How Does an Insurance Policy Limit Affect My Case in Alabama?
Ferguson & Ferguson
Attorneys at Law
November 24th, 2020
The other driver’s or owner’s policy limit has a huge effect on your settlement after an accident in Alabama. In many cases, the owner has the minimum policy allowed in Alabama.($25,000.00) When a person has the minimum policy, they probably have no assets of any value. Therefore, the defendant’s policy limit is all you can recover. However, don’t fret, there may be other insurance policies to go after.
There are instances where not only the owner of the vehicle is liable, but other parties are liable. For instance, the driver of someone else’s vehicle might have coverage or may have an umbrella policy. It is also possible that the driver was served alcohol while he or she was intoxicated. In those instances the bar or restaurant could be liable to you under the dram shop law in Alabama. When an intoxicated person is served alcohol at a business, the business is liable for any injuries that the person served caused because of the intoxication. In those situations, the businesses insurance would be responsible for your damages. Business insurance policies are usually much larger than automobile insurance policies. Remember, not all drivers buy the bare minimum coverage, so the liable party may have a much larger policy. I have found that the older the driver and the more expensive the vehicle, the better the insurance. Further, the more educated the driver, the better the insurance coverage.The responsible driver could be covered by an umbrella policy, which potentially means a much higher policy limit than just their auto liability insurance
In some car accident cases a manufacturing defect could be partially to blame for the accident. If that’s the case, the manufacturer could also be liable for your injuries. In those cases, insurance limits are usually not an issue.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is automatically included in your policy in Alabama unless you sign a document refusing the coverage. The coverage is cheap compared to the other portions of your policy, but may be the most important coverage you ever buy. It is the only coverage that guarantees to pay for your injuries if you are in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist. If the person who injures you does not have enough coverage, or none at all, your policy will cover you just like the other party had coverage. If you are seriously injured, you could have tens of thousands of dollars in medicals bills, and be unable to work for weeks, months or years. If the other driver has minimal coverage or none at all, how will you pay your bills? If you do not have this coverage, bankruptcy may be your only option. That is why I would always recommend at least $100,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage. Another important thing to know is this, if you have more than one vehicle covered, you can stack the coverages in Alabama up to three vehicles per policy.(no limit if different policies) For instance, if your case is worth $300,000.00 and the other person has $25,000.00 in coverage, you collect the $25,000.00 first from the other driver’s insurance, you then recover another $275,000.00 from your own underinsured policy, assuming you have three vehicles with $100,000.00 of coverage. You can only receive what your case is worth in any accident. You don’t get all of the insurance money if your case is not worth the limits of your coverage. Lastly, it is very important to get an attorney in these types of cases. There are certain notice requirements, medical payments issues and health insurance subrogation issues you must deal with in these type accidents. If done incorrectly, you could owe thousands of dollars back to your health insurance or auto insurance companies.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall injuries, also known as premises liability cases involve business or commercial property insurance liability policies, which have higher limits often in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Some of these injuries also happen at peoples homes, where their homeowners policies would provide coverage. If you suffer a personal injury on someone else’s residential property, your compensation limit will be based on the owner’s homeowners personal liability limit, which is generally significantly higher than an auto liability limit. Understand many companies like Walmart do not have insurance, but are self insured. If a company has a lot of money, they often do not get insurance. In many of these cases the business also have medical payments coverage.
If you or a loved one are seriously injured or killed in an accident, it may be worth your time to talk with a personal injury lawyer in Decatur or Huntsville, Alabama. We offer free consultation, and can explain all of your legal rights. Remember, the responsible party in many auto accidents do not have any assets you can pursue, therefore having your own insurance is a must in Alabama. If you file suit against a person in Alabama, they can bankrupt your case in most situations. If they have insurance, they will still pay. If they don’t, and you don’t have the proper insurance, you often are out of luck. You could possibly garnish the other driver’s wages, but a bankruptcy will stop the garnishment. Remember this, you can’t get what they don’t have in any case.
If you or the person responsible for your injury doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for all your medical costs, lost wages or property damage, we may still be able to help. Call a personal injury law firm today.