Huntsville Car Wreck Lawyers
Car wrecks should be taken seriously when drivers are hurt on the roads of Alabama. Passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, truck drivers, and even those in other cars can be injured or killed. Although car wrecks can be avoided in some cases, other accidents are simply unavoidable.
Approximately 90 people a day are killed in car wrecks, and that rate can be attributed to a range of problems, which include distracted driving, speeding, bad weather, and road rage. These car wrecks also cause liability issues for those involved. The Huntsville car wreck lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. provide guidance to those who have been injured or lost loved ones in these accidents.
Anyone who has been hurt or lost a loved one should reach out to us as soon as possible for assistance with their case. Injuries may be minor, but those injuries could progress over time. There are times when the guilty party cannot be found, or the accident had no witnesses. We will research the case thoroughly, provide our clients with the best possible customer care, and recover all compensation that is deserved.
How Do Car Wrecks Create Liability Issues for Drivers?
Drivers who are involved in accidents may face a variety of liability issues. Car wrecks may involve several vehicles and circumstances that may be confusing or upsetting for drivers. Accidents that involve a single driver may have been caused by a construction crew, poor road conditions, or faulty parts. In these cases, someone who was not involved in the accident may have caused it. Poor road conditions may have caused faulty tires to skid, or heavy winds may have tipped over a car that was not designed properly.
Liability issues for drivers can become even more problematic when drivers must deal with the way that Alabama handles these cases. Insurance companies and courts use the contributory negligence rule to determine how damages are awarded. When contributory negligence is used, someone who is even slightly at-fault for causing their own crash will be denied damages. Ourcar wreck lawyers will investigate these cases until our clients receive the compensation they deserve. No one should attempt to handle an accident case on their own. Moreover, no one should try to reach a settlement with another driver or the insurance company. These individuals and entities often have lawyers assisting them, and our clients deserve the same kind of representation.
What Causes Car Wrecks?
Distracted driving: Distracted driving is an issue that everyone must face. Many drivers think that they can do almost anything behind the wheel and remain safe. Busy parents must deal with children who are in the back of the car, and overworked employees may feel the need to take calls and respond to emails while driving. Distracted driving, on average, can take someone’s eyes off the road for just a few seconds. In that span, a car can travel the length of a football field on the highway and the driver could miss other drivers stopped on surface streets, pedestrians crossing the road, and vital road signs.
Road rage: Road rage is extremely common because drivers have places to go, and many are impatient. Truck drivers are on a schedule, workers need to get to the office, and parents need to take their children to school. Drivers can easily become angered at other drivers who are in the way, and some people get on the road in an aggressive frame of mind.
If road rage is an issue, there needs to be an intervention. At the same time, drivers who tend to have road rage should consider how far these situations can escalate. Aggressive driving is involved in 66 percent of road accidents with 37 percent of these incidents involving a firearm. Drivers are putting themselves in danger if they bring their anger and rage to the road.
Poor driving conditions: Bad road conditions include the following:
- Bright sunlight
- Construction sites
- Poorly maintained roads
Drivers who realize they are on rough roads need to slow down or pull over. Truck drivers will pull over to remain safe and car drivers should do the same thing. If car drivers stay on the road, they should use their hazard lights to make their vehicles easier to see. Driving into bright sunlight requires sunglasses. If the driver needs to pull the visor down so much that they cannot see, they need to pull over. It may also be advisable to go in a different direction to avoid direct sunlight.
Construction zones usually have large signs and warnings about lowered speed limits. Drivers should proceed with caution near these sites because workers may be near the road, large vehicles are entering and leaving the work site, and rubbernecking often occurs as people slow down to see what is going on.
Reckless driving: Drivers who do not use turn signals put other vehicles in danger, and drivers who make sudden movements are difficult to avoid. If drivers missed an exit or turn, they should continue, change their route, or make a safe turn when possible.
Large trucks: Large trucks are difficult to stop as they cannot make an emergency stop like a regular car. A regular car needs 316 feet to stop at highway speed, while a large truck needs a stopping distance of 525 feet. If a car cuts off a truck, an accident can easily occur. Even if the truck driver has a good reaction time and knows they can stop, the truck’s brakes could overheat.
Large trucks must be loaded properly, and drivers must inspect their vehicles before getting on the road every day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created rules for driver routes that include eight to 10-hour rest periods between shifts. Truck drivers can prevent accidents by following the rules, looking after their trucks, and inspecting their loads carefully.
