When is a lawsuit brought against an insurance carrier in North Carolina? | North Carolina Law Firm

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in blog | 79 comments

Ninety-five percent of all cases have an insurance carrier involved. These claims are not brought forward until one of two things happen:
1) The client has healed as much as medical care will allow, or
2) The case is nearing the statute of limitations for that type of case. Medical care can take a long time, and therefore sometimes action must be taken before the client is completely healed.


Keith Whited: Almost all personal injury cases start with a claim to an insurance carrier. Over 95% of all cases have an insurance carrier involved in it. A homeowner’s insurance carrier, a car insurance carrier, a workers compensation insurance carrier, a medical liability professional insurance carrier.

Those claims are not brought until one of two things happen. Either the client has reached as good a physical condition—you don’t want to bring the client until the time that the medical care provider’s going to say, “Mary’s just not going to get any better than she is right now.” Because that’s when a lawyer knows, and is able to describe a full picture of the damage. Or, as it gets so close to the statute of limitations, most cases must be brought within three years of the event, unless it’s a wrongful death case, and there’s two years from the day of death.

And the reason that sometimes you have to bring them before you really want to: because medical care sometimes takes a long time. It takes a long time to get where the doctors know what’s wrong and know what the final result’s going to be. And if you get pushed up next to that statute of limitations, sometimes you have to act before it’d really be advisable to. But you can’t avoid it. So one of those two things must occur.

What are non-compete agreements? | North Carolina Business Litigation Lawyer

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in blog | 10 comments

A non-compete agreement is a document where a party restricts another party’s right to compete within a market. The agreement restricts the area a company can utilize for a specific amount of time. Non-compete agreements are highly disfavored in North Carolina law, resulting in a fair amount of litigation.


Keith Whited: Non-compete agreements are highly disfavored in North Carolina. Covenants not to compete and agreements not to compete are disfavored by the law, and the idea for that is pretty simple: that the law doesn’t want to allow a party to restrict any other party’s right to make a living. When you say you can’t compete, it means somehow we’re going to restrict you. So the North Carolina Supreme Court, over a long line of cases, has restricted both the scope—that is, the area the non-compete can be in—and the length of time, so it is limited by scope and time, and they have to be reasonable. They have to be reasonably related to the business you’re trying to restrict. They are highly disfavored in the law, and there is a fair amount of litigation over whether they were appropriate to begin with.

Termination of Parental Rights | North Carolina Law Firm

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in blog | 5 comments

Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law can assist clients in terminating the parental rights of their child’s other parent. Reasons for this include: sexual misconduct, failure to pay child support, lacking contact with the child for six months or longer, and other instances of constitutional misconduct.


Rouse: Here at the Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law, we can assist clients if they’re in the situation where the parent of their child is conducting themselves in such a way that’s inconsistent with their constitutional duties as a parent. We can assist them in terminating that parent’s rights. Some of the reasons why parental rights get terminated are: the parent has not had contact with the child for six months or more, sexual misconduct, failure to pay child support for a certain period of time, and generally, just being a bad person.

What does probate mean? | North Carolina Estate Litigation Lawyer

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

To probate a will simply means to ensure that the will is 1) valid and 2) carried out accordingly. The attorneys at Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law can answer any questions you may have regarding estate litigation or contesting a will.


Keith Whited: Probate is a term that is used in the law that means nothing more than administering an estate. To probate a will just means to file it in a clerk’s office. You take it over there and file it, and then the clerk’s office is obligated by law to do what it says if it’s a valid document, and it is presumed to be valid unless somebody contests it. Then the clerk’s office in the state of North Carolina and all the clerks of court are obligated to do to the best that they can what the document says to do. So, if it says to give Grandma’s car to Granddaughter, they’re obligated to make sure that the car gets delivered. That’s what probate means.

If I get a ticket is the car accident my fault? | North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in blog | 1 comment

Receiving a ticket after a car accident does not necessarily indicate fault in the accident. Just because you were issued a ticket by a police officer does not mean the accident was your fault, and the ticket cannot be used as evidence against you. However, by paying the ticket or going to court and saying you’re guilty can be used against your case. This is called an “admission.”

If you have been in a car accident and received a ticket, call the Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law at  336-228-1433 for a free consultation.


Keith Whited: There is a popular misconception that the person that caused the wreck has to get a ticket before you’re entitled to make a claim. That’s not true at all. As a matter of fact, the fact that someone is charged with a crime or an infraction is not even admissible in a civil case. You can’t bring into evidence the fact that they got a ticket. The fact that a police officer says on the scene, “You ran the red light. Here’s your ticket,” does not mean that the person that got the ticket is responsible for the wreck. It doesn’t mean it at all.

The point is that the person that’s bringing the claim can use the fact that they admitted that they were wrong. In other words, they paid the ticket off or they went to court and said, “Yes, I’m guilty.” It’s not the fact of the ticket that’s admissible. It’s the statement against their interest that’s admissible when they said, “Yes, I’m guilty for running the red light.” You can use that for what is called an admission against them in the civil case. It’s not the fact you got the ticket. Just because they got the ticket, there’s no reason—or didn’t get a ticket—there’s no reason not to seek legal advice.

Should I seek medical care after my accident? | North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

The Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law strives to elicit the best medical literature for your case. Often, if you do not seek medical attention within a few days after your car accident, the insurance company will try to claim your injuries were not caused by the accident. If you believe you are injured after an accident, seek medical care.


Keith Whited: This is just experience. It’s just being able to know how juries are going to react to their statement. It’s also being able to elicit the right medical testimony because the medical literature … For instance, in a soft-tissue whiplash case, the medical literature says, if you don’t have these symptoms within the first two or three days, then whatever symptoms occur two months down the road did not come from this event.

