You’re on your way to the grocery store, thinking about buying groceries for your family.
You’re running late for an appointment, an exercise class, maybe even a date, trying to maintain your focus on the speed limit.
You’re headed across town (or across the country) to visit a loved one, imagining the smile breaking out across their face as you emerge from the car.
If you had any inkling that today might be the day that your car collided with another vehicle—the day that sends you into a tailspin of physical, financial and legal turmoil—you would have had no trouble focusing on the road for signs of possible danger.
But you didn’t know. You didn’t think. Because nobody thinks it will happen to them, until it does.
Don’t Navigate Your Recovery Alone
In the aftermath of a car accident, your brain and body kick into high gear over one crucial issue: survival. Anything that doesn’t involve you getting out of the vehicle and out of danger will fade away into a distant blur. You may find yourself sitting by the side of the road, staring into space, unable to decide whom to call or to answer questions about where you were going or what happened in the crash.
This brain fog is normal to feel, and it will often persist for days or even weeks after the crash. Unfortunately, it can be a huge disadvantage when communicating with law enforcement or insurance companies about the accident. Many car accident victims have trouble remembering the pertinent details of their collision. Guesswork on the part of the victim means guesswork on the part of authorities. And that, in the long run, usually means that the victim is left to navigate their recovery alone.
It’s precisely for this reason that your first call, after having a car accident, should be to a good attorney.
After the initial impact, a car accident brings a labyrinth of consequences. Navigating them requires research, documentation, and a thorough knowledge of state law. When you’re in the midst of recovering from the trauma of a car accident, these are the last things you want to have to deal with. And yet dealing with them is essential to your future health, both physical and financial.
The biggest and most obvious effect of a car accident is the damage to your vehicle. The insurance company will be first in line to assess the damage, decide how much to pay for repairs, and which of the two parties’ coverage will pay.
When you’ve been the victim of a car accident, it’s very difficult to wait through the process while these decisions are being made. Even worse, though, is the discovery that your insurance company’s claim offer is insufficient to fully cover your repair or replacement costs.
Arguing with your insurance company and pressing for your rights is not something that you should have to do while you are recovering from an accident. Having a good car accident attorney is essential to getting a fair estimate of the damages and making sure that your claim is fully honored.
It’s not uncommon for victims of a car accident to walk away feeling more or less unhurt. In all but the very worst cases, victims will often refuse the help of an ambulance because they feel merely “shaken up.” This is rarely a reliable state of mind; the truth is that they are in shock, and the survival reaction of adrenaline is fueling them through the moments and even hours after the accident. It’s only later, after the victim has had a chance to rest, that the true extent of their injury will reveal itself.
At this point, it may be too late to seek redress. Insurance companies will usually call within a few hours of the accident to begin assessing the damages. It’s not an easy thing to get back to your insurer 24 hours or more after the fact and change your story from “I’m not hurt” to “My ribs are bruised and I’m having migraines.”
Even if you are able to specify your injuries, it’s all too common for victims to receive pushback on their claims. It’s standard procedure for most insurance companies to avoid paying more than absolutely necessary; many of them will press the victim to admit that the injuries are less serious than originally stated.
What this often leads to is long-term physical damage, because the victim will avoid the doctor/chiropractor because they are afraid they cannot pay for it, and believe that the condition (whiplash, recurring headaches, etc.) will go away on its own.
A car accident attorney has experience working with insurance providers to make sure car accident victims receive the full amount they are owed. A car accident attorney will also let you know exactly how to keep records of all expenses involved in crash-related injuries (including doctor’s visits, medicine, sometimes even commuting) so that you don’t wind up in the position of paying for your own injury.
On top of all this, if injuries from the accident prevent you from moving on with your life—for instance, mental anguish that affects your ability to do your job, or a long-term physical impairment that impacts your entire life—a car accident attorney will be able to help you in receiving compensation for the accident’s effect on your future.
One of the biggest questions in the aftermath of a car accident is “Whose fault was it?”
Believe it or not, determining fault is not always an either/or between the two vehicle drivers.
For example, many car accidents can be traced back to a defect or a malfunction in the vehicle, one that the driver may never have been aware of. A car accident lawyer will know exactly how to follow up with the authorities and with the car manufacturer.
At other times, the road condition is to blame for a vehicular accident. Things as small as an unlevel paving job or poor signage can have huge consequences for cars. If your accident is caused by poorly maintained roads, a good lawyer can call the proper governmental agency to account for your accident.
Act Within Your Window of Time
Federal, state and local law leave a very narrow window for claims to be filed in the aftermath of a car accident. This time limit is called the statute of limitations, and it varies from one state to another. That’s why it is important to have a number on file and know exactly whom you will contact in case of a car accident.
