When someone suffers injuries in Alabama, they may be able to use the state legal system to get justice. This usually comes in the form of compensation for their injuries, bills, missed income, and other physical and financial losses. Financial recovery may be possible through a negotiated insurance settlement or relief ordered by the civil courts.
Our personal injury law firm can navigate the insurance claims or civil lawsuit process for you. To learn more about what to expect in these cases, keep reading this Alabama personal injury lawsuit guide.
What Is an Alabama Personal Injury Accident?
When our lawyers assess a case with a potential client, the first thing we do is learn more about the specifics of the case. Every case is different, and our attorneys will need to use the facts of the case to determine who is at fault and how we might be able to help.
Generally, we work with clients who were hurt in accidents and incidents such as:
- Car accidents
- Truck collisions
- Motorcycle crashes
- DUI and DWI wrecks
- Pedestrian accident injuries
- Slip and fall injuries
- Offshore injuries and Jones Act cases
- Medical malpractice injuries
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Dog bites
- Premises liability cases
- Product liability injuries
- Dangerous and defective drugs and devices
- Wrongful death
- Class action and mass torts
These are some of the common ways we see people suffer personal injuries in Alabama and other parts of our service area. There are many other situations that may support a personal injury lawsuit, as well.
In any of these cases, we can often help our clients get justice if we can show their injuries occurred because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. For example, our car accident attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation based on a truck collision if we can prove the driver acted negligently, caused the collision, and you suffered injuries as a result.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
How Can a Personal Injury Accident Victim Get Justice in Alabama?
Victims of personal injuries in Alabama can get justice by holding the negligent party legally responsible for the harm they caused. Even if the at-fault party faces criminal charges related to the incident, the civil case is still the only way for victims to recover compensation for their expenses and losses.
There are two ways an injured accident victim can pursue compensation in most cases:
- Through the insurance claims process
- By filing a lawsuit and taking the case to trial
The victim may be able to recover just compensation for their injuries, medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and future damages through either of these options. Our attorneys can help you determine the best option for you based on the facts of your case.
Navigating the Insurance Claims Process After an Accident in Alabama
The most common way victims of personal injuries are able to recover damages is through an insurance settlement. This occurs after an offer from the insurer in some cases, although you should always consult an attorney if the other party or their representative makes an offer. You need to ensure you only agree to the offer if the settlement will cover all of your damages.
Most insurance settlements happen as the result of filing a claim. The steps in this process include:
The goal of the investigation is to identify, analyze, and gather evidence to show what happened, who is legally responsible, and what damages it caused. If you are working with a law firm such as the Morris Bart law office, your attorney will handle this process. They will use their resources to pay for a survey of the scene, accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, witness interviews, required documents, and more.
By the end of the investigation, you should have strong support for your claim, including information about:
- Who caused the injuries
- What happened and why
- The results of the accident
- The potential settlement value of the case
When we talk about filing a claim, we are really talking about the written demand letter your attorney will forward to the insurance company representing the at-fault party. This letter will include a general outline of what happened, your injuries and losses, and how much you expect to be paid for your damages. Your attorney should draft and submit this demand letter on your behalf.
Knowing how much your case may be worth and how much to demand in this letter is essential to ensuring you get a fair and just settlement. This is one reason why working with an attorney is a good idea. Your lawyer will have experience with this process and understand where to price the demand to give you the best chance at recovering an appropriate payout.
Insurers very rarely pay the amount included in a demand letter. Instead, they counter-offer. This may be much lower than the range where your attorney predicted your settlement should land. This is to be expected. It is the start of the negotiation process, though.
Your lawyer will use proven and effective negotiation techniques to try to get a settlement that falls within your fair settlement range. While you could handle this on your own, it can take weeks or even months of off-and-on negotiations to reach an agreement.
A settlement is frequently possible in these cases when the insurer recognizes that you have a strong enough case to sue them and take their policyholder to court if they refuse to give you fair compensation based on the facts of the case. They will still try to pay as little as possible, though.
You will have the final say about whether you accept an offer, although your attorney should offer advice and guidance about this process, as well as manage the talks on your behalf.
Navigating a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Alabama
In some personal injury cases, filing a lawsuit in the appropriate county civil court may be necessary. There are several reasons why your attorney may advise taking legal action in an Alabama injury case. This could include:
- The at-fault party and their legal team will not accept responsibility for the injury
- The defendant blames you for the accident and/or injuries
- There are other significant questions of fact in the case
- The insurer will not offer enough compensation to cover the damages
- The time is running out to sue
In general, Alabama law gives most people two years to begin their lawsuit under Ala. Code § 6-2-38. There are some exceptions, but you could have even less time. Acting quickly and beginning the process as soon as your attorney recognizes it may be necessary will help you ensure you meet this deadline.
