things you shouldn't do after a car accident

5 Things You Should Not Do After a Car Accident

After a car accident, you probably have a pretty solid understanding of what you should do. Indeed, you know that you need to get the other driver’s information, file a police report, and call your insurance company ASAP. But did you know that there are also a number of things that you shouldn’t do, and that could actually hurt your claim?

To protect yourself and your best interests, review this list of five things you should not do after a car accident. For more information, reach out to our skilled Alabama car accident lawyer at the Alsobrook Law Group:

1. Do Not Leave the Scene without Exchanging Information

Perhaps the biggest mistake that a person can make in the aftermath of an accident is to leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information with the other driver first. While you certainly do not want to be involved in a hit-and-run, you also don’t want to be involved in a situation where you and the other driver agree that everything looks okay, only to part ways and later discover that your car actually does need repairs, or that you actually have suffered an injury that required medical care. If you leave the scene without exchanging information (and without filing a police report), you may be out of luck in terms of seeking insurance compensation.

2. Do Not Dismiss Any Injuries and Fail to Seek Medical Care

Another big mistake is that of failing to seek medical care. While it’s true that you may feel totally fine initially following an accident, you may not feel fine hours, days, or weeks after the crash, particularly if you have suffered a delayed-onset injury. Examples of delayed injuries include soft tissue injuries like whiplash, traumatic brain injuries like concussions, and psychological injuries, like post-traumatic stress disorder.

3. Do Not Make Any Admissions of Fault

It can be difficult to not make an admission of fault or say something that sounds like an admission of fault after an accident, even if you’re not at all to blame. For example, saying, “I’m so sorry!” or “I didn’t even see you!” may feel perfectly natural. However, both of these phrases may be used to put at least some of the blame for the accident on your shoulders. For example, why would you be sorry if you weren’t at fault? And if you didn’t see the other driver, then were you really paying attention? Note than an insurance adjuster is great at twisting words and deriving meaning from innocuous statements. Be wary, and be careful with what you say.

4. Do Not Accept a First Settlement Offer

It can be very tempting to accept an initial settlement offer, especially if you have been seriously injured and need money to pay for your losses as soon as possible. While you may be very eager to get a settlement, the insurance adjuster knows this, and will try to take advantage of your desperation as such. Thinking that you’ll probably accept anything that you’re offered, the insurance adjuster may very well lowball your claim and offer you much less than you truly deserve.

Resist the temptation to accept a first settlement offer unless you are sure that it fully compensates you. If it does not, reject the offer and be prepared to negotiate for an amount you deserve.

5. Do Not Decide to Represent Yourself if Things Get Complicated

Many car accident claims are complicated. You may not be offered what you deserve, you may be blamed for the accident, you may be told that your injuries are preexisting and therefore not eligible for coverage, or your claim may be denied altogether. If things get complicated, don’t make the mistake of trying to represent yourself. Instead, you should hire an experienced car accident lawyer who has handled claims like yours in the past and has an in-depth understanding of the best strategies for maximizing a settlement.

Call the Alsobrook Law Group Today

After a car accident, there are a number of things that you shouldn’t do. One thing that you should do is to reach out to a skilled lawyer who can help you to understand your rights and legal options. At the Alsobrook Law Group, we are ready to start working for you. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our law firm, please send us a message directly or call us at (334) 737-3718. We work on a contingency fee basis and can manage all elements of your claim, including litigation if necessary.

how long will my truck accident injury case take?

How Long Will it Take to Resolve My Truck Accident Case?

After a truck accident that results in serious injuries, the last thing that you want to be–or should be–worrying about is how you will get compensated for your medical bills, property damage costs, lost wages, and other economic and noneconomic losses. Unfortunately, however, if you do want to receive compensation for these losses, you’ll likely need to pursue damages via a truck accident claim. Our lawyers know that you are eager to settle your claim as soon as possible, and probably have many questions about how long the process takes. Here’s an overview of what you should know regarding the timeline of a truck accident injury claim–

Average Timeline for a Truck Accident Case

Theoretically, a truck accident case could be settled in a few weeks or a few months, assuming that the case is straightforward. However, this doesn’t always happen. What’s more, it can be impossible to predict how long a case will take without first knowing the answers to some very specific questions. For this reason, it’s strongly recommended that you request a free consultation from an Alabama truck accident injury lawyer as soon as possible to get a better understanding of how much time your case may require.

Factors that Make Truck Accident Claims More Complex

While it’s best to not speculate about how long your case may take to settle, there are some factors that can significantly influence the complexity of your case and, therefore, how long it may take to resolve. These factors include:

  • Number of potentially liable parties. If there is just one party against whom you are filing a claim (i.e. a trucking company) and the liability of this party is agreed upon by all those involved, then your claim may be relatively simple. However, the average truck accident involves multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, a shipper or loader of cargo, a truck part manufacturer, a third-party driver, and the injured party – this means that fault may be disputed, or multiple claims may need to be filed against multiple parties. As such, you may be facing more than one settlement and settlement timeline.
  • Degree of damages. Another thing that can complicate your claim is the degree of damages that you’ve suffered. If you are demanding hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in compensation, there will likely be more pushback from the insurance company, which will likely result in a longer process.
  • Experienced lawyers. Keep in mind that in truck accident cases, trucking companies usually have experienced, top-notch lawyers who are committed to protecting the companies and shielding them from liability. This could make your claim more complex and more difficult to settle.

