Tag Archive for: commercial vehicle accident

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 This is an outdated rule and one your personal injury attorney must wrestle with in order to prove your case.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

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 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.

Friendly Charlotte Personal Injury Firm

It may seem counter-intuitive to desire a friendly Charlotte personal injury firm, but in our opinion that is exactly what you need for your Charlotte personal injury. We all often forget that working with a law firm means interacting with that law firm on a routine basis. While you want your Charlotte personal injury lawyer to be aggressive for you when pursuing compensation for your personal injury claim or personal injury lawsuit, you also want them to be easy to work with. For that reason, finding a friendly Charlotte personal injury firm is important.

Responsive Staff And Attorneys

One of the most frequent complaints about Charlotte’s personal injury firms—even those rated as Charlotte’s best personal injury firms—is a failure to communicate effectively with clients. Part of this failure is due to the heavy workload that Charlotte personal injury law firms take on; however, there’s no excuse for not responding to a client’s inquiry or desire to be kept up to date.

At The Layton Law Firm, we end each conversation by agreeing with you on the next time you can expect an update from us. This helps us, and it helps you. From our perspective, it ensures that we have it marked on our calendar to reach out to you when the future date arrives. From your perspective, it gives you peace of mind that you know you will be updated at the agreed-upon time.

Mutual Respect Is A Critical Part Of Success

The personal injury law firm and the client must work as a team to reach a successful result on a personal injury claim. This means the client must also commit to responding in a timely manner to their lawyer or paralegal. Quite often, the insurance adjuster in a car accident will request additional support for lost wages or medical records. We need our clients to assist us in quickly gathering that information so the claim can move forward.

On our end, we do our best to keep in mind that most clients have never filed a personal injury claim before working with us. They are not the type of individuals who sue people. So, the experience can be stressful. Not only is it an emotionally draining process, but it’s also hard to understand how long a personal injury settlement will take. We do our best to maintain compassion, empathy, and understanding for what our clients are going through. After all, they are working with us because they were harmed in an often life-changing motor vehicle accident, slip and fall injury, or workers’ compensation-related injury.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer

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.

 

When you are rear-ended by a company vehicle, it’s important to understand your rights. Your claim for damages can often be dramatically different when you’re rear-ended by a company vehicle. The reason for this is the potential for punitive damages, which increase the value of your personal injury case. Punitive damages are codified by the NC General Statutes in N.C.G.S. sec. 1D.

As a Charlotte personal injury law firm, our firm has experience representing individuals who have been in accidents involving commercial vehicles. Sometimes those clients are pedestrians who have been struck by a work vehicle. Other times, our client was rear-ended by a company vehicle while driving their own personal vehicle.

How Your Case Is Different When A Commercial Vehicle Is Involved

In a typical car accident, both drivers are operating their personal vehicles. Ideally, both drivers are insured at the time of the accident. The at-fault party can expect to pay damages to the other driver if they were injured in the accident. In these cases, each driver should carry the NC state minimum insurance requirements. In the event the injuries exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver, our firm can typically recover additional funds from our client’s insurance company under the Underinsured Motorist coverage on our client’s policy.

In the commercial setting, if someone is rear-ended by a company vehicle, a few things are different. First, the insurance limits covering the company driver will typically be much higher than those carried by most private motorists. Second, as a personal injury law firm, we will investigate the facts surrounding the accident to determine if the company itself is at fault. For example:

Did the company driver have a prior history of accidents?

Did a failure to maintain the company vehicle contribute to the accident?

Does the company have a history of negligent retention of employees?

In the corporate setting, when you are rear-ended by a company vehicle, your case may be a good case for additional damages. Juries are often asked to consider punitive damages in these cases. This changes the nature of the jury’s deliberation. Usually, a jury is awarding the injured party an amount of money meant to compensate the injured party for their loss. When punitive damages are considered by a jury, the jury is considering an amount that will discourage the at-fault company and all other companies from engaging in similar behavior. This is why a failure to maintain a vehicle or knowledge surrounding an employee’s prior driving record is relevant.

Negotiating A Claim When Rear-Ended By A Company Vehicle

The available insurance coverage and the public policy to prevent companies from knowingly engaging in negligent behavior change the negotiation. Your personal injury lawyer will present your case to the insurance adjuster or their attorney in a manner that reflects this. By citing recent case law which supports the damages requested, your lawyer can build the value of your case so that you are adequately compensated.

Ultimately, your personal injury settlement should reflect all circumstances surrounding your accident. Our staff will walk you through the demand package we are submitting to the insurance company to be sure you understand the process as we request a settlement from the insurance adjuster.

Investigating The At-Fault Company

Another distinguishing factor in rear-end collisions involving commercial vehicles is the tendency for the personal injury law firm to employ an investigator to research the company’s history. This investigation will include uncovering past accidents, corporate policies, and finally whether the company complies with state and federal regulations. In cases like these, quite often the case is as much about your injury as it is about the company’s failure to abide by the rules for doing business in the state. If a failure to follow those rules contributed to the accident, it becomes a key factor in achieving full value for your claim.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Most of our clients have never sued another individual. Most of our clients have never been seriously injured in a car accident before. We understand this is all new territory to you, and your primary focus is on recovery from your injuries. In our opinion, it makes sense to partner with a personal injury law firm to be sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

If you’d like to speak with us about your accident, call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to discuss your case today.

Commercial vehicle accidents are quite common in North Carolina. Commercial Vehicles are the cause of 10 injuries or deaths a month in our state. The drivers of these vehicles have jobs; and with these jobs comes a schedule that their pay depends upon. Commercial vehicle drivers have to make deliveries on time and in unfortunate situations, this may lead to fatigue, stress, or putting the delivery time over the safety of other drivers or pedestrians. The laws protecting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are different. This article focuses on passengers or drivers in a car accident. If you were injured as a pedestrian, you can read more about pedestrian accidents on our site.

