Car accidents are common occurrences on US roads, and no matter how careful you are behind the wheel, another person's negligence can cause an accident. Auto accidents often range from minor fender benders to high-impact collisions that result in catastrophic injuries. Given the number of cars on Montgomery roads, the chances of being involved in a car crash are relatively high.
While some car accidents can be easy to solve without taking the legal route, having the counsel of an experienced Montgomery car accident lawyer is important if you want to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Our team Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers have won millions on behalf of accident victims.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to another person's negligence, reach out to our personal injury lawyers in Montgomery today for a free consultation.
Car Accident Statistics
It is estimated that there are about 6 million car accidents in the US every year. This translates to about 16, 438 car crashes per day. In Alabama, a traffic accident was recorded every 3 minutes and 18 seconds in 2019. In the same year, there were 22 fatal accidents in Montgomery that involved 39 vehicles. Among the fatal accidents, 11 involved drunk persons. During that year, there were a total of 23 fatalities, including 6 pedestrians.
How Much Does a Montgomery Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Lawyer fees in car accident cases don't have to be the reason you avoid hiring a lawyer, as most auto accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we don't charge you anything before we win your case and you're awarded compensation. From the compensation award, a portion is used as lawyer fees.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Car accidents are split-second occurrences, and it is normal for victims to be left confused after the accident. Making the wrong moves after a car accident can have dire effects on your claim, and it is important to know what to do in the event of an accident. Here are the right steps to take whenever you've been involved in a car accident:
Contact the Police
In the event of a car accident, you need the police to show up and inspect the scene. This way, you can get a copy of the police report, which is an important document when it comes to pursuing compensation from the at-fault party's insurance company.
Check on Other Involved Parties
If you're unhurt following a car accident, don't leave the scene – check if the rest are okay and call for help if anyone needs urgent medical attention.
It is important that you get the details of all the involved parties and witnesses present. Particularly, be sure to pick up information such as the insurance policy numbers, vehicle registration numbers, driver's license numbers, physical addresses, and contact information of the involved parties and witnesses.
Record the Scene
If you can, document the scene by taking clear pictures or videos of the accident scene. These photos should highlight your injuries or property damage.
Never Admit Fault
Generally, it is advisable to avoid saying anything that can be used against you in a car accident claim. Admitting fault, for instance, may take away your right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel okay after a car accident, it is important that you seek medical attention to avoid the risk of suffering internal injuries.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer to help you with your car accident claim is the best way of protecting our right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company.
What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Alabama is an “at-fault” state, meaning that all the losses and damages in a car accident are placed on the negligent driver. What's more, every driver is expected to carry the following minimum insurance coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death
- $25,000 for property damage per incident
- $50,000 for two or more people's bodily injury or death per incident
Many factors will come to play when deciding the average settlement to be made in a car accident case. However, it is estimated that the average settlement for a car accident is less than $18,417. Essentially, lower medical bills and out-of-pocket costs would mean a smaller settlement in a car accident claim.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for my Auto Accident?
Whether you're looking to file a claim against the at-fault driver or an insurance company, it is always advisable to get a car accident lawyer before beginning the legal process. While you may not always be knowledgeable about the law and procedural rules governing car accident cases, including the statutes of limitation, having a lawyer will ensure that you do everything in accordance with the law for a better chance at receiving compensation.
Getting a car accident lawyer as early as possible ensures that all the legal work is properly done, which gives you all the time to recover. A lawyer also helps you build a strong case against the at-fault driver by gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim. Generally, an auto accident attorney will advocate for you and represent you to ensure that you get compensated for your losses.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
While most people still overlook the need to hire a lawyer in a car accident case, the services of a car accident lawyer can go a long in your claim. Particularly, a car accident attorney can help you with the following:
Case Preparation / Filing a Lawsuit
In the event of a car accident that was caused by the negligence of another person, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. However, you need a strong case against the defendant which includes proving that they were negligent and liable for the accident that caused your injuries and losses.
A car accident attorney can help prepare a compelling case by doing a proper investigation to find out how the accident occurred, and gather the relevant documents to prove that you deserve compensation for your losses.
