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Attorney Portrait Auto Accidents

Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases in Birmingham

Being injured in a car accident is a frustrating experience. You have likely lost time from work in addition to paying for medical bills and car repairs.  Understandably, you want to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and receive compensation for you for your damages. However, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to pursue a claim. There is a statute of limitations for suing over a car accident in Alabama. If you need assistance pursuing a claim for damages resulting from a car accident, let our experienced Birmingham car accident lawyers help. What Is the Statute of Limitations in Alabama for Car Accidents? In general, you have only two years to file a lawsuit for a car accident claim in Alabama. If you wait until the statute of limitations has passed, the court will likely bar you from recovery. That means you will collect nothing for your injuries, physical damages, or pain and suffering. It’s not uncommon for the defendant’s insurance company to drag out the claim, hoping you’ll miss the statute of limitations. If you are in negotiations with their insurance company beforehand and miss the deadline, they are not obligated to pay you anything even if you were close to a settlement. That is one reason why it’s essential to contact an attorney at the start of your claim. At Fob James Law Firm, we will handle all negotiations and ensure a lawsuit has been timely filed. Alabama Car Accident Settlement Process The time it takes for a car accident claim to resolve is different from case to case. It depends on a lot of factors, including the facts of the accident and the severity of your injuries. Cases involving relatively minor property damage and injuries could resolve in as quickly as two to three months. Cases involving serious injuries, significant time off work, and even future disability could take a year or longer to resolve. However, cases with disputed liability or other aggravating circumstances may not settle before the statute of limitations expires. These cases require filing a lawsuit. The time it takes to resolve in litigation will vary. If the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t agree to settle, we will prepare to take your case to trial. That could be another year or more away. Speaking with one of our Birmingham car accident attorneys can help you understand your specific case’s timeline. Pitfalls and Things to Look Out for When Suing over a Car Accident in Alabama When you attempt to handle your own car accident claim, there’s a higher chance of making mistakes along the way. While some of these may be minor, others can jeopardize your entire case. Some potential errors include: Not seeking medical treatment quickly after the accident; Waiting too long to file a claim or lawsuit; Not getting enough documentation of your damages; Giving a recorded statement to the defendant’s insurance company; Settling your claim for the first offer; and Hiring a lawyer that doesn’t specialize in auto accident cases. When you retain our firm right after the accident, we can help you avoid these pitfalls. Your attorney will explain the importance of seeking medical treatment early on. We can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so you aren’t coerced into making a statement that can be used against you. We will also make sure the insurance company doesn’t delay your claim or try to get you to resolve it for far less than it’s worth. Contact a Birmingham Car Accident Attorney If you need assistance with a Birmingham car accident claim, let Fob James Law Firm help. We have decades of experience assisting clients just like you. We understand the tactics insurance companies use and know all the ways to fight them. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Our goal is to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.

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Attorney Portrait Auto Accidents

How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Birmingham

It’s no secret your car loses value the longer you drive it. Unfortunately, after a car accident, your vehicle will be worth even less than usual. If your vehicle sustained damages after a collision, you may be able to file a diminished value claim to recover compensation. What Is a Diminished Value Claim? A diminished value claim allows you to collect damages for your vehicle if it was damaged and its value has decreased. There are three types of diminished value: Immediate: the difference in your vehicle’s value before the accident and after the repairs; Inherent: the most common type, pertaining to the loss of value simply due to the collision; and Repair-related: the value lost from poor repair work following a car accident. When it comes time to trade in or sell your vehicle, it is likely to be challenging. Nowadays, it’s impossible to hide a car’s previous history. Your auto accident will undoubtedly be revealed, along with the repairs, and the vehicle will be worth much less. Even if the car is perfectly repaired and looks like new, the fact that it was involved in a collision remains.  How to File a Diminished Value Claim Alabama is one of few states that allow drivers to file diminished value claims. The statute of limitations for diminished value claims in Alabama is six years from the date of the accident. Diminished value claims are brought against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. You may file a diminished value claim in Alabama unless: You were at fault for the accident; The damage was due to something other than the auto collision; or You are an uninsured motorist.  An attorney can help you file your diminished value claim. They will contact the at-fault party and their insurance company, as well as calculate your vehicle’s value. Your attorney may consult with outside parties to accurately calculate the diminished value. After the at-fault party’s insurance company reviews your diminished value claim, they will either deny the claim or offer a low settlement. In either situation, your attorney can communicate back and forth with the insurance company to reach a favorable outcome. How to Prove Diminished Value Proving the diminished value of your vehicle can be challenging. You can consult various resources to try to come up with a calculation, but every situation is different. Many factors go into proving diminished value, including: The accident itself; The damage your vehicle sustained; How old the car is; The make and model; and The current market. It is best to consult with an attorney to help prove the diminished value of your vehicle.  Contact an Alabama Car Accident Attorney Navigating a diminished value claim on your own can be quite the task. There is plenty that goes into these claims, but an Alabama car accident lawyer will know best how to handle it. They can help calculate the value of your diminished value claim and communicate with the insurance company to help reach just compensation. The Fob James Law Firm has over 40 years of experience helping clients after auto collisions. We have the knowledge and expertise to help you attain a favorable outcome. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your case. 

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How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident in Birmingham

After a car accident, you may experience many worries and have plenty to do. You’ll seek medical treatment, deal with the insurance companies, and possibly face various expenses. Unless it’s obvious, one of the most important things you are left to do is determine who was at fault in the accident. Determining who is at fault in a car accident can make all the difference in your case. How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident? It is not always evident who is the at-fault party in a car accident. It may require an investigation to determine who was truly at fault. At the scene of the accident, police officers will make their preliminary investigation to determine the primary collision factor. They will then use all information collected for their police report. Aside from the police report, your attorney can use various tools to help determine fault. These include: Photos and evidence from the scene of the accident; Surveillance camera footage; and Eyewitness statements. Determining who is at fault is crucial when filing a claim and attempting to receive compensation for your injuries.  Can You Share Fault in an Accident? Yes, you can share fault in an accident. Alabama operates under a contributory negligence standard. This means that if a party is at fault—even if they slightly contributed to the accident—they cannot claim damages.   For example, if you hit a pedestrian crossing the street, you may initially be deemed the at-fault party. But if the pedestrian was distracted on their phone while attempting to cross the street and did not have the right of way, they would be assigned contributory negligence. Therefore, you would not have to pay damages. After a car accident, the other party may claim shared fault to avoid paying damages. An attorney can help you with this.  Injured in an accident? We can help with a free-case analysis Begin Free Case Review Here What Is Minor Fault? Insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid paying an injured party. Many times they will try to assign minor fault. As previously stated, because Alabama is a contributory negligence state, even the slightest contribution to the accident could mean zero compensation. If this occurs, you must contact a car accident attorney. An experienced attorney will know how to handle your case best and fight against the insurance company. Contact an Alabama Car Accident Attorney After a car accident, an attorney is your best ally. Determining fault can be challenging and involved, but an experienced car accident attorney knows how to handle this material aspect of your case.  Fob James Law Firm has over 40 years of experience, offering clients the absolute best service. We are dedicated to helping clients injured in car accidents obtain just compensation and the best possible outcomes. Contact us today, and let’s see how we can help you.

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When to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Birmingham

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you should hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You should contact a lawyer soon after receiving proper medical treatment for your injuries. The personal injury legal process can be stressful and intimidating. Working with a lawyer can help to minimize your stress levels so you can focus on your rehabilitation. Additionally, a lawyer can file your case within the statute of limitations and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.  Statute of Limitations A statute of limitations provides the time frame during which you must file your case. Failing to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires prohibits you from filing it. Statutes of limitation are important to understand because you may not feel the effects of your injury until some time has passed after the accident. The statute of limitations for most Alabama personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident. However, there are some notable exceptions. Minors and Mentally Incompetent Persons If you were a minor at the time you suffered your injury, you have two years from the date you turn 19 to file your case. If incapacitated at the time of the injury, you have two years from the date a court declares you mentally competent to file your lawsuit. Lawsuits Against Government Entities Another exception arises when the defendant’s employer is a town, city, or county and was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. In these cases, you must file a written notice of claim before you can file a lawsuit. If the defendant is a city or town, you must file a notice of the claim within six months of the accident. If the defendant is a county, you must file a notice of claim within one year of the accident. Hiring a personal injury lawyer soon after your accident can help ensure that your case gets filed on time. Compensation You Could Receive The compensation you could receive for injuries sustained during a car accident can be in the form of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic Damages Economic damages are most commonly awarded to plaintiffs in accident cases. Examples include lost wages and medical expenses. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages are compensation for mental and emotional pain. Examples include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. Punitive Damages Courts award punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s conduct went beyond ordinary negligence. The State of Alabama caps punitive damages at the greater of: Three times the sum of economic and non-economic damages, or  $1,500,000. Their purpose is to punish the defendant and deter others from performing similar conduct. Why Hire the Personal Injury Attorneys at the Fob James Law Firm? If you’ve suffered injuries resulting from a car accident in Birmingham, our aggressive personal injury attorneys at the Fob James Law Firm will handle every aspect of your case with your best interests in mind. We’ll give your case the one-on-one attention it deserves. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Auto Accidents

How to Get a Copy of Your Birmingham Accident Report

If you get into a car accident in Birmingham, the responding police officer usually creates a report that includes the involved parties and details of the accident. This Birmingham accident report plays a crucial role in your claim and often determines how much an insurance company offers you. How Do I Get a Copy of My Birmingham, Alabama Accident Report? If the Birmingham Police Department responds to your crash, there are several ways you can pick up your Birmingham, Alabama accident report. The Records Division allows you to purchase reports online, in-person, or through the mail, while the Alabama Department of Public Safety allows you to order reports over the phone, through the mail, or online. Related: How to Read a Birmingham Accident Report Online To obtain your Birmingham accident report online, visit the Birmingham Police Department website and fill out a Public Records Request form. To get your report, you will need the following information: Name of the drivers involved; Location of occurrence; Date of occurrence; and Case number. Birmingham, Alabama accident reports cost $5.00 per copy. Before you order the report, make sure to contact the Records Division at 205-254-6308 to make sure the report is available.  The Department of Public Safety also offers a Uniform Traffic Accident Report through the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency website. Search for your report using the information listed above. Keep in mind that it takes up to 10 business days from the date of the crash for accident reports to be available online. Each PDF copy of your Birmingham accident report through the ALEA costs $17.00. Injured in an accident? We can help with a free-case analysis Begin Free Case Review Here In-Person To get your Birmingham accident report in-person, you need to visit the Birmingham Police Department Headquarters at the following address: Birmingham Police Department Headquarters1710 1st Avenue NorthBirmingham, AL 35203Phone: 205-254-6308Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.Get Directions Each copy of your Birmingham accident report costs $5.00. The Birmingham Police Department also notarizes accident reports for $6.00. By Mail or Over the Phone To get your report by mail, you may mail a certified check or a money order to the Birmingham Police Department or to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. If you order through the Birmingham Police Department, include identifying information on your accident and a return address. Make sure to send your request to the address listed above. If you order a Birmingham, Alabama accident report from the Department of Public Safety, you must fill out a Crash Report Request Form. Make sure to include the names of drivers involved, the location/date of the accident, and the driver’s license number of each driver. Print the form and send it to the following address: Alabama Law Enforcement AgencyCrash ReportsP.O. Box 1471Montgomery, AL 36102-1472 Birmingham accident reports from the Department of Public Safety cost $15.00 per copy. If you want to order your report over the phone using a credit or debit card, call the Department of Public Safety at 334-242-4241. Contact an Experienced Birmingham Car Accident Attorney Today If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you need an attorney that aggressively fights for you. At the Fob James Law Firm, our Birmingham car accident attorneys provide the attention your case deserves. Since we take fewer cases, we have more time to focus on you. If you need help obtaining your Birmingham accident report or would like a free consultation, give us a call at 205-728-2474 or contact us online.

