A personal injury blog containing useful information for anyone in Charlotte looking for information about personal injury or looking for a Charlotte personal injury attorney.
If you’re taking on the role of Social Host this summer, a little planning can go a long way. Summer’s here, and with it comes barbecue, Saturday invites, and, social host liability. North Carolina is typically a tough state in which to recover against an individual or business under a social host liability theory or “Dram shop law”. However, if you are a social host or an establishment providing alcohol, there are a few items of which you should be aware.
Dram Shop Laws
Dram Shop Laws typically refer to business establishments serving alcohol. North Carolina generally limits the liability of business owners to situations where the intoxicated individual is a minor. In order to recover damages against a business in north Carolina for serving alcohol to a minor, you will need to prove the following:
The relevant North Carolina law is N.C.G.S. sec. 18B-121, and can be read HERE .
Social Host Liability
For social host liability, which generally refers to individuals throwing a party, the case law in North Carolina indicates that the injured person may be able to successfully seek damages from the social host if:
This social host liability in North Carolina applies to all guests, whether they are minors or of the legal age to drink alcohol. A common example of this situation is where an individual attends a party as an invitee. Under the requirements above, if the host provided alcohol at the party they would potentially be taking on liability. Whether the situation gives rise to social host liability depends on how the rest of the evening plays out. As the three prong test above points out, the host has to have some knowledge or imputed knowledge that the person was intoxicated. The common side effects of alcohol would be your obvious indicators, such as slurred speech, impaired motor skills, etc.
The host also has to know that the individual would be driving later that evening. This could be proven simply by the fact that they drove themselves to the party (and so one would assume, they would drive home). It could also be proven through testimony related to conversations between the host and the invitee about whether the invitee was going to drive home later in the evening.
Limiting Your Liability As A Social Host
If you want to throw a party but also be a responsible social host in North Carolina, you might consider a few things to not only help insure the safety of your guests, but also to limit your own liability:
If you have a question about a personal injury or if you feel social host liability may play a role in your personal injury claim, please call us at 704.749.7747. You can also request a call from us, HERE. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.
If you have ambulance bills resulting from a North Carolina personal injury claim, that bill will typically constitute a lien against settlement proceeds. This means that if you settle your personal injury claim, your ambulance bill will need to be paid before you receive any money from the settlement.
Generally, N.C.G.S. sec. 44-49, allows a person, corporation, state entity, county, or municipal corporation to claim a lien to the extent that entity provided medical services, drugs, medical supplies, or ambulatory services in connection with the injury for which the settlement has been reached. An ambulance bill qualifies as “Medical services”.
Is My Ambulance Bill Negotiable?
Most all bills are negotiable, and your personal injury lawyer should negotiate your bills on your behalf. Keep in mind though, that ambulance bills in personal injury are typically Mecklenburg County medical services bills. As such, your personal injury lawyer will be dealing with the City of Charlotte when attempting to negotiate the bill. In extreme circumstances, where the settlement does not exceed the total medical bills, the chance of negotiating the ambulance bill increases. Otherwise, the bill will most likely need to be paid in full.
What Other Types Of Bills Can I Expect?
Emergency Room Bills
Physical Therapy Bills
If you would like to speak with an attorney about the bills you are receiving related to your personal injury, and get advice about how to proceed in negotiating a settlement with an insurance company, please call us at 704.749.7747, or contact us HERE and request a call. Phone consultations are free, and we hope you choose to Recover With Us.
Doctors bills are a common concern for our personal injury clients, and the concern especially arises when doctors bills exceed the settlement amount. If the doctors bills are paid, then essentially the client ends up with nothing or close to nothing. However, in an alternative arrangement, the attorney could disburse the settlement proceeds to the client, and the client’s doctors bills would follow the client after the settlement. While this may not be ideal, it does allow the client to make payments on the bills while keeping some money for themselves.
Aren’t Doctors Bills Liens Against Settlement Proceeds?
Some medical bills constitute liens against settlement proceeds. According to N.C.G.S. sec. 44-49, allows a person, corporation, state entity, county, or municipal corporation to claim a lien to the extent that entity provided medical services, drugs, medical supplies, or ambulatory services in connection with the injury for which the settlement has been reached.
While chiropractors are not specifically mentioned in the statute, it is generally understood that a chiropractor’s bill associated with treatment for the injury that gave rise to the settlement, constitutes a lien.
Does The Law Firm Negotiate Doctors Bills?
Yes. We will negotiate your medical bills for you. One way to maximize the benefit of your settlement is to have your personal injury lawyer negotiate your bills (medical bills, doctors bills, etc) as part of the settlement. Generally, we reach out to the medical providers, let them know the amount we are considering settling for, and encourage them to reduce their bill in order to make the settlement figure work for all parties.
