Mark Scruggs is senior claims counsel with Lawyers Mutual specializing in litigation, workers compensation and family law matters. You can reach Mark at 800.662.8843 or at

The “Dead Defendant” Problem

Hypothetical: You represent an individual in a personal injury case. The tortfeasor died six months after the accident. He had a minimum limits policy, but there are significant assets in his estate. Your client’s medical bills alone exceed the policy limits of the other tortfeasor’s liability polic… Read More

Keep That Summons Alive!

A recent case out of the North Carolina Court of Appeals underscores the importance of keeping a summons alive until you are sure you have valid service on the defendant, or until you have received an answer that does not include service-related defenses and the time for amending the answer as a matter of cours… Read More

How To Write a Good (And Ethical) Conflict Of Interest Waiver

At Lawyers Mutual, we are often asked whether we have a sample conflict of interest waiver the caller can use. Our reply is always “no,” because a conflict of interest waiver is highly specific. It must be tailored to the circumstances of the conflict. We can, however, give some guidance on the type… Read More

4 things you expect when you call a Lawyers Mutual claims attorney

 An experienced ear. All six of us have many years of experience, both as practicing lawyers and as claims attorneys for Lawyers Mutual. We've heard and seen a lot, and chances are we can help you through a rough patch. An understanding attitude. No matter how bad or embarrassed you feel about what has … Read More

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

On my summer vacation, I traveled with my wife and her mother to the Emerald Isle. No, not Emerald Isle, North Carolina, but the Republic of Ireland. I would like to share a bit of our wonderful trip with you with the hope that if you have not visited this beautiful island, you will plan a trip soon. We got ou… Read More

Whose Fee is it, Anyway?

And who gets to hold the fee while we’re figuring out who is entitled to it? A question about fee disputes came up at one of our CLE programs recently. The question assumed a litigation settlement where the client has received the portion of the settlement he was entitled to but his lawyers Abraham, Mart… Read More

Six Insurance Products for Successful Law Firm Planning

Our emphasis here is on long-term planning for the well-being of your firm, your clients and those who must pick up the pieces in case of your death, disability or retirement. We will first focus on Insurance products you should consider as you plan for the unforeseen (death or disability) and the inevitable (… Read More

Tips for Newly Minted, Courtroom Bound Lawyers

As the Bar Exam looms, we begin anticipating an influx of newly minted lawyers, many of them courtroom bound. As a former practicing litigation attorney, I would like to offer my top tips for newly minted lawyers, especially those who aspire to courthouse and courtroom practice. Tip #1 – Find a mentor. I… Read More

Practice Pointer--Uninsured Motorist Insurance carriers

Uninsured Motorist Insurance carriers, unlike Underinsured Motorist Insurance carriers, must be formally served with process within the statute of limitations. Where a plaintiff seeks to bind an uninsured motorist carrier to the result in a case, the carrier must be served by the traditional means of service, … Read More

Practice Pointer--Giving Oral Notice

If you give oral notice of a voluntary dismissal without prejudice and intend to re-file, do so within one year of the date you gave oral notice, not one year from the date you filed a stipulation of dismissal. Oral notice of voluntary dismissal serves to start the one-year refiling period specified in N.C.R. … Read More