Many car accident injury cases are fairly straightforward. Liability and damages. Did the other driver negligently cause the collision? If so, were you injured? What is the extent of your injuries?
In recent weeks, I’ve written several posts about settlement mill lawyers. These billboard and television lawyers want a volume of those straightforward car accident and injury cases that they can quickly settle. Even when the case is straightforward, these settlement mill lawyers often harm their clients by not working to prepare cases for their maximum value. That’s important — Even when straightforward, putting the time and skill into developing and building the case can make a huge difference in the amount of damages recovered for an injured client. When our friends and neighbors suffer an injury, they deserve a lawyer who will provide personal attention and work on their case.
When you take a car accident claim and add common issues such as vehicle defects, commercial vehicles, underinsured drivers or uninsured drivers, you really are well-beyond claims that can be handled by settlement mill lawyers. These cases require work, preparation and a willingness to go to court when needed.
The At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Enough Insurance Coverage For My Injuries. What Can I Do?
Alabama has a huge problem with uninsured drivers. Yes, we have a law requiring all drivers to carry liability insurance coverage. If someone negligently causes a car accident and you are hurt, they should have liability coverage for your injuries. But, too many people still drive cars without proper insurance coverage.
Even if the at-fault driver has coverage, it may not be enough for your injuries. Alabama only requires drivers to carry $25,000 in liability coverage. Think about that! If you are seriously hurt, that will not even cover your initial treatment. If you are med-flighted to Huntsville Hospital, the minimum limits would barely cover the helicopter bill. You may still have lots of other losses. What will cover your other medical bills, your lost wages, or your long-term disabilities? In Alabama, the problem is not just drivers with no insurance. We also have serious issues with under-insured drivers causing severe personal injuries.
I’ve written previous articles advising people to purchase sufficient uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). It’s very important coverage! I’ve also written and published a lengthy page to my website on Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage which provides a lot of background if you are researching the issue.
We commonly advise drivers about uninsured / underinsured insurance claims following Alabama car accidents with a driver who lacks coverage. But, these are not the only situations involving uninsured coverage. Another accident situation is also far too common. It involves at-fault drivers who cause a wreck and then leave the scene.
The At-Fault Driver Fled The Scene. What Can I Do?
Hit-and-run! Through the years, I’ve helped many people injured in hit-and-run accidents. I even represented another Huntsville attorney when he was struck and injured while riding his bicycle by a driver who fled the scene. A driver in a SUV hit him in downtown Huntsville and then sped away. The crash caused a serious back injury. We tried his case and obtained a good verdict for him.
Negligent drivers flee accident scenes for several reasons. Often, the at-fault driver is drunk or impaired on drugs. This is probably the most common. But, it’s certainly not the only reason. Sometimes, the at-fault driver flees because he has no license. Maybe he has outstanding criminal warrants and fears arrest.
It’s not just car drivers. I’ve had many prior cases where eighteen wheelers struck cars and continued driving down the highway. A couple years ago, we represented a family severely injured when a commercial truck sideswiped them on Interstate 65, sending their car off the highway. That trucker kept driving but was followed by a witness who called police. We’ve handled similar accidents on Interstate 565 and North Memorial Parkway. We were able to identify the truckers and trucking companies in each of these cases. So, we made claims against them. When caught, every one of those truckers claimed he was not aware of striking the other vehicle. None of the denials in these cases were believable. I believe each of these truckers feared losing their jobs for having a reportable accident. What if the trucker fled without being identified? What if you did not know who caused the collision because the trucker left the scene? What if we never identified the at-fault truck driver?
When you have UIM coverage in Alabama, your insurance company is supposed pay you for your injuries caused by the unknown, at-fault driver up to your policy limits. These are often referred to as phantom drivers. When another driver negligently injures you but leaves the scene before he or she can be identified, your UIM insurance becomes essential. Without UIM coverage, you would recover no compensation.
Alabama Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is VERY Important.
I write about this issue frequently. Why? UIM coverage is very important. Alabama law requires automobile insurance policies to provide a minimum level of UIM coverage unless you waive it. But, some drivers do waive the coverage simply to save a few dollars in premiums. That’s a mistake. You don’t just need the minimum level. You need extra coverage. This is an area where the risk of a serious, costly injury caused by a driver without enough insurance, is high. You need to talk with your agent and purchase sufficient coverage for you and your family. If you have questions about UIM claims or compensation for injuries, let me know. I’m happy to answer questions.
The Blackwell Law Firm represents people who have suffered serious accidents and injuries across Alabama. We understand the issues involving car accidents, insurance coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. If you have questions, let us know. Consultations are always free and confidential.