What To Do In An Accident With An Uninsured Driver
When you’re involved in a car crash, “stressful” is the mildest word to describe the situation you find yourself in. If you’re extremely fortunate, the most you will suffer is a derailed schedule because the driver who caused the accident quickly pays for the damages to your vehicle.
However, even a minor car collision can become a major disaster when the other driver does not have insurance and refuses to pay for damages. While Alabama state law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, some uninsured drivers choose to get behind the wheel illegally. Others may be insured but not have adequate coverage to compensate the damage done to you and your vehicle.
Your options when dealing with an uninsured driver can often throw the whole process into a tailspin. Sometimes, it even results in you being forced to bear the financial burden for a collision that was not your fault.
What Happens If You’re in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you are in a car crash with an uninsured driver (or a driver whose insurance is not sufficient to cover your damages), your own insurance provider may become your foe instead of your friend. Without another driver’s insurance to bill, insurance providers may deny claims that they might have approved, or simply delay processing the claim in an effort to avoid it altogether.
This can be a terrible ordeal for someone who is suffering from injuries or significant vehicle damage, along with the financial burdens that come with both. In this situation, a car accident victim is forced to choose between taking on enormous medical bills without the benefit of the insurance policy they paid for, or going without treatment because they cannot afford it.
Alabama Insurance and Liability in Car Accidents
Unlike many other states, Alabama is a “fault” state regarding car accidents and insurance coverage. This means that the fault (or legal responsibility) of the drivers involved in the crash will affect how compensation is paid to those who are injured – or whose property is damaged – as a result of the accident. It also means that Alabama drivers have multiple options when it comes to proceeding with a claim for compensation after an accident. These options include:
- Filing a claim with one’s own insurance company, according to the terms of the policy
- Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance (sometimes called a “third-party claim”)
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver
While every registered vehicle driver is required by state law to have liability insurance (a minimum of $25,000 per person, $25,000 in property damage coverage, and $50,000 total insurance for personal injuries caused by negligent driving), it sometimes happens that a driver’s insurance policy is not sufficient to pay for the damage done to the other driver. At other times, the at-fault driver is driving illegally without insurance.
In either case, while the driver may find himself on the wrong side of the law, you are still left in a very real predicament. Even if the other driver faces penalties for driving without insurance, this does nothing to help you with the financial burdens you are suffering through no fault of your own.
What Are Your Options After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
Many victims of uninsured driver accidents naturally think that a lawsuit against the at-fault driver is the answer to their problem. But the very reason that most uninsured drivers fail to get insurance is because they have no money to pay for it. So while a court or judge may find the other driver guilty in your case, there is little they can do to help you collect damages from a driver who simply does not have any money.
The alternative to shouldering the entire financial burden yourself is to hire a car accident attorney who can help you file a claim with your own insurance company. An experienced accident attorney will deal with your insurance provider, working on your behalf to settle on a sum that adequately compensates the costs of your medical care and vehicle damage.
Uninsured Coverage or Lawsuit
Nobody expects to find themselves involved in a car crash, much less one with an uninsured driver. But these events do happen, and it is precisely in these instances that many insurance providers in Alabama offer optional uninsured motorist coverage. It is a good option to consider purchasing because the coverage gives you a much better chance of getting the financial amount you deserve when filing a claim with your insurance provider.
After an accident, the stress of dealing with an uninsured driver is the last thing you need. By working with an experienced car accident attorney, you can focus on your recovery while having the assurance that your rights are being defended by an expert.
If you’ve suffered from a car accident with an uninsured driver in Alabama, don’t let your insurance company make you a victim all over again. Contact the team of attorneys at Pittman Dutton & Hellums to make sure that your rights are honored and that you get the financial compensation you deserve.