Articles Posted in Uninsured Motorist Coverage

A driver suing for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage benefits prevailed in his quest to continue the case, as the North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled the trial court was right to deny summary judgment to defendant insurers. construction road

In Spruill v. Westfield, Allstate and Casualty, justices determined the lower court properly considered plaintiff an “insured” person under the Westfield policy, and further that the policies held by both Westfield and Allstate should be pro-rated.

This case stemmed from an auto accident that occurred in November 2012 while plaintiff, a construction company employee, was directing traffic for the company while on U.S. Highway 13. He was struck by a driver in a car traveling northbound. At the time, plaintiff was acting in the course and scope of employment, as he was helping his co-worker back up a tractor trailer onto the highway from the construction site. Plaintiff was a supervisor at the site, where workers were building a new Wal-Mart. He and another worker walked out onto the median of the highway to help the truck back out by stopping traffic in the opposite direction. He was wearing an orange and yellow reflective vest and was standing within the highway median when he was hit.  Continue reading

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in North Carolina is designed to protect people injured on the road from financially irresponsible motorists.carwithkeys

In other words, if another driver causes a serious car accident in which you are injured but that driver doesn’t have insurance or only carries the bare minimum insurance, one of the only ways you might be able to recover damages is through UM/ UIM coverage, which you purchase separately.

But collecting on those benefits can sometimes mean you’re in for a fight with the insurance company.

That’s when you want to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. Continue reading

The definition of an “auto accident” is more fluid than one might imagine. It’s not always the crashing of one vehicle into another or object or person. It could in some cases involve injuries or death stemming from the use of that motor vehicle.guncloseup

In the case of Kroeber v. Geico Ins. Co., the questions certified to the Washington Supreme Court were whether injury to an insured pedestrian “arose out of” an intentional firing of a gun from an uninsured pickup truck, and secondly whether it’s material that the shooter intended to harm anyone when he fired the gun.

So plaintiff was shot by a firearm while standing outside of a bar. The man who fired the gun was in an uninsured vehicle, owned by a friend. The shooter would later say he did not intend to shoot anyone and he didn’t think he was firing his weapon in a place where people were standing. There were questions of fact as to whether the vehicle was stopped or moving at the time of the incident and also whether the shooter quickly accelerated away from the scene after firing the shots. Continue reading

After a serious car accident, there is likely to be at least some negotiation with one or more auto insurance company. It’s common for these firms to refuse payment or offer settlement for far less than what the plaintiff should receive, based on the extent of injuries. highway9

But sometimes, even when there is a dispute, the insurer will make an advance payment for less than what plaintiff asking, with the understanding this will be applied as credit that will be offset with any higher future damages awarded by a judge or jury. This promotes expedient relief of some losses to the plaintiff, and it also reduces the amount of prejudgment interest that may be imposed on an insurance company if the plaintiff ultimately prevails.

In the recent case of Doe v. Pak, a woman struck by a hit-and-run driver in November 2009 sought recovery of damages from her own insurance company via uninsured motorist coverage. This case was in West Virginia and there, as in South Carolina (per S.C. Code Ann. 38-77-170(2)), a motor vehicle is considered uninsured if the owner/ operator is unknown or when the vehicle is operated by someone who did not have authorization to do so.  Continue reading

In the recent case of McClue v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Ill., plaintiff seeks recovery of underinsured motorist coverage years after a crash, when his wife died of ALS. handscompassion1.jpg

Amytrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gherig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting nerve cells in teh brain and spinal cord. This degeneration will ultimately lead to the sufferer becoming totally paralyzed and finally, death.

The cause of the condition is not totally known, but there is some evidence to suggest ALS could be associated with head trauma. The fact that many former athletes suffer from the condition (it’s even named after one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, whose career was ended by the disease) calls attention to the fact that perhaps physical trauma is a trigger. Based on this theory, there has been growing evidence to suggest those who suffer physical trauma in other ways – i.e., a car accident – could have a valid case to pursue further damages if they are later develop the disease and can establish causation.
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Underinsured motorist coverage is tacked on to many drivers’ automobile insurance policies, but few have a full understanding of what it is or how it works.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is coverage you purchase in the event you are the victim of another driver’s negligence, and that driver either lacks insurance altogether or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages.
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Most UM/UIM coverage covers the difference between the damages you incurred and the insurance available on the at-fault vehicle. States differ on how they ascertain what insurers should pay when the accident limits exceed the UIM policy or when the at-fault driver’s payout exceeds your own UIM coverage, but still doesn’t cover all your damages.
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The rise of Uber and other ride-sharing apps and opportunities is a testament to changing times and an increased interest in alternative transportation options. In addition to providing an alternative to drinking and driving, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing applications cut down on gas mileage and are better for the environment. While there is still a lot of hype, one of the criticisms of Uber is that drivers are not adequately covered by insurance. Riders throughout North and South Carolina should be aware of the potential risks of getting in a vehicle and their options for taking legal action in the event of an accident.

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According to the Uber website, consumers who choose to solicit a ride through the mobile application should understand that they will be riding in a personal vehicle, not a company car. In the state of North Carolina, personal automobile policies exclude coverage for liability when the vehicle is “being used as a public or livery conveyance.” This can create significant complications for victims of Uber accidents, pedestrians, and others injured by an Uber driver.
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In order to collect uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in North Carolina, the injured party must exhaust all other limits of liability.
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Car accident attorneys in Asheville recognize this means the injured person seeking to tap into their own UIM coverage need to first fully pursue all potential claims against third parties and their insurers.

So for example, let’s say you are injured in crash caused by a drunk driver who carried a $25,000 liability limit. Your medical bills and other losses relating to the crash exceed that amount, and you carry an underinsured motorist coverage policy. In order to collect on your UIM policy, you must first secure a judgment for the $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurer. Then, whatever the difference between that $25,000 and the amount of your expenses should be paid by your own insurer per the terms of the policy.
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In North Carolina, insurers are required to offer underinsured and uninsured motorist protection as part of their auto insurance coverage. Additional fees are charged for this coverage, but drivers who choose to decline it can do so through a formal written rejection.
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Our Charlotte car accident lawyers do not recommend any driver decline UIM coverage, as one can never be sure when they will encounter a driver who is either not insured or not adequately insured. UIM coverage protects injured parties in these instances.

Still, insurers are notorious for seeking to avoid paying these claims. We are dedicated to ensuring that when you pay for UIM coverage – or when rejection of the policy was inadequate – you will get the coverage you deserve.
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A North Carolina car accident victim who sustained serious injuries and property damage in a serious collision will be allowed to move forward with a claim against the at-fault driver. However, he won’t be allowed to continue pursue uninsured motorist benefits, after the state appellate court upheld the trial court’s earlier directed verdict.
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In Kahihu v. Brunson, the issues that gave rise to the decision were basically technicalities, but they had to do with two primary issues:

  • That the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient service of process to the defendant;
  • That the trial court erred in lumping the insurance company in with the at-fault driver when issuing a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.

Asheville car accident attorneys recognize that in so many personal injury cases, how and when a case is presented and filed matter. Because tort law in this state is complex, injured parties take a big risk by trying to save a few bucks hiring a law firm with less experience. A single oversight or missed deadline could derail the entire case.
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