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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

Experts say that a government program designed to compensate those injured from receiving vaccinations has recently made a shift by recognizing harms associated with the way the vaccines were administered, not just compensating victims for the content of the vaccines themselves. Chief among these conditions is something known as SIRVA, or “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration.” The shift isn’t a small one, since 2011, the fund has paid out more than $18 million to 112 SIRVA victims.

 

hypodermic needle 3 Charlotte Injury Attorney Mecklenburg Accident LawyerThe fact that the government is now acknowledging that people can be harmed not only by vaccines, but also by how vaccines have been administered, is an important change and could lead to a dramatic increase in the number of claims filed with the vaccine court. Of the 112 SIRVA victims that have received money for filing claims with the vaccine court, more than half occurred within the past year.

 

The vaccine court, formally known as the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Office of Special Masters, was created thanks to a program designed to protect drug manufacturers from potentially devastating legal liability. The goal was to encourage manufacturers to continue making lifesaving vaccines without fear that a mistake could lead to devastatingly expensive class action litigation. The court also provides a venue for victims of vaccine-related harm to file claims for compensation. There is no jury to hear cases at the court, they are all decided by the judges themselves.

 

Initially the court saw claims from those who experienced rare side effects related to various vaccines. Recently there was a push by some to seek compensation for autism, though the cases were dismissed for failure to establish causation. Until 2011, all the payouts authorized by the court were related to the contents of the vaccines. That all changed once SIRVA was recognized as a side effect of the way some vaccines, though often the flu shot, are given.

 

SIRVA is said to exist when a practitioner administers the shot too high on a person’s arm. This can lead to serious musculoskeletal damage and cause severe shoulder pain. A 39-year-old registered nurse won a $1.04 million claim this year after she says SIRVA left her in excruciating pain and unable to wash her hair.

 

Experts say now that the court has begun paying out money for those injured due to improper vaccine administration, it’s only a matter of time until the number of claims related to such injuries explodes. It will become even easier for victims to file such claims after the government adds SIRVA to an official list of vaccine side effects, a move that is expected to occur later this year. Already, 20 other SIRVA cases are pending before the vaccine court and dozens of new cases have been filed by lawyers seeking compensation for their injured clients.

 

The change in handling of SIRVA is good news not only for those who have experienced similar pain, but a larger signal that the vaccine court is willing to consider claims for damage that many others would have been quick to dismiss. Several of the claimants who won this year say that they went from doctor to doctor seeking treatment for their pain, only to be told that there was no way the pain could be related to the administration of a vaccine. Continuing to fight for what you know to be true paid off in this case, quite handsomely in fact.

 

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Source:

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/vaccine-injury-payouts-rise-1440430702

 

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http://www.freeimages.com/photo/syringe-3-1423987

 

 

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

A recent article out of St. Louis discussed a woman who was injured by a flying object and has now sued the restaurant where she suffered her injury. The woman complains of seemingly serious injuries, yet many experts believe her case is likely to be tossed out of court. The reason has to do with something referred to as the “baseball rule” and can have an important impact on personal injury cases. To find out more, keep reading.

 

Baseball Charlotte Accident Lawyer Mecklenburg Injury AttorneyMissouri case

 

The case in Missouri doesn’t involve baseballs, instead, it concerns flying dinner rolls. Lambert’s Café is a well-known restaurant in Missouri, a local institution, known as the “Home of Throwed Rolls”. According to a recent lawsuit, the throwing of the rolls appears to be what caused the trouble.

 

A woman says she was there for a Bible study in September of 2014 when she was hit in the face by an airborne dinner roll. The doughy projectile caused a lacerated cornea with a vitreous detachment as well as head, neck and vision problems. The woman says the injury has already resulted in more than $10,000 in medical expenses and is seeking $25,000 to compensate for the restaurant’s negligence.

 

The woman argues that the restaurant should have known of the dangers involved in throwing dinner rolls; however, experts argue that may be precisely why her lawsuit could be tossed from court. The restaurant is covered in signs that say “Home of Throwed Rolls” and it’s understood by all who enter that getting hit by an errant roll is a risk that comes with the meal.

 

What is the baseball rule?

