Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s carelessness. The medical bills are piling up and so are your monthly bills due to work loss. You know you need an attorney to help you, but how to pick the right one? Well first, you need to find a few attorneys who specialize in your type of case. From Auto Accidents to Medical Malpractice, attorneys, just like doctors, concentrate their practice in specific areas. You’ll need to find the best attorney for your case.

What kind of case do I have?

There are many ways to find an attorney. But before you begin, you may need to narrow down the type of case you have:

  • Slip and Fall – You were injured on someone else’s property.
  • Auto Accident – You were injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accident.
  • Medical Malpractice – You were injured due to a doctor’s negligence.
  • Dog Bite – You were bitten by someone else’s dog.
  • Negligent Security – You were injured because an establishment failed to provide adequate security.  
  • Product Liability – You were injured by a defective product.
  • Drug Claim – You were injured by taking a medication.
  • Nursing Home – You or a loved one was injured while living in a nursing home.
  • Wrongful Death – A loved one was killed by the indifference or negligence of someone else.
  • Assault, Battery, and Sexual Assault – You were injured in a criminal act.   

Once you have narrowed down what category your case may fall in, you can start looking for an attorney whose specific skills and experience will benefit you.

How do I find an attorney?

Some of the best resources for finding an attorney are your family, friends, and co-workers. If you personally know someone who has hired an attorney in the past and had a good experience, you may want to start with that attorney. An attorney in any specialization can refer you to the correct type of attorney from the very beginning of your case. Ethical, hardworking, experienced attorneys usually only refer to other attorneys who will provide the same level of service they do, as their reputation is on the line. Other resources include:  

  • The Bar Association
  • National Websites
  • Internet Searches.
    • “Medical Malpractice Attorney”
    • “Auto Accident Attorney”
    • “Slip and Fall Attorney”

While you are busy on the internet, don’t forget to check out their Google reviews. However you go about finding an attorney, choose more than one to contact.

How do I decide which attorney is right for me and my case?

Deciding which attorney to choose can feel very daunting. But with a little work and thought you will find the right attorney for you. Once you have narrowed it down to a handful, you can contact them to set initial appointments. Almost all personal injury attorneys will offer you a free consultation. Take advantage of that fact and schedule some appointments with attorneys you liked when you saw them online or when you talked to their office on the phone. Go armed with a pad, pen, and a list of questions, such as:

  • How many cases has the attorney handled that are similar to yours?
  • How many years of experience do they have with your particular type of case?   
  • What percentage of their “caseload” is dedicated to your particular type of case?
  • Where did they go to college and law school?
  • Do they carry Malpractice Insurance?
  • Do they outsource any of their legal work?
  • Do they involve attorneys outside of their law firm to get the job done?
  • How often can you expect their office to call you to give you updates?
  • How often do they go to “trial”?
  • What are the terms of their contract?
  • How will my case work?
  • What would be your plan for my case?

If an attorney balks at answering any of these questions promptly, you may want to reconsider. All of the above questions are easily answered by an attorney who takes their work seriously and cares about educating their clients. Giving you a prompt, accurate answer that is professional and courteous will tell you whether or not the attorney is hard working, understanding, forthright, ethical, compassionate, and honest.   

How do I choose whom I want to represent me?

Deciding on one attorney out of the several you met with may seem difficult, but now it is time to ask yourself some questions:

  • Does the attorney seem to have enough experience to handle my case?
  • Was the attorney prompt and courteous to me when I questioned them?
  • Did I meet with the attorney, or did they send someone else to meet me at my appointment?
  • Is the attorney someone I feel comfortable with?
  • Do I feel confident in their skill to handle my case?
  • Where they able to answer all of my questions?
  • Did the attorney treat me with respect and compassion?
  • Did the attorney’s plan for your case make sense?
  • Did you understand how your case will progress?

Once you have asked yourself these questions about each attorney you met with, you will find the one that will be the best fit for you. Once you have gone through the process of locating, interviewing, and contemplating a few attorneys, you will get a good feel for what is right for you. Don’t delay too long, as having an attorney as soon as possible after you are injured can help you get the best results. And remember; never talk to an insurance company until you have consulted with an attorney.  

