Car Accident Injury Attorneys in Saraland, Alabama
While Saraland is a small suburb of Mobile, Alabama, it still experiences car accidents at a rate similar to other areas of the state. In the year 2017, there were over 800 fatal crashes reported overall in the Yellowhammer State, and over 900 individuals were killed in these car accidents.
Understanding the laws surrounding filing a car accident claim is important for your recovery if you’ve been injured in a crash. At the law offices of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our Saraland car accident lawyers can guide you through the process, explain to you everything you need to know about filing a claim, and advocate for you. Please reach us today to learn more about how we can help when you need it most.
Car Accidents Should Never Happen
Despite the fact that car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death throughout the United States, making it seem as though car accidents are inevitable, a car accident should never happen. Indeed, most car accidents are entirely preventable, and would not occur but for the negligence of those involved in the crashes.
Examples of preventable acts of driver error that lead to crashes include:
- Running red lights or stop signs;
- Failing to yield;
- Driving while impaired;
- Driving while distracted;
- Driving aggressively;
- Tailgating; and
- Failing to adhere to traffic signage or traffic laws.
While, most of the time, those involved in a crash are to blame for its occurrence, sometimes, a car accident is the fault of another third-party. Parties whose negligence may cause crashes include:
- Vehicle manufacturers for defective design or manufacture of vehicle parts;
- Parties responsible for road maintenance, such as a municipality; or
- Other third parties, such as the establishment that served an intoxicated driver (who caused a crash) alcohol.
The Basics of Alabama’s Car Accident Fault Laws
When a car accident in Alabama occurs, it is up to the party who caused the crash to ensure that damages to the other party are paid for – this is known as an at-fault, or tort liability, system. Most of the time, a driver who is at fault for an accident will not be held personally liable for the accident; instead, damages will be covered via that driver’s liability insurance policy.
Another thing that’s important to understand about fault in Alabama is that a party who contributes to their own injuries can be barred from recovery per Alabama’s “contributory negligence” legal standard. This means that if you are found to be even one percent to blame for a car accident in which you are involved, even if the other party is found to be 99 percent to blame, you could be barred from recovery.
What You Need to Prove in a Car Accident Claim and Damages Recoverable
In order to recover compensation after a car accident, you won’t just need to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident (and that you didn’t contribute to the accident through any fault of your own). In addition to proving the negligence of the party against whom you’re filing a claim, you will also need to prove that the party’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries, and that you suffered actual damages as a result.
Types of damages that are recoverable in a car accident claim include:
- The full value of your medical expenses, both present and future, related to the accident;
- The value of your lost wages and loss of earning capacity, both present and future;
- The value of any property damage costs you incur;
- The value of any other economic losses you suffer, such as costs associated with transportation to doctors’ appointments, necessary home accommodations, and more; and
- The value of your noneconomic losses, including the value of your pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Evidence You Need to Start Gathering Now
The earlier that you start gathering evidence to prove the necessary elements of a successful car accident claim, the better. Types of evidence that will be very valuable in your case include:
- Take as many pictures of the accident, damages to vehicles, your injuries, and any other evidence (like skid marks and street signs) as possible. These photographs can be used by experts to reconstruct how the accident occurred, and also to show causation between the accident and your injuries.
- Police reports. Do not make the mistake of failing to file a police report; if you do not file a police report, you will have a very tough time getting an insurance company to take you seriously. The police report may contain details about fault and damages, which can be helpful to your claim.
- Eyewitnesses’ statements. A witness who saw what happened and is willing to make a statement about it could be very helpful in proving fault. A witness who is credible and unbiased is best.
- Medical statements. After being injured in a car accident, you need to seek medical care. Then, you need to keep detailed records of the care received, your diagnosis and treatment, your medical bills and expenses, and your progress as you heal.
- Experts’ opinions. Finally, various experts may be called upon to offer a professional opinion about how your accident happened, the extent of your injuries, the degree of your pain and suffering, and more.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Claim
You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim after being involved in a car accident. In Alabama, the statute of limitations is two years from the date that the accident occurred. Be sure to act within this time period or you may be barred from recovery.
Why You Need a Saraland Personal Injury Lawyer
A surprising amount of car accident victims don’t even consider hiring an attorney after a crash. They often think it’s cheaper and faster to go through the other party’s insurance company to get a fair settlement.
One thing is true: it can definitely be faster. This is because the insurance company is motivated to close the claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible to get you to sign a waiver of liability. By putting speed over fairness, you could give up a significant amount of money.
In many cases, the initial settlement isn’t even enough to cover the first round of expenses. By the time your check is signed, deposited, and spent, you could still have medical bills rolling in. By then, though, it’s too late to go back and ask for more. You have the most leverage before you speak to the insurance company; and consulting an attorney at that point is the best way to make the most of that leverage.
Your attorney will fight for what is best for you. By investigating the accident and determining how much money your injuries are worth, they can figure out what a truly fair settlement would be. They use that information to negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, dismissing insultingly low offers and pushing for what you truly deserve. While most cases settle, some insurance companies aren’t ready to negotiate in good faith. If that happens, your attorney will immediately switch gears and begin preparing to take your case to court.
How Our Saraland Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
Working with a Saraland auto accident lawyer can have a positive effect on your case. Our lawyers know how to investigate an accident and build your claim, will retain experts on your behalf, and are ready to aggressively negotiate your settlement. We also have extensive litigation experience and we won’t back down against well-funded adversaries, such as large insurance companies.
To schedule your free consultation, please call our office at 800-574-4332, send us a message, or stop by our office in person. We want to help you when you’ve been injured.