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Attorney Portrait Articles

What to Do When Insurance Companies Drag Their Feet?

When you present a personal injury claim to a defendant’s insurance company, you expect them to handle your claim with professionalism and try to resolve it within a reasonable amount of time. In other situations, you may encounter delays from your own insurance company. When an insurance company delays resolving a claim, it may be guilty of acting in bad faith. If you suspect the insurance company is dragging its feet, speak with the experienced Birmingham personal injury lawyers at the Fob James Law Firm. Types of Bad Faith Claims There are two main types of bad faith claims. These are first-party and third-party bad faith. First-party bad faith claims involve your own insurance company, while third-party bad faith claims involve another party’s insurance company. Examples of Bad Faith Actions by Insurance Companies Every bad faith claim is different, but there are certain actions we see more commonly than others. Lengthy Delays Settling an insurance claim can sometimes be a lengthy process. Some delays and waiting are to be expected. However, when the insurance company takes an unreasonably long time to respond to you and has not provided any reason for the delay, it could be bad faith. Lowball Offers When an insurance company intentionally undervalues your claim to reduce their own payout, you have the right to counter them with a reasonable demand. If your case is clearly worth more and they refuse to entertain reasonable settlement discussions, they may be acting in bad faith. Unexplained Denials Insurance companies have a duty to investigate your claim. Sometimes they may deny at the onset due to a coverage issue, which should be explained. If there is coverage and they conduct an investigation, they cannot deny your claim with no explanation. If the insurance company unfairly denies your claim or refuses to offer any reason why they denied it, this can also be bad faith. Using Illegal Tactics While less common, some insurance companies engage in illegal behaviors to avoid paying out a claim. They may withhold a witness, alter evidence, or partake in other deceitful activity to undermine your claim. Steps to Take When the Insurance Company Is Dragging Their Feet When you think an insurance company is intentionally delaying settling your insurance claim, you should be persistent. Continue to contact the assigned adjuster. Don’t just leave voicemails but send emails as well to create a paper trail. Ask for specific details. For example, if they say a supervisor is reviewing the case, ask when you will receive an update or when the review will be done. Try asking to speak with the adjuster’s supervisor. If the adjuster will not put you through, call back on the general number and ask for the supervisor on your claim. Consider sending a formal demand letter in writing. This step shows the insurance company you are serious, and they must address and respond to your demand letter. Your next step is to contact an Alabama bad faith insurance lawyer who can help. At the Fob James Law Firm, we deal with insurance companies on a daily basis and know how to recognize these bad faith tactics. If you suspect bad faith claims handling in your own case, please contact our office right away. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you. We will review your case, confirm whether you have a viable bad faith claim, and let you know how to proceed. 

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Attorney Portrait Accident Reports

How to Get a Copy of Your Tuscaloosa Accident Report

If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision in Tuscaloosa, you might be considering filing a legal claim with the other driver’s insurance company. In most cases, you will need a copy of your accident report to get the process started. After a motor vehicle collision, the police officer reporting to the scene will complete and file an Alabama Uniform Traffic Crash Report form. This form contains a variety of valuable information that will be required for pursuing a legal claim or lawsuit. You can obtain Tuscaloosa car accident reports in a few different ways, some of which are easier than others. How to Get a Copy of an Accident Report in Tuscaloosa, Alabama Although you can file a Tuscaloosa police report online, the police department does not provide a direct way to obtain a copy of a report electronically. Instead, their website directs you to the LexisNexis police report site. This site allows you to search police and accident reports and obtain copies. You must have been involved in the accident to review or obtain a report. You also need to have the report number or the date of the accident and last name of a driver. You can also call the police department’s non-emergency number, (205) 349-2121, and arrange to obtain a copy of your report or request one in writing through the mail. Where Is the Tuscaloosa Police Department? The Tuscaloosa Police Department is physically located at 2501 Hargrove Rd E. Tuscaloosa, AL 35405. Their phone number is (205) 349-2121, and their email address is police@tuscaloosa.com. Within the city limits, you can also use Tuscaloosa’s assistance line by dialing 311. Are There Any Other Ways to Get a Police Report in Tuscaloosa, AL? Another option for obtaining Tuscaloosa accident reports is through the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). They offer an alternative option for you to order a Tuscaloosa accident report online. For both the LexisNexis site and ALEA, you must use a major credit card to complete the order. How Much Does a Tuscaloosa Accident Report Cost? If you obtain your report from the LexisNexis database, the cost is typically $23 per a report, although this fee is subject to change at any time. If you obtain your report via the ALEA website, the cost is $17.00. Not At-Fault and Need Help With Getting a Copy of the Accident Report? If you need help with getting your Tuscaloosa accident report, reach out to us today! Request Your Accident Report Contact the Tuscaloosa Police Department for information on how much it will cost to obtain a copy of your report directly from their records office. Contact an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer for Help with a Tuscaloosa Accident Report The easiest way to get your police report is to contact an Alabama car accident attorney. Your attorney will gather all the evidence necessary to build a persuasive case on your behalf, including the accident report. At the Fob James Law Firm, our Alabama car accident lawyers work diligently to build your case and negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If necessary, our experienced litigators will file a civil lawsuit and fight to get you justice in court. You could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

