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Personal Injury Professionals For Nearly 40 Years!

Law Firm of Kelly & West

We have built our firm and our reputation by providing prompt, professional service to our clients in a friendly and courteous manner. It has not occurred by accident, but upon years of hard work, dedication, and planning. We want to be a law firm of which our clients are proud. For more information, please choose one of the following links.

Reasons To Choose Kelly & West

Today there are more attorneys than ever to choose from, and we want our clients to know why they should choose us rather than some other attorney. In short, we try to treat clients the way we would want to be treated if we were the client and not the attorney.

We start with a free consultation. Call us toll-free to discuss your situation with an attorney. If we think we can help, we will make an appointment for you to continue talking about your case with an attorney at no charge. When you discuss your case with an attorney, you are under no obligation to hire us, and we are under no obligation to take your case.

If we accept your case, we will discuss our fee and the schedule for payment. We accept accident and injury cases on a contingent fee basis so that we are paid only from the recovery that we obtain.

We try to keep our clients well informed by sending them copies of all papers we receive on their case. We have designed and implemented computer software that helps us to complete each day all the things that need to be done in each case. We also use computers for legal research; medical research; faxing documents; scanning and storing images and documents, and production of letters and documents on laser printers.

We constantly strive to improve our services by sending an evaluation form to our client upon the closing of the case. You, our clients, have helped make our continued growth possible. As a result, we are able to continue providing efficient and effective service so necessary in today’s ever-changing, competitive legal environment.

Fees

Initial Consultation

We do not charge a fee for our first consultation with you.

Fee Policy

We continuously strive to keep our fees as fair and reasonable as possible.

It is our practice to discuss fees with you at the initial interview and to confirm these fee discussions in writing.

We have two types of fee arrangements: fixed fees and contingent fees.

These are explained below:

Fixed Fees

Fixed fees are fees that are determined and paid upon acceptance of your case, do not change regardless of the time required to handle your case, and regardless of the outcome of your case. The amount of a fixed fee is determined by the task that you engage us to undertake, by the time we expect to spend on your case, its complexity and our experience in handling similar matters.

We also consider such other factors as:

  • Time constraints: Is your matter of an urgent nature which will require us to place it before other matters already pending? The amount of risk, the effort required, and the responsibility of the firm.
  • Exclusivity: Will your matter prohibit us from being retained by others due to present or future potential conflicts of interest?
  • Contingent Fees: Contingent fees are fees that are determined by the result we obtain for you. The advantage of a contingent fee is that you are not required to pay anything upon our acceptance of your case and there is no fee charged if we are not successful. In addition, it encourages us to do the best job possible since the amount of our fee depends upon the result that we obtain for you.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Separate from our charges for legal services are the disbursements of funds made by us on your behalf. Expenses include such items as filing fees, court costs, court reporter charges, certified copies of documents, and Sheriff fees. These charges are billed to you in the same amount as the cost to our firm.

Referrals and Confidentiality

Referrals

We are proud that the majority of our cases come from repeat clients and referrals from our clients, our friends, and other attorneys. If you know of someone that may need to talk to an attorney, please refer them to us. Referring a new client is the greatest compliment that you could pay us.

Confidentiality

We assure you that all information you give any member of this firm will remain confidential. To completely understand your situation and formulate a sound legal solution, we must have certain information from you. Effective communication between us is the keystone to our relationship.

Appointments & Phone Calls

We do not charge a fee for our first consultation with you.

We recognize the value of our clients’ time and therefore we strive to avoid making you wait when you come in to see your attorney. To assist in this effort, we ask that you arrange an appointment prior to visiting the office.

Of course, if circumstances do not permit you to schedule an appointment in advance, we will see you as soon as possible.

Should you call your attorney while he is out of the office or is otherwise unable to talk to you, your call will be returned promptly as soon as he is available.

    What Our Clients

    Have Said...