Typically, as part of the reduction, the medical providers collectively will reduce their bills so that one third of the settlement proceeds goes to the attorney, one third to all the medical providers, and the remaining third goes to the client. So, by way of example, if you had a settlement of $90,000 but bills of $70,000, the personal injury lawyer would negotiate the bills down to $30,000. In the end, the client would end up with one third of the total settlement, and the negotiated bills would be deemed PAID IN FULL—the client wouldn’t owe anything to the medical providers after settlement.
If you have a question about a personal injury, a doctors bill, or would like to speak with an attorney about a personal injury, please call 704.749.7747. You can also request a consultation HERE. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.
If you speak with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer about your personal injury claim, one topic that comes up frequently is health insurance. There are a few roles health insurance plays in your personal injury claim. This article explains a few of them. If you have any further questions, pick up the phone and call us—we’re here to help.
This Applies If: you have medical bills which are paid by or through an employee benefit plan which is provided by your employer, or by a health insurance policy.
The Result: The health insurance company or employee benefit plan that paid for treatment related to your personal injury claim is entitled to seek reimbursement out of the personal injury recovery, if you settle the case or get a jury verdict.
Can It Be Negotiated: Typically, yes. The insurance company will of course want to know the settlement amount, and the negotiation will be based in part off of that as a starting number.
This Applies If: you’re a Medicare recipient and Medicare paid for any treatment related to your personal injury claim.
The Result: Your personal injury lawyer must obtain a Conditional Payment Letter from Medicare detailing the treatment provided and the amount Medicare seeks as a lien.
Can It Be Negotiated: The attorney can attempt to negotiate Medicare liens in a personal injury claim but Medicare only agrees in extreme hardship cases.
This Applies If: You are a Medicaid recipient and Medicaid paid for health services rendered for injuries related to the accident.
The Result: Your personal injury lawyer must obtain a Conditional Payment Letter from Medicaid detailing the treatment provided and the amount claimed as lien against personal injury claim proceeds.
Can It Be Negotiated: Generally not negotiated, but as compared to Medicare, Medicaid is only entitled to a pro-rata share of settlement proceeds. Your personal injury lawyer can tell you more about this percentage and how it works for practical purposes.
SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY
While there are some simple personal injury claims which can be resolved without an attorney, and without the fear of compromising your rights, generally the best course of action is to speak with a personal injury lawyer. The phone call is free and we’re happy to help. You can reach us at 704.749.7747. You can also request a call HERE. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.
Your auto accident report is the first set of facts established in your car accident claim. While both drivers will have their own story to tell (or pedestrians, in a pedestrian accident), the accident report is written, was taken down by an officer and ties both parties to an account of the car accident.
If you’ve been in a car accident you should call a personal injury lawyer for help understanding your accident report. The personal injury lawyer’s office is accustomed to reviewing accident reports and can even explain over the phone some of the codes used when information was entered by the officer.
The injury lawyer’s office can also answer any questions you might have about liability, negligence, damages, and insurance related to the accident. If you were a passenger in an auto accident, you have some additional concerns and the personal injury lawyer can point those out and guide you in the right direction.
If you would like to understand your accident report on your own, here is a downloadable link to understanding your accident report. With this guide, depending upon where you accident report was generated, you should be able to scroll through the explanations and use them to decipher your own report.
What Does The Accident Report Contain
Generally, the accident report contains information about the individuals and vehicles involved in the accident. Information about witnesses and road conditions, and a diagram showing the position of the cars in the accident will often appear as well. Quite often, the attending officer will make a statement in the accident report as to whose fault the car accident was—and make note if a citation was issued to either or both drivers.
Who Uses The Report
Because the accident report is created by a police officer, insurance adjusters and personal injury lawyers use the report to establish the basis for understanding the auto accident claim or personal injury case. Both sides are of course looking for facts which support their interpretation of what happened, and how it aligns with personal injury case law.
Can I Change My Accident Report
Generally, no, you cannot change your accident report. While you can make a request that the report be changed, it will be up to the law enforcement agency as to whether to change the report. Changes related to factual information are typically acceptable—the type or year of vehicle, insurance information, etc.—while changes related to the facts will typically not be changed or amended. In other words, if you feel the report reads unfavorably as to who caused the auto accident, there’s not much you can do except call a personal injury lawyer and see if he feels he can overcome the negative impact of the report when representing you in your personal injury claim.
Speak With An Attorney
If you’re confused about a report, or would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer about an auto accident you’ve been in, call 704.749.7747 today to speak with an attorney. The call is absolutely free and we hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.