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Attorney Portrait Motorcycle Accident

What You Need to Know About Riding a Motorcycle in Alabama

Motorcycles are one of the most exciting and thrilling modes of transportation. However, they are also one of the most dangerous.  Whether you are an avid motorcycle rider or someone looking to get your license, it is important to have a basic understanding of motorcycle laws and regulations so that you can stay safe. The motorcycle accident attorneys at the Fob James Law Firm have extensive experience helping motorcycle accident victims in need. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.  Motorcycle Laws and Safety Requirements in Alabama: An Overview Before you get out on the road, it’s important to be familiar with relevant Alabama motorcycle laws and regulations.  Do You Need a Motorcycle License in Alabama?  A question that people frequently ask is, “Do you need a motorcycle license in Alabama?” The short answer is yes.  Until recently, the state of Alabama did not require a special license in addition to a regular driver license) to operate a motorcycle. Now, however, you must obtain a Class M license. How to Get a Motorcycle License in Alabama The process of obtaining a motorcycle license in Alabama is relatively simple if you know where to start.  To obtain a Class M motorcycle license in Alabama, you must:  Be age 14 or above for a restricted Class M license, or age 16 or above for a non-restricted Class M license; Pass a motorcycle knowledge test designated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency; or  Complete a motorcycle safety course offered by the Alabama Motorcycle Safety Program.  Once you complete the requirements, you will be granted the same rights as a driver of any other vehicle on the road.  Motorcycle Helmet Requirements Under Alabama law, you must wear a protective helmet while riding your motorcycle.  Your helmet must: Be specifically designed for motorcycle rider and passenger use; Have a hard exterior shell of non-shatterable material;  Have a firmly secured shock absorbent cradle for the head to support the helmet and maintain separation between the head and exterior shell; Contain impact-resistant, absorbent padding or cushioning material; and Have a permanently attached adjustable chin strap to hold the helmet in place, which the rider must have on at all times while the motorcycle is in motion. It is important to follow these requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations is not only dangerous, but also subjects you to a fine of up to $100 and up to 180 days in the county jail.  What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Alabama If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a motorcyclist in Alabama, or if you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact an attorney today. While hiring an attorney may not be the first thing on your mind after an accident, an experienced lawyer can be extremely beneficial to your case.  Having an attorney in your corner can be crucial in your fight to get the compensation you need to recover, so don’t wait. The motorcycle attorneys at the Fob James Law Firm has been helping motorcyclists in Alabama for years, and we hope we can do the same for you. Contact us today, online or by phone at (205) 407-6009, to discuss your case and see how we can help.

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Attorney Portrait Motorcycle Accident

What Is a Good Settlement Amount for a Motorcycle Accident in Alabama?

