October 31, 2012
Serious injuries can wreak havoc on your life. Not only are you forced to deal with the day-to-day physical pain but you are also left to worry about who will pay your medical bills, and whether you can continue to earn a decent wage to take care of your family. For those hurt while on the job, the North Carolina workers’ compensation system provides a safety net. Assuming the prerequisites of a claim are met, the system provides for quick payment of medical expenses and recovery of disability benefits. Claims under the workers compensation system are often resolved with lump sum settlement agreements referred to as “clincher agreements.” The Apex workers compensation attorneys of Maginnis Law can assist you in negotiating a fair settlement and, if necessary, will aggressively litigate your comp claim. To speak with a Maginnis Law employment injury lawyers, call the firm at 919.480.8526.
Aside from payment of medical benefits, the most important aspect of the workers comp system is how it treats disabilities. Most employees recovering comp benefits will have some period of what’s called “temporary total disability.” This phrase describes the period of time where you are completely unable to work. Assuming you miss at least seven consecutive days of work, you are entitled to recover to recover up to 2/3 (66.6%) of your average weekly wage during the period of temporary total disability (“TTD”).
The second type of disability is “permanent partial disability.” For this type of disability, you must have your treating physician assign a “permanent partial disability rating.” This rating essentially says that some aspect of your body is permanent disabled. For example you may receive a 10% PPD rating for your left knee or a 25% PPD rating for your back. These ratings are used in conjunction with very specific works comp statutes to determine the amount of compensation to which you are entitled for the permanent injury.
Following a serious employment related injury you should also consider third-party liability, that is, whether someone other than your employer was negligent in causing your injuries and is, therefore, responsible. For example, if you are truck driver and are involved in a serious automobile collision while on the job, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. However, if the collision was caused by another driver’s negligence, you are also entitled to file a claim against his or her automobile insurance policy. While the workers compensation provider may have a “lien” against your third-party recovery, you will be able to recover certain damages not available in the comp system, including physical and mental pain and suffering.
To speak an Apex workers compensation attorney, schedule a free consultation with Maginnis Law. Our firm handles all workers compensation cases on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay attorneys’ fees unless we make a recovery on your behalf. Our firm handles cases throughout Wake County, including Apex and Holly Springs.
To speak with an Apex workers compensation attorney, call the attorneys of Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526. You may also submit a confidential email containing the details of your Apex or Holly Springs workers comp claim using our contact page. A lawyer will usually contact you the same day.
October 30, 2012
The loss of a loved one is a devastating, life-changing event. For those dependent on the deceased family member, it can mean immediate financial difficulties along with the obvious emotional trauma. If you have lost a family member in an employment related death, you may be entitled to financial assistance through the North Carolina workers compensation system. To protect those rights and to ensure a fair recovery, contact the workers comp death benefit attorneys of Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526, or send a confidential email using our contact page.
North Carolina’s workers compensation procedure provides a formalized recovery system if your family member was injured while on the job. Initially, for there to be any right to the statutorily defined death benefits, the worker must have died within 6 years of the date of accident, or 2 years from the date of final determination of disability. Because there is no need to prove negligence, the system can be quicker than recovery under a civil tort claim.
The compensation recoverable first includes $3,500.00 for reasonable burial expenses. More importantly, it permits the beneficiaries to recover 2/3 (66.6%) of the employee’s average weekly wage for at least 400 weeks. For family members completely dependent upon the employee, the period of compensation can be much longer. In particular, dependent children can be entitled to share in the compensation until they reach the age of 18 and spouses can share until their own death.
Another important consideration when you have lost a loved one due to an employment-related injury is whether his or her death was caused by a negligent third party. If, for example, your family member was killed due to the negligence of a property owner whose premises he was visiting in the course and scope of his employment, the estate may be able to pursue an additional wrongful death claim against the property owner through the normal court system. The damages recoverable in such an action are not as limited as those available through comp. for example, the estate can recover for any physical and mental pain and suffering your loved one experienced as a result of the injury causing death.
To recover fair compensation for the loss of your loved one, contact a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney, as any number of issues can affect whether your claim will be admitted or denied, and what will be offered in settlement. The Raleigh workers comp lawyers of Maginnis Law can assist you with your claim. Our firm offers free consultations and contingency fee arrangements, such that you pay no attorneys’ fees until we recover compensation on your behalf.
To discuss your workers compensation death benefit claim, contact attorney Shawn Howard with Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526. Our firm regularly represents clients throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Garner, Holly Springs, Sanford, Fayetteville, Greenville, Cary, and Greensboro. You may send a confidential email inquiry using our contact page.
