Car accidents can leave victims with life-altering injuries, lost opportunities, and medical bills. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a crash caused by another driver, you might be legally entitled to file a personal injury claim for damages.
The team at the Morris Bart law firm is here to fight for you. Our Birmingham car accident lawyer has a wealth of experience in negotiating with insurance companies to demand fair settlements. They’ll make sure the defendant’s insurer offers you a fair payment, or they’ll take them to court.
In This Article
Why You Should Choose Our Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer
- We know how to get real results. Our attorneys in Birmingham are experienced litigators who are prepared to go to trial to achieve positive case outcomes for our clients, when necessary.
- Our attorneys will give you real advice. We help not only with legal matters but also with how to get your vehicle repaired, find the right doctor and deal with the inability to work.
- Our Birmingham car accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will only owe attorney’s fees if we successfully recover financial compensation on your behalf.
Damages You Might Receive from a Car Accident Claim in Birmingham
In legal speak, damages refer to the compensation you might receive from a case. If your car accident case is successful, your Birmingham personal injury lawyer can help you recover economic and/or non-economic damages. Economic damages are typically awarded for monetary losses like medical expenses and lost income. Non-economic damages are reserved for subjective losses, like pain and suffering.
Here are some of the economic damages you might receive if a court rules in your favor:
- Current and future medical costs
- Cost of transportation to and from the hospital
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Vehicle repair expenses
Depending on your case, you could be eligible for one or more of the following non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
If the defendant exhibited gross negligence or extreme recklessness at the time of the accident, a judge might consider punitive damages. Typically, punitive damages are awarded to deter behavior like road rage and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Our Attorneys in Birmingham Can Win Compensation for a Number of Different Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents have been known to cause a variety of different injuries. Fortunately, our lawyers have seen just about every car accident injury possible, so they’ll definitely be able to help you seek compensation for yours. Here are some of the injuries they’ll be able to build a case for:
- Soft tissue injury
- Broken or fractured bones
- Organ damage
- Spinal injury
- Brain injury
- Cuts and bruises
These are just a few of the injuries our Birmingham car accident lawyers will be able to help you with. Regardless of the severity or location of your injury, our team will work tirelessly to win the compensation you need to treat it.
How Fault Is Determined in an Alabama Car Accident
Alabama is an at-fault car insurance state. It does not operate on a no-fault system. In a fault state, the driver or party at fault for causing the crash is held financially responsible. Every driver in Alabama is required to carry automobile insurance to pay for car accidents if they occur. It is up to the injured victim, however, to prove that the other driver is at fault. It must be demonstrated using clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions were the reason for the injuries, medical bills and other losses the plaintiff sustained.
During a car accident case in Alabama, a judge or jury will assign a percentage of fault to each driver in the collision after hearing evidence and witness statements from both sides. If the plaintiff or injured party is given any percentage of liability – as little as 1 percent – he or she will lose the right to recover financial compensation under Alabama’s contributory negligence law. Alabama is one of only a few states that use this type of law rather than a comparative fault law, which still permits plaintiffs to recover partial compensation despite a percentage of fault.
A car accident attorney at Morris Bart can help you determine fault for your car accident in Birmingham. We can send lawyers to the scene of your crash to take photographs and collect evidence. Then, we can hire experts and car accident reconstructionists to piece together how and why the crash occurred. We can collect evidence to present to an insurance adjuster, judge or jury to establish that one or more parties are 100 percent at fault for the crash to protect your ability to recover financial compensation.
Establishing Liability in a Birmingham Car Accident Case
To prove that the offending driver should be held liable for the accident, your car accident lawyer will thoroughly analyze the evidence and documents relevant to your case. Once they’ve completed their investigation, they could establish the following elements:
For a free legal consultation with a Car Accident lawyer serving Birmingham, call (205) 380-4158
Duty of Care
The driver at fault in your accident owed you a legal duty of care. Duty of care is a requirement that drivers act with watchfulness, caution, and attention to protect other drivers and pedestrians from unjustified harm.
Breach of Duty
The driver failed to live up to their legal obligations and breached the duty of care. When a driver’s negligent or reckless actions put you and your passengers in harm’s way, they’ve breached the duty of care that they owed you.
By violating their duty of care, the at-fault driver caused the wreck and ensuing injuries. Proving causation will contribute to the driver’s liability for any non-economic and economic damages.
