How Do Auto Accident Insurance Claims Work in Alabama?
The numbers don’t paint a very safe picture of Alabama roads. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Alabama’s traffic fatality rates are some of the worst in the nation. Between 2003-2012, the rate of death of motor vehicle occupants in this state is 13.7 (per 100,000 people) compared to the national rate of 7.0.
There are more than 100,000 auto accidents in the state each year and the chances of your being in a crash in your lifetime here is more than 98%. Hopefully, when that crash happens, you will be one of the lucky ones that walks away unscathed. If you are injured, have significant property damage or, worse, lose a loved one in a crash, here is what you need to know about auto accident claims in Alabama.
Car Accident Claims in Alabama
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Alabama, it can be a stressful and troubling time. Car crashes can be both emotionally and physically traumatic, and it’s important that you get the help you deserve.
One of the first things you should do is seek medical care for your injuries. You should also document as much as possible about the car accident. This includes taking photographs of the accident scene, any property damage, and your injuries.
When To Report an Accident
It’s usually a good idea to report a car accident and, in most cases, it’s required by law. Alabama law states that you must report car accidents to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 30 days if there was injury or death or if there was property damage greater than $250. You should also immediately report the accident to your insurance company, with a few cautions. Avoid giving a statement without first consulting with your attorney and avoid making any admissions of fault.
All drivers must remain at the scene of an accident until either all information is exchanged or law enforcement is finished with an investigation. Under Alabama Code section 32-10-2, any driver involved in an accident that results in property damage or injury must give their name, contact information, and vehicle registration number to the other driver. They must also show their driver’s license if requested and provide any reasonable medical assistance needed.
The Statute of Limitations For an Alabama Accident Claim
It’s important to understand that you have some time limits, called a “statute of limitations,” to file a lawsuit for an auto accident in Alabama. For a personal injury case, the time limit is two years from the date of your accident. However, if a minor was the injured party, that time limit won’t begin until they turn 19.
How Does Fault Work With Alabama Accident Claims?
Alabama is one of the few states in the country that is a “fault” state when it comes to car accident insurance claims. This means that the negligence, or fault, of the drivers involved in the accident will affect whose insurance company will be pursued for damages.
The state of Alabama has a “contributory negligence” rule, which means that you won’t be able to recover damages from the other party if you are found to be even partially at fault in the accident. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue an auto accident or injury claim, however. The Law Offices of Gary W. Fillingim, LLC, and experienced Mobile personal injury attorney can best provide you with advice on your legal options.
Are There Limits on Compensation in Injury Cases?
At one time, there was a cap on damages for injury cases in Alabama. Fortunately, the state’s Supreme Court stepped in, and this is no longer the case. There are no limits for damages in a personal injury case against a private individual, with one exception. There might be limits on punitive damages unless certain strict evidence is presented.
How Accident Insurance Claims in Alabama Are Settled
While you may get a settlement for your auto accident, don’t expect it to be easy. Insurance companies will try to get you to admit fault or may attempt to minimize your injuries or damages. Most car accident cases reach a settlement through an insurance company or during mediation, but some require a civil lawsuit. In many cases, having a skilled Alabama auto accident attorney on your side can increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Attorney Gary Fillingim at the Fillingim Law Office and speak with a knowledgeable and dedicated Mobile Alabama personal injury lawyer. The consultation and evaluation are always free and we never charge you anything until we recover for you. Don’t wait, call the aggressive, dedicated, and trial-ready Mobile personal injury attorney Gary W. Fillingim at 251-445-7257, or online at www.fillingimlaw.com.