Q: What are the options when you're involved in an accident with a driver whose license is suspended and uninsured?
Also, what happens if the vehicle does not belong to that driver?
You have several possible claims against three possible defendants. Realistically, your recovery is likely limited by the amount of insurance that is available. I'll break down each of your possible claims, but you probably only care about the practical advice so I'll start there.
If you have bodily injuries, you may be able to make a claim for uninsured motorist coverage and/or medical payments coverage on YOUR automobile insurance. Open up your auto insurance app on your phone and look for a list of your coverages.
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then you can make a claim for any bodily injuries. Your claim can include compensatory damages: medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering, and mental anguish. Your claim can also include punitive damages. You will likely need a lawyer to maximize the value of your uninsured motorist claim.
If you have medical payments coverage, you can make a claim to be reimbursed for medical bills.
If you have collision coverage, you should file your property damage claim through your insurance.
Here are some of your possible claims against all defendants:
1) You can make negligence and wanton conduct claims against the at-fault driver. However, if the driver is uninsured then you likely will not be able to collect your damages against the driver.
2) You can make a claim for negligent entrustment against the owner of the vehicle. There are several elements to negligent entrustment. You would have to prove that the at-fault driver was incompetent to drive (this is usually proven through the admission of traffic violations, drug/alcohol history, or prior accidents), the owner of the vehicle knew or should have known that the driver was incompetent, and the owner of the vehicle allowed the driver to operate the vehicle.
3) Uninsured motorist claim against YOUR auto insurance.
This is a common scenario in Alabama. Alabama has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers at 19.5%. So basically 1 in 5 Alabama drivers is uninsured. An experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer can help you through the process of filing an uninsured motorist claim.
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