Physical Therapy After A Car Accident

If you have been in a car accident, you may be referred by your doctor for physical therapy. Often, injuries from a car accident don’t manifest until several days or even weeks after the accident. While you may not have broken bones or need surgery, often the injuries require ongoing treatment to heal.

Whiplash From Your Car Accident

The most common injury from a car accident is whiplash. If you need additional treatment beyond your emergency room visit, quite often it will be physical therapy sessions. Rebuilding strength and increasing mobility is the general goal and your therapist will work with you to achieve this.

Other Injuries Requiring Physical Therapy

If you do need surgery after your car accident, it is not uncommon to have a course of physical therapy in order to regain strength and use of the injured area. While neck and back injuries are more common with car accidents, slip and fall victims often need therapy for knee, hip, and shoulder injuries.

Types Of Physical Therapy

There are numerous strategies your therapist may employ when treating you. Everything from manual therapy—including massage—to electric stimulation, may be employed in the healing process. Exercise in the form of both hydrotherapy and unassisted exercise under the care of a therapist helps re-train muscles and build endurance.

It is also not uncommon to employ heat/ice therapy for inflammation, swelling, and pain. The most common advice for a soft tissue injury is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. While this is true, heat and ice are often overlooked as an important part of the therapy process.

The Value Of Physical Therapy In A Car Accident Settlement

If your physical therapy was received at the direction or referral of your doctor, the value assigned to it will be greater than if you were treated without a referral. This is due to the belief that the injury (and required treatment) is better substantiated when documented by a doctor.

Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize the value of your claim. Our office will fight to make sure you are treated fairly when considering any settlement amount, and when negotiating the value of your claim as it relates to each aspect of treatment you received as a result of the accident.

Paying For Physical Therapy

If you have health insurance it may cover some or all of your physical therapy costs. If you have been in a car accident, many physical therapy offices will work with our office to allow you to receive the treatment you need, while waiting for your claim to settle in order to be paid for their services. If you have questions about paying for physical therapy we can help.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’ve been in an accident, we recommend speaking with a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Phone consultations are free and you deserve to understand your rights. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a phone call. We know you have options. We hope you Call Layton Law.

How Do I Pay For A Personal Injury Lawyer?

First, if we don’t recover compensation for you, you don’t owe us anything. Second, you don’t pay anything to us until we do recover compensation for you. Lastly, our fee is based on a percentage of your settlement. In summary, if we are able to settle your case you will pay for your personal injury lawyer fees directly from your settlement.

What Is A Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is an arrangement between you and your lawyer, where your fee to your lawyer is not owed until and unless the lawyer achieves a settlement or jury verdict for you. The contingency fee is a method of payment that allows you to obtain legal representation without having the funds on hand to pay an attorney. Additionally, when an attorney takes your case based on a contingency fee, they are telling you that they have faith in your case. The lawyer knows that if they don’t recover anything for you, they won’t get paid.

When Will I Know How Much I Owe My Personal Injury Lawyer?

Once we negotiate the highest settlement offer we can for you, we will prepare a draft of a personal injury settlement statement for you to review. The settlement statement shows the offer amount from the insurance company and then shows you where every penny of that settlement will go. Typically, the settlement statement will show your attorney fee, any medical bills (and Medical Liens) that are being paid from settlement, and finally the amount going back to you.

Because you get to review your settlement statement prior to agreeing to the settlement, you can rest assured you will know exactly how much you will pay your lawyer and how much you will receive, all before agreeing to the settlement amount.

Would It Be Better If I Paid My Injury Lawyer An Hourly Rate Instead?

Not in our opinion. What we like about the contingency fee is that you can trust that your lawyer is taking the case because they believe in it. If you were paying by the hour, you may have an attorney who is more than happy to continue working on your case—and billing you—even though they know your chance of winning is very slim. The contingency fee protects you against this. You will find that your personal injury attorney is very honest with you about the value of your case. The reason for this is in part because the attorney’s office is investing its time in your case with no promise of payment.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

We would be happy to answer any questions you have about personal injury lawyer fees. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call from us. Phone consultations are a great way for you to understand your options and we’re here to help.

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 have 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 newborn failing to develop properly. This increases the risk for disability as a 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 a physical impact on 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.

Will I Win My Personal Injury Claim?

Will I win my personal injury claim? – A 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 the 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 provides 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.

Who Pays For Physical Therapy After A Car Accident?