The accident and your injuries directly caused you to experience monetary and/or non-monetary losses. Your car accident lawyer in Birmingham will ensure you keep track of W-2s, medical bills, and other substantiating documents to chronicle any damages you may have suffered.
Your Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer Will Gather Evidence to Hold the Defendant Liable
For your Birmingham car accident case to succeed, you must provide evidence that shows the driver’s negligent behavior. Your car accident lawyer will secure the following pieces of evidence to strengthen your case:
- Photos and video from the accident scene
- CCTV or surveillance footage of the accident
- Statements from witnesses to the accident
- Testimony from traffic accident experts
- Evidence from your damaged vehicle that indicates the events of the accident
Our Birmingham personal injury lawyers will collect the evidence they need to hold the defendant responsible so you can concentrate on healing from your injuries while getting your life back to normal.
What to Expect When Filing a Birmingham Car Accident Claim
After you receive medical care for your injuries and the vehicles are towed to auto repair shops, the car insurance claims process can begin. It will start with the collection of information, documentation and evidence to support a car accident claim. This process may involve hiring an attorney, returning to the scene of the accident, obtaining a copy of your police report, documenting your injuries and medical expenses, taking photographs of your vehicle damage, and recording missed time at work.
Then, you will contact your own car insurance company to report the wreck and the other driver’s insurer to file a car accident claim. The insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to assess your case. The adjuster will ask you questions about the accident. Do not admit fault for the crash or get into too much detail about your accident. Then, the adjuster will make a recommendation to the insurer to either accept or reject your claim.
If your claim is accepted, you will be offered an insurance settlement. Do not rush to accept the first offer, as it is most likely too low. Instead, work with an attorney to negotiate a fair and full amount. If your claim is rejected or the insurance adjuster refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, your car accident case may have to proceed to court. An attorney can help you prove your case at trial and fight for a suitable judgment award.
Birmingham Car Accident FAQ
When you have questions, we have answers. Get more info from a Birmingham car accident lawyer.
What If I Am at Fault for the Car Accident?
When it comes to car accident cases, Alabama follows a standard known as contributory negligence. It states that if you are responsible for any portion of the accident, you won’t be allowed to collect compensation from the other party.
Regardless of how much you expect to receive from a settlement or how small your percentage of fault is, you cannot recover money if you are responsible for your own injuries. This law is only applicable to car accident victims over the age of 14.
What Can I Expect from Insurance Negotiations?
Insurance companies will do everything they can to lower the amount of compensation you receive for your losses. This includes contacting accident victims with insufficient offers, often before they’ve had the chance to speak to a lawyer.
If you receive an offer from the defendant’s insurer, don’t accept it until a lawyer looks it over. They’ll be able to calculate the amount you are owed and see if the offer is enough to cover your expenses. Remember, some offers might seem generous, but you could need more medical care down the road that needs to be accounted for in your settlement.
If the offer isn’t enough to compensate for your current and future losses, your Birmingham car accident lawyer will attempt to negotiate a more appropriate payment. If the insurance company isn’t willing to compromise, your attorney will move forward with filing a formal lawsuit.
What Should I Do After My Car Accident?
After your car accident, you should:
- Contact the police: In many states, you are required by law to contact the police after an accident. This allows you to get a police report with details of the accident. Law enforcement officers may also help you move your car to a safe location.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses: If other parties saw your accident, it’s important that you write down their names and contact information. Eyewitness statements serve as useful evidence in car accident cases.
- Visit a doctor: Your healthcare provider can help you take care of your injuries. They will also explain what ongoing medical treatment you might need to fully recover from your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys may use your medical bills and doctor’s records as evidence in your case.
- Avoid speaking to the liable party about the accident: No matter how the liable party caused your auto accident, you should avoid discussing the details of the crash with them. While you should exchange contact information with the at-fault driver, you should not talk about how the accident happened. You don’t want to risk saying anything that could make you seem liable for the collision.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer?
At the Morris Bart law firm, hiring a Birmingham car accident lawyer does not have to cost you a penny out of pocket. We keep our fees fair and reasonable for crash victims by operating on a contingency fee basis. This means our car accident attorneys only charge a fee if they secure financial compensation for the client. If a car accident case does not result in a financial recovery, you won’t have to pay any attorney’s fees – guaranteed.
