This is an unfortunate but common scenario that many individuals are faced with after an accident.
Under North Carolina law, you should file a claim against any policies covering the at-fault vehicle first, as their insurance is considered primary. If the vehicle was not covered under any auto insurance policies, then you would look to see if the driver of the car had a separate insurance policy. If neither the driver nor the vehicle where insured at the time, then you have the option of filing for uninsured motorist coverage under your own auto policy.
After an accident, remember to obtain these three things from the other driver:
- The vehicle’s insurance information/card; and
- The vehicle’s registration information/card; and
- If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, make sure you obtain insurance information for both the driver and the vehicle
If the police respond, they will usually obtain all the information you need and include it on the police report. However, if the parties do not involve law enforcement, then you must obtain this information yourself.
After an accident, the driver will most likely provide you the insurance information for the vehicle involved in the accident. While it is not common for the driver to show you the vehicle’s registration card, you want to look at it to determine if the driver is also the owner. If the driver is the owner, then you have obtained all information you need to file a claim against the vehicle.
If the driver is not the owner, then the driver may still be covered under the vehicle’s policy if they had permission to use the vehicle. However, if the driver did not have permission to use the vehicle or if that vehicle was not insured, then the insurance company will deny your claim.
Your next option is to file a claim against the driver. Therefore, it is highly recommended you also obtain the driver’s information at the accident scene. This can be accomplished by taking a picture of the driver’s license or writing down the information. If the driver was covered under a different auto policy, then you can pursue a claim against them for the damage to your car and any medical bills you may have.
To find out if the driver had a separate policy, you will need to contact your own insurance company. You will need to provide them a copy of the denial letter you received from the vehicle’s insurance company and a copy of the driver’s information. They will set-up a claim and search to see whether the driver had any other policies. If they locate a policy, they will usually provide you with this information so you can file a claim. If the driver had a policy that was in full force and effect, that insurance company most likely will cover the repairs to your car and medical bills resulting from any injuries you sustained from the accident.
North Carolina law requires all auto insurance policies to include uninsured motorist coverage. Most people do not even realize they have this protection. Uninsured motorist coverage is something you carry on your own auto insurance policy to “step-in” in situations where neither the driver or the at-fault vehicle had insurance. This coverage will help take care of the repairs to your vehicle and in most cases your medical bills if you were injured in the accident. Your insurance premiums should not go up and you should not be dropped for using this coverage.
As explained above, you have options even when you’re hit by someone without auto insurance. Although this article explains what steps to take, finding applicable insurance can be a complicated and frustrating experience. If you find yourself in this situation and need assistance, we are ready to help provide authentic and effective representation for you. Contact us today to see how we can help.