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personal injury attorney in Opelika, Alabama

How Do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Case in AL?

When someone is injured and it appears to be the fault of another person or party, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “do I have a personal injury case?” Essentially, they want to know whether or not pursuing a personal injury claim is in their best interests.

There are numerous factors that come into play in determining whether or not you have a viable claim, and to really know for sure, it is best to have a conversation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Whether you decide to retain legal representation or not, a skilled and knowledgeable attorney will be able to thoroughly review the specifics of your case and advise you of your legal rights and options, so you can make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.

Important Factors that go into Personal Injury Cases

There are several things that will be looked at when you discuss your case with an attorney. These may include:

The Extent of your Injuries/Medical Treatment

How badly were you injured? Did you just have a few minor scrapes and bruises, or were your injuries more extensive? Whenever you are involved in any type of accident where you may have sustained an injury, it is important to seek medical treatment right away, so your injuries can be properly diagnosed, treated, and documented. Insurance companies will look for any way they can to minimize the amount of compensation they pay out to injured parties, and one way they may do this is by poking holes in your medical claims.

For example, the insurance company might tell you that your injury is not related to the accident in question, because you waited too long to seek treatment. They might also tell you that you are exaggerating the extent of your injuries, because they have not been officially documented. Finally, they might say that you failed in your legal duty to mitigate your losses by not getting treated right away.

The bottom line here is that if you seek immediate medical attention, it makes it much harder for the insurance company to dispute your injuries. At the end of the day, if you do only have some minor bumps and bruises, a legal claim may not be worthwhile. But if you suffered moderate to severe injuries, you could be eligible for damages not only for economic losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but also for noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering and psychological distress. Your medical report will be very helpful in determining whether or not you have a case.

Evidence of Negligence/Liability

Even if you have suffered significant compensable losses because of your injury, you will still need to prove that another party was liable. Sometimes, this is fairly cut and dry, such as if another driver ran a red light and crashed into you. At other times, however, fault may be in question. When this is the case, a thorough investigation will be needed, which may include reviewing the police report, interviewing witnesses, reviewing any available visual evidence, and bringing in accident reconstruction experts and other specialists for assistance.

Proving liability is especially important in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident or event that caused the injury, they can be barred from recovering damages. You can be sure that insurance companies will attempt to use Alabama’s defendant friendly legal standard against you, so if there is any question at all over who was at fault, it is absolutely essential to retain strong legal counsel.

Time Elapsed Since the Injury

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury. This means that you have a two-year deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit, otherwise, your lawsuit will most likely be thrown out of court. There are times in which the statute of limitations is shorter, such as if you are suing a government entity, in which case it could be six months or a year depending on which entity you are suing.

The clock starts on the statute of limitations as soon as the injured party knows or should reasonably have known about the injury. There are some cases, such as with repeated exposure to toxic substances for example, when an injury is not discovered until years later. Generally, the clock would start at the first sign or symptom.

Recoverable Assets

If you have extensive injuries, strong evidence of negligence, and you are within Alabama’s statute of limitations, you may have a viable personal injury case. However, you will still need to find out if there are recoverable assets that are worth pursuing. In most accident injury cases, damages are recovered through the defendant’s liability insurance policy. But if the defendant was uninsured or did not have a sufficient amount of insurance, then you may be able to recover compensation through the uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) portion of your own auto insurance policy. If there is not enough available from these sources, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the defendant if he/she has assets that can be recovered.

Unfortunately, there are some instances in which none of the aforementioned sources are available, or there is some available, but it does not come close to covering all of your losses. In such cases, it may not be worthwhile to pursue a personal injury claim, or you will need to significantly lower your expectations. Before deciding anything for sure, however, your lawyer will explore every potential avenue for recovering compensation.

Contact a Seasoned Alabama Personal Injury Attorney Today If you or someone close to you has been injured because of someone else’s negligence or reckless actions, you may or may not have a personal injury case. To find out for sure, get in touch with Alsobrook Law Group today. Call our office at 334.737.3718 or message us online to schedule a free consultation.

impact of social media on personal injury lawsuit

What Impact Could Social Media Have on My Personal Injury Suit?

The consequences of using social media probably aren’t something you think much about. Social media use is ubiquitous, with the Pew Research Center reporting that about seven in 10 Americans use it to connect with others. In fact, it’s likely that you use multiple social media platforms on a regular basis, including popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

But if you’re filing a lawsuit (or you have had a lawsuit filed against you), your use of social media is something you should indeed consider. Social media can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, and here are some of the ways this can happen:

Social Media Serves as a Type of Evidence

The first thing that you should understand is that anything you post on the internet is public information, and therefore can be accessed by whomever, including the attorney for the other side. This means that pictures, updates, blogs, and the like can all be admitted to the court record as evidence. And don’t be quick to assume that your private messages are all the private, either – if the other party involved in the messages turns them over, those messages are fair game. What’s more, a lawyer could obtain a subpoena for cellphone and online records, including texts, private messages, and more. In today’s digital world, using various forms of online and digital evidence in a lawsuit is very common.