Whether you call them a car wreck lawyer, a personal injury lawyer, or an ambulance chaser, there are times when you need an auto accident lawyer. Fending for yourself against nasty insurance companies is a losing battle. Every day, our firm speaks with people who need a car wreck lawyer—sometimes we just answer questions , other times these individuals become a client of the firm. Either way, we are proud to be on what we consider to be the right side of the fight.
Why Call A Car Wreck Lawyer?
If you read the numerous articles on this website, you’ll find most of them strongly encourage you to call our office. We can answer questions on any topic related to personal injury, from negligence to liability in an auto accident to what to do if you’re in an accident. While we are of course interested in speaking with potential clients, the primary purpose behind that encouragement is to make sure you understand what your options are. Insurance companies quite often present your options to you in a way which clouds reality. They want you to accept their version of the facts, their estimates for property damage and personal injury. It’s easy to succumb to the aggressive nature of an insurance adjuster eager to close the claim.
Did We Mention The Call Is Free?
The call is free. Answering phone calls will always be a critical part of the job for any attorney who works at The Layton Law Firm. As attorneys, one role we play in the community—and this has been true for many years—is providing information, plain and simple. If you call the firm, you will immediately feel as though you have someone on your side. Our hope is that you receive the guidance you need to make a decision about your auto accident.
You will not be pressured to sign papers, hire an attorney, or commit in any way to using our services. In fact, there are times when we refer potential clients to other law firms, if we believe another law firm can help them more effectively. The goal is to do what’s best for the individual with legal needs.
Working With A Car Wreck Lawyer
If you do decide to work with us, we will explain the process very quickly and clearly to you over the phone. Most clients experience immediate relief of stress upon hiring us to handle their car accident claim—not only is it comforting to have an experienced legal professional assisting you, but it also means you can get back to focusing on the rest of your life, while we work to resolve the claim for you.
Getting Started Is Simple
It’s easy to get started with a car wreck lawyer, mainly because you don’t have to pay to hire us. We only get paid if you get paid. So, after we hear the story surrounding your car wreck, if we believe we can help you, we will ask you to fill in some paperwork and send us a few documents, like a copy of your drivers license, etc. While every claim and auto accident is unique, in most cases a car wreck lawyer can resolve your case efficiently and effectively in a matter of a few months. If it takes longer, you’ll be kept in good communication with the firm and be part of every decision along the way.
Take The Next Step
If you’d like to take the next steps, just do one of the following:
Click HERE to request a phone call from us
We will be in touch today to ask a few questions, hear your story, and tell you how we can help. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.
If you need a lawyer for car accident questions or concerns, we’re here to answer your questions. Our firm focuses on personal injury law and we always have a lawyer for car accident questions available to speak with you. There’s no charge for a phone consultation. It’s a great way to get your car accident questions answered and help you understand your options. Whether you decide to hire us or not, we are happy to help.
Working With An Auto Accident Lawyer For Car Accident Claims
Hiring an auto accident lawyer to assist you with your car accident claim means you instantly having someone looking out for your best interests. The bonus for the client when working with a lawyer for car accident claims is that the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless the client gets paid. That means if the auto accident lawyer doesn’t recover money for you, you don’t owe the lawyer or law firm anything.
Length Of Representation
Depending upon how long you are in treatment for your injuries, and whether the insurance company for the other driver cooperates, your claim could settle as quickly as 90 days, or take much longer. When working with a lawyer for car accident claims, the lawyer will ask you a few questions up front in order to help predict how long it will take to settle your claim.
What If The Car Accident Claim Doesn’t Settle?
While our experience is that about 9 of 10 car accident claims settle out of court, that is not always the case. If your lawyer for car accident claims can’t get you an amount you’re happy with, you’ll discuss filing a lawsuit with your auto accident lawyer. Even if you hire a lawyer for car accident representation and you’re unable to settle the claim successfully, filing a lawsuit doesn’t always mean you end up in court. At some point after filing the lawsuit and at the conclusion of discovery (the legal process for gathering information for trial), both parties—including you, the client—will attend a mediation. Most lawsuits settle at mediation.
When Will I Get Paid?
This is a legitimate question. Once the claim is settled, the lawyer will need some time to negotiate any medical bills or insurance liens on your behalf. By lowering the amount due to medical providers, the auto accident lawyer helps to put more money in your pocket and less in the pocket of the medical providers. That process can typically be wrapped up in the 30 days following settlement. At that time, both the client, the medical providers and the lawyer will get paid. Your auto accident lawyer should give you a check from their trust account, which most banks treat as guaranteed funds and will credit to your account the same day.
Talk To A Lawyer For Your Car Accident Concerns
If you have questions, the best thing you can do is speak with a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers know a big part of their job is answering phone calls and providing information. We would be happy to speak with you and help you decide on next steps. If you’d like to speak with an auto accident lawyer today, call 704.749.7747. Or click HERE to request a phone call. You’ll hear from us today, and we hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.
