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.

What's the Difference Between Flood Insurance and Hurricane Insurance_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Now that hurricane Florence has passed through the Carolinas, plenty of people are wondering about their insurance and how they will go about rebuilding.  Even if you have insurance, it might not cover the damage stemming from the most recent hurricane, flooding or another storm down the line.  There is a difference between flood insurance and hurricane insurance.  Plenty of homeowners in the Carolinas have both forms of insurance. Even those who do not live in flood-prone areas should have flood insurance.  The question most homeowners have is whether hurricane insurance is also necessary in addition to flood insurance.

Hurricane Insurance

Hurricane insurance is available for damage stemming from hurricanes as opposed to strictly flooding, fire or another specific form of damage.  If the damage to the property was caused by the hurricane, it will be covered.  The main difference between flood insurance and hurricane insurance is hurricane insurance extends beyond damage caused by water.  Hurricane insurance also includes wind damage.  Flood insurance typically covers water damage to the first floor yet hurricane insurance is applicable to the entirety of the home.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is comparably limited in scope.  This form of insurance covers losses caused by rising water as well as storm surge.  The federal government underwrites flood coverage with its National Flood Insurance Program.  However, private companies can also sell this important form of insurance.  In some cases, it is difficult to determine if a flood or hurricane caused the damage.  If it is challenging to determine the cause of the damage, it might be necessary for an engineer to perform an on-site analysis to gauge whether a hurricane’s winds or flooding are the true cause of the damage.

Two primary types of flood insurance exist: one for personal property and the other for buildings.  Policies applicable to buildings cover damaged caused to the structure, foundation, exterior and semi-permanent indoor items.  Examples include carpet, paneling, appliances and heating/cooling systems.  Personal property flood insurance is applicable to portable items.  Examples include furniture, electronics and clothing.  Even portable appliances and sundries such as pieces of art are covered. 

Flood Insurance and Hurricanes

It is important to note flood insurance is not applicable to all the losses that might have been caused by a hurricane.  Even if you lose a high-value item stemming from a hurricane in which flooding occurred at your property, there is no guarantee your flood insurance will cover the item in question.  Furthermore, insurance does not cover your yard or the structures in the yard such as swimming pools, fences and decks.  Nor do flood insurance policies provide compensation for living expenses.

It is also important to note flood insurance has nuanced requirements for eligibility.  Furthermore, many such policies have multiple exclusions.  As an example, furniture or other property within an area such as a crawl space, a basement or a walkout style basement will not be covered.  This includes sound systems, TVs, carpet, window treatments, bookcases, etc.  If you are considering flood insurance, you should know the federal version is capped at a quarter-million dollars per building and $100,000 for contents.  However, it is possible to purchase a policy with a lower limit.  Separate deductibles are issued for dwelling and contents. 

Don’t Learn the Hard Way

Too many homeowners learn the hard way that their flood insurance or hurricane insurance is not applicable following a devastating event.  Every property owner should be aware that flood and hurricane insurance are completely distinct from one another.  If you live in an area with even a remote chance of flooding or potential damage from a hurricane, you should explore all of your insurance options in-depth to make a truly informed decision.  Our legal team is here to help you with all the subtleties of hurricane and flood insurance including claims and settlement discussions.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

How to File a Hurricane Insurance Claim in North Carolina After Hurricane Florence - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

If you have suffered any type of loss resulting from hurricane Florence, do not assume you are powerless.  Your best course of action is to meet with an attorney and file a hurricane insurance claim.  The manner in which you file your claim and the time at which it is submitted both matter a great deal.  Let’s take a look at a few tips that will ameliorate the claim process.

Get off to a Quick Start

Time is of the essence following a hurricane of this magnitude.  The insurance company will be inundated with phone calls from property owners looking to file claims.  Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the hurricane so you can get the ball rolling on your claim.  Insurance companies typically handle claim filers in a first come, first serve manner so don’t delay.

Document Every Aspect of the Claim

Take pictures of all the damage.  Write down all the information the insurance company representative provides during each conversation.  Be sure to record your claim number in a second space just in case you lose the first copy. Write down detailed notes during each interaction with the insurance company.  Be sure to ask for the customer service representative’s name each time you speak with the company about your claim.

