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North Carolina Insurance Disputes

Wendell Accident on Highway 264 Results in Two Deaths

Two young people were killed Monday afternoon in an accident on US 264 near Wendell, NC.

Apparently, a Honda Civic traveling west rear-ended a second car causing the Civic to lose control and skid on the highway.  As the Civic skidded, it was struck by a tractor-trailer.  The driver of the Civic and a passenger were killed.  The driver of the second car and the driver of the tractor-trailer were not hurt.  The accident happened near the exit with Wendell Boulevard.

While it was wet at the time of the accident, it is not clear whether the wet conditions contributed to the accident.  This type of accident will ordinarily give rise to a wrongful death claim for the passenger of the car.  The passenger’s estate would likely have a claim against the estate of the driver and a possible claim for additional benefits against her own auto insurance policy.

The driver of the car has a much more difficult claim particularly if she was determined to be at fault in the wreck.  North Carolina has a law called contributory negligence which bars claims for people found to be even partially at fault in causing their injuries.

Read more on this serious accident.

Hendren, Redwine & Malone posts this article to allow people who visit our website access to stories and information that might be of interest and, where appropriate, to make decisions about matters that may improve their lives. By posting this article, Hendren, Redwine & Malone makes no representations as to any relationship we may have with any of the individuals or businesses that are discussed in the article. If you are a family member of someone discussed in this article and have some concerns about the posting of this article, please contact us immediately. This post is an advertisement for legal services.

If you or a family member were involved in this incident and have questions about your legal rights, please call Hendren, Redwine & Malone and ask to speak with Mike Malone. You can also send an email to Mike Malone by using the message box on the right. We typically respond within an hour of receiving a message.

N.C. Boat Accident Lawyer - What Insurance Applies to N.C. Boat Accident

Boat accidents in North Carolina can create some of the worst injuries for the victims.  Boat accidents can also create some of the worst insurance problems when it comes to finding a recovery for boat accident victims.

For illustration, consider the following scenario:

Young man is water skiing with friends at local lake.  While the young man is floating in water another boat driven by a reckless boater hits the young man.  The reckless boater clearly should have seen the young man in the water and the accident was clearly the fault of the reckless boater.  The young man in the water has suffered severe injuries and cannot ever return to work.  It would seem like the reckless boater should have insurance for this but maybe not.

The first problem is that North Carolina does not require any type of insurance for boats.  Scary but true.  You can find alot of information on the requirements for boating in North Carolina at the NC Wildlife Resources Commission website, but there is no mention of required insurance.  Yes, a boater must have a fire extinguisher on board, but the boater can ride around with no insurance.  So let’s assume the reckless boater had no boat insurance which is unfortunately true for most boaters.

What about the reckless boater’s auto or homeowner’s insurance?  The reckless driver’s auto insurance will not typically apply because this auto policy insures acts only while driving an automobile.  The reckless driver may have personal liability coverage under a homeowner’s policy but the homeowner’s insurance will likely have a watercraft exclusion that applies to the active use of a watercraft.  Therefore, we cannot expect any auto or homeowner’s insurance to apply.

What about any insurance that the water skiing victim might have?  Under N.C. law, if you have an auto policy you will automatically have covered called Uninsured Motorists coverage.  This provides insurance for you if you are hit by another driver that does not have insurance.  But, this insurance will not apply if you are hit by a boat that does not have insurance.  This insurance applies only to automobiles.  Therefore, it is unlikely that the young man who was water skiing will have any insurance to cover his claims.

In short, boating in North Carolina can be very dangerous because there is often little or no insurance available to victims of a boating accident.

If you or a family member have been involved in a North Carolina boat accident and you have questions about a possible claim, contact the lawyers at Hendren & Malone for a free consultation.

North Carolina Uninsured Motorist Insurance - Raleigh Injury Lawyer

It is reported that approximately 14% of North Carolina drivers are driving without insurance.  These drivers are called “uninsured motorists.”  With this high percentage of uninsured North Carolina car drivers, there is a statistically good chance that you will be in an accident with an uninsured motorist.

North Carolina has laws to protect victims of accidents involving uninsured drivers.  The most applicable law can be found at N.C.G.S. 20-279.21.  This law requires that every automobile insurance policy provide a type of insurance coverage called “Uninsured Motorist Coverage” at an amount that is at least equal to the amount of liability coverage on the policy (but not more than $1 million).

What does this mean?

This means that if you are in an accident with a driver who has no insurance, then you should quickly review your own auto insurance policy to see how much Uninsured Motorist coverage you have available.  You can find the amount of Uninsured Motorist coverage by looking at the declarations page of your policy.  The amount of Uninsured Motorist Coverage is sometimes listed as “Combined Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists Coverage” or abbreviated as “UM/UIM.”

Uninsured Motorist insurance law is a complex area of the law and every case may be very different depending on the vehicles involved and the insurance policies involved.

For instance, if you were a passenger in a car that was hit by an uninsured driver, you will likely get the benefit of the Uninsured Motorist coverage for the car in which you were riding in addition to the benefits from your own auto policy.

Another unique circumstance involving Uninsured Motorist coverage is a hit-and-run accident.  The standard Uninsured Motorist policy will provide coverage for a hit-and-run accident under certain circumstances.  First, there must have been contact with the hit-and-run vehicle.  Second, the victim of the hit-and-run must report the accident to a police officer, peace officer, or other judicial officer or to the Commissioner of Insurance within 24 hours or as soon as practicable.  The victim must also notify his own insurance company of the accident.

In summary, there are several key points in handling an Uninsured Motorist claim:

1.  You should contact the police as soon as possible but certainly within 24 hours of the accident.

2.  You should quickly notify your insurance company of the accident.

3.  You should notify the insurance company for the car in which you were riding of the accident.

4.  You should notify the insurance company for any cars in your household which are owned by family members.

5.  You must cooperate with the Uninsured Motorist insurance company including making yourself available for a recorded statement about your claim.

If you have questions about a North Carolina accident involving an uninsured motorist, contact the lawyers at Hendren & Malone for a free consultation.

Car Accident and Personal Injury Claims With State Farm in North Carolina

State Farm is one of the largest auto insurance companies in North Carolina.  At least one report indicates that State Farm has over 18% of the car insurance market in N.C.  Statistically, you have a good chance of being involved in an accident with someone insured by State Farm.

For accident victims involved with State Farm, the North Carolina Department of Insurance has some important information that may be helpful.  Company contact information for State Farm is as follows:
State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
1500 State Farm Boulevard
Charlottesville, VA 22909
888-237-3999

Clients involved in accidents with State Farm frequently have questions about how much a claim is worth.  Our experience with State Farm indicates that they will consider numerous factors in determining the value of a claim including the amount of medical bills incurred by the victim, the type of injury involved, how much damage there was to the vehicles involved, whether the State Farm driver was clearly responsible, any aggravating factors such as whether the State Farm driver was intoxicated.

Insurance companies are not required to pay a specific amount for any particular claim and each claim is typically evaluated on its own merits.  This can be particularly frustrating because many people will know of a friend who was in an accident who received a big settlement from an insurance company.  It is important to be aware that most insurance companies will not consider this type of information when determining an amount of a settlement offer.   

The North Carolina Department of Insurance has a Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance but this guide does not provide much guidance as to how insurance companies handle claims.

If you have been in an accident and would like to discuss how the insurance company is handling your claim, please contact the lawyers at Hendren & Malone for a free consultation.