If you have been involved in a car accident in Alabama, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do next. After being involved in a car accident, the steps you take can help or hurt your compensation claim. At Heninger Garrison Davis, we have helped many Alabama residents recover compensation after a car accident. We have also laid out some steps you should take to protect yourself after a car accident. Remember, there is no substitute for discussing your case with an experienced lawyer.
The most important thing you should do after a car accident is to protect yourself. If you can, pull your car over to the side of the road out of oncoming traffic and put your hazard lights on. Examine yourself to see if you are injured and check your passengers. Call 911 and request an ambulance and a police officer to come to the scene of the accident. If you are concerned that you may have a neck or back injury, stay as still as possible. When the paramedics arrived, follow their advice. If they suggest you go to the hospital, go to the hospital. If not, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
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If it is safe for you to do so, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take photos of the position of the vehicles, your injuries, and any skid marks you see. If you notice any strange circumstances, such as a giant pothole or debris, take a photo of that, as well. Take close-up photos of the damage to the vehicles, as well. Write down anything unusual you have seen and your thoughts about the accident in a notebook. You should also ensure that you get the contact information of the other parties involved.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Most car insurance policies have notice of occurrence and cooperation clauses. You will need to contact your insurance company after a car accident and cooperate with their investigation. Your insurance company will need to hear your point of view before they speak to the other driver. Notifying them allows them enough time to investigate. Hearing your version of events will help them defend you.
Submit an Accident Report
We recommend requesting a police officer when you call 911. The police officer will gather information and create an accident report. Accident reports contain important information that will help you prove your insurance claim. The accident report will have drawings of the accident scene, citations issued to one or more drivers, and note the weather conditions are any other factors in the accident. Insurance companies and personal injury lawyers depend on accident reports to determine fault and assign fair compensation.
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Understand the Third Liability Rule
Alabama uses a third-party liability world. As a result, drivers who suffered damages in a car accident have a right to pursue a claim for compensation against the negligent driver. If you were the victim of another person’s negligence, you have three options. You can file an accident claim with your own insurance company, file an accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Alabama’s Auto Insurance Laws
Under Alabama law, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance. However, drivers do not have to carry uninsured or underinsured car accident liability insurance. If the driver who caused your accident does not have insurance, you will need to depend on your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to pay your damages. If you do not have these types of insurance, you may need to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver through a personal injury lawsuit.
Consult With an Attorney to Represent Yourself
If you have experienced serious injuries or your case is complex, you need an aggressive lawyer on your side. Serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries, head trauma, burns, and bone fractures typically involve more compensation. Insurance companies will try to avoid paying compensation using any tactic available.
In Alabama, you only have two years to pursue a car accident lawsuit claim. Heninger Garrison Davis is dedicated to fighting for Alabama car accident victims. We have the resources, experience, and skills to investigate your case and negotiate the best settlement possible. Our trial-ready lawyers treat every case as if it may go to court. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.