A personal injury blog containing useful information for anyone in Charlotte looking for information about personal injury or looking for a Charlotte personal injury attorney.

In A Car Accident Without Insurance

If you are in a car accident without insurance, don’t panic. Regardless of whether you have insurance, you have a duty to exchange information with the other driver. If you are the driver without insurance, and the accident is not your fault, you can still pursue the other driver for economic recovery.

Your Property Damage

You will be assigned a property damage adjuster if you pursue a property damage claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If it is determined that the other driver is at fault, their insurance company should pay for your property damages. You may need a lawyer to assist in negotiating a property damage agreement, or you may be able to successfully negotiate it yourself. Often, the other driver’s insurance company will want time to investigate the claim. This is reasonable, as they will attempt to determine whether their driver was at fault, and assess the property damage.

Your Personal Injury Claim

If the accident is not your fault, you will be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the other driver regardless of whether you had active insurance at the time of the car accident. The lack of insurance is a non-material or irrlevant fact as it relates to which driver was at fault. This information should also be excluded from evidence if the case goes to trial, under NC Rule of Evidence 402.

Your personal injury lawyer will work with the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company to assure that the full value of the claim is achieved, despite not having insurance. While you can count on the at-fault driver’s insurance company offering push-back regarding lack of insurance, ultimately it should not be an issue for recovery.

Medical Payments Coverage

If you had an auto insurance policy with Medical Payments  coverage (INSERT LINK) and it was cancelled or lapsed just prior to the accident, unfortunately you will not receive the benefit of medical payments coverage. However, if you live with an immediate family member who has medical payments coverage on a separate auto policy, we may be able to access that coverage to assist with paying your medical bills.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you are in an accident and have questions about car insurance, fault, or any other aspect of settling your claim, please call us at 704.749.7747. Or you can click HERE to request a consultation. All consultations are free, and can be done over the telephone. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

Should I Get A Police Report?

Yes, you should. If you’ve been in a car accident, obtaining a police report is your primary method for documenting the accident. If you get a police report after an accident, you create a record of the accident in a manner which may be acceptable as evidence in a court of law if introduced by the officer at trial. In any case, your personal injury lawyer will utilize the information on the report to build your case and discovery additional details about your claim.

If you were JUST NOW in an accident and need to speak with a lawyer, call us at 704.749.7747. You you will be connected to a lawyer immediately. If you were in an accident in North Carolina and you have not received a copy of your report yet, we can help. If you would like assistance obtaining a copy of your report, you can request our help with that HERE.

The remainder of this article will help you understand the numerous reasons why you should get a police report if you’re in an accident.

What Is On The Police Report?

The officer will take an official record of the accident. This will include the location, contact info for all parties, names and contact info for witnesses, and details about the accident itself. The officer also takes notes about the condition of the roadway and drivers, and makes estimates regarding damage to vehicles.

While the officer has not observed the accident itself, they can certainly assess each driver’s condition, and issue citations based on the facts surrounding the accident. It is not uncommon for a police report to note that a driver was issued a citation for reckless driving or making a dangerous maneuver.

You can also look at the guide to NC police report codes (PDF) if you’re interested in understanding the many variables which can be disclosed on the report.

How Does Your Personal Injury Lawyer Use The Police Report?

While the police report may not ultimately be admissible as evidence at trial, your personal injury lawyer will examine the report when trying to decide whether they believe they can win your case. Both sides will have a copy of the police report of course. Long before a lawsuit is filed, your lawyer will attempt to negotiate with the insurance adjuster for the other driver—outside of any independent witness testimony, the officer’s report serves as a governing document for those discussions. Generally, your lawyer is trying to prove negligence in order to recover an award for you.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you are in an accident and need guidance, we are here to help. Consultations are free and can be done by telephone. We can help assess liability for your car accident, and help you understand your options. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to quickly request a consultation. There’s no obligation. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

 

 

 

Proving Fault In A NC Car Accident

In a North Carolina auto accident claim, the burden of proving fault is on the plaintiff. The defendant has no burden; however, the defendant will present evidence in order to rebut your attempts to prove they were at fault. As the plaintiff in the car accident, you must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence, as discussed in this article.

Burden Of Proof

The burden of proof in a civil case is lower than the burden in a criminal case. In a civil case (car accident, slip and fall, pedestrian injury, etc.) you must prove that based on a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant is liable. The “preponderance of the evidence” is the greater weight of the evidence. Therefore, the standard amounts to more likely than not, the defendant was at fault.