That’s what the medical literature says, and so if you’re in a car accident and do not seek medical attention and try to be brave and try to be strong, and that is a big human … particularly in North Carolina … There are great folks in North Carolina who try to be strong and don’t want to take advantage of anybody else and try to look after themselves and not get medical care. If you wait too long to get medical care, the insurance companies will defend your claim for damages by saying there wasn’t causation because you didn’t go to the doctor.

Insurance companies … one of the popular things they do is use the good spirit of hard-working people—being self-sufficient and self-reliant and trying to look after themselves and not go to the doctor—against them when they make these claims. If you believe you’re hurt, you should seek medical care.

What happens if I get rear-ended in North Carolina? | North Carolina Personal Injury Car Accident Attorney

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

Although many car accident cases are settled out of court, rear-end accidents often face litigation. While the driver can be at fault for the impact, they may not be at fault for the damages sought by the other driver. Many times, the impact from being rear-ended is not enough to cause the injuries claimed by the plaintiff. Insurance companies try to prove that the damages were not caused by the accident.


Keith Whited: … lawyers call rear-enders. There are a set of really broad line cases that have to do with responsibility for a rear-end accident. I shouldn’t say all, but most of those rear-end cases that get litigated, most of those are settled by far and away because the liability is so clear. If you have litigation on a rear-ender, it’s because of the impact. If you have a dispute about a rear-end case, it’s generally because the impact that … This is really a causation question. Remember I had said there are two parts to a personal injury action: the event and whether the damages that are caused by the event. These rear-end cases generate lots of litigation because the insurance companies will defend your claim for damages by saying, “It didn’t come from this event. I don’t know where that came from but the impact was too small to cause this problem.”

If you don’t have large impact on the rear bumper, if you don’t have damage on the rear bumper, it’s really hard to prove that your condition came from the impact. In a rear-end case, it’s generally the driver behind that’s at fault for the impact. It doesn’t mean he or she is going to be at fault for the damages that your driver in the front car says he has or your passenger in the front car says he has. There could be some pre-existing condition. It could be anything. The hardest part about injury work is getting people, my clients and others, to understand that just because something follows in time doesn’t mean it’s causation. That’s the hardest thing to get delivered in a courtroom or in a motor vehicle accident settlement. It’s one of the most favorite insurance company defenses that, “We didn’t cause it. I know it happened. Your symptoms may not have shown up until right after the event but we didn’t cause it. Something else must have caused it.” It is a popular defense for insurance companies.

Working with parents regarding their child’s case | North Carolina Law Firm

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law encourages parents to call if they have any questions regarding their child’s case. However, once the child becomes a client, the child must give permission for an attorney at Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law to disclose private information to the parent.


Dawson Rouse: We encourage parents to call. We will speak with them about their children’s case, but once we’re hired, the child is a client, and the child has to give us permission to speak to the parents. If a parent has an issue with anything regarding the Elon Police Department or a ticket their child has received, we can certainly speak with them about that and give them an idea about what might happen to their child.

Is it legal to text and drive in North Carolina? | North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

In North Carolina, it is against the law to send or receive a text while driving. It is possible to obtain detailed phone records that can prove you were texting at the time of the accident. This is a form of negligence and it can prevent you from seeking recovery for damages or injuries – even if the accident was not your fault.

The attorneys at Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law urge you not to text and drive.


Keith Whited: As a matter of fact, North Carolina has several new laws. Texting while driving is a new law in North Carolina. It’s against the law to text, and lots of young people like to text. I’ve just in just the last couple of years gotten a phone where I can send and deliver texts. I’m one of the old guys. But all kids, now, have their phones that they like to communicate by text. It’s quick. It’s simple. It also leads to distraction when you’re driving because you’re looking at the little screen on your phone and not looking at the street.

North Carolina legislature passed a law that says, “You may not send or receive a text while you’re operating a motor vehicle.” So, this is negligence. That’s one of the elements for negligence, that you have violated a law, an operational law. That creates a duty and so, and the good thing about cell phone communications is there is a record of it. It comes in, it’s time stamped and date stamped. You get their cell phone bill and you see exactly the date of the text. In some cases, you can see the contents of the text and sometimes that’s more effective than the date and the time of the text.

I instruct all my clients: Do not, please do not text and drive. Not only is there a record of it … contributory negligence … Also, you can be barred from seeking a recovery, even if you were driving completely safe and lawful, and you’re hit by someone else who has violated a law. If the insurance company can prove that you were sending or receiving texts at the time of this wreck, they will use contributory negligence against you in North Carolina.

How should I choose a business dispute lawyer? | North Carolina Commercial Litigation Lawyer

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

When choosing a lawyer for your commercial litigation case, it is important to find someone who has experience with the type of case you have. You don’t want a lawyer who has never seen a case like yours before. At Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law, the attorneys have significant experience in many types of cases.

To find out more information about Whited Doby & Ray Attorneys at Law, call 336-228-1433 for a free consultation.


Keith Whited: People should first be cognizant of the lawyer’s experience. That’s the first thing. You know, are they learning how to do this on their case? Because that’s generally a bad place for a consumer to be in, or small business, to show up in a lawyer’s office with a dispute and that be the first kind of dispute that the lawyer’s ever recognized or been involved in, and so experience is a big deal.

The forum is a big deal. That is, where is the dispute going to take place? Is it going to take place in state court? Is it going to take place in federal court? Lots of commercial issues are litigated in federal court. I’m licensed to practice law in the federal courts of North Carolina. I’m licensed in the United States Supreme Court. So, whether your lawyer has experience in that forum makes a difference.