Car crashes are consistently a leading cause of accidental injuries in our region. According to data from Drive Safe Alabama, there are approximately 360 motor vehicle collisions reported every day in the state. The aftermath of a crash can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming. It is imperative that you know what to do after a collision to secure the maximum financial compensation.
This raises an important question: What types of damages can be recovered in a car accident claim in Alabama? The answer depends on a number of different case-specific factors—though you seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses. Here, our Birmingham auto accident attorney provides an overview of the damages that can be sought in a claim in Alabama.
Vehicle Repairs or Replacement (Property Damage)
A car crash in Alabama can cause significant damage to your vehicle. You have the right to seek compensation for property damage as part of your auto accident claim. How much can you recover for property damages? As with other types of losses, the amount that you will be eligible to receive will depend on the nature and severity of the damage and the car’s market value prior to the accident. As a general rule, you have the right to have your car restored to its pre-crash value if your collision was caused by another party.
Medical Expenses (Emergency Care, Hospital Bills, etc.)
Following a car crash in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama, injured victims need immediate medical attention. The sooner you see a doctor, the better your chances for a full, timely physical recovery. Notably, medical expenses can be a significant burden after a car accident. These expenses encompass everything from the initial emergency room visit and diagnostic tests to surgeries and medication. If the accident is due to another party’s fault, injured victims have the right to pursue compensation for the full extent of these costs. In many cases, medical expenses help to form the foundation of a car accident injury settlement. You will be required to prove your damages. As such, you must see a doctor—and get the appropriate follow-up care—to be able to secure the maximum recovery for medical expenses.
Physical Therapy and Other Rehabilitative Care
How long does it take to recover from a car accident injury? The answer depends on a wide variety of case-specific factors. Unfortunately, some people may require long-term or ongoing professional support to address their injuries. Indeed, the aftermath of a car accident may require an injured victim to undergo physical therapy and other forms of rehabilitative care. Given the length and intensity of these treatments, the costs can add up. The good news is that Alabama laws allow victims to claim these expenses from the at-fault party. Physical therapy and other long-term medical costs should be considered as part of your damages.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
A car accident injury can force a person to miss time on the job. Of course, even a single missed paycheck can put a tremendous amount of financial strain on a family. Lost wages and diminished earning capacity are economic damages. In Alabama, car accident victims can seek financial compensation for the full extent of their lost wages during their recovery period. Beyond that, assuming the injuries lead to a diminished capacity to earn in the future, car accident victims can also seek financial compensation for this damage as well.
Pain and Suffering
While economic damages help to build the foundation for a personal injury claim, injured car accident victims in Alabama also have the right to pursue compensation for non-economic losses, including pain and suffering. While it can be challenging to put a precise monetary value on pain and suffering, it is also an essential component of many car accident claims. Alabama law recognizes the physical and emotional pain victims undergo post-accident. Factors like the severity of the injury, the recovery period, and how the injury affects the victim’s daily life play a role in determining compensation for pain and suffering. An experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer can help you seek full and fair financial compensation for pain and suffering.
Long-Term Disability or Physical Disfigurement
A serious car accident can sometimes result in severe injuries that lead to long-term disabilities or physical disfigurements. Injured victims might need assistive devices, home modifications, or require long-term care. These life-altering consequences not only have significant financial implications but also affect the quality of life. Alabama allows victims to claim compensation to offset these challenges. Obtaining full and fair compensation for a long-term disability or physical disfigurement can be especially challenging. An experienced attorney can help.
Punitive Damages (Limited Cases Only)
Alabama law allows for punitive damages in certain cases. These are not designed to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the at-fault party for their conduct and deter others from similar actions. Under Alabama law (Alabama Code § 6-11-20), a car accident victim can only recover punitive damages if they can prove that the defendant “consciously or deliberately engaged in oppression, fraud, wantonness, or malice.” Put another way, they must establish that the defendant caused the crash intentionally or that they behaved in an extremely reckless manner. As an example, you may be able to pursue punitive damages if you were hurt in a crash with a highly intoxicated driver who has a prior history of DUI offenses.
Set Up a Free Case Review With a Top Birmingham, AL, Car Accident Attorney
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham motor vehicle collision lawyer is an aggressive, experienced advocate for justice. If you or your loved one was hurt in a crash, we are here to help you fight for the maximum financial compensation. Get in touch with us by calling 205-896-6410 or contact us online to set up your free, no-obligation initial appointment. From our Birmingham office, we handle car accident injury claims in Jefferson County and throughout North Central Alabama.