Mobile, Alabama Car Accident Attorneys
Driving a car in America is so common that hardly anyone thinks twice about it. In fact, data shows that about 95 percent of American households own a motor vehicle, and that only about five percent of Americans use public transportation to get around. With over 260 million automobiles on American roadways, it’s no wonder that car accidents are nearly as common as is driving itself.
This rings true in Alabama, too, where there was a traffic crash reported once every 200 seconds in a single year, and a person was injured in a motor vehicle accident once every 11 minutes, according to Drive Safe Alabama.
While car accidents may be common, they are not inevitable. In fact, most of the time, they occur as a result of negligence and preventable error. If you have been injured in a car crash, our motor vehicle accident attorneys at the law office of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. can assist you in navigating the claims process and recovering compensation for your injuries. Please get in touch with us today for your free consultation.
Top Causes of Car Accidents in Alabama
While some car accidents may occur as a result of things like unsafe road conditions, vehicle defects, poor weather, or an animal darting out into a car’s path unexpectedly, the majority of car accidents happen because drivers operate their vehicles carelessly and unsafely.
Some of the top causes of car accidents include:
- Drunk driving;
- Reckless driving;
- Driving too fast for conditions;
- Failure to yield;
- Running a red light or stop sign;
- Driving while distracted/texting while driving;
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired;
- Driving while overly fatigued;
- Driving aggressively;
- Cutting off another driver; and
- Illegally changing lanes.
When an accident is caused by the fault of another driver and you suffer injuries, you maintain the right to file a claim for compensation.
In this type of crash, a vehicle turns onto its side or roof before stopping. Crashes are typically defined as either tripped or untripped. Tripped rollovers are caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Untripped accidents are those that do not involve a collision with another object. For example, taking a tight turn at too high of a speed may cause the vehicle to tip over and experience a rollover accident. Per the NHTSA, many of these collisions are caused by soft soil and steep slopes.
Rollover Accident Statistics and Why These Accidents Are So Dangerous
Compared to many other types of car crashes, rollover accidents are extremely dangerous and likely to cause severe injuries or fatalities. Safer Car, which is powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, indicates that just over 2% of all vehicle crashes are rollovers. The same data shows that 35% of fatalities in passenger vehicle crashes come from rollover crashes. This is a startling difference, and one that highlights the likelihood that victims of a rollover accident will sustain severe or life-threatening injuries.
One of the main reasons that rollover crashes are so dangerous is that they have multiple points of impact, often including both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. When a car completely flips, the roof can also absorb impact, causing it to cave in and trap people.
Causes of Rollover Accidents
Though rollover accidents are rare, they have a significant likelihood of being deadly or serious in nature. For that reason, it’s crucial to know why these accidents occur and which conditions make them more likely. Common causes of these crashes include:
- Vehicle shape and design. SUVs, vans, and trucks are much more likely to be involved in rollover accidents than conventional passenger cars. Their higher center of gravity makes them more likely to tip than slide, putting drivers and passengers at risk.
- Driving too fast for conditions is a common trigger for a rollover accident. Taking a turn or curve at a high speed is especially dangerous for those in vehicles with a higher-than-average center of gravity.
- Tire grip. Tires with minimal grip or too much grip can increase the risk of a rollover accident.
- Outside obstacles. Outside obstacles are involved in the vast majority of rollover crashes. In many situations, a driver collides with an obstacle and the collision causes the rollover.
Distracted Driving Accidents
The term “distracted driving” is intentionally vague, designed to capture all the possible ways drivers can split their attention while on the road. As technology evolves, drivers have more and more ways to distract themselves when their mind wanders.
The term “distracted driving” encompasses all current and potential distractions, including:
- Texting or any other use of a phone. This is perhaps the most widespread and egregious form of distraction that motorists face. Looking away from the road for a fraction of a second can cause a serious or even fatal crash.
- Eating or drinking. In today’s world, everyone is busy. However, eating and drinking is a form of distracted driving, so save the snacks for when you reach your destination.
- Music dials, touchscreen apps, or GPS technology. Many drivers think it takes just a second to change the radio station, double-check their GPS directions, or change the in-vehicle touchscreen display. These are all forms of distracted driving.
- Chatting with passengers is a good way to stay awake during long drives, but this can also distract you. Ensure that your focus is fixed on the road ahead of you and your surroundings.
- Looking for something in the car. Whether you’re looking for your keys or your screaming baby’s dropped toy, looking for a lost item can put you at risk of an accident.
- Smoking splits your mental attention and physical attention, putting you and everyone else on the road in danger.
Keeping Yourself Safe on the Road
While you cannot control how others drive, you can protect yourself from distracted drivers to some extent. Use these tips to keep yourself and your passengers safe:
- Stay aware of your surroundings. If you see another driver checking their phone as they drive by, drop back and put distance between you and them.
- Watch out for signs of distracted driving. A nearby vehicle swerving or randomly changing speeds could be under the control of a distracted driver.
