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“Special Damages” and Negotiating North Carolina Personal Injury Claim with Automobile Insurance Adjusters


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.

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