Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Car Accident Attorney

What Is the Value of a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney?

Another vehicle has struck yours on the way home from work. Suddenly, everything you were going to do today, tomorrow, next week, and next month has changed. You may be in pain, dealing with panic, permanently harmed, and potentially grieving for what you or others have lost. What would it take to make all of that right again?

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While some of the fallout from vehicle collisions can never be undone, an experienced car accident attorney can help you access significant financial resources. Those who hire an attorney for a car accident claim receive payouts more often and in far higher sums than those who represent themselves.

At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we know your best shot at justice after a traumatic collision is to hire a car accident attorney with proven experience in delivering for clients. 

This page explains what a car accident settlement may cover, how to file a car accident claim, and the types of accidents and injuries we most frequently represent. To speak with an attorney right away, call us at (205) 322-8880 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. For more information, read on.

A beautiful highway with traffic

What Damages are Available in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to recover the following damages:

  • Medical Bills: Complete coverage of your medical expenses related to the accident
  • Lost Wages: This includes lost of employment, missed advancement opportunities, and reduced job-related benefits if you are unable to work full-time after your accident
  • Pain and Suffering Damages: Physical pain, psychological suffering (like PTSD), and loss of marriage or family cohesion due to fallout from the crash
  • Punitive Damages: These are “punishment” fees charged to the other party if they’re found to have acted negligently, recklessly, or maliciously
  • Wrongful Death: Should the injuries caused by a car accident cause or directly lead to a person’s death, their surviving heirs could be granted compensation for the loss of support

You only have one chance to bring a car accident injury case after a crash. With a lawyer, you have a 91% chance of receiving a settlement, as opposed to a 51% chance of any payout for those who represent themselves. Similarly, those who hire a personal injury lawyer self-report settlement amounts that average more than 75% higher than those who represent themselves.  

When you hire a lawyer, you’re likely to walk away with more compensation than if you go it alone. That increased money can be used to improve your health outcome, and provide financial security for your family.

What Is the Car Accident Claims Process?

The car insurance industry estimates that the average driver will file a collision claim about once every 18 years. While the claims process may be frustrating, there are laws to protect you, and car accident attorneys ready to take on the negotiations on your behalf.  

When the vehicles are towed and you’re home from the hospital, the claims process with insurance agencies and other parties begins. Most of it involves gathering the right documentation. 

Your car accident claims process may include:

  • Hiring a car accident attorney: Every chore necessary to complete the car accident claims process is easier with an experienced lawyer on your side to answer questions, guide the process, and negotiate a fair settlement. In fact, most of this work is done by the attorneys themselves, leaving you to recover in peace.
  • Documenting your medical expenses and property costs: Any injuries, no matter how small, should be noted, and any cost in treating them (time, transportation, and medical bills) should be documented for your claim. You should also keep any receipts related to vehicle repair, rental, replacement, or towing expenses.
  • Recording missed work or sick/vacation time used: If you lose business, contracts, miss days, or spend sick/vacation time to recover, each of these are costs associated with your car accident. If you lose your job entirely due to your accident recovery, greater compensation may be available.
  • Ordering a police report: If police were called to the scene of your car accident, they will issue a report. If you were not handed documentation of this report at the time of the crash (or were too badly injured to receive it), you or your attorney may request the report for your own files by calling the station or going online. If the police were not called to the crash, you can file a police report at your local police station.
  • Reporting your insurance claim: After a crash, it’s important to make sure you have your insurance account numbers and passwords handy, as well as the detailed information of your crash (date, time, witness information, police report, medical paperwork, and car repair or tow receipts). This is when the fine print of your coverage agreement really matters, so be sure to have your attorney review the policy.

If you have any questions about what you should do (and in what order), who you should trust, or what kinds of evidence or documents you need to keep to ensure a fair settlement, a knowledgeable attorney can supply that information, and do the work on your behalf. Call Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann at (205) 322-8880 for representation.

A man leans out his car window to look for an accident

What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents?

