North Carolina Legal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When you or a loved one is injured in an accident, no one hands you a pamphlet containing all of the information you need to understand your case. In this section we strive to answer the basic questions that everyone has in the time following a car accident, on-the-job injury, medical malpractice, abuse, or other accident.
If you don't find the answers to all of your North Carolina injury questions here, we encourage you to contact our Raleigh injury lawyers for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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What is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is a person you can hire to help resolve the issues you may be experiencing when solving a claim with your insurance company. However, they cannot represent you in court. Only an attorney can represent you in court.
According to bankrate.com, public adjuster "interprets the homeowner's policy, assesses the damage and how much it will cost to repair, and negotiates with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner until the claim is settled."
People typically hire a public adjuster because they do not have time to handle their own insurance claim.
If you experienced losses in an accident incurring $10,000 or more worth of damage, you should consider hiring a public adjuster. Public adjusters are there to help you receive the proper amount of compensation you deserve when a claim is too big to handle alone. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive the exact amount of compensation you want. Public adjusters are not miracle workers, but they can help you if your claim is too much to tackle by yourself.
For more information about North Carolina Insurance Disputes, read our book.
What Should I Do if Additional Damage is Found During Repairs or if My Car is Totaled?
This situation is not unexpected and happens often. There is typically more damage found when a vehicle has already been taken in for other repairs. If this situation occurs, the mechanic will notify your insurance company of the additional damages. The appraiser will come back and inspect your vehicle again to reach another settlement including the cost of repairs for the newly found damages. There should be no problem if additional damages are found after a car collision.
If Your Car is Totaled:
If your car is totaled in a collision, insurance companies are required to pay the fair market value. In North Carolina, insurance companies are not required to pay more than the fair market value. The total amount of your damages or what you owe on your car is not included in the fair market value settlement. What your car was worth right before the collision is how the FMV amount is determined.
Continue to make payments on your vehicle. The bank will continue to charge you, and problems will arise if you fall behind on your payments.
What Moves Do I Take if an Insurance Company Continues to Deny My Claim?
Insurance policies are filled with loopholes so companies do not have to hand out money left and right to their clients. Their goal is to give you as little compensation as possible. If an insurance company continues to deny your claim, contact an attorney. Brent Adams and Associates is here to help. Call 877-273-6823 or click here if you want to schedule a free consultation. After reviewing your policy, he and his qualified team of attorneys will determine if you have a case.
Why Do Insurance Companies Break Contracts?
It is your provider's best interest not to pay for your claim because it saves them money. Insurance companies receive piles of claims every day and wrongfully deny several of them. Few people take their claim to court, which saves the company millions of dollars. When an insurance company refuses to pay your claim, wrongfully denies your claim, denies payment or does not offer you an adequate amount of payment, you should contact an attorney.
What Are Examples of "Bad Faith" Insurance?
Here are some examples of bad faith insurance:
- Bad faith occurs when an insurance company fails to properly investigate a claim.
- If a provider interprets a policy unreasonably.
- If a company does not settle your case or refuses to reimburse you, this is bad faith.
- Unreasonable denial of benefits,
- Unreasonable termination of an insurance claim,
- Unreasonable delay when making compensation payments,
- And unreasonable settlements are all practices of bad faith.
What Should I Do Directly After a Tornado?
If a tornado has left your property damaged, here are the next steps you should take:
- Turn off the gas or water in your house to see if there are any leaks.
- Patch holes in the roof or windows to prevent further damage.
- Dry wet items such as documents or your possessions.
- Make temporary repairs until your insurance company can evaluate your losses and to prevent further damage.
These are the steps you should take after the storm has passed and you are no longer in danger.
How Do I Switch Insurance Companies Without Penalty?
You only have thirty days to change insurance companies after you receive your invoice for your rates, deviations, or discounts. If you make the switch within the thirty day period, you will pay your previous provider on a "pro-rata" basis. Pro-rata is defined by Investopedia as "claims [that] are only paid out in proportion to the insurance interest in the asset; this is also known as the first condition of average." You may have a short penalty for transferring companies if you choose to switch within the thirty day period. You can speak with your new provider and see if they will reimburse you for your penalty charges.
What Laws Cover Dog Bites: State Laws or Local Laws?
Both state and local laws are put in place to protect you from dog bites.
Section 67-12 of the North Carolina General Statutes states:
"No person shall allow his dog over six months old to run at large in the nighttime unaccompanied by the owner or by some member of the owner's family, or some other person by the owner's permission. Any person intentionally, knowingly, and willfully violating this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, and shall also be liable in damages to any person injured or suffering loss to his property or chattels."
Local communities also create rules such as leash and vaccination laws.
Click here for more information.