If our car accident attorneys do win your case and secure a settlement or jury verdict, our fee will be deducted directly from the amount won on your behalf using a fair percentage rate. We will not bill you directly. You also do not have to pay anything upfront to hire us. We charge $0 to take a case, offer free first consultations and front all of the costs of litigation. That way, there is no financial risk to you to hire us for your Birmingham car accident case.
How Long Does a Car Accident Case Take?
The answer to this question depends on the circumstances. There is no exact timeline that all cases must follow. A car accident case in Alabama could take as little as three to six months or as much as a year or longer. The factors that can affect the length of a claim include injury severity, whether there is a liability dispute, the length of the discovery phase and the complexity of the case. A catastrophic injury claim with a liability dispute, for example, could last longer than a simpler claim. If your case goes to trial, expect a longer timeline than a car insurance settlement.
Filing Deadline for Car Accident Claims in Birmingham
Under Ala. Code § 6-2-38, you have two years from the accident date to file your personal injury case with the state civil court system. If this time limit expires, the court will likely dismiss your claim, and you can lose the chance to pursue compensation.
If your two-year mark is approaching, a car accident attorney in Birmingham can advise you on your best course of action. Even if the statute of limitations has passed, it’s still worth reaching out to us to see if your case is an exception to the rule.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Birmingham, AL
Our car accident lawyers have successfully managed claims for a number of different car accidents. If you experience any of the following types of accidents, you can rest assured that our experienced legal team will build you a strong case for compensation:
- Aggressive driving. Driving too fast, changing lanes wildly, or failing to maintain a lane are examples of aggressive driving that can lead to accidents.
- Driving under the influence. When a motor vehicle operator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can impair their ability to drive safely.
- Violating traffic laws. This occurs when a driver fails to comply with traffic signals, such as a red light or a stop sign, and causes a crash.
- Driving while fatigued. An individual fighting driver fatigue is unable to operate their motor vehicle safely and can cause a severe wreck by falling asleep.
- Driving while distracted. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes across the state.
- Improperly maintained vehicles. The driver’s car may have missing mirrors, bald tires, or other neglected safety systems that led to the accident.
- Following too closely. The cause of many rear-end accidents is a driver failing to leave enough room for them to stop.
- Speeding or driving too slow. Motor vehicles traveling at higher-than-normal speeds are more likely to turn an insignificant issue into a fatal wreck. Cars driving at slower-than-average speeds are also more likely to crash.
- Mechanical defects. Cars equipped with faulty parts can cause severe accidents. If this happens to you, it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the company that produced the defective part.
Settlements We’ve Won for Birmingham Car Accident Victims in the Past
Our attorneys in Birmingham have done a world of good for car accident victims. They’ve secured hefty settlements so that victims could pay off their medical bills and get back to their regular lives. Here are some of the case results we’ve delivered in the past:
- $852,845 for a car accident victim with facial fractures
- $650,000 for a victim struck by a drunk driver
- $580,000 for a victim who needed cervical disk replacement after an accident
- $450,000 for a victim who needed lower back surgery after a car wreck
While we can’t guarantee that your settlement will be as high as some of our past winnings, hopefully, these case results will give you an idea of what our Birmingham car accident lawyers are capable of.
Damage Caps for Birmingham Car Accident Cases
Alabama has damage caps, or statutory limits on the amount of financial compensation a plaintiff can recover through a personal injury claim, that may apply to your car accident case. Currently, there is a cap on two types of damages: wrongful death damages and punitive damages.
Alabama is unique in that it is the only state that does not allow a family to recover any compensatory damages in a wrongful death claim. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident in Birmingham, you may only recover punitive damages. These are reserved for cases involving reckless, malicious or grossly negligent acts by the defendant.
Punitive damages in Alabama are also subject to a cap. The maximum amount available is $1.5 million or three times the amount of compensatory damages – whichever is greater. If the car accident case does not involve physical injuries, the cap is $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages.
Morris Bart Can Protect Your Right to Receive Compensation
The Birmingham car accident lawyers at Morris Bart law firm are ready to stand by your side. Our attorneys can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf and take the defendant to court if a fair settlement isn’t offered.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Our law firm operates on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you do not need to pay upfront to retain our services. Instead, we’ll take a portion of your settlement or court-awarded payment. Call us today.
Questions?Call (205) 380-4158
to find a Morris Bart office near you.