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Car Accidents

Contusions From Car Accidents

Our clients’ medical records often reflect contusions from car accidents. Often, insurance adjusters seek to minimize the impact of contusions when it comes to settlement offers. Working with a personal injury lawyer will help to make sure you are treated fairly when you reach a personal injury settlement.

What Is A Contusion?

A contusion is a condition where a capillary or blood vessel is leaking into the surrounding area. While it can be painful and take time to heal, put more simply, a contusion is a medical term for a bruise.

Soft Tissue Contusions From Car Accidents

The most common type of contusion is a a soft tissue contusion. Muscle contusions are bruised muscles or tendons. These can result from impact with your dashboard or steering wheel in a car accident. You will have some or all of the following symptoms:

Discoloration

Swelling

Stiffness

Soreness

While you should seek medical attention for your injuries, there is not much a physician can do to treat a contusion. They will recommend Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation or “RICE”. They will also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce the pain and inflammation. Lastly, they may recommend a brace or wrap to keep the area in place while it heals.

Bone Contusions From Car Accidents

A second type of contusion is a bone contusion. While the end result is similar to a soft tissue contusion, bone contusions are less common. They also take more time to heal. Whereas a muscle contusion may take a few days to a few weeks, a bone contusion can take a few months to heal.

How Do I Know If I Have A Broken Bone?

Quite often, doctors will take x-rays or an MRI to confirm that your condition is in fact a contusion and not a broken or fractured bone. This is simply a process of elimination. While an x-ray won’t show a bone bruise, it can help to eliminate a fracture as the culprit.

What Is A Contusion Worth In Personal Injury?

Your personal injury claim is made up of numerous elements. While a contusion alone is not a high value personal injury, you deserve to be treated fairly by the insurance company for the at fault driver. A personal injury lawyer can help to build your case from many aspects—lost wages, pain and suffering, and special damages.

Contusions from car accidents help to tell the story of the accident. A contusion on your head or face shows you made contact with your vehicle upon impact. While the injury alone may not give rise to a large personal injury settlement, it helps to establish the violent nature of the car accident.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’ve been in an accident and would like advice, we’re here to help. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

rear ended by a company vehicle

Rear Ended By A Company Vehicle

When you are rear ended by a company vehicle, it’s important to understand your rights. Your claim for damages can often be dramatically different when you’re rear ended by a company vehicle. The reason for this is the potential for punitive damages, which increase the value of your personal injury case. Punitive damages are codified by the NC General Statutes in N.C.G.S. sec. 1D.

As a Charlotte personal injury law firm, our firm has experience representing individuals who have been in accidents involving commercial vehicles. Sometimes those clients are pedestrians who have been struck by a work vehicle. Other times, our client was rear ended by a company vehicle while driving their own personal vehicle.

How Your Case Is Different When A Commercial Vehicle Is Involved

In a typical car accident, both drivers are operating their personal vehicles. Ideally, both drivers are insured at the time of the accident. The at fault party can expect to pay damages to the other driver if they were injured in the accident. In these cases, each driver should carry the NC state minimum insurance requirements. In the event the injuries exceed the policy limits of the at fault driver, our firm can typically recover additional funds from our client’s insurance company under the Underinsured Motorist coverage on our client’s policy.

In the commercial setting, if someone is rear ended by a company vehicle, a few things are different. First, the insurance limits covering the company driver will typically be much higher than those carried by most private motorists. Second, as a personal injury law firm, we will investigate the facts surrounding the accident to determine if the company itself is at fault. For example:

Did the company driver have a prior history of accidents?

Did a failure to maintain the company vehicle contribute to the accident?

Does the company have a history of negligent retention of employees?

In the corporate setting, when you are rear ended by a company vehicle, your case may be a good case for additional damages. Juries are often asked to consider punitive damages in these cases. This changes the nature of the jury’s deliberation. Usually, a jury is awarding the injured party an amount of money meant to compensate the injured party for their loss. When punitive damages are considered by a jury, the jury is considering an amount which will discourage the at fault company and all other companies from engaging in similar behavior. This is why a failure to maintain a vehicle, or knowledge surrounding an employee’s prior driving record are relevant.

Negotiating A Claim When Rear Ended By A Company Vehicle

The available insurance coverage, and the public policy to prevent companies from knowingly engaging in negligent behavior changes the negotiation. Your personal injury lawyer will present your case to the insurance adjuster or their attorney in a manner which reflects this. By citing recent case law which supports the damages requested, your lawyer can build the value of your case so that you are adequately compensated.