You didn’t ask to be in a car accident. Now you’re dealing with the aftermath—arguing with the insurance company, missing work due to injuries and doctor’s appointments, and possibly facing the inability to afford treatment. We help clients with these concerns every day in our practice, and we can help you as well.

If your car accident or slip and fall required a surgery, most likely you will need some form of physical therapy after a car accident and surgery. If you do not have health insurance, or if you have a high deductible, you may not be able to afford physical therapy. This conundrum presents numerous problems. First, your full recovery depends upon physical therapy. You won’t fully heal from the surgery without it. Second, if you have a personal injury claim, you deserve to not only be treated but also to have that treatment paid for by whoever caused the injury.

Physical Therapy On A Lien Basis

In North Carolina, there is a lien statute which relates to medical treatment provided in conjunction with a personal injury. While the language of the statute requires legal interpretation, it generally boils down to the fact that your medical providers (including your health insurance company) can place a lien against your injury proceeds. Your lawyer has an ethical obligation to obtain lien amounts and address them in your settlement. The upside of this rule is that quite often, you can find a physical therapist to treat you on a “lien basis”. This means the therapist will treat you and simply agree that they will wait to get paid until you reach a settlement.

You’ll Need An Attorney Letter Of Protection

If you find a physical therapist or chiropractor willing to work on a lien basis, they will most likely want to see a copy of your police report, and receive a letter from your personal injury lawyer indicating the lawyer represents you, and that the lawyer is protecting their lien in the personal injury settlement. This letter can be quickly drafted and faxed or emailed to the medical provider, so that treatment can begin or continue.

When Do You Pay For The Physical Therapy After A Car Accident?

Once you reach a settlement, your attorney will work with the physical therapist to negotiate their bill, if possible. The lien statute referenced above (NCGS 44-49 and 44-50) place limitations on the amount you must pay the medical provider from your settlement proceeds, and this will be a necessary component of the negotiation. Your personal injury lawyer will handle this for you and communicate with you regarding where every dollar of your settlement will go.

How Much Of My Settlement Will I Receive?

The answer to this depends of course on a few factors. First, how high your outstanding medical bills and liens are. Second, how much you receive at settlement. Lastly, the application of the NC lien statute to the settlement proceeds and liens will largely determine the amount which will go back to you from your settlement proceeds. Your attorney will address each of these concerns with you as your case progresses and you will have ultimate authority to settle the claim or refuse the offer of settlement. It’s your attorney’s job to help you understand how each decision affects you.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

How Do I Find A Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

Finding a personal injury lawyer near you should be easy. Google will usually show search results which are relevant to your search for a personal injury lawyer, both by content and geographic location. Keep in mind, most personal injury law firms have the ability for you to sign up by internet, email, or mailing you a packet. If you’d like to speak with an attorney today, simply request a phone consultation HERE and we will reach out immediately.

If you are in an accident in North Carolina, The Layton Law Firm can help you. Our office is in SouthPark in Charlotte, NC; however, we handle Car Accident cases, Truck Accident cases, Slip and Fall cases, Pedestrian Cases, and Wrongful Death cases across the state of North Carolina. If your accident was in South Carolina, we can work with you to start your case with one of the South Carolina litigation law firms we routinely work with.

Determining Whether You Have A Personal Injury Claim Or Case

A phone consultation with a personal injury lawyer should provide you with enough information to decide if you have a valid personal injury claim. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that the law firm only gets paid if they are able to obtain you a settlement or jury verdict. Our firm routinely works on contingency with clients. We believe this serves the client well. First, the client does not have to pay out of pocket for legal protection and can find representation immediately. Second, if your personal injury lawyer is interested in your case and is agreeable to working on a contingency basis, it’s a good sign that the lawyer believes you have a valid case—they wouldn’t work for ‘free’ if they thought they were not going to eventually get a result for you.

Deciding On A Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s important to choose a lawyer who you believe is capable of handling your case, and who will be good to work with. Our office routinely receives phone calls from clients who are working with other personal injury lawyer and can’t get a phone call returned, or feel like their case hasn’t been touched in months. When you choose to work with The Layton Law Firm, we make sure to communicate regularly with you. We provide you updates as the case or claim progresses, and we involve you in the critical steps in the settlement process. You’ll never feel neglected or ‘out of the loop’ as it relates to your case.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’re asking “How do I find a personal injury lawyer near me?” the answer is easy—you’ve found one. We can help you with your case and we would love to hear from you. If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.


