Top-rated Huntsville personal injury attorney Morris Lilienthal recently resolved a car accident claim on behalf of a family that was struck by drunk driver while traveling on US Highway 72. The wreck occurred when the drunk driver pulled out from an intersecting road striking the passenger side of our client’s SUV.
Our investigation revealed the at-fault driver had been drinking at his son’s house where he’d consumed more than 12 Busch Beers. Due to his intoxicated state, the drunk driver failed to yield the right of way by pulling out on to US 72 causing this accident. Following the crash, our clients were all transported by ambulance (HEMSI) to Huntsville Hospital.
As is often the case, the drunk driver was a repeat offender that did not have any automobile insurance. Our background search revealed he didn’t have any assets to pay a judgment. As such, we then considered available uninsured motorist coverage. In this case, our clients were a husband and wife and the father of the husband. It should be noted the father did not reside with the son and daughter-in-law. The plaintiffs’ SUV was insured with State Farm so we opened an uninsured motorist claim with State Farm for all 3 claims.
The father involved in the crash suffered a severely fractured arm that required surgical intervention (ORIF). As a passenger in the vehicle, the father was entitled to uninsured motorist coverage for the policy covering the SUV. However, this wasn’t enough coverage to fully compensate him for his injuries. This is where his personal uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. An important concept to keep in mind is under Alabama’s uninsured motorist law, an individual’s UM/UIM coverage follows the person and will provide you coverage if you’re a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. As such, we could make a claim against his own uninsured motorist coverage. Moreover, because he had 2 vehicles with uninsured motorist coverage we could stack or add the available coverages under these policies together. In addition, we were able to make a claim for his medical payments coverage on his own policy to help with his out of pocket medical expenses.
Another issue that complicated the resolution of these claims was resolving the clients’ subrogation claims. Subrogation is a legal term that means to reimburse either the medical provider’s outstanding balances and/or the payments made by the client’s health insurance carrier. In this case, our clients were insured with Tricare and Medicare. Because Tricare and Medicare involve the military and federal government, knowing the tedious process for obtaining lien information is critical and something our firm is well experienced in handling.
This case is another example of the continued problems our society faces with drinking and driving. We’re thankful our clients all made a good recovery from the injuries they suffered and that we could reach a just and fair settlement of their car accident claims.