FAQs and Resources

Here, you will find lots of information that we think you should know, including: 

  1. frequently asked questions (FAQs) about
      • about the firm and cases in general
      • workers’ compensation cases
      • personal injury cases
  2. links to various video tutorials and information guides
      • content created by the firm for you
      • other helpful resources
  3. a guide to community resources
      • such as the NCIC, Medicaid, SSD and SSA, etc.

We genuinely try to help you in any way we can, whether you call us for help or not. We help people, plain and simple. 

General FAQs About the Firm and Cases

No, the consultation is free. 

It’s not always necessary to hire an attorney, but if you have a serious injury, want help handling your case, want to ensure you are treated fairly, or want help getting the maximum compensation possible, we recommend you hire an attorney as soon as possible.  

We recommend you hire an attorney as soon as possible after you are hurt. The insurance company will start its investigation the moment it learns of your injury, which may included a recorded statement.  They will be looking for any piece of information to use against you. Also, talking to your doctors can be complicated, and we can help make sure you get the necessary message to your medical team to ensure they know how you were injured, your diagnosis, your treatment plan, and if your injuries are related to your accident. If you wait until later in the case to seek counsel, you may have already made mistakes that we cannot change.

Choosing a small firm can offer several advantages over opting for a larger firm. One of the most significant benefits is the personalized attention and tailored legal services that small firms typically provide. In a smaller setting, attorneys can afford to take a more individualized approach to each case, spending more time understanding the nuances of a client’s situation. This can lead to more thorough preparation and a stronger representation in negotiations or at trial.

Another advantage is the level of communication and accessibility a small firm can offer. Clients often find it easier to get in touch with their lawyers, receive updates about their case, and have their questions answered promptly. This open line of communication fosters a stronger attorney-client relationship, ensuring that clients feel supported and informed throughout the legal process.

In contrast, clients at larger firms may experience longer wait times for responses and less direct interaction with the attorney handling their case. Big firms want to minimize your contact with the attorney. They will sign you up without even talking to an attorney, and the first time you talk to your attorney may be when they are ready to settle your case.  That’s not how we do it at Galbavy Law. You talk to David early and often, because that is how it should be.

For almost all of our cases, we get paid on a contingency fee basis.  That means we don’t get paid unless you do, as we get a set percentage of your recovery.  Rest assured that we are motivated to get you the best possible outcome possible, not just because that’s our duty to you, but that’s also how we get paid.

Almost all personal injury and workers’ compensation firms in North Carolina use contingency fee agreements.  For workers’ compensation claims, our fee is 25% of the recovery.  For personal injury claims, our fee is 33% of the recovery. For all claims, our fee goes up a few percentage points if we have to take your case to court.  We will review our representation agreement with you when we sign you up and answers other questions you may have.

Workers' Compensation FAQs

You will need to file a Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Click here for the Form 18 and filing instructions. 

Surprisingly, no! There are different legal standards for different body parts in North Carolina.  Generally speaking, you have back injuries and non-back injuries. For back injuries, you need to show a “specific traumatic” incident, or basically an identifiable incident, when your injury occurred at work. This can be while you are performing normal job duties.

For non-back injuries, it is harder to prove a claim. You have to show an “injury by accident,” which is generally considered something abnormal, something that is NOT a normal part of your work routine, or something unexpected, like a slip, trip or a fall. 

It is imperative that you accurately describe and report the details of how you got hurt.  It is also imperative you relay this information to your doctors, as it may help prove your case later.  For these reasons, we highly recommend hiring an attorney to help guide you through this maze of requirements.

There are three benefits: 1) weekly wage loss/disability, 2) medical treatment, and 3) a disability rating. Unfortunately, pain and suffering is NOT available in workers’ compensation cases.  The best way to fully understand the benefits you have available and maximize your receipt of those benefits is to hire an attorney.

If you eligible for benefits, you will get two-thirds (or 66.67%) of your average gross pay. This will be paid on a weekly basis.  It is called a variety of names: 1) temporary total disability (or TTD); 2) wage loss, 3) indemnity benefits. 

Unfortunately, no. If the insurance company has accepted liability for your injury, they have the right to “direct your care,” which means pick your doctors, authorize treatment, and pay the bills. If you are unhappy with your WC doctor or want another opinion, you are able to ask for a comprehensive second opinion, but it is not guaranteed.

