Were You Hit By An Uninsured Or Underinsured Driver?
Despite laws requiring every vehicle owner to carry insurance, many North Carolina drivers are uninsured. In other cases, they may have insurance but not enough to fully cover the costs of a serious accident they caused. What are the rights and legal options of car accident victims in these types of cases?
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, the information on this page might answer some of your questions. But there is no substitute for case-specific advice, so we invite you to contact Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP, to get your questions answered in a free consultation.
You Have Some Coverage Under Your Own Policy
North Carolina law mandates that uninsured/underinsured coverage be included under minimum policy coverage requirements for all insurance plans. If you were hit by someone without insurance, your policy would cover at least:
- $30,000 in bodily injury costs for you or someone else on your policy, or up to $60,000 to cover two or more people
- Up to $25,000 in property damage to the insured vehicle if struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver
This same coverage would apply if you were struck in a hit-and-run accident and the at-fault driver could not be found.
You May Need To Fight Your Insurer For This Compensation
Even though you have the coverage noted above, you’ll still need to file a claim with your insurer. Unfortunately, the insurer may very well try to deny the claim, usually citing North Carolina’s contributory negligence theory.
Most states have laws that allow injured victims to seek and claim compensation even if they were partially at fault for the crash (and their payout would simply be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to them). These are known as comparative negligence states.
North Carolina recognizes a rigid and inflexible legal principle known as contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, you are ineligible to collect damages if you are even 1% at fault for the crash. When you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim against your own policy, your insurer essentially becomes the defendant in the case. As such, the company can (and likely will) try to claim contributory negligence as a way to avoid paying the claim.
This is one of the many reasons why you should work with a skilled attorney after a car accident, even if you only intend to file a claim against your own policy. Insurance companies are primarily interested in protecting their profits, which means they will try to deny or limit your claim if at all possible. Our attorneys will aggressively advocate for your rights and argue that you shared no fault for the crash.
Contact Us Today To Schedule Your Free Consultation
North Carolina’s liability laws are very black-and-white, and that can make it hard for the average car accident victim to claim the insurance coverage and other compensation they should be entitled to. Our attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett have more than 58 combined years of experience helping car accident victims. We can likely help you, too.