When you buy liability insurance for your automobile in North Carolina you are also buying an equal amount of uninsured motorist coverage UNLESS you sign a waiver to NOT have it.
So, if you crash into someone, your liability insurance is to pay for the harms you cause up to the amount of coverage you bought.
This is of course only true if what you did was actually covered by the insurance policy, which is a contract and has exclusions. If someone crashes into you their insurance covers you up to the amount of coverage they bought and assuming the conduct was covered by the policy.
What if they didn’t have insurance?
If the at-fault other driver does not have coverage, your uninsured coverage kicks in and acts as the insurance for the uninsured driver who caused the wreck.
SO, UNDERSTAND THIS: IF YOUR INSURANCE THINKS YOUR CASE IS WORTH $10K AND YOU THINK IT IS WORTH $20K, YOU HAVE TO EITHER FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE UNINSURED AT-FAULT DRIVER OR DEMAND A BINDING ARBITRATION FROM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY. IN EITHER CASE, THEY HIRE THE LAWYER WHO IS AGAINST YOU!
YOU HAVE TO HIRE YOUR OWN LAWYER! Yep, I bet that surprised you.
So, what is the takeaway?
First: buy the insurance and never ever trust your insurance company.
Second: if you are in a wreck, call an experienced trial lawyer who can investigate the crash, review the policy, perhaps find additional coverage, and most importantly, maximize your recovery.
Next time I will tell you a bit about underinsurance coverage.