A car accident can leave you with life-changing physical and emotional injuries, and the stress can be overwhelming. You may be worried about how you’ll pay your bills, care for your family, and get the medical care you need.
If another driver caused your injuries, a Birmingham AL car accident attorney at Petro Law Firm can help you navigate the claims process and get the compensation you deserve. We will inform you of your legal rights, the value of your car accident claim, and exactly who is responsible for your injuries. Contact us to learn more.
While every car accident is different, you should follow these basic tips to protect yourself and your loved ones after a crash. These simple steps can help you document the circumstances surrounding your crash, the severity of your injuries, and get you the emergency medical care you need.
- Call 911 and request assistance
- Remain at the scene of the crash and wait for the authorities
- Cooperate with the police during their investigation and provide them with accurate information
- Obtain the other drivers’ contact and insurance information
- Request medical attention, if you have any aches or pains (even if they seem minor)
- Take pictures of the crash site, the vehicles involved, and your injuries
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash
However, you should never admit fault or apologize for a car accident. Alabama applies a strict form of contributory negligence. If you are even 1% at fault for the crash, you’ll lose your right to compensation. If you made damaging statements, don’t panic. Instead, contact an experienced Birmingham AL car accident lawyer who can help you identify the actual causes of your crash and fight on your behalf.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Once you’ve gotten the medical care you need, you’ll also need to file a claim with the insurance companies. However, it’s typically best to consult with a car accident attorney before you start this process. First of all, you may have multiple claims with multiple insurance companies, including those of the at-fault drivers, and your own insurance company for med pay coverage and uninsured/underinsured insured insurance coverage. It’s easy to miss some of these claims unless you know what you’re looking for.
Second, insurance companies frequently try to take advantage of unrepresented accident victims. The adjuster may offer you a settlement that seems fair at first glance but does not fully consider all of your damages. They may also discourage you from working with a lawyer, or try to get you to make damaging statements on tape. Studies show that claimants represented by an attorney receive larger settlements.
When you work with a Birmingham AL car accident lawyer, you’ll have someone on your side. Your lawyer will help you understand the real value of your claim and help you strengthen your case, not decrease its worth.
What Must You Prove in an Alabama Car Accident?
Car accidents are caused by a variety of factors and can involve many different parties, including drivers, passengers, bikers, cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users. Whether you’re t-boned at an intersection, sideswiped, or rear-ended at a red light, you probably want to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Almost all car accident claims focus on a theory of negligence, and you must show that:
- The at-fault driver owed you a duty (such as a duty to pay attention to the road and operate their vehicle safely)
- They violated this duty and caused your injuries
- You suffered damages due to your injuries, such as lost income and pain and suffering
To prove this, your car accident attorney will have to pinpoint the exact causes of your accident, calculate your wide-ranging losses, and build your case.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Failing to yield to the right-of-way
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Improper lane changes
- Tailgating and other overly-aggressive driving behaviors
- Failing to keep an appropriate stopping distance
- Dangerously designed roads and intersections
- Defective and dangerous vehicles and car parts
- Improperly maintained vehicles
Sometimes, it takes expert witnesses to properly identify all of your accident’s causes. When necessary, Petro Law Firm consults with engineers, accident reconstruction experts, and other specialists. To learn more about our sophisticated and innovative approach to personal injury law, request an appointment with a car accident attorney at our office today.
What Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
Your case’s value will depend on a series of factors and circumstances, and it’s never as easy as entering a few numbers in a calculator. At Petro Law Firm, we help our clients understand how much compensation they can recover, looking at:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you are able to return to work
- The extent of your past and future medical care
- How much income you’ve lost due to the accident
- The size of the insurance policies involved
- How your life changed after the accident
- The extent of your pain and suffering
- Whether the at-fault driver’s conduct merits punitive damages
- How many parties are involved in the claim
Sometimes, these damages are relatively easy to calculate. However, if you or a loved one has a catastrophic injury claim (like a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury), it is very important that you consult with a skilled attorney. In these complex cases, where a victim will need a lifetime of care, we may need to consult with physicians, long-term care planners, and other experts.
Answers to the Top 7 Questions About Car Accident Cases in Alabama
1. Is it possible to settle on my own?
Yes you can, but the truth is you should speak to an attorney about your case, especially if you have been seriously injured in an accident. We will be glad to provide you with free information that you will need to help you make this decision. Keep in mind, Insurance companies are big businesses that make big profits off of collecting more money in premiums than what they pay out in claims. To the big Insurance company you are just a number. The big Insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. It is looking out for its bottom line.
2. Should I speak with the Insurance Adjuster?
Yes you can, but make sure you are informed about your facts. Keep in mind, anything you say to an Insurance Adjuster can be used against you in your claim.
3. Should I sign the Medical Records Release for the Insurance Adjuster?
Yes you can, but keep in mind if you will be allowing them to see confidential medical records.
4. What is Contributory Negligence in a car accident case?
Alabama has a harsh 1% Rule. If you are at fault 1% you will not have a case. It is essential that you find an attorney that will be honest with you about this 1% Rule.
5. Who will pay my medical bills until my case settles?
If you have health insurance it is important that you submit your medical bills to the health insurance company. Insist that the healthcare providers bill your own health insurance company. You may also have med pay coverage with your own automobile insurance company that provides some coverage for medical bills. If you don’t have health insurance or med pay coverage arrange with the medical providers to hold off on their collection efforts until after the case is resolved. Avoid your medical bills going into collection. This will hurt your credit rating.
6. What if my car is totaled and the insurance company doesn’t offer me enough to pay off what is owed on my car?
Under Alabama law, if your car is totaled you are only entitled to property damage compensation in the amount of the fair market value of the car immediately before the wreck. The law does not take into account what is owed on the car. If the car is repairable you are entitled to receive property damage compensation in the amount of the reasonable repair cost.
7. What are lost wages?
It is the money you lost because you were unable to work after the wreck due to your injuries. It is important to keep written notes of the days and hours that you miss from work. You are entitled to be reimbursed for your lost wages.
Regain Control With Help From a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re feeling overwhelmed after a serious crash, contact an experienced Birmingham, AL car accident attorney at Petro Law Firm. We are committed to our clients and believe that every victim deserves fair compensation for their injuries. We look forward to hearing from you.