If you’re considering working with an auto accident lawyer in Charlotte, NC, here is a brief synopsis of reasons to consider it. You should consider not only the legal concerns, but also what your experience will be like. Our firm handles auto accidents every day, and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about hiring an auto accident lawyer.
If you’re wondering whether to hire an auto accident lawyer, one primary question is whether you can do better with a personal injury lawyer than you could do on your own. We respect this concern, and we try to address it objectively. Working with an auto accident lawyer, you’ll get the following:
Preserve Your Auto Accident Rights—Quite often, clients come to us with questions about an auto accident after it’s too late. They’ve already signed away their rights with the other driver’s insurance company. Our experience has been that insurance companies look after themselves. If you choose to negotiate your personal injury claim with them directly, you can expect they will take advantage of your lack of legal experience.
Maximize The Value Of Your Auto Accident—While a personal injury lawyer will get paid a fee to handle your claim, our experience has been that the client still comes out better off, financially, if they hire a personal injury lawyer to assist with the claim. The law firm not only represents you aggressively against the other driver’s insurance company, but also negotiates down your medical bills, takes advantage of MedPay, discovers additional insurance policies available in the event you reach a policy cap on the other driver’s policy, and examines Medicare and other insurance liens for validity, often challenging those liens successfully. This means more money in your pocket.
Turn Over The Stress Of Your Auto Accident—Negotiating with and communicating with an insurance company is stressful. They often withhold information, delay finalizing your claim, and take advantage of your lack of legal experience. What this means is that you’re in unknown territory, you’re recovering from injuries, and on top of that you’re trying to manage the stress of dealing with the insurance company. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you turn that stress over to someone else—someone who not only cares as much about the outcome as you, but also someone who is capable of reaching the best outcome possible for you.
Negotiate From A Place Of Power—When you negotiate with an insurance company on your own, they are aware that essentially, your goal is to settle the claim at that level. When an auto accident lawyer handles your claim for you, the insurance company analyzes the demand differently. Not only are they focusing on the value of the claim as put forth by the law firm in the demand package, but they are also weighing the cost of settling vs. the cost of litigating the claim in court. When an auto accident lawyer is representing you, the constant threat of litigation is a critical element to maximizing value of the claim at the settlement level.
If you have been in an auto accident in Charlotte, NC or the surrounding area and would like to speak with an auto accident lawyer, we’re here to help. Answering questions is part of our job, whether you hire us or not. Call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a phone call. It’s that easy. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.
It’s that time of year again. In North Carolina we have gone from Spring to sweltering Summer in a matter of a few weeks. One age-old retreat from the heat is of course the lovely swimming pool. But what happens when a public pool or a private pool is not maintained properly, or when preventative steps are not taken to keep toddlers away from this attractive nuisance? Below, you’ll find some useful information about swimming pool injuries.
As public pools are heavily guarded, a public pool drowning is a rare occurrence. Much more likely is a public pool injury which may occur because of uneven pavement, pool flooring in dis-repair, or some other failure to properly maintain the pool and its surrounding area. Public swimming pool injuries include, but are not limited to:
Slip and Falls on Wet Surfaces
1st and 2nd Degree Burns and Lung Irritation From Pool Chemicals
If you’ve been injured at a public pool, this is generally a premises liability injury. If you hire a personal injury attorney to assist you in making a claim against the pool, you’ll typically be making a claim against the insurance policy maintained by the pool association or corporation. In a premises liability claim for a public swimming pool injury, you are generally alleging negligence, the components of which are detailed HERE.
Private pools and the swimming pool injuries resulting from them, can often be more dramatic. Namely, quite often a child who is unable to swim will find his or her way into a private pool and drown in the pool because there is no lifeguard. There are standards set in the state of North Carolina for private pool owners, which are meant to secure the pool area from individuals who are not invited to swim on the property by the property owner. These standards regulate the dimensions of the required fence or wall (referred to as a “barrier” in the codes), including height, gaps, protrusions, and gates.
If a drowning or other injury occurs at a private pool, the claimant typically makes a claim against the homeowners insurance policy of the pool owner. If you own a private pool, you know that your insurance rates increase due to the inherent risk in having open water of this nature on your property. If you’re making a claim against a homeowner for a private pool injury, much like the claimant in a public pool injury, your claim is one of negligence. Essentially you are alleging the pool owner failed to meet the standard of care for a homeowner who owns and maintains a pool.
Talk To An Attorney
If you would like to speak to an attorney about a public pool injury or a private pool injury, please don’t hesitate to call 704.749.7747. We’re here to answer questions—it’s part of the job. You can easily request a phone call HERE. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.