Huntsville Uninsured Motorist Attorney
One of the first things you do after a car accident is to exchange insurance information with the other driver. You may be in for a shock at that point if the other motorist turns out not to have auto liability insurance. If the other driver does have insurance, what if the expenses from your medical bills exceed the total amounts their insurance will cover? How will you recover expenses for medical bills and lost wages in either of these cases? Drivers in Alabama have two main options for collecting from uninsured or underinsured motorists. However, dealing with insurance companies on your own is almost never advised in these situations. The experienced uninsured motorist attorneys at Conchin, Cloud & Cole, LLC in Huntsville can help with these often complex claims.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
For these reasons, many people carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is coverage you pay for on your own insurance policy that will step in to cover damages should the driver who injured you not carry insurance, or not carry enough to cover all the expenses incurred as a result of your accident.
Alabama law requires insurance companies to include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of basic liability insurance. However, the law does allow drivers to decline this coverage. If you have not declined the uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, you should be covered in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or only carries the minimum required.
To protect parties involved in motor vehicle accidents, Alabama law requires all drivers to have liability insurance and to always carry proof of insurance in the vehicle with them. The state set minimum liability amounts are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury involving one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury involving more than one person in an accident
- $25,000 for property damages
You must show your proof of insurance to law enforcement during an auto accident. Failure to do so can lead to possible convictions of violating Mandatory Liability Insurance Law. Consequences can include:
- License suspension for six months
- Fines up to $500 for first-time violations
- Vehicle impoundment
- Registration suspension
Sue the Other Driver
If you discover the other driver’s insurance will not cover the full cost of your expenses or they do not have liability insurance, you may choose to sue the driver directly for compensation. Auto insurance is really about protecting yourself from having to pay to compensate others you may injure in an accident or for damages to their vehicle. Having insurance does not relieve you of the responsibility to ensure that any damages or injuries you cause in an accident are compensated, it merely provides a way to pay for those damages rather than out of your own pocket.
The difficulty in pursuing a claim against a person who only carries the minimum insurance or does not carry insurance at all is that those drivers usually have very little money, or they would not have cut corners on their auto liability insurance. It is possible that someone with great financial resources unintentionally allowed their liability insurance to slip, but in most cases, even if you win a judgment against the other driver, it may be very difficult to collect your compensation.
Alabama Auto Insurance Laws
Alabama law enforcement officers have access to the State of Alabama Online Insurance Verification System, which can immediately verify the insurance status of a vehicle. Drivers who are carrying false proof of insurance are subject to the same penalties as those who are driving without the state minimum requirements for coverage.
Alabama does not require drivers to carry additional policies, such as uninsured, underinsured, and no-fault insurance. Drivers may purchase any additional insurance as they deem it. Uninsured and underinsured policies can help you recover damages if the at-fault party has insufficient insurance.
If you are in an accident and the responsible party is uninsured or underinsured, our car accident attorneys can help.
Making a Claim on Your Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage
If you are going to make a claim on your policy under the uninsured/underinsured motorist, it is best to do so quickly. Most insurance policies have a very limited amount of time to make a claim, even as little as 30 days.
Once you do initiate a claim, the insurance company will likely closely investigate your medical treatment and the expenses you incurred as a result of the accident. While many insurance companies act properly and merely ensure that no fraud is taking place, if your insurance company becomes overly adversarial in questioning your claim, they may be acting in bad faith and so be open to a claim against them as well. Contact the Huntsville personal injury lawyers at Conchin, Cloud & Cole, LLC to see how we can help.