North Carolina law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance on their vehicles. However, some drivers are still either uninsured or underinsured. When an uninsured or underinsured driver gets into a car accident, the lack of coverage can cause problems for him or her as well as for the other people involved in the accident, who may have suffered serious injuries.
What Do You Do After an Auto Accident with an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver?
When you are in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver in Charlotte, North Carolina, you need to know what your options are. The following tips will help:
- Call a police officer to the scene. It is always best to call the police in any accident, but it’s essential in cases where accidents involve uninsured or underinsured drivers. The police officer will make a report of the accident, which will be useful when you try to recover your expenses and damages.
- Take pictures of all evidence, such as skid marks, damage to the car, injuries, or any other important details at the accident scene.
- Get the other driver’s contact details and insurance information, if they have insurance. Write down the model and vehicle number, as well.
- If there were any witnesses on the scene, request their contact information. Having witnesses will support your claim.
- Contact your insurance company. The amount of coverage that you receive will depend on a few variables, like the extent of your injuries and your insurance policy. If your insurance policy includes uninsured or underinsured motorist protection (UIM coverage), then you will probably receive sufficient compensation. If your policy doesn’t protect you from uninsured motorists, then you should contact a Charlotte, North Carolina auto accident attorney, who will help you explore other options.
Why Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is So Important
All auto insurance companies in Charlotte, North Carolina are required to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. It is not a legal requirement for you to purchase this coverage, but if you choose not to purchase it, the North Carolina Department of Insurance guidelines require that you deny the coverage in writing.
Uninsured motorist coverage offers protection if you have been injured in an accident which was caused by the negligence of another driver, when that driver did not have the legally required auto insurance. To receive uninsured motorist coverage, you must prove that the uninsured driver caused the accident.
Underinsured motorists’ coverage offers protection if you have been involved in an accident where the at-fault driver had insurance, but their insurance policy is insufficient and cannot completely cover your damages. This coverage will pay the difference between the amount that you receive from the at-fault driver’s insurance and the amount that is needed to fully cover your damages. For underinsured motorist coverage, you must likewise show that the underinsured driver is legally liable for the accident.
Generally, auto insurance is purchased to cover your liabilities, in case you cause an accident. All drivers are required to carry auto insurance to protect others in case of an accident. However, the UIM insurance coverage is purchased to protect yourself and the passengers in your car from any damage caused by other uninsured or underinsured drivers. Moreover, the uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage also addresses pain and suffering, psychological trauma, funeral costs, property damage, and more.
Having uninsured/underinsured motorist protection is extremely important. There are several drivers who do not carry insurance, despite being required to by law, or who carry the bare minimum of required insurance, which is often not enough. If you get into an accident with such a driver while you do not have the UM/UIM insurance coverage, then it could be a stressful ordeal to face the huge pile of medical bills and other expenses that follow. An uninsured/underinsured motorists protection policy, in addition to your liability insurance, will ensure that you are protected in any kind of auto accident, whether you caused it or not.
Proving that the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured
Typically, when you are involved in a car accident, you exchange insurance information with the other driver. If, while doing so, you find out that the other driver is uninsured, you will want to get a signed statement from the driver stating that he or she has no insurance. You should also try to get proof of the driver being uninsured from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It is essential to obtain proof to speed the process of receiving coverage. If you believe that the driver that caused your accident was uninsured, then you need to contact your insurance company to notify them, immediately. You can then file a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Consequences for Not Carrying Auto Insurance in Charlotte, North Carolina
If a driver is caught driving without auto insurance in Charlotte, North Carolina, he or she is subject to legal penalties, and will have to pay a fine. In some cases, an uninsured driver can also face jail time. The fine ranges from $50- $150, and can be even greater if the driver is involved in a serious auto accident. Driving without auto insurance is considered a Class I misdemeanor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the driver may face jail time with probation of up to 45 days.
Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates for a Free Consultation
There are several rules and regulations that have to be taken into consideration when you have been involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver. There are also various complex processes to deal with, and you will need to gather evidence. In cases where you or the passengers in your vehicle have suffered severe injuries, or if there were multiple passengers in the car, the medical bills and other expenses can easily exceed the minimum coverage requirements. For this reason, it will benefit you greatly to consult an experienced Charlotte NC car accident attorney after any auto accident involving serious damages. Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates to schedule your initial appointment and discuss your options.