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What Is The Car Accident Lawyer Process Like?

The car accident lawyer process, or working with a car accident lawyer, should be a painless experience for the injured party. Though, what probably comes as the biggest surprise to clients who hire a personal injury lawyer is the amount of time it takes to settle a claim.

In order to be sure to get maximum value for your personal injury settlement, your personal injury lawyer must put together several different aspects of your claim. Ultimately, these will be compiled and make up your demand package. Your demand package is a combination of the law firm’s theory of liability against the insurance company, supported by claims of damages directly related to the accident.

The Intake Process

The first step in understanding your car accident or slip and fall claim comes from the intake process. Some intake is done during the FREE CASE EVALUATION or phone consultation. During this time, the lawyer begins to understand the basic facts surrounding your accident. This includes a review of the police report, a discussion with you, and potentially a discussion with any witnesses who may have seen the accident.

Establishing The Claim

Once the intake is completed, we will start a claim for bodily injury with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. This serves to stop communication from the insurance company to you directly. It also puts the insurance company on notice that they have a potential lawsuit against them for the acts of one of their drivers.

The typical response from the insurance company is that they are investigating the claim, and they request we send them our theory of liability together with all documentation of injuries.

Confirming You Injuries And Treatment

If you are still treating, we will stay in touch with you periodically to confirm your treatment status. Once you have completed your treatment, we quickly place orders for all medical records and medical treatment you received from all providers. These serve to prove your injuries and establish your medical billing associated with the claim. Some of your billing will constitute medical liens which need to be paid through your settlement per federal or state law.

Establishing Medicare, Medicaid and ERISA Liens

While a medical provider can claim a lien against your settlement proceeds, they must do it by taking affirmative action. Medicare, Medicaid and some health insurance companies (ERISA LIENS) automatically have a lien created in their favor, depending upon whether they treated you for injuries related to the accident. It is your personal injury lawyer’s job to identify these liens and to be sure to address them from your settlement proceeds. A failure to do so can be catastrophic for you, financially. Identifying the liens prior to reaching a settlement ensures that your settlement is high enough to pay the liens and adequately compensate you for your loss.

Establishing And Documenting Lost Wages

If you have lost wages from your accident, your attorney will have your employer sign a Lost Wages Affidavit in conjunction with your demand package. This affidavit will be submitted in support of being reimbursed for lost wages. Quite often, your personal injury lawyer will need to defend the hours you missed, provide proof of income prior to the accident, and show your employer is being honest about the hours you missed and your rate of pay. Your medical records must also support the lost wages affidavit with notes indicating your physician wrote you out for work for the days in question.

Negotiating The Claim To Settlement

Negotiating your claim to settlement is a lengthy process. Insurance companies are notorious for low offers. They make attempts to de-value the medical treatment you received, and argue balances of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They attack your personal injury lawyer’s theory of liability and claim Contributory Negligence as a way to offer a lower settlement amount. We are accustomed to these strategies and we will defend against them at every turn.

Negotiating Your Medical Bills

Once we have decided together that you have your top offer, we will ask for your authority to negotiate your medical bills. While not all medical billing providers will reduce their billing, this quite often results in the lowering of your medical billing just prior to settlement. This serves to do one thing—put more money in your pocket. By minimizing the amount of your settlement that must go toward satisfying medical bills, we increase the amount you receive.

Receiving Your Check

The last aspect of your car accident lawyer process is distributing funds. Once you’ve reached settlement and signed a release for the settlement amount, your check typically arrives a week later. Your car accident lawyer process requires your car accident lawyer to deposit the funds into their NC State Bar trust account, and one day later we can disburse the funds to you and your medical providers. We also get paid at this time. You will sign off on a balance sheet or settlement sheet showing you all incoming funds, together with all disbursements. This way you know where every penny of your settlement funds went.

Tax Free Nature Of Settlement Proceeds

Most personal injury settlement proceeds are tax free. Exceptions would be where the settlement is specifically allocated to lost wages. In your typical injury settlement, this is not the case. For Workers’ Compensation claims, you will typically need to pay taxes on all lost and future wages being paid from the claim.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have questions about what the car accident lawyer process if like, or if you have general questions about a personal injury, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Halloween is a great time to be a kid. The thrill of running house to house for free candy is tough to beat. During trick or treating, you’ll see exhausted parents who would have given up hours ago if their kids would only let them. But alas, the battle wages on into the late evening until porch lights are turned off, and jack-o-lanterns blow out; it’s the national symbol for “It’s over. Go home now, kids.”

As an adult, and as a personal injury lawyer, you see the world a bit differently than children do. As a result, you think of Halloween a bit differently. Every child’s dash out into the street is a potentially life threatening moment. Candy needs to be examined before being consumed. And of course the truly scary stories of Halloweens past fill the news. If you’re an adult, you’re just hoping to survive Halloween. Here are a few tips to for you and your family to make it through the holiday safely.