Trucks vs. Cars

There is a wide range of Commercial Vehicles. For instance, some companies need an eighteen-wheeler, while others accomplish their corporate job with a normal passenger vehicle. If you are involved in an accident with an eighteen-wheeler then the results are typically much more dire than those resulting from an accident with a passenger vehicle in the same circumstances.

These vehicles carry heavy industrial items which, when reaching impact with another vehicle at high speeds, cause dramatic and often traumatic injuries and damage. Additionally, Commercial Vehicles are multiple times larger than the average private vehicle, leading to quite different results in the event of an accident. We’ve all driven past a tractor-trailer accident on a highway—sometimes displaying the frightening results of these accidents, including an overturned vehicle, a crushed passenger vehicle, or worse.

Insurance In A Commercial Vehicle Accident

A common question that comes from clients who have been in these accidents is: Whose insurance is going to pay for the property damage and the bodily injury? Depending upon the specific facts of the accident, the answer may vary. If the driver is employed by the company, we typically look to the corporate insurance policy. If it is determined that the driver is an independent contractor, your personal injury lawyer will help you decide which insurance provider to pursue, if not both.

Additionally, factual questions must be answered, in an attempt to predict the response from the at-fault driver. Sometimes these inquiries lead to a discovery that the driver may have done something with the vehicle that had nothing to do with the job for which they were hired. If a UPS truck driven by a UPS employee suddenly hits you or your vehicle while carrying out a delivery, then the company is liable, but if the driver drives the truck to their daughter’s birthday party in the course of that ‘errand’ causes an accident, the argument can be made that the driver was doing something for which the company was not liable. Additionally, intentional acts outside the scope of employment may lead to different outcomes.

Post-Accident Actions

Police reports associated with the Commercial Vehicle accident can assist in supporting your claim that the other driver was at fault. It is always recommended to call the police and insist on not only exchanging driver information but also insist on the generation of a police report. If you were hit by another driver but there is absolutely no evidence of that other than your account, you will have a much harder time establishing fault and liability. Police reports are important because they also establish the location, time, and identification of all parties and of the accident. If you were in an accident and have not obtained your police report, we are happy to do it for you at no charge. Just call us and we’ll ask a few questions to help us identify the report online and download it. Or, if you’d like to do it yourself, you can do so HERE for a small fee from the County. You’ll need your driver exchange crash form or enough information about the accident to help their automated system identify the report.

Seek Medical Attention

If you are injured in an accident, it’s advisable to seek medical attention immediately. Immediate medical attention can prevent further health complications which can develop quickly on the heels of an accident. Internal bleeding and other injuries are sometimes not detectable or noticeable just after an accident—only a medical professional can assure you that you are not injured, or treat the injuries you do have. Additionally, an insurance company will hold it against you if you wait to seek medical attention. They quite often argue that if you were injured in the accident you would have sought medical attention immediately. Alternatively, they argue that if you waited to seek medical attention, perhaps your injury actually occurred sometime between the accident and the time you sought medical attention. Either claim by an insurance company can lead to a lowered value in your case.

Call A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has been struck by a Commercial Vehicle, please call us to find out your rights. We are more than happy to hear your story and give you a complimentary assessment of your case or claim. If we can not take your case for some reason, we will help to refer you to another lawyer that we trust, who can assist you. If you’d like to speak with an attorney today, call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to send us a request for a phone consultation. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

If you’re involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle, chances are you have a serious injury. The increased size and weight of commercial vehicles make car accidents more severe than most car accidents occurring between two privately owned vehicles.

Serious Injuries Deserve Serious Legal Attention

If you have serious injuries from a commercial vehicle accident, it makes it even more important that you obtain competent legal representation by hiring a personal injury lawyer. Not only do you have more to lose when your injuries are more severe, but you’ll probably also be dealing with a sophisticated legal team representing the commercial vehicle—having your own representation could make the difference between a horrible legal result and a fair legal result.

The Value Of Your Commercial Vehicle Accident

As a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina, I’m exposed every day to stories about commercial vehicle accidents. I also pride myself on providing advice to individuals who are trying to wade through the waters of settling a personal injury claim. My biggest fear is that someone will feel pressured by an insurance company to accept significantly less than what I believe they deserve, in a situation where they’ve been in a commercial vehicle accident.

While the value of every claim or case differs, the serious nature of commercial vehicle accidents lend themselves to higher medical bills and medical liens, long-term damages, and pain and suffering often not associated with a more minor car accident. Your personal injury lawyer will guard you against being taken advantage of by the other driver’s insurance adjuster or lawyer.

Paying Your Personal Injury Lawyer

We know most clients don’t have money to come out of pocket to hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue their claim. As a result, our firm almost always works on a contingency fee basis, which means that “We don’t get paid if you don’t get paid.” Not only does this arrangement help to minimize any financial risk on your part, but it also means your lawyer will be honest with you at all costs—there’s no sense in a lawyer convincing you that you have a great case, if the lawyer is only going to get paid if they win it for you. This results in good communication and expectations between the personal injury lawyer and the client, and keeps trust high between the two.

Schedule A Phone Consultation Today

If you’ve been in a commercial vehicle accident, or have any other type of personal injury claim, please feel free to request a phone call HERE, or call us at 704.749.7747 and we’ll discuss your case today. There’s no pressure to hire our firm—we’re here to answer questions and help you make a decision about what to do next. If you do decide to hire a personal injury lawyer, we hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.