Commonly Asked Questions

That depends.  Not everyone needs an attorney.  Sometimes the other driver’s insurance company will step up and pay an amount of money that you can be satisfied with.  However, it is important to understand that the mission of any insurance company is to maximize their profits.  One way they do this is by fighting to minimize your claim.  You can bet that whatever amount of money the insurance company offers is the minimum amount they believe they owe. Normally, you should expect to receive reimbursement of your medical expenses, missed time from work, out of pocket expenses, and compensation for your pain and suffering.  Frequently, we see insurance companies offering to pay your medical bills and lost income, while ignoring the pain and suffering you have endured.

Often an attorney will be able to get you a greater settlement offer than you can get on your own.  However, your attorney is going to charge a “contingency fee” for their services.  This is generally 25 to 33 percent (or more) of your settlement.  With attorneys garnering such high percentages of the settlement as their fee, it is fair to ask whether it is “worth it” to get an attorney involved.  We understand this dilemma, and try to keep our fees at a level that we believe is fair – 20% of the settlement.  We feel this gives you greater flexibility in deciding whether hiring an attorney is the right step for you to take.  At the end of the day, we understand that you were injured, not the attorney.

After you’ve been injured, it is important to place the other driver’s insurance company on notice of your claim.  Often, the other driver will notify their insurer of the accident, and then they will contact you.  If not, then you will be given an “insurance exchange form” by the investigating police officer.  This form will give you the name and address of the other driver’s insurer, so that you may contact them.  If you are not comfortable communicating with the insurance adjuster, we will be happy to do so on your behalf.

No.  We represent you on a “contingency fee” basis, which means you owe nothing up front and we collect our fee out of the settlement or jury verdict.  If you don’t get paid, then we do not receive a fee.

We charge a “contingency fee” for our services which is 20% of the amount you receive, whether it is by settlement or jury verdict.  Since our fee is a percentage of what you get, if you get nothing then we get nothing.  This helps you avoid having to pay costly attorney’s fees out your own pocket.  It also makes us “share the risk” with you, and gives us incentive to get you the highest amount possible for your claim.

After years of representing people in personal injury cases, we came to realize that attorneys were simply charging too much for their services.  Insurance companies fight hard to minimize claims.  Medical providers line up to be reimbursed from the settlement.  When the lawyer takes a big percentage of the settlement as their fee, it all too often leaves very little of the settlement money for the person who was actually injured.  Simply put, we think the injured party should take home more of their settlement, because they suffered the harm – not the lawyer.

It is not advisable to give a statement to the insurance company without consulting an attorney first.  Often, the insurance adjuster is seeking to gather information that can be used against you at a later time.  Insurance adjusters are specially trained to elicit statements that damage or minimize your claim.  If the adjuster wants you to give a statement, we will be happy to speak with you first and help you avoid saying anything that would compromise your claim.  We can also be present with you when you give any statement.

Yes.  If the other driver caused the accident then you do have a claim, whether they had insurance or not.  There may be other sources of insurance that we can tap.  For instance, you may have “underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage” that would apply.  The other driver may also be insured as a driver under another policy that may apply.  It is important to exhaust all avenues, as the source of insurance is not always apparent when an accident happens.  Finally, even if there is no insurance coverage, you can still obtain a civil judgment against the other driver for the losses you have sustained.  A civil judgment can be enforced against assets, including real property, that the other driver may own.  If you have questions regarding the other driver’s insurance coverage, give us a call and we will help you find the answers you need.

Your number one priority should be your health.  If you have been injured, you should seek treatment.  Most hospital emergency rooms are required to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay.  You may also have a Health Department or free health clinic in your community with a physician on staff that can treat you.  Also, there are more and more urgent care clinics in the community that serve as a cheaper alternative to the emergency room.

Many medical providers are also willing to treat you if they realize you have a pending insurance claim and an attorney on board.  This increases the likelihood that their bill will be paid.  They may treat you and then file what is called a “lien” against your settlement.  This means they will need to be reimbursed from your settlement when it is received.  However, it does not always mean that they are to be reimbursed dollar for dollar.

Also, it is important to seek treatment immediately and not wait.  Insurance companies look for “gaps in treatment” when examining your claim.  If they see that you waited several days, weeks, or even months to seek treatment, they will use your delay as an opportunity to question the genuineness or seriousness of your claim.  Get treatment now, and let us deal with getting your doctor paid when your claim is resolved.

