Unfair Value, Unfair Result

When your vehicle is totalled in an accident you want and deserve fair value for the vehicle.  Too often insurance companies nickel and dime the consumer leading to frustration and, in some cases, throwing in the towel and accepting less than what is deserved.  Here a local news station intervened and assisted a consumer get increased value for their crash-damaged vehicle.

If you find yourself in a similar situation you should contact an attorney for a consultation.  Honestly, there are occasions when the amount of money involved is too small for an attorney to be able to cost-effectively assist the consumer.  On such occasions the consumer can either seek a non-lawyer vehicle expert (click here and here for examples) or file a lawsuit.  However you decide to proceed I wish you success in obtaining a fair resolution of your vehicle value claim.

Lawyering the Lawyers and Protecting the Consumers

Debt collectors and their reps……….be warned.  The Feds are coming.  Too often debtors and consumers feel overwhelmed and as if they have no rights.  Well, we just received more confirmation that consumers do have rights and rules still apply when debts are being collected.  The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month filed its first lawsuit against a debt-collection firm, Marietta, Ga.-based Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, accusing it of violating federal consumer-protection laws.  You can read the lawsuit here.

Lawyers on trial?Allegations in the case include having non-lawyers determine if lawsuits v consumers were “worthy”, having non-lawyers review the vital case information, and filing suits versus the wrong parties.  This case could unearth some nefarious practices or problematic approaches taken by law firms that seek to recover debts.

In fairness, there are many law firms and collectors who follow the spirit and the letter of the law and they should be commended for such.  However, as with any proverbial bunch of apples there are a few whose flaws threaten to spoil the entire bunch.  Let’s hope the CFPB lawsuit is a wake-up call to law firms and collectors to play by the rules.

If you believe you are being treated illegally or unfairly in the collection of a debt contact an experienced consumer lawyer for a consultation.

Class of a Class: A Reunion Recap

For those of you who are not part of the New Bern High School Class of 1989, I can only hope your class has half of the chemistry, character, and charisma of my class. With the tagline “living life to the fullest” my class spent this past weekend (August 15-17) reflecting on and celebrating 25 years since we crossed the stage on a Monday night in June 1989.

Some classmates have passed on and others were unable to attend for various reasons. Those who did attend the Reunion had (more…)

The Before and After of How I Can Help You

Let’s get right down to business, shall we?

Before means preventive measures.  Trying to avoid your need for legal services, liability, and/or cost in the future.  Before includes:


Free Information Center—includes tips on buying a vehicle, selecting a contractor, dealing with debt collectors, devising strategies to protect you and/or your small business from liability……..and many other resources

Drafting a contract or other document(s) to establish legal rights and liabilities

Protecting your small business from a liability or litigation nightmare
Attorney John O'Neal

After means reacting to something that has already happened.  You have been sued or you are in the midst of a legal situation and are in need of fairly immediate help or representation.  After includes:

Handling a traffic ticket

What to do in the case of a personal injury or wrongful death

Figuring out your options on a vehicle transaction gone wrong

Determining if you have defenses or counterclaims when sued on a debt, contract, or other civil matter

NOTE:  If you have a potential case, please read “What You Need To Have” so you can be prepared for an initial consultation

If you need me either before or after something happens, contact me.  Thanks for your ongoing support and I look forward to serving you if appropriate.


Is Small Claims Court too Large for You?

In 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly increased small claims court jurisdiction from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00.  This now means many more cases should be filed (and in some cases MUST be filed) in small claims court.  It can be an effective forum for having a dispute heard and decided sooner rather than later.

In some respects small claims court, or Magistrate Court as it is sometimes called, looks like (more…)

Weekend Plans? Reunioning with Some Bears

Happy Friday to you.  I hope you are slated for a good or at least restful weekend.  As for me I am off to my 25-year high school class reunion in New Bern.  This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.  It is a blessing to be able to attend and I was humbled to have the opportunity to serve on the planning committee for the Reunion.

The New Bern Senior High School Class of 1989 had under 400 graduates but a mountain of talent and chemistry.  In my class are professionals, parents, veterans, entrepreneurs, elected officials, community leaders, clergy, and many other folks doing really meaningful and cool things.  I am constantly amazed at the gifts amassed within our class.  Many of these gifts and the resultant energy have coalesced to put together what promises to be an outstanding weekend of events.

Unfortunately we have lost several classmates over the years including one within the last month.  We remember them and honor them this weekend as we reunite and share some quality time and make memories.  For those of you who were unable to attend we will miss you.  And for those who will be taking the time and making the trip to attend I will see you there………travel safe……and, always……Go Bears!