Motor Vehicle Accidents
No one plans to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, and they can happen quite suddenly and lead to catastrophic injuries or fatal results. The causes and types of wrecks will determine the extent of injuries and property damage. Some of the most common categories of motor vehicle accidents include:
- Car wrecks
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Uber/Lyft accidents
- Single car accidents (caused by auto defects, including defective seat belts and tires)
Whether the crash occurred on a major highway, neighborhood street, or in a parking lot, anyone whose life is affected by a motor vehicle accident should understand what steps to take and how Alabama laws apply in these cases.
At the Scene
Accident victims may be in shock immediately after a wreck, and it is important to remain as calm as possible. The first thing to do is call the police and check if everyone is okay. Everyone needs to remain at the scene, move their vehicles off the road into a shoulder if possible, and turn on the emergency flashers. Many people use their cell phones to document the scene by taking photos, including the road conditions, vehicles, and license plate numbers.
Once law enforcement arrives, it is recommended to provide information clearly without admitting any fault. Alabama laws require drivers to have ready their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, vehicle registration numbers, and names and addresses of all vehicle passengers. This is given to the police, other drivers, and owners of damaged property. Then, the responding officers may give out SR-13 Forms if the property damages exceed $250 or if there are fatalities. These will need to be submitted within 30 days to the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
Injured parties who need medical care should do so immediately, and should follow through with treatment recommendations. Keeping detailed records of the care and medical bills is also essential. It is also a good idea to request a copy of the accident report, and this can be done by contacting the local police department. Reaching out to the insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident is also a must.
When to Seek Legal Help
Understanding what led to the wreck is a first step toward establishing liability. Common factors include reckless driving, fatigue, DUI, distraction, poor weather conditions, construction zones, defective parts, and inexperienced drivers. Many victims are unsure as to whether or not they should contact a lawyer, but there are certain situations that warrant this.
If the injuries suffered are serious and/or disabling, accident victims may benefit from contacting an experienced Huntsville accident lawyer. If the medical expenses and damages are higher than the liable party’s insurance coverage provides, there might be other ways to seek compensation. This can be especially important if there are serious injuries or permanent disability, as this can incur future medical expenses and affect future earnings potential.
Some car accidents are the result of multiple liable parties or multiple injured people, which can make a case more complicated. Other situations that may require legal guidance are when insurance companies deny claims, when individuals are found to be responsible for accidents and need to have their names cleared, determining causes of wrecks, and catastrophic injuries.
More on Alabama Laws
In general, Alabama’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years after the date of the accident. Failure to file within the required time frame will likely result in the loss of ability to recover damages from the liable parties. Alabama does not impose limits on compensation against private individuals for damages incurred in injury cases, except for punitive damages. For punitive, it must be proven that the defendant’s actions went beyond negligence and that they acted with deliberate ill will or malice.
Huntsville Accident Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Fight for Compensation for Car Accident Victims
Car wrecks can be devastating for all those involved, and we are here to help. Contact a trusted Huntsville accident lawyer from Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. today by completing an online form or calling 256-539-3110 or 888-539-3110. Our Huntsville and Athens, Alabama offices serve clients in North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.