 

Can an Insurance Company Deny Treatment Recommended by a Doctor_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Who pays my medical bills after an auto accident?

When buying an auto policy, you may find yourself being offered Medical Payments coverage. Medical Payments coverage can pay your medical bills whether or not you were at fault for the accident. If you were not at fault for the accident, these funds can help keep your medical bills out of collections until you receive your recovery. You may also be able to collect a lump sum recovery to pay for your medical bills and other damages.

Can my auto insurance carrier refuse to pay my medical bills?

Auto insurance carriers may refuse to pay your medical bills by asserting that they are not reasonable or necessary. Your carrier may send your medical records to an outside party for review. Medical Doctors and others specialists will review the treatment you have had to date. Based on their recommendation, they may deem the medical treatment as not reasonable or necessary and refuse to pay the related bills. Issues with this process arise immediately; it is readily apparent that the outside parties are working for your insurance carrier, not you. They are neither impartial nor unbiased. More often than not they declare that your treatment isn’t covered under your policy, right when you need medical care the most.  

I wasn’t at fault for my auto accident. Can the insurance carrier deny my medical bills?

There are many reasons that either the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier or your own carrier may refuse to pay your medical bills.

  • The auto policy has lapsed.
  • You are partially at fault for the accident (Not applicable for Medical Payments coverage).
  • The policy was canceled because the applicant gave false information to the insurance carrier.
  • The medical treatment was not reasonable or necessary.
  • Prior or new medical conditions that have similar symptoms to your current injury.
  • Pre-existing injuries that were only aggravated by the accident.
  • There isn’t enough objective evidence in your medical records to support that your injury is real.  
  • The insurance carrier doesn’t believe you sustained the injury in the accident due to the time between the accident and when you first sought treatment.

Although a few of the above issues are clear-cut, such as a lapsed policy, most  are not. Proving to an insurance carrier that your medical treatment is necessary as a direct result from injuries you sustained in the accident can be difficult. The insurance carriers will work to find reasons to deny your claim or pay as little on your claim as possible. You need an attorney working for you to help you assemble the evidence you need to document that your injury is related, real, and deserves compensation.

The auto insurance carrier has denied my medical bills. What do I do?   

Whether it is your own insurance carrier or the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver, you will have to file a lawsuit. Insurance claims for medical bills are routinely denied by the insurance carrier. Hiring an attorney early on in the process will ensure that you have all the evidence you need to prove the insurance carrier should pay. If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, you will be ready.

While you can file a lawsuit on your own, it is not recommended. The rules of the Court can be complex. You will not only need the knowledge of an attorney but also their experience to avoid common mistakes. Most attorneys in North Carolina, and in particular the Wilmington area, will provide you with a free consultation. You can discuss your case with a professional to discover the ways in which an attorney can help you obtain payment for your medical bills. If you were not at fault, it is likely they can discuss obtaining a lump sum settlement on your behalf.     

While it is commonplace for an auto insurance carrier to deny your claim, it does not mean it is the end of your claim. Talk to an attorney today about getting the compensation that is due you, and get back on the road to recovery.

Passenger Compensation for Car Accident Injuries - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Car accidents are a scary and confusing experience. They can get complicated when insurance companies disagree about who is at fault, and even further complicated when passengers are injured. North Carolina car accident laws differ from a majority of states across the country and it may be difficult to navigate all the nuances of these complex laws.

However, by taking steps to prove fault and by consulting an experienced attorney early in the process, a passenger can ensure they are fully compensated for their injuries. This article helps explore some of the nuances of North Carolina law, and provides some steps you can take to help your case.

Determining Fault

When involved in a car accident, one thing is certain: insurance companies will be involved. Because insurance companies are very reluctant to pay out in these situations, it’s important to ensure that the injured parties can accurately determine fault and take necessary steps to begin making your case to prove fault. This is especially true in a state such as North Carolina (see “Contributory Negligence” below).