Most car accident claims are settled before they can even go to court. If an agreement can be reached between the victim and the at-fault party or their insurance company, then compensation can be made without having to take the case to trial. In such instances, having a car accident lawyer helps you negotiate the maximum payout possible to cover all your injuries and losses.
Lawyers understand all the tricks that insurers and insurance adjusters use in a bid to deny or undervalue claims and can help you avoid such pitfalls and win you a significant compensation amount.
Trial Preparation & Representation
While most car accident cases are settled out of court, some claims may be denied or insurance companies may offer unreasonably low offers. In such cases, a car accident lawyer will help you take your case to court and await a jury's verdict regarding the award of compensation for your losses.
Your lawyer will help prepare a compelling case and present it before a jury to convince them that you deserve compensation. Their courtroom experience also ensures that they have an easy time representing you through trial sessions, which increases your chances of receiving compensation for losses following the car accident.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for My Damages?
In truth, there's no single answer to this question. Every car accident case is unique, and various factors will affect the amount of money the injured party can receive as compensation for their losses. Some of the factors that determine how much you can expect in damages include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Other factors that influence the amount you can receive in damages include the number of parties that can be held liable for your injuries and the degree of dispute about damages and liability. Any of these factors, or a combination, will often influence the amount of money you can receive in damages in a car accident case.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
In Montgomery, Alabama, car accident victims can expect to be awarded various damages if they prove that the other party was at fault for the accident that caused their injuries or losses. The three types of damages that can be recovered in car accident claims include:
These are damages awarded to compensate car accident victims for actual monetary losses that result from the accident. Such damages include:
- Lost present and future wages.
- Medical costs, including hospital bills, prescription costs, and doctor visitations.
- Loss of earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs, including therapy costs
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket costs
In some states, these are often referred to as “pain and suffering.” Generally, they are damages awarded to compensate car accident victims for losses whose monetary value can't be easily established. Some of these damages include:
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium (for spouses)
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Aggravation of pre-existing conditions
- Permanent disfigurement
In some car accident cases, a jury may establish that the at-fault party's actions that led to the accident amounted to gross negligence or wanton wrongdoing. These damages are therefore awarded to serve as punishment for their actions and deter them from taking similar actions in the future.
How is Fault Determined in an Alabama Car Accident?
The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant was at fault for the accident that caused their injuries or losses. The plaintiff must prove the following elements of negligence to show that the defendant was indeed at fault for the accident:
- Duty of care: The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed them a legal duty of care.
- Breach: The must also show that the defendant failed to fulfill this duty.
- Causation: The plaintiff must prove that the losses or injuries suffered were a result of the defendant's negligence and no other cause.
- Damages: The plaintiff must also show that they suffered injuries or losses due to the defendant's negligence.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim?
Alabama's section 6-2-38 provides that victims file their car accident claims no later than 2 years after the date of the car accident. If you fail to observe these time limits and still bring your case to court, it is highly likely that your case will be dismissed and you'll lose your right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party or their insurer.
How Can a Lawyer Help me File My Insurance Claim?
Having insurance is a great way of dealing with the unfortunate events associated with accidents and personal injury lawsuits. While recovering damages through an insurance claim can be overwhelming, having a lawyer who's familiar with the insurance claim process can help you prevent the hassle that comes with these claims by following the due insurance claims process. Here's how a lawyer can help you with this process:
Your lawyer will need to see a copy of your insurance policy before they can begin your insurance claim process. This document can be requested from your insurance company or broker, and your lawyer will follow up by contacting your insurer to find out your claim's status.
With a copy of your insurance policy, your lawyer can understand your claim's basis and determine whether there's room for legal action and further investigation.
During this phase, your lawyer will look into the details of your policy and also investigate thoroughly the facts of the car accident that necessitated you to file an insurance claim. During this phase, your lawyer gathers any evidence and information to support legal action.
Even if your attorney files suit against your insurer, your claim or case may not necessarily go to trial. You have the option to negotiate with the insurance company and receive compensation for your losses without having to go to court.
What Can I Do if Insurance Denied My Claim?
It is normal for an insurance company to deny a claim, even in the case of car accidents. Your claim can be denied for several reasons, and it is important that you take quick action to determine whether anything can be done to reverse the insurer's decision or have them reconsider.