The Four Components Of Negligence

Generally, in a NC car accident case, you are attempting to prove the defendant was negligent. Negligence has four components: Duty, Breach, Causation, and Damages. The plaintiff must prove all four of these components in order to prevail when proving fault in a NC car accident. First, you must show the defendant owed you a duty of care. Automobile drivers owe one another the duty to show reasonable care for one another when operating a vehicle or sharing the road. Second, you must show that the defendant breached that duty, or failed to uphold that duty. Third, you must show that this failure was the direct cause of the accident. In other words, if not for the defendant’s failure to uphold the duty, the accident would not have happened. Lastly, you must show that the breach of this duty caused damages, or injury. After all, it is the injury that brings you to court seeking to be compensated or made whole.

Keep in mind that in North Carolina, if the defendant can prove contributory negligence, this serves as an affirmative defense to your claim of negligence. Contributory negligence is a standard by which if the defendant can prove the plaintiff contributed even 1 percent to the accident, the jury is instructed to give the plaintiff nothing.

The Challenge Of Proving Fault

Every day in our office, we examine police reports in which our driver claims she had a green light. The other driver—per the police report—also claims to have had a green light. (If you need a free copy of your police report, click HERE and we can help.) While we know that both drivers did not have the right of way, the challenge becomes proving this. These cases are often known as “He Said, She Said” cases. Essentially, you have to individuals telling two different stories. From a jury’s perspective, how are they to decide which driver is telling the truth? What evidence can a lawyer put forth to establish that their client is telling the truth, and had the right of way?

Without an independent eyewitness to testify as to what they saw—including of course who had the green light or right of way—quite often these cases represent extreme risk for a lawyer or law firm to take to court. The risk is not in losing. Any attorney knows they are not going to win every case. However, the risk is in the hours and financial investment the law firm is putting into the case, without any independent evidence to prove fault in the car accident case.

Presenting Evidence To Prove Fault In A NC Car Accident

Your personal injury lawyer will present evidence in hopes of establishing that the defendant was at fault. Below are a few examples of evidence which may be presented in court:

Client Testimony – The plaintiff will take the stand to tell their version of what happened in the car accident. Presumably, the plaintiff will state that she had the right of way, and that the defendant did not. Keep in mind, per the example above, the defendant may also take the stand and claim the exact opposite.

Photographs – If there are photographs which were taken at the scene, those may be authenticated and entered into evidence in the case. The plaintiff’s attorney will use the photographs to tell the story of the accident. Perhaps the position of the vehicles on the road helps to establish which vehicle was at fault. Often, the location of the damages on each vehicle helps to establish how the vehicles collided, which vehicle was in front or behind, etc. General photographs of the accident location, even after the vehicles have been moved, also help the jury to understand the nature of the intersection or piece of roadway involved in the accident. This may help corroborate the plaintiff’s testimony regarding what happened.

Witness Testimony – As mentioned above, an independent eyewitness may testify as to what they saw. Unless they are a friend or relative of one of the parties in the accident, there is no reason not to believe their testimony. In fact, their testimony may serve as a “tie-breaker” between the conflicting testimony of the plaintiff and defendant.

The Police Report – If the police report is in your client’s favor, the attorney will attempt to admit the police report into evidence as an official record. This report was made during the officer’s duties as an employee and the officer can often testify as to its authenticity based on what the officer witnessed at the scene of the accident.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Proving fault in a NC car accident is often more challenging than we predict. Insurance adjusters see the world through a different lens than the injured party. Having a lawyer represent you can make all the difference. If you would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your car accident case, call us at 704.479.7747 or click HERE to request a free consultation. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

Want to meet Chris Layton? Here is a one minute introduction VIDEO.

 

Can I Sue A Homeowner’s Insurance Company?

The liability of a homeowner for injuries or “Can I sue a homeowner’s insurance company” is a topic which clients often reach out to our office about. Does the property owner have homeowner’s insurance? What can I do if the homeowner refuses to go through their insurer? Can I even sue a homeowner if I’m injured on their property? These are a few routinely asked questions. Every personal injury case is different, and liability is often determined by the severity and origin of the injuries which were incurred on the property.

Yes, you can sue a homeowner’s insurance company. A more important question is whether you can establish liability or negligence of the homeowner and win the lawsuit.

Statistically speaking, according to The Insurance Information Institute, roughly 1 in 900 policies experience a claim for bodily injury as a result of something the homeowner did or failed to do.

Is the Homeowner Liable?

