Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Montgomery, Alabama
Have you been in a motor vehicle accident? If so, you are not alone. Literally millions of Americans are involved in a motor vehicle accident at some point in their life, but most usually within the first 30 years. Worse yet, Alabamians are twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than the average American. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the national rate of deaths of motor vehicle occupants is 7.0 per 100,000 people, while Alabama’s rate is 13.7 per 100,000 people. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, death makes up only a very small portion of the personal injuries that result from motor vehicle accidents. Based on 2014 data from the Department of Transportation in Alabama, typical Alabama drivers have more than 1 in 3 chances of being involved in an injury or fatal crash while operating a vehicle at some point in their life. The important thing to know is, you have rights if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident.
At the Vance Law Firm, our injury attorneys are highly experienced in the matter of negligence, motor vehicle accidents and the financial and emotional costs associated with them. Below we share with you some basic facts and guidelines about motor vehicle accidents. We, at The Vance Law Firm, know information is key to understanding, and we want our clients to be well-informed of the issues and what to expect.
WHAT ARE ALABAMA MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS?
In Alabama in 2014, every 240 seconds (or every 4 minutes), a traffic crash was reported. Every day you can bet there are several accidents in Montgomery, Alabama, that result in personal injuries. In fact, in 2014, Alabama’s Department of Transportation reports that in Montgomery, there were 7,780 motor vehicle crashes, 2,603 personal injuries, and 17 deaths. Montgomery has the third highest rates of vehicle crashes and personal injuries in Alabama, third to Birmingham and Mobile. This distinction is not one we want, but it’s one we have. You can find tips throughout our website, including this article, of ways to make your daily commute a little safer for you and your loved ones.
As you know, it only takes one second for life to be changed forever, and it’s within that one second a motor vehicle accident can happen. Motor vehicle accidents, therefore, are not just things that happen to vehicles, but physical, psychological, emotional, financial damages that change a person’s life. We at The Vance Law Firm are here to help you get your life back to what it was, or the closest thing possible.
Our injury attorneys regularly take on motor vehicle accident cases that include:
- Cars and automobiles;
- Trucking and commercial vehicles; and, among others,
- Motorcycles and mopeds.
Seventy percent of all Alabama crashes occur between vehicles. The remaining 30 percent include a vehicle overturning or hitting a fixed object, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a parked vehicle, an animal, or, on the rare occasion but more than one might thing, (70 crashes total in 2012) a railway train.
The breakdown of vehicle type and the percentage of specific vehicles involved in crashes is represented in the below pie chart taken from the Alabama Department of Transportation.
As you see, passenger cars by far exceed all other types of vehicles when it comes to motor vehicle accidents.
WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY CAUSES OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS IN MONTGOMERY?
Human error, motor vehicle error and environment are the three broad causes of motor vehicle accidents. Human error by far outnumbers the other two types, making up over 90 percent of all causes.
Driver contributions to accidents can manifest in multiple ways. The following is a breakdown of primary driver conduct that leads to motor vehicle accidents per data from 2014 as complied by Alabama’s Department of Transportation.
|DRIVER ERRORS THAT LEAD TO ACCIDENTS|
|Driver Conduct||Everything Crashes||Fatal Crashes|
|Driver Under the Influence||4,379||100|
|Failed to Yield Right of Way||20,000||76|
|Ran off Road||3,006||46|
|Unseen Object, Person, or Vehicle||9,628||37|
|Improper Lane Change/Use||9,402||34|
|Wrong Side of Road||747||29|
|Failure to Heed Sign/Signal/Officer||5,087||22|
|Swerved to avoid Vehicle, Object||6,516||21|
|Misjudged Stopping Distance||12,483||7|
|Driver Not in Control||391||4|
As you can see, though several different driving conducts contribute more to accidents, speeding and driving under the influence have the highest rate of causing death, and both are more than or nearly twice the amount of any of the other contributions.
Though you would think it doesn’t need to be stated, there are basic safety measures drivers can take to avoid or prevent accidents. The following are some of these measures:
- Wear your seatbelt and use child restraints when appropriate.
- Don’t speed.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Don’t eat, groom, or use the cell phone while driving.
