North Carolina Car Insurance Coverage Basics | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Insurance claims adjusters do not welcome questions from personal injury victims. Provided they take a call or open email at all, they only want to know whether a claim is being dropped or if their settlement offer has been accepted.

best North Carolina car accident injury lawyerThis is not an attack against the people who work for insurance companies. Their job is to protect their employer’s interests. And their employer is not interested in paying out large amounts to victims of car crashes or truck crashes. This is just the reality. It is also the reason that the personal injury attorneys with our law firm stand up for people who must file insurance claims.


Receiving full compensation for all the harms inflicted by a negligent or reckless driver requires know what an auto insurance policy covers and what a crash victim can request. Here, based on our decades of experience advising and representing clients in North Carolina, are brief descriptions of the basic coverages offered by all auto insurance policies sold in the state.


As you read, keep in mind that each personal injury case involving a car crash or truck accident is different. The amount and types of compensation will depend on several factors, including the severity of the injuries, the costs for emergency and ongoing medical care, the degree of emotional distress and psychological trauma, and even the coverage limits in the at-fault driver’s policy.

The Payment of Past and Future Medical Bills Forms the Basis of a Settlement or Jury Award

Succeeding with a personal injury claim requires submitting convincing evidence that you sustained physical injuries that required medical care. Hospital and emergency room bills, prescription orders, pharmacy receipts, therapist notes and assessments from medical experts constitute strong proof.

Medical expenses are direct economic damages incurred only because of the injuries inflicted by the at-fault driver. As such, they can be paid through the liability coverage provisions of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. When the liability coverage limit is reached before full compensation is made for economic damages, the crash victim can invoke the uninsured and underinsured provisions of their own car insurance policy.

Be aware that insurance claims adjusters will request medical records. Crash victims should respond carefully. Partnering with an experienced personal injury lawyer will give the injured person an advocate who can handle communications with the insurance company and who will work to ensure that only medical information relevant to the crash and its aftermath is released.

A Settlement or Award Can Include Lost Wages and Compensation for a Reduction in Lifetime Earnings

It can take weeks or months to recover from a crash. For this reason, an at-fault driver’s insurance can be made to replace lost wages. When the crash leaves a victim permanently disabled, a settlement or jury award can also include money that makes up what the victim can no longer earn by pursuing their chosen profession.

Do Not Allow the Insurance Company to Discount Your Pain and Suffering

Physical pain, emotional distress, loss of companionship, reduced enjoyment of life and mental trauma are noneconomic damages inflicted by car crashes and truck accidents. Each deserve compensation even though an exact price cannot be calculated. A personal injury attorney who has handled cases like yours will know how to estimate a fair settlement for pain and suffering as a percentage of the economic damages.

Property Damage Payments Are Typically Dictated by the Terms of the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Policy

Claims for car repairs or vehicle replacement are typically handled in conjunction with personal injury claims for economic and noneconomic damages. The crash victim may need to work with their own insurer at first, but a settlement or jury award would then provide reimbursement. Such an arrangement ensures the victim incurs as few out-of-pocket expenses as possible.

Ask About a Rental Car When You First File Your Insurance Claim

In nearly all cases, an insurance company is required to provide a comparable replacement vehicle while your car is being repaired or until a cash payout for a totaled vehicle is made. This obligation for the at-driver’s insurance company is distinct from the rental reimbursement provisions in the crash victim’s own policy.