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Articles Tagged with uninsured

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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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16687020074_db03aa8ce2_z-300x171Alabama 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.

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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.

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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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