Ultimately, your personal injury settlement should reflect all circumstances surrounding your accident. Our staff will walk you through the demand package we are submitting to the insurance company to be sure you understand the process as we request settlement from the insurance adjuster.

Investigating The At Fault Company

Another distinguishing factor in rear end collisions involving commercial vehicles is the tendency for the personal injury law firm to employ an investigator to research the company’s history. This investigation will include uncovering past accidents, corporate policies, and finally whether the company complies with state and federal regulations. In cases like these, quite often the case is as much about your injury as it is about the company’s failure to abide by the rules for doing business in the state. If a failure to follow those rules contributed to the accident, it becomes a key factor in achieving full value for your claim.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Most of our clients have never sued another individual. Most of our clients have never been seriously injured in a car accident before. We understand this is all new territory to you, and your primary focus is on recovery from your injuries. In our opinion, it makes sense to partner with a personal injury law firm to be sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

If you’d like to speak with us about your accident, call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to discuss your case today.

How Fast Can I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The total time it will take to reach a personal injury settlement from the time you finish treatment until the time you settle your case, is roughly 5 months.

This article explains the timeline and steps along the way to your personal injury settlement. The goal is to prepare each client for the rather drawn out process involved in reaching the best personal injury settlement possible for their claim or case.

First, we should distinguish between a personal injury claim and a personal injury case. A personal injury claim generally refers to the action you are taking to attempt to collect for damages against an insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit. Your personal injury claim becomes a personal injury case or lawsuit, only when a lawsuit is filed. Fortunately for all parties, most claims settle without your personal injury lawyer ever having to file a lawsuit.

Your First Step Is To Finish Treatment

Before you finish treatment, your personal injury attorney can’t request medical records and medical billing from your treatment facilities. Prior to finishing treatment, your personal injury attorney can do the following:

  • Set up the claim with the insurance company that represents the other party;
  • Gather information from you regarding the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury;
  • Keep track of the facilities where you are being treated, and the physicians who are treating you;

After Treatment Is Finished

Once treatment is finished, your personal injury attorney can order all of your medical records and medical billing that occurred between the date of the accident and the last date of treatment. These records generally take 45 to 60 days to be returned to the attorney’s office.

Reviewing Medical Records and Billing

After the billing and records have been received by your personal injury attorney’s office, the lawyer and paralegals can begin to review the billing and medical records and start the process of drafting your demand letter (The letter to be submitted to the insurance adjuster requesting a settlement). This process generally takes two weeks and once your demand letter and demand package are ready to be reviewed, you will be contacted by the office to review the letter together.

Reviewing the Demand Letter and Demand Package

Your personal injury attorney will ask you to review the draft of the demand letter to be sure there are no inconsistencies, to confirm the facts are correct, and to discuss the following elements of your demand:

Submitting The Demand Package

By the time the demand package has been reviewed and is ready to be submitted, and based on the timeline above, typically roughly 2 to 3 months have passed since you completed your treatment. This again allowed for time for medical bills and records to arrive, for the attorney to review them, and for you to discuss your demand with your attorney.

Once the demand is submitted, the insurance adjuster typically takes 30 days to review it prior to making a determination as to whether they agree with your theory of liability and whether they are willing to make an offer of settlement. Your attorney will contact you at the 30 day mark after submitting the demand, to review the status of the demand package and any offers which have been made.

Negotiating To Settlement

Once the insurance adjuster has had time to review the demand package and make an offer, you and your personal injury attorney will discuss a counter-offer in hopes of moving closer to your personal injury settlement. The good news is that the series of counter-offers which follows does not require 30 days of review. The review process has already been completed and both sides can negotiate quickly toward a settlement. This process ideally takes 30 to 45 days to finalize and reach a settlement.

When Will I Receive A Check

Once a personal injury settlement agreement is reached, the insurance company will generally issue a check immediately and send it to the attorney’s office to be deposited into the attorney’s trust account. You’ll be asked to sign a release for the insurance company as well as a settlement statement for the attorney’s office, and you’ll pick up your check at that time.

What If We Don’t Reach A Personal Injury Settlement

If you don’t or can’t reach a settlement, you and your attorney will discuss filing a lawsuit in the matter. The decision to file a lawsuit is one you and your attorney will both need to make. The law firm must consider the chances of success, the good and bad facts surrounding your case, and the cost of litigation. Your attorney will discuss all of these factors with you and weigh them not only when considering a settlement offer, but also if a settlement can’t be reached at all.

