount of money in your pocket.  Call or contact us now to find out how we can help you maximize your recovery in your auto accident and injury case.

    Personal Injury Lawyers, Auto Accident and Injury AttorneysWilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Jacksonville, Burgaw, Bolivia, Shallotte, New Hanover County, Pender County, Brunswick County, Onslow County, North Carolina.

  • 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 in a reasonable and prudent manner. When one of us fails to act responsibly, he or she exposes the rest of us to a risk of injury. If someone is injured because of carelessness of another, the law requires the careless person to pay for the damage that he or she causes.

    Injury does not follow every negligent act. But a momentary lapse of judgment can cause the life of other human beings to be torn apart forever. Whether it is a catastrophic North Carolina traffic crash or an accidental drowning in a Wrightsville Beach pool that was not properly fenced or maintained, some acts of negligence have devastating consequences. Such incidents, caused by another person’s negligence, demand a direct and deliberate response—not only for the sake of justice, but to recover the expenses that follow for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and even funeral expenses.

    The Wilmington personal injury attorneys at Speaks Law Firm are ready to assist you in holding the negligent person and his insurance company responsible. The first step in this process is for you to call us.  Doyou have a case?  Are there additional responsible parties?  What is the most effective way to pursue your claim?  We can help you answer these questions and get the fair compensation to which you are entitled under the law.

  • What is your lawyer thinking in a serious injury case?

    What is different about a serious injury cases from your lawyer's perspective?

    It is raining.  I am driving in 5 o’clock traffic in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’ll call you back,” I say to the person on the phone as my GPS directs me to the visitor’s parking lot.

    As I get closer to the hospital, I am forced to accept the reality of the situation .  After years of doing this, you would think it gets easier.  It does not.  Speaking to the family of someone who has been seriously injured in an accident is always a difficult thing to do.

    There is a part of me that wants to keep driving.  But, I know they need help, and they need it now.  There will be a wife, a daughter, or a parent who will be asking me what to do.  They will want me to tell them that everything will be ok.  I can’t tell them that, yet.

    Finally, I reach the parking area.  I get my bag, my identification, and cell phone (camera).  A family member meets me in the lobby.  We clear security.  I meet other family members, and we find a place to talk.

    I am always amazed by these trauma centers.  The people that work there deal with life and death everyday.  In my experience, these people are real pros.  They are singularly focused on giving a child back to a parent or a parent back to a child.  They all rush around with the same expression, “This person may die someday.  Just not today!”  I try to stay out of their way so they can do their jobs.

    I meet the family.  There are several of them here.  This time, it is a wife and two young children.  The wife already knows.  The kids don’t.  Dad is not coming home.

    It is always tough with kids.  Young kids know something is wrong, but they don’t understand the long-term implications.  They are concerned, but the family is here and they are in a big building with lots of people.  They are kind of excited like when they stay in a hotel.

    We find a place to talk.  The family wants to know, “Is this going to turn out ok?!”  I want to tell them, “Yes!”  I want to put my arms around them and say, “Absolutely!  Everything is going to be just fine.”  But, I can’t say that.

    That is the hard part; the part I dread.  They will depend on the words that I say and I can’t say something that I do not know to be true.  The truth is that I don’t know if everything is going to be fine.  Not being able to tell them everything will be fine is gut-wrenching.  I can feel some of what they feel.  That is my gift and my curse.

    I am not a doctor.  I can’t make injured or dying people better.  I can pray. I have already done that.  I cannot deal with any of the medical problems that this family will face. However, this family will face more than medical problems.  They will face financial problems, as well.

    When a person is seriously injured, financial pressure starts immediately. The course of treatment may be affected by the source of payment.  Care that saves lives (or tries its best) costs money; lots of money.

    And, that’s not all.  What about other financial challenges?  What about future medical expenses for surgeries, therapy, and long-term care?  What happens if it is a child who is injured?  The child may out-live the parents but need continued care.  What happens then?  What happens if it is a father?  Rent is going to be due on the 1st.  There will be car payments, electric bills, phone bills, and lunch money.  The list goes on and on.  The economic challenges that are presented by a serious injury are real, and they are immediate.