Stay Visible: Costumes are meant to be scary, but a little bit of reflective material or a light of some sort makes your child visible to vehicles navigating busy streets during trick or treat hours. Wal-Mart, Target and other stores all sell clip-on blinking red lights (check the bike section) which will do the trick.

Stay Together: Kids tend to trick or treat as a group, but they run from house to house like a bunch of goblins on the loose. Remind kids to travel together as a group between houses. They are more likely to be seen by drivers, and you’re less likely to lose a little one in the mayhem. Just the peace of mind that comes with a full head count will make the evening easier on you as an adult.

Stay Sober: The temptation to carry along a little treat for daddy or mommy by way of the bottle is strong on a stressful night. Be responsible and remember you’re in charge of children who are terrorizing the neighborhood streets high on sugar and adrenaline.

Drive SLOWLY: If you have to drive a car on Halloween, the burden is on you to drive with extra caution. If you’re in a neighborhood at dusk, you should expect kids to jump out in front of you at random, crossing the street in search of the next mini Snickers bar. Even if it’s chilly, drive with your window down or cracked, so you’ll hear kids coming.

Charlotte Pedestrian accidents increase dramatically around Halloween, for obvious reasons. It’s a busy night with lots of foot traffic. Give kids a break and use extra caution when you’re on the road.

We hope you and your kids have a Happy Halloween!

broken bones in car accidents

If you’re in a car accident in Charlotte, NC, chances are it’s on a busy road with numerous concerns. Stay calm and take the following immediate steps to both insure your health and protect your rights.

  1. Pull Over—You’re required by law to stop your vehicle if you’ve been in an accident. Additionally, there is no harm in moving vehicles to the side of the road. Snap a picture of the scene first, if you’re afraid you won’t be able to establish the position of the vehicles later. But do it quickly, and remove the cars from the flow of traffic.
  2. Decide Whether 911 Needs To Be Called—While you may not be a doctor or emergency medical technician, you will probably know based on the impact of the collision whether an ambulance is needed immediately. If so, call 911 and request medical help for yourself or others.
  3. Get a Police Report—Once you’ve looked after the health of those involved, calling the police is your next step. It will be extremely important after the accident, to have a documented report created by the police department. If your car accident is in Mecklenburg County, you can request a free copy of your police report. We’ll obtain a copy of the report for you and help you analyze it over the phone.
  4. Exchange information—Be sure to get contact information and insurance information from the other driver. If there are witnesses on the scene, quickly get contact information for them. Witnesses tend to disperse as soon as they think they are not needed, or if they decide nobody is in need of serious medical attention. But, you may need their statement as to what happened, when you are later attempting to establish that the accident was not your fault.
  5. Take More Photos And Videos—If you haven’t taken any photos yet, take them now. This is important and will help establish the scene at a later date. Be sure to take some ‘establishing’ photos from further away. They help to show all parties the road conditions and establish a point of reference for what happened. You can also shoot a video, panning the scene of the accident, and calmly speak into your recorder any thoughts you have as to what happened. This is an easy way to document what you remember while documenting the actual scene.

What To Do After A Car Accident

After the car accident, we recommend all clients keep a notebook or notes about the accident. You’ll be surprised what comes to mind when you’re in the grocery store—perhaps you remember something the other party said, or remember another fact about the accident. These are fleeting thoughts and need to be captured in a notebook.

You’ll also want to report the accident as quickly as possible to the other side’s insurance company. They will assign you a claim number. If you later choose to work with a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer can reference the claim number when reaching out to the insurance company.

Should I Give A Statement To The Insurance Company?

Generally, you shouldn’t speak at length about the facts of the car accident with the other side’s insurance adjuster until you’ve spoken with an attorney. If you’re proceeding without an attorney and you decide to give the adjuster a statement, be concise and stick to the facts. Don’t be afraid to say that you do not remember something, if in fact you do not remember it. You’re not responsible for remembering every fact about the car accident—it’s quite common to forget details during such an event.

Call A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawyers answer questions as part of our job. Each day, I expect to take phone calls from individuals who may or may not ever become a client. The goal during those calls is to be of help to you, whether you choose to hire our firm or not. If you’d like to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your car accident, call 704.749.7747 today or click HERE to ask us to call you at a preferred time. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

What Are The NC Car Accident Laws?

In North Carolina, there is not a specific set of car accident laws. Instead, attorneys use the existing set of case law to guide them. What this means is that rather than look to a NC car accident law, your Charlotte, NC personal injury lawyer assesses the body of cases that have been tried, to date.

How Will NC Case Law Affect Negotiations For My Car Accident?

