North Carolina law requires car owners to maintain uninsured motorists (UM) coverage on their vehicles in the same amount they are covered by their liability coverage. A UM policy pays if the policyholder is injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver — which includes about 7.5% of North Carolina drivers, according to estimates. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage applies in crashes involving an at fault driver who doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover all the injuries caused by the collision.
Recovering compensation for car accident injuries under a UM or UIM policy requires filing an insurance claim against your own insurance policy. However, your insurance company may dispute your claim if the fault is unclear or offer you a settlement that does not fairly compensate you for your losses.
Why You Need an Attorney If You Are Injured by an Uninsured Motorist
If the at fault driver is uninsured, you will be dealing with your own insurance company. You may think that, because it’s YOUR insurance company, they will treat you fairly. In reality, your own insurance company is just as likely to treat you unfairly as another person’s. Threatening to cancel your policy and “take your business elsewhere” will have no effect on the adjuster.
Insurance companies are required to keep a “Chinese wall” between their agents, who sell you the policy, and their adjusters, who pay claims. This means that the agent, who is probably losing a commission, cannot put pressure on the adjuster in order to please his/her client.
When push comes to shove, the only real pressure you can put on an adjuster is the threat of legal action. Actually having a lawyer, instead of just threatening to get a lawyer, makes that threat much more imminent, thus putting much more pressure on the adjuster.
One very significant benefit of having UM in North Carolina is that your policy specifically allows you to choose to resolve the claim by arbitration instead of a jury trial. Arbitration is typically much cheaper and quicker than a jury trial, and the verdicts are typically higher as well. Even though arbitration is simpler than a jury trial, a qualified, experienced attorney is still necessary.
A North Carolina uninsured motorist lawyer with Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can help you establish fault in an accident and pursue the full extent of your recoverable losses.
Why You Need an Attorney If You Are Injured by an Underinsured Motorist
The mere fact that we are discussing UIM means that you believe it will take over $30,000 to fairly compensate you for your injuries, so you must have relatively serious injuries. Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries are, the higher the expected settlement. The higher the expected settlement, the greater your need to make sure things are done right.
Why would you never close on buying a home without a closing attorney? A home is such a large investment, you cannot afford to make a mistake. Similarly, a large car insurance settlement is such a potentially large amount of money that you cannot afford to make a mistake. A knowledgeable, honest, dependable North Carolina attorney, such as those with Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can help you avoid costly mistakes.
Just as with UM, one very significant benefit of having UIM in North Carolina is that your policy specifically allows you to choose to resolve the claim by arbitration instead of a jury trial. Arbitration is typically much cheaper and quicker than a jury trial, and the verdicts are typically higher as well. Even though arbitration is simpler than a jury trial, a qualified, experienced attorney is still necessary.