October 29, 2012
Fortunately, not all car accidents cause serious, permanent injury. Many folks involved in low impact collisions require only chiropractic treatment or physical rehabilitation. Even in these situations, the injured party may incur several thousands of dollars of chiropractic and rehab expenses. The at-fault driver’s automobile insurance company is responsible for these bills and should be held accountable to pay them. If you have been injured and need help navigating the car accident claims process, contact the Raleigh personal injury lawyers of Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526.
By far the most common injuries following a rear-end car collision are the back and neck strain. These are so-called “soft tissue injures” that typically do not involve long term symptoms but which can be immensely painful and even physically debilitating. Often times, the injured claimant cannot sit or stand for long periods of time and finds it difficult to go to work, losing salary as a result. While the pain will typically resolve within a few months with appropriate care, a claimant is nonetheless entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
In presenting your claim for compensation to the insurance adjuster, you may find him or her unsympathetic. Many adjusters, with no real knowledge of the extent of your injuries, will argue that you stayed under treatment too long or should not have missed work as much as you did. Most of the time, this is nothing more than a cheap attempt to limit their company’s exposure and to influence you to take less than is reasonable. If this happens to you, or if the insurance adjuster is just not returning your calls in a timely manner, contact a personal injury lawyer. The insurance company is not entitled to arbitrarily decide when your treatment should have ended. If they refuse to pay certain bills or lost wages, you can file suit and have a jury determine your damages.
The Raleigh chiropractic injury attorneys of Maginnis Law represent automobile accident clients throughout eastern North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Apex, Garner, Sanford, Greenville, and Fayetteville. Even on smaller claims, our clients deal with our lawyers directly. Unlike larger personal injury firms, where small claims are handled almost entirely by paralegals, your claim will reviewed, handled, and negotiated by an attorney. The firm’s lawyers offer consultations free of charge and all clients are represented on a contingency basis. This means that you only pay an attorneys’ fee if and when we resolve your case.
If you have sustained cervical or lumbar injuries in a rear-end or other kind of auto accident, call Raleigh attorney Shawn Howard at 919.480.8526 or Edward Maginnis at 919.526.0450. You may also send a confidential email to our Wake County lawyers using our contact page.
October 29, 2012
As the response time of a drunk driver is appreciably slowed, they are often unable to apply their brakes or take evasive maneuvers to prevent or minimize a collision. As a result, drunken driving accidents can be particularly violent and can lead to life-changing injuries. If you or a family member has been seriously injured due to the negligence of an intoxicated driver, you may regret to find out that he or she does not have enough insurance coverage to even cover your medical bills, let alone your lost wages and pain and suffering. In North Carolina, many drivers carry only the minimum limits of $30,000.00 per claimant, per accident.
In situations where the drunk driver has insufficient policy limits, you and/or your attorney must look for alternative sources of recovery. If your policy contains underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), this could be one such source. Of course, even your UIM could be insufficient. If so, your next step might be to investigate from where the at-fault driver received his or her alcohol. Under North Carolina’s “dram shop act,” a restaurant or bar can be held liable if it serves alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated and that person subsequently injures or kills someone in an automobile accident. The restaurant can also be held responsible if it serves to a drunk minor who then injures or kills someone in a collision. Social host liability can also apply in situations where a person or company over-serves the at-fault driver at a get-together or party.
Dram shop liability can be difficult to prove without an immediate, early investigation. It is highly dependent upon the testimony of witnesses who may quickly forget facts and the preservation of any video or photographs. However, if you can prove dram shop liability, it can provide a significant extra source of a recovery. A family in Charlotte recently won a nearly $1.7 million verdict in a dram shop case after a restaurant over-served a patron who then drove his automobile and caused a head-on collision. The collision caused serious injuries to the parents and caused the pregnant mother to lose her child. It was a tragic story but, hopefully, served as a lesson to restaurants and bars that over-serving patrons simply to increase profits is not acceptable.
If you or a family member has been injured in a serious drunken driving automobile accident, and potentially have a dram shop claim, call the Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526 (Shawn Howard) or 919.526.0450 (Edward Maginnis). Our firm offers free consultations and evaluations and will travel to meet with you and your family. We are able to handle drunken driving cases throughout North Carolina but generally focus our practice on eastern North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Fayetteville, Greenville, Sanford, Wilmington, and Greensboro. Maginnis Law also offers a contingency arrangement such that you and your family pay no attorneys’ fees unless and until we recover on your behalf. To send a confidential email inquiry, please use our contact page.