Liability is situational, and arguably is the key factor when debating legitimacy of any personal injury claim. In order for the property owner to be liable for your injuries, and your claim to be considered legitimate, there are a few requirements relating to both severity and origin of your injuries that must be met.

  • Where did the injury occur?
    • Your injury must have occurred within the property belonging to the homeowner. The homeowner is generally responsible for the safety of others on his/her property.
  • Were you on the property legally?
    • Trespassing typically negates any homeowner’s liability, unless the homeowner grossly overlooks and actively ignores a serious hazard on their property, and/or expects trespassers. Otherwise, to be liable during trespassing, the property owner must have acted aggressively towards you in an unreasonable manner.
  • Was the homeowner negligent?
    • The injuries must have been caused by the property owner’s own negligence. If any of your actions specifically caused your injuries, the homeowner is not likely to be held accountable for them.
    • If there is a hazard overlooked by the homeowner, which caused your injuries, you may be able to establish negligence and therefore liability for damages.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Often, the first determination to be made when pursuing a personal injury claim against a homeowner is whether or not they have insurance on the property. Typically if a property owner has a mortgage, they have homeowner’s insurance, because mortgage companies require it. However, if the homeowner owns the property free and clear, with no mortgage, there is a possibility they do not carry homeowner’s insurance.

The primary way to discover whether or not the property owner has homeowner’s insurance is to ask them. If the homeowner refuses to tell you this information, but you suspect they may have insurance because you know they have a mortgage, the only way to obtain that information is by suing the property owner, and demanding that information through the court’s Discovery process.

What happens after I make my claim?

Prior to suing the homeowner’s insurance company, you’ll make a claim. First, if you are injured on someone else’s property due to the homeowner’s negligence, inform the homeowner’s insurer as quickly as possible. The insurance company’s suspicion of illegitimacy will rise as time passes.

A claim is not a lawsuit against someone’s homeowner’s insurance company. A claim is just that– a claim for damages, in hopes of being paid for your injuries. After a personal injury claim is made against the property owner, an insurance adjuster from the homeowner’s insurance company will typically contact both the insured (homeowner) and the claimant (you) in order to gain perspective regarding the injury and facts surrounding it. The adjuster, may ask for a recorded statement about what occurred on the property which caused your injuries. Do not give them a recorded or written statement without first consulting with your lawyer.

If the adjuster is going to honor the claim, they will ask for medical records, bills, and proof of lost wages. After your treatment is finished, will try to settle the claim with you. If settlement cannot be reached, the filing of a lawsuit is necessary in order to receive proper compensation for your injuries.

When To Speak With A Lawyer

It’s important to speak with a lawyer sooner rather than later, if you may have a personal injury claim. Every communication you engage in with the homeowner’s insurance company can potentially be damaging to your case. We can help you get an answer to the question “Can I sue a homeowner’s insurance company?”

If you would like to speak with a North Carolina personal injury lawyer about an incident regarding an injury at a homeowner’s property, or homeowner’s insurance questions, please call us at 704.749.7747. You can also click HERE to request a consultation. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

 

Pregnancy Injuries From A Car Accident

Pregnancy injuries from a car accident can range from minor injuries to miscarriage. If you are pregnant and are in a car accident, certainly you need to visit the doctor to be examined. If you experience pregnancy injuries from a car accident and the accident was not your fault, you deserve to receive compensation for your damages.

Medical Treatment Changes If You are Pregnant

When an individual is in a car accident, a trip to the emergency room may be enough to determine the extent of injuries. This is true especially if the doctor orders x-rays or an MRI. When you are pregnant and in a car accident, you will need an extensive battery of tests run to determine if the unborn child has been injured. As your medical bills and injuries increase, generally the value of your claim increases. A personal injury lawyer can make a critical difference in guaranteeing that you are treated fairly when negotiating a settlement with an insurance company.

Types Of Injuries To Unborn Children

Pregnancy injuries from a car accident may manifest themselves in several ways. At the very least, an auto accident while pregnant firmly places your pregnancy in the high-risk category. This may necessitate additional monitoring by doctors, or ongoing tests to confirm the health of your child as they develop in the womb.

Numerous clients we have represented experienced premature birth because of a car accident while pregnant. While premature birth itself is a complication resulting from a car accident, a premature birth often leads to birth defects or a new-born failing to develop properly. This increases the risk for disability as the result of the accident. Often a personal injury case or claim will need to remain open until the damages can be confirmed and quantified for the purpose of valuing the claim. Your personal injury lawyer can explain how to protect your rights.

