O'Malley Tunstall PLLC
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Auto Accident Law Archives

Log Truck Collision Injuries in Eastern NC

Log Truck defects often leads to need of auto accident lawyers in Eastern NC.  Log trucks are often coming out of the woods heavily laden with as many pounds of logs as they can as they get paid by the load.  Improper equipment from the rough nature of logging can damage the trucks resulting in crashes.

Underinsured Motorist Insurance for NC Traffic Collision injuries

Underinsured Motorist Insurance for NC Traffic Collision injuries may provide coverage above the North Carolina minimum limits. In North Carolina the minimum insurance limit to drive is thirty thousand dollars per person.  If you have significant injuries or medical expenses that exceed one emergency room visit you may discover that if the defendant has minimum NC automobile insurance limits there may not be enough insurance available to compensate for your damages. Underinsured Motorist Insurance Underinsured Motorist Insurance is insurance above the minimum limits which pays for your compensatory damages when the defendant does not have enough insurance.  Underinsured Motorist Insurance can provide coverage in an amount between $50,000.00 and $1 million.  It is cheaper than liability insurance. You can arbitrate an underinsured motorist claim in NC.  Arbitration is an expedited type of trial to three attorneys rather than a jury.  It is typically cheaper, quicker and more reliable than some jury verdicts.  Finally, as resolving claims with your underinsured motorist carrier is your insurance, there is a first party duty of good faith, which requires your carrier to treat you correctly. If you have a significant claim that may result in a claim above the defendant's limits, call us to discuss what we can do to assist with your claim. what to do in an automobile collision Contact us to discuss your insurance coverage before your involved in an automobile collision or what we can do to assist with your case.

Add Medical Payments, Medpay, Coverage in North Carolina to your Auto Insurance Policy

Add Medical Payments Coverage, known as Medpay, in North Carolina to your Auto Insurance Policy.  Medpay coverage is cheap, no fault coverage that can be purchased to pay for lost wages and medical expenses in North Carolina.  Whether you have health insurance and need to pay for co-pays or have no health insurance medical payments coverage can be very beneficial. Medical Payment Coverage in NC Traffic collisions Some states provide no fault insurance for all automobile collisions.  In North Carolina we are not a no fault state.  Therefore in order to recover Medical Expenses or lost wages you must show that the other person was at fault and that you did not contribute to your own injury.  Medpay coverage is the exception in North Carolina. You can purchase additional coverage from your automobile carrier  called Medical Payment or Medpay that provides, regardless of fault, for reimbursement for medical payments or lost wages.  Even if you are at fault, hit by a deer or hydroplane in a storm, you can use medpay to pay for medical expenses or co-pays if you have medical insurance. If you are hit by another in a traffic collision you can use medpay to pay your medical expenses, pay your lost wages and prescriptions. What to do after an injury in a car crash Medical Payment coverage is sold in North Carolina at levels from $500.00 to $100,000.00.  Talk to your automobile Insurance Agent about adding Medpay coverage. Contact our office to discuss your case or discuss the use of Medpay or other automobile insurance coverage.

Injured Driving for Work? Report as workers' compensation?

Injured while driving for work? Should you report your injury as a workers' compensation injury or simply allow the case to be handled as a personal injury? Often its tricky to know whether to report your automobile accident case as a workers' compensation case as many people are concerned about their employer discriminating against them for getting injured while working.  

What to do after an Injury in a Car Crash in Eastern NC

Car Crash?  Injured?  Just not sure what to do next? Often our clients are just not sure what to do immediately after a car crash.  Injuries and emotions can get in the way of making good decisions.  Therefore, we have created a short check list for you.