Remember, calling a lawyer after your car accident does not necessarily mean initiating a lawsuit. It is simply an opportunity to consult an experienced professional and find out what your rights are. Too many car accident victims are unaware that they even have rights, and that they may be entitled not only to the insurance payout to fix their vehicle, but to resources that will help them recover.
Be assured that a lawsuit is very rare in cases of car accident. The fact is that having a lawyer on your side is often all that is needed when dealing with insurance companies and other parties to make sure that negotiations are fair and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
The Bottom Line
What car accident victims feel, more than anything, after surviving a collision is gratitude to just be alive. While this is indeed important and a cause for profound gratitude, don’t forget that you deserve not only to live, but to recover the life that you had before this accident happened to you. Hiring an experienced attorney can make all the difference between tragedy and true healing.
If you’re one of the more than 39.5 million people who require medical attention after an injury every year, you may be considering talking with an attorney. A reputable firm will offer a free case evaluation and explain to you whether your case has merit or not. You’ll also have a chance to get to know your attorney(s) and determine if you are a good fit for one another before the work begins. If you’ve been hurt in an accident you may benefit from representation if:
The negligence of another party or parties caused your accident
The injury you experienced was serious, resulting in substantial medical attention and costs
You have had to miss time off work due to your injury
You have evidence that helps a potential personal injury case
Not all of these factors are required in order for a personal injury claim to be successful. That’s why talking with a personal injury attorney can help, regardless of the trajectory, your case ends up going on.
You may choose to speak with several personal injury lawyers before deciding to hire one for your case. The more details of your case you can present to each attorney you consult with, the better that attorney will be able to gauge whether or not they can help you. If you decide to consult with an attorney to see what can be offered to you, here are some questions to ask to help you feel more confident in any decision you make.
Have You Handled Cases Like Mine?
Some personal injury lawyers specialize in a certain type of injury law, while others have more diverse experience. Ask about outcomes of cases that are similar to yours and how confident the attorney feels about your case’s circumstances. Ask about experience regarding both the circumstances of the accident as well as the type of injury you have sustained.
May I Contact Some of Your Past Clients?
Being able to talk to a personal injury victim who has gone through a case like yours is an understandable request that many personal injury attorneys receive. The lawyer you’re talking with may be able to refer you to past clients who have had similar cases, so you can get a better understanding of how your case might play out.
Who Will Work on My Case?
Sometimes, the lawyer you talk to during the consultation will not actually be the person who does the majority of work on your case. Some law firms have giant teams, and an intern or inexperienced lawyer may be the one working on your case. Other times, the lawyer will rarely be available to speak with clients directly. If this concerns you, ask about what kind of responsibility for your case and communication you can expect during your consultation.
What Percentage of Your Cases Are Referrals?
The answer to this question can clue you into how experienced the lawyer is and how respected the lawyer is in the law community. Though a low answer is not necessarily negative, a high percentage of referrals is a good sign that the lawyer is one who is regarded highly.
What Is Your Trial Experience Like?
Many personal injury lawsuits make their way to court, where the case may have to be tried in front of a judge and jury. The personal injury attorney you hire should be confident with representing you in court and with bringing your case to trial.
How Much Do You Think My Settlement Is Worth?
Answers to these questions can clue you into the attorney’s confidence with your case and the potential settlement amount you may be entitled to. Don’t be wary of lower estimates. These aren’t necessarily negative if the lawyers giving them are more competent in how they can win your case.
How Do You Charge?
How much you pay your personal injury attorney will likely be a concern. Some personal injury lawyers will only require payment if they win the case this is called contingency. They may take a percentage of whatever the settlement is, and this percentage can vary. Depending on your comfort level and the expertise of the attorney, you may decide that a higher-percentage fee is acceptable because you believe that attorney can win your case.
Contact PDH Today For a Free Case Evaluation
Our attorneys are here to help. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of others give us a call today!
Today’s vehicles are built with more safety features than ever before. Unfortunately, these innovations can still fail to protect us from one of the most overlooked parts of our cars: the tires. Tires require regular inspection and maintenance, but even the newest, most trusted tires sometimes fail without warning. To protect yourself and your passengers, you must understand how tires fail and what you can do to help prevent a tire-related tragedy.
Defective Tire Accident Statistics
The Austin (TX) American Statesman (2/11, Subscription Publication, 361K) reports that more motor vehicle fatalities are attributable to defective tires than to cellphone-related distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Per the American Statesmen, the “NHTSA says that over 700 people die per year in crashes due to failed tires,” while “cellphone-related deaths have not exceeded 500 in any year” of the “past six years for which NHTSA has released data.”
