Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Montgomery, AL
Cars are not only an American invention, but an American necessity. Cars are our primary source of transportation. We use them both for pleasure and necessity. But as our population began to explode throughout the last few decades, so too has the use of cars on our streets. Logic follows the more cars the more accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that vehicular deaths have increased by 15 percent, and that amounts to more than 30,000 people who have died in crashes each year. In fact, for people aged 1 – 54, crashes are a top 10 cause of death. In 2013, the United States spent $44 billion total in medical and work loss costs due to crash deaths. Alabama alone spent $1.20 billion, which means its spending more than its share on costs directly associated with crash-related deaths. In fact, the rate of motor vehicle occupant deaths is disproportionate in Alabama compared to the rest of the country.
Alabama has its work cut out for it. These high rates of deaths attest to the high rate of motor vehicle accidents that occur in this state daily. The numbers are staggering, and the costs involved all the same. Getting behind the wheel can be dangerous and hazardous to your health. It is important that you do all that you can to keep yourself, your family, friends and other people on the road safe.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Montgomery, Alabama, then you know it’s a scary and confusing time. You may have had to contend with medical appointments, medical bills, insurance companies, auto collision repair companies, the police, and so many other things. It’s stressful and exhausting. You should know that if your car accident was caused by another driver because of his negligence, then you have the right to be compensated. Read on to continue learning more about car accidents in Alabama and what you can do to make sure you aren’t metaphorically run over by anyone else.
Common causes of Alabama car accidents
Car accidents are caused by numerous things. Clumped together, there are three primary causes of accidents: (1) human error; (2) mechanical error or product malfunction; and (3) environmental. If it’s a mechanical error, then the company or maker of the vehicle is most likely liable and must reimburse for all damages, including noneconomic damages. If it’s an environmental matter, then it’s likely the government’s, or whoever controls the road where the accident occurred, responsibility. But if it’s human error, then it’s the driver who is responsible, and that can become tricky.
The five primary sources of human error are the following:
Distracted Driving in Montgomery
This is an umbrella term for a plethora of distractions. The biggest distraction in the media today is the cell phone. This includes texting, calling, surfing the internet, partaking in social media and whatever else can be done on the cell phone. Though cell phones are disconcerting in their ability to distract drivers who take their eyes, hands and minds off the road to engage the phone, there are many other distractions that are just as risky. These include, for example, eating, drinking, grooming, and listening to music. Basically, anything that takes your mind and eyes off the road for even a second raises exponentially the potential for an accident, which increases your risks of injury to you or others. It’s best to keep the distractions to a minimum and keep your eyes on the road.
Our lives have become very busy. People need to get places, and they need to get there now. Apart from those who speed for the thrill of it, speeding is a method some use to fulfill this need to get to places faster, but it’s a dangerous method. A better option would be to allow yourself more time to get there, but then again, that’s time that you may not have. Nonetheless, speeding is never a good idea and it poses real threats to human safety, and is, in any case, against the law (and so for a reason). It is estimated that each year speeding accounts for 1/3 of all car accidents in the U.S.
Alabama Drunk Driving Cases
Even though there have been major campaigns over the years, drinking and driving is still a serious problem. MADD estimates that 300,000 occurrences of drinking and driving happen every day in the U.S. In Alabama, impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs contributes to thousands of accidents monthly. Given the amount of media attention and campaigns against drinking and driving, the rates continue to remain high. Drive wisely, and if you drink, appoint a designated driver or take a cab. Your life, or someone else’s, is balancing on your decision.
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
Failure to yield the right of way happen when drivers make left hand turns or enter onto roads or interstates. Any driver making a left-hand turn must yield to approaching traffic. Drivers who are making left-hand turns must also pay attention to various things happening at once: approaching traffic, pedestrians or bicyclists, traffic lights, if any, among other things, so it can make left-hand turns particularly precarious. Numerous car accidents in Montgomery occur at intersections, and many of those accidents are failure to yield to approaching traffic when turning. The same is true about entering onto a road or interstate, drivers must yield, but sometimes their judgment fails them, and they enter too soon too slowly.
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signals
- Head-on collisions;
- T-bone collisions;
- Rear-end collisions;
- Rollover Accidents; and/or, among others,
- Hydroplaning Accidents.
TYPES OF CAR ACCIDENTS IN MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA
We at The Vance Law Firm have and aggressive, knowledgeable team who are well versed in the law and matters that deal with all types of car accidents. Knowing the type of accident will help your car accident lawyers further their investigation and piece together what happened.
