Anyone who has been involved in a car accident in North Carolina will want to have an understanding of the different state laws and car insurance rules that could affect a settlement or lawsuit over the crash. This page provides a summary of the North Carolina-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, plus links to more detailed information.
North Carolina Car Accident Laws
If you decide to file a lawsuit after a car accident in North Carolina -- or even if you’re only making an insurance claim for the time being -- there are a few state laws to know about, beginning with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started (this is a state law called a “statute of limitations”).
North Carolina’s relevant statute of limitations gives you three years to file a lawsuit after a car accident, whether it’s for injuries stemming from the crash, or for vehicle damage. You can find the full text of this law at North Carolina General Statutes section 1-52(16).
If you don’t get your case started before the lawsuit-filing window closes, it’s a safe bet that the court will refuse to hear it when you do try to file. So it’s crucial to pay attention to the deadline, and that’s true even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other North Carolina laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in North Carolina.
North Carolina Car Insurance Requirements
Like most states, North Carolina requires drivers to carry adequate car insurance coverage on any vehicle owned and operated in the state. The following minimum coverage is mandatory:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.)
- $60,000 total for all damages stemming from a single accident, and
- $25,000 for any vehicle or property damage caused by the accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage is required in North Carolina for drivers who carry the liability minimums outlined above, and underinsured motorist coverage is required in certain situations. For more details, check out our companion article North Carolina Car Insurance Laws.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina
You don’t necessarily need to hire a lawyer for every variety of car accident claim. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault, and you suffered only minor injuries, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself as long as you’re comfortable doing so.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the extent or the costs of your medical treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (and contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in North Carolina. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to North Carolina civil court.