Many auto accidents in Birmingham and throughout Alabama are caused by drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. Our auto accident attorneys at Cross & Smith have vast experience in handling Birmingham, Alabama auto accident cases involving uninsured motorists.
Many people don’t realize that uninsured motorist coverage is included with standard auto liability policies. In fact, Alabama law mandates that all automobile liability policies delivered or issued for delivery in Alabama include uninsured motorist coverage unless such coverage is rejected in writing by the named insured. Ala. Code § 32-7-23. Uninsured motorist coverage is commonly referred to as UM coverage in the industry.
A vehicle is uninsured under Alabama law if the owner or operator of the vehicle doesn’t carry bodily injury liability insurance. A vehicle is also considered to be uninsured if the owner or operator of the vehicle carries liability insurance in an amount less than the injured person is legally entitled to recover. A motor vehicle that does not carry sufficient liability insurance is commonly referred to as an underinsured motor vehicle.
Car accident cases in Birmingham and throughout Alabama that involve uninsured motorist insurance coverage are complex. The method for recovering uninsured motorist benefits is specific and must be followed or uninsured motorist benefits can be waived. For instance, if a claim against an uninsured or underinsured motorist is settled without the injured person first giving notice of the potential settlement to his or her own insurance company, any subsequent uninsured/underinsured motorist claim is waived. This procedure is set forth in the Alabama Supreme Court case styled Lambert v. State Farm Auto Ins. Co., 576 So. 2d 160 (Ala. 1991). The purpose of this procedure is to preserve the insurance company’s right of subrogation against the at-fault driver (uninsured/underinsured motorist). Our Birmingham, Alabama car wreck attorneys know this procedure well.
The amount of uninsured motorist coverage available to an injured person requires a detailed understanding of Alabama law. Alabama allows injured persons to “stack” uninsured motorist coverage. For example, if an injured person has a single multiple vehicle insurance policy with uninsured motorist limits of $100,000 per person insuring three vehicles, by “stacking” the coverage from the insured’s other vehicles there are $300,000 in uninsured motorist benefits available. Under Alabama law, an injured person is allowed to stack two additional coverages on top of the primary coverage on claims involving single multiple vehicle policies. Most insurance policies written in Alabama are single multiple vehicle policies. Although, at times, each insured vehicle is separately insured. If this is the case, there is no limit on the amount of coverage that may be stacked.
If you, or someone close to you, have been injured in an auto accident involving an uninsured motorist, please call the Birmingham, Alabama auto accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. The lawyers at Cross & Smith have represented individuals in car accident cases in Birmingham and throughout Alabama for over 20 years. You may contact us online or call our office at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.