O'Malley Tunstall PLLC
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Posts tagged "personal injury lawyer"

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  

Injured by a Driver without a Valid Drivers' License -- Is it even admissible at trial?

When injured by a driver that did not have a valid drivers license is the fact the defendant was not licensed admissible at trial? Meet Joe Tunstall, head of our Personal Injury Section. In Swicegood v. Cooper, 341 N.C. 178 (1995), the NC Supreme Court held that evidence of Plaintiff's poor driving record was admissible to prove contributory negligence by negligent entrustment, denying the in limine motion. In Thompson v. Three Guys Furniture Co., 122 N.C.App. 340 (1996), the court held that the status of an individual's driving credentials generated issues of material fact sufficient to withstand a summary judgment motion in a negligent entrustment action. In Dwyer v. Margano, 128 N.C.App. 122 (1997), the court again held that the status of an individual's driving credentials was a genuine issue of material fact. In this case, the fact that Margano had a up to date foreign driver's license was not sufficient to show that his rental car company should not have trusted him with the car. In Tart v. Martin, 353 N.C. 252 (2000), the NC supreme court wrote that "negligent entrustment is established when the owner of an automobile entrusts its operation to a person whom he knows, or by exercise of due care should have known, to be an incompetent or reckless driver" 353 N.C. at 254 (quoting, Heath v. Kirkman, 240 N.C. 303, 307 (1954)). In all four cases the driver's ability to operate a car, from both a skill and a licensure perspective, were admitted as evidence for a variety of reasons. Whether the fact that a defendant did not have a license appears to be fact specific as to admissibility. The courts appears to have given specific gravity to the reason for the admissibility and what it is being used to prove. Therefore, fair or not, it appears that whether a court allows the defendant's failure to even have a valid driver's license only is admissible if there are other evidence of bad driving in the past. If you have injuries from a car accident and have questions, feel free to visit our website.

Medicaid Liens in North Carolina Injury Cases -- U.S. Supreme Court rules

Very courageous attorneys from North Carolina at Kirby & Holt, L.L.P recently had a rare opportunity.  They were able to help shape the law across the country by challenging North Carolina's interpretation of medicaid reimbursement in accident and injury cases.  Their argument was that North Carolina's procedure was arbitrary and often hurt those needing help the most; children. In WOS v. EMA 568 U. S. ____ (2013) the court held; "The task of dividing a tort settlement is a familiar one. In a variety of settings, state and federal courts are called upon to separate lump-sum settlements or jury awards into categories to satisfy different claims to a portion of the moneys recovered.  Indeed, North Carolina itself uses a judicial allocation procedure to ascertain the portion of a settlement subject to subrogation in a workers' compensation suit. It instructs trial courts to "consider the anticipated amount of prospective compensation the employer or workers' compensation carrier is likely to pay to the employee in the future, the net recovery to plaintiff, the likelihood of the plaintiff prevailing at trial or on appeal, the need for finality in the litigation, and any other factors the court deems just and reasonable." N. C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §97- 10.2(j) (Lexis 2011). North Carolina would be on sounder footing had it adopted a similar procedure for allocating Medicaid beneficiaries' tort recoveries. It might also consider a different one along the lines of what other States have done in Medicaid reimbursement cases. The State thus has ample means available to allocate Medicaid beneficiaries' tort recoveries in an efficient manner that complies with federal law. Indeed, if States are concerned that case-by-case judicial allocations will prove unwieldy, they may even be able to adopt ex ante administrative criteria for allocating medical and nonmedical expenses, provided that these criteria are backed by evidence suggesting that they are likely to yield reasonable results in the mine run of cases. What they cannot do is what North Carolina did here: adopt an arbitrary, one-size-fits all allocation for all cases."  WOS v. EMA 568 U. S. ____ (2013) Any reader of our blog knows we constantly address the issues involved in how workers' compensation liens work within third party (accident and injury) cases. The Supreme Court continued; "North Carolina's statute, therefore, is pre-empted if, and insofar as, it would operate that way.And it is pre-empted for that reason. The defect in §108A-57 is that it sets forth no process for determining what portion of a beneficiary's tort recovery is attributable to medical expenses. Instead, North Carolina has picked an arbitrary number--one-third--and by statutory command labeled that portion of a beneficiary's tort recovery as representing payment for medical care. Pre-emption is not a matter of semantics. A State may not evade the pre-emptive force of federal law by resorting to creative statutory interpretation or description at odds with the statute's intended operation and effect." "North Carolina's argument, if accepted, would frustrate the Medicaid anti-lien provision in the context of tort recoveries. The argument lacks any limiting principle: If a State arbitrarily may designate one-third of any recovery as payment for medial expenses, there is no logical reason why it could not designate half, three-quarters, or all of a tort recovery in the same way."  WOS v. EMA 568 U. S. ____ (2013) Thanks to these courageous attorneys who have spend incalculable hours helping a client, a child and a state.    

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