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Articles Tagged with underinsured

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Huntsville Personal Injury AttorneysIf 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.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury Attorneys / Blackwell Law FirmWhat is uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage? This coverage is commonly called UIM. This valuable coverage is provided through your automobile insurance policy. And, it provides compensation for your injuries when the at-fault driver does not have adequate liability insurance coverage. In Alabama, insurance companies must provide UIM coverage (at least in the minimum amount) on your policy unless you specifically waive it. You should never do that! In fact, you should talk with your agent about purchasing more than the minimum required limits.

Uninsured / Underinsured Coverage Protects Alabama Families Seriously Injured By A Negligent Driver

You are driving to work. Suddenly, another driver runs a red light and crashes into you. You are hurt. You start receiving medical bills. And, you are unable to work. When you make a claim against the at-fault driver you learn he had NO car insurance. I know – this is illegal. Even if he had the minimum coverage (currently $25,000), it would only cover a fraction of your damages. What should you do? If you have UIM coverage on your policy, then you can recover additional money to help with your damages.

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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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Huntsville Car Accident And Injury LawyersAlabama has a huge problem with uninsured and underinsured drivers. While Alabama law does require liability coverage, the law lacks needed enforcement. And, our law only requires minimum limits far too little for any serious personal injury or death. Because of this, car accident victims are often left without the compensation needed for their medical care or disabilities.

I’ve written several articles about the problems caused by Alabama drivers who don’t have liability insurance. Because of this issue, several Alabama legislators have worked to develop a system of instant verification. That’s a great first step. While important in keeping totally uninsured drivers off our roadways, instant verification does not completely resolve the problem. That system does nothing to resolve the problem created when a driver with insurance, but not enough insurance, causes an accident.

What if you suffer a disabling injury in a car accident caused by another driver? Suddenly, you cannot work. You are faced with huge medical bills. Then, on top of that, you discover the other driver had only $50,000 in insurance coverage. That coverage is certainly not enough to compensate you for a disability that causes you to be unable to work for the rest of your life. It covers only a fraction of your damages. If you suffer any significant injury, that is far too little coverage. Alabama currently only requires liability coverage in the amount of $25,000. That minimal amount is basically exhausted with a helicopter ride to the hospital or any significant testing in the emergency room. What can you do? How should you protect yourself from an at-fault driver who possesses minimum $25,000 liability limits? For that matter, how should you protect yourself from an at-fault driver who possesses a little higher liability limits of $50,000 or $100,000. After all, we are still talking far, far too little for any serious accident. Think about the impact on your family of an injury that prevents you from working. Think about the impact on your family of an injury that requires major surgery or a period of rehabilitation.

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