If you have been injured by the negligence of another, it should be simple to recover the cost of your medical treatment, lost wages and pain & suffering. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in NC Personal Injury cases. This post discusses what to do if the insurance company is offering less than the cost of your expenses.
NC Personal Injury Law
In NC, an injured victim can recover the cost of their accident related medical expenses, lost wages and pain & suffering. Most insurance adjusters do not want to pay pain & suffering and are even reluctant to give money towards lost wages. Do not rely on an insurance adjuster to tell you what you are legally entitled to recover. This will not happen. You can also read NC Personal Injury Lawyers for a further discussion of the NC Personal Injury case process.
NC Personal Injury Medical Bills More Than Settlement?
Why would an insurance company offer less than the cost of my medical expenses? Unfair as this may seem, insurance companies want to pay as little as possible on claims. They are not required by law to cover the cost of your total expenses and will attempt to make you settle for less than your costs. An insurance adjuster will tell you that medical treatment is not related to your accident, when it clearly is. We frequently have adjusters that object to medical treatment despite the fact that our client reported the symptom in their first medical treatment post-accident. Adjusters will also say treatment is not related when there is a gap in treatment (even a week!), when it is well known that getting the appointment can take substantial time.
If you settle with the insurance for less than the cost of your expenses, you have effectively had to pay for someone else’s negligence twice. At my firm, we never recommend settling for less than the cost of our client’s accident related medical treatment nor do we recommend accepting the insurance companies’ first offer. Please remember that if you accept the money from the insurance company (no matter how unfair), your case is done and no further money can be obtained.
Is filing a court case the only way to get more money for my NC Personal Injury Claim?
It depends. In order for the adjuster to give you a decent offer, they must have all your medical records, medical bills, lien information, lost wage information, photographs, doctor’s work notes and other support for the amount of settlement that you are asking for. Adjusters who do not have all the documentation necessary are reluctant to increase the value of their offer. In some instances, even with clear and complete evidence the adjuster may not want to give you a fair offer. This can be based on the inexperience of the adjuster or on the fact that adjusters are often so busy that your case gets lost in a stack. However, some adjusters will increase their offer when presented with all the evidence.
After providing the adjuster with all the evidence and making a demand, some adjusters still will not offer enough money to cover your accident-related expenses. In these cases, you can settle with the adjuster and then contact your medical providers to attempt to get your medical bills reduced due to the amount of your settlement. In NC, pro-rata distribution can be used. However pro-rata distribution does not always end the medical provider’s right to obtain recovery for the remainder of their bill. You can also attempt to negotiate with your medical providers directly.
Usually, the better option when a settlement offer is not enough to pay your accident-related bills is to file personal injury litigation in the county court where the accident occurred. Filing litigation forces the insurance company to add the potential cost of litigation to your claim which can increase the claim’s value.
Do I need a NC Personal Injury Attorney to file litigation?
No, you can certainly file a case on your own, but you will need to keep up with dates and provide the requested information to the court and to opposing counsel or your case could be dismissed. To start your personal injury litigation case, you will need to file a complaint, civil summons and discovery in the District or Superior Civil court in the county of accident before the NC Statute of Limitations runs out.
If you do choose to hire a NC Personal Injury Lawyer, they can help you with litigation and with prelitigation as well. As mentioned above, some adjusters will offer more money if faced with more evidence. An injury attorney can help you gather this evidence and present it to the adjuster. If the adjuster refuses to offer more money for settlement, an attorney can discuss if filing for litigation is the best option for recovery in your case.
If you find yourself in a situation where your NC Personal Injury Medical Bills More Than Settlement just know that The Bishop Law Firm represents injured clients in Raleigh and surrounding areas in NC. We do not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews. Give us a call today, (919) 615-3095 or start your free online case review now!