Many people in North Carolina are under the impression that the Courthouse is a revolving door simply there to hand out money to those people injured even in minor car accidents. The insurance industry has painted a pretty dirty picture of both lawyers and their clients alleging they are taking advantage of the “system”. The insurance industry claims frivolous lawsuits are hurting the everyday person, when in reality the insurance companies use this false propaganda to keep an even tighter grip on their massive profits.
The harsh reality is North Carolina is a very difficult state from a legal perspective to recover money when you are injured. First North Carolina is a strict contributory negligence state. This means that if an injured person is found to have been even 1% percent at fault in the accident they are barred from any recovery. North Carolina is one of only a handful of states around the country that applies this difficult legal standard.
On top of this the General Assembly recently passed a new law informal titled “Bill vs. Paid”. This law which was a result of aggressive lobbying by powerful insurance interests, further tries to limit the amount of money an injured person can recover. The previous rule in North Carolina was that you could introduce evidence of the total amount of cost billed to you by a hospital or doctor. Now you can only present evidence of the amount actual
paid by the insurance company to satisfy the bill, usually at a substantial discount. For example imagine you are in an accident where treatment costs 10,000 dollars. The hospital will submit this bill to the insurance company who will negotiate it down to say 3000 dollars. Whereas you previously would have submitted evidence of the injury being the 10,000 dollars originally billed, now you can only put in evidence the 3,000 dollars actually paid. Thus creating a picture that the injury is not as significant as it truly is.
Now it may seem fair that you can only show what was actually paid. Heck that makes sense, well that is until you look at it closer. You the victim are being punished for having medical insurance! Your insurance is paying for your medical services and the person who hit you is taking advantage of this and getting credit for your insurance payments. In essence using your own insurance and years worth of premium payments to shortchange you for a harm they caused…
Make no mistake the law in North Carolina is not designed to protect and help individuals who have been harmed through no fault of there own. Recovery is a tough and important fight in which our firm is ready to engage.