It is advisable that you involve your car accident lawyer, who can prepare a water-tight case against your insurance company. Your lawyer will also help you open suit against the insurance company and possibly help you recover damages by presenting the facts of the case and convincing the jury that you truly deserve compensation.
Do I Have a Case?
This is much more than a “yes” or “no” question as every car accident case is different in terms of causes, consequences, injuries, impact on insurance coverage, and the effects on the victim's life. Generally, determining whether you have a car accident case involves determining whether or not there are sufficient damages to warrant the filing of a car accident claim.
Another factor to help analyze whether you have a case is the source of recovery for compensation following the car accident. Essentially, this means the at-fault party's insurance policy, which will cover the various types of damages available to the injured party.
The third thing that determines whether you have a case or not is liability. Can you show that the at-fault party acted negligently or failed to exercise their duty of care and as a result caused the injuries you suffered following the accident? If yes, it is safe to say that you have a case. Otherwise, you may not have enough to warrant a car accident case.
What if the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
Whenever you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver, you will have to turn to your insurance company to cover the losses suffered in the accident, provided you have uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. With this coverage, you'll file a claim with your insurer, and they'll compensate you for medical bills and damage to your car that needs repair.
How Can I Obtain an Accident Report?
An accident report is a vital document in a car accident case and is normally requested by insurance companies when you file a claim against them. In the event that you've been involved in a car accident, it is important that you contact the police so that the scene can be inspected and a report generated.
To get a copy of the accident report, you'll have to contact the police department that showed up at the accident scene and submit a request for the report. This application can be done in person, by writing an email, or by filling an online form through the police department site. Once the copy is ready, you get notified and can pick it in person from the police department.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Depending on the vehicles involved and the impact of the accident, car accident injuries can range from minor scratches to life-long injuries. Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries
- Facial disfigurement
- Leg and knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Death, where victims don't make it through their injuries
Types of Car Accidents We Handle
Car accidents are of various forms, and each will happen due to a unique set of factors. At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we can help you seek compensation from the at-fault party in any of these types of car accidents:
Driving under the influence accidents
One of the commonest causes of car accidents is driving while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. At-fault parties that are found to be under the influence at the time of the accident can be held liable for the accident as it shouldn't be difficult to prove that they acted negligently by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Drivers often get lost in things other than focusing on the road, leading to car accidents. They can be distracted manually, visually, and cognitively, and most states have now put in place laws to reduce cases of distracted driving car accidents.
Misjudgment, mechanical failure, and little time to react to oncoming traffic on the road may all result in head-on collision car accidents, which are usually high-impact collisions.
Hit and run accidents
In this type of accident, victims are left at the accident scene after being hit by a reckless driver who immediately flees the scene.
With the traffic volume in major Alabama cities like Montgomery, tail-gaiting often leads to rear-end accidents, as the rear driver may not have time to react whenever the leading driver brakes abruptly.
Some drivers may cause accidents by simply not following basic traffic rules like observing the stop sign and yielding the right of way.
Companies like Uber and Lyft have become popular over the years, and the increase in the number of cars affiliated with such rideshare companies makes the probability of a rideshare accident high.
These car accidents can be caused by several factors and involve a car rolling severally until it's upside down.
Driving over the allowable limits could easily lead to accidents as high speeds on the road often go hand-in-hand with poor judgment or decision-making.
These are car accidents where one of the parties involved is uninsured, meaning that you can't recover damages from their insurance company.
Contact Our Montgomery Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review
Car accidents happen by the minute and often result in serious injuries, especially in high-impact collisions. In the worst case, car accidents can lead to death as some victims don't make it through their injuries. Where a car accident has been caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be able to recover damages for the losses suffered.
Getting a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer like ours the team at our Montgomery personal injury law firm as soon as possible can help you find out whether you have a valid claim, file your claim in time, and build a strong case against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. This way, you can receive a reasonably high payout for your losses.
If you or a loved one have been injured in Montgomery, Alabama, in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, call us today at 334-666-5000 to find out more about your legal rights and options in a free initial schedule.