If you have had any repairs performed following the storm, keep your receipts.  It also makes sense to keep receipts for living expenses accrued as a result of the storm, be it a stay in a hotel, meals, the costs of evacuation, etc. 

Be Careful When Interacting With Adjusters

The insurance company will likely send an adjuster to your property.  When this person arrives, ask him or her if they are employed by the insurance company or if they are an independent adjuster.  Independent adjusters must be authorized to make decisions and payments pertaining to claims on behalf of the insurance provider. 

Process Your Claim Through a Trusted Channel

There are plenty of opportunists going door-to-door following Hurricane Florence and other nasty storms.  These manipulators will knock on doors, claim to be an insurance adjuster or a contractor.  Do not trust these people.  True professionals are unlikely to go from one door to the next in the aftermath of a hurricane or other storm.

Detail all Damage In-depth

Though it is depressing to document all of the damage to your property following a massive hurricane, it must be done.  The more thoroughly you document the damage, the better your chances are of recovering ample compensation.  It is not enough to simply describe the damage to an insurance adjuster in a conversation conducted over the phone.  You should take pictures of the damage, send those pictures to the insurance company and do everything else in your power to prove the extent of the damage stemming from the hurricane.

Collecting detailed information about your property loss will also facilitate the completion of the proof of loss form.  This form allows you to describe the property or items damaged in the storm, the date of their purchase and the cost for repair or replacement. Our legal team is here to help you complete this form, comply with all legal requirements and obtain as much compensation as possible.

How to Proceed if You do not Have Insurance

If you have minimal or no insurance, do not assume you are out of luck following hurricane damage.  If you have home insurance but do not have flood insurance, call the insurance provider.  Certain homeowner policies that do not provide compensation for damage resulting from flooding might cover damage caused by water and/or wind.  Auto insurance will likely cover damage to your vehicle caused by downed trees.  Finally, those who have absolutely no insurance at all should contact local nonprofit groups or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for more information about aid.

Contact Robert Armstrong Law to discuss your claim.

ignored rules of the road - robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

There’s an old saying that rules are meant to be broken, but it’s not only untrue — it’s dangerous, especially when it comes to rules of the road.

Failing to obey traffic laws can land you in big trouble, either in the form of a ticket, a serious accident, or both.

Here are some of the commonly ignored rules of the road that you should start following — immediately:

  1. Failing to use your turn signal — There’s a reason you have a turn signal, and it’s not for decoration or effect. It’s to let other drivers know your next move, which is often crucial information for other drivers as they, too, try to decide what their next move or direction will be, often in a split-second. Failure to use a turn signal can result in a ticket — it’s the law in most places — and it can also cause another driver to run into you and cause an accident with injuries.
  2. Running yellow and red lights — All drivers are required to stop at a yellow light, unless it’s unsafe to do so. You shouldn’t speed up to try to make it through the yellow light before it turns red. That’s unsafe — and most of the time illegal. You also can’t just ignore red lights. You must stop. This law doesn’t apply to every driver EXCEPT for you. It applies to everyone.
  3. Following too closely — Safety professionals suggest that you abide by a “two-second” rule when following any vehicle. This means you keep far back enough that it would take you two seconds to catch up to the vehicle in front of you if it stops suddenly. Keep in mind that the rules can differ from state to state. Following another vehicle too closely puts both you and the driver in front of you in danger. If a dog or other road obstruction pops up out of nowhere and you are too close to the vehicle in front of you, you could both end up out of luck and injured in an accident. Conversely, if someone is following your vehicle too closely, don’t be tempted to “teach them a lesson” by slamming on your brakes. That’s just as dangerous as following too close, and it can cause just as serious of an accident.
  4. Staying out of the left lane except for passing — The far left lane of most highways are to be used only for passing slow-moving vehicles. It’s something that countless drivers forget — or choose to ignore — and it’s no fun for vehicles behind you. Not only is it rude, it’s also dangerous, as it obstructs the flow of traffic.
  5. Texting and driving — It’s illegal in 47 states, and it’s among the most careless distracted driving infractions you can make. It only takes a couple of seconds with your eyes off the road and on your phone to cause a serious — and potentially deadly — crash. Just don’t do it.


Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable and not your fault, but these are rules you should follow to decrease your chances of a crash.

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, contact Robert Armstrong today.

What if minimum insurance coverage doesn't cover medical bills in North Carolina - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You were in an accident in Wilmington, NC where you sustained injuries. You’ve been dealing with the pain of your injuries and coordinating your doctor’s appointments against work and life obligations. Now insurance companies are telling you they aren’t going to cover all of your medical expenses because of minimum state limits. Why is this happening and what do you do?


North Carolina’s Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Every state has its own laws regarding what kind of insurance coverage a driver must have to be compliant with the law. If you are living and driving in North Carolina, it is important to be familiar with what these requirements are – whether you are buying you or your teenager’s first insurance policy, shopping around for a new insurance company for better rates, or have just been in an accident.


North Carolina Car Insurance Requirements & Personal Injury Coverage:

Every North Carolina driver is required by state law to have liability insurance. Liability Insurance protects you in accidents where you are at fault by covering costs for injuries and damages. The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) details that every insurance policy’s liability insurance must have at the minimum the following coverage:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability, per person per accident
  • $60,000 of bodily injury liability total per accident

Now, these are the bare minimum requirements and it is always important to consider whether you might want to pay a little bit more to increase your coverage. Paying a bit more to increase these limits can allow you to access policies that have a combination of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverages.


What is Uninsured or UnderInsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

In North Carolina all drivers must have Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist who was at fault and you have a North Carolina insurance policy, your UM coverage can help cover medical bills and property damage.


Uninsured Motorist (UM) / Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage

If you are paying a little extra to have higher limits and better coverage, your insurance company’s policies at these higher rates are required to provide combined Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorists (UIM) coverages. Having Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage can make a world of difference.

Here’s how:

If you are in an accident with an at-fault underinsured driver whose policy coverage isn’t actually going to cover all of your own medical bills, your combined UM/UIM coverage may be able to help you cover the remaining costs. For a small amount of extra money per year, it can make a huge difference in your protection.


Check out the North Carolina Department of Insurance Consumer Guide for further review of state requirements and limits.


What is the very best way to try to get my medical bills taken care of after an accident?

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, the most important thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help handle your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help. We have extensive experience untangling insurance policies, maximizing benefits, and advocating for our clients’ physical, emotional, and financial needs. We want to meet you and we want to help.

How is pain and suffering calculated in North Carolina_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Pain and suffering. It’s a phrase we hear often with personal injury claims. But what does it really mean and how do you calculate it?

Defining Pain and Suffering

In the legal world, “pain and suffering” refers to the combined physical and emotional damage sustained by an individual after an injury caused by another’s negligence.

Special versus General Damages

There are two types of “damages” measured after a car accident or personal injury. Special damages include: medical treatment costs (both past and anticipated future), lost wages, and any property damage (such as your vehicle). Special damages can be easier to calculate because the expenses have clear costs/concrete numbers.

General damages are more difficult to calculate. Pain and Suffering falls under general damages and can include mental distress, a physical disability caused by an accident, and measures of a lowered quality of life. Applying a monetary number to mental distress, or the pain of a sore neck, is a difficult task. An experienced attorney can help fight this battle to ensure that you are really getting what you need and deserve for your experience.

How do you prove pain and suffering?

Proving pain and suffering is difficult, but worth it. The party responsible for your injury will seek a lower number than what you likely deserve. Strong, detailed documentation will be one of the best ways to support a pain and suffering claim.

  1. Do not withhold anything from your care providers. It is often easier to focus on our physical well-being because our emotional and mental well-being is less visible. Nothing is too small to mention to a provider. It is important that you talk with your providers if you are experiencing any emotional distress after your injury, including fear, sleep changes, grief, depression, anxiety, or inconvenient barriers in your life. 
  2. Seek the support you need for your injuries, including counseling for mental distress if needed. If you have mentioned experiencing anxiety while driving to a few of your doctors and/or sought further support, your providers will have documented this. 
  3. Keep your own journal. Write a bit daily about the treatment you received that day, how you are feeling, what you are struggling with in your daily routines, and any physical or emotional pain you are experiencing. This documentation can support a legal claim for pain and suffering, and may also offer you an emotional outlet.

How does pain and suffering get calculated?

