Will I Have to sue the Uninsured Motorist’s Insurance Company?

If you have suffered an injury in a North Carolina car accident, you may be concerned about how to recover compensation for your injuries. Injured parties can usually file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. What happens if the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim? You may be able to file an appeal with the insurance company itself. In other cases, you may need to file a lawsuit.

Experienced North Carolina Car Accident Attorneys

If you have suffered an injury due to a negligent or reckless driver in North Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we understand the challenging nature of healing from injuries caused by a car accident while trying to recover compensation for your injuries. North Carolina law allows car accident victims to seek full compensation for their physical and mental injuries. Our experienced car accident attorneys can help you explore a fair settlement with the at-fault driver's insurance company. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Filing a Lawsuit vs. Filing an Insurance Claim

Sometimes when new clients come to us for an initial consultation, they desire to file a lawsuit right away. While filing a lawsuit can be the best legal option in some cases, in other cases, pursuing an insurance claim is a better option. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, it is essential to understand your options. The difference between filing a civil lawsuit and filing a claim with the other driver's insurance company is significant.

Appealing an Insurance Claim Denial

Filing an insurance claim is different than filing a civil lawsuit. When submitting a claim, a person is requesting compensation from the insurance company itself. A claim is an internal process that the insurance company uses to determine whether to provide payment or deny the claim. When insurance companies deny a claim, they often offer an internal appeals process within the insurance company. A driver's contract with the insurance company should specify what type of appeals process is available to the driver. In some situations, a driver must undergo an arbitration process laid out in the contract.

Filing a Breach of Contract Suit Against an Insurance Company

Insurance companies enter into contracts with drivers. In exchange for the payment of an insurance premium, the insurance company offers insurance in the event of a car accident. When an insurance company fails to pay compensation to an injured party, the injured party may be able to sue the insurance company for breach of contract. To prove breach of contract, the injured party would need to prove that the insurance company violated the terms of its contract or agreement with the driver.

Plaintiffs who successfully sue insurance companies for breach of contract are entitled to damages in North Carolina. Courts may award plaintiffs the following types of compensation:

  • Attorney fees and costs
  • Liquidated or cash damages
  • Specific performance (making the insurance company perform its part of the contact)
  • Injunctive relief

North Carolina courts will only enforce provisions of the contract that have a basis in North Carolina law. Typically, a person cannot recover punitive damages or emotional damages from a breach of contract, unlike in personal injury claims. Sometimes the insurance agreement or contract will specify the remedies available for breach of contract.

Conversely, some insurance contracts limit the number of damages to which a customer is entitled if a breach of contract occurs. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our skilled attorneys can help you determine if an insurance company is breaching its contract. North Carolina residents have three years to file a breach of contract lawsuit.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Filing a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit is different than filing an internal appeal with an insurance company or filing a breach of contract lawsuit against an insurance company. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party seeks caused by another person’s negligent or reckless actions or omissions.

If you have suffered an injury from a car accident, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver. You may also be able to sue the at-fault driver's employer, or, in some instances a government entity that negligently caused the accident. If you are interested in seeking compensation for your injuries, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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