- Maintain proper distance between your car and other vehicles. Even if other drivers are distracted, you can protect yourself by leaving enough distance to react and avoid crashes if other drivers suddenly change lanes or slam the brakes.
- Avoid distractions. You want to protect yourself from other drivers, but make sure that you are not engaging in distracted driving. It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and think that checking your phone takes “just a second.” Consider putting your phone in an unreachable location while you’re driving or allowing a passenger to take over GPS directions for you.
What You Need to Prove in a Car Accident Claim
Alabama maintains traditional tort liability rules when it comes to car accident claims, which means that an at-fault driver is responsible for paying for damages suffered by the not-at-fault driver. In order to recover compensation from the at-fault driver, then (or more likely, the at-fault driver’s liability insurer), you will need to prove that:
- The driver acted in a manner that was negligent and outside of the realm of what a reasonable person in the same situation would do;
- That the driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of your car accident; and
- That you suffered injuries and damages as a result.
Keep in mind that Alabama maintains unfriendly shared fault rules when it comes to a plaintiff’s ability to recover compensation if they contributed to the accident in any way. Under the state’s contributory negligence legal doctrine, if you contributed to your accident at all, even one percent, you may be barred from recovering damages. As such, it is critical that you work with a skilled attorney who can assist you in building your claim and rebutting any allegations of shared fault made against you by an insurer.
Tips for Building a Strong Auto Accident Case
Immediately after your auto accident, one of the best things that you can do is try to document the scene. In the time after the accident, there will likely be chaos. Depending on how severe the accident is, you may or may not be able to begin taking photos and videos of the accident, your injuries, the scene of the accident, other pieces of property that may have been damaged, and anything else that you might think relevant at the time.
If your injuries are catastrophic, you may be unable to document the scene of the accident. And that is OK. The most important thing is for you to take care of your health and well-being first. With that being said, even if you feel as though your injuries are not life-threatening, it is imperative that you’ll be seen by a healthcare provider as soon as possible after the accident.
An outsider’s point of view is always helpful after an accident. There might be factors at play that you did not know existed. Consider, for example, a car that sideswipes you because it drifted into your lane. From your perspective, their drifting came out of nowhere and could be the result of a dip in the road or another car swerving. When eyewitnesses step up and tell what happened, insurance companies find it a lot more difficult to discredit what they saw. If their version of events lines up with what you said and goes against the other party’s story, your story will be seen as more credible.
Also, if you want to build the strongest case possible against the liable party, it is critical that you do not leave any losses unaccounted for when your lawyer is calculating the value of your claim. There are many different types of economic and non-economic damages that you may be able to recover that you are unaware of.
How Our Skilled Alabama Car Accident Lawyers Serve You
Maximizing your compensation award after a car crash requires more than just filing a claim for damages and hoping for the best. You will need to prove the fault of the defendant, demonstrate that you did not contribute to the accident, and substantiate the extent of damages you have suffered. Our lawyers help you build your claim and get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve by:
- Investigating your accident. Identifying the at-fault party and gathering evidence to support this claim as early as possible is critical, especially as certain evidence types may be destroyed soon after an accident. The earlier you call us, the earlier we can begin investigating your accident and collecting essential evidence.
- Working with various experts. Our law firm has the resources necessary to hire various experts to investigate and build your case, including accident reconstruction experts, forensic experts, and medical professionals. An expert’s opinion can help shape the outcome of your case.
- Managing and organizing all claim-related documents. When filing a claim, you will need to present evidence of fault and damages, which might include everything from photographs to medical records to police reports and more. We collect and organize all claim documents and manage the presentation of these documents to an insurer on your behalf.
- Reviewing and negotiating your claim. Our job includes sending a demand letter to an insurer requesting compensation, reviewing a settlement offer and advising you regarding whether to accept or reject it, and negotiating the settlement offer to get you the largest realistic settlement award possible.
- Trial Experience. Our lawyers have trial experience, and we are not intimidated by the prospect of going to court and fighting for a settlement via litigation. While our goal is to settle your case out of court to save you time and money, we will do what it takes to get you the just compensation you deserve.
Time Is Ticking – Take Action Today
Not only must you act quickly for the purpose of preserving evidence related to your claim and improving your chances of recovering your settlement award sooner rather than later, but you must also take the state’s statute of limitations into consideration. In Alabama, an injured party only has two years from the date of an accident to bring forth a claim for damages; if you wait longer than two years, you will most likely be barred from recovery. We recommend calling a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With Burns Our Experienced Car Accident Injury Attorneys Today
Some car accidents are extremely traumatic, leaving victims with permanent and debilitating injuries that can shape the course of their lives. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you need legal representation; hiring a lawyer significantly improves your chances of recovering the largest settlement award possible.
When you call the law firm of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our skilled Alabama auto accident lawyers will work hard for you. We work on a contingency fee basis, never ask for upfront payment, and always offer consultations free of charge. To schedule your free consultation today, please stop by our Mobile office, send us a message online, or call us at 800-574-4332.
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