Alabama has a significant problem with uninsured drivers. At our firm, we help families suffering because of a personal injury. Car accidents and commercial truck crashes cause many of the injuries we see. Imagine suffering a severe injury only to learn the responsible person has no insurance to help with your damages. That is the scenario many hurt individuals face. Too often, negligent drivers causing injuries on our highways are uninsured. That’s why our firm has long advocated that you purchase sufficient uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family.
Want to know more about why you need sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage? You can read an article we wrote earlier this year titled Alabama Drivers Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage. You need adequate uninsured/underinsured coverage (also frequently called UIM coverage) to protect your family against both uninsured and underinsured drivers. Too many insured drivers carry the minimum amount possible which is unlikely to compensate you fully for any serious injury.
How bad is the problem of uninsured drivers in Alabama? The Insurance Information Institute has compiled some startling statistics. According to their statistics, Alabama ranks in the top 10 for the most uninsured drivers on the road. That’s certainly not a good category in which to rank within the top 10. In 2015, approximately 18.4% of the drivers in Alabama were uninsured. That’s a huge percentage of people driving cars all around you each day.
Here is an additional problem. Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee also rank within the top 10 for most uninsured drivers. Because these states border Alabama, many of their residents occasionally drive on our roads and highways. That makes the problem worse.
The news is not all bad. The statistics do show the rate of uninsured drivers in Alabama has actually declined in the last few years. I like to see the silver lining in things.
Although Alabama law requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, many still do not. Starting this month, Alabama will actually begin enforcing the mandatory insurance law. Local news channel WHNT recently posted an article about the new enforcement of our automobile insurance laws. As WHNT reports, starting November 1, drivers face potential civil penalties if they are in an accident and don’t have required liability insurance.
In my opinion, the current civil penalties are NOT sufficient to protect responsible Alabama drivers. The WHNT article quotes Alabama Department of Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling as saying:
It just makes sense to have liability insurance on your vehicle because operating a motor vehicle without it drives up everyone’s rates. Do the right thing, and follow Alabama’s Mandatory Liability Insurance laws to help stabilize rates for Alabama insurance consumers.
While Riding is correct, his statement is not complete. Yes, we all pay higher rates because of those drivers without insurance. But, that is not the full picture. Too often injured drivers cannot recover for their medical bills, wage losses and other damages because the negligent driver lacks insurance. That leads to additional suffering for the innocent families involved in crashes.
Alabama needs to increase the amount of liability coverage required. Our state’s minimum limits are not sufficient to protect drivers. And, Alabama needs to add some real teeth to its enforcement penalties. We need to deter uninsured drivers from putting the rest of us at risk on our roads and highways.
At the Blackwell Law Firm we regularly help people who have suffered significant personal injuries in car crashes. We specialize in personal injury cases. We specialize so that we can focus all our skill, effort and training on these cases. If you have questions, we are happy to talk. Consultations are always free and confidential.