As a passenger injured in a car accident, you’ll want to use visual evidence to help your case. Take photos of the cars, look to videos from nearby stores or restaurants, or look to see if any red light cameras are nearby. Also, witness testimony can be critical to your claim. An attorney can help you encourage people to speak on your behalf, and ensure that their story supports your case.

Contributory Negligence

When you’re involved in a car accident in most states across the country, the driver that is at-fault will pay for the damage caused to both people and property. However, this is not the case in North Carolina. The Tar Heel State uses a system called “contributory negligence” to determine fault in a car accident.

Under contributory negligence, if a passenger is found to be partially at fault, such as grabbing the steering wheel or distracting the driver, they will not recover any compensation. For example, if the driver is speeding at 5 miles per hour over the speed limit and smashes into another car because you told the driver to look at your phone, you could potentially be barred from recovering from the driver. Although this is often viewed as unfair, situations like these occur frequently because of the strict car accident laws in North Carolina.

Statute of Limitations

In addition to contributory negligence laws in North Carolina, passengers injured in a car accident should also be aware of the statute of limitations laws in the state. Under the general statutes of North Carolina, a civil lawsuit for injuries or property damage must be filed within three years. This means when anyone is hurt in the accident—whether the driver, pedestrian or passenger—or their vehicle was damaged, their lawsuit must be filed against any potential defendant within three years. This Statute of limitations period is different for death of a passenger or for a person underage or under a disability. So it is important to consult a personal injury attorney immediately after a wreck.

Although this may seem like a long time, when dealing with insurance companies and looking at all evidence to prove your claim—not to mention any time spent in the hospital or recovering from injury—the time can go by quickly. It’s always a good idea to begin the process as soon as possible. Talk to an experienced lawyer right after the accident to ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines.

Being involved in any automotive accident can be a frightening experience. As a passenger, this experience can be even more cumbersome. However, by engaging a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer, you can guarantee that your rights will be extended and that you are fully compensated for your injuries.  

Truck Tire Blowouts - Who Is Responsible and Who Can Help - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

One of the most frightening experiences for a driver on the highway is witnessing a semi truck blowing out a tire. Aside from the sudden gun shot-like bang, the 40 ton truck may start to swerve across the road causing serious injury and damage to vehicles in its path.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, more than 78,000 crashes including 400 deaths occur each year due to flat tires or blowouts. If you find yourself included in these statistics, it’s important to understand who is responsible and who can help you. This article will help answer these questions.

What is a tire blowout?

A truck tire “blowout” typically refers to the instance when a tire suddenly bursts and rapidly loses pressure. As the pressure quickly decreases, the truck becomes off balance causing the driver to compensate and often lose control of the vehicle. While most people expect these blowouts to happen when there is too much pressure in the tire (think of overinflating a balloon, for example), it’s actually the opposite.

When a large tire such as those on a semi truck has low tire pressure, the rubber, steel and fabric that make up the tire begin to flex. Under the intense forces of highway driving, these components continue to flex until they can no longer withstand the stress and break, causing the tire to explode, or blowout. As you may expect, the stress put on an underinflated tire increases as the temperature on the highway intensifies. Accordingly, many safety experts refer to the summer months as “tire blowout season”.

 

What are common causes?

As the tire blowout rate on semi trucks continue to increase on highways across the country, knowing the common causes of these potentially catastrophic incidents is important. Below are 4 of the most common causes of blowouts drivers on the road face.

 

  • Inadequate Tire Inflation

As discussed above, tire blowouts typically occur when tires are underinflated. If trucks begin their journey with improper tire inflation, the chances of a blowout occurring increase significantly.

  • Roadway Hazards

Tires are made up of many parts, including rubber, steel and different fibers. While these materials can withstand a significant amount of stress, potholes, uneven pavement or other roadway debris can overload the stress on the tire, causing it to suddenly burst.

