Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Alabama
You were driving to work, home or school. You were running daily errands. Suddenly, another driver runs a red light and crashes into you. At first, you are in shock. Then, you realize you are hurt.
You need help for your injuries. You try to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance. That’s when you learn a difficult truth – the other driver had no insurance. The other driver was uninsured.
Alabama law requires drivers to keep liability insurance coverage. Despite our law – many drivers fail to keep insurance. Alabama has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the United States. In recent years, Alabama has created an instant verification system to check drivers for insurance coverage. Yet, the rate of uninsured drivers remains high.
Even if the other driver has liability insurance coverage, it may not be enough for your injuries. Your damages may be greater than the other driver’s coverage. Although our law requires drivers to keep liability insurance coverage, it requires only small policy limits. What if your medical bills are greater than the other driver’s coverage limits? What if you are out of work and lose wages greater than those limits? What if you are left suffering a long-term disability or chronic pain and need more compensation? Where do you turn for the additional compensation needed?
If you or a loved one suffer injury due to the negligence of another driver, you count on that driver’s insurance coverage for compensation. When the other driver has no coverage or has too little coverage, you and your family can be left without help.
At the Blackwell Law Firm, we have seen too many people suffer injuries due to negligent drivers with no insurance or too little insurance. These cases are difficult to hear. However, you don’t have to be left without coverage and compensation for your losses.Uninsured Motorist Coverage Protects Alabama Drivers
You don’t have to suffer needlessly due to an uninsured or underinsured driver. Alabama law requires every automobile insurance policy to offer uninsured/underinsured coverage. This coverage, often referred to as UIM coverage, is offered as part of every policy in Alabama. While Alabama law requires the insurance company to offer UIM coverage as part of your policy, you can reject that coverage. We believe it is unwise to reject this coverage.
Many accidents and injuries are the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver. UIM coverage is not costly. You should make sure your policy has sufficient UIM coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. When evaluating your insurance coverage, consider how much coverage might be needed if you suffer a significant injury.
UIM coverage is important. It provides a valuable protection. And, it should be a part of your policy.Uninsured Motorist Claims Require Experienced Legal Counsel
UIM coverage provides a valuable safety net if you are hurt in an automobile accident. Yet, uninsured/underinsured coverage can also be complicated. Many legal issues can impact UIM coverage. Even many attorneys do not fully understand the legal and procedural issues that can impact a claim for UIM benefits. A lack of understanding can result in the loss of valuable benefits.
What are a few of the legal and procedural issues that can affect your potential UIM claim? For a full discussion, we urge you to consult legal counsel concerning your potential UIM claim. The following paragraphs discuss a few of these important issues.
Following an accident, insurance companies often claim the insured previously rejected the offered UIM coverage. Sometimes, the insured did properly reject coverage. Often, the insurance company’s denial is simply wrong. Although an insured can reject UIM coverage, our law imposes specific requirements concerning rejections and their scope. Before accepting the insurance company’s denial, you should seek competent legal counsel.
In order to receive UIM coverage, you must provide your insurance carrier reasonable notice that you were in a car accident and may be making a claim for your UIM benefits. Also, you cannot settle with the other driver’s insurance carrier without first notifying your UIM insurance carrier of the proposed settlement and requesting its consent to the deal. If you do not follow these procedures properly, you may lose any right to recover UIM benefits for your injuries and damages. Too many people fail to follow the proper steps and lose their right to seek UIM benefits.
Another aspect of UIM coverage is called “stacking.” In general, “stacking” multiplies your UIM policy limits by the number of vehicles on the policy to provide more UIM coverage. Under Alabama law, you can “stack” up to three coverages. This can be an important benefit, especially if your UIM coverage provides only the minimum benefits required by law. How does this work? Assume your policy provides $25,000 in UIM coverage. The same policy covers three vehicles for your family. In that situation, you could multiply the $25,000 by the three covered vehicles giving you a total of $75,000 in UIM coverage. Again, in Alabama you can only “stack” up to three vehicles. Although unusual, this legal concept may provide additional UIM coverage for you and your family. Like other UIM issues, “stacking” sometimes presents complicated issues for which you should seek skilled legal advice.
When we counsel clients concerning UIM benefits, they are sometimes hesitant to make a claim against their own insurance company. However, this is a benefit for which you paid premiums. And, if you were not at-fault in the wreck, your premiums should not increase.We are Happy to Answer Questions
We understand the aftermath of an automobile accident may be a difficult time for you and your family. You need to focus on healing from your injuries. Yet, too often, other issues distract your attention. We welcome questions. We hope our articles and blogs answer many of your questions. We also welcome calls. Case consultations are always free and confidential.