Car accidents remain all too common everywhere.
But how common are car accidents in Alabama? Did you know that a traffic accident occurs every 200 seconds in Alabama and that there are approximately 155,000 car accidents in Alabama every year? That's a lot of car accidents.
So many in fact that it is estimated that you may personally be involved in two car accidents in Alabama by the time you turn 65.
So if you've been in a car accident and have suffered damages, how do you get the compensation you deserve? Here are six tips to help you understand if you are entitled to compensation after a car accident in Alabama.
Tip Number 1. Alabama's Contributory Negligence Laws
Do you have a claim in Alabama if you partially caused the accident?
Alabama has a law which essentially prevents you from recovering any liabilities from the other party that caused if the accident if you are at fault (even in part) - See ARCP, Rule 8(c) Jackson v. Waller, 410 So.2d 98 (1982).
What does this mean? Well, lets say someone hit your car from behind and you received a concussion from hitting your head on your windshield after an accident and you were not wearing your seatbelt. Had you been wearing your seatbelt you may not have had the concussion or as serious of a concussion. Well your decision not to wear a seat belt was likely "contributory negligence" (your negligence contributed to the loss) and that may bar you from recovering any amounts from the person that hit you. Legal advice is needed for you to consider you claim.
So before you consider whether you are entitled to compensation after an accident in Alabama, it is important for you to consider whether you have caused or contributed to the accident or your injuries. That could impact the validity of your claim.
Tip Number 2. Make sure you bring your claim before 2 years expires after the accident.
How long do you have to commence a claim after an accident in Alabama?
There is a statute of limitations in Alabama that requires you to bring a claim within 2 years following the date of your accident (see Alabama Code section 6-2-38 (2021)). This means that if you don't commence an action in a court in Alabama within 2 years, you will lose your claim. Threatening a claim or contacting someone about a claim is not sufficient. You must sue within 2 years or you will lose your right to bring a case.
Tip Number 3. Find out what insurance the person has who caused the accident and who the insurer is
Under Alabama Mandatory Insurance Law, to operate or drive a motor vehicle in Alabama, you are legally required to obtain and maintain the following insurance coverage:
Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Property damage liability: $25,000 per person.
Even with those mandatory limits of insurance, many people carry higher levels of auto and property insurance. Nonetheless, after an accident, the insurer of the person who cause the accident will be very involved in your case following you accident, and you will want to get their information to your insurer and your lawyer as soon as possible so every can confirm what insurance is available for your case. The availability of insurance will be important to ensure you can actually recover money if you're entitled to compensation after your accident.
Tip Number 4. Contact the police after the accident.
This may sound simple and obvious, but this is important. One of the basic elements to proving your right to compensation following an accident is a legal test called "causation" meaning who caused the accident. After the accident occurs, the police will investigate, interview witnesses and make an initial determination with respect to what happened and who caused the accident. This evidence can be helpful (if not critical) to be able to prove your claim.
Tip Number 5. Seek medical treatment immediately.
Again, this may sound remarkably obvious, however, it is a critical component of your claim. Depending on your injuries, you may be entitled to what are called "general damages" or "non-pecuniary damages". These are damages that are difficult to quantify, however, represent damages for your injuries in an attempt to compensate you for your injuries. Seeking medical attention immediately will help a doctor or other medical professional properly diagnose you and confirm the injuries you suffered after an accident. This information will be used by your lawyer and the other party's lawyer and insurance company to assist in quantifying how much you may be entitled to after your accident.
Tip Number 6. Hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident in Alabama
Should you hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident? The statistics offer a compelling reason to hire an attorney after you have been injured in a car accident. It is estimated that you are likely going to receive approximately 4.5 times the settlement amount after hiring a lawyer rather than acting alone. With that said, you will likely need to pay your lawyer 25-45% of the personal injury claim, meaning that even after you pay your personal injury lawyer in Alabama you are potentially going to receive 3 times the amount with a lawyer compared to not hiring a lawyer.
Tip Number 7. Use Adidem to find a personal injury lawyer
At Adidem, we use software to simplify the process to hire a personal injury lawyer and to provide you with the relevant information you need to help decide which is the best personal injury lawyer to hire.
We also allow any lawyer to sign-up to use Adidem. No restrictions, no-sign-up fee and no exclusivity with any particular firm or lawyer. Rather than you having to look for the right lawyer, we bring the legal market to you.
This is important, as Adidem:
- can provide you with access to the broader legal market in your city without you needing to contact all those lawyers;
- allows any lawyer with an opportunity to offer their services for your claim;
- allows you to obtain information with respect to your claim to determine which lawyer you may want to hire; and
- makes lawyers compete for your work.