Can I Make an Insurance Claim if I Was Hit by a Car While Walking in North Carolina?
Being struck by an inattentive or reckless driver can be one of the most frightening experiences possible for a pedestrian. The human body is not made to withstand an impact with a vehicle weighing over 2,000 pounds that is moving at speed. The injuries inflicted upon a walker by a car are often severe and require substantial medical treatment and recovery time.
If you’ve been the victim of a pedestrian accident, you likely have hefty medical expenses and other losses stemming from the accident. Many victims wonder if they can file a car insurance claim for these damages. The good news is that you should be able to make a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance for your losses. However, there are factors that can complicate this process and make it more difficult to recover full compensation. A knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury lawyer can tell you what you need to know about filing pedestrian accident claims and why speaking with an experienced lawyer first can be beneficial.
How Do You File a Claim for a Pedestrian Accident Injury?
North Carolina is an at-fault insurance state, so if you have been hit by a vehicle while walking, you have the option to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance for your damages.
To ensure that you have the best possible chance of receiving the maximum compensation for your claim, take these important steps following the accident:
- Seek an immediate medical evaluation and follow all treatment recommendations made by your doctor.
- Call the police to report the incident so they can investigate and make a report.
- Collect the name, address, and insurance information of the driver who struck you.
- Get contact information from any eyewitnesses, if possible.
- Take photos of the accident scene and your injuries.
- Contact a trusted pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to safeguard your legal rights and learn about any further steps you should take.
- Do not give a statement to the insurance adjuster before speaking to a lawyer because you could unknowingly endanger your claim.
What is the Minimum Insurance Coverage Required by State Law?
Under state law, every driver must carry at least $30,000 in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage. Depending on their insurance, some drivers may have more coverage, but these are the minimum amounts. While these limits may seem high, your damages can quickly exceed the coverage limits if you have serious injuries. If the driver’s coverage is insufficient to compensate you for your losses, you can file a personal injury lawsuit for the remainder of your damages.
What is the Minimum Insurance Coverage Required by State Law?
Under state law, every driver must carry at least $30,000 in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage. Depending on their insurance, some drivers may have more coverage, but these are the minimum amounts.
While these limits may seem high, your damages can quickly exceed the coverage limits if you have serious injuries. If the driver’s coverage is insufficient to compensate you for your losses, you can file a personal injury lawsuit for the remainder of your damages.
What if the At-fault Driver Had No Auto Insurance?
By law, every North Carolina driver is required to maintain auto insurance. Sadly, many drivers do not follow the law. Some estimates put the number of uninsured drivers on the roads as high as one in seven. Luckily, you still have options for recovery if the individual who struck you did not have insurance:
- File a claim with your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: It is highly recommended for all drivers to get this type of coverage because it can prove critical in accidents where the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance. You can seek damages up to the coverage limits for your plan.
- Use your MedPay coverage: If you have MedPay coverage, you can use it to cover your medical expenses related to the crash.
- File a civil lawsuit: If the at-fault driver did not have insurance coverage, a personal injury attorney can help you bring a case against them in civil court to recover damages.
What if I Was the Victim of a Hit-and-run Accident?
Law enforcement will undertake an investigation using eyewitness reports, video evidence, and an analysis of the accident site to identify the driver who hit you. If the individual is caught, you may seek civil damages on top of the criminal charges they are likely to face. In cases where the driver cannot be identified, you may utilize your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay for your expenses.
Why Can Pedestrian Injury Claims in North Carolina Be Complex?
North Carolina is one of only a few states in the US that still operate under a contributory negligence system. Under contributory negligence, a victim can only seek damages from an at-fault party if they shared no fault in the accident. As unfair as it seems, if the defendant can prove that you were even one percent responsible for the pedestrian accident, you may be barred from recovery.
However, there are some key exceptions to this rule that the court may take into consideration. A skilled Charlotte pedestrian accident lawyer can examine the circumstances of your accident, determine if any exceptions may apply, and build a solid case to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Charlotte Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help You?
If you’ve been hit by a driver while walking, it is crucial to take action promptly to begin the process of recovering compensation for your damages. Waiting too long to file a claim with the insurance company or civil court can result in your claim being denied or dismissed. An experienced personal injury lawyer from Harman Law can identify the proper actions to take based on the details of your case and can ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines for filing an insurance claim. Our helpful legal team can handle all aspects of your pedestrian accident case while you focus on healing and recovering. Contact our law firm today at 704-286-0947 to schedule a free consultation.