  • Maintenance Issues

Maintenance obligations on semi trucks are serious business. Trucking companies and the drivers themselves must ensure the truck is safe to drive and safe to be put on the road with thousands of other drivers. Not properly maintaining each tire on a semi truck puts drivers in danger each time they hit the road.

  • Overloaded Trailer

A loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This extreme weight puts significant pressure on a semi trucks tires and brakes, often causing them to fail without any warning. When trailers are overloaded, the chances of tires not being able to withstand the load increases, as does the frequency of tire blowouts.

 

Who is liable?

As you can see, truck tire blowouts can occur from a number of different reasons. While some causes are from unpreventable accidents, others may result from negligence by either the truck driver or the trucking company. Often it can be difficult to discern exactly who is responsible for injury caused by a truck tire blowout. In these cases, it’s crucial to engage a qualified personal injury attorney to help assess the situation and determine the appropriate responsible parties.  

In addition to determining who is liable, understanding negligence laws as well as joint and several liability under North Carolina law is also crucial to being fully compensated for your injuries. North Carolina follows the legal principle of contributory negligence. Under this principle, the law prohibits injured victims from recovering any compensation if their actions contributed to the crash–even if the other driver was 99% at fault.

Tire blowouts from semi trucks continue to increase in frequency across the country. These can often be come of the most frightening and serious accidents experienced by drivers. If you or a loved one were injured from such an accident, engaging a qualified and experienced truck accident attorney is important to guarantee responsible parties are held accountable, and you or your loved ones are fully compensated.

Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Lawsuits - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

A burden of proof is an important concept to understand if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit. Read over the information below and speak to a North Carolina personal injury lawyer for more information.

What Is the Burden of Proof?

The burden of proof is the legal threshold that you must meet in order to recover for your claim. In a personal injury lawsuit, the burden of proof is proof by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that it must be more likely than not that things happened the way you said, that it is 51 percent or higher likelihood that things happened the way you say. This standard is much lower than that involved in criminal cases, proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is also below another common burden of proof: by clear and convincing evidence.

What Do You Have to Prove?

What you have to prove depends on the type of case that you are pursuing:

Strict Liability

Strict liability is a term that applies to the standard in certain types of cases in which if the legal definition is met, the other party is held legally responsible. For example, North Carolina has a strict liability rule regarding dog bite claims. If a dangerous dog (one that is over six months old and running at large at night, previously killed or injured a person or had been previously declared by officials as a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog) bites or attacks a person, its owner is held strictly liable for the damages that result. As long as the definition is met, the dog owner is held responsible. There is no need to show that the owner of the dog was negligent or careless in any way.

Negligence

Most personal injury claims are based on the legal standard of negligence. This standard applies to other types of dog bite claims where the strict liability rule does not apply, claims regarding defective products, car accident cases and other types of personal injury claims. To successfully recover, you must establish the following elements by proof by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • Duty – You must show that the defendant had some legal duty. If he or she was a motorist who harmed you, this requires showing that he or she had a legal duty to drive in a safe manner. If the accident was a slip or fall, this would require showing he or she had the duty to keep the premises safe from dangers.
  • Breach of duty – You must then show how the defendant was careless and breached this legal duty, such as by breaking a driving rule or failing to keep the premises clean. This element is usually proven by comparing the conduct of the defendant with what a reasonable person would have done under the same or similar circumstances.
  • Causation – You must also show that there is a connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the injuries that you sustained.
  • Damages – You must have suffered some type of harm as a result of the defendant’s breach, such as property damage, medical expenses or pain and suffering.

Importance of an Attorney

Establishing the burden of proof is your responsibility as a plaintiff in a personal injury case. If you are unable to meet the burden of proof, you will be unable to recover compensation from the at-fault party. It is important to have the help of an experienced Wilmington NC personal injury attorney who can help you meet this burden. He or she can discuss ways that you may be able to establish the burden of proof in your Wilmington NC personal injury claim.

How Can I Make the Person Who Injured Me in a Car Accident Pay_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

North Carolina is an at-fault insurance state, meaning that the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages that result because of a car accident. His or her insurance company usually pays for these damages. To make the other party pay, you will have to provide evidence that he or she was at fault.

