I often wonder how much of a potential recovery is left on the table or never discovered by an injury victim. If you're injured in a car accident and the driver of the other automobile was at fault, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company. Most people understand that is the purpose of liability coverage. And the North Carolina legislature understands it, too, because they require liability coverage as a condition to drive in North Carolina. But what happens if you have significant injuries and that driver has only minimal liability coverage, which in North Carolina is $30,000? As the injured party, $30,000 may be your maximum reimbursement, no matter how seriously you're hurt. But sometimes there's more.
A thorough investigation of available automobile insurance coverages should include your own policy and policies of others. In one recent case, our client was told by her original attorney that she could, at the most, receive the North Carolina minimum limit of the negligent driver's insurance policy. She came to us because she felt she deserved more, and frankly so did we. After a thorough evaluation and search, we did find her more . . . much more. Although this client had moved a number of times in the year prior to the collision, because she was living at her parents' home at the time of the collision, she could argue for coverage from her parent's underinsured motorist policy. After a battle with that insurance company, our client ultimately received over 200% more than the original attorney suggested she accept. She had no idea that this additional coverage was available to her. And why should she. Isn't that our job as attorneys to advise her of her options?
When everything was settled, our client was thrilled that she had taken the time to get a second opinion from us. We did our job by maximizing the insurance coverage available to her. It was a long road to search and find all the options, but in the end, it was a great victory.
This article was written by Chip Permar