The Insurance Company Is Totaling My Car

If you are in a car accident and the damage to your car exceeds 65 to 70 percent of the value of your car, your car may be ‘totaled’. According to your car will also be totaled if the repair estimate exceeds the fair market value. Keep in mind that if you’re in a car accident, you have two potential claims that arise from that accident. First, you have a property damage claim. This is the claim which relates to your vehicle. Second, you may have a personal injury claim. Even if you are handling your property damage claim on your own, a discussion with a personal injury lawyer about both claims is a great next step in the process. The personal injury claim relates to your pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills, but will not include repayment for loss of or damage to your vehicle.

Keeping A Totaled Vehicle After A Car Accident

If you want to keep your totaled vehicle after your car accident, your insurance company will typically pay you the cash value of the vehicle minus any deductible according to your policy. From there, you can arrange to have repairs made to the vehicle. In many cases, clients do choose to keep a totaled vehicle and make the repairs.

Check With Your Insurance Company About Coverage Going Forward

If you are planning to keep and operate a totaled  or “salvage” vehicle, it’s important to make sure you will be able to get insurance coverage for the vehicle. Every insurance company is different. You can start by asking your current auto insurance company about covering the salvage vehicle. If that is not an option you can reach out to other insurance companies for the same purpose.

Selling Your Totaled Car After A Car Accident

Another thing to keep in mind is the trade-in or sale value of your vehicle may be zero, if the insurance company is totaling your car after the accident. The title database maintained by insurance companies will alert any buyer that the vehicle has been totaled. You also have an affirmative duty to disclose to any potential buyer that the insurance company totaled the car.

Totaled Cars And Gap Insurance

If your car is totaled and the amount the insurance company is giving you for the totaled car does not cover the loan amount, you have a deficiency for which you may be responsible. Longer length loans on vehicles, coupled with rolling negative vehicle debt into a trade-in often results in an “upside down” vehicle. When the insurance company totals the car, you’re left with the loan to pay.

If you purchased what is commonly known as gap insurance, it will pay the difference between what you receive for the car and the remainder of the loan. The purpose of gap insurance is so that you don’t get stuck with unsecured or leftover debt after the insurance company makes their payment to you.

Purchasing A New Car After A Car Accident

Many of our personal injury clients are in need of a new vehicle after a car accident. While the personal injury claim does not include value for the loss of the vehicle, there is no rule that says you can’t spend some or all of your personal injury settlement funds on a down payment for a new car. Your personal injury lawyer can help you to sort through all of these issues and provide guidance in addition to protecting you against unfair treatment by the insurance company or companies involved in the car accident and compensation resulting from it.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.





How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain And Suffering

Clients often wonder how insurance companies calculate pain and suffering. Technically, if you take any settlement and subtract out the medical billing and the lost wages, you are left with what might be referred to as pain and suffering. Essentially, this is anything above and beyond actual expenses. Logic would tell you that is what is being offered to compensate you for your suffering.

Pain And Suffering Isn’t That Simple

Truthfully, your Average Personal Injury Settlement doesn’t really work that way. Two different personal injury attorneys may end up with two different results for the same client. This tells us that pain and suffering are a component of each settlement, but in the end, the skill set of your personal injury attorney will determine whether your pain and suffering is maximized in your settlement or jury verdict.

Your damages can be broken into a few categories:

Current Damages – Current medical expenses, Lost wages, and General damages. These include of course your doctor visits and prescriptions, physical therapy, chiropractic, etc.

Future Damages – Future medical expenses, Future lost wages, and Future general damages. While these are not always certain, a doctor’s opinion can be attained in most cases, to try to prove the likelihood of the need for future treatment.

Rehabilitation Damages – If your recovery will involve or require training or re-directing of a career or vocation, you may have rehab damages.

Punitive Damages – Lastly, though uncommon in North Carolina, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party. These go above and beyond your pain and suffering and usually are a dollar amount chosen which represents the desire to “send a message” to the at-fault party that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. A classic example is an award given in the McDonalds hot coffee case. The amount of the award was very high, presumably to send the message to corporations that they need to be more careful with hot coffee.

Forget Pain And Suffering And Focus On Value

If you could listen in on your personal injury attorney’s conversations with the insurance adjuster or opposing counsel, you would find the attorney rarely mentions the phrase pain and suffering. There’s a reason—both sides can strongly disagree about a dollar amount which is fair. Instead, the attorney works to build your case based on facts and categories of damages such as those mentioned above. Rather than argue about what you’ve been through, your attorney will argue what it’s going to take to get you back to where you were before the accident.