 

What does baseball have to do with dinner rolls? Experts point out that others have tried and failed to sue Lambert’s for roll-related injuries and the reason is that plaintiffs are required to take some responsibility for their surroundings. Many believe the case could be tossed as a result of the “baseball rule”, which says that those who attend baseball games are assuming the risk of doing so and cannot then sue if they are hit by a fly ball.

 

The baseball rule boils down to assumption of risk, which serves as a defense in a personal injury lawsuit. Defendants can argue that the plaintiff had knowledge of the risk of harm that would typically be present in the circumstance and chose to do it regardless. Those fans who choose to attend baseball games understand there’s a risk of being hit with a ball, but decide that risk is worth it to come to the game.

 

The same logic applies to throwed rolls. Those who choose to dine at restaurants where dinner rolls are tossed around the room understand the risk that comes from such a choice: being hit with a dinner roll. These diners are said to have assumed that risk and cannot later sue if such a risk indeed comes true.

 

One response to the defense of assumption of risk is if the defendant caused the harm intentionally or if there was some sort of defect that caused especially severe harm. For instance, if a pitcher purposely threw a ball at a fan with the intention of causing harm, the baseball rule would not apply. The same thing might apply if a waiter hurled a week-old crusty roll directly in a diner’s eye.

 

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

Source:

http://whnt.com/2015/08/13/customer-sues-lamberts-restaurant-after-claiming-injury-from-throwed-roll/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/06/07/woman-injured-fenway-friday-remains-serious-condition/vtiDNIz51ruBsxTpd0BJwM/story.html

 

 

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http://www.freeimages.com/photo/baseball-1416780

 

 

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The Importance Of Time In A North Carolina Personal Injury Case

Caution flag is out for spectators choosing to sit close to the action

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”

 

Anyone who has been hurt in a North Carolina accident has likely considered the idea of bringing a claim for compensation. When the pain or the financial impact of the accident is serious enough, victims often begin thinking about their options. Unfortunately, those who have suffered harm in North Carolina often fail to take into account time and how much timing can impact the ultimate success of their claim. To find out more about how time can affect a North Carolina personal injury case, keep reading.

 

Zoomed in clock Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg accident attorneyAfter an accident occurs most people set about recovering. The medicine, the surgery, the doctors visits and rehabilitation all take time, energy and money, leaving little left for other important issues. Though recovering physically from an accident is obviously crucial, it is also important to remember that you will need to recover financially as well.

 

Most accidents that result in serious physical injury also lead to serious financial harm. Days spent at the doctor’s office or in the hospital recovering are days not being paid. Time off work can compound the financial mess of medical bills, making it harder to pay these unexpected expenses.

 

Though tending to your physical wellbeing is paramount, you must also keep an eye on your financial needs. To do this, you have to understand more about time limits in a North Carolina personal injury case. In North Carolina, there are laws that dictate when a lawsuit can be filed, this is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies based on the case at issue. For instance, a personal injury case has a different time limit than a criminal matter or a contractual claim.

 

In North Carolina, the law says that for personal injury claims a plaintiff has three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. Though this may seem overly strict, the reality is that statue of limitations exist in each and every state, so there is no way to avoid the importance of timing in a personal injury lawsuit. Though some states have longer time limits, other states have shorter ones, meaning victims must move even faster to ensure their claim is not barred.

 

Speaking of being barred, let’s now discuss why the statute of limitations is so important. If a person fails to act quickly enough and files a claim past the date allowed by the law, the case will be thrown out of court and any hope of receiving compensation for your injury will be lost. Many people mistakenly believe that if the injury is bad enough or if your story is good enough, you can get around the time limit. Sadly, no judge will be moved by your story, no matter how tragic. The law is the law, and if you wait more than the time legally allowed your case will be tossed, leaving you with nothing. As a result, if you’ve been injured in a North Carolina accident, tend to your injuries, rest, recover, but also remember that the clock is ticking and the sooner you reach out to a personal injury attorney who can ensure your case is filed in a timely manner, the better.

 

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

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http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/43951

 

 

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Issues of fault in North Carolina personal injury cases

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

A recent crash involving the new Charlotte trolley system illustrates an important but often misunderstood aspect of North Carolina personal injury law. Though many people assume that when you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else you can simply sue to receive compensation for your damages, regardless of whether you as the victim may be somewhat responsible for the accident. In North Carolina, the personal injury laws make it impossible for a victim to sue the person that caused the harm if the victim is found to be at fault in any way for the accident.

