When you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, NC, it is typically possible to recover compensatory damages with the help of a Charlotte car accident lawyer. Normally, you would stop after crashes, exchange insurance information with the other driver and later file a claim for damages. North Carolina is an at-fault state, so if the crash was caused by the negligence of the other driver, he or she is obliged to pay for your damages out of their insurance policy.
However, things are a lot different when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident. When this is the case, you can’t file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, as the driver doesn’t have insurance. Similarly, if your crash was caused by an underinsured driver, a claim with the driver’s insurer will not cover the full extent of your damages.
In such accidents, you may feel like you will have to bear medical costs, vehicle repair expenses, and other losses from the crash. However, the good news is that you still have options that you can use to recover compensation for your losses.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Also known as UM/UIM, this type of coverage offers you protection precisely in situations where a crash is caused by the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver. The best thing about UM/UIM coverage is that you have to file the claim with your own insurer. In most cases, this means that the process of recovering damages speeds up. You also don’t have to waste any time going after the at-fault driver.
As per North Carolina General Statutes Section 20-279.21, the uninsured motorist coverage is included with the minimum liability coverage by default. This means that the coverage is mandatory. The minimum amount for the coverage is $30,000. A driver must provide in writing that he or she wants to opt out of the coverage in order not to purchase it. Most drivers are not aware that they have UM/UIM coverage as a part of their auto insurance policy.
UIM is very handy in situations involving uninsured drivers involved in a car accident. The basic coverage allows you to recover $30,000 in collision damages. You can also purchase greater amounts of coverage to protect you against larger losses in a UIM crash.
When it comes to underinsured motorist coverage, it must be equal to the highest limits of bodily injury liability coverage per vehicle, with a maximum of up to $1,000,000.
Filing a Claim with the Underinsured Driver
If an underinsured driver caused your accident, you can file a claim for damages with the insurer of the at-fault driver. Given that the driver doesn’t have enough insurance, you will not be able to recover the full amount of compensatory damages. You can then file a UM/UIM claim with your insurer and seek to have the rest of the amount recouped through this claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
In the unlikely event that you don’t carry UM/UIM coverage, and the other driver has no insurance or very little insurance, you have one final legal option. You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, this is a step that must be undertaken with the advice of a qualified Charlotte car accident lawyer.
This is because a lawsuit takes a considerable amount of time and involves various expenses. Even if the lawsuit is successful, you will be able to get any money if the at-fault driver has any assets that can be liquidated. If the driver doesn’t have sufficient assets, you won’t be able to get any compensation and the whole effort would be a waste.
This is why relying on your UM/UIM coverage is your best in the event of a crash involving uninsured or underinsured drivers. This option guarantees that you will get compensation, and it also ensures that your compensation is not delayed.
Hiring a Reliable Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries and other losses caused by a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver in Charlotte, NC, it is important to get legal help at the earliest. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we have a long experience of handling cases involving uninsured or underinsured drivers. We work with you to see if you can seek damages under UM/UIM coverage, or file with the other driver’s insurer. We can also help you determine if a lawsuit is a viable option if other options are not available. Call us today to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.