Fetal death or Miscarriage is unfortunately caused primarily by car accidents. This can be caused by physical impact to the mother. Additionally, if the mother loses oxygen for an extended period, the unborn child can be the victim of fetal death.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer about potential injuries to an unborn child because of a car accident, we are here to help. Whether it is just answering a question or moving forward with representation, our firm is ready to act for you. You can request a free consultation online, or you can call 704.749.7747 to speak with a lawyer today.

What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

The same way that every human being is unique, so is every personal injury claim. This means that the value of your personal injury claim will depend upon all the specific circumstances surrounding your claim and how it has affected your life. When you call a personal injury lawyer and ask them “What is my personal injury claim worth?” the answer should be “It depends.”

What Does It Depend On?

The primary driving force of the value of your personal injury claim is how it has affected your life. However, in order to establish how an injury or event has affected your life, you will need to establish proof. This is the world in which personal injury lawyers and personal injury insurance adjusters live. A simple example is two individuals who have both experienced tremendous anxiety and stress due to a car accident. Suppose that one of the individuals sought therapy to try to mange her PTSD from the accident, and the other individual ‘toughed it out’ on her own without therapy. While both clients have experienced anxiety, stress and PTSD from the accident, the individual who sought therapy has evidence of her anxiety. As a result, it will be easier to establish the value of the stress and anxiety when calculating a settlement figure or persuading a jury box.

What About Medical Bills?

Medical bills and medical records are a key part of establishing the value of your claim. Again, bills and records help to establish proof of how the accident affected your life. We are more easily persuaded that someone has been through pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, if we can see they received extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and physical therapy to heal from the accident. Compare this to an individual who was injured in a car accident and was treated once at an emergency room fourteen days after the accident. You get the picture.

Do My Lost Wages Count?

When determining “What is my personal injury claim worth?” your lost wages are a critical component. If you are a W2 employee or have a supervisor of any sort, we will work with you to have the supervisor sign off on a lost wages affidavit to establish the time and wages you lost. Even if you used Paid Time Off, you have lost paid hours as a result of the accident and deserve to be compensated for it.

How Will I Know When I Get A Fair Offer?

This is a fair question. We find that in the end, most of our clients simply wish the accident had never happened. There is no amount of money that can compensate them for the loss of enjoyment of life and the traumatic nature of catastrophic injuries. We help our clients to decide about a proposed settlement by seeking to understand what is important to them. Some clients have a strong desire for justice—sometimes that requires that we file a lawsuit. Other clients are simply ready to move forward with life and decide that the insurance company is making a fair offer. The decision is always yours, and we are here to maximize the offer to you, then help you decide if you want to accept it.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Want to speak with someone today to get an answer to the question “What is my personal injury claim worth?” The consultation is free. Our job is to help you understand your rights and explain whether we think we can assist you with your claim. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome possible. You can reach us at 704.749.7747, or click HERE to request a call from a lawyer today.

South Carolina Car Accidents

The Layton Law Firm can assist with South Carolina car accidents. Our firm has attorneys licensed in both North and South Carolina, and we also routinely work with other law firms in South Carolina on cases, depending upon the location of the accident. While our physical office is in Charlotte, NC, we will travel to you if necessary, to sign paperwork, or make any other arrangements in order to move forward with your claim.

Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer

Depending upon the location of your accident, and where you live, you will need to make sure you have a law firm capable of representing you in that state. Once you make that determination, the next most important factor is determining whether the firm you are considering is a good fit for you. The personal injury lawyer-client relationship is a lengthy relationship and can involve years of litigation in some instances. It is important to speak at length with the personal injury lawyer so you can get your questions answered and make an informed decision about representation.

What To Expect

Clients who have been injured are frustrated. You did not ask to be in a car accident or a slip and fall accident, and you are dealing with injuries which change your life. Most clients want the situation to  resolve as quickly as possible. We understand that. Unfortunately, in order to guarantee you are treated fairly in any settlement or litigation matter, it usually requires a lengthy journey to get to the finish line.

Given the lengthy nature of most personal injury cases, you should establish with your lawyer how often you will be updated, and by whom. It is not uncommon for a law firm to have a case manager or litigation manager who will be assigned to your case. He or she will be your primary contact regarding updates, and of course you will speak with the attorney throughout the process as well.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer today, the consultation is free. Our job is to help you understand your rights and explain whether we think we can assist you with your claim. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome possible. You can reach us at 704.749.7747, or click HERE to request a call from a lawyer today.