 

Trolley Charlotte Injury Attorney Mecklenburg Accident LawyerA crash late last month in Charlotte involving the new Gold Line trolley left one man injured and his SUV crushed. According to news reports, the accident was likely caused by operator error, with the driver of the trolley failing to engage a switch that then led the trolley to roll down a hill into the back of an unsuspecting SUV.

 

Though the driver of the SUV appears to have done absolutely nothing wrong, with the trolley driver clearly at fault, the case makes for a good illustration of how North Carolina’s laws regarding fault could potentially lead to bizarre results. For instance, if the driver of the SUV in this recent case had not been stopped on the road and hit from behind out of nowhere, but had instead made a small mistake, like turning out in front of the trolley after rolling through a red light, this could potentially be enough to deny an injury claim.

 

Now let’s back up and explain why that is. North Carolina is one of only four states in the country that follows what’s known as a contributory negligence standard. This means that if a plaintiff in a personal injury case is found to be at all responsible for his or her harm, then the plaintiff is completely barred from recovering damages. This rule applies across a wide spectrum of personal injury cases, including products liability, premises liability and, in this case, a car accident.

 

Many states, including North Carolina’s neighboring states, follow what’s known as a comparative negligence standard. This can take many different forms, but generally says that if a plaintiff is less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, he or she can recover damages. In North Carolina, even a plaintiff found to be 1 percent at fault would be denied all damages against a defendant 99 percent at fault.

 

North Carolina’s law is incredibly stringent and effectively creates an all or nothing personal injury rule. As there is no apportionment of fault between parties, a plaintiff in North Carolina is prevented from recovering any damages if his mistake was a cause of an accident, even if the defendant’s actions were a much bigger cause.

 

Going back to our earlier hypothetical example, a driver who had turned in front of the runaway trolley when he or she wasn’t supposed to could be considered partially at fault for the accident. After all, if he or she hadn’t run the light, the accident would not have happened. In such a case, the victim would be denied all hope of recovery, despite the fact that the driver of the trolley was clearly at fault and that this person’s fault resulted in great harm to the victim. Common sense would indicate the victim should recover something for his harm. Sadly, common sense does not prevail under North Carolina’s contributory negligence standard.

 

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/cats-trolley-car-vehicle-collide-saturday/nm23G/ 

 

 

Image Credit

“Vancouver trolley2101 050720” by w:user:Bobanny – User Bobanny on en.wp. Licensed under Copyrighted free use via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vancouver_trolley2101_050720.jpg#/media/File:Vancouver_trolley2101_050720.jpg

 

 

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Issues of fault in North Carolina personal injury cases

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has been in the news a lot recently. There have been heated battles between supporters and opponents of the activity, disputes that frequently boil over into legislative chambers and courtrooms. Supporters argue that fracking is a novel, though safe, approach to extract oil from the ground in otherwise hard to reach spots, which creates jobs and economic development. Critics argue that the chemicals used to bring the oil to the surface may be slowly poisoning the water supply and that the force with which the chemicals are pumped underground can cause earthquakes and untold other damage.

 

Fracturing Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Car Accident Law FirmSo far, these disputes have largely been one for legislators to consider, deciding whether or not to allow fracking to take place within the state. In a recent case out of Oklahoma, the dispute over fracking took a surprising and personal turn, with one plaintiff filing a personal injury lawsuit against a fracking company. Many believe the personal injury lawsuit is among the first of its kind and experts will be watching to see the outcome.

 

The lawsuit, Landra v. New Dominion, was filed by a plaintiff from Prague, Oklahoma, a town located in the heart of fracking country. In the case, the plaintiff asks for compensatory and punitive damages for injuries she claims were caused by New Dominion’s fracking wastewater disposal. The plaintiff says that in late 2011, she was watching TV in her house when a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck, causing rock from her living room fireplace to fall onto her, seriously injuring both legs. The woman claims that her injuries amount to damage greater than $75,000.

 

Beyond this personal injury claim, the woman also filed a tort action against New Dominion, claiming that the company was engaged in ultrahazardous activity. This term refers to any activity that, by its very nature, involves a risk of serious harm that can never be mitigated against by exercising even the utmost levels of care. The plaintiff argues that New Dominion has the obligation to cease operating its fracking process in a way that causes such damage by contributing to seismic activity.

