Car wrecks are confusing enough without also having to deal with an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM). Despite the fact that it’s illegal to drive without adequate car insurance in the state of Alabama, hundreds do so every day. If you get into a collision with one of these negligent drivers, you may not know how to seek recovery for your medical bills and property damage. Here’s what to do in the event of a crash with a UM or UIM.
Record the Other Driver’s Information
A driver that does not keep acceptable insurance coverage may not be the most reliable when it comes to giving you information, speaking to police, or admitting fault. Protect your rights by gathering as much information as possible at the scene of the crash. This includes the other driver’s name, license plate number, and contact information. Take photographs of the incident if possible. Call the police to report the collision, even if it was minor. A police report gives you accurate and official documentation of the wreck.
Call Your Insurance Company
Your first insurance-related question after an incident will be whether you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In Alabama, state law requires coverage by a liability insurance policy for every vehicle operated on public highways. This means that the driver who hit you should be responsible for paying your damages. If the driver does not have car insurance as Alabama law requires, you may feel like you’ve hit a dead end. Luckily, your own insurance company will step in to compensate you when the other driver’s insurer cannot.
After an incident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, call your insurance company and report the crash. Explain that you need to file a UM/UIM claim because the driver does not carry minimum coverage, or does not have insurance at all. Your insurance agent will be able to tell you if your policy contains UM/UIM coverage. In Alabama, if you carry the minimum required vehicle insurance, it automatically comes with UM/UIM coverage. It is a requirement for every liability insurance policy according to Alabama Code 32-7-23.
Understand Uninsured Motorist Coverage
UM/UIM coverage means that your policy has money available to compensate you for damages you incurred as a result of a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Your UM/UIM coverage will also kick in should you suffer damages from a hit-and-run driver. This coverage will provide you with compensation, up to a certain limit, for your physical injuries, medical bills, and property damage.
Having UM/UIM insurance coverage is extremely important in protecting yourself in the event of a collision with the wrong driver. There is no way to know whether the driver in your next collision will have adequate insurance to cover your damages. The best way to ensure you receive money for your injuries is with UM/UIM coverage. If the other driver has insurance, but not enough to cover your damages, your insurance policy will cover the difference. If the other driver has no insurance, your policy will become the primary provider.
Speak to an Attorney
In many cases, you can come to a satisfactory settlement agreement with insurance companies. In some instances however, you may need to enlist the help of an experienced lawyer in Birmingham. This may be the case if neither insurance company covers your damages, or if you need sound legal advice during negotiations with insurance adjusters. Retain an attorney who can interpret your insurance policy, communicate with insurers, and skillfully represent you should your case go to trial.
Don’t let another driver’s negligence decide your future. The lawyers at Powers Injury Law are here to help you work through complex UM/UIM cases. To speak with an attorney during a free initial case evaluation, call (205) 582-2723 or contact us online today.