Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents
Alabama has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists – about one out of five – in the entire nation. In addition, people who merely comply with the state’s minimum requirements may not have enough coverage to fully compensate a victim of a serious or fatal crash. Having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is thus very important to Alabama residents. If you or a loved one has been hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, Foley car accident attorney Whit A. Thomas can help answer questions that you may have about your rights under a UM/UIM insurance policy.
The mandatory liability insurance requirements in Alabama are very modest: $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage. As medical costs continue to increase, this amount of coverage does not go very far in paying the medical expenses and lost wages of someone hurt in a car crash, nor is it likely to provide adequate compensation for their pain and suffering or a loved one’s loss of consortium.Claims Arising from Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents
Fortunately for people who have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, there is a potential for additional compensation. However, benefits under a UM/UIM policy are not paid out without a fight in many cases. This may come as a surprise to a person who has been paying premiums for many years with the expectation that the insurance company would deal fairly with them in the event of an uninsured/underinsured motorist accident.
In a typical UM/UIM case, the insurance company stands in the shoes of the at-fault driver. This means that the claimant must be able to prove the usual elements of negligence (duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages) by a preponderance of the evidence, just as in a lawsuit filed directly against a negligent or reckless driver. In other words, they will need to demonstrate that, more likely than not, they would not have been hurt if the driver who struck them had handled their vehicle safely and prudently.
The insurance company may assert defenses like contributory negligence or the statute of limitations, similar to those that the defendant could have asserted. In addition, the insurance company may make a case-specific defense, such as alleging a failure to give timely notice under the policy. Considering the complexities that may arise, seeking representation from a knowledgeable attorney is a critical step to take in ensuring that your rights are preserved.Discuss a Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident with a Foley Lawyer
If you have been hurt by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you need to talk to an attorney. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your insurance company will make a fair settlement of your claim. Waiting for an adjuster to review your file may be frustrating, time-consuming, and risky. Experienced Foley lawyer Whit A. Thomas is ready to stand up for you against your insurer. Call him at (251) 943-9330 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. He can assist victims and their families in Foley, Gulf Shores, Fairhope, Daphne, Mobile, Altmore, Monroeville, and other cities in Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia, and Monroe Counties.