In Alabama, all drivers are required to carry motor vehicle insurance in order to legally operate their vehicles. However, the types of insurance that are required, as well as what coverage different types of insurance offer, can be confusing. At the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, we have found that in most cases, carrying the highest insurance coverage limits is usually best. This protects you from personal liability and ensures that your medical bills are paid in the event of an accident. Another area of the policy where higher coverage limits could come to your rescue is with uninsured motorist insurance.
What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
Uninsured motorist insurance is the portion of an auto policy that pays for a driver’s bodily injuries, property damage costs, or both in the event that they are involved in an accident with another driver who a) is at fault for the accident and b) does not have insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance is similar, except for that it kicks in when a policyholder is involved in an accident with another (at-fault) driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for damages sustained by the not-at-fault driver.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is beneficial, because it protects you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance. Without this type of coverage, you may be forced to pay for your injuries and losses out of your own pocket.
Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance Required in Alabama?
In Alabama, the state requires every driver to carry a “25/50/25” policy, which means that drivers must carry:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person;
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident; and
- $25,000 for property damage liability.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required in the state; however, insurance companies are required to offer this coverage type and, if a motorist wants to reject the coverage, they must do so in writing. If you do purchase uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, the minimum limit required by law (unless, as stated above, you reject the coverage in writing) is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Rejecting the coverage is ill-advised; if you’re in an accident, this coverage could save you tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
In addition to uninsured motorist insurance, other types of available insurance coverage that can help pay for a driver’s losses after an accident include comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and medical benefits coverage.
What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you have uninsured motorist insurance, then after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you’ll file a claim with your own insurance company. If you do not carry this coverage type, recovering the compensation that you’re owed can prove more complicated. Either way, there are a few steps you should take:
- Write down the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance information, and vehicle information while at the accident scene;
- Gather any evidence that offers insight into how the accident occurred (fault) and the degree of damages suffered;
- Talk to eyewitnesses and write down witnesses’ contact information;
- File a police report and request a copy of the report; and
- Notify your insurance company immediately.
If you have suffered serious injuries in the crash, you should also consider calling a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can build your claim and guide you through your recovery options, including filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, filing a claim against your own insurance, or filing a claim against another third-party.
Call Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyers Today
Following a car accident, recovering the compensation award that you deserve to pay for injuries and property damage expenses is surely a top priority. But if the other driver isn’t insured, it may be more difficult for you to recoup the amount you’re entitled to.
At the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, our experienced Alabama car accident lawyers know what you’re going through and are here to assist you. We can help determine fault, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and help protect your rights and interests throughout each step of the process. For your free initial consultation, call our office at (334) 821-3892 or send us a message directly. We are here to serve you!