    I think about my own family.  What would I do?  What would I be feeling?  I picture my life without my kids or theirs without me.  “Snap out of it,” I think to myself.  “This is not about you.  You have a job to do.”

    I need information.  I need to know:  What happened?  Who was there? What evidence is still available?  “Darn!  It is raining.  That could complicate things,” I think to myself.  Was there an investigative report from the police, fire department, ATF, or some other agency?  The injured person was working. That could be good.  “Please, God! Let there be insurance.  Maybe we can access a general liability, a homeowner’s, a workers compensation, or auto policy?  If there is insurance, I can help.  Then it will defend on the evidence, the documentation and the policy limits.”

    I need documentation.  I need investigative reports and witness statements.  “Did anyone in the family make a statement?”  “I wish they had called me, first.  I know that months from now a team of lawyers will analyze every word.  I have been on that team,” I think to myself.

    I need photographs, lots of photographs.  I need photographs of the injured person, the family and the site of the injury.  I will need photographs of any equipment or machinery involved.  The experts will need photographs in order to complete their reports.  I need contact information for the witnesses, employers, family members, and investigators.

    I have paperwork.  I need to get it signed.  I need authorization to work.  I need to talk with you about fees and expenses.  You only have to pay us if we recover money for your family.  I need for you to understand this information, even at this difficult time.  I need medical releases so that I can get more documentation.  I need to take mental notes.  I am going to need to tell the story of this loss; of what it means to this family, and it needs to be good.

    For more information about the biggest mistakes people make in auto and other injury cases that cost them thousands and the most effective ways to avoid these mistakes call (877) 593-4233 or request a free copy of my book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book on this site.

  • I was rear-ended by a student driver while waiting at a stop sign in Wilmington. Nobody was seriously injured, and my car only has a minor ding and a few scratches. Is it worthwhile contacting a lawyer?

    You say that you weren’t seriously injured. How can you know that? If you think your injuries were unimportant, you probably haven’t gone to the emergency room or even your family doctor to get checked out. Our concern is that serious—even life-threatening—injuries can mask themselves for days or weeks after an accident … and then reveal themselves to be critical injuries requiring urgent treatment. You need to get your condition evaluated immediately.

    Whiplash is one of the more common results of a North Carolina rear-end collision. This type of injury can worsen over time, leading to pain months after the initial trauma. If it turns out that you have whiplash or another subtle injury, do you really think it’s fair that you might shoulder the costs of your medical treatment when someone else was responsible for the accident that harmed you?

    The second reason for you to take legal action

    Fairness is another reason why you ought to contact a Wilmington personal injury law firm soon. Most injury lawyers in North Carolina offer free first-time consultations for potential clients, so you can learn if you have a case and meet the attorney who can represent you. Basically, there is no risk to you in asking an attorney to look at your situation, so we can’t understand why anyone would not want to get in touch with a lawyer.

    But maybe you’re shy, or maybe you really think you would be profiting at the expense of someone else. We can respect that, but let us suggest that there is another reason why you should consider a lawsuit: civic duty. The streets of North Carolina are less safe if there is a driving instructor or a driving school that is doing a bad job training student drivers. If the accident—minor accident—that happened to you is due to poor instruction techniques or negligent instructor supervision, this driving school may be turning out hundreds of dangerous drivers every year.

    Don’t you have an obligation to your fellow citizens to call attention to this hazard? Wouldn’t a lawsuit be an effective way to let the driving school know they will be held accountable for turning out poorly trained young drivers?

    Get your questions answered

    It’s true that we’ve responded to your question with just more questions of our own. That’s because the biggest question of all—Do I want to move forward to see that my legal rights are protected?—is something only you can answer.

    For more information about the biggest mistakes people make in auto injury cases that cost them thousands and the most effective ways to avoid these mistakes please call (877) 593-4233 to request a free copy of my book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book, 20 Secrets to Maximize your Claim or to speak with an experienced professional about your case.

     

  • 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, will usually be settled out of court without a trial. A settlement means that the defendant—the truck driver or his employer—offers the plaintiff—you—a sum of money to drop the case. Generally, the person actually offering the settlement is a representative of the insurance company for the plaintiff, and the offer will be made to your attorney.

