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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Auto Accident MYTHS

When an auto accident occurs, there are a lot of assumptions made. The reality is that all auto accidents are different, but there are certain truths that remain through every type of crash. Here’s a look at some of the most popular myths about auto accidents.

Statements are required

The insurance company for the at-fault driver may pester you for a recorded statement. Some may even go as far as to say that your claim will be denied unless you provide a recorded statement. Your claim is not contingent on providing a statement and at Hefferon & Hefferon, P.A., we advise that you respectfully decline to give a statement to the other insurance company until you have consulted with an auto accident attorney. On the other hand, you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company, and if they ask for a statement, you should cooperate and provide it. You still have the right to consult with an attorney first.

Rear end collisions are always the fault of the trailing driver

This is usually, but not always the case. If a car slams on its brakes without any justifiable reason, or suddenly changes lanes in front of you and then brakes, or stops at night without lights activated, the driver of that car is at fault. Accidents happen as a result of an infinite variety of factual scenarios, and every accident should be thoroughly analyzed by an experienced attorney before accepting fault.

Compensation is guaranteed if someone hits you

In some auto accidents, it may be obvious who is at fault. But it’s not always obvious that an injury resulted. Providing the necessary proof to recover fair compensation can be complex and time-consuming. Insurance companies are skeptical of all claims, and they review each and every claim carefully. They never take anyone’s word for anything, and they don’t pay unless and until they are thoroughly convinced by all the evidence that liability is clear, that damage occurred, and that payment is warranted.

Police reports solve everything

Just because a police officer wrote down that things happened a certain way does not make it so. Most auto accidents are not witnessed by police officers, who usually arrive at the scene after the collision. Officers then report only what they were told, and they often misunderstand the conflicting accounts of drivers and witnesses. An official police accident report is a beginning, not an end.

You don’t need medical attention after a car crash

Not all injuries from a car accident show up right away. Whiplash, nerve damage and back injuries could take some time to fully set in. Seeking medical attention will provide you with clear evidence that the NC accident caused serious injury. Also, be sure to retain documentation of all medical-related issues and doctor visits.

I have to file an auto accident lawsuit right away

In North Carolina, injured persons have three years from the date of the accident to settle their claims or file a lawsuit. Nevertheless, you should not wait to begin the claims process by gathering and securing evidence, seeking medical treatment, and seeking legal advice.

If you have recently been in a motor vehicle accident, let Hefferon & Hefferon P.A., help you through your case. As Charlotte auto accident attorneys, we will dispel any myths you may have about these type of lawsuits and help put together the right strategy for you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Surviving Spouses’ Rights in North Carolina Wrongful Death

When a married person dies as a result of the carelessness of others (called a “wrongful death,”), the surviving spouse should be aware of his or her legal options.

The family of a person who dies a “wrongful death” has a right to recover damages from the responsible parties, whether an individual or a company. Under the NC Wrongful Death Statute, the family may recover compensation for such things as

  • The medical bills related to the death
  • The funeral expenses
  • The pain and suffering of the decedent at leading to his death
  • The value of the decedent’s lifetime net income
  • The value of the services the decedent would have provided to his family
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, guidance and advice of the decedent
  • Punitive damages where the cause of death warrants it (e.g., drunk driver).

North Carolina also has a statute that sets forth guidelines for the allocation of recovered damages between spouses and other family members in a wrongful death claim. Following payment of attorney fees and expenses, funeral expenses, and medical expenses up to $4,500.00, any remaining recovery proceeds must be disbursed between a spouse and other family members as follows:

  • Where there are no children or surviving parents, the spouse is entitled to all net proceeds;
  • Where there is one child, the spouse is entitled to the first $60,000 and the remainder is divided equally between the spouse and the child;
  • When there are two or more children, the spouse is entitled to the first $60,000 and one third of the remaining compensation. The children would then divide the remaining two thirds equally among them.
  • Where there are no children, but the deceased parents are alive, then the spouse is entitled to the first $100,000 and one half the remainder. The other half would be disbursed to the decedent’s surviving parents.

If a married couple was in the middle of a separation or divorce at the time of the wrongful death, it can substantially impact the amount of damages that might be recoverable. Clients and attorneys should also work together to minimize the effect of problems in the marriage on the settlement value of a wrongful death claim, including the decision whether to have a different family member pursue the claim on behalf of the family.

If someone else is responsible for the death of your loved one, it’s time to take action by contacting Hefferon & Hefferon P.A. We are highly experienced in wrongful death claims and litigation, and will make sure not only that every detail is covered, but that you thoroughly understand what is happening as it happens in the case. Call Hefferon & Hefferon, PA. Today.

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