Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer
Hurt in an Auto Accident? Call (205) 581-9777
Your commute started off like it had so many times in the past. You were on your way home, to school, or to work, traveling a road or highway you've traveled many times before. There was no sign of trouble and traffic was moving at a regular pace. You may have been planning the rest of your day when suddenly you were in a car accident.
Suddenly, you are faced with many questions, such as:
- Who is responsible for my injuries?
- Will I ever recover from this?
- Should I call a Birmingham car accident attorney?
- Do I even have a car accident case?
The next thing you probably remember is dealing with the authorities or being transported to the hospital. Depending on the severity of the collision, you might not even remember that you were even in an accident.
But one thing is for certain—you ended up with severe injuries and potentially life-altering wounds because of another individual's actions. If you, or a loved one, have recently been involved in an automobile accident, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. But you'll need to find the right attorney to successfully represent your case.
Guster Law Firm, LLC can help. Our Birmingham car accident lawyers have nearly two decades of expediting fighting for accident victims in Alabama.
Contact our Birmingham car accident lawyers today at (205) 581-9777.
Car Accident Cases in Alabama Are Based on Negligence
You've probably heard the term "negligent" at one point or another on television or on the radio in a legal context. Regarding personal injury claims, negligence is what happens when someone fails to observe a basic standard of care in a particular situation. This can happen in a variety of ways in any number of situations.
For example, a doctor can be found negligent if they provide a patient with the wrong medication. A company can be found negligent if they put defective products on the market.
In the case of automobile accidents, the at-fault party can be considered negligent if they engage in any of the following activities:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Hit and run accident
- Texting while driving
- Speeding or driving recklessly
- Failing to observe basic rules of the road
Is Alabama a No-Fault State?
No. Alabama is a fault-based state for car accidents, which means that the person who caused the accident can be held responsible for any losses that the victim incurred. It must be established that the driver was negligent and caused the accident. Typically, that driver's insurance company would cover any of those losses. In a no-fault state, each driver's own insurance company will pay for the damages.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Claims can involve quite a lot of paperwork and often require dealing with another driver’s insurance company. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer who specializes in automobile accident law before trying to handle an insurance company. An experienced lawyer can help explain things and make sure your rights are protected when dealing with insurance agents.
If you are injured or your vehicle is damaged and you plan on bringing a civil suit against the other driver, then it is very important to understand that Alabama is a “contributory negligence” state. In Alabama, if you are in any way responsible or at fault for an accident, then you cannot collect damages for that accident. This means that if you are texting and look down from the road for a moment, then collide with another vehicle, you cannot collect damages from the other driver because you are at least partially at fault. Even if the other driver is intoxicated and speeding, you cannot receive damages because you contributed to the accident.
Most other states in the U.S. have “comparative fault” laws that let you receive damages based on how much of the accident the other person was responsible for. But in Alabama, it is very important that you prove that you were in no way responsible for a vehicular accident in order to receive compensation.
What Kind of Damages Could I Collect After a Car Accident?
Unfortunately, until we know the type of accident you've been in, the degree of negligence involved, and the severity of your injuries, it is impossible to accurately determine how much your case may be worth.
The types of damages you may be able to collect range from economic to non-economic. Economic damages pertain to those concrete costs that came directly after your accident, such as hospital bills and medical expenses. Non-economic damages refer to the hidden or unseen costs of a traumatic accident, such as pain and suffering.
Automobile accident cases can get complex. Don't handle insurance companies or the courts alone. Be sure to get an experienced Birmingham car accident attorney on your side. For more information about personal injury claims in automobile accidents, contact a car accident lawyer in Birmingham, AL at Guster Law Firm.
The Statute of Limitations for Alabama Car Accident Claims
If you have been injured in an Alabama car accident, compensation may be available for your losses, but you must act swiftly. If you wait too long to file a claim, you could miss your opportunity to receive monetary support for your injuries and losses. This limited amount of time that you have to file a claim is known as the statute of limitations.
Even the most cut-and-dry case could get thrown out of court if the statute of limitations has passed. In Alabama, there are many different statutes of limitations that affect different types of cases. For example, there is a two-year statute of limitations on professional malpractice cases and a six-year limit for injuries to contracted employees. When it comes to Alabama car accidents, there is a two-year statute of limitations.
This means that you have two years to file a car accident claim. That clock begins ticking on the date of the incident or on the date of the discovery of harm. Therefore, you may have more than two years to file a claim if you only became aware of your injuries a little after the crash. For example, this can occur in cases involving whiplash that goes undetected. If the victim later experiences consequences from the accident and then receives a proper diagnosis, it may be possible to argue that the statutory clock should begin on the date of diagnosis and not from the day of the accident.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents can be caused by many factors, such as bad weather and road construction. However, most auto accidents are caused by human error.
Some of the most common types of car crashes include:
- Distracted driving accidents: Texting while driving and succumbing to other distractions while behind the wheel is one of the most common—and deadly—crash types in the U.S.
- DUI accidents: Operating a vehicle while drunk or high is one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do.
- Hit and runs: If a driver causes an accident and flees the scene before exchanging information with or providing aid to the other parties involved, they can face criminal as well as civil charges.
- Intersection accidents: Intersections are one of the most common car accident sites. Always make sure you follow posted traffic signs and pass through intersections carefully.