What are the Most Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Neglect is the most common type of abuse nursing home residents receive. Considering, several nursing homes are understaffed and hire under qualified employees, this causes several patients to be neglected. Residents who are left alone for extended periods of time are more liable to obtain an injury by falling, or experience bed sores, dehydration, and malnutrition. Some residents experience physical or verbal abuse due to the improper training of staff members. This type of abuse could involve holding a resident down, hitting them, or verbally abusing them.
Can a Resident Sue With and Without a Contract?
A nursing home contract is put in place so you and your loved one know what rights you are entitled to while receiving care. This agreement contract is a legally binding document that is designed to protect the nursing home, not you or your loved one. Read the document carefully before signing. A resident can sue a nursing home facility regardless as to whether or not they have a contract. However, your case may not be taken to court if your contract has an "arbitration agreement."
Is the Insurance Company Responsible for Cleaning My Yard?
Although policies are different, most policies state that homeowners are responsible for clearing the debris after a natural disaster. An adequate amount of coverage, however, may cover this type of work. If your home was destroyed in a natural disaster, your local government may be able to coordinate a debris removal project for your house. For re-compacting soil and/or testing damaged soil, contact a qualified adjuster and ensure you are charged a reasonable amount.
How Important is Accuracy in an Insurance Application?
You must provide your insurer's sales agent with all the relevant information possible. You must ensure the information you are providing is true and accurate. Make sure the agent does not rephrase your answers. If you are dishonest with any information you give in your application, your future claims will be denied or your policy will be canceled.
What Will Happen to Certain Features of ObamaCare?
These are the features of ObamaCare that will stay under Trump's new tax reform bill:
- Children up to 26-years-old will be permitted to stay on their parents' insurance plan.
- Insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions.
- Health care plans will still be required to cover preventative services such as shots, screening tests, or wellness visits, at no cost to you.
For more information, click here.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when a resident in a nursing home is receiving improper treatment by a caregiver. If they are injured, or if their risk of injury is increased, this is nursing home abuse. If a resident is having suicidal thoughts, this could be due to emotional abuse. Here is a list of ways a resident in a nursing home could be abused:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Monetary Abuse
Click here to know what signs to look for so you can protect a loved one receiving care.
Can I Draw Workers' Comp and SSD at the Same Time?
Yes, you can collect workers' comp and SSD at the same time However, the Social Security Administration may alter your monthly payment of SSD while you receive workers' compensation. Your workers' comp earnings, plus your SSD benefits, cannot total more than 80% of your earnings before you became disabled. If your earnings exceed this amount, the Social Security Administration will alter your alloted monthly payment.
Your Social Security benefits will return to their previous amount once you stop receiving workers' compensation. This does not apply to privately funded insurance plans; they will not alter your monthly Social Security Disability benefits. Veterans' benefits, state/local government benefits, and Supplemental Security Income will also not affect monthly SSD payments.
Are subsidized healthcare plans still available?
Yes, federal subsidies will still be available for the 2018 year. Subsidies help keep the cost of monthly premiums down to make plans more affordable for low-income families. It has been estimated that nine out of ten of the half a million N.C. residents under the ACA 2017 plans received financial assistance for their health insurance. The other 10 percent of North Carolinians had their insurance covered in full.
Will My Monthly Premium Increase?
Yes, your premiums are likely to increase. People who do not purchase insurance through the exchange or directly with insurers are likely to see an increase of 10 percent within the next few years, CBO estimates. The Charlotte Observer explains this is because healthier people are less likely to buy insurance since there is no longer a penalty fee. Also because of higher premiums, this will cause the younger, healthier people to refrain from purchasing insurance.
What is Raleigh, N.C.'s Leash Law?
According to thecityofraleigh.gov, dogs and cats are not allowed within the city limits without a leash. If domesticated animals are not walked on a leash, they must be confined to their owner's. This includes parks as well. Dogs are not allowed off the leash in Raleigh parks, and they are not allowed on play grounds. Allowing pets to run freely within the city limits of Raleigh could result in a misdemeanor.
Can I Enroll in Health Insurance in the State of N.C.?
No, you cannot enroll through the federal exchange in North Carolina because the open enrollment period closed on December 15, 2017. Five hundred thousand twenty-three and nine hundred eighty-nine North Carolina residents enrolled during the enrollment period. The only exception is for those nationwide who experienced hardships due to the hurricanes last fall. A consumer is allowed to enroll if they undergo a "qualifying life event." These are a few examples of qualifying life events: getting married, having a baby, or moving and changing zip codes. If this has occurred, a consumer can enroll through a special type of enrollment. Insurance can also be obtained directly from insurance providers.
Should I Keep My Health Insurance for the Upcoming Year?
According to The Charlotte Observer, yes, you should keep your health insurance plan for 2018. The fee the Trump administration eliminated does not go away until 2019. If you do not have insurance, you will pay $695 per uninsured adult, $347.50 per uninsured child, or 2.5 percent of your household income. Out of those numbers, you will pay whichever one is highest.