- Stay alert; always drive defensively.
- Get enough rest.
- Know where you are going.
- Keep both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on what you are doing.
CARS & AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS
Car and automobile accidents, which include pickup and sport utility vehicles, amount to over 90 percent of all motor vehicle accident. Logically speaking, that’s because we use them most. Car and automobile accidents are also the leading cause of personal injury claims and lawsuits, not only in Alabama but throughout the U.S.
At the Vance Law Firm, we represent personal injury cases that have stemmed from many different types of vehicular accidents.
Types of Car and Automobile Accidents
- Head-on collisions;
- Side impact collisions;
- Rear-end collisions;
- Hydroplaning accidents;
- Texting and driving accidents;
- Drinking and driving accidents;
- Distracted driving accidents;
- Driving while drowsy accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents; and among others,
- Bicycle accidents.
Personal injury from a car or automobile accident can have a serious impact on your physical health and well-being. Brain, neck, back and spinal injuries are most commonly caused or brought on by car and automobile accidents. The pain doesn’t stop at the physical part of it, though. Physical pain is exacerbated by the emotional and financial toll that many of these types of accidents can have on a person and his family.
TRUCKING & COMMERCIAL VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
Trucks, including 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles make-up a very small portion of the types of vehicles involved in accidents, but they can be among the deadliest and most devastating of accidents. They are also among the most complex legally speaking.
Who is liable when a truck or commercial vehicle causes an accident?
There are multiple potential liable parties when it comes to trucks and commercial vehicles. The driver and/or the company where the driver works may either or both be responsible. It is important that you have a motor vehicle accident attorney represent you particularly in these circumstances because the trucking and commercial companies will do all in their power to divert the guilt on you; they have well-paid attorneys to do the job and attack you. We, at The Vance Law Firm, are well-aware of these matters and have the experience and skill to aggressively pursue the right parties and place blame where blame is deserved. Contact us and we will immediately request driver logs and demand that evidence be preserved, including that the truck or commercial vehicle remain in its post-accident condition.
Are there laws regulating trucks and commercial vehicles in Alabama?
Yes. The federal government regulates the trucking and commercial vehicle industry because they are involved in interstate commerce, and created the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for this purpose.
The FMCSA regulates testing and licensing. It also oversees and address the following areas:
- How many hours per day maximum a driver can go;
- How the vehicle is maintained;
- How and what to keep in driver logs;
- Fitness for driving duty requirements;
- Drug and alcohol testing;
- How, when and what extent trucks are inspected; and, among other things,
- Truck weight standards.
MONTGOMERY MOTORCYCLE & MOPED ACCIDENTS
Though motorcycle and moped accidents make-up the smallest percentage of all motor vehicle accidents, they, too, like truck and commercial accidents, can be among the deadliest. In 2012, the number of fatalities had almost doubled since 2003. In Alabama, there were 1,912 motorcycle accidents reported, and 1,477 injuries and 92 deaths stemming from those accidents. Thus, if you are in a motorcycle or moped accident, your probability of being injured is approximately 80 percent while dying is approximately 5 percent. Of the 1,912 accidents involving motorcycles, motorcycle drivers caused 1,307 of those accidents. To be expected, the primary age range for injuries and deaths were individuals 20 to 44 years old.
Injuries sustained are often catastrophic and life altering injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, massive head trauma or brain injuries, facial trauma, broken bones, herniated disks and road rash.
In Alabama, a motorcyclist is required to have a license. The law distinguishes between a motor-driven cycle, which is a motor vehicle that has (1) an engine size of 150 cubic centimeters (cc) or less; and (2) a weight limit of 200 pounds or less. You must be 14 years old to obtain a license for a motor-driven cycle. For all other motorcycles, you can obtain a license at the age of 16.
What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
The most common causes of accident occur when:
- Another person makes a left-hand turn in front of a motorcyclist and causes a side-impact collision;
- A motorcyclist or other driver tailgates or rides too closely; or
- the motorcycle rider is in the other driver’s blind spot.
May is motorcycle safety month in Alabama. Motorcycle safety is recognized as a shared responsibility among all drivers, as part of our duty of care.
How to protect yourself when riding a motorcycle?
