Determining Fault in a Car Accident
If you were recently in a car accident in Alabama, you may believe it is very clear who was at fault. However, in the world of insurance and the law, many factors come into play, and the question may not be as straightforward as it first appears. When a dispute arises, you need a car accident lawyer to protect your interests.
Factors That Determine if You or the Other Driver Were at Fault
Police, insurers, accident investigators, and state regulators all have a say in how fault gets assigned. Police try to determine the primary collision factor, or the main cause of the car accident, and which driver was primarily at fault. Accident investigators look at the cars involved and the crash site to analyze the placement of the damage, skid marks, and other data. Eventually, insurers determine their view of who was at fault, and from that, they identify who they think should pay and how much. Often, the police report carries the most weight in the ultimate determination of fault.
What if I Was Partially at Fault?
Alabama applies a legal standard of pure contributory negligence for car accidents. This means that if a party is at fault—even 1 percent at fault—that party cannot claim damages from the other party. Naturally, a defendant in a car accident case will do their best to prove that the victim contributed even in a small way to the harm that they suffered. In a possible example, if a driver hits a pedestrian at a crosswalk, if the driver can show that the pedestrian walked into the street against the light, the driver may not have to pay damages, even though they are also at fault for not having been alert to a crossing pedestrian.
How Insurance Works
Following a car accident in Alabama caused by another driver, you can seek compensation from the at fault drivers insurance provider. If the at-fault driver’s insurer agrees that they were at fault, that insurer will typically pay for all the damages. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, the injured party may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in some cases.
In general, you can receive various types of compensation for a car accident: MedPay (for driver and passengers’ medical costs), underinsured motorists coverage if the at-fault driver was not well insured enough to cover all damages), collision coverage for damage to the vehicle, or comprehensive coverage for damage not done by another vehicle. Of course, there are often disputes when it comes to fault and the amount of any compensation. A good lawyer can help you handle negotiations with the insurance companies, and protect your right to fair compensation for all damages.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. we will pursue full compensation for you after a car accident caused by another motorist. We are experienced in getting the maximum possible settlement, and we work on a contingency fee basis. You will pay no legal fees until your case is resolved favorably.
If you or a loved one were injured in a devastating accident, call the car accident lawyers from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at 205-933-1500 or use our online form. We offer a case evaluation free of charge and are ready to help you obtain full compensation for your losses. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our personal injury lawyers will quickly travel to investigate your case.