What to Know When You’re Injured by an Underinsured Driver in AL
Although drivers are required to carry liability insurance in almost every state, uninsured drivers are all too common on Alabama roadways. So how do you recover damages for medical bills and other damages if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist who caused a crash? The car accident lawyers at Moore Law Firm provide some sound advice for dealing with uninsured motorist claims.
Car Insurance Requirements in Alabama
According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 19.5% of Alabama motorists were uninsured in 2019. Under Alabama law, drivers must maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance, which includes:
- $25,000 in liability coverage for one person in the accident
- $50,000 in liability coverage for injuries per accident
- $25,000 in liability coverage for property damage per accident
Failing to maintain liability insurance can result in penalties such as fines and driver’s license suspension. A driver also may be held personally liable for damages in a civil lawsuit.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) compensates you for damages and losses if you’re involved in an accident that is the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Alabama law applies the concept of pure contributory negligence, which means that if you contributed to the accident in any way, your UM/UIM claim can be denied.
Although you aren’t required to carry UM/UIM coverage in Alabama, it is well worth adding to your policy. Suing an uninsured motorist for damages is an option you may explore if you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, but they likely won’t have the money to pay you even if you obtain a judgment from the court.
Recovering Damages in Uninsured Motorist Claims
Damages in an uninsured motorist insurance claim may include:
- Medical expenses
- Personal care costs
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Property damage
- Other accident-related expenses
The amount you may be entitled to receive depends on the severity of your injuries, the extent of any property damage, and other factors. Your uninsured motorist claim also is subject to your policy’s coverage limits. You may believe your insurance company is looking out for your best interests, but sadly, this is not the case. Most of the time, insurers try to pay as little as possible or deny claims. That’s why it’s crucial to contact an auto accident attorney if you’ve been injured in any kind of motor vehicle crash.
Why You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Being injured in an accident can have serious physical and financial repercussions, not to mention the emotional toll it often takes on families. Although your own health insurance may pay for some of your care, if you’ve sustained a catastrophic injury, you could still be left holding the bag for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Circumstances can become even more dire if you don’t have medical insurance at all. Uninsured motorist coverage also protects you if you’re injured or your car is damaged in a hit-and-run accident.
What About MedPay and PIP Coverage?
MedPay coverage compensates you for medical expenses and loss of income after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, this coverage is an optional add-on to auto insurance policies in Alabama. Unexpected events can happen at any time, so most personal injury lawyers recommend carrying MedPay coverage as well to ensure you are fully protected in the event of an accident. Because you don’t need to prove that someone else was at fault to receive these benefits, they usually are paid promptly, which can be invaluable when you’re hurt and out of work.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
After a crash, it’s important to act quickly. In Alabama, you have two years from the date of your injury to bring a claim for an accident with an uninsured driver. Personal injury attorneys have the resources to do a thorough investigation of your case, gather necessary evidence, and help you pursue all possible avenues of compensation.
Uninsured motorist claims can be complex. Dealing with insurance companies often is frustrating and overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to focus on getting better. It’s best to let your accident lawyer handle all communications and negotiations with insurance adjusters. Do not give a statement or sign anything without speaking to an attorney first. Regardless of whether you have a viable claim, a car accident lawyer will evaluate your case at no cost and advise you of your rights and options.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney to Learn More
At Moore Law Firm, our car accident lawyers have helped injured victims in Alabama hold negligent parties accountable and recover the compensation they need to protect their health and financial future. Contact us online, call 251-445-7602, or use the convenient chat feature on our website to schedule a free consultation. We handle numerous areas of practice.