A car crashes into you. You suffer personal injuries. You suddenly face problems with medical bills, pain or wage losses. Then, you discover another problem. The at-fault driver has too little or no insurance for your damages. This problem is not rare. It happens more than you think. Many drivers do not have the insurance necessary to cover the harm their negligent driving may cause.
Alabama law requires every driver to have liability insurance. But, the law requires only small limits of coverage. Some drivers choose to ignore the law and drive without coverage. Other drivers purchase only the bare minimum amount. That amount is far less than needed to cover the damages for anyone with a significant personal injury. Many injury victims have medical bills that exceed the minimum liability coverage limits required by law.
I wrote a series of articles in prior years discussing Alabama’s problem with uninsured drivers. These articles also detail efforts by Alabama officials to create a system of insurance verification – a system that would catch drivers who choose to ignore the law and put the rest of us in danger. When I wrote my first article on the topic in 2011, officials estimated up to 25% of Alabama’s drivers did not currently possess insurance coverage. In 2016, Governor Bentley announced the rate of uninsured drivers had dropped significantly. Yet, it still remains too high. You can read some of my prior articles at my other blog, The Alabama Litigation Review.
So, how do you protect yourself from negligent drivers who have too little insurance? The solution — Uninsured/Underinsured coverage on your policy. In order to protect yourself and your family, you need adequate uninsured/underinsured coverage. Uninsured/underinsured coverage is also commonly referred to as UIM. UIM is designed to provide coverage to you when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance. Every automobile insurance policy in Alabama is required to have a minimum amount of UIM coverage unless you specifically waive it. You should never waive this valuable coverage. In fact, you should consider purchasing more. UIM coverage is usually very cost effective.
Last year, we counseled an automobile accident victim who suffered a traumatic head injury when an uninsured (and intoxicated) driver ran a stop sign and slammed into his car. The injured driver required emergency helicopter transportation to Huntsville Hospital. Not only was the at-fault driver completely uninsured, but the injured driver only had the minimum amount of UIM. His air ambulance and hospital bills far exceeded his available UIM. He did not have the coverage needed for the many months of therapy and many months of lost wages he also suffered. At the same time, our firm represented another client who also suffered a traumatic brain injury in a hit-and-run accident. That client did have good UIM coverage. We filed a claim with her UIM carrier. And, after a fight, we obtained the insurance proceeds this injured client needed for her damages.
Whether or not you have sufficient UIM coverage can make all the difference if you are hurt by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Alabama. On the Blackwell Law Firm website we have an entire page dedicated to Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Alabama. We welcome readers to our website and blogs. We are also available to answer questions or provide counsel in the event you suffer a personal injury in an automobile accident.