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A large number of drivers in Alabama don’t have car insurance, even though it is required by law. So can you sue an uninsured driver if you are hit by one? This is something you are possibly wondering if you were in a crash caused by a negligent and uninsured driver.
Getting compensation through a lawsuit for your medical bills, time missed at work, property damage and other losses following an accident with an uninsured driver can be especially difficult. But if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, suing the other driver is probably your only path to potential compensation. In any case, it can be an option worth exploring. After all, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden for another’s careless or dangerous driving. This is especially true when you are already paying the physical price from injuries caused by the accident.
It can be very hard to take on an uninsured driver without skilled legal guidance. For this reason, people who have been hit by an uninsured driver often consult with car accident lawyers. An experienced car accident attorney in Alabama will understand the legal complexities involved in suing an uninsured driver. They will take the steps needed to protect your rights.
The reason many people in Alabama drive without car insurance is because they can’t afford it. This doesn’t excuse them from breaking the law, but it is something to keep in mind when thinking of suing an uninsured driver. While you can sue and the judge or jury may rule in your favor, you may not be able to actually collect the money you need to cover your damages. The person who injured you simply may not have it. Or in some cases, the person may have money that will allow them to make payments to you, but not enough to pay you in a lump sum. These payments may be small but are probably better than receiving nothing at all.
Of course, there are other situations in which uninsured drivers may very well have the assets to pay for the damage they’ve caused. They might still claim they don’t have the money to pay, but an investigation into their financial circumstances could tell a different story.
Your attorney will most likely run an asset search on the uninsured driver you are considering suing. This search will determine whether the person has property, business investments and other assets that might cover some or all of your damages. If they do, you can potentially have their assets frozen through a lien so they can’t be sold or spent during the lawsuit process. If the suit goes in your favor, you may be paid out of the money from sale of the assets.
There is no guarantee, though, that you will win a damage award, even if the uninsured driver has the assets to pay for it. A seasoned car accident lawyer can often increase your chances of winning a lawsuit. They know what kind of evidence to gather to prove fault in car crash cases. Proving fault is critical to receiving compensation. If the driver you are suing claims you share any of the fault for the accident and can prove it, you will most likely not be able to collect anything.
Under Alabama’s strict contributory negligence rule, if you sue the other driver and the court finds that you share even a tiny amount of responsibility for the crash that caused your injuries, you will get no money for your damages. Even if it’s determined you were only five percent responsible for the crash and the uninsured driver was 95 percent at fault, you will still be out of luck.
When another driver does not have insurance, they may work especially hard to try to show that you helped cause the crash, which may get them out of having to pay you anything. You can see that contributory negligence rules add to the already complex process of trying to recover compensation from an uninsured driver. Because of this, it can be especially important to have a skilled car accident lawyer working for your interests.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist insurance and believe suing the driver is your only path to compensation, don’t let the complexity of the process stop you from speaking with an attorney. An attorney will look at all of the unique facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.
Don’t wait to speak with a car accident attorney. There is a time limit, or statute of limitations, in Alabama for filing personal injury lawsuits. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to be compensated for your injuries. If you miss this deadline, you are probably out of luck. In most cases, your suit would not be heard by the court if you tried to file beyond the deadline.
Whether or not to bring a lawsuit against an uninsured driver can be a confusing decision. While there are many difficulties involved in suing someone who does not have insurance, it is still something that should be considered when you have no other options for compensation. When you have been injured in a crash because of someone’s negligence, you may be facing mounting medical and other costs through no fault of your own.
Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana offers free, no-obligation consultations to car accident victims. Our successful car accident lawyers will review all of the circumstances of your crash and advise you about your possible options. Call us today at (251) 444-7000.