Welcome Bruce Daughtry to O'Malley Tunstall

O'Malley Tunstall is extremely happy to welcome Bruce Daughtry to our firm.  We have worked against Bruce for years and are excited to now add him and his tremendous experience to our litigation, serious personal injury and social security disability, SSI sections.  Joe and Susan have known for years what a strong advocate Bruce Daughtry is for his clients and are sure he will bring that passion to helping our clients. Bruce Daughtry Bruce Daughtry Personal Injury and Social Security Disability, SSI Lawyer Bruce Daughtry was born in Ahoskie, North Carolina where he attended Hertford County public schools and graduated from Ahoskie High School. He graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Bruce attended law school at Norman Adrian Wiggins School of law in Buies Creek, North Carolina and earned his Juris Doctorate in 1993. Bruce was admitted to practice law the same year. After graduation he returned to this home town of Ahoskie where he began his career practicing law, representing individuals and families in the District and Superior Courts of Eastern North Carolina. Later he focused his area of practice in civil litigation representing insurance companies and their insured in all levels of the North Carolina court system. Bruce has taken his extraordinary amount of trial and litigation experience gained by representing the insurance industry and uses it to fight for individuals' rights and maximize their recovery in their personal injury claims. Bruce has over 100 jury trials in serious injury claims.  He is a member of the North Carolina Bar, the Nash County Bar, and the Seventh Judicial District. He is admitted to practice in the Eastern District of the Federal Court. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Bruce lives in Rocky Mount with his wife, Cacky, and two children, David and William. He spends most of his free time on the field watching David and William participate in their sports activities. Bruce will handle serious personal injury, disability and social security disability, SSI cases.  Visit O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC for more information on Workers' Compensation, serious Personal Injury and Social Security, SSI cases.

Why you should hire a trial lawyer for your injury case

Why do you need a trial lawyer for your serious injury case? On September 13, 2013 I was invited to try a mock personal injury trial to a room of approximately 100 personal injury lawyers from all over North Carolina at the North Carolina Advocates for Justice office in Raleigh. During the trial attorneys from all stages of their practice, young and experienced alike, came forward to discuss how to handle issues in their cases. The experience was very uplifting and emotional for me as attorneys whom I have idolized, one I have known and admired since long before I became a lawyer, approached me to ask advice about how to protect their clients. Nothing builds your ego like a college asking your advice. Nothing destroys your ego like not having a good answer for that attorney. This fraternity of attorneys who try their client's cases to juries and invest emotionally and financially in their clients is a rare group. This same group of attorneys shares their collective knowledge on the premise that in helping a college to assist his/her client they raise the tide for all injured persons throughout north Carolina. Why you should hire a trial lawyer. Why hire a "trial" lawyer to assist in your claim? We have earned the title by winning and quite frankly loosing cases on behalf of our injured clients and have learned the true value of cases throughout North Carolina. Often in loosing a case for a deserving client, I have learned how to assist the next client, give better advice about settlement of cases and put my next client in a better position to recover for their injuries. Post settlement the medical bills, liens and costs must be accurately accounted for and properly negotiated to give our clients the best result. Whether you have a social security disability (SSI) claim, workers' compensation injury or a serious injury from an automobile collision - think about hiring a trial lawyer and putting that experience to work for you! Joe Tunstall