Contributory Negligence

It is important to understand that North Carolina uses a strict contributory negligence scheme. In most states if a driver is partially at fault, he or she can still recover for the damages he or she sustained. His or her degree of fault reduces the damages award. For example, if the driver is 40 percent at fault and sustained damages of $100,000, he or she can still recover an award for $60,000. In North Carolina, if a driver is in any way at fault – even just 1 percent – he or she cannot recover any damages. This means that you must prove the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident.

A Wilmington NC personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove the other driver’s negligence caused the accident.

Evidence to Establish Your Claim

You will need to prove the following four elements of your claim: 1) duty; 2) breach of duty; 3) causation; and 4) damages. The following types of evidence can help you establish these elements:

  • Police report – After an accident, it is important that you contact the authorities and make an accident report. A law enforcement officer will arrive at the scene, conduct a preliminary investigation and may give a citation to the party who violated traffic laws.
  • Medical records – Medical records can show that you were physically injured in the accident. Collect emergency or hospital admission records, X-rays and other imaging scans, prescriptions, doctors’ notes, clinical summaries and other medical records.
  • Photos – Photos can help establish how the accident happened. Take pictures of the accident scene, including skid marks on the roadway, damage to your vehicle, damage to the other vehicle and the location of the accident. You can also use photos to establish some of your damages, such as your injuries and the damage to your property.
  • Employment records – If the accident caused you to miss work, employment records can show how much income and benefits you lost. Collect check stubs, tax returns and other payroll information. You might also want to ask your employer to write a note that indicates how many days you missed from work because of the accident.
  • Witness testimony – Objective witnesses can explain what they saw. This can help establish that the driver ran a red light, was weaving around traffic or speeding. If possible, try to get contact information for any witnesses immediately after your accident. Your Wilmington NC personal injury lawyer can contact these witnesses and determine if they may be able to help your case.
  • Video footage – Surveillance from local businesses or traffic cams may also show how the accident happened.
  • Statutory references – Because you will have to prove that the other driver was negligent, you will have to pinpoint exactly what he or she did wrong. You can then compare that act with North Carolina laws. For example, the driver could have been impaired or distracted. He or she may have sped, failed to yield, ran a red light or followed too closely.
  • Personal testimony – You may also be expected to testify about how the accident was caused and the extent of your damages. You are the best person to explain the pain and suffering you suffered as a result of the accident.

Robert Armstrong can help you gather this information to help prove your claim and seek maximum compensation against an at-fault party.

State vs federal court for a personal injury claim - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Did you know that when you file a lawsuit for personal injury claims, your case could end up in federal court?

Typically, it’s the opposing party (the defendant) that tries to switch the venue from state to federal court. They might do this for one of several reasons.

Why do lawyers try to move personal injury lawsuits from state to federal court?

Several factors are at play when lawyers ask judges to move their cases from state to federal court. These include:

  • Federal courts have a reputation for being “friendlier” for defendants — Forum shopping is a common practice for lawyers who want the best possible deal for their clients. Some defense lawyers believe that their clients will have a better shot in federal court than in state court, that judges and juries on the federal bench are “more forgiving” than a state court.
  • Trying to avoid a large jury award — Some states have damages caps, or limits to how much money a jury can award a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. There are some counties in the United States with a tendency to have very high jury awards. In locales with those reputations, lawyers will push to move the case to federal court because the jury is pooled from a much bigger geographical area.
  • Federal court rules — Some lawyers, particularly ones who mostly deal with large corporations and multi-state cases, are more familiar with federal court and the different set of rules that accompany it. Those lawyers will push to move cases to federal court because they are better versed in that arena, but they also do it because it could throw the plaintiff’s attorney off if he or she is accustomed to practicing in state court and the rules that go along with it.
  • Faster resolution — It’s been said that federal court cases are resolved more quickly than civil cases in state court. For lawyers, that saves time and money, and it could be one reason why they are working to have cases moved to federal court.