 

Will I Win My Personal Injury Claim?

Will I win my personal injury claim – great question. First, let’s take a step back and recognize that one client or lawyer may define winning differently than another client or lawyer. Our goal is to get the best result possible for you. If it’s a settlement offer, we negotiate to the highest offer and help you decide whether to accept that offer. If it’s a trial result, our goal is to convince a jury that the other party is responsible and that you deserve to be compensated fairly for your damages.

We work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid if you don’t get paid. As a result, we believe clients can feel comfortable that if we are willing to work on their case without guarantee of payment, that means we believe in the claim or case.

Getting A Fair Result In Personal Injury Is Tough

We work every day to help clients receive fair treatment from at fault parties. If you’ve negotiated with an insurance company before, you know that they are not generous. Because North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence state, insurance adjusters commonly argue your case has a low value and that you would most likely lose in court.

If insurance companies aren’t arguing that you were partially at fault, they will often look for gaps in your treatment, or a failure to complete treatment, or a prior injury. Each of these will be used to convince you that your case is worth less than you think it is.

Personal Injury Attorneys Protect You

It is our firm belief that a personal injury attorney will not only help you achieve a best result, but will help protect your rights along the journey. Whether you choose to work with our law firm or another personal injury law firm, you should strongly consider hiring legal counsel to help you with your car accident claim or slip and fall claim.

In addition to persuading insurance companies and opposing counsel that your case deserves fair compensation, your personal injury attorney will work to negotiate your medical billing and address any health insurance liens resulting from your accident. A failure to address these when negotiating a claim on your own often means you are pursued by medical creditors or lienholders after settlement—a horrible result.

Winning your personal injury claim is a combination of achieving the best offer possible, combined with making sure you are not left to deal with your medical bills after settlement. Federal and State law provide a set of rules by which all settlements should abide. Your personal injury lawyer will be familiar with these laws and apply them to your settlement. In many cases, you can limit the medical bills which are paid out of your settlement, or negotiate the medical bills down so that your settlement is not used to simply pay your medical bills, leaving nothing for you.

Determining Your Case Value

While every case is different, we will discuss the value of your case with you once we have enough information about your injuries, lost wages, and medical treatment. Because there are numerous components to a personal injury claim, our team will work with you to uncover the true nature of your losses, to build value in your case.

Once our firm has gathered all billing, records, and other items related to your case, we will work with you to set an amount to demand from the insurance company for settlement. Presenting your claim to the insurance company is done through a demand package which the law firm builds throughout the representation. We will review the demand package with you before submission to the insurance company, and use the contents of the demand package to attempt to negotiate a settlement with the other side.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’d like to speak with someone today, the consultation is free. Our job is to help you understand your rights and explain whether we think we can assist you with your claim. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome possible. You can reach us at 704.749.7747, or click HERE to request a call from a lawyer today.

Accident Lawyer Free Consultation

If you’ve been in an accident you deserve help immediately. Call us now for your accident lawyer free consultation. Consultations can be conducted over the phone or in person. What’s most important is that you understand your rights now, before you start communicating with the other driver’s insurance company.

During your accident lawyer free consultation we will discuss all of your concerns about the accident, and there will not be any pressure to commit to hiring us. We want you to work with a personal injury lawyer who is best suited to your needs. Your relationship with your lawyer will be a lengthy relationship, and it’s important that you understand the lawyer’s approach to helping you achieve compensation for your loss.

Accident Lawyer Free Consultation Topics

  • The fee for working with our law firm on a personal injury matter (We are paid a percentage of the settlement or jury verdict, and you don’t owe us anything if there is no recovery)
  • Determining whether you have a case (Who is at fault)
  • The next steps you can take to preserve your rights and make sure your treatment related to the accident is paid for by the other driver
  • Our likelihood of success in obtaining a recovery for you
  • Our history with cases similar to yours (Car accidents, grocery store slip and falls, dog bites, wrongful death, workers’ comp, etc.)

You may also have additional questions unique to your situation, and we can help with those as well. If you need guidance regarding a property damage claim, medical payments coverage, or responding to an insurance adjuster, we can advise you regarding these concerns during the accident lawyer free consultation.

Next Steps

Your next step is simple: call us at 704.749.7747 and request a consultation—you will be immediately routed to a personal injury attorney who can assist with providing you guidance. The accident lawyer free consultation is free and we’re happy to help. You can also click to request your ACCIDENT LAWYER FREE CONSULTATION and we will call you shortly.