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Category: Personal Injury

What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage – and do you really need it?

Personal Injury

In North Carolina, motorists are required to buy automobile liability insurance with limits of only $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident to protect others from their carelessness. Because it’s all that is required, that’s all most people have. That means that most drivers on our highways have policies that will pay, at most, $30,000 for each person injured by that driver’s carelessness, and no matter how many people are injured, the most that the driver’s insurance company will pay is a total of $60,000. If you have been to the doctor’s office or the hospital you know how expensive modern medicine is, and it’s easy to understand that $30,000 is not a lot of money, medically speaking. Moreover, people injured in automobile collisions may be out of work and have lost wages and other expenses. It is easy to see that the insurance required in North Carolina can be woefully inadequate to compensate those injured by inattentive drivers. Fortunately, there is a way motorists can protect themselves from careless drivers who have only minimum limits policies. It’s called Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage.

UIM is insurance you purchase. It pays you if you are injured by another driver when that driver does not have enough liability insurance to compensate you for your injuries. UIM coverage is purchased through your insurance agent along with your insurance policy. North Carolina law requires insurers to provide UIM to drivers who purchase policies with liability limits greater than the minimum limits of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident. So, if you buy an auto policy with liability limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, for example, you automatically will receive UIM coverage in the same amount.

On its face this makes no sense – the accident wasn’t your fault, why should your own insurance company have to pay? Well, this is the world we live in! One of the hardest parts of my job is telling a client that the at-fault driver did not have enough insurance to pay the bills and the client has no UIM coverage to cover the shortfall. The only prudent way for drivers to protect their families is to purchase UIM insurance – and lots of it. I recommend everyone get the maximum, $1,000,000 per person/$1,000,000 per accident. And as far as insurance goes, UIM is quite inexpensive.

Don’t wait to be injured by a driver with a small insurance policy. Talk to your insurance agent about UIM coverage today.

What Should I Do After a Car Wreck?

Personal Injury

Victims of car accidents are often in situations that they don’t understand or know how to deal with. In addition there may be medical issues or insurance questions. To protect your rights, you need to know what to do after an accident.

The personal injury attorneys at Oxner Permar + Richardson have decades of experience helping accident victims get fair compensation for their injuries. Here are a few tips about what to do if you are in a car wreck.

  • 1. Gather Information:
    • a. At the accident: Get, or ask someone else to get, pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved. Get the names and phone numbers of people who saw the accident.
    • b. A few days later: Get a copy of the police officer’s accident report. This report typically includes what each person said, any witness comments, and a picture showing the vehicles positions. The report may be available online within a few days after the accident. The accident reports are helpful but sometimes incomplete or not quite accurate.
  • 2. Document your injuries: If you go to the hospital be sure to tell your doctors everywhere you hurt. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that your doctor understands exactly what your problems are. It is important to know that the other driver’s insurance company is not going to pay your medical bills, or pay you anything, until your case settles. So, if you have health insurance – use it! Using your health insurance will allow you to get medical care when you need it and keep your medical providers from sending your bills to collection agents.
  • 3. Expect a phone call: You may also receive a telephone call a day or two after the accident from an insurance adjuster who represents the other vehicle’s driver. Adjusters typically ask detailed questions about how the accident happened, the extent that your vehicle was damaged, and the nature of your injuries, if any. Be aware, however, that some of the questions asked by the adjuster are designed to determine whether you may have done anything that would indicate that you were at fault. For this reason you may wish to decline speaking to the adjuster beyond telling the adjuster that you were injured, you need a rental vehicle, and/or that you need to have your vehicle repaired, until you have the chance to speak with an attorney.
  • 4. Call your insurance company. Ask your insurance agent if you have “Medical Payments” coverage on your policy. This type of insurance may pay $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or more towards your medical bills. That money can help you to pay for deductibles and co-pays that begin piling up after an accident.

Don’t worry! Now you know what to do if you’re the victim of a car accident. We hope it never happens to you but if it does you can always give us a call to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.