There’s no easy answer on whether to file your personal injury lawsuit in federal court or state court. That’s why it’s so important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can best determine which venue will get you the most money.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.

 

ways you can prove whiplash - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Whiplash is a very common injury after a car accident. The word itself is an indicator of how whiplash happens. It occurs when your back, neck and head are “whipped” around in a violent fashion.

In these areas of your body, your nerves, tendons and ligaments can be thrown around outside of their usual range of motion, which can lead to soft tissue damage.

You won’t see soft tissue damage on an X-ray or an MRI, but you will surely feel the effects of such an injury.

What are some of the symptoms of whiplash?

Here are some of the symptoms of whiplash:

  • Back pain
  • Insomnia
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Worsening of pain with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

 

How can you prove that you have suffered from whiplash after a car accident?

Here are four ways you can prove whiplash in a car accident claim:

  • Testimony from your doctor: There’s no better evidence to back your claim than a medical expert speaking on your behalf. A deposition or court testimony from your doctor will allow him or her to explain how you were diagnosed with whiplash, what symptoms led to the diagnosis, and what treatment options he or she provided for you.
  • List of medications you were prescribed: Often, your pain levels from whiplash will be so severe that they will require medication for your muscles, nerves and to ease the pain. Muscle relaxers, painkillers and other prescriptions could also serve as evidence for your case. It’s a good idea to offer the prescription history to help your case.
  • Testimony from friends and family: If you have friends or family who have helped you post-accident and have seen firsthand the amount of pain and suffering you have had to ensure, their testimony could be very helpful in your claim. They can tell the judge, jury or lawyers just how badly the crash and subsequent whiplash and other potential injuries have impacted your life.
  • Police report: Traffic cops are able to estimate speeds you were traveling and other factors, all of which could be important in proving that conditions were favorable for you to suffer from whiplash.

 

The first thing you need to do if you’ve been injured in a car accident is contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.

 

Hurricane Florence Insurance Coverage FAQ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Why should I hire an attorney following a hurricane?

You should not attempt navigate this complex legal and bureaucratic maze alone.  The aftermath of a hurricane is a trying period of time in which you need all the help you can get.  This is not a time to worry about your hurricane insurance or flood insurance claim.  Let your attorney handle your hurricane claim and you can focus on rebuilding your life.  It is in your hurricane lawyer’s interest to fiercely advocate on your behalf to obtain a favorable recovery.

What does proof of loss mean?

In some cases, insurance claim adjusters will request that you complete a proof of loss form in order for your insurance claim to be processed.  It is best to think of proof of loss as a legal concept.  This means the insured party must provide evidence to the insurance provider so they understand the extent of the damage, the property lost, the cost of repairs and other damage related to the hurricane.  You will likely have to use the insurance provider’s forms to properly document all loses.  Keep in mind such forms are designed to limit the amount of the flood or wind damage.  It will help to have a proven attorney on your side to correctly fill out all forms so your claim is not jeopardized. 

Our legal team is well aware of the fact that courts view proof of loss as flexible.  There might be quite the burden of proof required to show the loss actually occurred.  Our attorneys are here to meet this standard of proof, expedite your claim and ultimately obtain the compensation you deserve.

Does the adjuster have the ultimate say regarding the amount of money I can obtain for my insurance claim?

It is a common misconception that adjusters have the final say over the amount for damages.  As the property owner, you have the legal right to provide evidence or a form of proof of loss to support your hurricane insurance claim.  The insurance company is burdened with proving the damage in question is not covered by the policy.  The insurance provider can also attempt to show the value of the alleged loss is less than the claim.

How do I maximize the amount I receive for my personal property loss as detailed in my hurricane insurance claim?

It is incredibly frustrating when the insurance provider tries to low-ball you following a devastating event and subsequent claim.  You deserve fair compensation for your lost property.  In most cases, it takes the skill and strategy of an attorney to prove the loss, provide adequate documentation and spearhead the push toward justice.  It certainly helps to document each loss with photographs, receipts and any other means of displaying the original condition or value. 

