Dothan Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents can happen on any road at any time of the day. These accidents can cause any type of injury, and in the most serious of cases can even result in fatalities. When someone suffers injury in an auto accident, it can be a life-altering event. Medical bills can pile up, and victims often face the prospect of missing several weeks or even months from work. Not to mention the untold amounts of physical and emotional pain and suffering that the victim endures.
At Smith Law Firm, we are committed to helping those who have been injured in accidents caused by negligent or reckless actions. We understand that these types of accidents can take a major toll on victims and their families, and we work closely with our clients to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time.
We advocate for auto accident victims, never representing big companies or insurance companies. Our goal is to resolve the claim in an efficient manner without compromising the amount of benefits and compensation that our clients should be receiving. Our lawyers will fight for you and focus on the legal issues of your claim, while you focus on your recovery.
Causes of Car Accidents in Alabama
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 94% of all auto accidents are caused by some type of human error. This could include driver negligence or negligence on the part of an outside party. Some of the most common reasons car accidents occur include:
- Distracted Driving: Texting while driving has become a major problem these days, and it is a contributing factor in numerous vehicle crashes. When a driver is sending or receiving a text, they are entirely focused on their phone, causing them to miss important details on the road.
- Drunk Driving: Driving while intoxicated causes slower reaction times and generally results in poor driving decisions, many of which can result in an accident.
- Speeding: When someone is exceeding the speed limit, they have less time to avoid a collision if traffic suddenly slows down or some other unexpected event occurs. Crashes at higher speeds also tend to result in more serious injuries.
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: Many auto accidents happen because of aggressive or reckless driving behaviors. Some examples include excessive speeding, tailgating, failing to stop at a stop sign or red light, failing to yield the right-of-way, illegal or dangerous turns, illegal or dangerous passing maneuvers, and street racing.
- Drowsy Driving: When someone is driving without having enough sleep, they can become drowsy or fatigued. This problem is most common among commercial vehicle drivers and others who work long shifts. Drowsy driving can result in someone falling asleep at the wheel, but even if that does not happen, a tired or sleepy driver often has limited peripheral vision and the inability to see everything that is going on around them.
- Vehicle Defects: Some accidents happen because of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part that malfunctions or breaks down at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Examples include brake line failures, computer dashboard malfunctions, and tire blowouts.
Car Accident Injuries
Whether you are involved in a rear-end collision, head-on collision or a multiple car crash on the highway, you will likely face challenges with your injuries. At Smith Law Firm, we are familiar with both the medical and legal aspects of a personal injury claim and will help you get seen by an appropriate medical professional who can help you deal with your injuries. We stand ready to help, provide guidance and support. We handle cases that involve:
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of a limb
Getting Coverage for Your Car Accident Injuries
Most drivers in Alabama have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This means that in the event that you are injured by a driver who doesn’t have insurance (or not enough insurance), you can still get coverage through your own policy. We are familiar with the common insurance issues that arise and can help avoid complications by taking a proactive approach in negotiating a settlement. Our team will explain what is included in your policy and will make sure you get the full amount of benefits that you deserve.
Damages Recoverable from Car Accident Injuries in Alabama
When someone is injured in an auto accident, they are entitled to damages not only for direct monetary losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, but also for noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering, emotional trauma, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
Noneconomic damages are intangible and more difficult to quantify, because you cannot put a price tag on the suffering you have to go through and the loss of the ability to work and/or participate in activities you once enjoyed. No amount of money can make up for this, but our attorneys will fight for full and fair compensation to help you and your family cope with what has happened to you.
In some more limited cases in which the actions of the party responsible for your car accident injury were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent, punitive damages might also be awarded over and above any compensatory damages you are entitled to. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to “punish” the responsible party for their wrongdoing and help discourage similarly egregious behaviors in the future.
Pursuing an auto accident injury claim is especially difficult in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Contributory negligence means that if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident (even 1%), they can be barred from recovering damages. Most states use some form of comparative negligence, which makes it much easier for the victim to recover damages.
You can be sure that the insurance company for the at-fault driver will attempt to use Alabama’s defendant-friendly standards to their advantage by trying to pin at least some of the blame for the accident on you. This is why it is extremely important to get an experienced auto accident attorney involved as early as possible, so they can go to work immediately to secure all of the important facts and pieces of evidence and put you in the best possible position to obtain a favorable outcome.
There are three types of negligence when it comes to assessing fault in at-fault states:
- Strict comparative negligence
Both parties can be held partially at fault for comparative negligence in a given accident. Strict comparative negligence dictates the amount of compensation a party may be eligible to seek from others since it is directly dependent on the percentage of fault. For instance, if the plaintiff is found to be 40% at fault for the accident, they can only claim 60% of their losses.
- Modified comparative negligence
A modified form of comparative negligence is used by certain states. This limits the ability to recoup losses. For instance, certain drivers can seek retribution only when they are found to be 50% or less at fault.
- Pure contributory negligence
Drivers need to be 100% faultless for recouping damages in this form of negligence. Determining fault is all or nothing as per the pure contributory definition of negligence. You cannot recoup damages even if you are found to be 1% at fault for the accident. Alabama applies the pure contributory negligence standard, which makes it more difficult for plaintiffs in this state who file accident injury claims.
How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?
Insurance companies have the responsibility to determine fault following a car accident. In some cases, the fault may be obvious, especially if a negligent driver struck a car in front of them in a typical rear-end collision. Other auto accidents are likely to be more complex. You should have a seasoned car accident attorney in Alabama on your side to prove the fault of the negligent driver that resulted in your personal injury.
The Hazards of Distracted Driving
Driving a vehicle is a dynamic pursuit and one which necessitates attentiveness and responsiveness. In case you get distracted and take your focus off the road, even for a few seconds, you risk crashing your automobile into another individual or car.
According to experts, using a mobile phone to speak to someone, to text someone, or to watch a video is undoubtedly one of the most hazardous things you can do when operating a vehicle.
Representing Clients in Ozark And Enterprise — Auto Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident, the attorneys at Smith Law Firm, are ready to help you with your auto insurance claim. To schedule an initial consultation, contact us by calling 334-702-1744 or sending us an email online.