Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Even though all states have laws requiring that owners of automobiles have liability insurance on their vehicle(s), approximately 20% of Alabama drivers and 14% of drivers nationwide are uninsured. In Alabama, there are approximately 3.7 million licensed drivers and each driver drives 13,516 miles per year. Given the number of licensed drivers and miles driven each year, Alabama certainly has its fair share of motor vehicle accidents. To account for uninsured drivers on the roadways, all states have enacted legislation involving circumstances where a driver is uninsured, or situations where the driver may have insurance but not enough to compensate the injured person(s) and is therefore considered underinsured. The trusted Birmingham uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist attorneys at Hollis, Wright, Clay & Vail have significant experience representing the citizens of Alabama injured in motor vehicle accident cases and can help you.Does Alabama have Mandatory Automobile Insurance Requirements?
Alabama Code § 32-7-6 sets forth the minimum automobile insurance limit requirement of $25,000 per injured person and $50,000 for one incident involving two or more victims. Even drivers who purchase liability insurance in Alabama on their automobiles or personal trucks only have to purchase the minimum amount, which is $25,000/$50,000. Unfortunately, should you or a loved one be injured on the roadway by an at-fault driver who does not carry liability insurance, you may never be able to recover any money from that person. While you can still make a claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for your personal injury, property damage, emotional distress, pain and suffering, hospital bills, lost wages or other damages, you will likely never recover any money because they likely don’t have the ability to pay for the harm they caused. Alternatively, the at-fault driver may only possess the minimum limits, and if your injuries are severe, these limits will not be sufficient to fairly compensate you for your injuries. This is where UM/UIM coverage comes into play and could be a great benefit to you and your family.
Insurance companies have added Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage options to their automobile insurance policies. When you purchase your own automobile liability insurance policy in Alabama, the insurance company is required to provide you with UM/UIM coverage at the minimum amounts, which is also $25,000/$50,000, but you can forego the coverage by affirmatively signing a consent form waiving your right to UM/UIM coverage. DO NOT sign such a waiver for UM/UIM coverage protection. Any increased premium costs associated with UM/UIM coverage is typically very nominal, especially when compared to the monetary benefits you can potentially access if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Thus, if you have UM/UIM coverage on your insurance policy and you are injured in an accident involving an at-fault, uninsured or underinsured, vehicle then your UM/UIM coverage is designed to step in and cover your damages. Don’t make the mistake of opting out of these coverage benefits, as you will likely regret that decision if you are hurt in an accident that is not your fault.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, contact the skilled Birmingham UM/UIM attorneys at Hollis, Wright, Clay & Vail or call us at 844.LAW.TALK or 205.324.3600. Evaluating UM/UIM claims can be complex and oftentimes, it can be difficult to determine the extent to which UM/UIM coverage is available and if so, to what extent. Our attorneys have decades of experience assessing liability claims arising from automobile and truck accidents, as well as whether or not UM/UIM coverage is available to our clients.Do I Automatically Receive My UM/UIM Coverage Benefits?
Many involved in an accident are surprised to learn that just because you have UM/UIM coverage, does not mean that your insurance carrier will automatically pay you any, let alone all, of the UM/UIM benefits on your policy. When pursuing UM/UIM benefits, you or your attorney will still be required to establish that the accident was the fault of the other person, the extent to which you were injured from the incident, and that the at-fault driver either has no liability coverage or not enough coverage to reasonably compensate you for your injuries. In other words, you or your attorney will essentially have to present the same type of evidence and proof that you would if you were pursuing a claim directly against the at-fault driver. As such, having the skilled Birmingham uninsured and underinsured attorneys at Hollis Wright on your side is very important. Our attorneys will obtain copies of any and all insurance policies that possibly could provide you with UM/UIM coverage and will review all of these policies to see if you are entitled to these types of benefits under your particular circumstances.Be Sure You Have UM/UIM on Your Current Policy
It is of the utmost importance that you do not decline your UM/UIM option on your own insurance policy. Many people, trying to save money will decline the UM/UIM policy, only saving a minuscule amount of money per month. Unfortunately, with 20% of the drivers in Alabama uninsured, you are at a great risk of being hit by one of them. The potential costs or losses you will face with no UM/UIM insurance will far outweigh the savings you may see by declining UM/UIM coverage on your policy. Remember, UM/UIM is protecting you against other drivers who are uninsured or underinsured and drive carelessly. To ensure you have UM/UIM coverage on your policy, simply contact your insurance agent or the insurance company and ask them to provide you with a copy of your policy as well as the insurance declaration page which shows your available coverages.Don’t Hesitate—Call Us
An automobile accident is one of the most frightening and disruptive events in someone’s life. Unfortunately, Alabama drivers have a greater than one in three chance of being in a crash involving injury or death in their lifetime. If you are in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance to compensate you for your injuries, then you will likely never be compensated if you don’t have UM/UIM coverage on your own policy.
If you are in an automobile accident, contact the Birmingham uninsured and underinsured attorneys at Hollis Wright at 844.LAW.TALK or 205.324.3600. You may also contact us here. We will provide a free and confidential consultation. All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis which means that we only get paid if we recover money on your behalf.