After you are injured, you should obtain medical treatment for your injuries and follow all medical advice. Once you have finished medical treatment, your attorney will collect all your medical records and bills related to your NC Personal Injury claim, negotiate down any outstanding liens, and maximize your settlement value. Once your attorney has completed their review and evaluation of your claims, they will open the pre-litigation negotiation process with the insurance adjusters. Through that process, they will be able to better evaluate whether your case is worth taking to trial or if it would be in your best interest to resolve the claims without instituting litigation.
If you and your attorney decide that you are likely to have a better outcome at trial, your attorney will file a lawsuit and the process of litigation can take approximately a year.
Often when you are injured through the negligence of someone else, you find yourself interacting with insurance companies and answering legal questions you may not know the answers to. The benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that you can focus on healing and let the NC Personal Injury Lawyer fight your battle with the insurance company.
How long it takes to resolve your case depends on several factors. One factor is whether you have finished treatment for the injuries you suffered because of the incident. If you are done with your medical treatment, the case will go faster, but a lawyer does not want to settle your case before you are done treating, because it will bar any coverage for medical costs you are still incurring. Another factor that can influence timeline of your case is the complexity of your injuries and treatment. Cases that involve injuries that do not require surgery or extensive treatment often take less time to resolve than those with more complex injuries and treatment plans.
The average soft tissue injury case in NC takes 12-24 months to resolve. It may go faster than this, but it depends on how reasonable the insurance company is, how long you treat, whether Medicare/Medicaid liens have to be paid back, and whether your attorney has to file a lawsuit to resolve your claim. For more detail read: Overview of a NC Personal Injury Case.
Attorney fees for personal injury claims vary, depending on who you hire. Generally, personal injury lawyers charge the client a percentage of the money they are able to recover. If no recovery is made, most attorneys do not charge a fee for the legal services they provided.
Some law firms charge a larger percentage of the settlement amount if they have to file a lawsuit to resolve your claim. The Bishop Law Firm does not do this, but rather charges a flat rate of 33.33% of the settlement amount, whether that comes from the insurance company before filing a lawsuit, or whether it comes from taking your case to trial and getting a jury award.
No, you do not need to get your own records. The attorneys at The Bishop Law Firm will order all your medical records and bills. You will need to have a complete list of the doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, psychiatrists, and/or any other medical professionals who provided you with care related to the injuries you suffered as a result of the incident to hasten the process of gathering your medical records.
Sometimes the bill given to the patient is not the complete bill, because it does not factor in what your insurance has already paid. Your insurance often has a right to repayment of what they paid on your behalf, so if you are only getting the defendant’s car insurance to pay the portion of the bill you paid, you could end up owing more than you received in settlement. Also read Paying for Accident Related Medical Treatment.
Under North Carolina law, pain and suffering is a category of general damages, defined as “fair compensation for the past, present, and future physical pain and mental suffering experienced by the Plaintiff.”
As one might assume, physical pain is that which is directly related to your injuries, such as the tingling sensation down your leg or the sharp, shooting pains in your head and neck. Mental suffering can range, both in its forms and its consequences. For example, mental suffering can come in the form of anxiety related to the happenings of the incident. It can also come in the form of depression brought on by feelings of isolation or embarrassment related to the injuries you have suffered.
There is no fixed amount or exact formula to place a value on physical pain and mental suffering. Also read Pain and Suffering in NC Personal Injury Cases.
In the infancy of your claims, specifically right after you lodge a claim against the negligent party’s insurance, you may receive a phone call from an adjuster. These phone calls are almost always recorded and transcribed for the insurance company to use in its evaluation of your claims.
Whether you should a recorded statement or not depends on whether you have hired a NC Personal Injury Attorney prior to the recorded phone call. If you are represented, politely explain to the adjuster that you have hired representation and give them the contact information of your personal injury attorney. If you are not yet represented, you may answer the questions of the insurance adjuster.
If you are contemplating hiring a personal injury attorney but have not yet done so at the time of the recorded call, make sure to request a copy of the transcript of your recorded call so that you can supply that to your personal injury attorney.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, required by North Carolina courts as a tool to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our court system. Meditations provide an opportunity to have an objective party review the case and provide insights into the strengths or weaknesses of the claim. Mediation also provides the Plaintiff with a final opportunity to fully control the outcome of the case before trial.
Anything that you put on social media in a public way (such as having no security or privacy controls in place over your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/etc. account) is fair game for any individual or corporation that wishes to gather information on you.
The insurance company may see if there is anything related to the incident on your social media pages, provided they can access the posts without sending you a “friend” or “follow” request. To be safe, we advise clients to stop using social media until their case is settled.
It depends. If, after a thorough review of your case, the attorney feels that it would be in your best interest to file suit for your NC Personal Injury claims, then the attorney will take your personal injury case to trial.
However, if it would not be in the client’s best interest to file suit for the personal injury claims, your attorney will not take it to trial. Also read Overview of a NC Personal Injury Case.
No. NC Personal injury settlements are generally non-taxable.