    If you accept the offer (which may be the latest of several offers), then the trial will be canceled. In exchange for the money you receive, you will have to sign a document giving up your right to sue over your injuries.

    A settlement avoids the costs of a trial, and also avoids uncertainty about the verdict.

    If, as you suggest, the trucker has admitted he was drowsy when the accident occurred, or if there was other strong evidence to demonstrate he was negligent while driving, then it is even more likely that the case will be settled out of court. On the other hand, the more severe your injuries from your North Carolina traffic accident, the greater the amount of money that is potentially at stake—and thus, the greater the chance the insurance company will force you to go through a trial.

    “How long does this usually take before the case is concluded?”

    Longer than you would like—but that’s really a good thing. After all, once you have accepted a settlement or received a jury award for damages, you have no chance to ask for more compensation in the future. It would be a disaster to get a certain award only to find, a few weeks later, that you had further medical complications from your injury that will require much greater health care expenses than your award covers.

    It’s typical, then, for your case to be filed but not actually brought to trial until the full scope of your injuries and medical expenses can be assessed. That can mean months or even a couple years of waiting.

    Waiting patiently serves your interests, because it allows the most precise estimate of what your future medical and rehabilitation needs, and so allows your attorney to demand a specific sum for your compensation. But a delay also serves the interests of the insurance company opposing you. Their lawyers understand that, the longer the process takes, the more likely that you will be tempted to settle for a lower amount in order to begin paying your mountain of accumulated bills.

    If you have other questions about your case, you should be having a regular dialogue with the attorney representing you. If you have not yet hired attorney for your Wilmington truck injury case, call Speaks Law Firm at 877-593-4233, and ask for a free consultation with a North Carolina personal injury lawyer. Our legal team emphasizes the importance of keeping open lines of communication between client and attorney so you can get answers whenever you need them.

  • My wife died in a Wilmington drunk driving car accident. There is already a criminal DWI case pending against the truck driver who killed her. Can I sue for wrongful death too, or does the criminal case make that impossible?

    We are very sorry to hear about your loss.

    Yes, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver. That lawsuit will take place under the rules of North Carolina civil law. The state’s case against the driver will follow criminal law. One type of legal action does not lock out the other.

    You may have heard that there is something called double jeopardy that prevents someone from being tried twice for the same offense. That’s absolutely true, and it’s a guarantee embedded in the U.S. Constitution. However, it only applies to criminal cases within one jurisdiction. North Carolina cannot try this truck driver twice for the same incident of vehicular homicide while intoxicated.

    The existence of a criminal case has no bearing on whether you can bring a civil lawsuit. In fact, it may enhance your prospect of winning a judgment. Your North Carolina fatal injury attorney may be able to get useful documentation from police and prosecutors while investigating the case. If the truck driver’s criminal case is resolved with a verdict or guilty plea before your lawsuit comes to trial, the driver’s insurance company may be more willing to settle outside of court.

    You should bear in mind two other important differences between the state’s criminal case and your civil case:

    • The standard of evidence needed to win is different. The state has a tougher burden of proof in a criminal case. The prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the truck driver met the requirement of the criminal statute for the charge. That may require showing a precise degree of intoxication, for instance. In your civil case, your attorney must show by a preponderance of the evidence—meaning “more likely than not”—that the truck driver was negligent, and that this negligence led to your wife’s death.
    • The ultimate goal of the court process is different. The state’s criminal case is directed toward the goals of punishment, deterrence, and social control. A winning case leads to prison or jail time for the truck driver. On the other hand, the goal of a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit will be to compensate you for your losses in the only way possible—with monetary damages.

    Everyone involved recognizes that money is not what you most want, but the legal system cannot bring your wife back to you. Monetary damages or a settlement affords you a cushion against the extra expenses and hardships you face because your spouse is lost. We know that can’t fill the hole in your life, but we all hope it can help the recovery process in some small way.

    For more information about the biggest mistakes people make in auto injury cases that cost them thousands and the most effective ways to avoid these mistakes please call (877) 593-4233 to request a free copy of my book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book, 20 Secrets to Maximize your Claim or to speak with an experienced professional about your case.