Speeding: Speeding is a factor in over a quarter of all accidents, according to the National Safety Council. These accidents can be prevented when drivers simply choose to slow down. A high-speed accident is going to be worse than a slow-moving accident because the impact of the crash increases as the vehicles accelerate. Speeding also causes the following issues:
- Decreased visibility
- Decreased reaction time
- Increased possibility of crashing in inclement weather
- A higher rate of injury due to impact
- A higher rate of wrongful death cases
- A feeling of invincibility and an assumption that other cars will get out of the way
Drivers should mind the speed limit. Industrial, commercial, and residential areas should cause drivers to slow down. Drivers should also focus on the road so that they can slow down if construction zones, lane shifts, and hard bends appear. In this way, distracted driving and speeding work together to make crashes worse.
Alcohol and drug abuse: Approximately 500 to 2,000 driving under the influence (DUI) incidents go unnoticed for every person who is pulled over and arrested for DUI. This is a troubling statistic that shows there are many more intoxicated drivers on the road. A recent study found the following:
- Of intoxicated adults, 56 percent do not use a ridesharing service
- Nearly 30 percent of college-aged students believe they are able to drive even after having three or four drinks
- Almost 50 percent of teenagers admitted to driving while drunk or buzzed
- In 2018, there were 4.5 million car wreck injuries
Motorcycles: Motorcyclists are at a great risk every time they get on the road. Motorcycles are small, hard to see, and do not have the same safety systems as cars. A motorcyclist who has been struck by a car could be thrown from their bike or even crushed. Motorcycles could slide under large trucks if they are sideswiped and they might not be seen when a driver is cutting through traffic. Motorcyclists must take the following safety precautions when riding:
- Wear a helmet
- Slow down
- Do not cut off other motorists
- Remain in a lane
Riders should also note that they need a special license to ride a motorcycle. If someone does not have a license, they are breaking the law and putting themselves and others in danger.
Bicycles: Bicyclists are in even more danger than motorcycle riders. A bicyclist might ride the shoulder of a large road and are almost impossible to see when a driver is not paying attention. Bicyclists should do the following:
- Avoid roads with heavy traffic
- Wear a helmet and reflective gear
- Avoid highways
- Look both ways before going through intersections
- Avoid wearing headphones so that they can hear oncoming traffic
- Try to ride in residential neighborhoods to reduce risk
Pedestrians: Pedestrian accidents are more common than people might realize. Pedestrians are struck when crossing the road, when they cross without a crosswalk or signal, and when vehicles hit the curb. Large trucks might turn too hard and run over the curb, and cars might turn too early because the driver is distracted. Pedestrians must be just as careful as drivers. Pedestrians are killed at a rate of about 6,000 a year on rural roads. People in rural areas may believe they are safe because they have walked these roads for years, but it only takes one errant driver to cause an accident.
Are There Techniques that Help Prevent Accidents?
Drivers who want to avoid accidents need to learn how to stop them from happening. Some accidents are completely unavoidable. Drivers cannot control everything that is happening around them, and it is difficult for some accidents to be avoided because of defective vehicles, malfunctioning traffic lights, or erroneous road signs. These situations, however, are very uncommon. Drivers should use the following techniques if they want to prevent accidents:
Defensive driving: Defensive driving is nothing more than being aware of one’s surroundings, letting aggressive drivers pass, and learning how to make evasive maneuvers safely. For example, a defensive driver will pull to the side when they cannot make an emergency stop. A defensive driver lets aggressive drivers pass and may call local authorities to report aggressive drivers.
Slowing down: Drivers should slow down and drive at an appropriate speed, taking into account the speed limit and conditions. Drivers who simply cannot deal with distractions or the weather should pull over as soon as possible. The hazard lights on the vehicle can be used to make it easier to see on the side of the road, and the driver should remain in that place until it is safe to continue.
The other driver’s perspective: Drivers on the highway often do not think of another driver’s perspective. Road rage can start in the simplest of situations. Drivers should look around, see what is happening, and slow down so that other drivers can move around the road safely. Drivers should also avoid using their horns as much as possible. Excessive use of the horn is annoying and could cause aggressive driving or road rage.
Using hands-free technology: As mentioned, hands-free technology is extremely useful because it eliminates physical contact with a smart device. Drivers can focus on the road instead of performing physical typing.
