Tag Archive for: Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Passenger Accident Claims And Insurance

If you are a passenger in a car accident, you will potentially have numerous options available to compensate you for your personal injury claim. Except for in limited circumstances, passengers are not at fault for car accidents. This means liability (who is at fault) will not be contested. Instead, your claim will be fought over the injuries and which insurance company should pay for those injuries.

Pursuing Your Passenger Accident Claim

Working with a personal injury law firm will protect your rights as you attempt to recover from your injuries from a car accident. The personal injury lawyer will also help you sort through the liability associated with the accident. The first thing the lawyer will ask for is a copy of the police report from the accident.  Typically, the police report will contain statements from both drivers, together with a diagram of the accident. There are numerous sections of the police report where the attending officer makes notes which help tell the story of the accident. These notes contain everything from the estimated speed of the vehicles upon impact, to the road conditions. Lastly, the police report will also make note of any citations given to either driver, which can dramatically help or affect your case depending upon the citation.

If you do not have a police report from the accident, we can assist you with obtaining one at no cost. Just click HERE to request one.

Starting Your Personal Injury Passenger Accident Claim

Assuming the police report indicates the other driver is at fault, the most logical entity to pursue is the insurance company for the other driver. In North Carolina, there are insurance minimums that each driver must carry. The minimums in North Carolina are $30,000 for one person for bodily injury (“Personal Injury”) and $60,000 for injuries to two or more people in a single accident. Additionally, each driver must have $25,000 in property damage coverage; however, if you are a passenger the property damage aspect will most likely not affect you.

If you are a passenger, this means that the driver of your vehicle may also be injured. You can see how, depending upon the severity of the injury, the injuries for all individuals in your vehicle may exceed the amount of insurance the at-fault driver carries. If this is the case, you can also pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim by starting a second claim with the insurance of the driver of your vehicle.

Your personal injury attorney will advise you as to the specifics of this claim, and you must be careful not to settle for less than the full policy amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy if you intend to pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim. Lastly, the underinsured motorist limits must exceed the limits of the policy of the at-fault driver. If your claim comes to this crossroads, your personal injury attorney’s skill set in navigating underinsured motorist coverage will help you tremendously.

What If Your Driver Is At Fault?

If the driver of your vehicle is at fault, this will not prevent you from recovering from your injuries. Provided you did not contribute to the accident, your lawyer can start a claim with the insurance company for your driver. The minimums mentioned above will still be in effect.

Recovering With Medical Payments Coverage In Passenger Accident Claims

Your personal injury lawyer can also pursue a medical payments claim for you. If you or the driver of your vehicle have medical payments coverage on your auto policies, you can submit medical bills from the accident. You will be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary medical expenses which stem from the accident. While these amounts are typically $1,000-$5,000 they can make all the difference in settling a personal injury claim. This is particularly true of a smaller claim.

If you are able to recover medical payments coverage, your lawyer should be able to successfully argue for you that your medical payments coverage is not subject to the Medical Liens in personal injury created by N.C.G.S. 44-49 and 44-50, which helps you to retain more of your settlement funds.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today About Passenger Accident Claims

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article “Passenger Accident Claims And Insurance” was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

We talk with injured individuals every day who ask about Uninsured Motorist Coverage. If you’re injured in an automobile accident and the other driver does not have insurance, you may think you can’t be compensated for your injuries. Generally, this is not true. This holds as well for individuals insured as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle accident victims.

In North Carolina, motorists are required to carry minimum insurance coverage. That coverage requires $30,000 for bodily injury, $60,000 for total bodily injury for all persons in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Lastly, they are also required to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage and underinsured motorist coverage of $25,000.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is exactly what it sounds like. If someone without insurance injures you in an auto accident, your Uninsured Motorist Coverage will pay for your property damage and bodily injury. Placing a claim with your insurance company in this manner will not affect your insurance rates. If you’re hit by a hit and run driver, you should also be able to access your Uninsured Motorist Coverage—be ready though, your insurance company will want to know plenty of details about the accident and the hit and run driver before they will provide coverage. The reason is that insurance companies are fearful that drivers make up hit-and-run stories as a way to create fraudulent claims.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured Motorist Coverage plays a different role than Uninsured Motorist Coverage. If your injuries cost more than the coverage the other driver has, you can access your Underinsured Motorist Coverage. However, there’s a catch—your Underinsured Motorist Coverage must be more than the coverage of the driver who hit you. Essentially, your policy will get a ‘credit’ for whatever has been paid. Take, for example, a situation where the at-fault driver has a policy of $30,000 and you have a policy of $50,000. If you reach a settlement for $30,000 with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you potentially have access to an additional $20,000 from your carrier ($50,000-$30,000).

Stacking Your Coverage

North Carolina has an anti-stacking statute. In states that allow stacking, the purchased coverage can be multiplied by the number of vehicles in the insurance plan. In an insurance plan that has $30,000 in Underinsured Motorist Coverage, if there are 3 vehicles in the plan, you would have access to $90,000 in Underinsured Motorist Coverage. North Carolina does not allow this mechanism for determining the amount of Underinsured Motorist Coverage available to you.

Separate Insurance Policies

If you have two separate insurance policies in your household, you may have the ability to ‘stack’ your Underinsured Motorist Coverage and your Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Where your damages exceed the coverage of the at-fault party, you can access one or both of your auto insurance plans to be fairly compensated for your injuries and lost wages.

Call A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

As you can see, insurance issues are complex. Having a law firm with the experience to understand the coverage available to you and your family is critical. If you would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer about a car accident, call us today at 704.749.7747. Or, click here for a FREE PERSONAL INJURY CONSULTATION and we’ll reach out to you quickly. We know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.