 

The initial case, filed at the local level, was dismissed. The judge decided that a state regulatory body had jurisdiction over cases concerning oil and gas operations. However, the plaintiff pushed forward, appealing all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that the district court properly had jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. The Court said that while the regulatory agency has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas companies, they do not have exclusive jurisdiction to grant remedies to those who have suffered harm at the hands of oil and gas companies.

 

Though the Supreme Court allowed the personal injury claim arguing that fracking caused an earthquake to move forward, it did not make any comments regarding the merits of the case. As a result, it is not yet clear that this case will serve as an example for others. Now the hard part begins, with each side mustering experts and scientists to support its claim that fracking is either an ultrahazardous activity incapable of being performed safely, or an ordinary commercial activity whose harm can be easily protected against.

 

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

 

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/fracking-related-personal-injury-tort-claim-allowed-to-proceed-oklahoma-court 

 

 

Image Credit

 

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/fracking-texture-1141157

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

 

Those NASCAR fans who stayed awake into the early morning hours of July 6th to catch the conclusion of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway witnessed Austin Dillon’s horrific last-lap crash.  Dillon’s No. 3 car went airborne into the track’s “catch fence” and broke into pieces, sending debris flying towards fans seated near the finish line.  Amazingly, Dillon emerged from the car with only a bruised forearm and tailbone, and of the 13 spectators hit by debris, only one was taken to the hospital (and that spectator has since been released).

 

Wrecked car towed Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Car Accident AttorneyAfter winning the race from the pole, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was too worried about the wreck to enjoy the victory.  Earnhardt Jr. is no stranger to last-lap crashes at Daytona, having lost his father in one back in 2001.  Earnhardt Jr. admitted to being “near tears” after seeing the wreck in his rear-view mirror, and he repeatedly asked about the safety of the driver and those seated in the grandstands as he made his way to victory lane.  Six-time Spring Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson shared Earnhardt Jr.’s concern, stating after the race that he “expected the worst” and how he was “shocked” that Dillon was able to survive such a violent crash.

 

Dillon’s crash was eerily similar to Kyle Larson’s last-lap crash at Daytona in 2013, which sent a tire flying into the stands and debris as high as the upper deck.  Larson’s crash injured over 30 spectators, including one who suffered a shattered fibula and a severed Achilles tendon.

 

Fans attending sporting events should be wary of the dangers associated with sitting close to the action.  Referencing a century-old legal principle known as the “baseball rule,” courts generally take the position that fans assume the risks inherent to the sport.  In other words, fans injured at sporting events usually face an uphill battle in trying to hold the team or venue responsible for injuries sustained during the course of the game.

 

Just last month, Red Sox fan Tonya Carpenter was nearly killed after being struck in the head by a broken bat at Fenway Park in Boston.  Currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation, Carpenter is relearning how to walk and talk.  However, because she had a duty to keep a lookout for objects flying off the field and into the stands, the “baseball rule” likely impedes her ability to recover anything from the Red Sox or Major League Baseball.

 

North Carolina courts also recognize the “baseball rule.”  Baseball venues must simply provide a sufficient number of screened seats behind home plate to accommodate as many fans as may reasonably be expected to call for them on ordinary occasions.  By purchasing tickets in sections that are not protected by a screen, fans essentially sign a contract agreeing not to sue for injuries sustained by objects leaving the field of play.

 

Regardless of whether you are following Rory McIlroy’s group at the Quail Hollow Club, attending a company outing at BB&T Ballpark for a Knights game, or taking in the All-Star Race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, remember that you are assuming the risk of getting injured.  Sitting close to the action may provide a better view, but it also places you squarely within the zone of danger.  Take reasonable precautions for your safety by either paying close attention or sitting far enough away so objects are unable to reach you.

 

Although Daytona’s reinforced “catch fence” did its job early Monday morning by preventing Dillon’s car and most of its debris from reaching the fans, the result could have been much worse.  NASCAR should consider making additional safety improvements to ensure that its fans are protected at its fastest racing venues.  Sports columnist Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer has proposed slowing the cars down on these super speedways and moving fans farther away from the “catch fence.” Following his advice would be a step in the right direction for an organization that is all too familiar with its wrecks producing tragic consequences for both drivers and fans alike.

