What Options Do Victims Have When At-Fault Driver Has Minimum or No Insurance?

When most people purchase auto insurance, they usually do so with the mindset that the insurance coverage will protect them in the event they are in a car accident and the accident is their fault. Often we don’t consider that our auto insurance policy should cover us if an accident we are in was caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Or even worse – a hit and run driver. It is for these reasons that it’s important to know just what type of accident coverage you are purchasing.

NC Auto Insurance Requirements

Under North Carolina law, every vehicle owner must have liability coverage. The minimum coverage requirements are $30,000 bodily injury for each person, $60,000 total bodily injury for all persons in an accident and $25,000 for property damage. Bodily injury damages include medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, disability, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, lawsuit settlements, and legal expenses. Property damage includes the repair or actual cash value of another driver’s vehicle or other property and legal expenses.

Other Coverage Options

If a person has only the minimum coverage requirements and is found to be at fault for a car accident, their policy would only pay up to $30,000 for one person who was injured in the crash, or up to $60,000 for all injured parties in the crash.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just the hospitalization costs alone for a victim who sustains serious injuries in a crash average about $60,000. That figure does not include other medical expenses such a doctors’ visits, rehabilitation services, medical devices, and medications. There are also other financial losses the victim may suffer, notably lost wages and benefits if they are unable to work while they recover from their injuries.

Someone with minimum insurance coverage would not even potentially be able to cover the cost of one car crash victim.

This is why it is important to consider other vehicle insurance coverage, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM). Medical payments coverage is another option many North Carolina drivers choose to add to their auto policies.

If You Are Injured in an Accident

The bottom line is that insurance companies are in business to make money. If you are injured in a car crash caused by a UM/UIM driver, don’t assume that your insurance company will willingly hand over the damages you deserve under your insurance policy. Even though it may be “your” insurance company, they may do whatever they can to manipulate you into settling for less. Having a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney advocating for you with all parties involved – whether it’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company or yours – will ensure that you will receive the compensation you should for the injuries you have suffered.

To learn more and find out what legal options you may have for the losses you have suffered due to car accident injuries, call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.