Accident and Insurance Law May Change at the NC/VA Border
As a Virginia personal injury attorney I am proud to also be licensed to practice law in the neighboring states of North Carolina and West Virginia. One of the benefits of being licensed in multiple states is I am very aware that the law is not exactly the same in each state. For example in North Carolina the way that the insurance law handles a case where the driver who injures you is carrying less insurance than you carry on your own policy treats you differently than if you’re in Virginia. The law that controls the insurance policy is typically the law of the state where the policy was issued. However the law pertaining to the underlying personal injury case is usually governed by the state where the accident happened. This complex set of rules and interplay between different states’ rules is something that I have learned about in my 25 years of personal injury practice.
On a weekly basis I receive calls from people who are making inquiries about a personal injury matter where these rules make a major difference. For example this past week I got a call from a lady who is from North Carolina but got injured in Virginia. When she got contacted by the Virginia driver’s automobile insurance for the person who caused the collision she was told certain things about how medical bills would be paid that would not be the rule if the accident happened in North Carolina. Unfortunately a lot of the young inexperienced people who man the phone for the insurance company may not even know what the rules are and that the rules are different in different states. They may be just assigned to Virginia cases and not even know what the rule is in North Carolina. In any event the insurance company is not looking out for you the person that their drivers injured; and rather, they are just looking to close their file. They may even give you incorrect information about how the insurance and injury law will apply to your particular situation.
I think that it’s always a good idea to check with an experienced personal injury attorney any time you or a loved one is hurt in an automobile accident. This is generally good advice and most personal injury attorneys like myself do not charge anything for basic advice about a potential case. In fact I don’t charge my clients any fee at all unless and until I get money from the insurance company for them. So there’s really no harm in calling me and asking a question about a case. This is especially true where there are multi-state aspects of the claim. Any time you get hurt in a state different than where you live there are going to be these issues about which state’s law applies. The rules in North Carolina are so different from the rules in Virginia about insurance claims for underinsured motorist coverage that if you aren’t careful you can end up losing a right to make a claim just by handling the case improperly. So if you’re injured and there’s multiple states involved not only do you want an experienced personal injury attorney but you in an ideal world would want to talk to somebody who actually has experience dealing with the states involved and knows the different rules that pertain.
See our NC/VA Injury Lawyers advice on what to do after a car accident. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers authored the Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents and Injuries which you can order on our website. Call us at 757.455.0077. When It Really Counts, Count on Cooper Hurley.