 

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

Bryson v. Coastal Plain League, LLC, 221 N.C. App. 654, 729 S.E.2d 107 (2012)

http://wjhl.com/2015/07/06/jimmie-johnson-on-daytona-crash-im-shocked-austin-dillon-is-still-alive/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/06/us/daytona-race-crash/

http://wjhl.com/2015/07/06/jimmie-johnson-on-daytona-crash-im-shocked-austin-dillon-is-still-alive/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2013/03/01/nascar-injured-fans-lawsuit-daytona-nationwide-crash/1957649/

https://www.law.du.edu/documents/sports-and-entertainment-law-journal/issues/05/05-Augustine.pdf

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2015/06/08/tonya-carpenter-fenway-park-injury-red-sox-legal-liability/28700283/

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/scott-fowler/article26575084.html

 

 

Image Credit

A wrecker towing the wrecked car of w:Ryan Sieg Nationwide car after the running of the 2014 Gardner Denver 200 at Road America.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Wrecker_towing_39_Ryan_Sieg_car_NASCAR_Nationwide_2014_Gardner_Denver_200_at_Road_America.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I am injured in a car accident or at work what should I do?”

 

When a personal-injury claimant’s case is turned down by a lawyer or law firm because the value of the claim is too low, the claimant has three choices. The claimant can not file a claim at all, can handle the claim on one’s own, or her or she can contract with a so-called “settlement mill” to resolve the claim.

man walking Charlotte car accident lawyer Mecklenburg Injury AttorneyThe settlement-mill approach to personal-injury claims has its benefits and proponents. Settlement mills deliver legal services cheaply, avoiding many (or all) of the costs associated with lawsuits. They deliver justice swiftly. Indeed, the firms profiled in Nora Freeman Engstrom’s article in the October 2011 edition of the New York University Law Review strove for good customer service—which often included speedy resolutions to cases. This speed, Engstrom acknowledges in her article, saves many clients from suffering the “significant financial and emotional distress” that accompany protracted litigation.

Proponents of settlement mills say their aggressive advertising campaigns “encourage more individuals to file claims and retain counsel following an accidental injury,” which means more people have access to the justice system to seek compensation for their injuries, Engstrom wrote.

Data taken before and after the rise of attorney advertising shows that Americans injured in accidents are more likely now than before to retain counsel and file claims. To that end, “settlement mills are arguably expanding the pool of compensated claimants.” Additional studies have shown that claimants who may have simply “ate” their claims in the past (by not making a claim at all) have become educated about their rights by the aggressive advertising campaigns of settlement mills.

The correlation between advertising and the propensity of Americans to seek redress for injury has not been established conclusively, but Engstrom acknowledges that settlement mills may, “in their own unique way,” be expanding the pool of claimants who have access to compensation for their injuries.

The things that settlement mills do well, Engstrom writes—“speed, predictability, simplicity, and certainty are fundamentally incompatible with the idiosyncratic, fact-intensive, case-by-case determinations that undergird traditional tort.” Therein lies the problem of settlement mills, and it is a problem that most seriously affects claimants with serious injuries, whose cases deserve the kind of “attentive, individualized representation” that a traditional personal-injury attorney can provide.

The danger to claimants with high-value cases is that their cases will be treated with the same “cookie-cutter” approach as other cases, and will be settled for a depressed or artificially low value. The firms profiled by Engstrom were often able to settle cases with about one-day of work by attorneys and staff members. If a large settlement is obtained, the attorney’s large contingency fee may seem unfair when compared with the relatively little time one spent working on a case. The almost-exclusive involvement of non-attorney staff members in the handling cases raises serious questions about the unauthorized practice of law.

The current state-of-affairs in the personal-injury realm, Engstrom writes, is one of “haves” and “have nots.” That has been the case for decades—perhaps longer—since traditional personal-injury attorneys can only take, in general, high-value cases, leaving claimants with low-value personal injury claims to seek justice on their own or no justice at all. These claimants are, to an increasing extent, being served by settlement mills. These claimants are also, Engstrom writes, those who are in the greatest need of genuine, professional legal advice. She worries that they are not being served adequately by settlement mills.