For safer travels when driving a motorcycle, heed the following tips:
- Get professional training. The statistics show that 90% of motorcyclists involved in accidents were either self-taught or taught by a friend or family member.
- Be cautious and attentive at all times.
- Wear a helmet; it seems obvious but still so many motorcyclists don’t wear one.
- Wear a face shield that doesn’t affect your vision.
- Wear protective gear and clothing.
Also, when weather conditions are bad and it is raining or the roads are wet, it is simply not a good time to ride a motorcycle. However, if you are in a situation where the weather is bad and a motorcycle is your only means of transportation, then be extra cautious.
COMMON MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT INJURIES
Some of the most common injuries include injuries to the head, neck, back, spinal cord, internal organs and, worst of all, death. Compensation will be based on the severity and complexity of the injury and the duration it takes to recover from it, if ever.
Head and brain injuries are the most common, and oftentimes the most debilitating, injuries in car accidents. They can be as little as a concussion that allows you to walk away from the scene, or something as complicated as traumatic brain injury (TBI) that sometimes requires individuals to learn the daily routine of life all over again. A head injury occurs when your head hits something and the skull is injured. A brain injury, on the other hand, occurs when the brain continues to move even after the body has stopped moving; it is a direct injury to the brain and not the skull that protects it. Brain injuries are the most serious and devastating of injuries.
Symptoms of either injury can range from mild to severe. It could include simple headaches or extreme psychological changes. Other symptoms include mood swings, sleep deprivation, depression and/or memory loss. If any of these symptoms are noticed, immediate medical attention is required.
Other relatively common injuries include injuries to the neck, back and spinal cord. These injuries generally result from serious impact of one car into the other car. Whiplash, which is a form of neck strain, is common and painful. It occurs when a person’s head and neck are jolted forward and then snapped back.
Internal injuries are less common but just a serious, even life threatening. The force of some car accidents can damage internal organs. Immediate attention is needed for any internal injury. It is likely that if the accident was that bad to cause internal damage, then medical responders will be on the scene to assist.
Death. We are right back to where we started this article. Death occurs in the most serious of car accidents. When it does happen, there will likely be a wrongful death case. Family members file the claim against the negligent and responsible party. Their claim may include medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of financial support, and loss of consortium.
There will never be enough compensation to replace what was lost, but the reward of damages will help family members get back on their feet again financially, if not emotionally.
Why should you hire a motor vehicle accident lawyer in Montgomery, Alabama?
Some of you reading this article might think you can pursue a personal injury case on your own. After all, you only need to contact your insurance company and file a claim, and they take care of the rest.
Sure, you pay for auto insurance with the expectation that the company or the other party’s insurance company will cover all costs, but insurance companies are out for themselves. They don’t want to give a penny, and if they must, you can bet on it they are going to try to keep every penny they can. Literally. And they have tricks and intimidation tactics that are often successful when they deal with the victims directly.
And you. You are tired, need to heal or rest and just get back to life as soon as you can, you don’t want to hassle with the intimidation. Besides, you genuinely believe the insurance company when it says that the settlement they off is all your getting, or nothing. In fear of getting nothing, you settle for whatever they offer.
We, at The Vance Law Firm, are here to tell you that you have rights and in accordance with the law, you are owed damages if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own.
We, at The Vance Law Firm, know that negligence and fault legal issues are complicated and for the layperson, can be confusing without proper study, training, and experience. That’s why we take care of it for you so you can spend time taking care of yourself. We are your advocate in and out of court. When you hire us, you can expect the following:
- Experience with all types of motor vehicle accidents and personal injuries;
- Knowledge of Alabama’s negligence laws;
- Knowledge of the insurance industry and insurance law;
- Knowledge of the claims process;
- Negotiation skills;
- Expertise to write demand letters;
- Investigative skills;
- Legal research and analysis; and, among other things,
- Persuasive writing skills.
So, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in or around Montgomery, Alabama, and it was caused by someone else’s careless, negligent or reckless conduct and you are seeking assistance, contact The Vance Law Firm. We’re experienced. We’re aggressive. We’re resourceful. We let the tiger out of the cage when it’s time to fight for our clients’ rights.