Social Media after a Car Accident or Personal Injury

Social Media after a Car Accident or Personal Injury?? Our clients rarely ask whether they should post to their social media (Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc) after a car accident or injury case -- they just do.  Our society is obsessed with instantly sharing what we are doing, what is happening to us and how we are reacting to our own lives.  In the past year, our attorneys have seen a significant increase in requests in discovery (written requests called interrogatories, request for the production of documents and verbal requests at depositions) for logon information for our clients Social Media and requests that they produce the history of their account. Why would the insurance defense attorney (attorney hired by the defendant's insurance company to defend them) care if I have 500 friends on Facebook or 1,000 Twitter followers?  They don't.  What they are counting on is that many of us share a lot about our lives, but rarely do we share the really ugly parts of our own pain and the shame of having pain and problems following injuries from a collision or injury. Often the best advice is what my grandmother told me many times -- don't put anything in writing you don't want to explain to your grandmother.  That is especially true of pictures. Joe Tunstall, why use a trial lawyer After a car accident our clients may post a picture of their vehicle, but rarely do they feel compelled to place a picture of themselves with no shower, hair messy from lack of sleep due to pain, stressed and frustrated for all their friends, co-workers and family to see.  Instead they may post a picture of their next GOOD hair day.  Although there is nothing WRONG at all with wanting to show your good day, your best days, to family and friends -- the insurance company lawyers know that if a jury sees your smiling face at a birthday party two weeks after the car crash, despite the fact you were in pain when you went, left early after taking a pain pill and didn't sleep that night -- the picture of your smiling face is enough to expose to the jury that you are exaggerating.  When you have to explain all the good looking pictures, the only ones you would want to post, even when your in pain and having a tough time, it erodes the juries confidence in your complaints of pain. In Virginia an attorney who was past President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association was sanctioned for advising a client to remove damaging photos from his Facebook page after receiving a request from the insurance defense attorney to produce the same.  article.  An attorney cannot assist a client in removing or erasing discoverable material.  A client must have the good sense not to post pictures of themselves they would not want to discuss with a judge, jury or their own grandmother.  They must also understand that if they tell a jury about all the pain they had for six months in 2011 and the only pictures are of them smiling with their children at the park (good days) and not of them on the couch afterwards sleeping from the pain their credibility will be attacked. If you have questions regarding this post visit us at our own social media where we still only post the good days.  @ncpilawyer on twitter and O'Malley Tunstall Facebook on Facebook. O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC Raleigh office of O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC  

North Carolina Car Accident with property damage?