- Rear-end accidents: Distracted driving and tailgating are major causes of rear-end crashes. Maintain a wide following distance behind cars while on the road.
- Speeding accidents: Driving over the speed limit increases the amount of time it takes to come to a complete stop—as well as the extent of the damage should there be a crash.
- SUV wrecks: SUVs are large and heavy and have a tendency to roll over, factors that can lead to devastating injuries.
- Rideshare accidents: As rideshare services like Uber and Lyft continue to grow, so do the number of accidents that involve a vehicle for hire.
- Uninsured (or underinsured) motorist crashes: Many people drive around with little to no insurance coverage; having an attorney on your side following such a crash can help you secure compensation from other sources.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Injuries that result from car accidents vary greatly from minor aches and pains to severe disability and disfigurement. It is important to seek medical attention following a car crash even if you don’t feel in pain or can see any visible wounds because internal injuries can be hard to detect on your own—especially when the adrenaline is flowing after a car crash.
The most common car accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Knee trauma
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal injuries
What to Do and Not to Do After a Birmingham Car Accident
Imagine it’s a regular day. You’re on I-20 or I-65, heading home after work. Suddenly, you get hit by another car. It happens every day, all over the Birmingham region. Fender benders, T-bones, and rear-end collisions can slow down traffic and leave people injured.
After any car accident in Birmingham, you need to contact an experienced attorney. Guster Law Firm, LLC can help deal with insurance companies and lawyers, fighting for your legal right to financial damages. But, before you contact us to file a car accident claim, there are things that need to be done—and things you need to avoid doing. Below are a few examples of both.
Things to do after a car accident:
- Dial 911 to report the accident. Getting police and an ambulance to you as soon as possible is very important.
- If possible, pull over to the curb or side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights. Moving out of the road can help avoid other cars hitting you and making the accident scene worse.
- Collect information from everyone else involved in the crash. Collect the other driver’s insurance and contact information. Get information from witnesses, too.
- Stay at the scene. Even if the other driver tries to hit and run, don’t chase them. That’s dangerous and can only lead to further damage. Let the police find them.
- If you can, take pictures of your vehicle’s damage and the entire accident scene.
Things to NOT do after a car accident:
- Don’t panic. Yes, you’ve been in an accident. But they happen to people every day. You need to remain calm to get through the situation.
- Don’t get out of the car if you’re seriously injured. Wait for medical help.
- Don’t admit the accident was your fault to anyone. Try to keep talking with the other driver and their representatives to a minimum. Let your attorney do the talking.
- Don’t leave the scene without exchanging information with the other driver.
- DO NOT talk to insurance companies or lawyers representing the other driver in the accident.
Do I need a Birmingham car accident lawyer?
Most likely, yes. Insurance companies are unlikely to deal with you fairly, so you must have strong legal representation. An Alabama car accident lawyer will help you file your claim, negotiate, build a powerful case, and pursue fair and full compensation. At the Guster Law Firm, LLC we charge no fees unless we successfully settle your case or achieve a jury award for damages.
What if I was partially at fault?
Alabama is a "contributory negligence" state, meaning that if you are found to be partially at fault in the accident, you cannot recover monetary damages. It doesn’t matter how slight your fault, or how high your losses were. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney representing you in court.
How is fault determined in Alabama?
Fault is determined in a variety of ways. Eyewitness reports and police reports are both very important factors. Photographic evidence also plays a role. It may be necessary to call upon professional accident reconstruction experts, depending upon the available evidence. In a case such as a hit and run accident, there is also a criminal element, as the negligent driver may also face serious penalties.
How long will it take to receive compensation?
This depends very much on your case. It is difficult to proceed until your medical condition has stabilized. As car accident attorneys, we want to have the best possible information about your condition. Once your doctors determine that your condition is stable, our attorneys at the Guster Law Firm, LLC can move into action and will do everything possible to get a settlement paid to you in a timely manner.
How much is my Alabama car accident case worth?
The only way to value a case is on an individual basis. Every case is unique in how it happened, who was involved, and the level of injuries. At our firm, we make it easy to find out the value of your case. Simply use our online contact form or call us directly. If you are unable to come to our office, we will make arrangements to come and see you.
What damages can I recover?
Car accident victims should be able to recover funds to pay for all their accident-related losses, including future estimated losses. Such losses (or “damages”) may include medical bills, hospitalization and medication costs, physical therapy, counseling, lost wages from missed work, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and more.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost?
Most car accident law firms, including ours, operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that we only charge legal fees if—and only if—we obtain a monetary reward for our clients. If we fail, we don’t make any money. If we win, we take a percentage of your monetary award, which we will agree upon together before beginning your claim.
A statute of limitations exists for many reasons. This time limit gives the injured party a specific amount of time to decide whether to file a claim. It also provides a definitive deadline for all parties to plan accordingly.
The statute of limitations makes it is advisable to act quickly after a car accident. The longer you wait to take action, the more evidence you could lose. Acting quickly to begin an investigation or to file a claim will ensure that evidence is collected and preserved in a timely manner. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car wreck, contact an experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer to explore your legal rights and options.
“Eric Guster and his team are some of the best attorneys in Birmingham. Mr. Guster and his team are knowledgeable, caring, and respected by other lawyers and the courts.”- Falen C.