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Getting into a car wreck can be costly. Not only do you have to cope with a damaged car, but you may also suffer injuries that lead to missed work and expensive medical bills. However, if you are facing serious injury and a totaled car, Alabama does have “fault” rules in place. These require the person responsible for the car accident to pay for the costs of both economic and non-economic losses caused by the crash. Call our Alabama car accident attorneys today at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at 205-933-1500 for more information.
Actually obtaining full and fair compensation from the person who caused your accident can be tricky. The insurance company may be reluctant to offer you a fair deal. There may also be several legal issues you have to confront. The experienced Alabama auto accident attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. can help you to take action and get the money you deserve.
You should also understand what to do after a car accident in order to avoid mistakes that people often make in auto accident claims. To help make sure you do not make those mistakes and compromise your legal rights, consider the following seven ways to lose your car accident case.
If you are involved in a crash in Alabama and want to make the other person pay, you’ll have to show that the other driver was at fault or responsible for the accident. You will need evidence to do this – especially if the other driver doesn’t admit fault or tries to tell a different story about what happened. Much of the key evidence that you’ll need has to be collected at the accident scene. This means that there are certain things you should do immediately after the accident.
Second, call law enforcement right away. You always want to call the police so an accident report can be filed and so the police can make their own determination at the scene about what happened. You should call the police even if the accident doesn’t seem that serious or if the other driver claims he or she will take care of your bills. What seems like a minor injury or minor damage to your car might actually turn out to be much more serious later on, and the other driver may not do what he promised. If you haven’t called the police, then you’ll be missing important information and evidence, which can adversely affect your legal rights.
Third, if possible, get additional information at the accident scene. For example, get the name, contact number and insurance information of the other driver(s) in the crash. If there are witnesses, get their names and numbers as well. Finally, get some pictures of the wreck and of the accident scene. You can use a digital camera or cell phone. All of this could come in handy to bolster your story about how the accident happened.
After a car accident, you should always get checked out by a doctor. This is important both for your health and to protect your legal rights. There are sometimes injuries that don’t show up right away or that don’t have obvious symptoms. Some of those injuries can be very serious. For example, you might think you have a little headache but might actually have suffered serious head injury, or you might believe that you have a slightly sore neck but may have actually suffered whiplash, spinal cord, or soft tissue damage.
When you see a doctor after the crash, your doctor can identify any minor or serious injuries that may have occurred and could potentially save your life by identifying complications. You can get the medicine or treatment that you need to get better. Your doctor can also document your injuries. This documentation is essential to protecting your legal rights.
A person who causes a car accident is responsible for compensating you for all costs of treating injuries that develop as a result of the crash. To get this compensation, you need to be able to show the injuries happened because of the crash. Medical documentation lets you do that.
Unfortunately, if you wait and do not get help right away, you won’t have the necessary proof that the crash caused your injury. The responsible driver or their insurance company could argue that the injuries are exaggerated or were caused by something other than the accident. This could make it difficult or impossible for you to be fully compensated.
The person who causes a car accident can be held responsible for paying compensation for all actual economic losses. For example, the person who caused the crash will have to pay for your car to be repaired or replaced. If you have medical bills, those will be paid. If you cannot go to work, you should be compensated for this as well. If your earning power is permanently reduced or you can no longer work at all after the crash, then the responsible driver should make up for your financial loss. Damages are even available for pain and suffering and for emotional distress. However, to get full compensation, you’ll need to have documentation of your losses. This means keeping records of medical bills and costs and having records that your injuries exist. You’ll need to keep track of the days of work you miss and the cost of car repairs. If you are in pain, you may even want to document this so that you have solid proof of your suffering. The more documentation you have, the better your chances of being fully and fairly compensated after the crash.
It is also important to keep records of your reports to the insurance companies and of all insurance correspondence. This can come in handy if anyone ever questions whether you reported the accident or in case a dispute arises about what you said to the insurer or what the insurer said to you.
Insurance companies are for-profit companies. They answer to owners and shareholders. Their goal is to make a profit. Paying claims eats into that profit, so many insurance companies try to deny claims or settle claims for as little as possible.
When you talk to an insurer on your own, the insurance company may use questionable tactics to try to get you to admit fault or to get you to settle your case for less than it is worth. Both your own insurance company and the insurance company for the other driver(s) in the crash may try to get you to admit something that could compromise your rights. You do not want to fall into this trap.
Your lawyer will make sure you are protected, keep you from accidentally settling for less than you deserve and ensure that you don’t jeopardize your right to compensation. Your lawyer advocates for you and allows you to be evenly matched as you go head-to-head with the insurance company and their lawyers.
If you were having a heart attack, you would not go to a pediatrician. If you were having vision problems, you wouldn’t go to a dentist. Lawyers, like doctors, have their own concentrations. Some lawyers focus on auto accidents. They have experience handling Alabama car crash cases. They know what evidence to collect and how to present it. They know how to overcome problems that can arise. And they know how to get results. In particular, if you are negotiating a settlement, your Alabama auto accident lawyer will be familiar with past crash claims. This gives your attorney the ability to advise you on what fair compensation might be.
Your lawyer is the one person in auto accident cases that you can absolutely trust. Your lawyer needs to know the whole truth in order to best advocate for you. Anything you say to your attorney is kept confidential. So, you should never be afraid to share information with your lawyer. This means being honest about how the accident happened and about the extent of your injuries. Never exaggerate. Your personal injury attorney is also your advocate who speaks for you with the insurer and within the legal system. You need to treat the attorney/client relationship with respect. You have to be willing to answer questions and not miss any meetings. In turn, you have the right to expect your Alabama personal injury lawyer to respect you and communicate with you about your case.
Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident claims. This means you have two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, your claim is “time-barred.” You will be unable to recover compensation. Insurance companies may try to drag out negotiations or to delay until the statute of limitations has passed, depriving you of your ability to file a lawsuit. You do not want this to happen to you. It is important that you don’t wait — get legal help right away. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to line up witnesses and make sure you have the evidence you need.
These are just some of the common mistakes people make that can lead to losing an Alabama auto accident case. As you can see from this list, car accident cases are complex and there is a lot you need to know. For the vast majority of people, it is a daunting or even impossible task to understand all of the legalities involved in a car accident claim.
Fortunately, you don’t have to. If an attorney from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. takes your case, we will represent your interests and handle all of the legal tasks. You can focus on recovering from your injuries and moving on with your life. We’ll advocate for you and fight to maximize your compensation. We’ll protect your rights. And we will charge legal fees only if we get compensation for you.
To learn more about how our car accident lawyers in Alabama can help or to schedule a free consultation with a Alabama car accident attorney at our firm, call us today at 205-933-1500 or fill out our online contact form. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys will quickly travel to investigate the details of your case and may be able to help you obtain compensation for your damages.