How to Get Car Accident Compensation in Birmingham
While a car accident is over quickly, the consequences can last well into the future. Serious injuries may limit your ability to work and result in significant medical expenses. Who is responsible for paying your damages? And how much in car accident compensation can you obtain in a personal injury claim?
Getting the money that’s owed to you after a crash can be challenging. Petro Law Firm can help. Below, we outline Birmingham’s injury claim system, as well as how insurance companies calculate claim value.
Who Is Financially Responsible for My Injuries After a Car Accident?
When it comes to car accidents, Alabama is a fault-based state. That means that you typically must file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s policy. Every driver in Birmingham must carry a minimum amount of auto insurance:
- $25,000 for bodily injury claims for one person
- Up to $50,000 per accident for bodily injury claims
- $25,000 for property damage
While this may sound like a significant amount of money, $50,000 won’t go very far if there are multiple accident victims — and $25,000 won’t cover a catastrophic brain or spinal cord injury.
That’s why most people add additional coverage to their insurance policies — you are not limited to a minimal policy and insurers will sell you significantly more coverage. You should also seriously consider supplementing your liability policy with:
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage: Pays additional compensation if the at-fault driver did not have enough coverage to fully pay your bills.
- Med Pay: Covers your medical bills, regardless of who was at fault.
After a catastrophic car or truck wreck, comprehensive UM/UIM and Med Pay policies can be extremely helpful.
What Kind of Car Accident Compensation Can I Recover?
When Birmingham accident lawyers talk about accident compensation, they focus on damages. The financial and emotional losses that you suffered during and after the crash may include the following:
- Lost income and wage-earning capacity
- Medical and hospital bills, including ambulance bills
- The cost of medications and medical devices
- Bills associated with counseling and rehabilitation
- The cost of additional services you require, like housecleaning or lawn care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment
In rare cases, you may also receive punitive damages. These damages are not based on your losses, but punish a wrongdoer for their intentional or grossly negligent conduct.
What Do I Need to Do to Obtain Compensation?
To get the compensation you deserve, you’ll need to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. While you should consider contacting a car accident lawyer before you initiate this process, it’s important to understand some basics about both insurance claims and lawsuits.
The first step in an insurance claim is identifying the applicable insurance policies. Next, you’ll need to contact each company, provide them with information about your car accident, and participate in their investigation.
Once the insurance company knows about your claim, they will assign you an insurance adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to review your claim and determine whether it is valid. But the adjuster is an employee of the insurer and is not on your side. They will actively look for information that weakens your claim.
If you’re fortunate, the insurance company will agree to pay you fairly for your injuries. However, many cases are denied — or the insurance company may offer you an unreasonable settlement.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
A lawsuit is a formal legal process, and you will need to draft a written complaint and other documents to start it up. While you can file a lawsuit on your own, most accident victims rely on an experienced injury attorney.
Your attorney will help you navigate your lawsuit. For example, you will typically have to share information with the defense lawyer, participate in depositions, respond to motions, and attend hearings.
Lawsuits also frequently involve dispute resolution systems, like mediation. If you cannot settle your dispute out-of-court, your case will proceed to trial. At trial, both you and the insurance companies will have a chance to present evidence, legal arguments, and do your best to convince the jury that you’re right.
We Can Help You Get Car Accident Compensation
At Petro Law Firm, we assist accident victims with complicated negligence claims, and do our best to get them the compensation they need to move on with their lives after an accident. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.