Engstrom proposes the establishment of a publically searchable closing-statement system maintained by the state bar or attorney regulatory authority in each state. When settling cases, attorneys would be required to report information concerning the identity of the claimant and defendants, as well as their lawyers and any insurance carriers involved; the type of claim brought; the nature of litigation involved; the settlement amount and other basic information about a claim.

Consumers would be able to use this database not only to better educate themselves about the value of their own potential claims, but would also to educate themselves about the attorneys they are considering. How many other similar cases has the attorney settled or litigated? What were the values in those cases? How many cases has the attorney taken to trial? How many lawsuits has the attorney filed? How willing, based on this information, is the attorney to give one’s case the kind of attention it deserves?

With the closing-statement resource and the statistics derived therefrom, Engstrom believes, the American tort system may begin to move from a kind of two-tiered “haves and have-nots” system to one in which all claimants have meaningful access to justice.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

Image Credit

“”Le passage” de Gabriella Benevolenza” by gabriella Benevolenza – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Le_passage%22_de_Gabriella_Benevolenza.jpg#/media/File:%22Le_passage%22_de_Gabriella_Benevolenza.jpg

 

 

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The Problem With Secret Settlements :: Personal Injury Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC

Lawyer says state got off easy on settlement after man was falsely declared dead

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”

 

The legal system, by its nature, imposes certain standards, deadlines and costs that encourage personal-injury litigators to take on only the best cases—or cases with high values or those in which liability is uncontested.

Assembly line Mecklenburg Injury Lawyer Charlotte Car Accident Law FirmThat reality, coupled with other factors, has led to the establishment of some personal-injury legal practices that for the most part avoid litigation, endeavoring instead to settle clients’ claims as quickly as possible.

In an article published in the Hanford Sentinel, a Fresno, California-based attorney told personal-injury lawyer Dennis Beaver that claimants need to beware of “‘personal injury mills’ who advertise heavily on television and will take anything, looking for a quick settlement that is in their interest, not yours.”

Personal-injury or settlement mills have established, in essence, a niche market for low-value personal-injury claims. While the mills have the benefit of serving clients who may otherwise go without representation, many traditional tort lawyers criticize their practices, contending that they provide subpar representation and damage the reputation of lawyers.

In the October 2011 edition of the New York University Law Review, Nora Freeman Engstrom—an assistant professor at Stanford Law School—wrote that “personal injury mills” (Engstrom calls them “settlement mills”) operate “on the far end of a continuum of personal injury practice.” That is, the mills process claims on the low end of the compensation spectrum, claims other lawyers turn down because of low value. Lawyers turn down many low-value claims because the effort of a lawsuit, a trial and all that litigation entails are not worth the uncertain return.

Settlement mills, Engtrom writes, “advertise aggressively and settle what are usually low-stakes personal injury claims in high volumes, typically with little attorney-client interaction and without initiating lawsuits—much less taking claims to trial.”

In the article, titled “Sunlight and Settlement Mills,” Engstrom finds the rise of settlement mills astonishing, writing that while the business-model operates within the confines of traditional tort (“torts” are centuries-old legal doctrines that underlie most personal-injury claims), it has “quietly and improbably” delivered “to accident victims fairly certain and standardized sums at relatively low systemic cost.”

Engstrom details the “cookie cutter” approach taken by “settlement mill” law firms, noting that lawyers and staff rarely meet with clients; that cases are not investigated and lawsuits are rarely filed. Case values are based on formulas and are not correlated with actual injuries suffered by clients.

This “assembly-line model” is in stark contrast to the kind of detail-oriented representation provided by law firms in the traditional personal-injury litigation setting, where every lead is exhausted, no stone is left unturned, and no expense is spared in promoting a client’s interests. The trouble with settlement mills is, Engstrom writes, that many clients believe when they sign up that they are retaining the “old-fashioned conventional counsel.” This raises “profound issues of fairness and informed consent,” Engstrom warns.

It is not easy to find a good lawyer, and it is downright difficult to find a good lawyer to take a small case, Engstrom writes. Traditionally, the law has been a reputation business, a business of referrals by family, friends, associates, clients and former clients. That was until 1977, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona that bans on legal advertising were incompatible with the First Amendment. That cleared the way for attorneys and law firms to advertise aggressively. A partner from a Louisiana settlement mill told Engstrom, “I always thought it was crazy to have a referral system where you’re relying on Aunt Nessie’s neighbor’s postman’s baker to send you a case [when instead] I get on television, I tell people to call me, and they do.”

