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Shapiro & Appleton

The questions on this page were answered by our team of lawyers. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car wrecks, medical malpractice, traumatic brain injuries, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • What types of damages can I be compensated for in a personal injury case?

    In a personal injury case, the damages you suffer will depend on the nature of the accident and the extent of your injuries. When determining the value of your case, your personal injury lawyer will look at all of the damages that apply to your case.

    There are several types of damages. Special compensatory damages are damages that can be calculated. These damages have actual dollar amounts attached to them and include loss of earnings, medical bills, property damage and expenses caused by the accident.

    General compensatory damages are non-monetary damages. These tend to be emotional in nature and include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.

    If the accident has caused a loved one to die, the surviving family members can receive wrongful death damages. These include medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial and emotional support and mental anguish.

    Punitive damages may be pursued, but are quite rare since there needs to be evidence of reckless and wanton conduct by the defendant. Nevertheless, these damages are sometimes awarded in cases where the defendant's behavior was so egregious (e.g., driving while heavily intoxicated) that the court wants to affirmatively punish the at-fault party. 

  • What is uninsured/underinsured auto insurance coverage?

    Underinsured/uninsured auto coverage is, essentially, a saety net for drivers. It is coverage on your policy which directly benefits you if you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault and the negligent driver who hit you does not have auto insurance or does not have enough insurance.  In this situation, you can file a claim on your own auto insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

  • What should I bring to my meeting with an Outer Banks personal injury lawyer?

    Bring all documents and records related to the accident and your injury. This includes medical bills, medical records, police reports, letters from your auto insurance company, any doctor notes about missing time from work, wage statements, a copy of the declarations page from your auto insurance policy, your driver's license, etc. During the consultation, we will make copies of all of your documents so that you can retain a copy for your records. Our legal team will also provide you with checklists for any other information that we may need from you.

  • I suffered injuries as the passenger in a car accident can I file a claim?

    Yes. Passengers involved in car accidents can recover from the at-fault driver. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case that may be the driver of the vehicle you were in or the driver of another vehicle.  Some injured parties do not understand that even when they are passengers they have the standing, of the right to sue, the driver of the vehicle and the driver of another vehicle for their injuries. At times friends are reluctant to sue each other however personal injury liability is a matter of law, not friendship. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a law firm with experience in these sensitive matters to help you recover the damages you deserve.

  • The insurance company has asked me to sign paperwork that gives them access to my medical records so that they can make me a settlement offer. Do I have to do this?

    No. This is a common request by the insurance company, and it is overly broad.  You do not have to allow them to get every medical record you’ve ever had before you can discuss settlement with them.  If you have any questions about what is relevant and what isn’t, you should consult with an attorney.

  • I was involved in an accident and my car was totaled. How do I know if the insurance company is offering me a fair settlement for my damaged vehicle?

    Though our North Carolina law firm exclusively handles injury law and not property damage law, this is a very common question.  Usually, the insurance company will offer you the NADA value for your vehicle based on the year, make and mileage at the time of the accident.  Often this amount is less than what you feel you deserve for your property damage, but the NADA value is more often than not the basis for their offer.

  • I missed work because of my injuries from my car accident. Can I recover for that lost time?

    Yes, you can make a claim for your lost wages.  If you have been the victim of a car accident that was not your fault, you should get a note or other written documentation from your doctor showing the reason for your work restriction, and get something signed by your employer detailing the days of work that you missed and your current wage or rate of pay. These things will be very helpful for your recovery in your claim for lost wages.

  • Does it make a difference that the person who caused my car accident was intoxicated?

    Yes.  Depending on the level of impairment, the person that caused the accident that resulted in your injuries could be liable for punitive damages in addition to the normal compensatory damages.  The insurance company will not usually volunteer this information, so you should contact an experienced attorney right away to make sure you are recovering full value for your case.

  • There was a witness to my accident, but I dont remember that persons name. Can you help me find them?

    Yes. When you are the victim of a car accident, sometimes you aren’t able to think about gathering witness information at the scene.  An experienced attorney will know of several ways to track down potential witnesses to your accident and in some instances can help you find the people that have information about your case.

  • Why cant I post pictures on my Facebook profile? The insurance company cannot see my profile because its private.

    Clients ask this all the time. The truth is that no matter what setting you have on your Facebook profile, there are ways to view your profile and many insurance company's employ people to do just that.  They scour the internet for your cyber footprint.  If you have pictures of yourself lifting boxes or at the gym but are claiming to be permanently disabled from a car wreck, you lose a lot of credibility.  In general, it is best to keep some matters private, such as lawsuits and injuries.  Don’t risk your case by doing something foolish.  Keep your thoughts and information about your injury to yourself and your lawyer. 

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