Articles Tagged with UIM Coverage

In Alabama, the measure of damages for personal property is the difference between the reasonable market value of the property immediately before it was damaged and its reasonable market value immediately after it was damaged.  In cases where an automobile is damaged but is not a total loss, the cost of repair is considered when determining the difference in market value.  In addition to the cost of repair, any diminution or decrease in value of the automobile resulting from the damage will be considered. When the damage to the vehicle is merely cosmetic or the vehicle is older, there may not be any diminution in value after appropriate repairs are completed.  In cases of newer model cars with substantial damage, the claim for diminution in value can be significant.

Alabama courts have ruled that an owner of property is qualified to state his or her opinion as to value of property before and after injury. Chambers v. Burgess, 281 So.2d 643 (1972); Parker v. Muse, 250 So.2d 688 (1971).  However, in many cases, it is beneficial to use experts to assess the diminution in value to a vehicle.   Experts can be particularly helpful when assessing the impact of damages to antique, classic or exotic automobiles.    Other states utilize a statutory formula using a base loss value, damage modifiers (severe, moderate or minor) and the vehicle’s mileage to assess the diminution in value.

Alabama does not have any laws that designate the type of replacement parts that must be used when repairing a damaged vehicle.  As long as the replacement parts are similar in fit and quality as the damaged parts, used parts or aftermarket parts may be used to complete repairs. Continue reading

Car insurance puzzle

We recently prosecuted a horrific case involving personal injuries and multiple wrongful deaths from an automobile accident. Unfortunately, the responsible driver only carried the minimum limits of coverage. This is a problem that we see too often. Fortunately we were able to make claims with our client’s insurance carriers for Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Medical Payments Coverage.

Underinsured Motorist coverage is insurance you can purchase from your agent to protect you and persons riding in your vehicle in the event you are injured by a negligent driver who does not have enough coverage to compensate you for your injuries. This coverage is so important that Alabama law requires insurance agents to offer it to customers. This coverage can be waived, but it is not a good idea to decline this coverage. In fact, we recommend that you increase this coverage to the maximum that you can afford. Underinsured Motorist Coverage will pay for personal injury and lost wages if the responsible driver does not have enough coverage. Uninsured Motorist Coverage works in a similar manner and will come into play when the other party does not have any liability insurance.

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