If you’ve seen the news, you’ve heard the reports about the condo collapse in Miami. Several families have already filed wrongful death claims on behalf of their deceased loved ones. How many people died in the building collapse?
With more than 100 residents missing and several suits already filed, a local Miami judge held an emergency hearing on the issue of evidence preservation. Evidence preservation is a big deal in the case. Accident scenes can change rapidly – destroying important evidence. I’ll save the evidence topic for another day. Another issue from the hearing — liability insurance — sparked the topic for this post.
At that hearing, attorneys for the condo association indicated liability coverage in the amount of $48 million existed. The judge promptly responded such coverage was not adequate to compensate all the families for their deceased loved ones. It is not. While that sum may seem like a lot of money, you start dividing it between many, many families and it is not.
How does that apply to us? While we don’t own large towers with the lives of 100s of families in our hands, we do interact with individuals on a daily basis in our cars. Every day, we watch as our loved ones leave home for work, school or other activities. We put the lives of our loved ones in the hands of all the other drivers around them.
When a loved one is injured in an accident, the medical bills alone can be devastating. It’s hard even to imagine the loss of a loved one.
We don’t need $48 million in insurance coverage to drive our highways. We don’t need anything close to that. But, all drivers need sufficient coverage to cover the harms and losses which might happen in a car accident on the roadway. That includes losses we cause as well as losses we suffer.
Too many people drive our roads and highways without sufficient coverage. That puts all of us at risk.
Many Alabama Drivers Are Uninsured. What If You Are Injured By One?
Over the years, I’ve written numerous articles about the high rate of uninsured drivers in Alabama. Yes, Alabama does have a law that requires every driver to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Do you really think every driver on the road follows that law?
In recent years, Alabama has improved its system of checking for uninsured drivers. The ability to conduct instant checks has lowered the rate of uninsured drivers. But, it’s still too high.
Every month, I talk to drivers who were injured by an uninsured driver. Those are difficult conversations. It’s hard to tell someone facing a serious injury, potential disability or mounting medical bills, that the driver who carelessly caused his or her injury had no insurance.
Nobody like to think about being hurt. Nobody. For the sake of your loved ones, you must. In Alabama, every automobile insurance policy must provide what is called uninsured / underinsured coverage (sometimes referred to as UIM). That is, all policies must provide this coverage unless you specifically waive it. This coverage compensates you for your injuries when the at-fault driver does not have insurance.
With a high rate of uninsured drivers all around us on the highway, why would anyone decide to waive valuable UIM coverage. Unfortunately, many people waive this coverage. I’ve counseled dozens of injury victims, this year alone, who waived their UIM coverage and were later injured by another driver who had zero insurance. Review your automobile policy and make sure you have valuable uninsured coverage before an injury occurs. If you wait, it can be too late.
Many Alabama Drivers Are Underinsured. What If You Are Injured By One?
Alabama has a problem with uninsured drivers. It also has a problem with underinsured drivers. Our law presently only requires drivers to carry $25,000 in liability insurance coverage. That’s far too little.
Think about it. A negligent driver runs a red light and hits you. You are injured. The ambulance arrives and carries you to the hospital. If the other driver only carries the minimum limits, the cost of your hospital treatment might consume most of it. What about your other damages? What if the injury leaves you unable to work for a period of time? What if you require treatment beyond the emergency room? What if you are disabled from the crash? It does not take much for your damages quickly to exceed the available $25,000.
What can you do? How can you plan to protect yourself and your family? Look at the UIM coverage on your policy. Unless you waived it (a bad decision), you should have UIM coverage. This coverage not only pays you when the other driver is uninsured, it also pays you when the other driver is underinsured. Where your damages exceed the other driver’s liability coverage, your UIM can pay the difference.
Review your policy — Your UIM coverage is likely to be only the minimum limit of $25,000. You should consider increasing this coverage. With many uninsured and underinsured drivers on our highways, your damages could easily exceed the available coverage. And, UIM coverage is one of the least expensive coverages available. You should purchase sufficient coverage to protect yourself from the financial devastation of a serious injury.
What If You Negligently Cause A Car Accident? Does Your Family Have Sufficient Liability Coverage?
Up to this point, I’ve discussed the insurance available to compensate you for an injury caused by another driver. What if someone in your family accidentally causes a crash that injures another person?
You need to review your own policy for this scenario as well. You need sufficient coverage to protect your family from potential personal liability for an accident. It does not take much for anyone injured in a car accident to suffer damages exceeding the minimum required limits of $25,000. If you accidentally injure another driver and do not have enough liability coverage, that driver could seek to recover their losses from your own assets. Get the coverage you need to protect your family.