There are of course accidents that involve a terrible amount of pain and suffering, and in those cases, they play a larger role. For instance, if a claimant witnessed the loss of a loved one, or the experience itself was horrific. A vehicle that rolls over three times on the highway involves more pain and suffering than a fender bender on a city street, even if the injuries are the same.

You Need Someone Who Enjoys Arguing

It sounds funny to say, but it is our opinion that you need a personal injury lawyer who actually enjoys arguing. Not in the sense that it makes their day to argue with someone. Instead, you need someone who is interested in building an argument for you. A personal injury attorney and law firm that looks at your case with fresh eyes and can tell the story of your case in a convincing manner will help to maximize the value of your case. In the end, that means a better result for you.

Our clients love that we take a genuine interest in defending their right to be fairly compensated. While none of our Reviews specifically indicate that we love to argue, we find that a client feels satisfied when they know their lawyer went the distance for them– this includes standing our ground against opposing counsel in a personal injury matter.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.


Neck Pain From A Car Accident

If you have neck pain from a car accident, you should seek medical attention quickly. Quite often, we don’t feel the pain from a car accident until several days later. This is partly due to the adrenaline or endorphins which mask the pain; however, after a day or two we realize we have been injured. Treating neck pain from a car accident not only helps to ensure your health, it also protects any legal rights you may have against the driver who hit you.

Treating Early Protects Your Rights

If you wait to treat your car accident injuries for any length of time after the car accident, you open yourself up to objections by the other driver’s insurance company. For instance, suppose you are in a car accident on January 1st. On January 3rd you start to feel aches and pains. You’re busy with work and keep thinking it will go away. You take ibuprofen a few times a day and you’re getting by, until you realize you need to get help. You wait until January 30th to get treated.

If you pursue a personal injury claim against the driver who hit you, you will face scrutiny from the insurance adjuster on two levels. First, the adjuster will claim that there is a chance you injured yourself between January 1st and January 30th, which had nothing to do with the accident. They will object to paying for the treatment on the “gap in treatment”. Second, the adjuster will argue that even if the pain was related to the January 1st accident, you must not have been in that much pain if you waited 30 days to get treated—this means you can expect a low settlement offer. You can read more on our blog about The Value Of Your Personal Injury Claim.

Car accidents and the mechanics of a personal injury claim are unique in this manner. By seeking treatment early, you take care of yourself and you preserve your rights.

Paying For The Expense Of Treatment

Your health insurance should cover any emergency room treatment or hospital treatment you require, minus your co-pay. However, insurance won’t always cover chiropractic treatment, which is the most common treatment for neck pain from a car accident. Fortunately, most chiropractors in Charlotte and the surrounding area will treat on a “Lien Status”. This means the chiropractor will treat you at no cost, and wait to get paid from your car accident settlement. You can read more on our blog about Medical Liens In Personal Injury.

If your chiropractor is going to treat you on Lien Status, they will probably want an opinion from your personal injury attorney that the accident was not your fault. They may also ask for a copy of the police report. They are only doing so to protect themselves. If the accident was your fault, there won’t be a personal injury settlement and the chiropractor won’t get paid. This doesn’t mean you can’t get treatment from the chiropractor—in fact, if you’re injured, you absolutely should get treated. It does mean, however, that you will bear the expense of the treatment.

Start By Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are having neck pain from a car accident, start by calling a personal injury lawyer. The Layton Law Firm can help examine the details and facts from your accident, and make an assessment as to whether the accident was your fault. This will give you some confidence that whatever treatment you incur may be paid by your car accident settlement, should you be able to reach one. You can read more on our blog about Medical Bills In Personal Injury.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.


Estimated Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury attorneys learn very quickly the pitfalls of discussing estimated personal injury settlements with their clients. The value of your personal injury claim is dependent upon numerous factors. As a result, two cases with the exact same injuries may have very different results in terms of a personal injury settlement. Below are some common factors which affect your personal injury settlement.

The Facts – As you might imagine, depending upon the facts, two cases with the same injuries may have dramatically different results in terms of what they may settle for, or what a jury awards. For example, an individual who is rear-ended in a car accident and suffers a concussion has a different case than an individual who has a grocery store slip and fall and suffers a concussion. Strong facts which clearly establish liability or fault will boost the value of your personal injury claim. Weaker facts, for instance where each driver claims the accident was not their fault, may lead to complications unless evidence can be obtained firmly establishing the fault of the other driver. If your claim involves wrongful death, pedestrians, or passengers, the outcome will differ as well.

