Car accidents happen every single day. However, if you are involved in a car accident with no insurance, it can complicate the situation.
Many clients come to us asking, I was involved in a car accident without insurance—what now?
It is common to experience confusion and overall stress if this happens to you. But our North Carolina car accident lawyers at Mehta and McConnell, PLLC, are ready to help get you on the right track.
What are North Carolina Car Insurance Requirements?
In North Carolina, drivers are legally required to have car insurance.
The minimum amounts of liability car insurance include:
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person per accident;
- $60,000 total bodily injury coverage for multiple individuals injured in one accident; and
- $25,000 property damage coverage per accident.
These minimum amounts can be used to compensate individuals for injuries and property damage resulting from a car accident.
Additionally, North Carolina requires car insurers to include uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance.
Uninsured motorist insurance helps protect drivers if they are involved in an accident with an individual that is totally uninsured, and underinsured motorist coverage kicks in when the at-fault party has insufficient coverage.
Are There Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?
North Carolina has a unique system for assessing penalties for driving without car insurance. The penalty will depend on prior convictions.
Penalties usually include:
- First Offense: $50 civil penalty, $50 reinstatement fee, and possible probation for 1-45 days. Additionally, your registration can be suspended for 30 days.
- Second Offense: $100 civil penalty, $50 reinstatement fee, jail time or probation for 1-45 days. Registration could be suspended for 30 days.
- Third and Subsequent Offenses: $150 civil penalty, $50 reinstatement fee, jail time or probation for 1-45 days. Registration could also be suspended for 30 days.
Having the minimum auto insurance required by North Carolina law is the best way to avoid any repercussions.
North Carolina Is an At-Fault State
When it comes to car accidents, some states are fault states while others are no-fault states.
In an at-fault state, the person responsible for the accident is liable for the damages resulting from the accident. Therefore, determining who was responsible for causing the accident can greatly affect the outcome.
What Happens If You Were at Fault for the Accident?
Every accident is different, but if you are drive without insurance and cause a car accident in NC, you are liable.
Because you do not have insurance to protect you, you will generally be financially responsible for the other driver’s expenses, including medical bills and property damage. Dealing with car accident claims and lawsuits can be challenging, but a car accident attorney will be your best ally.
What Happens If You Were Not at Fault for the Accident?
If you were driving without insurance but were not at fault for the accident, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver. You are able to file a claim with their insurance company to receive compensation for your injuries and property damage.
You are also able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you plan to file a lawsuit against the other driver, it is important to keep in mind that there is a three-year statute of limitations to do so.
Contributory Negligence Laws in North Carolina
Determining who is truly at fault for a North Carolina accident is not always an easy task. In some instances, both parties share some of the responsibility for the accident.
North Carolina operates under a doctrine of contributory negligence. This doctrine essentially states that an injured party is not allowed to recover for their losses if they were partially at fault for the accident. Therefore, if the other party is even minimally responsible for the accident, they are barred from recovering.
If you are involved in a car accident without insurance, the doctrine of contributory negligence can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Do not hesitate to consult with a qualified North Carolina car accident lawyer.
Discuss Your Case with a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney
Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, is a brand new firm run by two knowledgeable and highly skilled attorneys. Our auto accident lawyers have a background in defense work, giving them the unique perspective they need to successfully represent injured clients in North Carolina. We are dedicated to every client and strive to provide top-quality legal representation.