Though each car accident is different and may involve different factors, certain types of injuries may be common across many accidents. These can include:

  • Rear-End Collisions: Rear-end collisions are frequently caused by a combination of driver inattentiveness, speeding, and tailgating. Car accident injuries such as soft tissue damage (like whiplash) are commonly sustained. The neck and upper back are likely to suffer injury, as are lower extremity injuries to the legs and feet.
  • Sideswipe Accidents: Caused frequently by drowsy or intoxicated drivers, most sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles are approaching from opposite directions. The cars do not hit each other head on, but instead scrape along their sides. When one car is significantly larger than the other or has weaker side-impact reinforcements, the driver or passenger may experience injuries to the upper body, head, and neck.
  • Side Impact Crashes: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, side impact crashes account for 25% of car accident fatalities. Often caused by a negligent driver running a red light or making an improper turn, the severe side-to-side movements of such crashes can lead to broken ribs, lacerations, and internal organ rupture.
  • Rollovers: Larger cars like SUVs, large trucks, and semis have higher centers of gravity and are more likely to have a rollover incident, but all vehicles have the potential to roll over. Nearly 85% of deaths from rollover accidents involved a single car traveling their daily route. As the car turns over onto the roof, you could suffer a traumatic brain or spinal injury, seat belt injury, or death.
  • Head-On Collision: Ranked first among the deadliest types of car accidents, head-on collisions are almost sure to cause great injury. Even at low speeds, head-on collision accident injuries from head-on collisions can cause broken facial bones, soft tissue damage to the neck and upper back, and brain injury. Severe leg and foot injuries are also common in head-on crashes.

Different crashes cause different types of injury severity. What causes a car accident matters for liability purposes in court—the more at-fault a person is, the more they’re obligated to pay to help fix the harm caused. Whatever kind of crash you’ve endured, the lawyers at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann can handle any claim related to car, truck, motorcycle, or automobile accidents.

What Types of Injuries Are Caused by Car Accidents?

The most common types of car accident injuries include:

According to the NHTSA motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of two and 34. There is roughly one car accident injury every 14 seconds. Of those accidents, 10% were in SUVs, 7% in pickup trucks, 4% in vans, and 3% in cars. 

Preventable causes of car accidents, like alcohol-related crashes and speeding, not only cause an unnecessary loss of human life and health, they also cost Americans billions each year in emergency response costs, uninsured injury treatment, and wage and productivity loss. 

Your losses are just as important as these greater economic costs—call Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann at (205) 322-8880 to make your claim. 

A woman calls a lawyer for assistance

How Can You Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Car Accidents?

Those recovering from a serious car accident face numerous burdens. Hiring an attorney can remove many of those tasks, allowing you to heal in peace. 

The office of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann has secured numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our car accident clients. We have the experience necessary to investigate your accident and build a strong case to secure a settlement that benefits you and your loved ones. 

Recovery has costs. It often takes time, teamwork, and a ton of mental and emotional energy for people to feel themselves again after a car accident. For those who’ve been severely injured, recovery likely requires professional medical help, changes to employment, and other monetary costs. One call to our law firm can improve all aspects of your recovery, by providing peace of mind, accomplishing tasks on your behalf, and securing the financial settlement you need. Reach out to Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann today at (205) 322-8880 for representation.

Car Accident FAQs

Will I have to go to court if I file a car accident claim?

We may go to court, but you don’t have to. 

Most car accident lawsuits can be settled out-of-court in pre-trial negotiations. Sometimes settlements are reached during trial (usually for sums larger than the pre-trial offers), and in other instances, it’s up to a judge to finally decide what’s fair.  

If you prefer a quick settlement over a trial, we will always work to serve your interests above all else. However, when cases do go to court, you may not always have to be in attendance—your attorneys show up for you. Trials may take a little longer, but they often open up more compensation opportunities (as when a judge decides to punish the negligent party—those fees may be awarded to you in the form of punitive damages).

How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit?

In most instances, you have a period of two years to file a lawsuit after the date of a car accident. Once this closes, you mayot be able to bring legal action anymore. Thus, it’s important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one have been in a car accident, especially since this timeline varies state-to-state.  

In Alabama, where Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann is headquartered, the deadline for filing is two years.

What is the timeline of a car accident lawsuit?

Minor car accident claims can be settled in a week, but the more complex the crash, or the more support needed for your injuries, the longer it may take—sometimes months or even years. 

While the law usually provides a two-year window for you to file a personal injury claim related to a car accident, your bills and costs begin piling up right away. As soon as your vehicle is hit, you may be out of transportation, out of a job if you can’t get there without a car, in the hospital, or in the horrible circumstance of having to bury a loved one. Time is not on your side. 

Hiring a car accident lawyer right away allows us to keep up on top of your deadlines, and provides you with as speedy a settlement as possible.

Should I settle for what the insurance company offers after a car accident?

You should not agree to anything without first consulting with your own attorney.  