Contributory Negligence – You can’t discuss estimated personal injury settlements in North Carolina without discussing Contributory Negligence. We’ve written extensively about Contributory Negligence in our blog because it affects many North Carolina personal injury claims. Generally speaking, Contributory Negligence is an affirmative defense. It is a rule in North Carolina which says that if a jury determines the plaintiff is 1% or more at fault, the jury is instructed to give the plaintiff nothing. This is an outdated rule and one your personal injury attorney must wrestle with in order to prove your case. While most claims do not go to court, insurance adjusters commonly introduce Contributory Negligence into the settlement conversation, to remind the plaintiff that there is a very serious risk in litigating a personal injury claim in North Carolina if it’s possible the jury determines the plaintiff was even 1% at fault.

Pre-Existing Injuries – While you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries, you will find the insurance company for the at-fault party will diligently research whether you had a pre-existing condition before this accident. Even a note in your prior medical records indicating a simple complaint regarding back pain will be used to demonstrate you had existing back pain prior to this accident. The two sides will end up arguing over the extent to which this accident worsened the back pain, and assign a value to that.

Rule 414 – Rule 414 is a rule of evidence that personal injury plaintiff’s attorneys are familiar with. The rule says that the only evidence of medical billing which can be introduced into evidence in court, is medical billing that has actually been paid, and medical billing which is still owed or outstanding. In short, if you have $100,000 of medical treatment, and Medicaid pays $5,000 to the hospital unless there is a remaining balance, your attorney will only be able to enter $5,000 into evidence at trial as medical billing. Because juries use medical billing dollar totals to help them calculate what they believe is a fair settlement, you can see how this tends to under-emphasize the extent of your injuries at trial. Your lawyer will also need to determine whether you have any Medical Liens as a result of your claim and negotiate them as part of the settlement. Once again, two clients who have the same exact injuries but different insurance coverage may see very different jury results in their personal injury verdicts.

Standard of Care – Generally, a claim of negligence requires you to show that a standard of care was owed to you by another person and was not fulfilled. This is called a Breach of Duty, in the personal injury world. In many slip and fall claims, obstacles arise in proving that the standard of care was breached. For instance, you may be able to prove that there was water on the floor of the grocery store and that you slipped in that water. However, if the store can prove that another customer spilled that water on the floor three minutes before you slipped in it, they will prevail on their argument that the store did not breach its duty to you—there wasn’t enough time for the store to discover and fix the dangerous condition. While there is no set rule for the amount of time a hazard must exist, slip and fall cases routinely turn on who created the hazard (another shopper or an employee), whether the store knew or should have known about the hazard, and how much time passed since the hazard was created.

Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering is essentially what you endure as a direct result of the accident. When reviewing your settlement, the amount attributable to pain and suffering is anything above and beyond payment for medical bills and lost wages. Your lawyer will submit a demand package as part of the personal injury settlement process. That demand package will outline your pain and suffering and you will have a chance to review it prior to its submission.

Lost Wages – Lost wages are part of your claim. They will need to be verified by your employer. Your attorney will provide you with a form for your employer to complete, indicating your rate of pay, dates missed, and total lost wages. If you are self-employed, you will need to provide copies of tax returns from prior years and other evidence that your lawyer will use to construct a lost wages claim for submission.

The Reputation Of The Personal Injury Lawyer – If your personal injury attorney has a reputation of following through on claims, thoroughly investigating claims, and negotiating claims in good faith, we believe that you are able to maximize your settlement offer in your personal injury claim. If your attorney has a reputation of threatening to file a lawsuit but never follows through on that threat, you can imagine the insurance company may not take that lawyer’s claims as seriously as they will a claim from another law firm. One way to check the reputation of your lawyer is to look at their Google Reviews. We are proud of our history with clients and thankful that they choose to leave reviews about their experience.

Hiring a personal injury attorney is key in successfully negotiating your claim. The attorney is not simply arguing over dollars and cents; instead, the attorney is building your case using all of the above factors. By persuading the insurance adjuster that the lawyer will succeed with their case, you are more likely to maximize the settlement offer from the insurance company. Estimating personal injury settlements prior to having all the facts, medical records, and billing in hand is a bad idea for both you and your personal injury attorney. This process will require some patience, but hopefully, your patience will pay off with a fair settlement or jury verdict.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

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Further Reading

If this article about estimated personal injury settlements was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.