Depending upon what judges and juries have decided in the past, regarding specific fact patterns in a NC car accident, your personal injury lawyer can better predict what a judge or jury will decide about your case. While there are instances where case law becomes “codified” or is passed as a statute in the state, most case law accumulates over the years in a way which helps lawyer assess whether they can win your case based on the facts you have.

Is Contributory Negligence Case Law?

If you’ve been reading about NC car accident laws, no doubt you’ve read about Contributory Negligence. Contributory Negligence is a doctrine that is followed by our state. As was decided in  Sorrells v. M.Y.B. Hospitality Ventures, 332 N.C. 645, 648 (1992), “[A] plaintiff’s contributory negligence is a bar to recovery from a defendant who commits an act of ordinary negligence.” In that case, a patron became intoxicated at a restaurant and drove his car, which resulted in his death. His estate attempted to make a claim against the establishment that served him but his estate’s claim was barred by his contributory negligence.

Determining whether someone is contributorily negligent is also based on case law, as was decided in   Newton v. New Hanover County Bd. of Educ., 342 N.C. 554, 564 (1996), where it was determined that “A plaintiff is contributorily negligent when he fails to exercise such care as an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under the circumstances in order to avoid injury.”  These are the very elements of your case that your personal injury lawyer will argue for you, both at the claims level and at trial.

But How Will NC Car Accident Laws Apply To MY Case?

If you would like  personal injury lawyer to assess your case for you, simply reach out to us. The assessment is free and there’s no obligation to move forward with our firm. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or give us an email address HERE and we’ll reach out to you. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

Chiropractor After Car Accident

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.

ERISA LIENS

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.

MEDICARE LIENS

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.

MEDICAID LIENS

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.

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.

CarAccidentWhether you’re traveling on Interstate 77 or 85, or taking a more local route through uptown Charlotte on South Blvd. or Providence Rd., you’re bound to see a Charlotte car accident. Our sincere hope is you can avoid being part of one. But if you are in a car accident in Charlotte, here’s what you need to know:

Report The Accident

So often, victims of accidents don’t feel injured at the scene. They exchange information with the other driver, clear the road, and try to move on with their day. Quite often, that’s a big mistake. By reporting the car accident and generating an accident report, you create the first official record of the event. Additionally, the officer will ask each driver questions about what caused the accident. That information is often relied upon by insurance companies and personal injury attorneys to establish fault in the future.

When a police officer attends to an accident, he or she is more likely to get valid information from both drivers. This can be crucial for the victim of the car accident, when attempting to reach out to the other driver’s insurance company to make a claim for property damage or bodily injury.

Seek Medical Treatment

Whether you take an ambulance from the accident to the hospital is your choice. It’s understandable in a minor accident or ‘fender bender’ not to do so. However, if you’re in a serious car accident, not only do you need to seek medical attention immediately to establish your health condition, you’ll also want to do so to create a health record related to the car accident.

If you wait until after the car accident to seek medical treatment, you need to seek it within a reasonable time. Primarily, because the longer you wait the more damage you can be doing to your health. Additionally, insurance companies deny claims every day based on their assertion that the plaintiff waited too long to seek treatment. They conclude that the delay between the accident date and the treatment date means either you weren’t injured in the car accident, or perhaps you were injured after the car accident and are now trying to blame your injury on the car accident. Either way, your claim is denied and you receive nothing for your injury.

Keep Notes

Write down your thoughts about the car accident. What conditions were present? Who had a green or red light? What chain of events do you remember which led to the collision or car accident? In the days after the car accident, continue to keep notes, including how you feel. Judge your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, and indicate what is hurting you.

When you see a doctor or chiropractor, bring your notebook with you and be sure to clearly communicate to your medical provider what pain you’ve been experiencing since your last visit. These clear indicators then become part of the medical record and can play a critical role in financial recovery when it comes time for your personal injury attorney to make a demand of the insurance company.

Call A Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re in a car accident, a phone call to a personal injury attorney is free. Take advantage of that free call to ask for advice, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. You’ll find almost any charlotte personal injury attorney will devote time over the phone or in person to answer your questions and give you the confidence to feel you’ve done all you need to do with regard to the car accident.

If you’ve been in a car accident and would like to speak to an attorney, call us today at 704.749.7747. If you’d like to request a call from us, you can do so HERE. We’re here to help.

If you are trying to decide on a Charlotte personal injury lawyer, there are a few things to consider. Most all Charlotte personal injury lawyer contracts will cover the same provisions in terms of a contingency fee paid to the lawyer. This is the classic “We don’t get paid if you don’t get paid.”

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Reviews

In addition to making sure the personal injury attorney’s fees are fair, you may want to look at Charlotte personal injury attorney reviews online. Google and Yahoo are the most respected review sites and you can typically find personal injury attorney reviews for attorneys in your area. Finding an attorney whose personality is compatible with yours is important. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure the lawyer and the lawyer’s office communicates with their clients regularly about the personal injury case. Don’t be afraid to ask them how often you’ll hear from them.

