Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on Alabama’s roads, and their lack of protection puts them at an elevated risk of suffering severe and even fatal injuries in a traffic accident. But when discretionary travel increases during the summer months, this can create a spike in these dangerous and deadly incidents.
When the weather warms up, more people make time for vacations, summer get-togethers, road trips, festivals, and outdoor exercising, creating congested and often perilous conditions on the roads. According to a Governors Highway Safety Association report, a pedestrian is killed every hour in an accident, but this rate could increase as much as 10 percent during the summer months.
Common Risks Alabama Pedestrians Face
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, there were 932 pedestrian-involved accidents in 2016, the highest rate on record. Since 2008, pedestrian fatalities in this state have soared 56.9%. Even though there is a risk to pedestrians on any day and at any time, the danger may be elevated during the summer due to several factors:
- An increase in out-of-state drivers on vacation and overall vehicle traffic, and
- An increase in pedestrian traffic, including more exercisers, tourists, and children playing.
This combination can be a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, drivers cause a majority of pedestrian accidents, and the people not protected by vehicle safety technology are the most vulnerable to harm. Some of the most common driver errors that cause these tragic events include:
- Distracted driving. Alabama has laws that limit the use of electronic devices in vehicles, but distracted driving remains a pervasive issue. Whether a driver ignores the law or is within the law and is still not paying attention to the road, this is a valid concern for pedestrians that can be seriously harmed or even killed.
- Speeding. People tend to be in just as much of a hurry when they are on vacation as when they aren’t. Drivers disregard speed limits and the rules of the road to get to their destination faster, and this puts a greater number of pedestrians outside in danger.
- DUI. Drinking, drugs, and driving don’t mix well together and this is a highly illegal practice. While it’s tempting to relax with a few drinks during the summer, this slows reaction time when driving and increases the risk of hitting another car or pedestrian.
- Inexperienced new drivers. During the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are more inexperienced teen drivers on the road who can get into a crash with a pedestrian. AAA reports that the average number of fatal crashes among teens goes up 15% during this period.
Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians
Everyone is a pedestrian at some point, and you can’t always count on drivers to follow the rules and keep you safe. Being proactive can not only help you avoid injury, but it might also save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are a few pedestrian safety tips:
- Avoid wearing dark clothing, particularly at night. Instead, wear bright clothing that helps keep you visible. Use reflective clothing or carry a flashlight after dark.
- Avoid darting unexpectedly into traffic or walking between vehicles. Cross the road only at intersections and preferably using crosswalks.
- Avoid using alcohol and drugs.
- Don’t walk distracted by using a phone or headphones.
- Don’t assume that a driver sees you or is going to obey the rules of the road. Use defensive techniques and stay alert to your surroundings.
- When available, walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder and face into traffic. Avoid walking on highways or roads that are meant for vehicles only.
Protecting Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident in Alabama
If you or someone you care about has been the victim of a pedestrian accident in the Mobile area, it’s important to understand that the system is not designed to work in your favor. While you have the right to make a claim for damages against the responsible party, collecting compensation isn’t a simple matter.
Insurance companies are notorious for denying these claims or offering accident victims much less than their case is worth. They may even resort to blaming you for the accident so that you will be barred from recovery, which is why we recommend that you never speak to insurers without sound legal representation in your corner.
At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we are fierce legal advocates for the victims of pedestrian accidents and their loved ones. If this accident wasn’t your fault, we’ll help you hold the responsible parties accountable and fight to collect the compensation you deserve. Contact us now at (251) 260-3815 to schedule a free consultation.
Most people have a fairly high chance of getting into a motor vehicle accident at some point in their lives. But when a big rig is involved, the results are nearly always devastating. In the wake of such a collision, how can you be sure that you are being treated fairly by the insurance company?
“The Insurance Company Is Offering Me a Fair Settlement”
If you believe that an insurance company is offering to settle your case for a fair amount, it’s a near certainty that you are selling yourself short and haven’t considered the true value of your damages. Over the years, our firm has heard clients come to us repeating some of these statements from insurance companies that might sound familiar:
“There’s no reason for you to hire a lawyer.”
“We accept full responsibility. Why would you want to share settlement proceeds with a lawyer?”
“You don’t need a lawyer. We can work this out.”
If an insurance adjuster has tried to convince you of this, there’s a good reason. They want you to believe that hiring an attorney is not in your best interests when the truth is exactly the opposite. It’s noteworthy that the truck accident victims that hear these statements the most are the ones who have complex cases where the damage amounts can be significant.
Settlements are legal contracts that, once signed and approved by the courts, cannot be reversed. Many accident victims fail to understand the long-term consequences of agreeing to a settlement that may not be in their best interests.
Assuming you were hit by a big rig, you may have injuries that will require lifetime medical care, prevent you from returning to work, and cause significant pain and suffering. Placing a fair value on these damages takes experience, and large insurance companies didn’t get to be that way by voluntarily paying reasonable values on serious claims.
