North Carolina law requires that motorists purchase and maintain an auto insurance policy that covers specific minimum amounts. For whatever reason, the driver may not follow the law.
Thankfully, it does not have to come at your expense. If you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver or have been involved in a hit-and-run, you can still get financial compensation for your injuries when the other driver was at fault for the crash.
Uninsured Coverage Minimums With Your Policy
North Carolina law requires that auto insurance companies include uninsured motorist coverage as part of the policy. The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage is:
- $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 for injuries to two people in one accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
You have the ability to purchase more coverage. The amount of uninsured motorist coverage will be equal to your amount of coverage, up to $1 million. Insurance companies are under no obligation to offer uninsured motorist coverage over that amount. Given the escalating costs of car accidents, it is in your interest to have more coverage.
If your uninsured motorist coverage is not enough to pay for your car accident damages, you can file a civil lawsuit against the responsible driver. However, many uninsured motorist cases involve hit-and-run motorists, so you may not have anyone to sue. Further, if someone does not have the money for a car insurance policy, they may not have the assets for you to go after once you get a judgment against them.
You Need a Police Report When You File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
If you are filing a claim against your own insurance policy, you will need documentation to support the fact that you were in an accident with an uninsured driver. While you should always call the police to the scene of an accident when there is injury or damage, you must do it when the other driver does not have insurance. The police report will be the documentation you will use when you file a claim against your policy.
When you file a claim against your insurance policy for an uninsured motorist accident, you will face many of the same challenges you face when you file a claim against the other driver’s insurance. You may still need to prove that the other driver was responsible for the crash, even if there was a hit-and-run. Then, you will need to negotiate with your own insurance company to get the right amount of compensation for your injuries.
Your Insurance Company Will Also Be Difficult
Do not assume that your insurance company will handle the matter any better than another company. It does not matter that you have been their customer for years and have paid thousands of dollars of premiums. Customer loyalty often goes out the window when the shoe is on the other foot and you need something from the insurance company. They may still try to underpay you for your accident injuries. You need an attorney to put the pressure on any insurance company, including the one that considers you a customer.
Your Damages in an Uninsured Motorist Car Accident
In any car accident case, you are entitled to the following damages, whether from your insurance company or the other driver’s. Your settlement check will include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Your Insurance Company May Use Questionable Tactics
You will need to reach a settlement agreement with your insurance company since they have the legal obligation to pay you in an uninsured motorist accident. Your insurance company may use a number of tactics to make your life more difficult, including:
- Denying your claim based on an unreasonable reading of your policy or insistence on documentation that they do not need
- Making you a low settlement offer that is worth far less than the value of your claim
- Delaying your claim to wear you down
- Incrementally raising their settlement offer to add time to your claim
Where North Carolina law is unique is that you cannot file a lawsuit against your own insurance company if they deny your claim or will not offer you enough money. Even though the matter does not head to court, you still have legal rights. Your case against the insurance company will lead to arbitration, where you will receive a binding decision about the case. You still have a chance to make your case to an arbitrator, and they will decide based on the facts and the law.
Just because you are dealing with your own insurance company does not mean that you will not need an attorney. Given the difficult realities of the situation, you should obtain an attorney.
Call a Wilmington Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you have legal rights. The attorneys at Horton & Mendez are here to protect your rights and work for you to get financial compensation for your injuries. You can reach out to us online or call us at (910) 668-8067 to set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
Car Accident Case FAQs
Can I negotiate with the insurance company?
If the insurance company makes an inadequate settlement offer, you can reject it and counter with your own offer.
How much will a car accident attorney cost me?
We work for you on a contingency basis, meaning that we only get money if you win your case. We are not paid if you are not paid.
What if I was injured by an uninsured motorist in a pedestrian accident?
You can still file an uninsured motorist claim against your car insurance policy.