Like most states, Alabama requires motorists to have minimum amounts of car insurance. So, anyone planning on driving while in the state must carry proof of car liability insurance at all times and show it to law enforcement officers when requested.
Typically, the coverage is split into property damage and bodily injury coverage. Property damage caters to damage caused to the other driver’s vehicle, while bodily injury coverage pays for lost wages for injuries caused to the other driver or passengers. Liability insurance neither covers damage to your car nor pays for your injuries. Thus, you may need to add further coverage.
Alabama laws require these liability car insurance minimums:
- $25,000 property damage per accident
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
What Is Per Person Coverage?
Per-person coverage is the maximum amount that an insurance company will pay to a single person injured in a car accident. Bodily injury coverage per accident refers to the maximum amount an insurer will pay all the injured parties in an accident. Property damage per accident is the maximum payment an insurance company will pay for the damage caused to the victim’s property in an accident.
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Do Alabama Insurance Minimums Provide Adequate Coverage?
Although the state-mandated minimums in Alabama cover other drivers, they don’t provide enough coverage. Carrying the minimums only helps you avoid falling foul of the law but is never recommended since it leaves you and your property at risk. Likewise, if you cause an accident, the payouts may not cover the victim’s injuries/losses; thus, they may launch a civil lawsuit against you seeking more compensation.
Considering that medical expenses often pile up quickly after a car accident if more than one person gets injured, raising the limits is necessary. That also applies to property damage coverage because the $25,000 limit can’t even cover the cost of a new vehicle in case a replacement is needed. Increasing your limits helps you avoid footing out-of-pocket bills.
Optional Car Insurance in Alabama
Given that the state-mandated insurance minimums may not cover all costs after an accident, several coverage options offer more protection. These include:
- Collision Insurance –If you get involved in a head-on crash, damages to your vehicle will be covered.
- Medical Payments Insurance –As the name suggests, this policy covers medical expenses accrued by both the at-fault driver and those in the other car.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Harm –Many drivers get behind the wheel without carrying insurance despite Alabama’s strict car insurance laws. If you get injured by such drivers, an uninsured motorist insurance cover steps in to pay for your medical expenses.
What Are the Consequences of Driving without Insurance in Alabama?
It’s illegal to drive with no insurance. If found, you can be fined up to $1,000 and have your driver’s license revoked for up to six months. The consequences may also vary depending on whether you’re a first offender or you’ve had prior convictions.
For instance, driving without insurance repeatedly can lead to jail time or an SR-22 requirement. These penalties pale in comparison to the financial implications of getting injured or injuring someone else, and you don’t have the necessary car insurance.
Alabama As a “Fault” Car Accident State
The “fault” system is followed in Alabama when it comes to determining financial responsibility for injuries, vehicular damage, or other losses caused by a car accident. In this case, the person deemed to be at fault for the accident is mandated to compensate anyone who suffered harm. From a practical point, the at-fault driver’s insurer typically covers the losses up to policy limits.
If you’re a victim of a car accident and suffer property or bodily damage, you can proceed in either of these ways:
- File a claim with your insurer, assuming that the loss/damage is covered under a policy. Your insurer may decide to pursue a subrogation compensation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer.
- File a third-party compensation claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court.
Alabama is different from no-fault states where claimants don’t have these options. If you get injured in a no-fault state, you’re required to turn to your insurance policy’s injury cover to cater for your medical bills, regardless of who caused the accident.
It’s only after your claim attains specific statutory thresholds that you can file a claim against the at-fault driver directly. On their part, Alabama drivers don’t have to worry about no-fault if they get injured in an in-state accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Alabama
After getting involved in a car accident, you shouldn’t take the blame for whatever happened, even if you believe you are responsible. Law enforcement officers will carry out an investigation and reveal the underlying cause. If possible, collect crucial evidence from the site or ask someone else to do that for you.
If you seek medical care after an accident, get comprehensive diagnostic tests and maintain your treatment records. You will only get compensated if you prove that you got hurt in the accident, hence the need to document everything. Also, avoid talking to the other party’s insurance company because your statement could be twisted and used against you.
It’s equally important to speak to a personal injury attorney because car accidents are often complex, and the at-fault party may try to prove you’re at fault. An experienced personal injury attorney will counter the other party’s arguments and gather evidence to prove negligence.
Contact an Experienced Attorney at Morris Bart Today
If you get injured in a car accident in Alabama and file a compensation claim, the at-fault driver and their insurer will try to dispute your claim or pay you less than what you deserve. The experienced personal injury lawyers at the law offices of Morris Bart are there to help you get compensated for your injuries and losses and receive appropriate support to aid your recovery. Schedule a free consultation with our team today to discuss your options.
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