In short, the insurance company representative doesn’t want you to hire an attorney because they hope to save money and close their file as quickly as possible. If your case is serious, they may well be forced to pay as much as ten times what you’ve been offered, so it’s always to your benefit to speak with a qualified truck accident attorney.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Truck Accident
Big rigs can weigh as much as 40 tons, and accidents with these trucks can lead to severe and lasting injuries. As soon as a commercial truck is involved in a crash, the trucking company generally gets notified and springs into action.
If the truck driver or trucking company is at fault, they have a big incentive to take any steps necessary to protect their financial interests. This might include cleaning up the accident scene, removing the truck, taking control of defective parts or the black box, and hiding or destroying other evidence.
There are also additional regulations that apply to the trucking industry that may impact your case. For example, commercial truckers are subject to a series of regulations that require them to document their hours of driving and rest. Trucking companies must keep documentation relative to background investigations of drivers, drug testing programs, and regular maintenance on vehicles.
If you want the best chance of holding these parties accountable, it’s vital that you speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as quickly as possible after the crash. Your legal counsel can independently investigate the crash, and get court orders to preserve evidence.
There may also be more than one party responsible for your harm. For example, the truck driver might be at fault, but a defective piece of equipment could have also contributed to the crash. When you work with a skilled personal injury attorney, you’ll get the information and assistance you need to maximize your recovery.
Speak with an Experienced Mobile Truck Accident Attorney
As a general rule of thumb, the more serious the accident, the more likely it is that the victim needs strong legal counsel. In all our years of handling personal injury cases at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we’ve yet to see a reasonable settlement offer from an insurance company on a serious truck accident case when a personal injury attorney wasn’t involved in the negotiations.
Besides the protection from unfair insurance company representatives, hiring an attorney also gives you peace of mind knowing that you will have the best opportunity to settle your case for maximum compensation. In addition, our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us a dime until we settle your case.
Contact our Mobile office today at (251) 260-3815 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and options.
Of all of the motor vehicle accident types that affect drivers in the state of Alabama, truck accidents are some of the most tragic. When a truck accident occurs that involves a smaller passenger car, the smaller vehicle almost always sustains the lion’s share of the damage, and those within the smaller vehicle almost never walk away without moderate to severe injuries.
If you have suffered serious harm in a truck accident–or if you have a lost a loved one to a truck accident–you can file a civil action to seek compensation for damages. However, in order to win your suit, there are four elements that you must prove. Consider the following overview about liability and what you need to prove to win your truck accident case.
Identifying the At-fault Party
Before you can even file your truck accident case, you’ll need to identify the at-fault party. In a truck accident claim, this can be especially complex as there are typically multiple parties who could be to blame. For example, fault may fall on the shoulders of the truck driver, the trucking company, a vehicle manufacturer, or another third party.
Elements You Need to Prove to Win Your Truck Accident Claim
Once you have identified who is to blame for your accident, you’ll need to collect evidence to prove the four elements listed below. Note that it’s very possible that you are naming multiple defendants in your claim; if so, you will need to prove the first three elements listed for each individual party.
- Duty of care. The first element that you must establish in a truck accident claim is that the party (or parties) against whom you’re filing the claim owed you a duty of care. Usually, this duty is implied. For example, all drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and within the confines of the law; truck drivers have a heightened duty as commercial carriers.
- Breach of duty of care. The second element is much more difficult to prove than the first – breach of duty of care. A breach of duty of care means that the party against whom you’re filing your claimed violated the degree of care that they owed to you. This is also referred to as negligence, or the failure to act with the same degree of care that another party in a similar situation would. In a truck accident claim, the “breach” could be anything from operating a truck while intoxicated or distracted to hiring a driver with a poor driving record to failing to perform proper truck maintenance and more.
- Causation. The third element of an injury claim is causation – that the defendant’s negligence/breach of duty of care was the proximate cause of your accident and injuries. Another way to think about this is that you have a duty to prove that your injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions.
- Damages. Finally, you must prove that you have suffered actual damages, economic or noneconomic or both, as a result of the accident and injury. Examples of common damages in a truck accident claim are property damage expenses, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.
What is the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim?
It’s important to know what the burden of proof is in a personal injury claim, or the degree to which you have to prove the four elements listed above. Unlike a criminal case, which adheres to the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, you only have to prove the above elements by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is an easier, lower standard than is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and essentially means that you must prove that it is more likely than not that what you’re alleging is the case or that what you’re saying has a greater than 50 percent chance of being true.
How Our Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
You are likely facing serious losses and economic hardship if you have been in a truck accident or have lost a family member in this type of accident. At the law offices of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our lawyers can guide you through what you need to prove in a personal injury claim and how to prove each element successfully. We work on a contingency fee basis and have the experience and reputation you can count on.
To schedule your free consultation, please reach out to our law firm by calling us directly at 800-574-4332, visiting our office in person, or sending us a confidential message today.
Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., Attorneys at Law
50 St. Emanuel St.
Mobile, AL 36602
Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C.
P.O. Box 1583
Mobile, AL 36633
Toll Free: 800-574-4332
In the US: 251-432-0612
This website is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of the legal services performed by other lawyers.