Other Factors that May Affect Settlement Timeline

In addition to factors that complicate a claim–which in turn usually means a longer settlement timeline–there are a handful of other elements that can affect the settlement timeline. These are:

  • Duration of an investigation. Sometimes, an investigation will take an especially long amount of time. For example, if there are multiple parties involved in the crash.
  • How long it takes to reach MMI. MMI stands for Maximum Medical Improvement, and is a key element in a truck accident settlement. Before a victim of a truck accident reaches MMI, it is impossible to know what their total damages will be. As such, damages cannot be demanded until after MMI is reached. Depending on the severity of injuries, this could be weeks, months, or even longer.
  • Duration of negotiation process. Some negotiations are straightforward. Other times, especially when trained lawyers are involved, there’s a lot of back-and-forth. The duration of a negotiations process can vary greatly depending on who’s involved, their style and desire to resolve things quickly, and whether or not a claimant is willing to accept a settlement that doesn’t give them exactly what they want. Remember that if negotiations are taking multiple months, filing a lawsuit (in order to stay within the statute of limitations) may be your only option.

Our Experienced Lawyers Are Here to Help

Our experienced lawyers at the law office of Alsobrook Law Group want to help you get the settlement that you deserve as fast as you deserve; however, we are not focused on a fast settlement to the point that we will compromise in accepting a settlement offer that is less than you deserve. Instead, we will work hard for you–for as long as it takes–to improve the chances of you walking away with your maximum recovery amount.

To learn more about our services and what to do after a truck accident and how we can help, please request a free consultation with our law firm by contacting us online or by phone at (334) 737-3718.

do i need to call the police after an accident in alabama?

Do I Need to Call the Police to the Scene of an Accident in Alabama?

The average driver is involved in 3 to 4 accidents throughout their lifetime. Chances are, by the time you turn 30, you will probably have been in at least one auto accident. Vehicle accidents are unsettling for everyone involved. Even minor accidents can shake you up and get your heart racing as you try to resolve the situation.

One of the common questions those involved in an accident often ask is, “do I need to call the police?” In Alabama, you are required to call the police to the scene of an accident if the accident results in a personal injury, fatality, or property damage exceeding $250. This is what the law says, and although you may not be required to call the police for every motor vehicle accident, it is usually a good idea to do so.

There are several reasons why you should call the police to the scene of an accident in Alabama, here are 3 of the most important:

Injuries are Not always Known Right Away

One reason it is generally best to contact the police after a motor vehicle accident is that, although it might appear that nobody was hurt, some injuries are not felt right away after an accident. This is often due to the adrenaline rushing through people that were involved in a collision. Just like an athlete who continues playing in a game after getting hurt, people involved in an accident may not feel their injuries until several hours later. By contacting the police, you will ensure that you are following the law in the event that someone ends up with a personal injury.

The Police Provide Third-Party Documentation

Whenever you are involved in an accident with someone you don’t know, you never know how they will end up handling the situation. For example, everyone may be friendly and polite to each other at the time of the accident, but later on, people might change their stories. By getting a police report, you have third-party verification of the events that occurred which resulted in the accident. This helps protect everyone involved, and if you do end up being hurt, the police report can be used as one of the pieces of evidence if you decide to pursue an injury claim.  

A Police Report Makes It Easier to Prove Fault

If you are involved in an auto accident in Alabama, you will need to prove that the other party was 100% at-fault in order to obtain compensation for your injuries. This is because of Alabama’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% liable for the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering damages. This is why a police report is critical with these types of cases. You will need this and other forms of evidence to prove your case.

What Else should I Do at the Scene of a Car Accident in Alabama?

In addition to contacting the police, there are several other steps you should take immediately after an auto accident:

  • Call 911: As mentioned earlier, many injuries are not immediately apparent after a vehicle collision. Even with a minor collision, it is best to have everyone checked out to make sure they are all okay.
  • Document Everything: It is helpful to have a police report, but it is also a good idea to have your own documentation as well. Take multiple photographs of the scene from as many angles as possible to show exactly what happened. And if you happen to have a dashboard camera, make sure to capture the video footage of the incident. Finally, whenever it is convenient, write down in as much detail as possible what happened. After the police report is filed, obtain a copy and cross reference it with your own report to make sure any mistakes on the police report can be corrected.
  • Report the Accident to your Insurer: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident to report what happened. Do not admit any fault to your insurer or anyone else, leave that to the experts to sort out. Just give them the facts about the incident.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or any of your loved ones have any type of injury resulting from the accident, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer. A seasoned attorney can thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, so the sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your chances of recovering full and fair compensation.