In any car or motorcycle accident, the amount of damages varies widely. Because of this, it is hard to pin down an exact average amount. A good settlement for one case will not be a good settlement in another. The best way to estimate the value of your individual claim is to talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. What Variables Drive the Cost of Motorcycle Accident Settlements? There are many variables that affect what a good settlement will be in a given case. Some factors that will help determine what a good settlement is include the following.  Damages The extent and seriousness of the damage caused by an accident will have a major impact on potential settlement amounts. Medical costs The nature of any physical injuries is one of the things that will most affect your settlement. An injury could require an emergency room visit, an ambulance ride, or rehabilitation. These will all increase medical costs, which will drive up total damages. Lost wages  A physical injury can lead to lost wages or even a loss of earning capacity. If your injury has forced you to take time off work or will limit your ability to work in the future, this can increase your damages. Non-monetary damages A traumatic accident can result in significant pain and suffering, for which you are entitled to damages. It can also lead to psychological issues that affect your life. Any of these factors will increase your total damages. Property damage The total value of property damage will also drive the settlement amount. A motorcycle could be lightly damaged or totaled entirely. Other personal property may have been damaged as well. The extent of such damage and the initial value of the vehicle(s) or other property will absolutely affect the settlement amount. Fault In Alabama, the question of who is at fault in a car or motorcycle accident is essential to any settlement. Damages can be recovered only if a driver is not at fault. If a driver is shown to have been partially at fault, they cannot recover damages due to Alabama’s rules on contributory negligence. Therefore, a motorcyclist who is struck from behind by a vehicle as they are speeding dangerously in and out of traffic lanes will likely not be able to recover damages. Punitive Damages In Alabama, some extraordinary accidents will drastically increase the amount of a settlement. Alabama law awards punitive damages only in extraordinary circumstances. In the case of car and motorcycle accidents, this may include cases of wrongful death. Punitive damages may also be awarded if the party at fault intentionally or recklessly causes the accident.    If punitive damages are sought, Alabama law allows for awards of up to $1.5 million, or three times the total amount of damages, whichever is greater. If punitive damages come up in the case of a motorcycle accident, the potential settlement amount goes up quite a bit. Contact Our Alabama Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today If you have been in a motorcycle accident, call our motorcycle accident lawyers at Fob James Law Firm today.Fob James Law Firm gets results. Because our firm focuses on motor vehicle accidents, we provide a level of expertise that other firms do not. Our firm’s goal is to take client service to the next level by litigating fast and aggressively. To ensure this, our team is available 365 days a year at any hour of the day. Call us today.

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Attorney Portrait Articles

Alabama Motorcycle Safety Laws: Helmet Laws

Almost half of the country has a universal helmet law in place, including Alabama. All riders and passengers are obligated to wear a helmet at all times, no matter their age. Also, Alabama helmet laws set forth specifics on what is an approved helmet. These include details on the necessary exterior shell, cradle, padding, and chin strap. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) findings indicate that wearing a proper helmet can save thousands of lives every year. If you were involved in an Alabama motorcycle-related accident, you need a skilled Birmingham motorcycle accident attorney on your side. Other Alabama Motorcycle Laws In addition to following Alabama helmet laws, motorcycle riders must adhere to many other important regulations. Some of these laws include: Riders must have a class M endorsement on their driver license to operate a motorcycle; Riders must be 16 or older to obtain a class M endorsement; Motorcyclists are prohibited from riding between the lanes or between rows of vehicles; Riders must be sitting on the regular and permanent seat and cannot carry a passenger unless the motorcycle is designed for two and has the required footpegs; Motorcycle riders must wear shoes at all times; Riders can’t ride abreast from more than one other motorcycle in the same lane; Motorcyclists are prohibited from passing a vehicle in the same lane as the one they are overtaking; and Riders cannot carry anything on the motorcycle, like a package, if it prevents them from having both hands on the handlebars. Motorcyclists are also required to follow the same traffic safety laws as other motorists on the road. Failure to do so can result in an accident. What Happens If I Get Caught Not Wearing a Helmet While on a Motorcycle in Alabama? If you are caught by a police officer while not wearing a helmet, you could receive a fine. If you are in an accident while not wearing a helmet, you could be severely injured or even die from your injuries. Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Alabama Motorcycle accidents in Birmingham can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes of accidents we see include: Tailgating; Opening a car door into a motorcycle; Speeding; Failure to observe the motorcycle rider; Changing lanes into the motorcycle; Driving under the influence; Distracted driving; Sudden stops; Adverse weather; and Road hazards. Severe to catastrophic injuries are not uncommon in motorcycle accidents. Some injuries could’ve been reduced or even avoided entirely if the rider was wearing a helmet. There tends to be a stigma about motorcycle riders. Contrary to what most people think, motorcyclists are not always at fault in an accident. While following Alabama helmet laws, wearing proper safety gear, and taking motorcycle training can help reduce some accidents, other drivers need to watch for motorcyclists at all times. Defensive driving can also save lives. Contact Our Alabama Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t attempt to pursue an injury claim on your own. Let an experienced Birmingham motorcycle lawyer assist. With decades of experience representing clients in Alabama personal injury matters, the attorneys at Fob James Law Firm can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to schedule a free no-obligation case evaluation.

