North Carolina Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Car Accident Injury Victim in Underinsured Motorist Coverage Dispute

One of the most common issues to arise in a car accident is whether the insurance policies involved will provide coverage to any injury victims. Although drivers take out insurance policies to ensure that they will receive coverage in the event of an accident, the policies are often complicated and include many provisions that make receiving coverage a challenge. Attorney Jason Burton is a diligent and experienced Raleigh car accident lawyer who is available to help you understand whether you are being treated unfairly by an insurance company. If you were recently injured in a car accident and have questions about insurance coverage or any other aspect of your personal injury claim, contact him today.

In a recent opinion, the North Carolina Court of Appeal discusses a common type of dispute regarding insurance coverage that arises in a car accident. In the case at hand, multiple at-fault drivers were involved. The court was asked to determine whether the party who was not at fault was required to exhaust one of the liability insurance policies for one of the at-fault motorists before the other insurer’s duty to provide underinsured motorist benefits was triggered.

In the case, a truck driver lost control of his truck while he was traveling on a freeway. As a result, the truck flipped over the median barrier into oncoming traffic. A volunteer firefighter reported to the scene of the accident where he was struck by a vehicle that swerved in an attempt to avoid colliding with another vehicle that had slowed down as it approached the accident. The firefighter suffered serious injuries due to being dragged underneath the vehicle including lacerations, internal injuries, and broken bones.

The trucking company that employed the driver carried a $1 million liability coverage policy. The driver who hit the firefighter maintained a $50,000 liability coverage policy. The injured firefighter had two policies that provided underinsured motorist coverage totaling $100,000 and $300,000, respectively. When the firefighter requested benefits under his underinsured motorist provisions, his insurance company said that it was not required to pay the benefits because the at-fault drivers’ policies had not yet been triggered and exhausted.

The firefighter challenged the insurer’s response and the court determined that only one liability insurance coverage policy needed to be exhausted before his own insurer’s duty to provide underinsured coverage benefits was triggered. The court concluded that requiring the injured party to exhaust the other driver’s policies first would result in an unnecessary delay and undue burden for the injury victim.

If you were hurt in a car accident that involves multiple drivers, you probably have questions about insurance coverage and how to go about receiving the maximum amount of benefits that you are owed. Attorney Burton is available to represent car accident victims. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with him, contact his office today at 1-833-623-0042 or contact him online to get started.