The personal injury lawsuit process involves:
Preparing the complaint requires your attorney to learn as much about your case as possible. They will need to identify the potentially liable parties, uncover what led to your injuries, and determine the damages you suffered. Much of this may already be done if you previously tried to settle the claim outside of court.
However, your attorney will still want to review similar cases, uncover case law that supports a strong payout, and take other steps to develop the case. Then, they will use this information to write the complaint.
Filing Your Complaint
Your law firm will prepare the written complaint and file it with the appropriate court. They will know the proper format and the necessary information. This step is what we often refer to as “filing the lawsuit” and must be completed by the deadline set by the applicable statute of limitations.
This complaint will outline:
- What happened
- The injuries and damages suffered
- Who you believe was responsible
- The relief you are asking the courts to grant
The attorney will know where and how to submit this, which differs depending on the court where the paperwork is filed.
When your lawyer files your complaint, they will also ensure the accused party—now the defendant in the lawsuit—receives a notification about the legal action. Each county has its own rules about serving the defendant in these cases, and your law firm will need to learn about them and follow them.
Once the defendant receives notice of the lawsuit, they have a limited time to respond. They will need to work with their legal team, insurer, and/or other parties to write their formal response.
Once the complaint and response are both on the record, discovery begins. This is the time when each side investigates what happened and gathers evidence to support their side of the story. This could include:
- Written questions answered under oath, known as interrogatories
- Verbal questions answered under oath, known as depositions
- Interviews with experts
- Physical evidence
- Evidence held by the other side
- Documents pertaining to the incident and injuries
This is generally the most expensive, time-consuming, and most-intensive step in the personal injury lawsuit process that occurs before trial.
Mediation and Other Settlement Talks
Throughout the process of taking the necessary steps to prepare for trial, settlement talks often continue. It is possible to reach an out-of-court settlement at any time during this process. Some cases even settle in the hours before the trial begins. Even if you have to sue the liable party, your case is most likely going to settle before going to trial.
In many courts, they require plaintiffs and defendants to meet with a mediator before setting a trial date. This mediator is trained to help them reach an agreement based on the facts of the case. Mediation is an effective way to negotiate a fair agreement for many personal injury victims and the at-fault party.
Some insurance agreements and other contracts require arbitration as a part of an agreement signed by those involved. Arbitration is similar to mediation, except that the neutral third party involved can make binding decisions for the parties.
If there is no agreement reached before the date the court puts the case on the docket, the trial will begin. A trial involves several parts. First, your attorney will give their opening statements. This includes a general overview of the case and the relief you are requesting from the jury. Then, the defendant’s lawyer will give their opening statements.
During the trial, your attorney will present evidence to support your claim. This could include you testifying and being cross-examined by the defense. Once your attorney is finished, the defendant’s legal team will do the same.
Lastly, closing statements will be the last opportunity to recap what happened and ask the jury to award fair damages based on the evidence presented.
Deliberation & Verdict
After the conclusion of the trial, the jury—or judge if there is no jury—will deliberate. This is a time when they can consider the evidence they heard and discuss what they think should happen. You may find out the verdict in your case on the same day, in a few days, or several weeks later. They will also announce any relief granted, usually in the form of a monetary award to be paid by the defendant or their insurance company.
How an Attorney Can Help
Our Alabama personal injury lawyers can handle your case so you can focus on your health. If you are considering filing a lawsuit to pursue damages in your Alabama accident case, our legal team can represent you in court.
Our lawyers can help in the following ways:
- They will protect your rights
- They know how to navigate the process
- They have the resources to investigate the accident
- They know how to value damages, including future and intangible losses
- They understand the types of evidence available and necessary
- They know proven negotiation techniques
- Your legal team will fight for your best interests
Our personal injury law firm represents clients with no upfront fees or costs. This is known as a contingency fee. You are not charged fees until—and unless—your lawyer wins your case, negotiates a settlement, or secures a court award on your behalf.
Work With a Lawyer From Morris Bart & Associates, LLC Today
At the Morris Bart law firm, our Alabama personal injury attorneys help injured victims pursue compensation. We can review the details of your accident and negotiate for a fair award so you can access the treatment you need for your injuries.
These free consultations allow victims to learn more about their cases and how we can help. We have 15 locations in the Gulf South, including six in Alabama. Our offices are in Birmingham, Decatur, Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery, but we provide representation and legal services statewide. Call to speak with a lawyer today to get started.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.