If your property damage and injuries are minor enough, small claims can sometimes be handled between individuals and insurance companies. However, if your injuries worsen, and you’ve accepted a low-ball amount from an insurance company looking to cut costs, the financial burden is then left to you. 

It costs nothing to reach out to Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann at (205) 322-8880 for a free consultation, and it could help you skip over many avoidable pitfalls. Let our years of experience save you critical time after a crash.

Should I give a statement to the other driver’s insurance?

No — the other party’s insurance company is not working for you!

They are diligently trying to reduce their involvement, especially if their driver is determined to be partially or wholly at fault. The adjuster’s job is to save money for their insurance company.

By speaking to our car accident attorneys, we can aid in speaking with the other party’s insurance on your behalf. Your goal is to focus on recovery while we move your auto accident claim forward.

Should I accept an offer from the insurance company?

Insurance companies will want to handle your accident claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible. They understand you are upset, and yet the faster they can dismiss the potential of an auto accident lawsuit, the better.

They may offer you a settlement early on that may sound enticing; however, it is most likely not enough to cover anywhere near the total compensation to which you may be entitled under Alabama law.

Be Aware: By accepting a potentially “low-ball” offer, you will likely forfeit your right to seek further compensation.

Insurance companies are not on your side. They are huge companies that often make huge profits. They will try to boost their bottom line by shortchanging you.

The Birmingham car accident attorneys with Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann are experienced in the ways of auto insurance companies and their tactics to avoid paying what you deserve. We care about your health and well-being. We’ll deal with insurance companies on your behalf, and we’ll stand up to them to protect your rights and seek compensation that can truly better your situation.

An attorney’s job is to be your legal voice and work to build the strongest case possible. Your attorney’s actions are driven by your best interests at all times. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident and need representation, call us today at (205) 322-8880 to speak with an auto accident attorney in Birmingham, AL.

Can I trust my own insurance company after a car accident?

It depends — while an insured person should be able to trust their own insurance company, there are some situations where your own insurance company’s position might be considered in conflict with your position.

For instance, most people have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage. This type of coverage allows you to recover from your own insurance company if the at-fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured – that is, where your damages exceed the at-fault’s available coverage limits.

There are Birmingham auto accident cases which indicate that, in such a situation, the insurance company’s position is adverse to yours, and they may not owe you the same level of good faith and fair dealing that you might expect. Consequently, it would be advisable to consider contacting an attorney to advise you of your rights and responsibilities.

What’s contributory negligence?

Contributory negligence is a statute in Alabama that can frustrate many car accident victims. It means that if it is determined the at-fault driver was only 90% responsible for the accident and you were somehow responsible for the other 10%, the amount of compensation you receive would be less.

In essence, this can allow the driver who is at-fault to point the finger at you. It is yet another reason why it’s important to have an attorney representing you throughout this process. Our attorneys are well-acquainted with the laws surrounding traffic accident liability in Alabama. We will always do our best to maximize the compensation our clients receive.

Who pays for the damages?

Who you can recover damages from depends on the facts of each case. Typically, you will be able to recover monetary damages from the at-fault driver.

If the driver is on an errand for his employer or is driving a commercial delivery truck, the employer may also be liable to you.

Under certain circumstances, the owner of the vehicle may be liable for negligent entrustment.
If the at-fault driver was served alcohol by an establishment in violation of Alabama law, the bar or dram shop might be liable to you.

Determining liability and damages requires the skill and expertise of an experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact Pittman Dutton & Hellums today at (205) 322-8880 for a free consultation. We are here to help you determine your legal rights and advise you on your next course of action.

Client Testimonials

“We filed a lawsuit against an insurance company as the result of an automobile accident. No one likes to face the legal procedure of recovery but that must happen sometimes. Mike Bradley handled our case smoothly through arbitration and recovered our costs adequately. He pointed out the risks of a jury trial in this case and we felt that we were properly advised. Mike was thorough, very professional and a pleasure to work with.”
-J. Criswell“

They are number one in my opinion. Very good law firm and I recommend them highly!”
-J. Hall.

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  • Firm founding: 1986
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    We have represented individuals in all 50 states
  • Recovered over $900 million on behalf of our clients

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WHAT ARE THE FACTS ABOUT OUR FIRM?

  • Firm founding: 1986
  • Nationwide representation:
    We have represented individuals in all 50 states
  • Recovered over $900 million on behalf of our clients

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