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North Carolina Auto Insurance Coverage

North Carolina Auto Insurance Coverage

In North Carolina, everyone with a registered vehicle must carry Liability Insurance. The liability insurance must be at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. It must also have a minimum amount of $25,000 for property damage.  What this means is that if you cause an accident your insurance coverage will pay for the medical bills, vehicle damage, and other losses suffered by drivers and passengers injured in the accident. If you get injured, the basic coverage of the at-fault driver will pay for your losses. 

Underinsured And Uninsured Motorist Coverage

North Carolina is a “fault” state which means that a person responsible or at-fault for an accident  has to compensate the people injured in that accident. In most cases, it is the insurance company of the at-fault party that compensates the victims of the accident. Not all drivers carry insurance and not all drivers that carry insurance have enough coverage. To get extra protection, drivers can purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. These types of coverage protect you in a situation where you are injured in an accident but the at-fault driver does not have insurance or is underinsured. Your relatives living in your home are also protected by this insurance. Your underinsured and uninsured coverage may apply if:

  • The at-fault driver did not have auto insurance
  • You were injured as a skateboarder, pedestrian, bicyclist by a vehicle
  • You were injured in a hit and run accident 
  • The at-fault driver has liability insurance coverage that has limits that are lower than your UIM (underinsured) coverage
  • You were injured as a passenger in motor vehicle such as a car, snow mobile, ATV and so on

An experienced auto accident lawyer may help you obtain adequate compensation for those injuries because they did not have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Consequences For Driving With No Insurance

The most obvious consequence of driving with no insurance is that if you cause an accident and someone dies or gets injured, you may have to pay damages out of pocket. Some people do not carry insurance because they think they are careful drivers and will never get involved in an accident. The truth is that even the most careful drivers get involved in serious accidents. Penalties for driving without insurance in North Carolina include fines and fees, 45 days probation and suspension of registration for about 30 days.

Steps To Take After An Accident

The insurance company of the at-fault party is not interested in paying you the amount you deserve.  But the evidence you gather immediately after an accident can make it harder for them to do that. After tending to your injuries make sure you call the police. The police will interrogate all the parties involved in the accident including witnesses. You can take pictures of the accident scene and pictures of the injuries you have suffered. Write down the names and addresses of the witnesses, and the driver of the other vehicle. Call your lawyer before you speak to the insurance adjuster of the at-fault driver. Your lawyer can also carry out more investigations to prove that the other party was at-fault.

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Charlotte Auto Damage FAQ

Charlotte Auto Damage FAQ

Apart from the grief and trauma that may be caused by an accident, accident victims have to deal with a damaged vehicle. Depending on the circumstances behind your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and auto damage. An experienced Charlotte auto damage lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the negligent driver that caused your accident. 

Will My Car Be Repaired Or Replaced?

Whether you get your car repaired or replaced depends on whether it costs less to repair your car than to replace or vise versa. Insurance companies will declare your vehicle a “total loss” if it is damaged 75% of the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. But the insurance company will buy your car for its pre-crash market value. The insurance company will deduct the salvage value of your wrecked vehicle from the settlement if you decide to keep your wrecked vehicle. If the insurance company chooses to repair your vehicle, talk to an experienced Charlotte auto accident lawyer to ensure that the repaired vehicle is safe.

How Does The Insurance Company Determine The Market Value Of My Vehicle?

“Fair market value” or “actual cash value” is the payout on the wholesale price a dealer would pay for your car. You can estimate fair market value using the Kelley Blue Book or just look for the sale price of cars that are a similar model and age as your car in your local newspaper. Another option is to ask a trusted Auto Trader or hire an expert appraiser. 

What If I Owe Money On The Loan For My car?

You are “upside down” on the loan if the amount you owe on your car loan is more than the fair market value. The insurance company will not pay you more than your wrecked car’s fair market value just because you owe more on the loan of your car than its fair market value. They are only obligated to pay the pre-crash fair market value of your car.

Can I Choose Who Will Repair My Vehicle?

You can choose your own repair shop. However, the cost of repair may not be determined by your own repair shop. You can demand for original manufacturer parts for your car’s repair.

Who Will Pay For The Towing And Storage Costs?

The insurer shall be responsible for all reasonable towing and storage charges until three days after the owner and storage facility are notified in writing that the insurer will no longer reimburse the owner or storage facility for storage charges. You can contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to move the vehicle to a location where you don’t have to pay storage fees.

Who Pays For The Rental Car I Use When My Car Is Being Repaired?

If it is not clear who caused the accident, then you may have to pay out-of-pocket or get your insurance company to cover those costs. In a situation where it’s clear the other driver is at-fault, your lawyer can demand that the at-fault driver’s insurer provide you with a rental car until your vehicle is repaired.

