Car Accidents in Alabama Without Driver’s Insurance
Every driver in Alabama must show proof of financial responsibility or insurance. Purchasing automobile insurance establishes that the driver can pay for the damages if he or she causes an accident. Alabama is a fault-based car insurance state, meaning the driver at fault for a collision will have to pay for victims’ losses.
All drivers must carry at least the minimum required amounts of insurance in the state, or face penalties such as fines or personal liability for a victim’s medical bills and vehicle repairs. If you get into an accident without driver’s insurance, you could face serious consequences – whether you were the person driving without insurance or not.
Alabama Insurance Requirements
Driving without insurance could mean having no insurance coverage at all, such as driving a vehicle before purchasing insurance or having a lapse in coverage. It could also, however, refer to driving without enough insurance. All drivers in Alabama must carry at least the required minimums in three mandatory insurance categories.
- Bodily injury insurance per person: $25,000
- Bodily injury insurance per accident: $50,000
- Property damage liability insurance: $25,000
If the police catch you driving without adequate insurance, you could face civil penalties. You may have to pay $200 for a first offense, $300 for a second or $400 for a subsequent offense according to a 2016 law. The police may also temporarily suspend your driver’s license until you can show proof of insurance.
Civil Liability for Car Accident Damages
Insurance protects other drivers by paying for their losses, but it also protects you from having to pay for damages yourself in an at-fault collision. If you cause a car accident in Birmingham while driving without car insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for the other party’s losses. The courts in Alabama could hold you financially responsible for the victim’s hospital bills, vehicle repairs or replacement, lost wages, and other damages. If you do not have enough to pay your debts outright, the courts might garnish your wages or arrange a payment plan until you can pay the other driver what you owe. You may also owe additional money in restitution or penalties for driving without insurance and/or causing the crash.
How to Recover From an Uninsured Driver
If you have vehicle insurance but were in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver in Alabama, you may still be able to recover financially. First, seek benefits from your car insurance provider. Four main types of automobile insurance provide compensation to policyholders for damages in uninsured driver accidents: uninsured motorist insurance, underinsured motorist insurance, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. If you carry any of these types of coverage, your insurance provider will most likely pay for your damages up to your policy’s maximum.
If you only carry the minimum required amounts of vehicle insurance, you will not have the type of coverage necessary to pay for vehicle damages if an uninsured driver causes your crash. Your other option for recovery will be a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to bring a negligence-based lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or another party, such as a vehicle part manufacturer, for causing your crash. You will have two years of the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit against one or more parties in Alabama.
A civil lawsuit could hold the at-fault driver accountable for causing your wreck and related damages. A successful claim could mean a judge ordering the at-fault driver to pay for your past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs and other losses. Unfortunately, most drivers who drive uninsured do not have the funds to fulfill settlement or verdict orders. The at-fault driver may declare bankruptcy, leaving you to pay for your losses out of pocket. In some cases, however, a court order such as wage garnishment could eventually fulfill a compensation award. Work with a car accident attorney for assistance with your claim.