Birmingham Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyers
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by an uninsured driver, do not assume that you have no options for recovery. In most cases, people will have multiple legal avenues they can take. An experienced Birmingham uninsured motorist accident attorney can help you determine what your options are.
The Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Act establishes that a liability insurance policy must cover a vehicle with limits of $25,000 for death or bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons, and $25,000 for property damage in order to be legally operated in the state. Some drivers operate in defiance of this requirement while others may not have been aware that their coverage had lapsed because of a missed payment or some other cause.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP has recovered more than $200 million for our clients. We can analyze all possible liable parties in your case and help determine the best path to take so you can get all the compensation you need and deserve.
You do not have to stress over the possible consequences of another driver being uninsured when you contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. We will discuss all of your legal options during a free consultation as soon as you call (205) 324-1212 or fill out an online contact form.
Do I Need An Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer?
Many people involved in collisions with uninsured drivers assume they do not need attorneys because they have uninsured motorist coverage. Alabama state law does require insurance companies to include uninsured motorist coverage as part of any policy they sell in the state, but people have the power to opt out of this coverage (which some do to reduce their monthly premiums).
Even when you are filing an injury claim with your own insurance company, never assume they are automatically on your side. All insurers are businesses, and their only commitment is to their bottom line.
While another driver may have been uninsured, you should not be surprised when an insurance company denies your claim because its investigation determines you were partially at fault. A lawyer will provide immediate help by making sure that your claim is taken seriously by your insurance company.
If the insurer attempts to offer you a lump sum settlement, an agent will usually remind you that accepting the offer will allow you to keep more money for yourself. These kinds of tactics are deliberately designed to exploit people in desperate situations. An attorney will fight to make sure you receive a settlement that is far more fair.
Why Choose Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP To Handle My Case?
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP has been fighting for people all over Alabama for more than 20 years. Our firm has secured an impressive number of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts.
Kirby Farris and Ken Riley are both members of the Birmingham Bar Association, Alabama Bar Association, and American Bar Association. They are both admitted to the Alabama Supreme Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP is also invested in the Birmingham community. Our firm has hosted a radiothon for Children’s of Alabama every August, led distracted driving seminars, and sponsored the Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School’s BBQ. We also work closely with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama and have participated in the Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama’s Walking to Remember event.
When we cannot successfully obtain an adequate settlement, our firm will not hesitate to file a lawsuit to try your case in court. You should also know that you will never have to worry about money when you work with Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. We handle every case on a contingency fee basis, which means you will pay nothing until you receive financial awards.
Types of Uninsured Motorist Accident Cases We Handle
When a driver does not have automobile insurance and is at fault for a car accident, their lack of insurance does not mean that they are off the hook as far as liability is concerned. The negligent driver could still very well be the subject of a personal injury action in court, making the driver civilly liable for all damages.
Enforcing such liability on drivers is not always in a victim’s best interest. When a negligent driver did not have insurance because of financial difficulties, it is generally safe to assume that such a person likely will not have the personal wealth or assets necessary to satisfy a civil judgment.
Many cases will instead hinge on whether a victim had uninsured motorist coverage. People with such coverage will often be dealing with their own insurance companies, but there can still be other options for those without it.
It is critical to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as you have been in an accident with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company is very likely to make you an offer that will not cover all of your costs, but a lawyer can make sure you get what is right.
Frequently Asked Questions About Uninsured Motorist Accidents
Below are some common questions we get from clients regarding their uninsured motorist accident claims.
What should I do if I am involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist?
After being involved in any motor vehicle accident, you will want to receive medical care quickly. Make sure to have your condition evaluated by a professional, even when you do not think that you were hurt. If you go to a hospital later, the insurance company will inevitably use the delay in treatment to argue your injuries must not have been very severe.
Collect whatever evidence you can at the scene of their crash. In most cases, the easiest thing to do is use your cell phone to take pictures of everything involved in the accidents. Find out if any people saw the crash and ask them for their contact information. They may later be needed as witnesses. Make sure an attorney is the first person you talk to about your accident and refuse any insurance company offers to provide recorded statements until you have legal representation.
What is contributory negligence?
While many other states use some modified form of a comparative fault system of determining fault in negligence cases (and a dozen use pure comparative fault systems), Alabama is one of five states that still adheres to contributory negligence. Under the theory of contributory negligence, a victim is unable to recover damages from a defendant when any degree of their negligence caused their accident. This means that you can only recover from people who were 100% at fault, and an insurance company will try to pin at least 1% of the blame on you because even that little amount will be enough to justify denying your injury claim. Concerns about contributory negligence underscore the importance of not speaking to any insurance company until you have legal representation.
What are the consequences for a driver operating without insurance in Alabama?
A violation of the Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Act for failure to have required automobile insurance is a Class C misdemeanor for a first offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in jail. A second or subsequent offense is a Class B misdemeanor, and the fine can be up to $3,000 as well as up to six months in jail.
Vehicle registration will also be suspended 45 days for a first offense and four months for a second or subsequent offense. Failure to pay a fine can result in a 90-day suspension of a driver’s license, and a second violation can result in a license suspension for up to six months. Following a first offense, reinstatement will require a $200 registration reinstatement fee and proof of insurance for one year, while a second or subsequent offense will result in a $400 registration reinstatement fee and proof of an SR-22 (an automobile insurance document provided specifically for high-risk drivers) for three years.
Is uninsured motorist coverage the same as underinsured motorist coverage?
No. Uninsured motorist (commonly abbreviated as UM) is different from underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. While both policies may be purchased at the same time, each applies in separate circumstances. UM coverage only comes into play when another driver iincludess uninsured. UIM coverage, on the other hand, is used when a driver is insured, but their insurance limits are not high enough to cover all of your damages.
Can I file an uninsured motorist claim if an uninsured motorist struck me while I was a pedestrian or bicyclist?
Yes. Your UM coverage is specifically designed to cover you in accidents caused by uninsured drivers, regardless of whether you were operating a motor vehicle. Because an uninsured motorist policy often covers an entire family, UM coverage can also apply to children involved in bike accidents with uninsured drivers.
Contact a Birmingham Uninsured Motorist Accident Attorney Today
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries, or was your loved one killed in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver in Birmingham? Do not wait to retain legal counsel for help determining how you can hold the negligent party accountable.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP is committed to helping car crash victims recover every last dollar of compensation that they are entitled to. Call (205) 324-1212 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.