When a person is injured in a car accident, they often question how they can recover compensation through insurance. This can confuse many people as there are two insurance systems used throughout the country: “no-fault” and “fault.”
Like most states, Alabama uses a fault-based car insurance liability system. Under this process, victims must file a third-party claim against the other driver’s insurance to cover their damages. While this can be a combative system, many recover compensation after settlement negotiations. However, you can file a lawsuit instead if that option seems more likely to recover compensation.
If you would like to learn more about how you can recover compensation for your injuries, our experienced Alabama car accident attorneys can provide the legal assistance you need. For a free case assessment, contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
Is Alabama a “No Fault” or “Fault” Insurance State?
Many people have either been in a car accident or know someone who has, so they might be familiar with the terms “fault” and “no-fault” when referring to car insurance. However, some victims might not understand the differences between the two or which one is practiced in Alabama. Very few states use the no-fault system, with the majority using a fault-based insurance system. In a no-fault state, individuals injured in a car accident must pursue compensation through their own insurance but are not required to prove fault to do so.
Alabama is one of the many states that employ the fault system for car insurance purposes. Our attorneys can answer any questions you have about recovering compensation through the at-fault insurance process. In a fault-based insurance system, injured victims must file a claim against the other driver’s car insurance and provide sufficient evidence to prove that the insurance company’s policyholder was responsible for their injuries. Without evidence showing fault, the negligent driver’s insurance will not cover the damages you sustained. If evidence is provided, the insurance company still might not approve a claim right away, but only after negotiating a final settlement offer.
The at-fault insurance process can be off-putting for many people, as it is often a contentious back-and-forth between the parties involved in the accident. The advantage of Alabama using a fault-based insurance system is that no restrictions are placed on your right to sue, unlike no-fault insurance states, which only permit filing a lawsuit in certain situations. If the insurance company denies your claim, moves too slowly, or offers you far less than you deserve, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. Our Birmingham car accident attorneys can review your case to help determine the best route to compensation in your case.
The “Fault” Insurance Claim Process in Alabama
One of the benefits of a no-fault insurance system is that the parties involved rarely have to interact with each other since their own insurance covers their damages. In a fault-based system, speaking to the negligent driver to get their license and insurance information will be necessary. This information will be necessary to file your insurance claim or a lawsuit. However, the other driver might not be willing to provide this information to you. In this situation, wait for the police to question them. The negligent driver cannot refuse the police’s questions, and that information can be obtained later from the police accident report.
Police reports often serve as vital pieces of evidence in a car accident claim. Your police report could provide conclusive evidence of the other driver’s fault as the police will note their observations and might draw conclusions on liability. A police report is especially helpful if the other driver received a citation or names what witnesses were interviewed at the scene. Our Alabama car accident attorneys can contact witnesses on your behalf. We can also investigate your case to determine if other evidence exists, like surveillance or dashcam footage.
After submitting your evidence, the insurance company will review the claim and either send a settlement offer or deny the claim. The stronger your evidence is to back up your recollection of the accident, the more likely the insurance company will be to cover the damages demanded. However, if you do not have much evidence or your version of events does not make sense to the insurance company, they will likely deny the claim or offer a settlement far below what your damages have cost.
When the insurance company does not compensate you, it might be time to consider filing a lawsuit. While lawsuits tend to take more time and energy, it is often the best way to recover the full amount of damages that you are entitled to. Our Alabama personal injury attorneys can help you with your insurance claim and prepare a lawsuit if negotiations fall through.
Can I Use My Own Insurance After a Car Accident in Alabama?
It still might be an option to file with your own car insurance, despite the fact that Alabama is a fault-based state. It is not uncommon to get injured in a car accident by someone whose insurance is insufficient to cover your damages, or worse, fled the scene of the accident before they can be identified. If you elected uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, you might be covered in these situations. However, these coverage options are not required by law, so they will not be included in your insurance plan if not purchased with the policy.
However, compensation is not automatic when filing for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. You will still need to meet a few requirements before your insurance company will approve your claim. You will need to prove that the other driver did not have insurance or that their policy was exhausted before fully compensating you. In hit-and-run cases, evidence will need to show that they fled the scene and cannot be found.
If you did not purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you are not without options to recover damages. You always have the option of filing a lawsuit against a negligent party in a fault-based system, which is typically necessary for such situations. Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys can help you determine if your car insurance is available to make a claim and file your lawsuit if that option proves best.
Our Alabama Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you were injured in a car accident and need help with your insurance claim, our attorneys can help by providing you with a free case review. Call Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357.