Huntsville Car Insurance Claim Lawyers
Assisting Alabama victims of auto accidents with insurance matters
Every day, drivers all over the state sign up for new car insurance, from different companies, considering various types of coverage with all sorts of limits and deductibles to choose from. The majority of drivers understand the need to protect themselves from liability in the event of an accident. However, many choose to bypass additional coverage and skip important coverage like uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) and Medical Payments (MedPay).
Unfortunately, insurance policies are confusing to read. Even the most educated person may be unaware of the finer details of their policy until they’re involved in an accident and then discover the true limits of their policy. Worse, they may find out that the at-fault driver had little or no insurance.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you might be concerned you’ll be unable to recover compensation. However, you do have rights. The Huntsville insurance attorneys at Martin & Helms can help.
What are UM, UIM and MedPay?
The easiest way to explain uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is through an example. Perhaps you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver who didn’t have insurance. Now who’s responsible for your medical bills? Typically, you’d file a claim with at-fault driver’s insurance. However, since the drunk driver who caused your injuries wasn’t carrying insurance, you can’t collect compensation (or enough compensation) through that avenue. So, your option is to collect compensation through your own UM/UIM car insurance policy.
Here in Alabama, auto insurance laws require insurance companies to offer UM/UIM coverage to all drivers – but this is coverage that drivers may opt out of. Drivers who don’t want this coverage must sign an agreement that they’re rejecting the coverage, and this rejection continues until the driver opts in again.
Problems can start if someone’s injured in a wreck that isn’t their fault, and believes they have full coverage on their car insurance. If the responsible person doesn’t have car insurance, and the victim has no UM/UIM coverage, the victim may have no way to recover compensation.
MedPay coverage is another optional coverage. This pays for the insured person’s and passengers’ medical bills after a car accident. MedPay covers these expenses no matter who was at fault for the accident.
Do I submit my medical bills to my health insurance or auto insurance?
Our clients often ask us, after a Huntsville car or truck accident, if they should use their health insurance or auto insurance to pay their medical bills. This is a great question. Often, when you’re being treated at the emergency room, medical staff will ask for your car insurance information. We advise providing your health insurance information only, and here’s why.
Car insurance companies don’t pay medical bills directly to hospitals or doctors, no matter who is found responsible for your accident. They pay you, as the claimant, directly, when and if there’s a settlement. Sometimes this process can take months or even years, and in the meantime your medical bills could go into collections and affect your credit. And, if too much time passes or your claim is denied, you may be responsible for paying the entire amount of your medical bills. Submitting your bills to your health insurance directly and promptly can avoid these issues.
Using health insurance can maximize the amount of compensation you receive from the car insurance company upon settling your claim. If you use your auto insurance to pay for your medical bills, you receive the rate the hospital charges the car insurance company. However, health insurance companies get huge discounts from medical providers. Using your health insurance after a car accident gives you the benefit of your health insurance company’s discount.
Weather-related car accidents and damage
Sometimes you may end up having an accident that’s nobody’s fault except the weather. Alabama often sees hurricanes or tornados, which can cause devastating damage to homes and vehicles, not to mention catastrophic injuries to our neighbors and loved ones.
If your vehicle is damaged in a severe weather event or weather-related accident, you might wonder if your auto insurance policy or homeowner’s insurance policy will cover it. Look to your car insurance to cover any damages from a tornado, hail or any other storm. This protection is provided by comprehensive coverage – and it’s important to note that this coverage is also optional.
Comprehensive coverage will reimburse you for damage to your vehicle from things like:
- Downed power lines and electrical damage
- Falling tree branches
- Flying debris
- Lightning strikes
Skilled Huntsville UM/UIM car accident lawyers
At Martin & Helms, our attorneys have a deep understanding of the auto insurance industry. If you were injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, talk to us as soon as possible. We’ll provide knowledgeable guidance and work with you to secure maximum compensation for your claim. Call us today at 256-539-1990 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We also serve clients in Decatur, Athens and Madison, and throughout Alabama.