North Carolina Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Claims
Having the ability to make an underinsured motorist claim can make the difference between an accident victim receiving full compensation or being left with unpaid medical bills. But making mistakes in pursuing this coverage cost both you and the client. Here are a few common pitfalls.
Identify all available insuranceThis may seem like common sense but it's the one of the most common mistakes made. When interviewing the client be sure to ask: Who do they live with? Are their relatives in the household with vehicles with insurance? Where do they work? Are they provided a vehicle through their employer with insurance? Are they listed as an insured on another policy outside of the home? The best practice is to look for any policy that might provide coverage coverage, review a copy of the policy wherever possible and make the claim even if you are unsure that coverage applies. It is better to have a claim denied for lack of coverage than to miss a claim due to lack of investigation.
Notify the UIM carrier BEFORE accepting liability insurance limitsUnder North Carolina General Statute ? 20-279.21(b)(4), 30 day written notice must be given to the UIM carrier prior to acceptance of a tender of liability limits. this time period allows the UIM carrier the opportunity to advance the money offered by the liability carrier in order to protected subrogation interests. If after 30 days the UIM carrier has not chosen to exercise his right, you may safely except the money tendered by the liability carrier. Failing to notify the UIM carrier prior to accepting liability limits can result in your claim being barred.
Determine whether you have stackable policiesStacking means having the ability to add insurance policies on top of one another without there being an offset. In North Carolina UIM coverage gets a credit or an offset for any underlying liability insurance coverage. However, you may have more than one UIM policy which could stack on top of one another providing additional coverage. The subject of stacking can be quite complex. In this area it is always best to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney to address specifics of any case.
Demand for binding arbitrationOne of the major advantages of a UIM policy. In the event of a a disagreement about the value of a claim, a claimant can have a panel of arbitrators decide the value. This process is much less expensive and time-consuming than a jury trial and the results are often more favorable for the claimant.