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Jon Lewis
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Did you pay Your Insurance Company to Represent the Other Driver?

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This one falls under the category of “Did you Know” or “Ripley’s Believe it or Not”.  If you are injured in a car accident by an uninsured motorist, your own insurance carrier can hire a lawyer to defend the other driver.  In other words, your premiums will be used to pay the legal fees of an attorney who will defend the other driver against you.

How can that be, you ask?  Well, in Alabama, when you file a lawsuit against your own insurance company for benefits under your uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company is entitled to “opt out” of the case pursuant to Lowe v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 521 So.2d 1309 (Ala.1988).  In Driver v. National Security Fire & Casualty Co., 658 So.2d 390, 391 (Ala.1995), the Supreme Court of Alabama further held the following:

[I]nsurance carriers in the uninsured situation should be allowed to opt out of the underlying tort case and still be given the opportunity to elect to hire an attorney to help represent the uninsured motorist.

In such a situation, you will have an attorney representing you against the defendant driver, and the defendant driver will be represented by an attorney who is paid by your own insurance carrier.

Unbelievable?  Yes.  Ridiculous?  Yes.  True?  Yes.  How can this be changed?  Call your legislators and tell them how ridiculous this is.