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I dislike insurance companies. Through their advertising, they encourage us to trust them after an accident occurs. However, they remain detached and uncaring, and they only look to maximize profits for their executives and shareholders.

Before law school, I worked for several years as a claims adjuster for a large, national auto insurance company. I was trained to avoid payment of valid claims. Insurance adjusters are cost-control experts who will offer words of kindness and then pay you as little as you let them. Frankly, nice guys finish last when dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident.

I also worked as an insurance company lawyer defending at-fault drivers who faced valid lawsuits filed by accident victims. With my past experience, I can confirm that insurance companies always seek to minimize payment to innocent victims.

This book is offered to help level the playing field. Whether you hire an attorney or handle your case alone, you need to know the rules of the game before you can assess payment offers on all accident claims. Insurance companies hold on to your money by leveraging superior knowledge, by questioning valid claims, and by putting you in the uncomfortable position of defending your credibility. If you know your rights, you can meet the insurance adjusters on even ground. If you understand what you are entitled to and how to access multiple insurance policies to collect the full value of all allowable accident claims, you will not leave your money in the insurance company’s bank account when your claim file is closed.

North Carolina collision law is quite complex. As a practicing attorney who only handles auto accident cases, I must caution you that no single book can provide complete legal advice to every accident victim. This book, however, will help you to prepare for your discussions with insurance adjusters. If you choose to hire an attorney, this work will help you understand all of the steps your attorney should take to earn his or her fee, to increase your settlement, or to collect full case value through a jury trial. If you handle your case without an attorney, this book will help you to confront most of the pitfalls and payment-avoidance techniques that adjusters use in every injury case.

Money is far less important than health, safety, and quality of life. However, money is the only focus for insurance companies and the adjusters who represent them. Insurance companies know that accident victims have legal rights and that the law allows the victim to collect money for various expenses and losses. While you seek to focus on recovering your health, the insurance adjusters are solely concerned with minimizing their financial obligations. From the first report of a covered accident, they begin collecting evidence that allows them either to deny your claims or to reduce what they owe. They will not openly explain what you can collect, and indeed, they will keep your money if you do not know what to ask for.

I truly hope this work helps you to understand your legal rights, your legal options, and your best plan of response following a motor vehicle accident. If you have questions about your rights or options or if you need help applying this text to your unique circumstances, I can be reached by telephone at (800) 411-1583 or online. No accident victim should feel alone when responding to a collision. This book provides immediate guidance, and I hope that you gain every advantage as you seek to protect your family’s health, credit, and financial interests.

Carl Nagle