North Carolina’s Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Laws
If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by another driver, you might be wondering how to go about receiving compensation. Though North Carolina requires drivers to maintain minimum amounts of car insurance, many drivers are uninsured, or have insurance that covers less than the total expense associated with the accident. If the driver who caused your accident was uninsured at the time of your accident, you might be concerned that you will be stuck covering the expenses out of your own pocket.
North Carolina statutory law requires every driver to obtain Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. When the at-fault driver does not have motor vehicle insurance, you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
Dealing with insurance company’s policies and paperwork can be confusing and complicated. It is wise to speak to a skilled Charlotte car accident attorney before talking to your car insurance company. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?
Every driver in North Carolina is legally required to purchase a minimum amount of car insurance. Additionally, all drivers must buy uninsured motorist insurance. If the driver who caused your accident does not have car insurance or is underinsured, you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
Your uninsured motorist policy will pay compensation for injuries suffered by you and any other passengers riding in your vehicle with your permission at the time of the car accident. If you are not driving when the accident occurs, your uninsured motorist coverage should still pay for the injuries of the person driving your car, up to the policy limit amount.Injured Parties Must Prove They are Legally Entitled to Damages
Insurance companies require those filing uninsured motorist claims to prove that they are legally entitled to damages. Filing an uninsured motorist claim is not the same process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Nonetheless, insurance companies often require claimants to prove that the uninsured driver was at fault and caused their injuries.
All of the legal defenses available to the at-fault driver in civil court are also available to the insurance company. For example, the insurance company can use the legal theory of contributory negligence to deny an uninsured motorist claim. Contributory negligence, which is applicable in North Carolina can be summarized simply as a driver filing an uninsured motorist claim that is found to be even 1% at fault for the car accident, the insurance company can legally deny the request.
Due to the stringent contributory negligence requirement, North Carolina car accident victims should speak with a skilled attorney. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, so they look for any possible reason to deny paying out insurance claims. North Carolina's stringent contributory negligence law makes it exceedingly challenging to succeed in uninsured motorist claims. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we have a long history of successfully obtaining favorable uninsured motorist payouts on behalf of our clients.How Much Will My Insurance Company Pay Me?
In most cases, a person's uninsured motorist coverage mirrors his or her car insurance liability policy. If your motor vehicle insurance policy pays up to $30,000 per injured person at up to $60,000 per accident, your uninsured motorist insurance limits are likely the same.
If you are in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist insurance may not cover your expenses. If your injuries cost $40,000 in medical bills and your insurance only includes $30,000, you will still have to pay $10,000 out-of-pocket for your expenses.
In North Carolina, uninsured motorist insurance usually covers the following situations:
- Accidents caused by a motorist who does not have liability insurance
- Accidents caused by a driver whose insurance company denies liability
- Accidents caused by a motorist whose insurance company has become bankrupt
- Accidents caused by a motorist who drove an uninsured vehicle despite having insurance
Even if your motor vehicle accident falls into one of the above categories, your insurance company may still deny your claim. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our attorneys have experience aggressively negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of our clients.What if I Was Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Hit and run accidents can be incredibly stressful. Your uninsured motorist cover should cover your vehicle and bodily injuries up to the amount of your policy limits.
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident and need to file an uninsured motorist insurance claim, we can help. Contact the skilled Charlotte uninsured motorist attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.