The roads and highways are dangerous places and you never know when, through no fault of your own, a serious collision can occur. The news media often reports on serious crashes by another driver crossing the center line or suddenly veering into an innocent motorist. Often these drivers have little or no liability coverage which compounds the tragedy. If you have been in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, contact the Mobile car accident lawyers of Tobias, McCormick & Comer for a free consultation. Here is what all Alabama motorists should know about the Alabama Uninsured Motorist Statute.Alabama’s Uninsured Motorist Statute
Alabama’s Uninsured Motorist Statute states that any policy of automobile liability insurance coverage issued to cover a vehicle principally garaged in Alabama must include uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage unless UM coverage is explicitly rejected by the named insured. UM coverage inures to a person and thus it covers you at any time when you are injured by a vehicle, including when you are struck while a pedestrian or if you are occupying someone else’s vehicle. Uninsured motorist coverage applies to bodily injury and will cover you or a relative when you are injured by the operation, maintenance or use of a motorist that is deemed uninsured. A motorist or motor vehicle is uninsured if the applicable liability limits for that vehicle do not fully cover the losses you have incurred for your bodily injury, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish and lost wages. There are certain requirements regarding UM coverage that must be followed and the car accident attorneys at Tobias, McCormick & Comer have many years of experience in handling UM cases. Firm partner, Desi Tobias, has written extensively and has conducted seminars on the topic of the Alabama UM statute.
The Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Statute is found at §32-7-2, Code of Alabama, (1975). This Code provision is essentially unchanged since enactment in 1984. However, there is a great deal of case law analyzing and interpreting the language contained in the statute. Because the UM statute mandates certain coverage requirements, UM coverage in a particular policy can’t be more restrictive than the statute. For instance, exclusions placed in UM coverage to restrict the ability to obtain punitive damages against the uninsured driver are invalid. Courts often strike other exclusions in UM policies that are inconsistent with the statute.
Bottom line: Uninsured motorist coverage is an important coverage that you should always maximize and never reject. You never know if you or a family member will be seriously injured by a vehicle that has no liability coverage, or if it does have liability coverage, it has the minimum requirement of $25,000.00. The statute allows stacking of coverage for up to three vehicles. Talk to an experienced vehicle collision attorney to review all of your options.
The Mobile, Alabama car accident attorneys at Tobias, McCormick & Comer have years of experience in UM litigation and are ready to assist you. We serve Mobile and the surrounding areas, including Daphne, Spanish Fort, Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Saraland, and Satsuma.