If your case is not accepted, then you can pick your own doctor but you are also paying for your treatment, pending the outcome of your claim.

It depends. The first question to answer is whether you are physically capable of returning to your regular job at your employer, or another job at your employer. If you are able to return to work for your same employer after you are released by your doctors, then there is an option for a limited payment on permanent partial disability (or a disability rating) where your case stays partially open and you do not have to resign. However, this is not the norm.  In most instances, there is a dispute about one’s ability to physically return to the job, or both parties agree that moving on is best, and you will be required to resign your job as part of a full and final settlement of your claim.

It depends. We generally recommend our clients consider how soon they want to have surgery, if they have other means to pay for the surgery like group health insurance, and what is being offered to settle your case before surgery.  Generally, we think it’s best to get all the treatment you want to have in the immediate future while your WC case is open.

We are not able to answer questions on value without getting into the specifics facts of your case, just like a doctor won’t be able to diagnosis you without an examination, and a mechanic can’t tell you what’s wrong with your car without looking under the hood. Generally, questions about value are most appropriate after we investigate your case and see how well you have recovered after receiving medical treatment.  The three biggest questions are 1) whether your claim is accepted or denied, 2) whether you are able to go back to work, and 3) whether you need more medical treatment.  It is more complicated than that, and we’d be happy to help you make your case worth as much as possible.

We generally like to see if we can settle your WC case first, but every case has to be evaluated on its own merits.  You may be require to put some of your workers’ compensation settlement into a Medicare Set Aside account or informal allocation if you apply for SSD while your case is open.  This is probably not as beneficial to you as it may sound, since it limits how you can spend part of your settlement funds.  Most of our client wait to apply for SSD after their case settles.   If you case is going to stay open for many years or may never settle, then applying for SSD while your case is open may be your best option.

As early as possible.  The earlier an attorney is involved, the more time the attorney has to give advice and help you avoid any costly mistakes in navigating your claim.

For workers’ compensation claims, our contingency fee is 25% of your recovery.  This percentage may increase if your case goes to court or requires an appeal.  All details on attorney’s fees and costs are covered in our Representation Contract.

You can still pursue your claim and will likely need to file a Form 33 Request That Claim Be Assigned for Hearing.  Once a claim is denied, your primary options will be to settle your claim or litigate your case. It is extremely rare for the insurance company to change their denial.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission also has a FAQ page that you can visit. Visit Page

Personal Injury and Auto FAQs

Yes, it matters a lot!  You can only recover benefits if you are not at fault in your accident.  North Carolina is one of the few states with “contributory negligence,” which means that your claim could be denied if you were only 1% at fault and the other driver was 99%.  Liability, or whose fault the accident was, is one of the first things we look into at Galbavy Law, but please understand it may takes months of investigation to find out relevant details.  Even then, the insurance company may not “admit liability,” which means you are in for an uphill battle.

Yes, and we can help find you doctors if you don’t have your own preference.

Many providers will provide treatment and instead of asking for immediate payment, they will assert a lien on your recovery.  If your insurance pays for your treatment, then they may either seek a lien or repayment from your recovery. We can assist you in limiting what you have to pay to the providers and back to insurance companies, thus maximizing your take-home recovery.

Yes, absolutely.  You should take advantage of all coverage available to you, both from the at-fault party and coverage under your own policy.  Your own policy should have UIM (underinsured motorist) and UM (uninsured motorist) coverage.  You pay for this coverage and it is meant to cover you if the at-fault party does not have enough coverage to compensate you for your injuries.

Links to Helpful Resources in the Community

North Carolina Industrial Commission

The Industrial Commission is the state agency that administer workers’ compensation claim, state tort claims, and a few other types of claims. Visit site

North Carolina Medicaid

The North Carolina Medicaid Division of Health Benefits offers health insurance programs to low income individuals who qualify. Visit site

Affordable Care Act Health Plans

The Affordable Care Act is the federal marketplace for health insurance and can offer significant discounts depending on your income and eligibility. Visit site

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration is the federal agency that administer Social Security Disability and Social Security Retirement benefits. Visit site

North Carolina Industrial Commission

The Industrial Commission is the state agency that administers workers’ compensation claims, state tort claims, and a few other types of claims. Visit site