Head-on collisions are the most catastrophic and, depending on the conditions and circumstances, lead to higher medical bills and/or higher rates of death. The problem with head-on collisions is the sheer force when to moving cars collide; the combined speeds contribute greatly to the severity and seriousness of the crash. From our experience, we know that most head-on collisions occur on rural roads where speeds tend to be greater and there is less protection by way of median barriers of any sort. Head-on crashes are caused most often by distracted drivers or drunk drivers.
T-bone collisions, also known as side impact accidents, are also one of the most dangerous types of car crashes with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggesting the t-bone collisions account for 25 percent of car accident fatalities. There are more chances of head trauma, especially because air bags do not inflate, or if they do, they do not provide enough protection, as well as spinal injuries. Most often these types of collisions are a result of drivers running a red light or making improper turns.
Many drivers err with respect to braking time or other factors that cause them to rear-end the car in front of them. These collisions can be serious or mild, such as fender benders, the latter of which is most often the case.
Vehicles that are top heavy can rollover or flip over on impact during an accident, particularly if someone has been speeding excessively or drinking and driving. The height and weight of the vehicle determines the extent of the injuries.
Hydroplaning Accidents. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle encounters too much water. It is frightening as it happens because you lose control of the car. As a result, accidents can happen. If someone hydroplaned and crashed into you, then they are responsible, but if you hydroplaned, then you may have a case against the entity that cares for maintenance of the roads.
DUTY OF CARE & BREACHING THAT CARE: NEGLIGENCE
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident in Alabama, then it is critical to know who was at fault, and if you contributed in any way, shape or form. Understanding who is at fault will determine who is financially responsible for the accident, including but not limited to all the medical bills, pain and suffering damages that stem from the accident. Alabama’s negligence law is based on the doctrine of contributory negligence, which means if you were at fault even by 5 percent, you will not recover any damages from the other party(s).
So, what is negligence?
It is the failure of one party to act in a manner that he should have acted but did not, and because he did not, foreseeable harm was incurred by the other party.
What do you need to do?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Alabama, you should first know you are not without recourse. Contact our office to learn more about what we can do to help you.
5 BASIC THINGS TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Report the accident
First, you should call 911 and report the accident, or if not an emergency, then contact your local police department. Oftentimes, if not an emergency and there is limited damage to the car(s), then the police may advise they are not needed at the scene. Either way, by reporting the accident, an official record is created, and this record starts your chain of evidence if you will be pursuing compensation for damages. Your car accident attorney will also want it reported so that it continues the chain of evidence as he further investigates the accident and builds your case.
Additionally, if there is any injury or death or property damage that exceeds $1000, you must also submit a SR-31 form with the DMV.
You should get from the other party(s) contact information, including name, address, phone number, insurance information, license number and plate number. If there are any witnesses, take their contact information as well.
You should also take pictures of the scene and any visible property or personal damages.
Seek medical assistance
Obviously, if there was serious injury, emergency personnel will respond to the scene and you will be taken to the hospital for care. But sometimes, people in accidents think they are just fine until a day later when the headaches, other aches and pains begin. After an accident, always seek medical attention just to be certain.
When you do seek medical attention, the car accident becomes part of your medical record, and like the accident report by the police, this starts a chain of evidence, linking the accident to whatever ailment you might have.
If you wait to seek help or treatment, then it can be used as a defense against that the ailment is caused by something else, not the accident.
Find a car accident lawyer
If you were injured, you should seek a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Chances are, as soon as you contact your insurance, the other insurance company will be calling you for a statement. Never give the other insurance company a statement. They can use it against you later and can seriously harm your chances of compensation.
In fact, even your own insurance company is only looking out for itself, and not you. They want to pay the least amount, or best, they want to pay nothing, zero, zilch. It is in an insurance company’s makeup to resist paying anyone for anything at any time.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows all the tricks of the insurance industry, and he will also know how to counter those tricks.
Never settle for less than what you deserve
Last, but never least, know what your worth. You may have property damage and medical bills, and may even have pain and suffering claims. You know what the costs are. You know how the car accident, through no fault of your own, changed your life. Don’t settle. Never settle.
As mentioned, insurance companies simply don’t want to pay. They will push for a quick settlement and pressure you to accept. Don’t.
Settling for less than what it’s all worth and what you rightly and legally deserve will torment you, especially for those of you whose injuries are complex and which may manifest other problems later in life. But you can’t go back to the insurance company later, once the settlement is done, it’s done.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s careless, negligent or reckless conduct and are seeking assistance, contact the car accident attorney at The Vance Law Firm. We’re experienced car accident lawyers. We’re aggressive. We’re resourceful. We let the tiger out of the cage when it’s time to fight for our clients’ rights.