After a serious car accident, you’ll face lost income, medical bills, and a lot of uncertainty. The last thing you’ll want to hear is that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
In this article, the lawyers at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys discuss what it means to be underinsured or uninsured, and how it can impact your car accident claim. We’ll also talk about what to do if you’re the victim of an accident caused by a driver without adequate insurance.
Who Are Underinsured or Uninsured Drivers?
In Alabama, registered drivers must carry a minimum level of liability insurance, which covers bodily injuries and property damage.
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage
However, in a catastrophic accident, these minimum insurance policies won’t cover all the costs associated with the crash. While a driver with minimum coverage is operating the vehicle legally, they will be underinsured if an accident leads to significant medical bills and lost income. According to the National Safety Council, the average economic cost of a disabling accident was $90,000. For a fatal accident, this number increases to $1,542,000.
Uninsured drivers are those who get behind the wheel without any insurance at all. Of course, they are driving illegally and will face consequences if they cause an accident, but that doesn’t provide coverage for the injuries and damages other drivers and passengers experience.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, as of 2015, more than 18 percent of Alabama drivers and 13 percent of U.S. drivers were uninsured. That’s a significant portion of motorists on any given day.
The Challenges of Being Hit by an Underinsured or Uninsured Driver
Alabama is a “fault” or “tort” state when it comes to traffic accidents and insurance coverage. This means that after an Alabama car accident, you’ll file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. While you may have supplemental claims with your insurer, the focus of an injury claim is typically the driver who caused the crash.
If the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, the crash victim will have to try to collect whatever they can from them. Ultimately, this means that accident victims, health insurance companies, and public welfare programs may end up footing the bills. In other words, we all pay the price for uninsured and underinsured drivers.
As a protection, Alabama drivers typically have uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. While you can opt out of UM/UIM insurance, most auto insurance policies carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage. You can file a claim against your UM/UIM policy when the at-fault driver is either uninsured or your damages exceed their policy limits.
The Importance of Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Being in an accident is traumatic enough; the last thing you need is an at-fault driver who can’t cover your damages. While you can try to collect compensation personally from the at-fault driver, this is a complicated process, and if the driver doesn’t have significant assets, it may be impossible.
For victims holding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, the challenges of being hit by a driver without adequate insurance can be greatly reduced.
Depending on the level of coverage you purchase, you may have not only your injuries, but also property damage, covered. Fortunately, this type of coverage does not greatly increase your insurance costs and may become invaluable in the wake of an accident.
UM/UIM motorist coverage is also helpful if you’re in a hit-and-run situation, and the at-fault party isn’t identified.
However, many accident victims encounter difficulties with their UM/UIM claims. You may be surprised to discover that your insurance company is trying to blame you for the crash, or questioning the severity of your injuries. To fight back, you’ll need an experienced, aggressive injury lawyer at your side.
Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys if the At-Fault Driver Is Underinsured or Uninsured
Even with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you’re going to run into challenges after being hit by a driver with inadequate insurance. Give yourself peace of mind by working with an injury attorney who understands your situation. From filing a claim to fighting for your fair compensation, an experienced lawyer is equipped to address every aspect of this challenge.
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we know how to talk to insurance companies and identify potential sources of compensation. While you focus on healing and getting your life back together, we can fight aggressively for the money you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been hit by an underinsured or uninsured driver, please call us at 251-888-8888 or fill out our quick and easy online contact form to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced attorney from the Andy Citrin team today.
Automobile insurance FAQs (n.d.). Alabama Department of Insurance. Retrieved from https://www.aldoi.gov/Consumers/AutoFAQ.aspx
Estimating the costs of unintentional injuries, 2015. (2017, March). National Safety Council. Retrieved from https://www.nsc.org/Portals/0/Documents/NSCDocuments_Corporate/estimating-costs.pdf
Facts + statistics: uninsured motorists. (n.d.). Insurance Information Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists
Glenn, Alex. Uninsured motorist coverage explained. (14 December, 2016). Nerdwallet. Retrieved from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/get-car-insurance-with-uninsured-motorist-coverage/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.