The bottom line is that you should get the treatment you need so that you can get better.  We can help you with getting the medical providers paid.  If you need help with these issues, give us a call.

It is important to understand that a chiropractor is not a medical doctor, and insurance companies often resist paying for chiropractic care.  Chiropractors will generally treat you, however, without requiring payment in advance.  The insurance company is going to be more likely to reimburse your chiropractic bill if that treatment was recommended by your medical doctor.  Go see your doctor first.  They may recommend chiropractic care, or they may send you to physical therapy or some other mode of treatment that the insurance company will cover.

Placing a value on your claim is difficult.  The law says that you are to be compensated for the damages you have suffered, which includes your medical expenses, your lost income from work, and your pain and suffering.  Your medical expenses and lost income are usually easier to determine.  Compensation for pain and suffering depends on the individual case, and is left for a jury to decide if you cannot reach a settlement.  Some lawyers and insurance companies try to use formulas to determine what a case is worth.  For instance, some lawyers total up your lost medical bills and lost income, and then multiply that number times three to get a “value” for your claim.  We feel that every claim is unique and has its own value.  While a formula may fit some cases, it may be totally useless in others.  We will gather all the facts and use our experience to give you our best prediction of what we think your case is worth.  For a free evaluation of your claim, give us a call.

Yes.  There are steps we can take to lessen the financial strain while you are recuperating.

First, we can make the bill collectors stop contacting you directly.  Once we get on board, we can require the bill collectors to communicate only with us under North Carolina’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  At that point they cannot legally ring your phone again, and their bills are mailed to us.  After that, we are usually able to persuade your medical providers to cease their collection efforts while your claim is pending.  Medical providers are almost always willing to wait for payment so long as they know you have an attorney on board and you are pursuing your claim.

Second, we have been successful in persuading banks to “forbear” on collecting mortgage payments.  We know that if you are out of work and not bringing home a check, the bills don’t necessarily stop.  Banks can, and often will, agree to forbear, or hold off, on collecting mortgage payments if they know you are injured and out of work.  Essentially, they agree to shift the missed payments to the end of the loan period.  This allows you to keep your home and recuperate in peace until you are back on your feet and able to resume payments.

We understand that recovering from an injury is one of the hardest things you may ever have to endure, and that you do not need financial strain as an additional stressor.  We will work hard to ease this pressure and give you the peace of mind you need.

Yes.  Lost wages are part of the compensation you are legally entitled to receive when you have been injured and someone else is at fault.  We will communicate with your employer and compile a record of the time you have missed from work, which we will submit to the insurance company as part of your claim.  If you are self-employed, we will help you make a claim for lost income based off of your historical earnings data.  When necessary, we have professional relationships with accountants and other financial professionals who can be associated to give an expert opinion regarding your lost income.

Under North Carolina law, you have three years in which to file a lawsuit if you have suffered a personal injury.  As a practical matter, don’t wait to make a claim.  A significant gap between the time you were injured and the time you file a claim could call into question the genuineness or gravity of your injuries.  Whether you immediately hire us or not, call the insurance company and let them know you have been hurt.  This gets the ball rolling and lets everyone know you have a serious claim.

That depends.  Some health insurance providers are entitled to “subrogation” if they have paid for your medical treatment.  This means they “step into your shoes” and they are entitled to be reimbursed from your settlement.  Other health insurance carriers are not entitled to subrogation and cannot be reimbursed.  This is often complicated, and depends on the type of health insurance you have.  We can help you sort this out.  Medicare and Medicaid are typically going to be entitled to reimbursement as well.

It is important to know that just because a third party (health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare) pays your bills, does not mean they are entitled to “dollar for dollar” reimbursement.  North Carolina and federal law limits the amount of any lien that can be imposed on your settlement.  Finally, your insurance claim is personal to you.  No one else can make you file a claim.  Because these third parties are often dependent upon you to file a claim, you have significant leverage and can negotiate a reduction of their lien.  This is a service we routinely provide for our clients, which at the end of the day puts more of the settlement money into your pocket.

Contact Us

Have a question? Contact us to see how we can help you.

North Wilkesboro Office

906 Main St.
North Wilkesboro
NC, 28659

(336)838-1111
(336)838-5069 FAX

Winston Salem Office

1066 West 4th
Ste. 101
Winston Salem, NC 27101
(336)776-0901
(336)838-5069 FAX

Hours:

Mon-Fri 830am - 5pm
Sat-Sun Closed