Just like most other states require, North Carolina vehicle owners are mandated to have liability insurance on any vehicle they use on the highway. The problem is that many motorists in the state still drive without protection, and occasionally they are involved in auto accidents. Even though many uninsured drivers are operating a standard vehicle, there are also types of vehicles such as farm equipment or lawnmowers that can be driven on public roadways in certain locations that can also be involved in accidents. There are assuredly definite restrictions for using this motorized equipment on highways, but there are also many rural roads and small-town streets that are used by uninsured drivers of all sorts. But, what happens to these drivers when accidents do occur? Unraveling these cases can be complicated in some situations, but one thing that the state legislators and courts have decided is that those who are driving without auto insurance are not necessarily at fault when an accident occurs. However, fault is still central to settling any accident injury claims in the state, and pursuing financial damages after the fact can still be difficult without representation from a car accident attorney who is experienced in the process.
Obtain an official accident report
Every accident in North Carolina that requires police reporting will also result in an official accident report being compiled by the jurisdictional law enforcement agency. Accidents involving commercial vehicles could also result in a Department of Transportation investigation report as well. This is common when a third party could be held liable such as an employing trucking company or delivery service, not to mention an additional driver. The report can help determine if vicarious liability will apply even if the responsible insurance company denies the claim and forces the case to court.
Obtain damage documentation
The first step in filing an injury and physical property claim in a North Carolina accident case is having the vehicle inspected for a repair estimate. Older model vehicles will often be totaled out after the claim is submitted to the respondent insurance company if they agree to pay the property damage claim. Property damage settlement is typically the first payments made in a valid uncontested case. The insurance company may also request an estimate from a particular repair service as well, so multiple estimates may be necessary. It is vital to always comply with requests from a respondent auto insurance company for physical property damage just as with second opinion requests for personal injury claims.
Obtain medical treatment records
Aside from potential property damage claims, there will also be personal injury issues as well when medical treatment is necessary. All injured parties regardless of personal auto insurance status
should maintain records of injuries even when they retain a car accident attorney to represent the case and grant access to medical records. These can be used in the third-party liability claim whether or not counsel is retained. However, it is important to remember that legal representation will be required if a case goes to court if the plaintiff has any hope of winning the lawsuit because third-party defendants always have extensive legal counsel representing their best interests. North Carolina liability laws are the strictest in the nation, and technicalities can result in a case dismissal from the very beginning.
It is important for all uninsured drivers to also remember that they will be facing a charge from the state concerning their failure to maintain mandatory auto liability insurance. In addition to fines and driver’s license suspension, it is also possible to be placed on probation for up to 45 days with multiple offenders potentially being incarcerated for the same amount of time. This is also an issue that may require representation also because driving without auto insurance is indeed a serious legal matter in North Carolina. Anyone in North Carolina who was injured in an auto accident while driving uninsured should always contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible.