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Alabama Scooter Laws

Scooters and mopeds continue to gain popularity across America. This popularity has increased scooter-related injuries. Scooters and mopeds offer users the convenience of mobility within towns and cities. However, their operation on the same roadways as cars and motorcyclists puts scooter riders at an increased risk of accidents. Alabama Scooter Laws  Alabama scooter laws require riders to satisfy specific legal requirements before operating a scooter on Alabama streets. Alabama scooter and moped laws require the following of all riders:  Be age 14 years or older for a moped license; Be age 16 years or older for a motorcycle license;   Possess a class M license;  Wear a helmet at all times; Obtain registration and license; Operate the scooter on the right side of roadways; and  No riding on sidewalks or bike paths.  Despite the existence of these safety requirements, rider inexperience, scooter misuse, and failure to use proper safety equipment contribute to scooter accidents and injuries every year. How Do Alabama Scooter Laws Determine Fault in an Accident?  In Alabama, to seek recovery there must be no evidence you played an active role in causing the accident. Alabama scooter laws require the operation of scooters responsibly while abiding by all traffic laws. Alabama moped and scooter laws are subject to the same rules as other motor vehicles on the roadway.  Causes of Scooter Accidents  The use of scooters on public roadways presents inherent risks. On roadways, you must operate your scooter responsibly while relying on other drivers to behave similarly. Unfortunately, many people fail to drive with the appropriate amount of caution. Additionally, road hazards may exist which contribute to scooter accidents, including:  Poorly maintained roads with potholes and cracks; Lack of safe lanes for scooters; Limited visibility; Poor maintenance of scooters;  Distracted riding; and Operators under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  While they fail to move as quickly as motorcycles or cars, Alabama moped laws prohibit the operation of scooters on sidewalks. This is because scooters can operate at relatively high rates of speed compared to pedestrians and bicyclists. Therefore, their use on sidewalks could easily result in pedestrian or cyclist injuries. Contact Us  Obtaining a fair settlement after a scooter accident in Alabama requires the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney. The exceptional legal team at Fob James Law Firm understands Alabama scooter laws. And if you have been injured in a scooter accident, we know how to recover compensation for you. Scooter accidents can result from the actions of negligent car or motorcycle drivers and are often devastating. So if you were injured due to the negligence of another person, let the attorneys at Fob James Law Firm get to work for you. We provide clients with specialized and focused legal representation. We know how to aggressively pursuing compensation on your behalf. And since we provide free initial consultations, there is no risk in coming to see us. We invite you to give us a call today or schedule a consultation and let us help you get on the road to recovery! 

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What Is the Alabama Dram Shop Act?

Bar owners and liquor store owners should always consider their exposure to lawsuits resulting from their patrons’ conduct. This is the case not only when customers are in the establishment, but also after they have left. In Alabama, the law imposes liability on bar owners and operators of similar establishments when they serve a visibly intoxicated person who causes injury to an innocent third party. This is called “dram shop” liability. What Is the Purpose Behind the Alabama Dram Shop Act? The Alabama Dram Shop Act is a law intended to punish the owners of establishments that continue to serve customers after they have become intoxicated. The law provides a cause of action for victims injured by an intoxicated patron. It allows the injured party to file a civil lawsuit in court to recover monetary damages from the establishment. While dram shop laws typically involve injuries and deaths caused by drunk drivers, bars and other vendors may also be held liable for injuries resulting from: Deaths due to alcohol poisoning; Bar fights; Slip and fall accidents; and Sexual harassment claims. Under Alabama common law, victims of drunk patrons can’t seek compensation from bars and other establishments because there is not a strong enough causal connection between overserving alcohol and the injuries the overserved person causes. However, the Alabama Dram Shop Act extends negligence liability to encompass these types of injuries. The law imposes a high cost on alcohol vendors. This is justifiable because alcohol vendors profit by selling one too many to intoxicated customers. Who May Bring a Claim Under the Alabama Dram Shop Act? There are typically two categories of plaintiffs that file lawsuits under the Alabama Dram Shop Act: (1) the person injured in person or property; and (2) the spouse, child, parent, or “other person” who depends on the injured person for support. The Act does not permit recovery for the intoxicated person who is injured by their own intoxication. However, Alabama courts have held that the spouse and minor children of one who is killed by their own intoxication are covered under the Act. How Does a Lawsuit Under the Alabama Dram Shop Act Work? In general, the Alabama Dram Shop Act has three essential requirements a plaintiff must show before they can recover anything from the establishment. The Defendant Sold Alcohol Contrary to Law A claim under the Alabama Dram Shop law requires proof that the defendant sold or otherwise furnished the alcohol in their capacity as a vendor.  For example, a bar owner handing out free “Jell-O shots” would be subject to the Act. Meanwhile, a social host handing out Jell-O shots to guests would not. Note that Alabama has laws like the Dram Shop Act that apply to social hosts and minors. In addition, the Act requires proof that a defendant furnished the alcohol “contrary to the provisions” of law.  This essentially means that the defendant served the patron while the patron was “visibly intoxicated.” Evidence of visible intoxication may include slurred speech, loud and obnoxious behavior, stumbling, and bloodshot eyes. The Alcohol Caused Intoxication The threshold for intoxication is fairly low in Alabama. In Duckett v. Wilson Hotel Mgmt. Co. Inc., the court found five drinks in a two-hour period to be sufficient to invoke the law. Plaintiffs can establish visible intoxication with eyewitness testimony and even video surveillance footage. Plaintiffs can also use expert testimony to establish the patron’s blood-alcohol level. This may corroborate the eyewitness testimony or lead to an inference of intoxication. The Intoxication Caused Plaintiff’s Injuries Alabama’s Dram Shop Act makes it easier than the laws of other states for a plaintiff to establish causation. Rather than require plaintiffs to litigate whether a bartender acted reasonably, plaintiffs need only show that the injury occurred “as a consequence” of the intoxication. This stricter standard means it doesn’t matter whether the bartender was reasonable or not. It also means an intoxicated patron’s own negligence has no bearing on the establishment’s liability. How Can Establishments Protect Themselves? Bars, package stores, and other similar establishments can mitigate the risk of dram shop liability. One common method is training and certification classes for employees and managers. This will ensure they can spot visible signs of intoxication. In addition, some insurance companies offer liability coverage. How Long Do I Have to File a Dram Shop Act Lawsuit? The Alabama Dram Shop Act establishes a statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing personal injury claims in court. This deadline also applies to dram shop and social host liability cases. Failing to file your case before the expiration of the statute of limitations will result in an Alabama court dismissing your case.  The statute requires plaintiffs to file within two years of the date of injury. If you believe you may have a claim under the Act, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even if the two-year statute of limitations has yet to expire, waiting too long may make it difficult if not impossible to gather any necessary witnesses and other evidence (such as video security footage).    Don’t Let Your Time Run Out Alcohol vendors have a legal duty to sell alcohol responsibly. When their intoxicated customers injure innocent drivers, said victims have recourse under the Alabama Dram Shop Act. With over 40 years of combined experience, our attorneys know what it takes to obtain a higher settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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How to Sue a Pharmaceutical Company

What is the difference between a drug and a poison? Sometimes, unfortunately, there is very little difference. If you have experienced an adverse reaction from a pharmaceutical, you may or may not have a legal claim for product liability. If you do, however, it could be worth quite a bit depending on how seriously you were injured. The problem might lie in your doctor’s choice to prescribe the drug to you in the first place. In that case you may have a medical malpractice claim against your healthcare provider. If the drug itself is the problem, however, you have a product liability claim against the pharmaceutical manufacturer. You can sue the pharmaceutical manufacturer directly under Alabama law, and you don’t even have to directly prove that the manufacturer was at fault. Building Your Case Suing pharmaceutical companies is no walk in the park. To sue a drug company, you need to provide evidence on all the elements of a defective drug claim. Elements of Your Claim You must prove the following legal elements to win a defective drug claim against a pharmaceutical manufacturer: You suffered some harm (injury and/or financial loss). Emotional harm is not enough to support a claim on its own, but if you have a claim for other damages, you can add emotional distress to your claim. The product is defective. That means the presence of either a manufacturing defect, a design defect, or a warning defect. The defect actually caused the harm that you suffered. You can be sure that the pharmaceutical company will try to prove otherwise. You were using the product as it was intended. If you took a drug for recreational reasons when you were not ill, for example, you will likely have no claim against the drug manufacturer.  You will be able to file a claim (without it being thrown out of court) as soon as you can assemble enough elements for a plausible claim based on each of the four elements listed above. Types of Defects Alabama law recognizes three types of product defects. Design Defects A design defect exists when the product is unreasonably dangerous even when manufactured and used according to specifications. A design defect can be difficult to prove when the FDA has already approved the drug. Manufacturing Defects  A manufacturing defect exists when the product is dangerous because it was not manufactured according to its design. For example, if the wrong drug or the wrong dose was packaged, this could be a manufacturing defect. Warning Defects A warning defect exists when the product documentation fails to warn of a significant danger. For example, if the drug can cause harmful effects to an unborn fetus, it needs a warning against pregnant women using it. Special Case: Vaccine Injuries If a vaccine caused your injury (an allergic reaction, for example), you have an alternative. Instead of suing the pharmaceutical company, you can file a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. If you win, the Department of Health and Human Services will pay your claim. We’ve Got Your Back If you live in Alabama and you believe that a defective pharmaceutical might have caused your injury, don’t hesitate to contact Fob James Law Firm, LLC. With over 40 years of experience in personal injury law, we have the respect of defense attorneys and insurance companies across the State of Alabama. We can help you identify the best strategy for your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 205-635-4575 for a free case review.

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Understanding Alabama Right of Way Laws

Intersection accidents are common in Alabama. Many of these happen because drivers are unaware of how they should safely proceed when other vehicles are in the intersection and there is no signal or stop sign. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the Alabama right-of-way laws, so you aren’t the cause of a collision.  If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an intersection accident, you have legal rights. Contact the skilled Birmingham car accident lawyers at Fob James Law Firm today to discuss how to pursue compensation for your damages. What Are the Alabama Right-of-Way Laws? When you reach an intersection, it’s crucial to know your rights and obligations for the town or city you are driving in. In general, some of the most important rules to remember include the following: If you encounter an emergency vehicle on the road, they always have the right of way; Vehicles that are turning from a driveway or a private road need to yield to any vehicles already on the public road; When two vehicles reach an intersection without any stop signs, the vehicle to the right is the one with the right of way; If you see someone walking with a guide dog or a blind person carrying a red-tipped cane, they also have the right of way; and If you have a yield sign and there is a pedestrian, the pedestrian is the one with the right of way. Even in intersections with stop signs, right-of-way laws apply. For example, if two vehicles reach respective stop signs simultaneously, the vehicle to the right will still have the right of way. While these are the right-of-way rules, there’s no guarantee that everyone will obey them. Being a defensive driver and using caution when approaching an intersection can help keep you safe. Tips for Intersection Safety Knowing the right-of-way laws when approaching an intersection is only one part of staying safe. Always approach any intersection carefully and look out for other cars, especially in blind areas where it’s challenging to see approaching vehicles. Even if you think you have the right of way, look in all directions and use your signal to let other drivers know what you are doing. If the intersection has a stop sign, you should always stop. When you stop, you should be behind the painted line if there is one present. Always stop for a few seconds and look in every direction before driving. You still need to be careful when you reach an intersection with a traffic signal, even when your light is green. When the light turns green, always look in every direction before proceeding through the intersection. If you reach a yellow, slow down and use caution. If the light is flashing yellow, treat it like a yield sign. Seek Legal Assistance From an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer If you or a family member received injuries in an intersection collision caused by another party’s negligence, you could have the right to bring a personal injury claim. Our experienced Birmingham car accident lawyers at Fob James Law Firm can help. We have years of experience assisting Alabama clients with all their injury needs and have a record of success in recovering compensation. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.

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Common Alabama Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle riders lack the same safety protections that vehicle occupants have, which is one reason why so many motorcycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries. Even seemingly minor accidents can be severe. Common motorcycle injuries involve head injuries, fractured or broken bones, road rash, spinal cord injuries, and more. Contact the Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyers at Fob James Law Firm if you or a loved one was injured in an Alabama motorcycle accident. Traumatic Brain Injuries Motorcycle riders often sustain serious to catastrophic head injuries, which can be significantly worse if you’re not wearing a helmet. Riders cannot always prevent traumatic brain injuries, even when wearing a helmet. However, the risk of more severe injury happens when a motorcycle rider is not wearing one. When someone sustains a brain injury in a motorcycle accident, they often have physical and cognitive defects. Some brain injuries can benefit from surgery; however, many people have permanent damage. Spinal Cord Injuries The spinal cord is very sensitive, and any injury tends to be catastrophic. Spinal cord injuries often occur when a motorcycle rider lands on their back or neck. In other cases, a rider is pierced by an object or pinned under the motorcycle, causing damage to the spine. Depending on what part of the spinal cord is damaged, victims can be left paralyzed. Some people cannot walk again, while others may not be able to move their arms or even speak and eat on their own again. Internal Organs Internal organ damage and internal bleeding are also common in motorcycle accidents. If a doctor doesn’t diagnose the injuries timely, they can be fatal. Internal bleeding is not visible, which is what makes it extremely dangerous. Internal damage can come from blunt-force trauma, such as something hitting the body but not penetrating the skin, or it can occur if something sharp punctures the skin. Lacerations and Road Rash If a motorcycle rider is not wearing protective gear, the risk of lacerations and road rash can increase. Some riders drop their motorcycle or fly off during the impact, causing them to slide across the ground. Road rash can happen on any part of the body, but the most common areas are the arms, legs, and back. Road rash can be serious, especially if not taken care of quickly. There’s a risk of infection and scarring. Broken Bones and Fractures During an impact, it’s not uncommon for motorcycle riders to fall from their bike. When they hit the ground, their body may land in an unnatural position. The rider can sustain a fracture or break in the bone. Ankle injuries are common as riders don’t always wear high ankle boots. Leg fractures are also common motorcycle crash injuries, especially if a motorcycle pins the rider during a collision. Legal Assistance for Alabama Motorcycle Accident Victims When you are involved in a motorcycle injury accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you could benefit from a skilled personal injury lawyer. Fob James Law Firm has years of experience helping injured victims just like you. Our priority is to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We take fewer cases than other Alabama personal injury firms because we believe in giving each client the full attention their case deserves.  We offer a free consultation, so there is no obligation when you meet with our legal team. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact Fob James Law Firm today.

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Common Nursing Home Injuries to Sue for in Alabama

Nursing home neglect and abuse are growing problems around the country. When you decide to move your family member to a nursing home facility, you expect the facility will treat them with respect and professionalism; however, that does not always happen. If you believe your family member is a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s crucial to contact an Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer right away. At Fob James Law Firm, we understand what a traumatic experience this can be for both your loved one and your family. Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about holding the nursing facility responsible.    Types of Nursing Home Injuries Common nursing home injuries include falls, medication errors, and bedsores. Falls in Nursing Homes Falls represent one of the most common injuries in nursing homes. While older people are more prone to falls due to gait issues or muscle weakness, nursing home factors can also play a role. For example, wet floors in the hallway can be treacherous for an older person with mobility problems. Lack of lighting can lead to a resident tripping over something on the floor. Incorrect bed height can cause someone to fall when they try to get out of bed in the morning. Nursing homes should be closely monitoring residents who have a high risk of falling. If the staff is not monitoring high-risk patients because the facility is short-staffed or the employees are being negligent, accidents happen. These residents may be victims of nursing home neglect. Bedsores in Bedridden Residents Many people transferred to a nursing home are there because they are unable to take care of themselves. That includes the ability to get up and out of bed on their own. Nursing home residents rely on the staff for their care. Nursing home staff should bathe them, clean them up, change their bed linens, etc. When a bedridden patient is not regularly rotated and moved, this increases the pressure on the skin. This can cause bedsores, which most commonly occur on the tailbone, hips, buttocks, heels, and ankles. Medication Errors Residents of nursing homes are usually on at least one prescription medication, generally more. When you have a lack of adequate staff or overworked employees, the propensity for medication errors increases. Some of the most common errors include giving the wrong medication, not giving medicines at all, or overdosing. Medication errors have serious consequences, even proving fatal for some residents who don’t receive the necessary drugs or receive the wrong dosage. Contact an Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Nursing home residents have federal rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Some of these rights include the right to freedom from neglect, abuse, or mistreatment and the right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs. If you suspect your family member is in severe and immediate danger, you should contact 911. Holding the facility accountable for nursing home abuse and neglect is important. It can also prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy you have. At Fob James Law Firm, we take fewer personal injury cases than other similar firms. We believe in devoting the best resources available to each client. We have years of experience with nursing home abuse and neglect cases and are here to help you and your loved ones. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, contact our office today. Let us help you protect your family member’s rights and ensure the nursing home does not harm anyone else’s loved ones.

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Do I Need an Injury Lawyer in Alabama?

If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to someone else’s actions, you might be wondering who will take care of your medical expenses and reimburse you for time missed from work. Understandably you want the responsible party to compensate you for your damages. You may be asking the question, Do I need a personal injury lawyer?  In many situations, retaining an Alabama personal injury lawyer is beneficial to your case. However, you want to make sure you’re hiring the right Alabama personal injury lawyer for you. At Fob James Law Firm, we believe in quality over quantity. We take fewer cases when compared to some other firms. Their priority is to sign as many clients as possible without regard to the client’s needs or protecting their rights. We devote all available resources to each client. Not every case requires assistance from an injury lawyer, but many do. Here’s a look at some situations where you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer in Alabama. If you have any questions or would like to speak with a member of our team, contact us today. Disputed Liability When there is a dispute in liability, you should consider speaking with an injury lawyer. Alabama is one of the only remaining contributory negligence states. What that means is if the insurance company can successfully pin even 1% of the blame on you, you won’t be able to collect money for your damages. The other party’s insurance company will look to put any blame on you to get out of paying the claim. But don’t despair—a skilled injury attorney can help you prove that you weren’t at fault for the accident. Severe or Catastrophic Injuries When your injuries are severe, you need an injury lawyer with experience handling catastrophic injuries. You should never agree to a settlement or sign a release of all claims without speaking with an attorney first. Some insurance companies may offer you a payment early on in the case to limit their liability. This tactic is common when the adjuster suspects your case involves severe injuries with permanent damage and future medical expenses. Unfortunately, if you resolve your claim and find out you are not fully healed and need more treatment a month later, you cannot return to the insurance company to demand more money. Be especially cautious if you resolve different portions of your case independently. Consider a car accident case, for example. You might settle the property damage portion earlier in the process. Adjusters sometimes try to get you to sign something agreeing that cashing the check extinguishes all claims. Multiple Parties Involved Cases involving more than one at-fault party can be complicated to resolve as well. Perhaps you were in an accident with a large commercial truck. You may have a claim against the driver, the trucking company, and possibly even a part manufacturer if there is an alleged product defect. An attorney can help you sort through the evidence to identify all liable parties and potential sources of compensation. Your Claim Was Denied  If you believe the insurance company unfairly denied your claim, you need to file a lawsuit. You should not proceed into litigation without an attorney on your side. Litigation can be costly and complicated. Do you have the necessary fees and costs you can pay upfront? When you retain the right personal injury firm, your attorney will handle all the associated litigation costs. Most injury lawyers bill on a contingency basis. They will take a percentage of your settlement plus fees and costs only if they successfully recover compensation on your behalf.   Contact Fob James Law Firm Today If you are unsure whether you need an injury attorney, there’s no harm in scheduling an initial consultation. Because most injury attorneys bill on a contingency basis, you have nothing to lose by attending a meeting. When you meet with one of our attorneys, we will go over your case and advise you of the best course of legal action. We will also likely tell you what we believe your case to be potentially worth. We will inform you upfront whether your case looks promising or whether there is clear evidence of your contributory fault that would bar you from recovery. If you are already in negotiations with the insurance carrier and close to settling for a reasonable amount, we may recommend you continue on your own. Every case is different. Let us have the opportunity to review your specific situation and help you find the right course of action. Contact the Alabama personal injury lawyers at Fob James Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable team.

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What Is the Process for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Insurance Claim?

Dealing with the other driver’s insurance company following an accident is stressful enough. However, it’s often more challenging when you’re riding a motorcycle. Despite what the at-fault driver’s insurance company wants you to believe, they aren’t on your side. They have one goal—to reduce their overall payout. Don’t be intimidated by the motorcycle claims process and consider walking away, as you could be giving up a lot of money that is rightfully owed to you. Instead, hire an experienced Birmingham motorcycle claims attorney to represent you. Then, you won’t have to speak with the insurance company at all.   At Fob James Law Firm, LLC., we have years of experience assisting injured motorcycle victims with filing their claims. We understand the tactics that insurance companies use when dealing with accident victims. When you retain us immediately following an accident, we will deal with the other driver’s insurance company directly, so you don’t have to. If you are on the fence about hiring an attorney, here’s what you need to know about filing a motorcycle insurance claim in Alabama on your own. What Type of Claim Do You Need to File? There are two main types of claims when you are looking to collect compensation from the other driver. These are property damage and personal injury claims. Your property damage claim is for the damages sustained to your motorcycle. If you were at fault or you hit a stationary object, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have applicable coverage. First-party property coverages are collision and comprehensive. Collision would apply when you strike a fixed object or hit someone else, and the accident is your fault. Comprehensive is for non-collision damage, such as dropping your bike. These coverage types typically have a deductible that you need to meet before the insurance company pays your claim. When someone else is at fault, you will present a third-party claim to their insurance. If a shop can repair your motorcycle, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might cover repair costs. If the auto shop cannot fix it, the insurance company may pay for the value of your motorcycle minus salvage. A third-party personal injury claim is for your injuries. Before you can receive compensation in a personal injury claim, you have to prove liability against the other driver. You could be entitled to recover compensation for your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, your physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc. Preparing for Filing a Motorcycle Insurance Claim The most important thing to have for your claim is preserved evidence. Provided you can do so safely, try to obtain as many photos as possible before moving your motorcycle or the other vehicles from the accident site. You want to capture all the damage to your motorcycle and the other car. Include pictures of skid marks and anything else that could be an essential part of your claim, such as road conditions, weather, etc. Be sure to exchange information with the other driver and ask to see their identification. You also want to contact the police and wait for them to arrive, especially if you are injured. If you do not require transport to the hospital from the accident scene, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you delay treatment or skip appointments, the other driver’s insurance may use that against you to claim your symptoms aren’t related to the accident. Motorcycle Insurance Claim Process If you are filing a claim with your own insurance company, you may need to contact your agent (if you have one) or contact the claims number for your carrier. You may need to sign a proof of claim form, which you need to verify is correct. When presenting a first-party claim, your insurance company must act in your best interest or you could accuse them of bad faith. If you are making a third-party claim, you will need to contact the other driver’s insurance company to file that claim. This insurance company owes you no duty, which is why you need to be cautious of what you say. They will want you to provide a recorded statement. You should not do so without legal representation. When an insurance company wants you to make a statement without your lawyer present, they are hoping you will say something they can use against you. Then, they can use your own words to deny your claim outright or reduce your overall claim value. Once they process the claim, an adjuster is assigned. The adjuster opens an investigation and asks you to send all supporting information, including the police report, photos of the damage, medical records, employment records, and more. They use this information to decide whether your claim has merit.  Please be advised that the insurance company’s primary goal is to reduce their own exposure. You can expect the adjuster to place as much fault on you as possible and argue that your medical bills are excessive or that you were treated longer than you should have been for this type of injury. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you are inexperienced in the legal process and negotiations. That is one reason why having an attorney represent you is beneficial. We know what to look for, and will not let the insurance company undervalue your claim or unfairly deny it. Settling a Motorcycle Claim Once you have presented a demand letter and engaged in negotiations, your claim may settle. You should speak with an experienced Birmingham motorcycle accident attorney before agreeing to the settlement and signing a release of all future claims. Once you sign the release, you cannot return to the insurance company for additional compensation if you need further treatment down the road. Insurance companies may also include tricky language in the check memo, noting you forfeit the right to any further claims, which could be problematic if you resolve your property damage and bodily injury claims at separate times....

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What Uninsured Drivers in Alabama Should Know

The Alabama car insurance laws require vehicle owners and drivers to carry liability insurance. Despite these requirements, a significant percentage of Alabama drivers do not have insurance. Getting caught driving while uninsured is a crime. If you get caught, you face criminal charges and a substantial fine. If you obey the law and have at least the minimum required amount of auto liability coverage, you still face a substantial risk of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver. If an uninsured driver’s actions cause you to sustain injuries, you could find yourself in a dire financial situation. One of the best ways to avoid this risk is to carry uninsured motorist insurance on your own policy. That way, even if the at-fault party has no coverage, you have a way to cover your medical bills and car repair costs. You can also consult an experienced Alabama car accident attorney to explore your other options for seeking justice.  The Fob James Law Firm helps our clients get the justice and financial compensation they deserve. We can even help with getting your own insurance company to pay your uninsured motorist claim. We offer a free consultation and case review, to help you get the answers and information you need. What Are the Alabama Car Insurance Requirements? Alabama’s car insurance laws mandate that all drivers and vehicle owners have liability insurance. The law requires that you carry a minimum of $25,000 per person ($50,000 max per accident) in liability coverage for bodily injury. In addition, you must carry at least $25,000 in personal property damage liability coverage. The statutes also require the inclusion of uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage in Alabama car insurance policies. However, you have the right under the law to refuse UM/UIM coverage. For you to reject UM/UIM, your insurance carrier must have you sign a rejection form. If you do not sign a rejection form, then your policy under the law will include UM/UIM coverage. The Risk of Uninsured Drivers in Alabama Data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that, on average, 12.6% of American drivers do not have car insurance coverage. Alabama’s numbers fall far below the average. In fact, almost 20% of Alabama motorists are uninsured, ranking our state the seventh worst in the United States. Without question, uninsured drivers pose a growing problem in our state. Alabama also has a high rate of motor vehicle collisions. In 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available), an accident occurred in Alabama every 3 minutes and 18 seconds. Someone sustained an injury in a car crash every 11 minutes and 19 seconds. With this high volume of accidents, your odds of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver are significant. What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Alabama? If you drive without insurance, you could face misdemeanor criminal charges. The penalties for driving uninsured in Alabama could put you in jail for up to six months. You could face a fine of up to $3,000 or more, depending on how many times you get caught. You could also lose your driver’s license and vehicle registration for six months or more. After multiple offenses, the state could impound your vehicle. As stiff as the penalties are for driving without car insurance, you could face a more serious situation if you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist. If the uninsured driver is at fault, you have little hope of recovering compensation for your physical, financial, or emotional damages. You won’t have any way to pay your medical bills or cover your living expenses while you can’t work. The best way to avoid getting into this dire situation is to carry uninsured motorist insurance on your own auto policy. How Does Uninsured Motorist Work? When you add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy, you have coverage to fall back on when you need it. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can submit a claim on your policy. You can purchase coverage that pays for medical treatment as well as property damage. This way, your medical bills and car repair or replacement will be covered—assuming you purchase enough coverage to handle a serious injury accident. When you add this coverage to your policy, you can also add coverage for underinsured motorists. Many drivers carry only the state minimum coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury. If you are seriously hurt, that likely won’t go far enough to pay your medical bills. Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in under those circumstances and continues to pay for your treatment until you reach your policy limits. Again, purchasing enough coverage is important if you want to be protected under any circumstances. How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do I Need? To determine how much uninsured motorist coverage you need, consider what it might cost if you have a serious accident. For example, if your car was totaled, how much would you need to replace it? More importantly, how much could your medical bills be if you sustain severe injuries? An extended hospital stay can easily reach $100,000 or more if you require surgery or any extended care. The good news is that, for most drivers, uninsured motorist insurance is highly affordable. Most drivers can get $100,000 of coverage for less than $150 per year. So, you may find yourself wondering, Is uninsured motorist coverage worth it? We want you to know that the unequivocal answer is yes.  When Should You Contact an Alabama Car Accident Attorney? If you get into legal trouble for driving without car insurance in Alabama, you can pay your fines and serve your time, or you can contact a criminal defense attorney. If you get hit by someone without insurance, that’s the time to consider how a personal injury lawyer can help. An attorney can help determine whether the at-fault party has any assets you can pursue legally. They can also help you explore other options for getting justice. Another occasion...

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Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance in Alabama?

If you get into an accident that someone else caused, the other driver is liable for your damages. If that driver does not have car insurance, the chances of recovering compensation directly from them are small. If you carry uninsured motorist insurance on your own auto policy, however, that coverage can help with your medical bills and car repairs. Alabama’s insurance laws require all drivers to carry liability insurance. Nevertheless, thousands of uninsured drivers take to the streets every day. If you sustain injuries in a collision you didn’t cause, an Alabama car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need. The Fob James Law Firm provides aggressive legal representation to injury accident victims. We deal with the insurance companies and handle the complex negotiations to get the maximum possible compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance? The uninsured motorist insurance definition comes as no surprise. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is an add-on component to a standard auto insurance policy. UM provides coverage when the policyholder has an accident with a motorist who does not have insurance. Similar to UM coverage, you can also purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This coverage helps you if the at-fault driver did not carry sufficient insurance to pay for your damages. Insurance companies often offer these two coverages together. What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover? Typically, UM pays for your injury treatment and that of your passengers, if applicable. Depending on your policy, UM may also pay for property damage if the other driver was at fault. When purchasing car insurance, make sure to ask the agent or carrier specifically what your policy covers. If your car is badly damaged or totaled in an accident with an uninsured driver, you want to make sure you have the necessary coverage. Otherwise, you won’t have any financial assistance to repair or replace the vehicle. Do the Alabama Insurance Laws Require Uninsured Motorist Insurance? Alabama’s Mandatory Liability Insurance Law requires motorists to carry liability insurance. Minimum coverage limits are $25,000 bodily injury (per person), $50,000 bodily injury (aggregate), and $25,000 in personal property coverage. Alabama law also requires UM and UIM coverage to be offered by the insurance company in all auto policies written in the state, with coverage limits to match the liability minimum requirements. However, the law goes on to allow motorists to decline UM/UIM coverage without penalty. So, while Alabama law requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to be offered, it also does not require you to carry this type of insurance. In order for the insurance carrier to not include UM/UIM coverage as part of its insured’s policy, the insurance carrier must get a signed rejection from its insured. Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Worth It? According to the Insurance Research Council, as many as one in eight U.S. drivers are uninsured.  Although Alabama requires motorists to carry liability insurance, your chances of getting into an accident with an uninsured motorist are significant. If you don’t carry UM coverage, you may not have any way to pay for your medical treatment. If your injuries prevent you from working, you won’t have the ability to pay your bills and living expenses. Underinsured motorist insurance is also important. Even if the other driver has insurance, it might not be enough to cover your damages. At $25,000, Alabama’s minimum liability requirements are very low. Should you require extensive medical treatment, your bills will quickly exceed that sum. Fortunately, UM/UIM coverage is affordable. According to a review of some insurance websites, the average cost of uninsured motorist insurance is much lower than the cost of liability insurance. For $100,000 of coverage, the average cost ranges from $86 to $134 per year. Even better, the average cost of car insurance in Alabama is almost 5% lower than the national average. Your rates will vary depending on your age, driving record, and other factors. However, the affordability of UM coverage makes it worthwhile for everyone to carry. What If the Insurance Company Denies Your Uninsured Motorist Claim? Sometimes, even your own insurance company could deny your claim. In other cases, the insurer might agree to pay only a fraction of your claim’s actual value. If that happens, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help. In most car accident injury claims, you pursue compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies regularly try to minimize their financial liability. They attempt to deny valid claims or reduce their value in any way possible. For this reason, car accident attorneys discourage speaking to the insurance company or providing any statement. If you must submit a claim through your own uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, you could encounter some of the same challenges. Even though you are the insured, insurance companies still look for ways to deny or minimize claims. After any type of motor vehicle collision, consider consulting an attorney as soon as possible. In a situation where the at-fault party might be uninsured, talking to a lawyer can be even more important. Your attorney can investigate the accident and explore the details of the at-fault party to determine what your options might be for recovering compensation. If you do have to file a claim with your insurance company, your attorney can help make certain that the insurer upholds its obligations to you under your policy.  Schedule a Free Consultation with an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer After an accident, you need someone on your side. The experienced attorneys of the Fob James Law Firm will fight tirelessly to get you the justice and fair financial compensation you deserve. Our attentive and highly personalized level of service gets results, as you can see from our past settlements and awards. Although our past case results might not reflect the outcome of your case, you can rest assured that we will do what it takes to get the best possible results for you. We assist clients in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. Call...

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