A car accident is a stressful ordeal. After your accident, you may be hurt, unable to work, and struggling with insurance companies. Trying to get the compensation you need while dealing with your injuries can feel overwhelming.
However, you don’t have to fight the insurance company on your own. If you’re not sure what to do after a car accident in Alabama, a skilled accident attorney can help. At Fob James Law Firm, we help car accident victims pursue the compensation they deserve.
Alabama Car Accident Checklist
After an Alabama car accident, you should take action to improve your compensation potential. This Alabama car accident checklist provides important steps for what to do after a car accident:
- Activate your emergency flashers;
- Call 911 to request police and medical assistance;
- Do not leave the scene of the accident, but move to a safe place;
- Take photos of damage to the cars;
- Take photos of the scene surrounding the accident;
- Get the names and contact numbers of witnesses to the accident;
- Exchange driver license and insurance information with the other driver;
- Provide the police with your contact information, driver license, and insurance card;
- Seek medical treatment;
- File an SR-31 form at the Department of Public Safety within 30 days of the accident; and
- Request a copy of the accident report from the police department or online after the accident.
By collecting photos, medical records, and the accident report, you have crucial evidence to support your accident claim. This evidence can prove to be far more valuable than conflicting word-of-mouth statements from drivers and witnesses.
What to Consider When Speaking to the Insurance Company
Soon after your accident, you should contact your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Then an insurance company representative will likely contact you for a statement. Whenever you speak to an insurance company about the accident, show caution.
Be aware that these professionals sound kind and caring, but their job requires them to put insurance company profits first. That means that the insurer may ask you questions designed to trick you or get you to admit fault for the accident.
Get Legal Advice
It’s best to speak to an accident attorney before talking to the insurer or giving a statement. You can object to giving a recorded statement, signing a medical release, or accepting a settlement until you speak to an attorney.
How to Report the Car Accident
After the car accident, you should call the police. When the police respond to the accident, they will create an accident report and should give you necessary forms to file.
File an SR-13 Form
When they arrive at the accident scene, the police should give you an SR-13 form if needed. You should file an SR-13 form if the accident caused:
- Personal injury; or
- Property damage of more than $250 to any one owner.
You must file this form with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 30 days of your accident, even if you were not at fault. You can have your driver license suspended for failing to file this form, so make sure to submit it. If you don’t have all the information to complete the form, provide the details you know.
Report to the Insurance Company
You should also report the accident to your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies often limit the available reporting time for an accident, so contact them soon after your crash.
Steps to Filing an Injury Claim
If you were hurt in an Alabama car accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim to get appropriate compensation. File a personal injury claim by taking these steps.
Seek Medical Attention
Immediately seek medical treatment for your injuries. Delaying treatment could not only lead to delayed healing, but it could also jeopardize your personal injury claim.
That’s because an insurer might say that you were hurt after the accident or that your injury isn’t severe. Prompt evaluation gives you valuable medical reports to support your claim.
Collect Accident Evidence
Accident evidence is crucial to supporting your personal injury claim and getting you fair compensation. Collect relevant accident evidence, including photographs, witness statements, medical reports, medical bills, and car repair receipts. When you hire an attorney, the law firm’s investigators will work with you to collect additional information that can boost your claim.
How Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Some people try to negotiate with insurance companies on their own, but that’s usually not the best strategy. The insurance company might try to pay you less than you deserve. If you feel confused about what to do after a car accident, an experienced attorney can help.
Negotiates with insurance companies
A car accident attorney knows how insurance companies work, creating an even playing field for resolving your claim. A skilled attorney will pressure the insurance company to give you the money you need for accident damages.
Works on contingency
Most reputable car accident attorneys work on contingency, meaning you don’t have to come up with an upfront payment to hire the attorney. When the attorney settles or wins your case, you pay them out of your compensation. If the attorney loses your case, you pay nothing.
Offers a free case review
An attorney should also offer a free consultation, so you have the opportunity to meet them and ask questions before hiring them. At the consultation, ask the attorney about their experience with car accident cases and get details on their fee structure. Make sure to hire an attorney who seems trustworthy, knowledgeable, and skilled at communicating with clients.
Attempt to Reach a Settlement
Your attorney will calculate accident damages based on the evidence of your injuries. They will send this damages total to the insurer as a settlement request. Then your attorney and the insurer will negotiate to reach an acceptable settlement. You will have the final say in accepting or rejecting a settlement.
Go to Trial
If you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company, you can bring your case to trial. When you hire an attorney, make sure you select someone willing to go to trial.
While most cases don’t reach trial, the threat of trial is enough to cause insurance companies to offer better settlements. Trials are expensive, and if the insurance company realizes your attorney won’t hesitate to go to court, your chances of receiving a fair settlement improve.
Contact Us for Assistance with Your Car Accident Claim
If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact the experienced attorneys at the Fob James Law Firm. Our attorneys have been helping car accident victims get the money they deserve for over 40 years.
We prioritize efficient litigation and work hard to resolve your case quickly. Instead of taking too many cases and outsourcing your legal needs, we take only the cases that we can handle personally. We focus on you as an individual and customize a legal strategy for your needs.
To find out more about what we do and how we can help with your car accident claim, contact our accident attorneys for a free consultation.
We’ll work together with you to present your best case for maximum accident compensation. Instead of trying to figure out what to do after a car accident in Alabama, contact our attorneys for assistance today.