What are the Most Common Car Wreck Injuries?
Drivers who have been involved in an accident could be injured without knowing it. Car wreck injuries are based on the force of impact. These injuries may not present themselves immediately, and that is why it is recommended that all accident victims go to the hospital or doctor as soon as possible.
Whiplash: Whiplash is caused when the car suddenly stops during a crash. The passengers will be forced forward, but their seat belts will pull them back against the seat. A passenger’s necks will whip back and forth. Whiplash includes consistent neck pain that can move into the shoulders and arms. Victims may not be able to move their heads, and the pain could become so debilitating that victims cannot sleep, focus, or work.
Internal injuries: Internal injuries occur often during car wrecks, but they are almost impossible to see. Someone who has internal injuries might feel like they have a stomachache or residual pain from the accident. Internal bleeding cannot be seen, but it could progress to life-threatening.
Broken bones: Broken bones are common in car wrecks, and they might also include leg and knee trauma. Broken ribs could cause punctured lungs and intense chest pain, and these injuries could progress to hospitalization. Broken bones could also become infected and cause a lifetime of pain if they have not been set and/or treated properly. Working broken bones can cause more damage that is difficult to treat.
How Should Drivers Handle Car Wrecks?
When a car wreck occurs, there is a simple set of steps that everyone should follow when they are faced with the aftermath of a crash. Although accidents can be terrifying, it is best for drivers to take a moment to calm down and handle the accident responsibly. Anyone who has been injured should ask for help with the following items:
- Call 911 to ensure that the police and ambulance will arrive on the scene. Anyone involved in the accident must go to the hospital so any internal injuries can be ruled out.
- The driver should call the insurance company to report the accident.
- The involved vehicles should be moved out of the road, but other drivers should be assisted only if it is safe.
- The police should be informed without the driver giving an extensive statement. The police report could be used to invalidate a driver’s claim. The driver should not apologize for the accident or explain the accident in great detail. However, it is important to record the officer’s name and badge number.
- Search for eyewitnesses who can explain what happened.
- Contact a Huntsville car wreck lawyer for assistance.
How Should Drivers Work with Insurance Companies?
Drivers should report their accident as mentioned, but they should not speak to insurance companies on a recorded line. Insurance adjusters can ask confusing questions or try to make it look as if the accident was someone else’s fault. All letters should be forwarded to our office. We will determine the best course of action to avoid problems that may arise. Insurance companies and guilty parties try to close these cases as quickly as possible, but they offer almost no compensation in return. Our car wreck lawyers will ensure that drivers have a clear understanding of what should be done and how drivers can obtain the maximum level of compensation possible.
Which Damages can be Recovered After a Car Wreck?
Medical expenses: Medical expenses can be covered when the driver has sustained injuries during the accident. These medical expenses include future care. Although the accident may have caused serious injuries that could be treated at the hospital or in a doctor’s office, the victim may need treatment for a long period of time. A doctor can estimate the level of treatment that is needed, and their statement can be added to the lawsuit.
Lost wages: Someone who has missed work because of an accident has a right to obtain compensation due to lost wages. People who have missed work should be paid so that they can handle their expenses.
Lost earning potential: Someone who was hurt and cannot return to their previous line of work should be compensated for lost earning potential. A Huntsville car wreck lawyer can calculate the earning potential that will be used in the suit.
Disability: Someone who has been disabled must go through a long application process to secure benefits, and that process can be paid for with an award during a lawsuit.
Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering includes emotional turmoil and loss of companionship. This is a general category that can be used when that person’s standard of living or quality of life has been affected.
Punitive damages: Punitive damages are used as punishment to stop the guilty party from doing it again. Some juries or judges believe they can make an example of the guilty party by offering punitive damages to the injured party.
Can an Accident Result in a Wrongful Death Suit?
If a car wreck turns fatal, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the deceased. In Alabama, when a wrongful death suit is filed, the state sets a two-year statute of limitations on all cases. A representative of the deceased’s estate must file the suit, which can include a spouse, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and possibly a family friend. Damages may include burial, funeral, and medical expenses, as well as lost earning potential of the deceased.
Huntsville Car Wreck Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Represent Victims Injured in All Types of Car Wrecks
Anyone who has been involved in a car wreck should speak with the Huntsville car wreck lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Our legal team will help you manage the aftermath of a car wreck and obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 256-539-3110 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.