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Articles Tagged with UIM

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Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersMany car accident injury cases are fairly straightforward. Liability and damages. Did the other driver negligently cause the collision? If so, were you injured? What is the extent of your injuries?

In recent weeks, I’ve written several posts about settlement mill lawyers. These billboard and television lawyers want a volume of those straightforward car accident and injury cases that they can quickly settle. Even when the case is straightforward, these settlement mill lawyers often harm their clients by not working to prepare cases for their maximum value. That’s important — Even when straightforward, putting the time and skill into developing and building the case can make a huge difference in the amount of damages recovered for an injured client. When our friends and neighbors suffer an injury, they deserve a lawyer who will provide personal attention and work on their case.

When you take a car accident claim and add common issues such as vehicle defects, commercial vehicles, underinsured drivers or uninsured drivers, you really are well-beyond claims that can be handled by settlement mill lawyers. These cases require work, preparation and a willingness to go to court when needed.

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Huntsville Personal Injury Attorneys: Blackwell Law FirmI like to answer consumer questions in a couple different legal forums. The more information we can provide our neighbors to help them with legal decisions — the better. Someone recently asked me if I knew people who had suffered due to uninsured / underinsured drivers. The answer is, YES.

I know many people in Alabama who have needlessly suffered due to a lack of insurance for their injuries. In the last year, I’ve had to talk with two different families in this exact situation where the medical bills, alone, exceeded a million dollars. Yet, in each situation, the at-fault driver carried only minimal automobile insurance. These are difficult conversations to have with hurting or grieving families. It is difficult to tell a hurting family that they cannot recover even a real fraction of their losses.

Alabama law only requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Right now, that minimum amount is $25,000. Let’s put that into perspective. If you are badly hurt in a wreck, a helicopter ride to the hospital, by itself, will likely consume this entire amount. Yes, I’ve had this situation in several different cases. The bills from a regular ambulance ride and emergency room visit will consume a significant portion of the minimum limits. In any case involving a serious injury, the minimum limit of $25,000 is far, far too low. Your damages in any serious personal injury will exceed that amount.

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Blackwell Law Firm - Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersSeveral years ago, I had the honor of representing another Huntsville personal injury attorney who was hit by an SUV while riding his bicycle. After the crash, the SUV driver paused just briefly to see that the bicyclist had lived. Then, he fled the scene. He was never identified. The bicyclist suffered a severe neck injury. I was honored that he asked me to handle his case. This injured attorney had been practicing trial work for years and knew lawyers across northern Alabama. Because law enforcement was never able to identify the driver who caused the crash, we pursued claims against the bicyclist’s insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits (UIM). Let this be a lesson to everyone — It is very important for you to have UIM coverage on your policy. You can read more about that issue in a special section of our law firm website.

In the lawyer bicyclist case, we worked with the medical professionals to present the evidence of his serious injury. When the insurance company refused to fairly evaluate the matter, we went to trial. We successfully won a verdict compensating him for his full damages.

I think of that case every time I read about hit and run incidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists. I also think about the Pokemon fad. I can remember leaving my Huntsville office at night during that ridiculous fad. As I drove through downtown, I would see people staring into their cellphones while walking. Often, these people would cross streets with zero awareness of the traffic around them. How dangerous.

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In past years, I’ve written numerous articles discussing Alabama’s problem with uninsured drivers. Historically, Alabama had one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the United States. It’s a terrible problem for people innocently injured in a car accident.

In my prior articles, I advocated for instant verification to enforce mandatory liability insurance laws. I argued the need to implement a verification system for use by law enforcement at traffic stops. For years, I had counseled too many clients who suffered a severe personal injury caused by an uninsured driver. While Alabama legally required liability insurance, enforcement was a huge problem. Drivers could largely evade responsibility by presenting an old insurance card to the police which could not be verified. What good is a law if offenders can evade its requirements? What good is a law without proper enforcement?

I also counseled clients to use the uninsured coverage offered in their own policies. Certainly, you want the at-fault driver (and his insurance company) to pay your damages. I get it. But, too often the at-fault driver has no coverage or too little coverage. So, uninsured coverage becomes extremely important. You need to purchase an amount large enough to pay for potential car accident injuries and damages.

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