In the aftermath of a serious car accident in Alabama, victims often find themselves facing mounting medical bills as they recover from any injuries they may have sustained. Even a minor accident that led to cuts, scrapes, or soft tissue injuries can require professional medical treatment with an astronomically high cost.
Of course, it is only natural to wonder who will be responsible for paying for these medical bills, especially if the accident was caused by another driver. In this case, it is in the best interests of all crash victims to learn about Alabama’s car insurance laws to better understand liability for personal injury damages, and to reach out to an Alabama personal injury attorney immediately for help throughout the claims process.
Car Insurance Laws in Alabama
Ultimately, crash victims should understand the basics of Alabama insurance laws before moving forward. To begin, Alabama law requires all drivers to purchase an insurance policy that meets the following minimum requirements:
- $25,000 for destruction or damage to property;
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person; and
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two people.
This means that the insurance policy will pay out up to the listed amounts for the associated damages. The failure to maintain these insurance policy minimums can result in a fine, as well as a driver’s license suspension.
In addition, victims should also note that Alabama follows a fault-based system, also known as a “tort” system. This means that all drivers (or their insurance companies) are responsible for paying for damages that they cause.
Ultimately, in the aftermath of a crash, victims have three options for recovering damages to pay for medical bills, which are listed below:
- File an insurance claim with their own insurance carrier;
- File an insurance claim with the carrier of the other driver or drivers; or
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Often, filing a claim with one of the insurance carriers will be sufficient to cover the costs associated with the victim’s medical bills. In the event that the costs for the victim’s medical treatment exceed the policy’s coverage, they will need to file a personal injury lawsuit, a task that is best attempted with the help of a skilled Alabama accident injury attorney.
Beware of Contributory Negligence Laws in Alabama
After developing a basic sense of the insurance laws in Alabama, some victims choose to file a claim on their own in hopes of obtaining a settlement. However, this is not advisable, because most people are unfamiliar with the concept of contributory negligence.
Specifically, Alabama, along with only a small handful of other states, follows a system of contributory negligence, which ultimately means that a victim will be barred from recovering any amount of compensation for their damages if it can be shown that they were at all responsible for the crash. For example, if a victim was struck by a speeding driver, but the victim was shown to be acting negligently at the time (by texting, for example), they would be unable to obtain damages to pay for their medical bills.
It is for this reason, among others, that victims should reach out to an attorney immediately after a crash. Indeed, an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer will have a thorough understanding of Alabama law and will ensure that a crash victim remains eligible to recover the compensation they deserve.
Have You Been Injured in an Alabama Crash?
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident in Montgomery or the surrounding areas, we invite you to contact us today at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP. Our skilled Alabama personal injury attorneys have significant experience assisting clients throughout the insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit process, and we are prepared to begin working on your behalf immediately to help you obtain the damages to which you are rightfully entitled. Don’t hesitate to call us at your earliest convenience at (334) 262-1911 or contact us online.