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Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in North Carolina?

Woman stressed and injured after a car accident

There’s no getting around it – car insurance is simply one of those things in life that is essential but oh-so frustrating to deal with. 

In fact, the cost and complexity that tends to come with automobile insurance often deter some drivers from getting ANY insurance coverage whatsoever. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6% of U.S. drivers – and 7.4% of North Carolina drivers – are uninsured. 

And this percentage becomes even greater in high-population towns like Wilmington, NC. 

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage? 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is insurance that provides protection for you, your passengers, and your vehicle if injured or damaged in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver.

This protection not only covers medical bills for everyone in your car, but it also covers any necessary vehicle repairs. 

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Really Necessary in NC?

Yes! 

Uninsured Motorist coverage is mandatory in North Carolina. 

Fortunately, NC-required car insurance policies (with the basic bodily injury and property liability measures) MUST also include UM protections.

Oftentimes, these minimum liability insurance policies include some Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), as well. 

But what about Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Is that required, too?

Yes…at least for some insurance policies.

North Carolina law dictates that car insurance policies with limits greater than the state’s minimum NC insurance standards must include BOTH Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

Even if the at-fault party has the lowest tier of liability insurance, their policy may not quite cover the entirety of your medical bills or damages incurred in an accident.

When this happens, your UIM policy should pay for expenses left uncovered by the underinsured driver’s insurance. 

Plus, UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive when compared to other levels of insurance.

How to tell if you have UM and UIM insurance? 

Uncertain whether you have adequate auto insurance coverage?

The first step – touch base with your insurance agent. 

Have more questions about Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Contact Robert Armstrong’s office.

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, it’s essential for you to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you with the complexities of insurance and other aspects of your case.

Get in touch with Robert Armstrong’s office today!

5 ignored rules of the road you must do now!

5 ignored rules of the road you must do now! Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

There’s an old saying that rules are meant to be broken, but this saying can be a dangerous one, especially when it comes to rules of the road. 

Failing to obey traffic laws can land you in big trouble— either in the form of a ticket, a severe accident, or both.

At the law offices of Robert Armstrong, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, our legal team wants to help you avoid accidents or getting any tickets by helping to remind you of traffic rules that are often forgotten. Here are 5 of the most commonly ignored rules of the road that you should start following — if you aren’t already.

  • Failing to use your turn signal 

Putting on your turn signal is crucial to do, though so many drivers tend to do so infrequently. There’s a reason you have a turn signal, and it’s not for decoration or effect. It’s to let other drivers know your next move, which is often essential information for other drivers as they, too, try to decide what their next move or direction will be, often in a split-second. 

Failure to use a turn signal can result in:

A ticket for unsafe movement. Unsafe movement can result in an increase in both your insurance and license, along with a fine. 

It can also cause another driver to run into you and cause an accident with injuries.

 

  • Traffic Lights 

 

North Carolina has specific traffic light laws that are unlike other states. 

  • For instance, one such law is North Carolina doesn’t allow motorists to make a left turn on a red arrow in a turn lane. 
  • Also, in some states, it’s illegal to enter an intersection if the light is yellow. However, in North Carolina, a solid yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you can enter an intersection while the light is still yellow, just not after it has turned red. 
  • Red light cameras are used in North Carolina. (However, they must have signs installed indicating to motorists that it is in use.) Red light camera violations are civil offenses as opposed to traffic infractions. The fine for a red light camera ticket is $50, and $100 if the ticket is not paid on time. 
  • Following too closely 

Safety professionals suggest that you abide by a two-second rule when following any vehicle. The two-second rule means you keep far back enough that it would take you two seconds to catch up to the car in front of you if it stops suddenly. North Carolina Code Section 20-152 makes it a traffic offense to follow other motor vehicles too closely. 

You could be ticketed for this offense if you do one of the following:

  • You follow a vehicle more closely than is reasonable given the speed of other cars, traffic, and road conditions.
  • When driving on a highway other than in a business or residential district, you follow another vehicle and do not allow enough space for an overtaking vehicle to enter and occupy the area in front of your auto without danger. 
  • Staying out of the left lane except for passing 

The far left lane of most highways are to be used only for passing slow-moving vehicles. 

