Car crashes are a leading cause of accidental injuries in our region. In the most recent year with comprehensive data available, the Alabama Department of Transportation reports that 46,383 were hurt in motor vehicle collisions. Following a serious car accident, it is crucial that you know what to do to protect yourself, your rights, and your ability to recover full and fair financial compensation.
The car accident claims process is complicated. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we want to make sure that auto accident victims have the knowledge, tools, and resources that they need to navigate the legal claims process. In this article, our Birmingham car accident lawyer answers five of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about motor vehicle crash claims in Alabama.
- What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident in Alabama?
The immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision in Birmingham is often confusing and chaotic. To best protect yourself, you need to take a proactive approach. Here is a broad overview of the most important things that you should do after a crash in Alabama:
- Stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of the accident (but for medical emergencies);
- Report the crash to local or statement law enforcement;
- Document the collision (take photos, get witness contact details, and other information);
- Seek medical attention from a doctor as soon as possible;
- Avoid giving a recorded statement to an insurance company; and
- Consult with a top-rated Alabama car accident attorney.
You do not want to fall behind the defendant or the insurance company in the car accident injury claims process. By speaking to our Birmingham, AL, car accident lawyer right away after a crash, you will be in the best position to get justice, closure, and the full financial compensation.
- What is the Alabama Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims?
Under Alabama law (AL Code § 6-2-38), the statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years from the date of the accident. What does this actually mean for your case? You generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
If you do not file a lawsuit within this time frame, you may be barred from taking legal action to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. In Alabama, the statute of limitations applies to all types of car accident claims, including personal injury claims and property damage claims.
While there are some exceptions to the car accident statute of limitations, they are quite narrow. You should never rely on an exception. Protect your rights and your claim by consulting with a Birmingham car accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash.
- Who Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident Injury?
In Alabama, the state follows the “at-fault” system of liability for motor vehicle collisions. The party determined to be responsible for causing the accident is financially liable for injuries and damages that result from the accident. There are several parties who may be held liable for a car accident, including:
- The driver of the vehicle who caused the accident;
- The owner of the vehicle, if it was being driven by someone else;
- The employer of the driver, if the accident occurred while the driver was on the job;
- The manufacturer of a defective vehicle or its parts; and
- The government, if the accident was caused by poor road conditions or a malfunctioning traffic signal.
As Alabama uses an at-fault standard of liability, it is vital that gather as much information as possible at the scene of the accident to help determine who is responsible for the accident. Our Birmingham, AL, car accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your crash.
- How Much Compensation Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Claim?
One of the first questions that people often have after a serious car crash in Birmingham: What is the value of my case? You need money to pay bills and cover your losses. In Alabama, car accident victims have a right to pursue financial compensation for both their out-of-pocket losses and their intangible damages. The amount that you can recover will be based on many different case-specific factors, including your ability to prove liability and the extent of your damages. Indeed, car accident injury claims in Alabama are generally compensatory in nature. Your settlement or verdict should account for your actual losses. Of course, big insurers want to settle these cases for less. Our Birmingham, AL car accident attorneys fight aggressively to help victims maximize their financial compensation, including for:
- Vehicle repairs or vehicle replacement;
- Ambulance costs and emergency room treatment;
- Hospital bills and other medical costs;
- Physical therapy and psychological counseling;
- Lost wages and loss of earning potential;
- Permanent disability or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
- How Do I Deal With Insurance Companies After a Serious Crash?
Dealing with an insurance company after a serious car crash in Alabama can be a confusing, frustrating, and even overwhelming process—especially so if you are still recovering from your injuries. Here are some tips to help you navigate the car accident injury claims process:
- Notify the insurer of the crash as soon as possible;
- Be sure to get prompt medical attention and keep comprehensive records;
- Know that insurance adjusters are not on your side—they represent the company;
- Decline to give a recorded statement to an opposing insurer;
- Be cautious about an initial (low) settlement offer from the insurance company; and
- Work with the insurer through an experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Birmingham, AL, Car Accident Lawyer Today
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham car crash attorneys are fierce advocates for our clients. If you or your loved one was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, we are ready to help. Contact our personal injury law firm today for a no-cost case evaluation with a top-rated car accident lawyer. With an office in Birmingham, we fight for the rights and interests of injured victims in Jefferson County and throughout North Central Alabama.