An automobile accident occurs, on average, once every 20 seconds in the US. The damage that results from these accidents ranges from minor property damage to fatalities. The parties involved could also face civil and/or criminal liability, depending on the events that happened before and after the accident. At Fortune & Beard, we are here to help when you are injured in an automobile accident. Since there are so many factors involved in any case, we believe it is important to know a few of the most important rules and procedures regarding automobile accidents.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
Alabama has a two year statute of limitations on automobile accident claims. The statute of limitations means that you must file your claim within two years from the date of the accident. You most likely cannot make a claim for your injury once those two years pass. While that may seem like a long time, doctor visits and other treatments will make those two years go by quickly. Therefore, it is very important to speak with an experienced attorney sooner rather than later.
Also, many statutes require certain actions to be taken both before and after an accident. For instance, the State requires all Alabama licensed motorist to carry liability insurance. Additionally, Alabama law requires an accident report when there is any damage and/or injury. The information in an accident report is vital to ensuring you receive the just compensation you deserve. Therefore, you should carefully review the information in the report to make sure the facts and data are correct. Corrections and/or clarifications can be made to the report. However, the report loses credibility the further out from the date of the accident that those requests are made. If you are unsure about the information in the accident report, contact one of our experienced attorneys today and we will review it with you.
Alabama Guest Statute
Furthermore, Alabama is one of only a handful of states with a “guest statute.” A guest statute essentially bars the passenger of a vehicle that causes an accident from recovery. However, there are exceptions to this rule. You may be able to recover if paid the driver for the ride or shared in expenses (i.e. split the gas). You may also be able to recover if the driver acted in a willful and wanton manner (i.e. driving intoxicated, excessively speeding, etc.). The guest statute is harsh and unforgiving, but it is still the law in Alabama. Call our office and speak to one of our attorneys if you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident while they were a passenger in a vehicle.
Things you should know if you are in an automobile accident:
- Call 9-1-1 if you or anyone in the accident sustain injuries and need medical assistance.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident if damage is involved could result in criminal penalties.
- Call the police and make a report. The report is needed to get statements from all parties involved and map out the accident. Reports are also needed for insurance purposes.
- Take photos of the scene, if it is possible and safe to do so. If your case ends up in litigation, these photos can be a critical piece of evidence. DO NOT assume the police will take photos of the scene. We have handled multiple cases where the reporting officer did not take photos of the accident scene.
- Ask if you can take the name and phone number down of anyone that helped you. They will often need to give a statement or be called as a witness if your case goes into litigation. Their information is especially relevant since they were present.
At the law firm of Fortune & Beard, our attorney’s know how to handle the complicated process of recovering from an automobile accident. We are there for you from beginning to end. Our focus is making sure you can recover comfortably without the hassle of insurance companies and bill collectors creating additional stress. Call our office today and let us fight for you!