    What You Should Know About Bad Faith InsuranceYour insurance company is legally obligated to deal with you “fairly and in good faith.”  When you file insurance claims, such as claims for bodily injury and/or property damage under your auto policy, that good faith obligation is tested.  After all, the insurance company’s bottom line and your best interests are at odds.  The more claims a company denies and the less it pays o claims it accepts, the more profit it makes.  But you’ve paid your premiums and deserve to be fully compensated for your losses up to the limits of your coverage. 

    Most often, insurance companies investigate and administer claims professionally, deny only those claims they reasonably believe are invalid, and attempt to evaluate and settle valid claims fairly.  Sometimes, they get it wrong, even though they have acted fairly and in good faith.  When that’s the case, the policyholder can file a breach of contract lawsuit and go to trial to recover the compensation to which he/she is entitled under the policy.  

    If the insurance company does not act fairly and in good faith, the policyholder has grounds to file an insurance bad faith lawsuit and, if successful, recover not only what is due under the policy but also either punitive or multiple damages.  Here is what you should know about bad faith insurance lawsuits in North Carolina.

    What Laws Support an Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit?

    In North Carolina, there are two sources of insurance bad faith law, state statutes and common law (court decisions).  A policyholder can file an insurance bad faith lawsuit based on either or both, but where the court determines that both apply, the policyholder must elect to recover under one or the other.

    Statutory Insurance Bad Faith

    Under the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, a policyholder can recover “treble damages,” three times the amount of any damages caused by the insurance company’s “unfair” or “deceptive” behavior.  Such behavior is not limited to, but definitely includes, any of the fourteen “unfair claim settlement practices” defined in a section of North Carolina’s insurance statutes.  

    Among those unfair claim settlement practices are:

       *     misrepresenting pertinent facts or policy provisions relating to the coverages at issue,

       *     failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims,    

       *     refusing to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation of all available information,

       *     failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof-of-loss statements are completed,

        *     forcing the policyholder to resort to litigation without attempting to settle in good faith,

        *     attempting to settle a claim for  less than a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled,

         *     failing to promptly settle claims under one coverage where liability is reasonably clear (e.g., property damage claims) in order to influence settlement of claims under another coverage (e.g., personal injury claims) and

         *     failing to promptly and reasonably explain the basis in the policy or applicable law for denial of a claim or the offer of a  compromise settlement.

    Common Law Insurance Bad Faith

    In addition to liability based on those North Carolina statutes, North Carolina courts have held that an insurance company is responsible for bad faith wrongdoing when it refuses to pay policy benefits after receiving and recognizing a valid claim or otherwise acts solely in its own interest, provided, that there must also be some “aggravating” or “outrageous” misconduct by the company that harms the policyholder.  Such additional misconduct has been described as including “fraud,” “malice,” “gross negligence,” “willful and wanton conduct,” or “reckless disregard.”  Those can be difficult to prove and have to be considered and determined based on the facts in each case.  

    The theory in the bad faith case decisions is that a judgment awarding the policyholder only what is due under the policy (for breach of contract) does nothing to discourage the insurance company (and other insurers) from engaging in such bad behavior when responding to future claims.  Under those circumstances, the court’s judgment may also require that the company pay the policyholder punitive damages that may be much higher than the value of the original claim or the policy limits.

    Should You Consider Filing an Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit?

    North Carolina does not recognize a claim for bad faith against someone else’s insurance company.  Also, your insurance company may treat you “fairly and in good faith” yet still deny your claim in whole or in part.  When it accepts liability, it may still honestly and reasonably disagree with your calculation of your covered losses.  

    As you should understand, based on this very brief introduction to the applicable law, distinguishing between good faith (though rigorous) and bad faith insurance company conduct is difficult and can only be done on a case-by-case basis.  It requires the kind of analysis that can best be done by an experienced attorney.  

    Our attorneys at Kelly & West have helped hundreds of clients with their insurance claims.  If you have filed a claim and feel that your insurance company is ignoring you, unnecessarily delaying its response or otherwise treating you unfairly, you are welcome to contact us at Kelly & West and arrange for a free consultation.