Unfortunately, it’s something that countless drivers forget — or choose to ignore — and it’s no fun for vehicles behind you. It can obstruct the flow of traffic and cause accidents. 

  • Texting and driving 

Texting while driving is among the most careless distracted driving infractions you can make. It only takes a couple of seconds with your eyes off the road and on your phone to cause a serious — and potentially deadly — crash. 

North Carolina State Law prohibits texting and emailing while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 with provisional licenses are prohibited from all cell phone use while behind the wheel, even hands-free. North Carolina is a “primary law” state, which means that the police can stop you and issue you a ticket solely for violating this law. It is illegal for drivers to:

  • Manually enter letters or text in a cell phone to communicate with another individual
  • Read an email or text transmitted to or stored in an electronic device

There are exceptions to this ban on texting and driving, however. The law will not apply in these situations:

  • The driver is lawfully parked or stopped
  • The person is a police officer, firefighter, or ambulance driver texting while they are performing official duties
  • The technology used is a factory-installed or after-purchase GPS
  • The person is using voice-operated technology

Learn More from Attorney Robert Armstrong 

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable and not your fault, but you should follow these rules to decrease your chances of a crash. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident in Wilmington, North Carolina, contact Robert Armstrong today.

Types of compensation in an auto accident case

types of compensation in auto accident case Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

When you’re in an automobile accident — whether it’s a fender-bender or a serious crash with injuries — determining who caused the accident or who is at fault and how much compensation you deserve is no small feat. 

If you live in a state where you may be disqualified from receiving any type of compensation if you are at-fault, even in the slightest can make this task even more complex. 

In North Carolina, the laws can be tricky to navigate. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have an experienced personal injury attorney like Robert Armstrong on your side. From Robert Armstrong’s office, here’s more about the types of compensation you could receive in an auto accident case.

North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence State

Most people know that North Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning that the individual found to be at fault must compensate the other driver, or motorcyclist, for damages and injuries. 

However, North Carolina also adheres to the contributory negligence standard of law. Contributory negligence states that you will not recover damages if you have any liability whatsoever for the accident, even as little as one percent. 

Therefore, if a victim’s negligence contributed to causing the accident, the victim recovers nothing. Examples of this include: 

  • as a driver, speeding
  • as a pedestrian, jaywalking or making sudden or unexpected movements
  • riding with a driver that you know is drunk, reckless, or sleepy
  • riding in a car that you know is defective (for example, without working headlights), and
  • interfering with the driver’s operation of the vehicle.

Compensatory Damages 

In car accident cases, the damages the injured person receives are known broadly as compensatory damages. As the name suggests, the purpose of these damages is to compensate you for actual losses caused by the crash. These losses can include: 

  • Loss due to medical bills and other medical expenses
  • Loss in wages due to missing work as a result of the car accident
  • Potential loss of future income  
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Continuing or lifetime treatment of injuries due to accidents
  • Punitive Damages 

The calculation of these damages typically depends on the bills and medical records you present in the case showing what you spent. So it is imperative that you keep a record of everything after an auto accident. 

Amount of Insurance 

A common factor that may influence the amount of compensation in a car settlement in North Carolina is the amount of insurance the at-fault driver has on their vehicle. 

North Carolina law requires that drivers keep a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in coverage for property damage for any single person involved in an accident. 

If the damages you are seeking are greater than the rate of the other person’s insurance, you may not be able to receive all of what you need to cover your costs. 

Personal Injury Claim

In North Carolina, there is a three-year time limit to file a personal injury claim after an automobile accident from the date of the accident.

Do not wait longer than the three-year limit. You risk dismissal of the case and no chance of recovering any compensation for your injuries. 

However, if a death was involved in your case, then your time limit may be shortened to a two-year limit from the time of death (not to go beyond three years from the date of the wreck).

Contact Attorney Robert Armstrong for more information

If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the offices of Robert Armstrong today. We will do everything we can to make sure you are compensated the amount you deserve. Contact (910) -256-1233 to schedule your first consultation. 

Your Car Accident Injury Claim: Settle or Sue in Court?

