Personal Injury Claims in Charlotte: Reaching a Verdict
Helping you secure your compensation once you’ve won your case in North Carolina
The majority of personal injury cases settle. Some are resolved through mediation or arbitration. Some even settle shortly after a jury is selected. The tensest moment of any jury trial, when there is a trial, is the moment the judge reads the verdict to everyone in the courtroom. Our lawyers have a strong track record of success negotiating settlements, mediating claims, and trying cases before juries. Our greatest pride is when our clients are happy when that verdict is read aloud.
At Price, Petho & Associates, we also understand what steps need to be taken so the settlement or jury verdict becomes money in your bank account. So let us get down to the basics about what happens once you’ve won your case.
Frequently Asked Questions about the end of your personal injury trial
What happens when the jury rules in my favor?
When the jury decides in your favor, then unless the defendant appeals, we make arrangements to obtain the amount of the award from the defendant’s insurance company. Usually, the time between the agreement or verdict and having the money in your account is fairly short. In most cases, the insurance company promptly pays what they owe after completing a few formalities. If there is any delay, such as the defendant appeals the case, we’ll work to ensure justice prevails and the insurance pays and final decisions. If a defendant does appeal and loses, then we make the same arrangements to obtain the money from the insurance companies for the defendants.
What is a schedule of distribution?
When we receive the check from the insurance company, we prepare a schedule of distribution. The schedule is an accounting of how the funds are distributed to you, us, and any unpaid healthcare providers. The accounting also reimburses anyone (usually the law firm or you) who advanced court costs and fees.
What expenses are paid first?
The schedule of distribution first sets aside money for any funds that have been advanced or delayed for your case to proceed. These funds are generally paid before the payments to the client and our firm.
Each personal injury case in North Carolina requires that certain funds be advanced, usually by our law firm. These funds often include:
- Court filing costs
- The costs due to the stenographer for the depositions
- Expert witness fees
- Any costs to obtain your medical records
- Any other costs to support the claim
Healthcare costs and subrogation
In all personal injury cases, your healthcare providers have the right to be paid. Normally, your healthcare providers (doctors, rehabilitation team, and other healthcare professionals) are paid for any personal injury protection (PIP) and any personal health insurance that you have. In some cases, we make arrangements with your healthcare providers to delay payment until your case is resolved by settlement or a jury verdict.
There are different legal terms to describe the granting by your healthcare provider of your right to postpone payment until you’re paid from a settlement or verdict.
- The most common term is called a “right of subrogation.” This term refers to payments by your health insurer that have already been made. The right of subrogation is essentially a right to be reimbursed for payments already made.
- A “lien” generally refers to agreements by your healthcare providers to postpone/delay payment until you receive the insurance funds. When the insurance proceeds are paid, the lien requires that the health provider is paid.
Car repair companies and assistance payment providers may also have rights to subrogation or liens.
Our law firm sometimes can reduce the amount of the payment to healthcare providers and others by the percentage we receive.
Attorney's fees in a personal injury case are typically based on a contingency fee arrangement, which means that the attorney will only receive payment if they win the case or reach a settlement on behalf of their client. Under this arrangement, the attorney will take a percentage of the final settlement or award as their fee. This percentage will be agreed upon in advance and outlined in a written contract between the attorney and the client.
It's important to note that if the case is unsuccessful, the attorney will not receive a fee, but the client may still be responsible for other expenses incurred during the course of the case, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and medical record fees.
It's always a good idea to discuss attorney's fees and any other costs associated with a personal injury case during your initial consultation with a lawyer to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the financial implications of pursuing a claim.
How much is my share of the award?
Normally, after the payments for advanced fees and payments to the health insurance companies or providers, the balance is divided according to the terms of the contingency fee agreement. (Please note that the terms for paying advanced fees are normally one of the terms in the contingency fee agreement).
For example, suppose the jury decides your case is worth $240,000. A schedule of distribution might look like this:
- Reimbursement for advanced litigation costs: $10,000.
- Payment to health insurance companies or medical providers for your medical care: $20,000.
- Balance left for distribution: $210,000.
- If the contingency fee arrangement is that the law firm receives one-third, then:
- The client receives $140,000.
- Our firm receives $70,000.
What happens if the award is more than the defendant’s insurance coverage?
In car accident cases, you may be able to use your UM/UIM coverage if the amount of your award is more than the amount of the defendant’s insurance coverage. UM/UIM is shorthand for uninsured/underinsured coverage. You could claim, with our assistance, that your UM/UIM carrier pay the balance of the jury award that is due. The UM/UIM carrier should pay the balance up to the policy limits.
What happens if I lose?
If the jury decides that the defendants are not liable, then you do have a right to appeal the jury’s decision to an appellate court. We’ll explain how you file an appeal, what arguments you can make, and the likelihood of a successful appeal.
What happens if the victim is a minor or incompetent?
In some personal injury cases, the plaintiff’s award may need to be placed into a trust. For example, if the victim is a minor, a trust is normally established to pay the minor’s medical bills until he/she turns 18, at which time the funds are distributed. If the plaintiff has a catastrophic injury such as head trauma or spinal cord damage, then a trust may be used to ensure that the victim’s medical needs are taken care of for the rest of his/her life.
Do you have a personal injury lawyer near me?
Yes, we do. While our central office is located at 1430 Elizabeth Ave. in Charlotte, we have additional satellite offices located in Rutherfordton and in Rockingham. If you’re too ill to come to our office, we will make arrangements to see you at your home, a healthcare facility, or through a video conference.
Speak with an experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyer today
At Price, Petho & Associates, our Charlotte attorneys have been fighting for injury victims since 1979. We know that every client is struggling. Every client needs the settlement or jury proceeds to pay their health bills, pay their living expenses, support their families, and begin life again. We work to ensure you obtain your just compensation as soon as possible after a favorable result. Please call us or use our contact form to schedule your free consultation. Serving Charlotte, Rockingham, Rutherfordton, and North Carolina.