What Happens if You Get Hit by an Underinsured or Uninsured Driver in North Carolina?
If you were in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you might be wondering if you can be compensated for your medical bills and the damage to your vehicle. Fortunately, North Carolina has laws in place to address accidents that occur with underinsured or uninsured drivers. If you were struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should consult with an experienced Charlotte car accident lawyer. The accident lawyers at Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. are prepared to help you fight your car accident case. Our firm deals with various types of accident cases like truck accidents or bus accidents, and we will put that experience to work for you. Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. are here to explain what happens if you get hit by an underinsured or uninsured driver in North Carolina.
The Difference Between Underinsured and Uninsured Car Accidents
Distinguishing between accidents with underinsured and uninsured drivers is important when determining the compensation a car accident victim will receive. An underinsured driver is a driver that possesses the bare minimum of vehicle insurance that is legally allowed in North Carolina. This means that an underinsured driver’s vehicle insurance may not be enough to cover the damages to your vehicle and your medical bills.
An uninsured driver is a driver that possesses no vehicle insurance at all. North Carolina laws mandate that insurance providers must have policies that include uninsured motorist coverage. In some cases, insurance providers may even be required to offer underinsured motorist coverage.
If your insurance company believes you are an “inexperienced operator,” this may make it difficult to obtain underinsurance coverage. An inexperienced operator is a licensed driver that possesses less than three years of driving experience. Inexperienced drivers will face higher rates for insurance and underinsurance coverage and may increase a driver’s rates if they are added to their policy.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage can provide compensation for injuries you suffered and damages to your vehicle. Uninsured motorist coverage even protects your family members and any person you authorized to drive your vehicle. This means that if you permit another person to drive your car and they are in an accident, your insurance will compensate them for their injuries in accordance with the policy limits of your insurance.
To exercise your uninsured motorist coverage policy rights, you must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident and your injuries. If your insurance provider discovers that you were partially at fault for the accident, they may deny your claim.
As mentioned above, the amount you can recover under uninsured motorist coverage depends on your policy limitations. According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI), the minimum coverage insurance for drivers in North Carolina is:
- $30,000 bodily injury liability for each person injured in the accident
- $60,000 bodily injury liability for all people involved in the accident
- $25,000 for property damage
All vehicle insurance policies with minimum bodily injury and property coverage must include uninsured motorist coverage. If the insurance policy provides more than minimum coverage, it must also provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
A covered driver can claim underinsured motorist coverage when an underinsured driver is at fault in a vehicle collision with the covered driver. Underinsured drivers typically possess vehicle insurance that cannot cover the expenses of an accident that they cause.
In North Carolina, underinsured motorist coverage does not provide protection for property damage. According to the NCDOI, underinsured coverage will only provide for the “maximum of the difference” between the underinsured driver’s liability limits and your underinsured motorist coverage limits. Additionally, your insurance company will not provide you with underinsured motorist coverage if you settle a claim for bodily injury or property damage without the insurance company’s written consent.
Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured coverage also covers injuries to your family, anyone you authorized to drive your vehicle, and anyone inside your vehicle during the accident.
People who are injured by underinsured drivers also have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You should decide quickly if you want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in order to preserve evidence needed for your case. Also, there is a three-year deadline for personal injury cases in North Carolina. If you do not file on time, the court may bar your claim.
Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Recover Damages
If you or a family member was injured in a car accident, you should contact an experienced Charlotte car accident attorney. The attorneys at Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A. are here to help you hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. Getting hit by an underinsured or uninsured driver does not mean that they can escape without liability. To schedule a free consultation for your case, call us at (704) 377-3737 or reach us online.