Alabama Car Accident FAQs
Find the answers to some of the most common personal injury accident-related questions here.
How do I know if I have a case?
An experienced Birmingham personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and determine if you have a viable claim. You need to be able to prove that the other party was negligent and caused the accident, and that you suffered damages as a result.
What does “negligence” mean?
Negligence means that someone has failed to use reasonable care to avoid causing harm to another. In other words, they have failed to do what any ordinary person would do to keep from injuring someone else. The legal definition of negligence requires proof of these factors:
- The person charged with negligence must have a duty to of care to others (for example driving safely on publics roads)
- The person has breached that responsibility of care
- The breach of care was the immediate (“proximate”) cause of the injury
- The person making the claim can prove to have suffered actual damages.
Do I really need an attorney to handle my case? The adjuster says I can negotiate a settlement myself.
The adjuster has every reason to want you to negotiate a settlement on your own, because when you do, the insurance company will probably get away with paying a lot less.
Yes, you have the legal right to negotiate your own settlement, but research shows that those who do receive a mere fraction of the amount that accident victims represented by an experienced personal injury attorney typically get. If you want a full, fair, and adequate recovery for all current and future financial damages, along with compensation for your pain and suffering and damage to your quality of life, a dedicated personal injury lawyer with experience and a track record of high value awards for clients is the best way to go.
Should I speak with insurance adjustor following an accident?
Only to politely and firmly refer the adjuster to your attorney. The adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money. They employ various tactics when dealing directly with accident victims to minimize the amount they must pay. Don’t give a recorded statement, and don’t sign medical authorizations or anything else, unless instructed to do so by an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney.
How do my medical bills get paid following an accident?
When a car accident occurs in Alabama, the driver who caused the accident will be responsible for any medical bills related to injuries from the crash. You will need to be able to prove that the other driver was at fault, so you should have a very experienced personal injury lawyer working for you to make your case, one with superior negotiating skills and the ability to try your case to a jury if necessary.
Will I be able to recover my lost earnings?
If you are a regular hourly or salaried employee and can prove the amount lost with payroll records, you can absolutely recover it. If you’re self-employed, it may be a bit trickier. If you keep excellent records and have a good accountant, your attorney should be able to prove your lost earnings and recover the amount for you.
What happens if the other driver wasn’t insured?
If the at-fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured and you are covered by optional Personal Injury Protections (PIP) or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, you will make your claim with your own insurance company.
What do I do if I don’t have PIP or UIM coverage and have no savings to pay for my medical bills while waiting for my case to settle?
If available, your private or public insurance should pay your medical bills. If you have no coverage at all, most doctors will treat you without pay, but will place a lien on your recovery, which means they will be paid from your settlement or jury award. But remember, private insurance companies, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, have the right of reimbursement, so they will be able to recover anything they pay out when your case is resolved. Because both public and private insurers negotiate reduced rates with care providers, so you’ll owe less than a doctor’s regular charges and you’ll typically end up with more in your pocket than if you must pay off a medical lien.
After your case is settled, it will be your responsibility to pay future medical expenses. Your settlement will generally include enough to cover projected future medical costs.
When should I be seen by a doctor?
As soon as possible after the accident. Whenever you’ve been in an accident, you should usually go to a hospital emergency room immediately. You could also visit an urgent care center or private physician. Be sure to report every injury, however minor it may appear. Many injuries are not obvious right away, for example internal bleeding, herniated discs, some internal head and brain injuries, and complex regional pain syndrome. If you don’t see a doctor, you can expect the insurance company to take the position that you weren’t injured.
Do I have to pay taxes on my settlement?
Generally, only the part that compensates for your lost earnings is taxable, along with any punitive damages you may have received in cases of extremely egregious wrongdoing.
How do I get a copy of the police report?
You can contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. You may have to pay a small processing fee.
How will my attorneys be paid?
At Drake Injury Lawyers, we work on a contingency fee arrangement. That means that we cover all the costs associated with preparing, settling, or trying your case. If we win money for you, our fees will come out of your recovery award; if we don’t (rare) you’ll owe nothing.
How long do I have to wait for my case to settle?
Cases vary. It is difficult to say in the beginning how long a particular case will take to settle. Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries, the more time you’ll need to recover, and the longer your case will take. Smaller cases with minor injuries may take as little as 3 to 6 months. Cases involving serious injuries may take several years. This will depend on how long your treatment continues, whether many motions are needed during litigation, the ability of the court to schedule your case for trial, and the availability of expert witnesses.
Will I deal with my attorney or someone else on the office staff?
At the Drake Injury Lawyers, you will be in regular contact with your personal attorney, who will oversee all work done on your case and will responsible for all important legal decisions. If your attorney is in court or with another client when you call, a paralegal or other staff member may be able to answer your question or if not will take a message, and your attorney will get back to you promptly.
Will I have to go to court?
Probably not. At the Drake Injury Lawyers, insurance companies know that we are always willing to go to trial if necessary. But because they usually prefer to avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial, we can usually negotiate an out-of-court settlement. More that 90 percent of all personal injury cases filed with the court system settle before trial. But our skilled litigators at Drake Injury Lawyers will prepare your case for the eventuality of a trial from the minute we sign on with you. We are highly successful trial lawyers who are always ready and able to present a powerful case to a jury if required.
What if I have other questions?
To get honest answers to specific questions about your particular case, call the Drake Injury Lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama. We have the years of experience, track record of success, and top AV rated attorneys to provide the quality of legal representation and advice you need following an accident. Alabama law limits the time in which you are allowed to file a claim, so contact us online or call (205) 970-0800 today.