Establishing A Timeframe

A Charlotte personal injury attorney should be able to give you a general timeline for how long it will take to reach certain milestones in your personal injury case. Typically, the law firm makes sure you’re following physician’s directives, communicates regularly with your physicians, and makes routine requests for updated information from the doctor treating your injury. Once you’ve completed treatment, the personal injury attorney can begin to put together a claim on your behalf.

Your Personal Injury Claim

Your personal injury claim will consist of a number of components, from loss of enjoyment of life, to medical bills. One important aspect of maximizing your outcome in a personal injury lawsuit is negotiating with doctors to lower their bills. Your Charlotte personal injury lawyer will do this on your behalf, typically once you get close to settlement with the insurance company.

Will Your Personal Injury Lawyer Go To Trial?

Most cases do not go to trial; however, it’s important to hire a personal injury attorney whose firm is willing to try cases. This gives the law firm greater negotiating power with insurance companies, and gives you the confidence you need to know that the firm can litigate if necessary. Any personal injury law firm will need to study the facts, the physician’s findings and other relevant information prior to committing to taking a case to trial for you.

If you have any questions about personal injury or are interested in speaking with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer, please call me at 704.749.7747. You can also fill out a short questionnaire here and we will call you today. We’re here to help.

Keeping your car in bankruptcy is important, especially if it’s a reliable car and you’re looking forward to the day you pay it off. Fortunately, the rules of bankruptcy typically allow for you to keep your vehicle and successfully file a bankruptcy.

Valuing The Car

Your bankruptcy attorney may ask you to take your car to get it appraised at Carmax or another qualified dealer. This will help establish value for the purpose of disclosing information about your car when you file bankruptcy.

You’re trying to determine the equity in the car, which is quite simply the Retail Value minus Existing Loans/Liens. So, if your car has a retail value of $12,000 and you owe $10,000, you have equity of $2,000. This equity is an asset that you own.

Exempting Your Equity

The next step is to use your bankruptcy exemptions to assist you in keeping your car in bankruptcy. The federal rules of bankruptcy give each individual filing a bankruptcy a $3,500 automobile exemption to be used against one vehicle titled in their name. In the case above, there is only $2,000 of equity, so the exemption would more than cover the equity in the asset (vehicle) and the bankruptcy court cannot touch your car in bankruptcy.

Equity Exceeding The Automobile Exemption

If you have equity above and beyond the $3,500 allowed for automobiles, you can use some of your Wild Card Exemption ($5,000 per person) to cover the additional equity in any asset.

Purchasing A New Car Prior To Bankruptcy

Generally speaking, while keeping your car in bankruptcy is an option, you can also trade in your vehicle on another vehicle shortly prior to filing. This may be one way to deal with excess equity and address a vehicle that needs to be replaced. This transaction is considered a transaction you make in the normal course of living and with the proper guidance of a bankruptcy attorney, will not cause you any problem if you file shortly after.

Call A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney

If you have any questions I can answer about bankruptcy, assets or bills collectors, please feel free to call me at 704.749.7747. The call is free and I’m here to help.

When you file a bankruptcy petition for Chapter 7 in Charlotte, NC (The Western District of NC), you state your intention as to certain property. This includes homes and vehicles with existing loans, leases, and even cell phone contracts. In most cases, you have a choice as to whether to turn over the property in question—which relieves you of the debt obligation—or, keep the property and continue paying on the loan or contract.

Statement Of Intention

The bankruptcy petition has a “Statement of Intention” which my clients and I discuss at length when preparing to file. This statement of intention offers a few options for the client regarding the property in question. Section 521(a)(2) of the bankruptcy code requires filing of this statement by the client within thirty days of filing the bankruptcy petition.

Putting The Creditor On Notice

Practically speaking, the Statement of Intention puts individual creditors on notice as to what the client plans to do with the property. The creditor or landlord has a contract with the client and of course wants to know how the bankruptcy will affect them. When a client checks the “Reaffirm” option on the Statement of Intention regarding a vehicle for example, the lender on the vehicle knows that even though the client is filing bankruptcy, she plans to keep her car and continue making payments.

A Smooth Bankruptcy Process For You And Your Family

In most cases, subject to an analysis of the value of the property vs. the existing loan on the property, clients can continue to possess and use property they are willing to continue making payments on—the bankruptcy process moves forward and the vehicle or lease arrangement with the landlord goes unaffected.

Make A Phone Call

Bankruptcy attorneys make it their job to comfort clients as to every aspect of the process and how it will affect their lives in both the short and long-term. Call today if you’d like to get more information and better understand your options. 704.749.7747.

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