Articles Posted in Tips

In case you have been injured or have suffered any sort of property damage in an automobile accident, you might be thinking how an auto accident attorney may help you. Alternately, you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to go ahead and try and deal with the insurance service on your own. While a lot depends on the complexity and the specifics of your case, in general, it can be said that your auto insurance attorney should be able to do the following:

o They can try to communicate with the other driver’s insurance service provider on your behalf

Auto accidents happen, and they usually happen at a speed that leaves you in shock. That said, you can keep panic at bay by taking certain steps once such an unfortunate mishap has occurred. Let us take a quick look at what you should try to do in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident.

Check for Injuries

Justice is supposed to be blind. That is why the woman holding the scales of justice has a blindfold over her eyes. The implication is that everyone should be treating the same under the law. It’s one of the reasons you are entitled to trial by a jury of your peers. However, this fairly new law that was enacted in the fall of 2011 in North Carolina does just the opposite. It discriminates against Plaintiffs depending on their health insurance.

Rule 414 (or Billed vs. Paid as it may be referred) was codified in an attempt at tort reform to allegedly limit a windfall to Plaintiffs. However, in what can only be described as an extreme overcorrection, this rule of evidence has done nothing except to hurt Plaintiffs, even those with significant, serious and permanent injuries, and punish them for having health insurance and rewarding the tortfeasor (and thereby the insurance company) by making them have to pay less for the injuries they caused.

Medical Payments coverage, or “Med Pay” as it is commonly referred in North Carolina, is most often first party insurance to use toward your medical bills in the event of a motor vehicle accident. This means it is extra-contractual coverage under your own automobile insurance policy or the policy for the vehicle in which you are a passenger. Med Pay is considered extra-contractual because it is not required by law in North Carolina.

In some states, such as South Carolina, it is referred to as Personal Injury Protection or PIP. Other states, such as Florida, actually do require PIP coverage up to a minimum amount. At the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, PC, we recommend that you use this coverage if it is available.

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I was reading an article on the latest TV drama, Bluff City, to portray the civil litigation process. The show makes the typical mistakes that TV often does. Decisions happen quickly. The case is over in an hour. Rulings by the judge are ignored.  TV has to “break it to make it” more interesting.

Process is the correct word for civil litigation. I frequently tell clients that litigation is a “marathon not a sprint.” Usain Bolt is the currently record holder running the 100 meter dash is 9.58 seconds. The world record for the marathon is held by Eliud Kipchoge who ran a marathon (26.2 miles) in two hours one minute (2:01:39).  In an unofficial race, Kipchoge has run the distance in under two hours.

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Liability Insurance: A Necessary Evil

Let’s face it, just about nobody likes auto insurance.  For most people, it’s a cost you’re forced to pay for something you never get anything from.  Making matters worse, most people have no idea about what coverage they are paying for or what kind of options they really have.  For many, the only thing that matters is the cost.  However, if you are involved in a collision, having the right types and amount of insurance can make all the difference.  This post will address one of those types, liability insurance.

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Chances are that you have encountered driving through a city that has placed red light cameras at intersections.  The stated purpose is to increase safety at intersections by imposing a penalty for those drivers who run red lights.   The penalty fine varies from place to place but is typically $50 or $100 for a violation.  If not paid timely, then the fine amount doubles in most locations.

The Good.  When driving through an intersection, it is nice to know that other drivers may be less likely to run a red light if they fear being fined for that bad driving habit.  We know that 40% of the roughly 6 million car crashes that occur in the United States every year are intersection-related crashes.  Various surveys and data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warn us that intersections can be dangerous places.  If red light cameras cause drivers to be more careful not to enter an intersection on a red light, then that should be a good thing for all of us.

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Choose Wisely…Your Insurance Company Matters

It seems like any time you turn on a television, radio or computer these days, you can’t escape a commercial from an insurance company.  Think about.  I bet you can hum the jingle or say the catchphrase from half a dozen insurance companies without even thinking hard.  That’s not a coincidence.  There are a handful of insurance companies that flood the airwaves with commercials and have done so for years.  I’ll admit, some of these are pretty clever.   Whether it is a talking amphibian, a guy constantly causing chaos or an athlete giving neighborly advice, the goal is always the same: to sell you insurance.  And you know what, it works!  The biggest advertisers have the most insureds in the United States.

close-up-of-hand-showing-insurance-word-and-car-people-house-through-magnifying-glass_t20_eo2mEa-300x200 As a personal injury attorney in North Carolina, I hear this from clients all the time.  Unfortunately, in most cases, it is not true.  At the very least, it is not what they believe it to be.  In North Carolina, as in most states, you are required to purchase auto insurance to legally be allowed to drive on public roadways.  Each state sets its own requirement as to the minimum amount of insurance and type of insurance that you must purchase to be a legal driver.  The primary purpose of these requirements is to protect innocent persons from your negligent driving.  In North Carolina it is called the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act and can be found at NCGS §20-279.21.

North Carolina requires that all drivers carry at least $30,000 in liability insurance.  This is sometimes referred to as “minimum limits” or a “30/60” policy.  That means that you only carry the minimum amount of auto liability coverage required by law in North Carolina.  Under a minimum limits policy, the most any one injured claimant can collect is $30,000 and there is only $60,000 in available liability coverage for all the claimants involved in an accident.  For example, if you, your spouse and your children are involved in a car accident and spouse and children of the at-fault driver are in the other vehicle, there is a total of $60,000 in available liability coverage for all seven claimants (assuming two children in each car).  With the costs of health care rising, if all seven claimants are transported by ambulance and get checked out at the hospital, you can easily see how quickly that $60,000 is exhausted, let alone if there are any serious injuries or follow up visits are needed, or worse, if someone dies as a result of the accident.  None of those factors change the amount of money available to the claimants in a minimum limits policy.

If you have ever ridden a motorcycle, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “loud pipes save lives.” If not, you might have heard a motorcyclist say it in defense of their loud exhaust pipes. So, is this statement true?

Well, in fact, this statement does hold truth.

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