Yearly Archives: 2012

Perseverance Pays

Uncategorized

It can be difficult to determine at what point a case can be settled. In a recent case, we had a client who suffered a neck injury requiring cervical fusion as a result of an automobile collision. We contacted the insurance company of the driver who was at fault, and they took the position that the injury was not related to the wreck. They offered a small amount of money, and they hoped that we would all go away. At our recommendation, our client refused their offer, and we filed a lawsuit. After litigating the case with the insurance company for many months, they increased their offer. We didn’t think it was fair, based on the damage that had been done to our client. So we prepared for trial. A few weeks before trial, the insurance company finally offered a fair settlement which was substantially larger than their initial offer. While we cannot guarantee similar results in every case (see our blog on this topic), in this instance Perseverance paid.

This article was written by Chip Permar

Why You Can’t Compare Cases that Appear to be Similar

Uncategorized

Folks who hire us will sometimes say that their friends or relatives have been involved in “the same kind of accident,” or that their neighbor got a “large amount of money” in her case. These “friends and family” scenarios often create unrealistic expectations. We remind our clients that no two cases are the same. The facts of each case make it unique and dictate an outcome specific to that case. In addition, laws change all the time and what was available or achievable three years ago may be different today. Sometimes for the better.

A traffic accident or a construction site collapse may be similar to another accident — but they’re not the same, and the difference is often in the details. For instance, if you’re hurt because of a car wreck and it’s the other driver’s fault, you should be compensated. But the amount of compensation depends on your circumstances. If you’re retired, you did not lose wages because of the accident. An injured person in another case could have been out of work for a week or more, and should get lost wages. Sometimes people are working but don’t record their earnings with the IRS or an employer. They get paid “under the table.” That makes it difficult to document later when seeking lost wages. As another example, a window washer can fall from scaffolding that’s one story high or five stories high, and the outcome could be dramatically different, even though they’re both work-related falls. Or a negligent party may have a lot of insurance in one case and little or none in another. The amount of coverage available makes a huge impact in your recovery. Accidents can also make an existing injury worse, and payment to the injured party could be less if there was a pre-existing medical condition.

There is no simple formula to predict an outcome in your case. It’s important for your attorney to know and discover everything possible about your case to give you the best chance for a successful outcome. Don’t try to forecast the results of your case based on what you think has happened to others. Rely on your legal team to communicate with you and to take the time to research and review the circumstances of your specific situation before a compensation figure can be determined.

This article was written by Chip Permar

Nursing Home/Facility Negligence

Personal Injury

What should you do when a person you cherish is injured while in a hospital or nursing home and you believe the facility and its employees to be at fault?

If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of below standard care, consider investigating the facility. Evidence of continual dehydration, bed sores or pressure sores, repeated falls, weight loss and complaints of pain can be signs of a problem. But you need intervention by a professional. Go to the Division of Health Service Regulation website, also known as the Division of Facilities Services, for our state where you will find information on how to file a complaint. As noted on their website, all claims should be filed within a year of the incident. They will evaluate and review the records of the hospital or nursing home and begin an investigation if they find it is necessary. Our law firm will also review your case for a potential claim and help determine next steps. Hospitals, nursing home and even home health care workers can be neglectful, have too many patients and not enough licensed, certified staff to care for each of them. We’ll work together to determine what can be done.

This article was written by Todd P. Oxner

Investigating Your Personal Injury Case

Personal Injury

I often wonder how much of a potential recovery is left on the table or never discovered by an injury victim. If you’re injured in a car accident and the driver of the other automobile was at fault, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Most people understand that is the purpose of liability coverage. And the North Carolina legislature understands it, too, because they require liability coverage as a condition to drive in North Carolina. But what happens if you have significant injuries and that driver has only minimal liability coverage, which in North Carolina is $30,000? As the injured party, $30,000 may be your maximum reimbursement, no matter how seriously you’re hurt. But sometimes there’s more.

A thorough investigation of available automobile insurance coverages should include your own policy and policies of others. In one recent case, our client was told by her original attorney that she could, at the most, receive the North Carolina minimum limit of the negligent driver’s insurance policy. She came to us because she felt she deserved more, and frankly so did we. After a thorough evaluation and search, we did find her more . . . much more. Although this client had moved a number of times in the year prior to the collision, because she was living at her parents’ home at the time of the collision, she could argue for coverage from her parent’s underinsured motorist policy. After a battle with that insurance company, our client ultimately received over 200% more than the original attorney suggested she accept. She had no idea that this additional coverage was available to her. And why should she. Isn’t that our job as attorneys to advise her of her options?

When everything was settled, our client was thrilled that she had taken the time to get a second opinion from us. We did our job by maximizing the insurance coverage available to her. It was a long road to search and find all the options, but in the end, it was a great victory.

This article was written by Chip Permar

I’ve Been Denied Unemployment Benefits And Need Help

Workers' Compensation

When you’ve been fired or laid off, you may (incorrectly) assume that you’re entitled to unemployment benefits. You’re shocked when the claim you submit to the Employment Security Commission is denied. How can that be? Your former employer has the right to block your benefits if you were fired with cause — if, for example, you ignored multiple performance warnings. Timing is everything when trying to obtain unemployment benefits. Generally you should file for benefits within the first week after any severance pay, vacation pay and/or separation pay are exhausted. BUT, if you have an active or pending workers’ comp claim when you are terminated, then see the blog below on that subject. That could change everything! Remember, if you want to file for unemployment benefits, you must be able to work and be available for work.

If you have filed for unemployment and have been denied, you have only 15 days to appeal the decision! That’s not a lot of time. If you’d like the help of an experienced attorney, you need to call us as soon as you can. We’ll try our best to stop the battle and get your unemployment compensation rolling along — or perhaps find a compromise with your former employer that will get you at least a partial benefit, depending on the circumstances. You can find further information about filing for unemployment benefits on the NC Employment Security Commission’s website.

This article was written by Todd P. Oxner

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