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Charlotte Auto Accident Lawyers

Charlotte Auto Accident Lawyers

You don’t have to suffer in silence after you are injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages that directly result from the accident. An experienced Charlotte auto accident lawyer can provide you with high quality, aggressive legal representation against the at-fault driver. 

How A Charlotte Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help

Your lawyer can help you identify medical providers that can treat your auto accident injuries, and a quality body shop to fix your damaged car. While you recover, your lawyer will identify and file all claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your lawyer can also gather evidence with the help of experts to ensure that you get maximum compensation. The investigation will help determine the true cause of your accident and identify all the responsible parties. In case you cannot work because of your injuries, your lawyer can file a claim for lost wages. 

 Apart from that, your lawyer will also represent you during negotiations with insurance companies and file legal action if the insurance companies fail to agree on an amicable settlement. Remember insurance companies are not your friend and will try to pay you as little as possible. Your lawyer will help you uncover all possible sources of insurance coverage. This includes uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.

Causes Of Auto Accidents In Charlotte

Negligent drivers are one of the major causes of auto accidents on Charlotte roads. These types of drivers do not take reasonable care to avoid hitting other vehicles, bicyclists or drivers. Negligent drivers behave in the following ways:

  • They drive while drunk or while under the influence of drugs which impairs their judgment
  • They use their phones, play radio, eat or chat while driving
  • They drive aggressively 
  • They violate traffic signals
  • They drive faster than the posted speed limit or drive too fast for conditions such as bad weather or traffic jams
  • They drive while fatigued
  • They fail to maintain their vehicles

Sometimes a defect in a part of a vehicle or its overall design can cause an accident. In this situation, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the vehicle if the driver was not aware of the defect. A badly maintained roadway or badly designed roadway may also cause an accident.

Compensation For Auto Accidents In Charlotte

The compensation amount you receive will depend on the circumstances of your accident. Some the damages you may be entitled to include: 

  • Lost wages and diminished earning capacity 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress 
  • Punitive damages
  • Cost of repair 

Will Your Case Go to Trial?

 In most cases, Charlotte car accident cases never go to trial. Instead the cases are often settled in pre-trial settlement conferences that are mandatory in North Carolina. The reason for this is that going to trial costs a lot of money mainly because of legal fees. Settlement conferences are moderated by a neutral party.

 

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Defective Products

Defective Products & Auto Accidents

A majority of the accidents in Charlotte are caused by negligent drivers. These are drivers that drive while drunk, fail to yield, drive while distracted and so on. But there are a significant number of accidents that occur because of things such as defective design or defective components of a vehicle. For example, a few years ago millions of Toyota vehicles were recalled because of problems with gas pedals and floor mats. Apparently, these defects on Toyota vehicles caused 89 deaths and 57 injuries. In such a situation, the vehicle manufacturer is liable for the injuries and deaths.

Product Liability

Under product liability law, a manufacturer, retailer, or wholesaler of a product can be held liable for an injury that directly results from the use of that product. You can sue the manufacturer of the automobile or the manufacturer of the component parts. Product liability law is very complex partly because a number of different parties can be held liable for injuries caused from the use of a defective product. That means you need an experienced car accident lawyer that can work with experts to identify the defect that led to your accident and gather more evidence on your behalf.

Types of Product Defects Involving Motor Vehicles

For your product liability claim to succeed, you must prove that the product that injured you was defective. A party may be held liable for the following types of defects:

  • Manufacturing defect: These are defects that occur during the manufacturing process. This defect may be the result of an error in the manufacturing facility or defect caused by mishandling during shipping.
  • Design defects: The design of a product happens before the product is even made which means that even if the vehicle is manufactured properly, its design may cause accidents. For example, there have been SUV designs that cause the vehicle to be prone to rolling over. 

You have to prove that the product defect caused you injury for you to get compensation for medical bills, potential disability, lost wages and more. You can’t sue because of a defect that has not caused you any harm or loss. 

Not Everyone Can File For Product Liability

You may not be able to file for product liability if you changed a component in the vehicle and as a result you got injured. For example, if you make modifications to the engine of a vehicle using a component not approved by the manufacturer, then you don’t have a case if that component causes an accident. People who do not follow the instruction manual on how to operate a vehicle may not be able to file for product liability if they get injured or suffer loss because of their defiance.  To know whether you are eligible for compensation, consult an experienced car accident lawyer. 

Statute Of Limitations

North Carolina has a 3 year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that you have to file for product liability within 3 years after the date when you got injured or suffered loss. Your lawyer can advise you on when it’s appropriate to sue.