October 10, 2012
As residential development in Wake Forest accelerates, business development is booming along with it. The historic downtown area and its Central Business District are in the midst of an extensive revitalization program. The areas near Capital Boulevard, Main Street, Highway 98 , and Heritage are experiencing similar, rapid growth. According to the Wake Forest Economic Development project, there are over 50 commercial and non-residential development projects approved or under review by the town of Wake Forest that includes new shopping centers, office and mixed-use buildings, hotels, restaurants and retailers. Maginnis Law, PLLC has extensive experience in representing many of these companies, such as hotels and restaurants, commercial landlords, and construction contractors and subcontractors, but the firm’s civil litigation practice is able to represent any small and medium sized business, particularly start-up businesses looking to establish a long-term relationship with their attorney. The firm invites Wake Forest business owners to review our business law page here to see how we can help your business continue its path of smart, responsible growth. Whether your business has issues with vendors, employees, landlords, tenants, contractors, insurers or otherwise, we have extensive experience and would love to help you. The firm also represents the individual owners of Wake Forest businesses with any personal needs such as with personal injury, insurance coverage, or unfair debt collection.
Maginnis Law, PLLC is a proud member of the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce. Although our office maintains close proximity to the Wake County Courthouse, because our lawyers are part of the growing residential community in and near Wake Forest, we are able to meet with business owners at their place of business in Wake Forest if it is more convenient for you. Contact the firm at 919.526.0450 or submit a new case inquiry here. Maginnis Law is a civil litigation firm with attorneys handling matters in Wake County, as well as Franklin County, and Granville County. Contact the firm for a free consultation regarding your business needs.
Whether to Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Adjuster Following a North Carolina Personal Injury
October 8, 2012
With negligence cases involving obvious fault, such as where a drunk driver runs a stop sign and causes a T-Bone collision, the insurance adjuster is not likely to conduct much of an investigation. If, however, there is an indication that your actions may have caused the accident, or even that you were in any small part to blame for your own injuries, the adjuster may want to take your “recorded statement.” This is an interview by the adjuster where your answers are digitally recorded. It is important to remember, though, that the job of adjuster is to limit the exposure of his or her employer. The goal will be to show that you were at-fault. For that reason, you should think long and hard about whether to consent to any such statement. This is particularly true in North Carolina, where our courts continue to follow the contributory negligence rule. This harsh principle holds that if you were even 1% at-fault for your injuries, you are not entitled to a recovery. If you slip up and misstate something during a recorded statement, you can be sure the adjuster will deny your claim and waive the recorded statement around in an effort to justify the denial of your claim.
Most lawyers advise against giving a recorded statement. Anything that can be discovered from a recorded statement can be learned just as easily without the recording. The insurance adjuster just wants the recording to be sure they have proof if you slip-up or they confuse you with an ambiguous question. Even though you may have nothing to hide, the insurance adjuster isn’t held to the same ethical standards in asking questions as a defense lawyer is. You should ask the adjuster why the recording is needed if the interview is just for investigative purposes.
The best thing you can do after an insurance adjuster asks for a recorded statements is to call a lawyer. In many cases, it means liability may be in question. If the adjuster gains some admission that they believe shows you were even somewhat at-fault, your claim can be denied completely. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and evaluations and it never hurts to speak with a professional. If you are going to try to handle your claim on your own, you should typically resist giving a recorded statement. You may consider giving the adjuster permission to take notes without recording the statement. If the adjuster continues to insist on the recorded statement, you should discuss the claim with a lawyer who may be able to provide some insight.
The Raleigh automobile accident and personal injury lawyers of Maginnis Law regularly assist clients with difficult liability cases. If you have been asked to give a recorded statement, our attorneys would be happy to discuss the facts of your claim with you. To speak with Raleigh accident lawyer Shawn Howard, call Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526. To speak with Ed Maginnis call 919.526.0450. You can also send a confidential email using our contact page.
Maginnis Law offers competitive contingency fee arrangements and regularly handles cases for clients throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Apex, Garner, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, and Zebulon.
“Special Damages” and Negotiating North Carolina Personal Injury Claim with Automobile Insurance Adjusters
October 8, 2012
If you have been involved in an automobile accident in which the other driver was at-fault, you will soon be receiving a call or letter from his or her insurance company. The insurance adjuster will likely apologize for the accident, ask how you are doing, and request that you forward medical documentation for his or her review. You may even receive a promise that you will be taken care of; after all, you are in good hands or they are a good neighbor or something along those lines. Once your treatment concludes, the adjuster will likely make an offer based upon the total amount of your “special damages.” This phrase is commonly used by adjusters to mean your medical and pharmaceutical expenses, together with any lost wages.
Before accepting an adjuster’s valuation of your claim, you should obtain an opinion from a North Carolina personal injury attorney. Many adjusters make arbitrary reductions in your special damages when they have no basis to do so. They also frequently offer insufficient amounts for your physical and emotional pain and suffering. The Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Law have handled cases against numerous insurers and can assist you with determining the value of your claim and litigating your case if the insurer fails to act reasonably. To speak with an auto accident lawyer regarding your special damages, call the firm at 919.480.8526 or send a confidential email using our contact page.
