Driving a car comes with significant responsibility. Before you can even get behind the wheel, you have to pass a driving exam and prove you understand the rules of the road.
Unfortunately, some drivers ignore one of the most important rules for operating a vehicle: securing auto insurance. No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. That’s why maintaining car insurance is mandatory in the state of North Carolina. Yet some drivers ignore this rule, putting themselves and other drivers in danger. Not just physical danger, but financial danger.
Can you afford to cover unexpected medical bills and property damage? What about losing income because an injury prevents you from working? If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver it can feel like you are on the hook financially for a situation you didn’t cause.
At DeMayo Law Offices we understand the frustration you feel when trying to deal with an uninsured driver, but you do have options for recovering compensation. Contact the team of Charlotte car accident lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices to find out how we can help you with an uninsured motorist claim. Call (704) 333-1000 to schedule a no-obligation consultation and let us help you get the money you deserve.
Charlotte Insurance Laws
In order to safely operate a motor vehicle, laws have been designed to protect everyone traveling on North Carolina roadways. You must have a valid driver’s license, you must obey all traffic lights and signs, and you must have valid car insurance. These laws are meant to protect you and other drivers. All North Carolina drivers must carry at least the minimum coverage required by state law in order to legally operate a motor vehicle. The minimum amount of insurance coverage required is as follows:
- $30,000 for bodily injury liability (one person)
- $60,000 for bodily injury liability (two or more people)
- $25,000 for property damage
These requirements outline the basic coverage every driver needs in order to help pay for medical bills and property damage following a car accident. This type of coverage is typically referred to as “liability coverage.” Liability coverage only covers the damages incurred by the other driver, not your own. Drivers can choose to pay additional premiums to increase their amount of coverage. For example, a driver may also choose to get comprehensive coverage, which could help cover damages from hail or vandalism. A driver could also opt for collision coverage, which can help pay for vehicle repairs if they are involved in a collision.
In addition to mandatory liability coverage, the state of North Carolina requires that every driver carry uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can help drivers recover losses in the event they are hit by a driver not carrying the required amount of coverage. As a consumer, it is important to be aware that uninsured motorist coverage is not always the same thing as underinsured motorist coverage. Review the specifics of your policy with your preferred insurance carrier to make sure you have the correct coverage.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in North Carolina
A driver caught operating a vehicle in Charlotte without the proper automotive insurance can find themselves facing penalties that will cost them. The state of North Carolina specifies on its own webpage that the penalties for driving without insurance are strictly enforced. In fact, insurance carriers are required to notify the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles when liability insurance on a vehicle is canceled or has lapsed due to non-payment or other issues.
If the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles receives notification that a driver does not have adequate coverage, the office will send out a termination notification to the vehicle’s registered owner. If the owner of the automobile without insurance does not respond, they will end up having to pay civil penalties, late fees, interest payments, and may face the revocation of the vehicle’s license plate. Penalties for the failure to maintain auto insurance includes:
- 1st Insurance Lapse- $50 fee
- 2nd Insurance Lapse- $100 fee
- Subsequent Insurance Lapses- $150 fee
Drivers can also be charged a $50 restoration fee at the time of their vehicle registration renewal period if they have incurred insurance lapse penalties. In some instances, multiple offenses could result in jail time.
Drivers may also face these consequences if they fail to provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident. Failing to provide a law enforcement officer with this information can result in the officer fining the driver and notifying the NC Department of Motor Vehicles.
Can You File a Claim Against an Uninsured Driver?
Yes, you can seek compensation for an accident even if the accident involved an uninsured driver. Unfortunately, when drivers are hit by uninsured motorists, they feel frustrated and may not bother exploring their legal options for compensation because they feel it isn’t worth their time.
If a motorist can’t buy car insurance, how can they afford your medical bills? There are several ways of going about seeking the compensation you need — and having an attorney on your side can make all the difference.
To begin, your first option for seeking compensation after a serious accident may be to turn to your own auto insurance company. When looking at your own insurance company for help, there are some important factors to keep in mind. One of the most crucial things to remember is that an insurance company doesn’t want to pay for someone else’s damages either.
North Carolina is interesting because it follows what is called the “contributory negligence” rule. Contributory negligence outlines how courts and insurance adjusters can pay out compensation and damages in the event of an accident. This regulation states that anyone responsible for contributing to a car accident cannot receive any type of financial compensation for their medical bills or damages.
This rule matters because if you are found to be even 1 percent responsible for causing an accident, you are barred from receiving compensation. This rule can be used by manipulative insurance adjusters if they get you to admit partial fault or make incriminating statements. This allows them to deny you compensation for your accident. But if you have an experienced attorney handling your case, they will be able to review the facts of the accident and put together a solid case to present to the insurance adjuster. An attorney can also negotiate with the adjuster to get you the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and lost income.
Drivers hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist also have the option to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. To get compensation through this legal channel, you must file a suit within three years from the date of the accident. Filing a suit after the statute of limitations has expired will result in the lawsuit being dismissed.
An experienced attorney will be able to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of your accident and help you determine which legal options are right for your case. At DeMayo Law Offices we understand that dealing with an uninsured driver can be both frustrating and challenging. You are the responsible one, you don’t deserve to have to pay for the poor and illegal decisions of another driver. That’s why you should turn to the legal team at DeMayo Law Offices for help. We have the knowledge and the resources to help get you through this difficult time and obtain the financial compensation you deserve after a serious accident. Don’t guess which avenue is the best for your situation. Get advice from a legal team that has dealt with cases just like yours.
Contact a Charlotte Uninsured Accident Law Firm Today
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, don’t panic. You have options for recovering compensation for your injuries. At DeMayo Law Offices we understand that it can be challenging dealing with an uninsured driver and even your own insurance company. It can feel like no one is on your side and you’ll end up saddled with medical payments you didn’t anticipate. We want you to know that the legal team at DeMayo Law Offices is on your side, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Want to learn more about your legal options for recovering compensation after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver? Call the office of DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 333-1000 to schedule a no-obligation consultation. Let us help you navigate this difficult time and get you the compensation you need to move forward.