Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What is a Reservation of Rights Letter?


A reservation of rights is a way in which an insurer agrees to defend an insured against the claim or suit while also retaining its ability to evaluate, or even deny, coverage for some or all of the claims alleged.

Common examples where insurers may issue are reservation of rights letters include: 1. When there is a policy exclusion; 2. Some of the damages are not covered by the policy; 3. The damages may exceed the policy limits; 4. The insured breached the condition of the policy.

Reservations of rights letters typically have a long list of reasons of why the insurer could deny coverage for the claim. The insurer has an obligation to notify the insured, its client, that a particular claim may not be covered. Obviously, receiving a long list of reasons why your insurer may not cover the claim scares many policyholders since you purchase the insurance to cover such incidents.

Often, coverage cannot be determined until after an investigation is conducted. The issuance of a reservation of rights letter gives the insurer the flexibility to fulfill its obligation under the policy to defend their client while protecting itself by carrying on an investigation which could eventually allow it to deny coverage.  The letter must explain to the policy order why the policy, as applied to the facts of the claim, could result in denial of coverage and should quote the particular policy provision and or language that would be the basis of the denial. 

However, a reservation of rights letter does not necessarily mean that coverage will be denied. An insurance company is required under North Carolina law to pay claims in a timely fashion after reasonable investigation. Once the investigation is completed the insurance company must pay the claim if it should’ve been covered under the policy.

If you’ve had a claim wrongly denied call Hemmings and Stevens today for a free no obligation consultation.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Where you a passenger in an auto accident and need to know who to file an injury claim against?


If you are injured as a passenger in a car accident, it can be confusing and aggravating determining whose insurance coverage is responsible for paying your medical bills and other expenses from the auto accident.

Filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

The first thing to do is to determine who was at fault.If the driver who hit the vehicle you were riding in was at-fault, that driver’s insurance is liable. Often, the accident report will allow you to figure out who was at-fault. If your car accident occurred in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, or on a NC highway, your crash reports should be available online. You should have been provided an insurance exchange form at the scene of the accident so that you can file your claim. If not, the driver of the vehicle you were in should have received one. 

If the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, you will need to determine if the driver of the car you were in has additional coverage under their Underinsured Motorist coverage. If they do, file a claim against their insurance. This should not make their insurance increase because they were not at-fault for the accident. If they do not have additional coverage, you should look to your auto insurance policy to determine what Uninsured Motorist coverage you have. 

If the driver of your vehicle was at-fault. 

If the driver of the car you were in was at-fault in the accident, their insurance is liable. Even though it may be your friend’s insurance, you will need to file a claim against it. For what it’s worth, their insurance will likely go up regardless of whether you file your claim or not, since the points will be for having an at-fault accident, not for how many insurance claims are made. Therefore, you’re probably not doing them any favors by not filing it, you’re only hurting yourself. 

Again, if their insurance does not have sufficient coverage, the Underinsured Motorist coverage on your auto insurance may have additional coverage. Similarly, your auto insurance should not increase from filing this claim because you did not cause the accident. 

To have an experienced auto accident attorney review your case for free, call Hemmings & Stevens today. Our team will help you wade through the various insurance coverages that may be available to you to make sure that you are properly compensated for your injuries and expenses.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Do I need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Raleigh, NC?

Let’s face it; many people have preconceived notions regarding motorcyclists and motorcycle crashes. This includes insurance companies and insurance adjusters who review motorcycle accident claims. Motorcyclists will often be blamed for the crash under the incorrect assumption that riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous. This is especially so for motorcycle accidents occurring in North Carolina because our state follows the doctrine of contributory negligence which bars recovery by a motorcyclist or driver who is partially at fault for an accident. Thus, if the insurance company can point to anything that the motorcycle driver did that contributed to the accident, they can try to deny the claim. 

Often, the insurance company will attempt to obtain a statement from the motorcyclist immediately after the accident, before the rider obtains an attorney. Since the insurance companies handle these claims every day, they know exactly what questions to ask and how to ask them so that they can deny the claim. As a result, it is extremely important for motorcyclist involved in an accident to seek attorney representation immediately after a motorcycle accident. A Raleigh motorcycle accident attorney will explain your rights and preserve your claim so that you are properly compensated for your injuries. If you are involved in a motorcycle crash in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Durham, or anywhere in North Carolina, call Hemmings & Stevens today for a free consultation. 

Common Injuries from Motorcycle Crashes
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Head Injury
  • Brain Damage
  • Broken bones
  • Neck injuries
  • Wrongful Death
  • Back Injuries
  • Road Rash
Hemmings & Stevens Motorcycle Accident Attorney Representation

Our skilled litigators will handle your claim from beginning to end. You will work directly with an attorney through the entire process. You will not be handed off to a paralegal. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, call Hemmings & Stevens today before you speak to the insurance companies.

Monday, September 24, 2018

What is Contributory Negligence and how does it affect my auto accident claim in North Carolina.

Contributory Negligence is when a plaintiff or claimant have, through their own negligence, contributed to the harm they suffered. When someone runs a red light and causes an accident, it should not be hard to determine who was at-fault, right? Not necessarily. North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence State. This means that if the insurance company can prove that you contributed to the accident in any way by not exercising reasonable car under the circumstance, your claim against the at-fault party’s insurance may be denied. So, in the scenario above where another car runs a red light, if it can be proven that you were speeding or were looking at your cell phone while going through the intersection, the at-fault insurance can claim that you contributed. Even in this example, where it is clearly the other driver’s fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to deny your claim. This is why it is so important to not give any statement to the insurance company before speaking to an experienced attorney who can advise you.