One of the many problems with insurance adjuster determinations of special damages is that they often refuse to pay for all of your medical expenses without any medical justification for doing so. For instance, an adjuster may say that in his or her opinion you sought chiropractic care for too long or that you underwent an unnecessary surgery. The adjuster may even opine that your surgery was unrelated to the accident even when your surgeons say otherwise. These types of actions are often nothing more than bad faith attempts to force you to settle for less than is reasonable. You have the right to hold the insurer responsible and should do so by contacting a North Carolina car accident lawyer.
Another area where insurance adjusters tend to take advantage of claimants is with lost wages claims. In particular, adjusters are often unwilling to take account of lost vacation or annual time when a person is a salaried employee. Even if you continue to be paid during your period of disability, you are entitled to compensation for missing work. A discussion of the difference between “lost wages” and “diminished earning capacity” is discussed in our blog of September 7, 2011.
Ultimately, whether to take a settlement offer should be something you discuss with an attorney. The insurance adjuster’s job is to look out for the insurer’s best interests, not yours. They are completely adverse to you and it is best to have an advocate on your side. For a free evaluation of your claim, contact the Raleigh law office Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526. Our firm offers contingency fee arrangements so that you pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover on your behalf. We regularly represent clients in and around Eastern North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Apex, Garner, Fayetteville, and Sanford.
October 3, 2012
Most people find that the automobile accident claims process is quite frustrating. From negotiating with unsympathetic insurance adjusters to dealing with aggressive bill collectors, it is not a pleasant experience. It can be even more frustrating when you cannot determine the identity of the party that caused the collision. In so-called “hit-and-run” cases, the driver that has struck your car flees the scene, even though doing so is a crime under North Carolina law. If you have sustained personal injury in an accident involving a hit-and-run driver, you may proceed directly against your own automobile insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage (UM). The UM process can be complicated and should be approached with caution. In most situations, you would be best served to speak with a knowledge automobile accident attorney prior to handling your own UM claim. Read more
October 2, 2012
North Carolina law provides a number of civil claims that entitle a plaintiff to sue a party that has acted wrongfully. Among the more common and understandable claims is conversion, which is essentially a civil claim for theft or stealing. The North Carolina Supreme Court in the recent case Variety Wholesalers, Inc. v. Salem Logistics Traffic Services, LLC defined conversion as the “unauthorized assumption and exercise of the right of ownership over goods or personal chattels belonging to another, to the alteration of their condition or the exclusion of an owner’s rights.”
To prevail on a conversion claim, you need to establish two elements: (1) that you are the proper owner of the property and (2) that the property is or has been wrongfully possessed and converted by the defendant. Conversion claims can range from very simple to very complex; conversion is commonly pled in lawsuits involving as little as a few thousand dollars to cases involving millions.
One of the more simple examples of a situation where a conversion claim would be appropriate is where an employee has stolen company equipment. Of course, there are also more complex fact patterns and the Variety Wholesalers case is a prime example. Salem Logistics provided shipping auditing services to Variety Wholesalers. As part of the relationship, Salem accepted funds from Variety Wholesalers which were then to be distributed to Variety’s shipping vendors. The problem arose when Salem went bankrupt and Variety learned that Salem’s bank account was actually owned by a third-party that provided Salem a line of credit, Ark Royal Capital. When Variety requested Ark return nearly $900,000.00 that had been given by Variety for Salem to pay Variety’s shippers, Ark refused. As a result, Variety filed an action against Ark alleging a claim for conversion. The Supreme Court reversed an initial victory by Variety and determined a jury trial would be necessary.
The Raleigh conversion attorneys of Maginnis Law offer free consultations to all prospective clients. To schedule a meeting or to discuss your conversion case, call the firm’s downtown Raleigh office at 919.526.0450 (Ed Maginnis) or 919.480.8526 (Shawn Howard). You may also send a confidential message regarding the details of your case, or to request that we contact you, using our contact page.
Maginnis Law represents clients throughout the eastern North Carolina area, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Garner, Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, and Fayetteville.
October 1, 2012
Raleigh residential investment property landlords must become familiar with the Tenant Security Deposit Act. This law governs the required steps that must be taken by landlords to ensure that tenants cannot recover their entire security deposit unless it is owed to them. If a landlord has failed to comply with any of the requirements of the Tenant Security Deposit Act, the resident can recover their security deposit in full through a civil lawsuit. Additionally, attorney fees can be awarded in the event of willful noncompliance with the statute. The Raleigh civil attorneys of Maginnis Law, PLLC represent income property companies in various matters, including the ones outlined here. The firm’s lawyers can be reached at 919.526.0450 or through the submission of a new case inquiry. Read more