Some states have adopted a “no-fault” system for auto insurance claims after car accidents. However, Alabama has retained the fault-based system. When someone causes a car accident in Alabama, their insurance company will usually be required to pay for the victim’s losses, such as their medical bills and lost income.
In other words, the person who causes a car accident is responsible for paying the damages in Alabama. This may seem like a relatively straightforward rule, but as with any personal injury lawsuit, things are often more complicated than they seem. We will discuss the basics of Alabama’s fault-based insurance laws and explain how you can protect yourself after a car accident.
Determining Who is at Fault
After becoming injured in a car accident in Alabama, you will need to file a lawsuit or claim against the at-fault driver within two years of the car accident. If you miss that deadline, you will lose your right to compensation. It is not always easy to identify who is at fault, and you may end up having multiple claims resulting from a single-car accident. For example, suppose a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into your vehicle. Your airbags failed to deploy properly, causing you additional injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.
In this case, you may have a right to bring a claim against the drunk driver who collided with you. You may also have a right to bring a claim against your vehicle’s manufacturer or the airbags for defective design. Your attorney will need to prove that the defective airbags caused your injuries.
It is possible that you would have a right to bring a lawsuit or insurance claim against the bar or restaurant that served the driver with alcohol, knowing they were already intoxicated under Alabama’s dram shop laws. Finally, if the at-fault driver was working for an employer at the time of the accident, you may be able to bring a claim against the employer for negligent employment.
Whether you pursue a personal injury lawsuit or you file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver or drivers, you will need to prove liability in both cases. All of these types of claims require the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. To establish negligence, you will need to provide evidence that proves the following:
The driver or the other party owed you a duty of care, such as a duty to operate their car safely according to Alabama’s traffic laws
The at-fault party violated the studio of care, causing your injuries
You suffered physical, financial, or emotional injuries because of the at-fault driver or company’s negligence
Alabama Drivers Must Carry Minimum Amounts of Insurance
As of 2017, all Alabama drivers must carry a minimum amount of auto insurance on their cars and trucks. Alabama drivers must carry at least $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. They are also required to carry at least $25,000 of property damage insurance. It is important to understand that these Insurance amounts are the minimum drivers must carry. Commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, may have to carry higher insurance amounts.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists
Unfortunately, a significant amount of drivers in Alabama are violating the law and driving without a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Suppose you were injured by a driver who does not have auto insurance or whose insurance will not cover all of your damages. In that case, you may need to pursue a claim with your insurance policy for underinsured or uninsured motorists. Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is an add-on that you can add to your auto insurance plan.
You can also add Med Pay coverage which will cover your medical bills, regardless of who causes the car accident. You will not file a claim for med pay or an uninsured motorist with the other driver’s insurance. You will make the claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance company will cover any damages, up to your limit, that the at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover.
Contact an Alabama Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an Alabama car accident, contact the skilled attorneys at Heninger Garrison Davis today to learn more about how we can protect your right to compensation.