Can You Summarize The Timeline

A summary of the timeline outlined above, is below. Keep in mind each claim is unique and some may settle more quickly than others, while some take longer.

Step 1: Finish Treatment

Step 2: Order Medical Bills and Medical Records (Takes 45-60 days)

Step 3: Review Bills/Records (Takes 2 weeks)

Step 4: Discuss Demand Draft (Included in Step 3 above)

Step 5: Submit Demand Package And Receive First Offer (Takes 30 days)

Step 6: Finalize Negotiation and Disburse Funds (Takes 45 days)

The total time it will take from the time you finish treatment until the time you settle your case, is roughly 5 months.

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte personal injury attorney about your personal injury claim, please call 704.749.7747 today. The call is free and we’re happy to help. Or, you can click HERE to request a call from us. We know you have choices, and we hope you will choose to Recover With Us.

fair settlement

Everyone wants a fair personal injury settlement, and over the years, we have found that most personal injury clients’ primary desire is to be treated fairly. They are not looking for a pay day. That being said, clients calling to discuss their personal injury claim with us routinely ask what their claim is worth. While we hesitate to predict what an individual might receive in a personal injury settlement or a jury verdict, we consult a few factors to assist us:

Who Was At Fault

Parties often disagree on who was at fault for in any given auto accident or slip and fall claim. Quite often, in a car accident, both parties experience injuries as a result of the accident. The key to being compensated for your injuries begins with convincing the opposing insurance company their driver was at fault. If you can’t prove liability (in court) or convince the other side to accept liability (in or out of court), then regardless of your injuries, you will not recovery anything. This factor takes on a more complicated analysis when the injury is the result of a slip and fall accident.

Valuing Your Injury

Insurance companies and juries will typically value your injuries based on some factor of your medical billing, together with lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other special circumstances your injury caused or will cause in the future. Your disability rating is considered together with these factors, if you have one. Mecklenburg county juries are conservative when it comes to damages for personal injury plaintiffs. While this is reflected when an insurance company offers a settlement amount, you’ll find your personal injury attorney will add value to your case by defending your right to be compensated fairly.

Defining Fairness

Every personal injury client is different, and every fact scenario is different. Fairness is subjective. That being said, we maximize your settlement by employing our experience and resources to defend against denials of liability and low settlement offers. The choice is yours whether to settle or not; we are here to provide you guidance in that decision when the time comes.

Take Next Steps

Take the next step and call a Charlotte personal injury lawyer today. We conduct phone consultations at no charge. You will come away from the phone call with a much better understanding of what your options are. We would love to partner with you in your journey toward resolving your personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you would like to speak with an attorney today, call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

medical payments

Medical Payments coverage (or “Med Pay”) is an available amount of money which can be applied directly to your outstanding medical bills. These funds are in addition to any settlement you reach with an insurance company related to a car accident or a slip and fall in North Carolina. This article will help you to understand Medical Payments coverage and how it works in the personal injury arena. Additionally, please feel free to reach out to us HERE if you have any questions.

Medical Payments Eligibility

Not every auto insurance policy contains Med Pay coverage; however, if you purchased Med Pay coverage, you declarations page will list the coverage. You can also call your insurance agent or insurance company to ask. In order to access Medical Payments coverage under your auto insurance policy, your medical bills must have been generated from an injury sustained in a car accident.

Medical bills resulting from an injury sustained on a business property may also be entitled to Med Pay coverage. Your personal injury lawyer will inquire as to whether the premises liability coverage maintained by the business owner contains Medical Payments coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage And Personal Injury Settlement

Your settlement with an insurance company for a liability claim stemming from a car accident or slip and fall on a business premise will not be affected by the Med Pay coverage. This coverage is separate from your personal injury settlement. When Medical Payments coverage is available, quite often it means that the funds from your personal injury settlement will be spent less on medical bills and more money will go to you, the injured person.

Medical Payments And Personal Injury Attorney Fees

Your personal injury attorney is not permitted to take a 1/3 contingency fee from your Medical Payments proceeds; however, most personal injury attorneys charge a small administrative charge for processing the Med Pay check and orchestrating the claim with the insurance adjuster. This is the customary and allowable practice in North Carolina.

Do I Have Medical Payments Coverage?

Call our office today and we can help you determine if you have Med Pay coverage. We will explain the process for obtaining the benefits of that coverage, and discuss your personal injury claim with you as well. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. We’re here to help and we hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Further Reading

To read over 100 articles we’ve written about personal injury topics, please visit our Personal Injury Blog page.

credit cards in bankruptcy

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.