Many factors are considered when determining a quantifiable number for pain and suffering. A few of the most influential factors in determining your pain and suffering award include: the severity of your injuries, the types of treatment you are receiving, the effects your injuries have had on your daily routines and life, and any mental distress as a result of your injuries. There are two common methods that attempt to calculate pain and suffering.

The “Per Diem Method”

The Per Diem Method is an approach where the insurance company pays the victim a consistent, daily amount per day until they have fully recovered. The daily rate will be based on the documentation of your pain and suffering, including all factors that have been discussed.

The “Multiplier Method”

The Multiplier Method is perhaps more common than the Per Diem Method. Pain and suffering is calculated by multiplying the quantifiable medical bills by a number. The multiplier is determined by the severity of the injuries, as evidenced by all of the documentation available about your injuries, treatment, and overall impact. The multiplier is typically between 1 and 5.


Pain and suffering is hard enough to experience after an injury. When it comes to getting what you deserve financially, it can be an uphill battle that requires a great deal of legal knowledge and experience. You don’t have to do it alone. Contact Robert Armstrong today for a free case evaluation.

Continuing to protect yourself from insurance companies after a car accident - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You’re home now and you’ve done everything right. You stayed at the scene, collected all the information, and didn’t admit fault. You filed a police report. You took pictures of the damages. You’re about to notify the at fault party’s insurance company and let them take over. After all, it’s over now and they’ve got this, right?


As insurance companies get more and more involved in your case, it is  more important than ever that you stay vigilant in the protection of your rights.


STAY VIGILANT in Protecting Yourself From Insurance Companies

  1. Notify Your Insurance Company

Provide the information you have diligently collected up to this point about the vehicles and people involved, witnesses, police reports, and photos of the damages. Provide the police report if you can or direct the insurance company to what department has the police report. Give them as much information as you can to support them in doing the right thing. It is important to think carefully about how you communicate with your insurance company. Check out a few do’s and don’ts to help you prepare.

     2. Keep Track of any Medical Treatment or Expenses

If you need medical attention after an accident, keep track of dates, times, and copies of all medical reports and bills. Additionally, strive to keep a journal or otherwise document how your injuries are impacting your daily life. Detail is important, including dates/times, missed workdays, impact on personal activities and engagement in life. This kind of documentation can support claims for pain and suffering compensation.

     3. Get a Property Damage Evaluation

The insurance company will refer you to repair shops in the area to get a damage estimate. However, insurance companies often have a dual relationship with their referral repair shops where they either own or partner with them for referrals. This means that the repair shop has a vested interested in saving the insurance company money wherever they can, even if it means cutting corners on your repairs.

Robert Armstrong recommends seeking out at least two estimates from independent repair shops who do not have a dual relationship with your insurance company. You are more likely to get a straight, unbiased estimate about what is truly needed for your car to run safely again. Having two or more reports to compare against can help you get the best idea of a fair and accurate estimate.

If you are having difficulty identifying where to get an estimate and/or running into roadblocks from insurance companies with your estimates, Robert Armstrong has extensive experience running point in these situations. We can take the fight off your shoulders.

    4. Know Who you are Talking To

It is common for the other driver’s’ insurance company to call to speak with you, ask how you are doing, try to obtain a recorded statement from you, and even offer you early compensation if they believe their driver was at fault and their company could be liable for damages. Be polite and cordial, but very cautious about what you tell insurance adjusters. NEVER agree to give them a RECORDED statement. This is one of the most common ways for you to lose your rights without even realizing it. Do not talk to a representative from another insurance company without the knowledge and/or presence of your insurance company or most ideally – an attorney. 

    5. Early Settlement Offers

Insurance companies may start contacting you with early settlement offers after an accident. They might call it a “settlement offer”, but may be expressing concern about your well being and offering money. This is one of the most effective ways for insurance companies to trick you into giving over your rights, before you even realize what has happened. An early settlement can mean that you have relinquished any further rights to compensation, before the extent of your injuries, medical needs, or vehicle damages are even fully understood. You do not want to give up your rights before you have all of the information you need. Never sign or agree to anything unless you can see it in writing and ideally without an attorney to help you review it.

What is the very best way to protect yourself after an accident from insurance companies?

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, the most important thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.