Property damage (damage to your car) from a car accident or crash means careful negotiation to obtain what you are legally entitled from the insurance company. Know what your are legally entitled before you begin negotiation so that it reduces tension and frustration and so you can quickly get to a middle ground. Joe Tunstall describes what to do. Property Damage from a Car Crash Property Damage from a Car Crash The law in North Carolina is clear, market value of the vehicle can be recovered. Further you may recover lost time from the vehicle and in the case of business use, some lost profit provided you take reasonable steps to make back your loss. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeals have specific decisions addressing how value is to be determined. In Gillespie v. Draughn the Court of Appeals addressed the issues and in Roberts v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc. the North Carolina Supreme Court addressed these issues. "When a plaintiff's vehicle is damaged by the negligence of a defendant, the plaintiff is entitled to recover the difference between the fair market value of the vehicle before and after the damage. Evidence of the cost of repairs or estimates thereof are competent to aid the jury in determining that difference. When a vehicle is negligently damaged, if it can be economically repaired, the plaintiff will also be entitled to recover such special damages as he has properly pleaded and proven for the loss of its use during the time he was necessarily deprived of it. [Citations omitted]"Id. at 606, 160 S.E.2d at 717.9 Gillespie v. Draughn, 54 N.C. App. 413, 417, 283 S.E.2d 548, 552 (1981). The Gillespie Court meant that you can recover the value of your vehicle immediately before the crash if it is totaled. If your vehicle can be repaired then the value of the vehicle including cost of repairs can be recovered. This court does not address, but certain statutes do that you may be able to recover for diminution in value. For a clear idea of how to recover diminution see our previous blog on diminution. In order to recover for loss of use, it must be possible to repair the damaged vehicle at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable time. The measure of damages to be recovered is the cost of renting a similar vehicle during a reasonable time for repairs. If the vehicle cannot be repaired or if it cannot be repaired within a reasonable time, plaintiff is obligated to purchase a replacement vehicle and will be entitled to reimbursement for costs of a rental vehicle during the interval necessary to acquire the replacement vehicle. Roberts v. Freight Carriers, supra; Ling v. Bell, 23 N.C.App. 10, 207 S.E.2d 789 (1974). Gillespie v. Draughn, 54 N.C. App. 413, 417, 283 S.E.2d 548, 552 (1981). In general, the right to recover for loss of use is limited to situations in which the damage to the vehicle can be repaired at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable time. If the vehicle is totally destroyed as an instrument of conveyance or if, because parts are unavailable or for some other special reason, repairs would be so long delayed as to be improvident, the plaintiff must purchase another vehicle. Roberts v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 273 N.C. 600, 606, 160 S.E.2d 712, 717 (1968) In this situation, he would be entitled to damages for loss of use only if another vehicle was not immediately obtainable and, in consequence, he suffered loss of earnings during the interval between the accident and the acquisition of another vehicle. The interval would be limited to the period reasonably necessary to acquire the new vehicle. Colonial Motor Coach Corp. v. New York Cent. R. Co., 131 Misc. 891, 228 N.Y.S. 508 (Sup.Ct.); 8 Am.Jur.2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic s 1049 (1963). Roberts v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 273 N.C. 600, 606, 160 S.E.2d 712, 717 (1968). The above language has created issues as many insurance companies has defined reasonable period to find a new vehicle to be as little as 48 hours. They also quite often stop payment for a rental before they send your check for the property damage. So purchase of a vehicle gets delayed a few days while you await their check and often, depending on your bank, get delayed up to ten (10) days waiting for their check to clear. Therefore, if it appears your vehicle is totaled, it is good to contact a reliable car dealer who can work with you on obtaining a vehicle while you await the insurance check for a down payment or purchase. O'Malley Tunstall BUSINESS VEHCILE Ordinarily the measure of damages for loss of use of a business vehicle is not the profits which the owner would have earned from its use during the time he was deprived of it; it is the cost of renting a similar vehicle during a reasonable period for repairs. Drewes v. Miller, 25 So.2d 820 (La.App.); annots., Damages to Commercial Vehicle, 169 A.L.R. 1074, 1087-1098 (1947), 4 A.L.R. 1350, 1351-1363 (1919). This limitation is an application of the rule that one who seeks to hold another liable for damages must use reasonable diligence to avoid or mitigate them. 2 Strong, N.C. Index, Damages s 8 (1959); annot., Duty of one suing for damage to vehicle to minimize damages; 55 A.L.R.2d 936 (1957); National Dairy Products Corp. v. Jumper, 241 Miss. 339, 130 So.2d 922. Thus, before a plaintiff may recover lost profits resulting from the deprivation of his vehicle, he must show (1) that he made a reasonable effort to obtain a substitute vehicle for the time required to repair or replace the damaged one, and (2) that he was unable to obtain one in the area reasonably related to his business. In the absence of such a showing, he may not recover lost profits. National Dairy Products Corp. v. Jumper, supra; Drewes v. Miller, supra; 25 C.J.S. Damages s 83c (1966). When, however, he has carried the burden of proving that no substitute vehicle could be rented, a plaintiff may recover lost profits if he can establish the amount of the loss with reasonable certainty. See Smith v. Corsat, 260 N.C. 92, 131 S.E.2d 894; Johnson v. Atlantic Coast R. Co., 140 N.C. 574, 53 S.E. 362; 8 Am.Jur.2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic s 1050 (1963). If a plaintiff could have rented a substitute vehicle, the cost of hiring it during the time reasonably necessary to acquire a new one or to repair the old one is the measure of his damage even though no other vehicle was rented. The burden is on the plaintiff to establish the cost of such hire. 8 Am.Jur.2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic s 1047 (1963). Roberts v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 273 N.C. 600, 606-07, 160 S.E.2d 712, 717-18 (1968) The fact that an owner, in lieu of repairing a vehicle which could have been economically repaired, 'trades it in' on new equipment, will not preclude him from recovering damages for loss of its use during the time reasonably required to purchase new equipment or to make the repairs, whichever is shorter. *607 Glass v. Miller, 51 N.E.2d 299 (Ohio App.). See Hayes Freight Lines v. Tarver, 148 Ohio St. 82, 73 N.E.2d 192. **718 7891011 The above language sets out the test for loss money in a business vehicle. To recover you MUST show: (1) that he made a reasonable effort to obtain a substitute vehicle for the time required to repair or replace the damaged one, and (2) that he was unable to obtain one in the area reasonably related to his business. So you must attempt to find a vehicle and rent to to reduce business loss. Property damage can be confusing and frustrating. Often people are injured and hurting during this period which makes following this advice even more difficult. Call us if you need assistance 800-755-1987 or visit our webpages to contact us.

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