If you have been involved in an accident in Birmingham, you may be feeling shocked and disoriented. You may feel lost and confused as to where to begin. You need to find out what steps you should take to handle the situation, not only in a way that ensures safety but also in accord with the law.
A Birmingham car accident lawyer can guide you through the claims process. If you have any questions or concerns after your car accident, Norris Injury Lawyers can assist you. Contact our representatives standing by at (800) 477-7510 to learn more about the important steps you need to take after your car accident.
Vital Steps to Take Immediately
Despite facing an unexpected accident, you can take control of the situation by taking immediate proactive steps to make sure that you are on the right track toward recovery and compensation.
Above all, your own safety and the safety of those in your car is the top priority, Make sure to:
- Check to see if you or anyone else has been injured
- Call 911 as soon as possible to get paramedics on the scene if anyone is hurt
- Try not to move someone who has been injured to prevent further injuries unless there is imminent danger, such as a fire
- Wait until the professionals arrive so that they can move the injured passenger in a safe way
If it was a minor accident and there are no serious injuries, then try to move your vehicle out of danger and out of the flow of traffic. Try to find a well-lit area where others can see you. You may want to use your emergency flashers. This can help you avoid another collision and can also reduce the traffic jam, allowing first responders to arrive quickly.
Call the police
When you call 911, the police may be dispatched to the scene of the accident. Stay calm and tell the dispatcher your location specifically so that the officers and paramedics can find you as soon as possible.
There are many reasons why calling the police would be a wise decision:
- The law may require it. Alabama state law requires those involved in a collision to call the police if the accident resulted in a personal injury, fatality, or property damage exceeding $250. Although you are not required to call the police for minor accidents, it still may be a good idea to do so.
- Police can document the accident. Having the police provide official documentation and using their experience to assess the accident can be beneficial when you may still be in a state of shock and confusion. An official police report also makes it easier to prove fault and is an essential piece of evidence.
- Injuries may not appear immediately. Due to the rush of adrenaline immediately after an accident, you may feel the pain and other effects until some time has passed. To ensure that you are following the law, it is better to not take the risk; make the call to report the injury accident.
Get medical attention
In some instances, people feel no pain at the scene of the accident only to realize their injuries at a later date. Getting proper medical care after a car accident is thus recommended to ensure that your injuries are treated and to prevent further injury.
A doctor can use his or her professional training to document your injuries. This documentation is vital so that a medical professional can verify the necessary treatment, which may be necessary to establish how you should be compensated by means of a legal claim.
Document the crash
Gathering evidence can be an important step if you are physically capable of doing so. Taking pictures and videos can help solidify your case when you want to make a claim.
You might take pictures of the:
- Exterior and interior damages to the car
- Surrounding area that shows the scene of the accident
- Resulting visible injuries, such as cuts and bruises
- Objects that contributed to the accident, such as potholes and debris
If you have a dashboard camera in your vehicle, the footage could also be a valuable piece of evidence. You can also write down personal notes on what you remember about how the accident occurred. Record as much detail as you can, such as the speed that you were going and road conditions at the time.
In order to be prepared to talk to your insurance and lawyer, you should gather information to be able to identify the drivers involved in the accident. You might take down:
- Names and driver’s license numbers
- Insurance information including policy numbers and the insurer’s phone number
- Contact information of any witnesses for future testimony
- Police report number
- Names of the police officers
Obtaining and holding onto this information can save time and prevent complications, ensuring that the paperwork regarding the accident can be completed as efficiently as possible.
Contact insurance companies
Alabama is a fault-based state, meaning that accident victims need to prove that the other driver was at fault in order to be compensated for the damages and injuries. It may be difficult to receive compensation because insurance companies often deny that their client was at fault.
Alabam runs on a contributory negligence rule. This means that if you are found to be even 1 percent responsible for the accident, you may not be able to recover compensation for the crash.
When talking to insurance companies, it is important that you refrain from admitting any fault. Be careful, as what you say may undermine your case. Also, don’t agree to settle immediately without the consultation of a lawyer.
Consult with a lawyer
It is not enough to talk with insurance companies. Due to Alabama’s being a contributory negligence state, the guidance of an experienced lawyer will be essential in making your claim go by and be resolved as smoothly as possible.
Talk to Norris Injury Lawyers. We can make a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the accident and will give you a better chance of a positive outcome.
What Not to Do?
Although it is important to know what steps to take, it is equally as important to know what you should not do. One careless mistake could be costly, affecting your health and your right to be compensated. Keep in mind the important points below to avoid suffering the consequences later.
Don’t leave the scene of the accident
Leaving the scene of the accident is a crime. If you are involved in a car accident, you must stay at the location until you provide your information or provide assistance to anyone who was injured, according to the Code of Alabama Title 32 Chapter 10.
To leave the scene without doing so will result in a punishment. It is a Class A misdemeanor if there was no one injured. However, if there was a death or injury, leaving the scene is a crime punishable as a Class C felony.
Don’t underestimate the severity of your injuries
Not all injuries are noticeable right away. Don’t brush any discomfort off or assume that your condition will get better over time. If you feel that something is off after the accident, make sure to get looked at by a medical professional.
Personal injury claims may be denied if medical care is not sought in a timely manner. If some time has passed since the accident, the insurance adjuster may not believe that your condition was caused by the accident.
Don’t admit fault
After an accident, some instinctively may feel the need to apologize and take a percentage of the blame. Even if you feel that you were partially responsible, don’t admit fault.
A statement admitting fault can jeopardize your chances of receiving compensation and can be used against you when making your case. Remember, Alabama is a contributory negligence state, so any percentage of fault can be used to justify refusing you any compensation.
This principle is also applicable when speaking to insurance adjusters. Insurance adjusters may take what you say and turn it against you. If you retain a lawyer, you can just refer insurance adjusters to the attorney so that you don’t get taken advantage of.
Choose Norris Injury Lawyers
If you were in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Norris Injury Lawyers for help. Rely on us so that you can focus on getting better. With over 40 years of experience serving different areas in Alabama, we can help you navigate the legal process and answer your questions.
Let our attorneys with a record of successful cases look into your accident and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We can evaluate your case in a free consultation session, free of any fee or obligation.
Read more about our No Fee Guarantee® here on our website. Or call (800) 477-7510 to get more information from Norris Injury Lawyers.