The NHTSA claims that defective tires can be related to tire problems such as blowouts or flat tires, tire or wheel deficiency, tire or wheel failure, and tire degradation. Poor tire maintenance is a leading cause of tire-related crashes, and one we can all avoid. To help protect yourself, make sure that your tires always have enough air and are rotated and balanced on a regular basis. Pay attention to the amount of tread on your tires as well. Driving with low tread increases the risk of losing traction, especially on wet or icy roads. As a general rule, tires worn down to 2/32 of an inch are unsafe to drive on. Lastly, when possible, plan your route to avoid bad roads with uneven lanes and potholes, which can increase the risk of tire failure over time. If you or a loved one is involved in a crash caused by a defective tire, you need to seek help immediately from an attorney experienced in auto accident cases. The law firm of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann is passionate about representing victims of defective tires, and we want to help. If you have been in an accident related to a defective tire, please call us today at (205) 322-8880. We have a dedicated team of personal injury attorneys ready to consult with you for no cost and no obligation.
f you’ve been seriously injured, you know that it can be a stressful and complicated experience. Inevitably, you’ll be dealing with medical appointments and the bills that come with them, possible time missed from work, pain, suffering and the possibility that returning to “normal” life is never an option again.
Personal injuries are common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are 92.2 million physician office visits for injuries a year and 41.6 million trips to emergency departments for injuries. When your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, another consideration must be addressed: whether or not you should file a lawsuit.
A personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for the wrongful acts of others. A Birmingham personal injury law firm like PDH will offer a free consultation, so you can see if a case is worth pursuing. Here are five signs you should, at the very least, get a consultation because you may have a viable personal injury claim.
1. Your Injuries Are Serious
What is considered a serious injury? If you have gone through any of the following, you’ve experienced a serious injury.
You had to receive emergency treatment
You stayed at a hospital
Your injury required more than one doctor’s visit to treat
Your injury resulted in long-term disability, loss of a limb, etc.
Your injury will require some kind of treatment for the rest of your life
If your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, it’s time to contact an attorney.
2. There is Evidence to Support Your Claim
Evidence is a critical component for successful serious personal injury cases. The types of evidence that can be beneficial in a personal injury case include:
A negligent driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they caused a car accident
A product was defective, whether it was an exploding phone that blew up in your face or an airbag that failed to deploy
After the accident that caused a personal injury, you took photos or videos that show factors that can help prove negligence
The statements from witnesses of the accident are extremely helpful. It is crucial to file a police report after an accident resulting in personal injury. The police report will record all of the details and can be used for your case.
3. The Insurance Companies Are Less Than Helpful
Insurance companies are often difficult to deal with. They may offer you a low-ball settlement or may deny your claim altogether. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to help victims. If the insurance company offers you a low offer, is unresponsive or denies your claim, an attorney can help.
Ideally, you should contact a personal injury law firm before contacting the at fault parties insurance company. Many times insurance companies will bombard a victim with questions in an attempt to trick them into misstating facts about the accident or even admitting erroneously admitting fault. Personal injury lawyers are adept in dealing with insurance companies, can help negotiate your settlement and prevent you from incriminating yourself.
4. Expert Witnesses Are Necessary
Testimony from expert witnesses can help some personal injury cases. For example, some types of personal injuries occur due to medical malpractice, when a physician’s negligence causes serious injuries that may be life-threatening. In cases like these, a medical expert witness can provide expert testimony that helps explain why the physician was negligent.
When you’re facing someone who caused your injury, but you’re unable to fully understand or explain why a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in cases like yours will be able to call on the right witness connections to help your case.
5. Multiple Parties Are Involved
When you’re dealing with more than one party in a personal injury case, like a car accident with multiple drivers, for example, everyone’s liability may be called into question by various parties. These types of cases may make liability unclear and will mean that gathering witness statements, evidence and possibly expert witness testimony is necessary.
To protect yourself from being accused of being negligent by other parties, when you’re really not to blame, and to go after the appropriate negligent party, you can work with a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers have experience in cases with multiple parties and will work in your best interest.
Contingency Fees Protect Your Finances
Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann works on a contingency basis. This means our law firm will only take on a personal injury case they believe can be won. We’re only paid if your case wins, as well.
You have nothing to lose by contacting a personal injury lawyer for a consultation. The statute of limitation limits the time frame in which you can file a claim, so it’s best to contact one sooner than later.If you or a loved one has been in an accident our Birmingham accident attorneys will fight for your best interests and will take your case to trial if necessary, please PDH at (205) 322-8880.