What are the most common problems people have with insurance companies after hurricanes?

Insurance providers are bombarded with phone calls and claims following hurricanes.  It is time-consuming and tedious to complete the claims process in the days following this unfortunate event.  Even if you get to the point where the insurance company is willing to provide an estimate for repair or replacement, it will likely be much lower than anticipated.  In some cases, the insurance provider’s customer service goes on the offensive, making the claimant feel guilty or uncomfortable.  It is better to lean on your attorney until this ordeal reaches a conclusion.

Why do insurance adjusters often mislead claimants following hurricanes and other storms?

Insurance companies are in business to make money.  The aim of an insurance company’s workforce is to close as many claims as possible without spending an abundance of time on the phone trying to solve customer problems.  These representatives will bend the agreement’s language and attempt to manipulate customers who are not represented by an attorney.  In some cases, all it takes is the “Esq.” at the end of an attorney’s signature to convince an adjuster to green-light a favorable payout.

How to Maximize Your Insurance Recovery After Hurricane Florence - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

If you have suffered any sort of loss as a result of hurricane Florence or another storm, the steps you take following this unfortunate event will dictate whether you are compensated.  You should document and report your hurricane loss to the insurance company as quickly as possible.  Here is exactly what you should do to maximize your insurance recovery.

Locate Your Insurance Policy

Once you are safe and sound, the first step following the hurricane, storm or other event is to locate your insurance policy.  Review the language of your specific insurance policy to determine exactly what is covered.  This document will also explain your obligations and rights.  As you review your insurance policy, jot down any deadlines of importance such as when the last possible date is to give notice, file the sworn proof of loss or even file a lawsuit if you are in disagreement with the insurer’s coverage determination.  You will likely find this matter complicated to the point that the assistance of an attorney is necessary to have any chance of emerging with ample compensation.

Be Proactive

The most important thing you can do is be proactive.  Gather as much information as possible, act quickly, provide your attorney with enough time to advocate on your behalf and you will likely emerge with the compensation you need.  So do not wait for the insurance company to ask for information about the loss.  Be proactive by providing the supporting documentation right away.  Just be sure to verify your loss amount prior to proceeding.  Don’t rush through the valuation process due to a fear of an approaching deadline.  If your claim value is off, it could come back to haunt you down the line.

Document Every Aspect of the Claim

Document your claim’s details from beginning to end.  This way, if the insurance company’s representative misplaces something or makes a mistake, you will have a written record of the discussion and facts to back up your statements.  You can facilitate the processing of your claim by giving the insurance company supporting documentation right away.  Of critical importance is the documentation of your losses.  The entire loss must be evaluated before any cleanup attempt is made.  Property damage along with property that is unusable in the days after the storm should be included in your insurance claim.  Write down every action you take, track your expenses for everything related to the claim and save all of the related receipts.

Mitigate Expenses

Some insurance companies mandate the policyholder protect the property against additional loss.  You should take every step possible to mitigate subsequent damage.  Most of these expenses will likely be covered by the policy as long as they are related to the storm and you keep the receipts.  Take a close look at your policy to determine if such mitigation expenses will be fully reimbursed.

Go the Extra Step by Documenting the Damage With Photos

Do not perform any repair work until you have fully documented the damage.  It is not enough to call the insurance company and describe the damage.  Nor will a written description suffice.  Take photographs of the damage from several different angles.  Keep the receipts from all related equipment, emergency repair bills and other subsequent costs.  The policy might cover more than you initially assume yet the burden of proof is on you to show the extent to which your property is damaged.

Lean on the Experts

The most important thing you can do to maximize your compensation following hurricane Florence or any other storm is to ask for help from those with experience in handling flood insurance claims.  Our legal team is here to expedite your claim, go head-to-head with the insurance company or opposing counsel and ultimately maximize your compensation following this unfortunate event.  Let us handle the legal challenges following the storm so you can do your best to return your life to normal.  Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.