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Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions in Alabama

If you sustained injuries in a rear-end collision in Alabama, you may have the right to recover compensation from the party who hit you. These potentially serious accidents are a growing problem for Alabama motorists. Both drivers and passengers can sustain catastrophic or life-threatening injuries. You may require extensive medical treatment and recovery, preventing you from working or engaging in your normal activities. Many victims sustain long-term or permanent disability. To learn more about what causes most rear-end collisions in Alabama, or for help recovering the compensation you deserve, talk to a Birmingham car accident lawyer at the Fob James Law Firm. What Causes Most Rear-End Collisions? According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, driver errors were a contributing factor to at least 114,734 total traffic crashes in Alabama in 2018, rear-end collisions being one of the most frequently occurring types of collisions. The following are the leading causes for most rear-end collisions in Alabama: Tailgating, Misjudging the distance required to stop, Speeding, Impaired driving, Tired or fatigued driving, Distracted driving, and Losing vehicle control. Other factors that can cause or contribute to rear-end crashes include weather factors (such as wet roads) and vehicle component failure (such as faulty brakes). Roadway obstructions, third-party vehicles, and drivers who fail to yield or who pull into traffic unexpectedly can also contribute to rear-end collisions. Injured in an accident? We can help with a free-case analysis Begin Free Case Review Here Rear-End Motor Vehicle Crash Stats According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle crashes. In fact, the number of rear-end crashes that occur each year in the U.S. is about the same as the number of angle crashes, sideswipes, and head-on collisions added together. In 2019, more than 56,000 rear-end crashes occurred in Alabama, resulting in thousands of incapacitating injuries and fatalities, according to the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS). Data from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) indicates that rear-end vehicle collisions pose a growing threat to Alabama motorists. No matter how carefully you drive, you can’t control the actions of other motorists on the roadway. What Kind of Injuries Result from Rear-End Accidents? Being struck from behind by another vehicle can lead to catastrophic or life-threatening injuries. Some of the most common injuries that result from this type of collision include: Neck injuries, Spine injuries, Facial injuries, Head injuries, Fractures, Dislocations, and Internal injuries. Even a seemingly minimal impact can cause whiplash—a complex injury involving the bones, nerves, and soft tissue of the neck and upper spine. Many victims do not develop symptoms of whiplash and other injuries for days or weeks after a collision. If you were hit from behind by another vehicle, seek medical attention immediately and then contact an Alabama car accident lawyer. What Are Your Legal Options After a Rear-End Car Accident? If you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision, a legal concept known as no-doubt liability may apply to your claim. In cases of no-doubt liability, the courts assign fault to the driver of the rear vehicle. Alabama, however, recognizes the doctrine of contributory negligence. This means that if you are found to have negligently contributed to the accident–even 1%–your claim may be denied. As a result, the rear vehicle’s driver (or his or her insurance company) will frequently argue that you contributed in some way to the crash. Insurance carriers routinely deny claims on the false assertion that you contributed to the accident. For this reason, even when the rear vehicle’s driver is clearly at fault, you may need an accident attorney to aggressively advocate on your behalf. Rear-end collision attorneys can help victims pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. If your attorney cannot obtain an acceptable settlement from the insurance company, you may be able to pursue compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. You may have the right to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic losses. Talk to an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer for Help Fighting to get the compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries can be challenging. The experienced car accident lawyers of the Fob James Law Firm can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation or to speak with one of our Alabama rear-end collision attorneys.

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