The lifting of the ban on attorney advertising opened the door to new legal business models and, in turn, opened the proverbial halls of justice to a new class of personal-injury claimants—those with small claims that may oftentimes be rejected by traditional firms. Settlement mills advertise more aggressively than traditional law firms and lawyers and derive most of their business from their advertising efforts. Studies show that while traditional-model personal-injury attorneys have on average sixty-to-seventy cases open at a time and serve in the range of one-hundred clients per year, lawyers at settlement mills serve anywhere from three-to-four times that amount.

Engstrom detailed two high-profile settlement mills—one from Texas and another from California—in her article, noting that the firms handled claims ranging in value from $1,000 to $20,000, tried to settle claims as quickly as possible—frequently within ninety to one-hundred-and-eighty days—and referred cases involving catastrophic injury or in which liability was contested to outside counsel. Clients rarely or never met with attorneys; most cases were handled, or “moved” by non-attorney staff members. One firm did not take a single case to trial over a period of six years. In general, the law firms were, ironically, places “where any connection to the formal law was highly tenuous.”

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

Part 4:

Settlement Mills IV: The pros and cons of settlement mills and suggested solutions

 

About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nike_Ajax_assembly_line.jpg

 

 

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Jury rejects cop’s claim for damages over spilled cup of free coffee

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “I was involved in a motor vehicle accident with injuries. Do I need a lawyer?”

 

By their nature, lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming and difficult. That means that when attorneys consider taking personal-injury cases on a contingency basis, they must choose their cases wisely, or choose only those cases on which they feel they are likely to receive an adequate return on their investment of time, energy and resources.

One man image Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Car accident attorneyMany attorneys, legal scholars and legislators have fought for decades for the establishment of some kind of modified, no-fault tort system for smaller personal-injury cases. They argue that the traditional tort system imposes high-transaction costs, delays compensation to injured claimants for months and years at a time, serves to clog up already-crowded court dockets, and delivers “unpredictable, lottery-like awards” to claimants—awards made by jurors who have little contact with the legal system and who have little means or knowledge sufficient to render decisions on liability or on the amount of compensation appropriate in a given case.

Furthermore, critics of the traditional tort model argue, the high-cost, fact-intensive “fault” tort system leaves out many injured claimants—notably those with small claims. In simple terms, it simply is not worth it for a personal-injury attorney operating in the traditional tort litigation model to take on small cases.

That was not always the case. Bakersfield, California attorney Dennis Beaver wrote recently in the Hanford Sentinel that settlement amounts in car-accident cases made millionaires out of thousands of attorneys, claimants, doctors and chiropractors in the 1980s and 1990s. In years past, a claims supervisor at a major California insurance company told Beaver, plaintiffs in accident cases “could expect the average claim to settle for at least three times the medical bills in addition to lost wages, regardless of how severe the impact was.” In California, however, settlement values returned to Earth years ago.

These days, adjusters closely examine claims to see whether the impact and damage to a claimant’s vehicle justified the injuries and treatment. If the claim is accepted, adjusters will seek to limit the nature and duration of treatment, leaving claimants to pay medical bills on their own in some instances. Even in cases in which property damage was significant, adjusters usually only have the authority to settle a claim for one-and-a-half to two times the amount of bills for related medical treatment.

The slim margins in small injury cases means, in practical terms, that it may be “difficult to find a good attorney to take your case,” the claims supervisor told Beaver. That leaves claimants either to handle claims on their own or to turn to a so-called “settlement mill.” A Fresno, California-based attorney told Beaver that claimants need to beware of “‘personal injury mills’ who advertise heavily on television and will take anything, looking for a quick settlement that is in their interest, not yours.”

Personal-injury or settlement mills have established, in essence, a niche market for low-value personal-injury claims. While the mills have the benefit of serving clients who may otherwise go without representation, many traditional tort lawyers criticize their practices, contending that they provide subpar representation and damage the reputation of lawyers.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

Part 3:

Settlement Mills III: Goal of settlement mills is to settle quickly, often for low value

 

About the Author

MattMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

Image Credit

“The one man power in our jury system LCCN2011661381” by Joseph Keppler – Library of CongressCatalog: http://lccn.loc.gov/2011661381Image download: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/28100/28169v.jpgOriginal url: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.28169. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_one_man_power_in_our_jury_system_LCCN2011661381.jpg#/media/File:The_one_man_power_in_our_jury_system_LCCN2011661381.jpg

 

 

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Attorney hopes “conservative” jury’s $1-million car-accident award is a game-changer

Pair of 2008 “scared-to-death” cases draw to a close, seven years on

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I am injured in a car accident or at work what should I do?”

