One of the primary concerns and questions from clients on new personal injury cases is what the law allows for recoverable damages in North Carolina?

The answer which is true with most states are the following three primary areas of recovery:

  • Medical Bills and Expenses
  • Lost wages or future loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and Suffering

Because they each have a great deal of further explanation and sub-issues we would like to talk about each area separately.

Today we’ll address the first category Medical Bills and Expenses.

First, all bills and expenses must be “proximately cause by” i.e. related directly to the accident and not pre-existing, genetically caused or other non-accident caused or related.

Insurance adjusters spend the lion’s share of discussion with me on this issue and they are well trained and versed to unearth any unrelated bills or medical expenses.

Second, if the client has private health insurance or Medicaid or Medicare of other 3rd parties or sources, who pay their accident-caused bills, then such providers may have a legal lien. This simple means such providers get to be paid back from the case settlement for any such payments made.

This area of lien rights has a host of other issues, which take some time to discuss and are very case-specific and so for our purposes here important to note such rights exists and NC has a statute NCGS 44-50, which deals with how many of these liens are dealt with from the settlement proceeds.

Many are reduced by statute especially if the case amount for certain reasons is lower than the amount of outstanding liens.


Go get your insurance card or automobile insurance coverage sheet and look at it.

1. Do you have “Medical Payments” coverage?


Go get it and get at least $5,000.00 of such coverage.

It’s cheap and it pays YOU when you are involved in many accidents regardless of fault and will not increase your premiums when you use it.

In our experience many insurance agents don’t push it (because it’s in your interest to have it) and many don’t even upon questioning understand how universal it works.

2. Always remember and heed that if involved in an accident you do not speak to the other side’s insurance company.

Again, as we mentioned these first-line adjusters for the mega-billion-dollar insurance company are specifically hired and concomitantly trained to sink your ship with questions designed to get information which they may not otherwise be entitled to get answers. This includes questions about your injury and your past medical history.