Your Car Accident Injury Claim- Settle or Sue in Court- Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

It’s fun to imagine a dramatic courtroom and a judge or jury handling your car accident claim, but the reality is that most car accident injury claims are settled without a lawsuit ever being filed — and the ones that are filed don’t usually make it all the way to trial.

Sometimes, it’s necessary and better for the injury victim to go to court and let a judge or jury hear your case. Other times, it’s more practical to pursue a settlement. Each case is different, and there are many factors at play.

What are the advantages to settling your car accident injury claim?

Here are a few pros of settling your claim before filing a lawsuit:

  • You get paid faster.
  • Your attorney costs could be lower — Litigating personal injury cases through the court system is a very costly undertaking. This could affect your settlement amount in the end.
  • You don’t take the chance of a jury or judge not ruling in your favor — i.e. you don’t end up with a settlement amount of 0 dollars.
  • You avoid the headaches of dealing with court hearings, depositions and other elements of a trial — Taking a case all the way to trial is a very long process. We’re talking months, if not years, in some cases. In the meantime, attorneys for the defense will likely do things that will try to “wear you down,” like looking into your personal life and threatening to disclose details in court that you don’t want shared into a public record.
  • You don’t have to deal with the appeals process post-trial — Even if a judge or jury rules in your favor and awards you the amount of money you deserve, the defense can — and often will — file appeals and post-trial motions that could seriously delay you getting your check.

What are the advantages to going to court?

Although most cases settle before court, there are a few advantages to taking your case all the way. These include:

  • You might get more money — If you take your case to a judge or jury and prevail, you might be rewarded with a much higher amount of money than the insurance company would have settled for.
  • You have a better chance of recouping all of your out-of-pocket costs – If a judge or jury rules in your favor, all those little expenses that you did not foresee coming after your accident could be repaid to you.

Ultimately, you should always consult with your attorney before deciding whether to settle or file a lawsuit. He or she is the best person to help you make that decision.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a vehicle accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.

 

Why Medical Care is Necessary After a Car Accident

Why Medical Care is Necessary After a Car Accident Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Oftentimes, when you are in an automobile accident, your adrenaline starts flowing immediately after the crash. When that happens, it’s hard to determine whether you have injuries, because the symptoms of serious injuries are not visible at the time of the accident.

That’s why it is so important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident.

There are two main reasons for needing to seek medical attention immediately:

  • The longer you wait to see a doctor, the harder it will be to prove definitively that your injuries were caused by the vehicle accident.
  • If you don’t seek medical attention immediately, you are putting your health and wellness at risk.

What are the symptoms of serious injury after a crash?

Although injuries are not always immediately felt after an accident, there are some symptoms that can occur right after a crash — or several days or weeks later. Here are a few signs that you might be seriously hurt:

  • Severe pain
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Dizziness

What should you do before you see the doctor?

Here are some things you should do while you’re in the waiting room of the hospital or doctor’s office, if you’re able to:

  • Take pictures of scratches, cuts, gashes, bruises or other wounds that are visible.
  • Write down the pain and symptoms you’re feeling and write down your best account of what happened and what caused the accident.

What should you do after you see your doctor?

After you see your doctor, it’s imperative that you do the following things:

  • Properly document the medical expenses you incur.
  • Continue to document those expenses if there are more doctor’s visits to come.
  • Ask your doctor for copies of your medical records.
  • Seek an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your case.

Reviewing your medical records

When you obtain copies of your medical records, you should review them thoroughly and make sure the following things are completely accurate:

  • Your doctor’s description of the car accident. Make sure all of the details are factually correct.
  • Your doctor’s listing of your symptoms. Did he include them all? Did he explain them well?
  • Your medical history.

Why are these things so important? Insurance companies and defense attorneys will comb through these details over and over, looking for any inconsistencies that they can use to attack your credibility and not pay you the award to which you are entitled.

If you find any errors while you are reviewing your records, make sure your doctor corrects them and gives you new copies of the corrected records.

Car accidents are a huge pain in more ways than one. That’s why it’s so crucial that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to counsel you and ensure you get the monetary compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today.