 

Seasoned attorneys—or those who were practicing law before the United States Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona—grit their teeth at the door that case opened.

Business meeting Charlotte Wrongful Death Mecklenburg Injury Law FirmI say seasoned: Bates was decided nearly forty years ago, meaning the legal profession’s collective memory of a time before legal advertising is fading. In those forty years, the door that Bates opened has been blown off its hinges, as many attorneys and firms have shifted their focus from the practice of law to the business of law, treating the practice with an entrepreneurial spirit more akin to the hocking of a two-cent product than a several-hundred-dollar-per-hour-service.

Attorneys charge high by-the-hour fees because the work they perform on behalf of clients is often specialized, so detailed and requiring such training and experience that no one else—literally—can perform it. In personal injury cases, however, most attorneys make an exception to the standard, by-the-hour billing practice. Instead of asking their clients to pay them on a regular basis for work expended on a case as the case progresses, attorneys work on a “contingency” basis—that is, attorneys do not bill and collect fees from clients during the pendency of a case but instead collect a percentage of the award to a client if a case settles or if—after a trial—a judge or jury makes an award to a client. If no settlement or award is made, the attorney—like the client—gets nothing.

In order to win a personal-injury case, a lawyer must prove that the at-fault party (the defendant) was at fault, or caused the injury to the lawyer’s client through negligent or intentional conduct. Oftentimes a defendant will argue that he or she was not at fault and will hire a lawyer to defend him or her. Or, as is common in accident cases, the defendant had a policy of insurance in effect at the time of the accident, and the insurance company hires a lawyer to argue that the defendant was not at fault and to otherwise defend against the claim.

Proving fault often involves amassing evidence through a labor-intensive investigation that involves time-consuming, effort-heavy and costly discovery mechanisms like depositions. In complicated cases, the cost of transcripts for depositions alone can run into the tens-of-thousands of dollars.

The process of proving a case can be “slow, costly, cumbersome, and unpredictable,” writes Nora Freeman Engstrom in an article published in the October 2011 edition of the New York University Law Review, titled “Sunlight and Settlement Mills.” At the end of the process is a jury, charged with determining who was at fault and the amount of damages to be paid, if any, to an injured party.

Since most attorneys take personal-injury claims on a “contingency” basis—meaning the attorney gets a percentage of the jury award or settlement, if any—the attorney can only take a case that promises a large return. Up-front legal costs—the costs associated with filing lawsuits, taking depositions, and securing expert witnesses who may charge tens of thousands of dollars for service and testimony—further complicates the process, as attorneys and clients must determine who will foot the bill for those costs, which may never be recouped.

What that means, in practical terms, is that attorneys must be extremely selective when considering taking on new cases. In general, busy personal-injury attorneys who litigate contested cases choose only high-value cases or cases in which liability is uncontested. Where liability is contested, an attorney must be convinced that, at a minimum, he or she has a compelling argument to make to a jury regarding the fault of a defendant in a case.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

Part 2:

Settlement Mills II: Slick advertising draws in pool of underserved legal clients

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/how-do-adjusters-evaluate-auto-accident-claims/article_622f4778-c092-5994-b8e2-6151dd512f48.html

http://www.charlestonlaw.net/personal-injury-lawyer-charleston/

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=583078083024095010119124096104110124033019081079037056018099098075099021014087080087062026096028010010047020012108029111104073033073037085088111074029125112115096088040081094123114096112001092085065017089119029069072127003011081092076075106110081067&EXT=pdf&TYPE=2

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jochen_Vomhof_im_Mandantengespr%C3%A4ch.jpg

 

 

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https://www.youtube.com/user/ArnoldSmithPLLC/videos

 

 

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Problem With Secret Settlements :: Personal Injury Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC

Lawyer says state got off easy on settlement after man was falsely declared dead