You have been injured in a car accident in Alabama. You are not alone. You are among the 156,993 crashes that occur on Alabama roads every year, one every four minutes.
Your anxiety level may rise as you wonder who will pay your bills, fix your lost vehicle, and cover your salary while you are in rehab.
These are questions that need to be answered by an experienced personal injury firm such as The Mike Bell firm of Birmingham, Alabama. Make sure The Mike Bell Firm is by your side during this stressful time because this is not a time to try and make it alone.
Your Alabama Car Accident
Following your car crash, let's hope you do not have serious injuries. You may have a fender bender and decide to have it fixed on your own without contacting insurance. That is the best outcome, but it doesn't always happen that way.
There were 948 fatal car accidents in Alabama in 2017, and more than 47,000 injuries, according to the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety.
Speeding is a leading cause of fatal car accidents.
Now comes the question – who is responsible to pay your medical bills after you've been in an Alabama car accident?
Drivers have a duty of care when they get behind the wheel. They are expected not to drive distracted, on drugs or alcohol, not to speed, or text behind the wheel. When they fail to live up to those standards, they can be considered negligent.
When you file a personal injury claim in Alabama, the degree of negligence will be applied to the at-fault party. Alabama is an at-fault state, meaning the individual who caused the crash is responsible for compensating you for your medical bills, pain and suffering and property damage and lost wages.
But it isn't quite that simple.
Suing the At-Fault Driver
Many people say they do not want to file a lawsuit against another driver, but remember, you are suing their insurance carrier. That is the reason we all carry auto insurance. If your car accident resulted in damage exceeding $250, a police report must be filed. It will be up to that investigation to determine the at-fault driver.
In order to cover your losses, Alabama requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage. For two or more injured people, the bodily injury coverage is $50,000. To cover property damage, which includes your car, the minimum insurance coverage is $25,000.
You have two years to file a claim to cover your losses from the at-fault driver under Alabama's statute of limitations following the car accident. You can attempt to negotiate with the other drivers' insurance carrier yourself, but you can rest assured they will not be working in your favor.
This is when you need the assistance of an experienced, aggressive personal injury car accident firm such as The Mike Bell Firm. We can help you file a personal injury claim to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve through our efforts with the other sides' insurance adjusters.
Another hurdle to clear will be the degree to which you contributed to the accident. Contributory negligence means that even if you were 1% at fault for the accident, the concept of contributory negligence can be used to prevent you from collecting against the at-fault party.
Alabama is unique in this aspect as the concept of contributory negligence is only used in three other states as well as the District of Columbia.
This is where things can become complicated. The other side will always try to use contributory negligence against you. If it is found that you contributed any degree to the accident, you can be barred from recovering any damages at all. This can leave you with mounting medical bills, a loss of income, and a damaged vehicle.
It is generally not a good idea to try and negotiate with the insurance carrier for the other side on your own, no matter how reasonable they seem. Their offer is not going to be the best one. The Mike Bell Firm will advocate aggressively for you to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.