Social Media Can Undermine Your Claim

The next thing that you should know is that social media can undermine your claim. Even if what you’re posting to social media seems insignificant and innocuous, it may not be. Here are some examples of how social media posts can devalue your personal injury claim:

  • You claim to have broken your leg in the accident, but a recent picture posted of you on social media shows you at the golf course. Never mind the fact that, in reality, you were only on the golf course that day as a tag-along, riding in the cart to keep a friend company, or the fact that the photo shows you in the cart, but your legs aren’t visible (and if they were, you could surely see your cast). The other side submits this as evidence to the court that you must have been lying about your broken leg; otherwise, how would you have been able to spend the day at the course?
  • You are demanding damages for pain and suffering, claiming that the accident has left you with a disability that has altered your quality of life. On Facebook, a colleague posts publicly, asking how you’re doing. Out of politeness and to protect your privacy – you don’t want to be moaning and groaning about how miserable you are to your online contacts – you reply that you are doing well and that your recovery is coming along. The attorney for the defense snatches this up, using it as evidence to show that despite your demand for claim that you are in great pain a lot of the time, your social media profile indicates that you are doing just fine.

There are countless other examples like this. Posting pictures, even from the past, allowing yourself to be tagged in pictures that others post of you, checking into different locations, or talking about your accident or your injuries online can all be damaging to your claim if this information gets into the wrong hands.

Best Practices for Social Media Use When Pursuing a Lawsuit

If you’re involved in a lawsuit, it’s best to put your social media activity on hold. If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to cease use of your accounts, at the very least you should set your accounts to private, refrain from accepting friend requests from anyone you don’t know, and never talk about your accident or injuries online.

Call Our Lawyers Today for More Information and Legal Guidance

Social media use may be the way that people stay connected in 2019, but it can be disastrous in a lawsuit. If you have questions about pursuing a personal injury claim or another lawsuit type, are worried about online evidence being used against you, or are in need of a highly-qualified lawyer for representation, please reach out to the Alsobrook Law Group online or by phone at (334) 737-3718. We offer free consultations and always accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.

Alimony Lawyer in Opelika, Alabama

Can an Expert Help my Injury Claim?

After suffering an injury due to the negligent actions of another, filing a personal injury claim may be the answer to recovering the financial compensation one both needs and deserves. But filing a successful personal injury claim takes more than just notifying an insurance adjuster of an injury; evidence must be presented that proves both the cause of the injury and the extent of damages suffered. One form of evidence that can make or break a claim is expert testimony.

Types of Experts that May Be Useful in a Personal Injury Claim

There are four elements of a personal injury claim that must be established for the claim to be successful: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. Experts may be called upon to provide testimony and opinion for each. For example, types of experts that may be useful in the personal injury claim process include:

  • Accident reconstruction experts, who can lend insight as to how an accident occurred;
  • Design experts, who can testify to a defective design of a product or automobile, leading to failure and injury;
  • Medical experts, who can testify about a breach of the medical standard of care or/and provide testimony about the extent of injuries a plaintiff has suffered and what the future may look like;
  • Mental health and psychological experts, whose statements may be used to decide about the amount of pain and suffering experienced by a claimant;
  • Financial experts, whose professional opinions may be used in calculating the value of a claimant’s economic losses; and
  • Forensic experts, who can collect and analyze physical evidence to decide about how an accident occurred and who should be held liable for damages.

The above list is not inclusive; the experts that may be necessary in a personal injury claim can vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, an expert in childhood development may be necessary for a case involving a child, or an expert in animal behavior may be called upon in a case involving a dog bite.

Why Are Experts So Important in Injury Claims?

The role of an expert in an injury claim should not be understated. An expert’s opinion and testimony can truly make or break a case, providing unbiased, official, and specialized knowledge about how an accident occurred or the damages that a claimant has suffered. In some cases, such as a medical malpractice case, expert opinion is not only helpful, but required; a court cannot know if the medical standard of care has been breached without hearing from other doctors.

Who Pays for an Expert’s Opinion?

Hiring an expert to be involved in your case, from investigating what happened to providing testimony for an insurance adjuster or court, is not an inexpensive endeavor. In fact, some experts may charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for their time.

However, because experts are so important and can have such an influence on the outcome of a personal injury case, hiring an expert is often not optional, but necessary. This is one of the primary reasons why working with a law firm with the resources available to invest in experts for your case is a must. When you hire the right law firm, the law firm will front experts’ costs on your behalf. If your case is successful, you will pay the law firm from a percentage of your winnings, rather than paying out of pocket fees.

Call the Alsobrook Law Firm for Your Free Consultation Today

At the offices of Alsobrook Jackson, our talented Alabama personal injury attorneys have hired experts to help build cases and prove our clients’ claims numerous times of the years. We have the resources and connections your case demands, and we’re ready to start building your claim today. To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, please send us a message, visit us in person, or call us at 334-737-3718 today.