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Attorney Portrait Articles

What Are Motorcycle Laws in Birmingham?

Motorcycles can be fun and exciting and a great alternative to a regular vehicle. However, motorcycles can also pose great danger. Before getting on the road, you should become familiar with the motorcycle laws in Alabama. Motorcycle Accident Statistics Motorcycles are smaller than cars, can be less visible to other drivers, and require more skills to maneuver. For these and many other reasons, motorcycle accidents are very common. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2018. In 2016, deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents accounted for 14% of total highway crash deaths, reaching 5,337. This represents the highest number of motorcycle fatalities since data collection began in 1975. Helmets are crucial when riding motorcycles and can even be lifesaving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets saved 1,872 lives in 2017. If all motorcyclists wore helmets, 749 more lives could have been saved that year.  Alabama Motorcycle Laws There are various categories of laws in Alabama pertaining to motorcycles. They are as follows.  License Laws For many years, Alabama was the only state that did not require any special license to operate a motorcycle. In recent years, this has changed. To drive a motorcycle in Alabama, you must pass a written exam or complete a motorcycle safety course. You must also possess a driver license with a class M endorsement.  Helmet Laws If you are operating a motorcycle in Alabama, you are legally required to wear a helmet, no matter your age. The helmet must also meet specific safety standards. Your motorcycle helmet should: Have a hard, non-shatterable exterior; Have a shock-absorbent cradle to support the head;  Have substantially thick, impact-resistant padding; and Have a chin strap to hold it in place. Helmets do not need to have a visor, but if they do, they must be flexible or snap-on. Passenger Laws Safety is just as crucial for motorcycle passengers. In Alabama, passengers must: Wear a helmet, Have a separate seat and footrest; and Be able to hold on. There is no minimum age for motorcycle passengers. Passengers are required only to abide by passenger laws. Lane Sharing Laws Motorcyclist lane sharing is allowed in Alabama, but no more than two motorcycles can share a lane side by side. Lane splitting—when a motorcyclist rides between cars—is illegal in Alabama.  Injured in an accident? We can help with a free-case analysis Begin Free Case Review Here What to Do After You Are Injured in an Accident and Not at Fault If you are involved in an accident, there are certain steps you should take. These steps include: Calling 911 right away; Seeking medical attention if needed; and Collecting information from the scene of the accident, including the other driver’s information. After reporting the accident to your insurance company, it is imperative you call an attorney. Many times, after an accident involving a motorcycle, it is assumed that the motorcycle driver was driving recklessly. If you are not at fault, your attorney will be able to review your case and conduct an investigation to prove fault. Contacting an Alabama Personal Injury Attorney After following the appropriate steps, you should contact an Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will review your case and give you the best legal advice. Fob James Law Firm has over 40 years of experience advocating for clients. We take fewer cases to provide our clients with the highest quality care and service. You can always expect attention and compassion while we work toward obtaining a just settlement. Contact us today, and let’s see how we can help you. 

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