After getting into a car accident with a negligent driver in Alabama, you must know the proper steps to take to receive fair compensation for car damage and your resulting medical bills. No matter if both parties have insurance, you still may not get a fair settlement from an unscrupulous insurance provider. To cover all your bases and give yourself the gift of peace of mind, understand the basics of car accident law and what a car accident lawyer from Norris Injury Lawyers can do for you.
Breaking Down Car Accident Law
With car accident law, parties involved in a motor vehicle collision determine which of them bears responsibility for the resulting damage and harm. Car accident law relies on negligence principles and state law.
Four Essential Elements of Negligence
This area of law also involves four fundamental elements the plaintiff must prove to build a solid case against the defendant and recover legal damages: breach, duty, causation and harm. All motorists have a duty to follow the rules of the road and drive in a way that does not endanger others. While building a case, the injured party must prove the defendant violated the breach of duty. Evidence that helps prove this violation includes traffic cameras, eyewitness testimony, police reports and blood alcohol readings.
Plaintiffs must go a step beyond showing the defendant had a duty of care and demonstrating how the defendant failed to uphold that duty. Neither is enough to prove beyond any doubt that a specific situation, such as speeding or failing to give a turn signal, caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Instead, injured parties must prove the element of causation by connecting their injuries to the motor vehicle accident. Also, plaintiffs must show the injuries sustained in the car collision did not exist before the incident.
Finally, the defendant’s negligent actions must cause damages to the motor vehicle accident victim’s person or vehicle for the plaintiff to prove negligence successfully. That means narrowly missing hitting someone does not make a solid negligence case. After showing the court harm, the plaintiff may receive legal damages for lost wages, healthcare bills, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses.
Understanding What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Car accident victims must understand the proper steps to take in a car collision’s aftermath. Constructing a solid personal injury case starts at the scene of the accident, and victims may influence their legal outcome more than they know. Not having all the facts on the matter could complicate an already difficult situation.
Check for Injuries
The first thing to do after a car accident is to check everyone in the vehicle for injuries and all other parties involved in the collision. If anyone sustained severe harm, someone should summon first responders to the scene. Parties should not perform medical procedures they have no familiarity with, as they could do more harm than good. Instead, they should make injured persons as comfortable as possible and stabilize them until paramedics arrive.
Call the Police
After requesting medical assistance for those who need it, the next step is to call the police to the scene of the accident. Police reports become evidence to help build a case and determine fault. Car accident victims should get a copy of the report, along with the reporting officer’s contact information and badge number.
Document the Scene
For insurance and legal purposes, all parties involved in a motor vehicle accident must paint a thorough picture of the accident and the circumstances that triggered the accident. That means taking images of all vehicles involved in the accident, interior and exterior damage to vehicles, license plate numbers and fluids leaking from vehicles. Documenting the accident scene also involves capturing images of everything around the scene, such as skid marks, traffic signals, the weather, traffic signs and road construction. Even if something seems inconsequential, such as the location of a crosswalk, it could become an essential piece of evidence.
Gather Witness Statements
Parties involved in a car collision should also gather witness statements. If witnesses do not wish to give a verbal statement, they could consent to give a written statement. Parties should make sure they get a witness’s contact information, in case they or their legal representative have follow-up questions.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Even if car accident victims feel fine after a collision, they should still let a doctor examine them. Sometimes, injuries and their symptoms take days or weeks to appear. By declining proper treatment or saying, “I feel fine,” victims could give the impression that they did not sustain harm, which may complicate their legal case and insurance settlement.
File an Insurance Claim
Plaintiffs should file an insurance claim or at least contact their insurance agent to let her or him know what happened. While speaking with an insurance representative, it makes sense to stick to the facts and not volunteer information. A person should not hesitate to say, “I do not know,” to questions rather than guess. Insurance companies often look out for their interests, which means they sometimes make low-ball settlement offers that do not account for all the harm a person suffered.
Working With a Lawyer After a Motor Vehicle Accident
After a motor vehicle accident, you deserve trusted legal advice about what steps to take next. Car crash victims have several reasons to turn their case over to a lawyer.
Knowledge of the Law
Because of their experience, legal representatives know how to navigate various motor vehicle accident claims. They understand the statute of limitations, which places a time limit on how long a person has to take legal action against the at-fault driver. Legal advocates also know what to do if the plaintiff and defendant share fault for the car accident and how to help clients recoup maximum compensation, anyway.
A single motor vehicle accident case could have a mountain of evidence to explore. Car accident lawyers know what to focus on and how to organize everything to build a solid legal case. Having access to a professional with the right experience and resources lets car accident victims focus on their recovery rather than worry about going up against unscrupulous insurance companies.
Favorable Interests Protection
Lawyers have their client’s most favorable interests in mind. This level of care extends to every aspect of a client’s car accident claim, from negotiating with insurance providers and consulting with expert witnesses to taking a case before a jury or judge. Motor vehicle accident victims may rest easy knowing they have someone in their corner who wants to support them through a difficult ordeal.
Contact Us Today
If another driver injured you in a motor vehicle accident, do not delay in determining if you have a valid legal case. When you let Norris Injury Lawyers step in, you have access to a law firm with over four decades of experience helping people just like you. We do not charge fees for your initial consultation and case evaluation. Whenever you feel ready, contact one of our representatives by calling 800-477-7510 or submitting a Contact Us form. Let us show you we know how to win every penny you deserve for suffering harm from another driver’s negligence.