For more information, call Hemmings and Stevens today. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Car Accident Deaths in North Carolina

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents kill more than 35,000 people in the U.S. every year. That's nearly 100 people every day.

The leading causes of fatal car accidents are:

  • Drunk driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted drivers
  • Weather
  • Inexperienced or elderly drivers
  • Car manufacturing defects
  • Street and highway construction or defects
Of those, Distracted Driving is on the rise with the advent of cell phones and smart phones and their near constant use while driving. 

If a loved one died in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in North Carolina due to someone else's negligence, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. 

Under North Carolina's Wrongful Death Act, a family may recover damages that include medical care and treatment, reasonable funeral expenses, lost income, and other damages from the loved one not here any more. 

If a loved one has died in an auto accident, it's important to speak to an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney right away. There may be evidence that needs to be protected that may be lost or destroyed if too much time goes by, including cell phone records, black boxes from the car, camera footage, etc. Additionally, most of this evidence will not be turned over unless there's an attorney involved. We are licensed state wide and represent clients all over North Carolina, including Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Wilmington and beyond. Please call today for a confidential free consultation with an experienced North Carolina auto accident attorney today. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Importance of Medical Payments (“Med Pay”) coverage for North Carolina Drivers

      What is Med-Pay coverage? 
      
North Carolina drivers involved in auto accidents often overlook a source of money available to them through their own insurance. Unbeknownst to many drivers, their policies include medical payments “Med Pay” coverage which covers any medical expenses related to an accident up to the amount of coverage. Med Pay coverage can be anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000!



      When can I collect?

Receiving your Med Pay coverage is usually very easy. All you need to do is contact your insurance company and file a claim by submitting your medical bills along with a copy of the accident report. At Hemmings & Stevens, we file these claims for you for no additional charge.

      Why is Med Pay so important in North Carolina?

a. North Carolina follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, which bars recovery by a plaintiff if he or she is partially at-fault. Consequently, many claims are denied when the at-fault driver can point to anything you did to contribute to the accident. However, Med Pay is available regardless of fault. So, even if your claim against an at-fault driver is denied, you still have insurance to cover your medical costs.

b. Even if the at-fault driver’s insurance company accepts liability, a bodily injury claim may take a while to resolve. Typically, bodily injury claims do not settle until all medical treatment is completed. Even then, it may take months for the at-fault insurance company to compensate you fairly. If you have Med Pay coverage, you can have your bills paid much faster.

c. It’s CHEAP!!! Most drivers don’t realize they even have Med Pay coverage because it’s so inexpensive that they don't notice they're even paying for it. So, they simply overlook it. At Hemmings & Stevens, we will review all your coverages and obtain everything you’re entitled to. Additionally, we encourage all of our clients to INCREASE their Med Pay coverage going forward.

Call Hemmings & Stevens today for more information. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

FIVE THINGS TO DO IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT IN NORTH CAROLINA


FIVE THINGS TO DO IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT IN NORTH CAROLINA
If you are in an auto accident in North Carolina, you should speak to an experienced auto accident attorney to protect your right to recover for your injuries. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, the attorney can seek compensation for any medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other losses incurred because of the accident. That way, you can focus on your recovery and ensure that your rights are being protected.

After a car accident, you should consider following these simple steps:

1. Call 911 – Even if it is just a minor auto accident, the police should be called to the scene. Without a police report, insurance companies will often deny your claim. Plus, injuries are often not immediately noticeable due to the initial shock of the auto accident.  By calling 911, a record is created and both law enforcement and emergency medical personnel will be dispatched to the scene and will document the accident.

2. Seek medical treatment – Injuries from car accidents may not show up immediately, even major ones. If you did not immediately go to the emergency room, you should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. When you speak to the doctor, it is important to explain each detail of the accident, even if you don’t consider it significant at the time. This allows the doctor to properly evaluate any potential health problems.

3. Notify your insurance company – Your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company both need to be notified of the accident immediately.  At this time, you should not make any statements about the accident or sign any documents or offers to settle until you have spoken to an attorney about the car accident.

4. Get a copy of the police report – If law enforcement was called to the scene of the accident, a report will be prepared by the responding officer.  This report is critical in establishing fault in all vehicle accidents. A copy of the report may be obtained by calling the responding law enforcement agency. Additionally, if the accident was investigated by the police departments of the following cities, you may obtain a report online: RaleighCaryGarnerWake ForestGraham,  North Carolina Highway Patrol, a copy of the report may be obtained online within days.

5. Keep good records – Recovering from insurance companies requires good record keeping. The insurance company will want a copy of everything involving the accident: crash report, medical records, car estimates, mechanic bills, lost wages etc. You should keep everything having the do with the accident in one file and provide a copy of everything to your attorney.

If you’re involved in an auto accident in North Carolina, call Hemmings & Stevens, PLLC today for a free consultation. 919.277.0161 or visit our website: www.hemmingsandstevens.com

What is a Reservation of Rights Letter?

A reservation of rights is a way in which an insurer agrees to defend an insured against the claim or suit while also retaining its ab...