As a car accident injury attorney living and working near the border between Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), I am always mindful of the way we have to service injured cleints in both states.
See these related VA/NC car accident articles:
- Distracted Teen Drivers in and around NC
- VA Seat Belt Law Loophole Allows Backseat Drivers to Remain Unbuckled
Although some of our injured clients are only in VA and their cases have nothing to do with NC, its amazing how often there is some NC issue in a VA car accident case. Fortunately, I have a license in both Virginia and North Carolina and am familiar with dealing with the issues that come up where there is an overlap of law between the two states in a car crash case.
There are all kinds of combinations that lead to VA-NC issues in accident injury cases, especially in southeastern VA and northeast NC. For example many people living in northeast NC commute to VA for work. If they get hurt on the job they have in Virginia workers compensation insurance claim even though they live in Moyock, NC or some where else across the border. Another common pattern is all of the cars that we see driving around in Hampton Roads, VA from NC. If you get hit by a car from NC in VA there are issues about how you sue and get service or subpoena on an NC resident.
The insurance law pertaining to car wrecks is different in VA and NC. Both states have medical payments coverage instead personal injury protection (P.I.P.) coverage on their automobile policies where applicable. However, the rules about how to calculate the exact amount of coverage for instance stacking the number of cars with medical payments coverage to reach the total available medical payments insurance available in these states.
Perhaps most importantly, there are different rules about the handling of under insured motorist coverage. In VA, you can not settle the case against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance and then later go after the underinsured motorist coverage in a separate direct suit against the insurance company. If you try to do this in VA, you will lose the right to make the insurance claim against the under insured motorist coverage for failing to secure their permission to settle the liability case. This is a less good system than that in NC insurance law.
In NC, if you are in a car crash, it’s possible to settle first with the insurance company for the at-fault driver and disburse that money to you so you can pay off any outstanding medical bills before filing a claim against any uninsured motorist coverage. The risk for the client and the unaware lawyer who only practices in NC or only in VA is not realizing that the law is different in the two states. If a NC injury lawyer is not aware of how the issue works in VA and tries to settle the liability case, like he can normally do under NC insurance law without getting the under insured motorist carriers permission, he may seriously harm the client’s rights in a major accident case.