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Tara Helms
Tara Helms
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Wrecks Caused by Drivers Without Insurance

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            What would happen if you or your family were seriously injured in a car accident by a driver with no insurance? You might be surprised to learn that your own insurance policy could be used to help pay for medical bills and lost time from work.  There are more than 100,000 car wrecks in Alabama every year.  Many of these wrecks result in injuries. 

            Often times, the person at fault did not have any car insurance.  But this may not mean that there is no way to make a claim for your injuries and property damage in these cases.  The state of Alabama requires that automobile insurance companies provide uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UM/UIM”) coverage unless it is specifically rejected in writing.  In other words, if you have full coverage, you also have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, unless you signed a document telling your insurance company that you did not want UM/UIM coverage.  Therefore, many folks who are injured in accidents can still make a claim for reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, even if they were not aware that those benefits were available to them.  Your declarations page of your insurance policy will tell you the type of coverage you have and how much money may be available to reimburse you for your losses.  It is also important to pay attention to the number of vehicles listed on the policy as this can increase the amount of coverage benefits available to you; this is known as stacking of benefits. 

            You must notify your insurance company if you have been involved in a wreck.  Be careful however.  Just because the policy of UM/UIM is with your own company and you were not at fault, does not mean that your company will automatically pay benefits.  You must still prove that you were not at fault for the wreck.  You must also prove the extent of your injuries and that the injuries were actually caused by the wreck before you can claim benefits.  Therefore, be thoughtful and careful in answering your insurance company’s questions.  Don’t let anyone put words in your mouth to improperly suggest that you might have been speeding at the time of the wreck if you were not.  Also, be careful when answering questions about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.  Even your own insurance company may use this type of information to deny your claim.