If you are in a car accident, one of the first things you should do, after making sure you are safe and not seriously injured, is ask for the other driver’s insurance information. When you are confident that the other driver was responsible for the crash, you should immediately plan to file a claim against their insurance. Unfortunately, the other driver may provide you with an insurance policy number only to later discover that the driver does not have an active insurance policy. Or, you may begin the insurance claim process and find out that the negligent driver’s insurance coverage is much too low to compensate you for all of your injuries and medical treatment. In these situations, you are dealing with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, and you should have an experienced attorney help you ensure you receive as much compensation as possible.
A Charlotte uninsured car accident lawyer from Randall & Stump, PLLC is here to help you. We will thoroughly investigate the crash and gather evidence to show the other driver was at fault. We will also scrutinize whether any insurance policies may cover your injuries. If the driver was in another person’s vehicle or a rental car, then the vehicle owner’s policy may cover your injuries. Or, you may have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage through your own insurance policy, which you may be able to benefit from. Otherwise, without insurance, your only option for obtaining compensation may be through filing a personal injury lawsuit.
When a Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured
Any vehicle registered in North Carolina is required to maintain a certain amount of liability insurance, including at least:
• $30,000 of bodily injury coverage, per person per accident
• $60,000 of bodily injury coverage, total per accident
• $25,000 of property damage coverage, total per accident
These policies are intended to cover the damage a negligent driver may cause in an accident. When another motorist hits you, you may likely suffer injuries and damage to your vehicle, this liability coverage should be available to compensate you for your damages.
A driver may not have any insurance coverage despite North Carolina’s law. When the driver is entirely without insurance, they are referred to as an uninsured motorist. If such a driver hits you, you will need to speak with a Charlotte uninsured motorist lawyer about filing an uninsured motorist claim under your own auto insurance policy or pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
You could also be hit by what is called an underinsured driver. An underinsured motorist is someone who has auto insurance coverage, but the policy limits are too low to cover your damages. In many cases, the driver may have North Carolina’s minimally-required amounts of coverage, or they may be from out-of-state and have an amount of insurance that is lower than North Carolina’s requirements. In either situation, you should speak with a lawyer about filing a lawsuit and/or seeking compensation through an underinsured motorist insurance claim.
If you are in a car accident and the other driver has no insurance, contact a Charlotte uninsured motorists lawyer from Randall & Stump, PLLC as soon as possible. Dealing with uninsured/underinsured motorist claims can be challenging. By working with an attorney, you have someone to review every possible aspect of your case while fighting for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
What About Your Insurance?
After being in a car accident with someone without insurance, one of the more straightforward ways to pursue compensation is by filing a first-party claim against your own policy. However, you must carry uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage or another relevant policy for your own insurer to help you.
After being involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, you may be covered if you pay for:
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
This type of insurance typically covers your bodily injuries when you are hit by a driver without any auto insurance or after a hit and run. It usually does not cover property damage unless you specifically purchase a policy that offers both types of coverage, or you purchase a separate uninsured motorist property damage policy.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This type of policy kicks in when the at-fault driver’s policy limit is below the value of your injuries. Under traditional coverage, you may receive your policy amount minus the at-fault driver’s policy limit. However, you may be able to stack policies. In this case, you can receive both up to the at-fault driver’s policy limit, as well as compensation from your own policy.
Another type of insurance policy that can cover your property damage after an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you is collision coverage. This will pay for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after a crash.
If you have one or more of these policies, you may be able to file a first-party claim and pursue compensation. Since it is your own insurer, you likely trust them to pay you a fair amount. However, we still recommend working with a Charlotte uninsured motorists lawyer to ensure that no detail in your case goes unnoticed.
Suing an Uninsured Motorist
After an accident with an uninsured driver, you need to retain the help of an attorney who is familiar with these types of cases. Following your crash, you might have discovered that the other driver did not have any insurance. Or, if you were taken away from the scene to receive medical attention, you might have learned this a few days later when you spoke with the police and obtained a copy of the crash report. Once you know the at-fault driver was uninsured, call Randall & Stump, PLLC to discuss the possibility of an uninsured motorist claim.
If the other driver is simply underinsured, you can pursue compensation through both a third-party insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit. However, if the negligent driver is entirely uninsured, then your only options are through your own insurance coverage or a personal injury lawsuit.
If the uninsured motorist caused bodily injury, it is even more essential you speak to an experienced attorney about your options. It is important that you have a Charlotte uninsured motorists lawyer research your potential options for compensation. If there truly is no insurance coverage, then your only option is to sue the driver for damages.
Suing an Underinsured Motorist
Suing an underinsured driver for damages is not a simple matter. To begin, your attorney will thoroughly investigate the crash to gather proof of the other driver’s negligence. If there is strong evidence that they were responsible for the crash, then you may pursue compensation through the third-party insurance claim process, or a personal injury lawsuit. Filing such a suit is often important to gain additional information that can help you prove fault. It may also be the only way to obtain a final and accurate answer regarding the at-fault driver’s policy limit.
Your underinsured motorist lawyer will fight for you to receive the negligent driver’s full policy amount. When this may not be enough to cover all of your physical, psychological, and financial injuries, then your lawyer may need to pursue additional compensation by filing a lawsuit against the responsible driver.
An underinsured motorist claim including pain and suffering can take some time, and it is essential you have an experienced lawyer who will do their research. An attorney will look at every aspect of your case for a relevant insurance policy and will examine each possible avenue for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
If you can obtain a judgement against an underinsured motorist, your attorney will guide you through enforcing that claim.