Auto accidents can be stressful, traumatic and often result in bodily injury, property damage and even death. It is important to understand the laws that govern auto accidents in the state of Alabama in order to be able to navigate through the legal system and seek compensation for damages incurred.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Alabama auto accident laws including liability, insurance requirements and claim procedures.
Liability in Alabama Auto Accidents
Alabama operates under a modified comparative negligence system which means that fault may be assigned to one or more parties involved in an accident. The percentage of fault assigned determines how much each party will pay towards damages caused.
For example, if a driver is found to be 30% at fault for the accident while the other driver is found to be 70% at fault, the first driver would only have to pay for 30% of damages caused.
It should also be noted that Alabama operates under a "contributory negligence" rule which means if you are found even partially at fault (1%), you cannot recover any damages from other parties involved in the accident. This makes it all the more important for drivers to operate their vehicles with care and caution on roads and highways.
In Alabama, it is mandatory for all drivers to carry liability insurance coverage of at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident if multiple people were injured and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
Furthermore, uninsured motorist coverage is also required with minimum limits of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.
It is important to note that insurance companies may try to deny claims or offer lower settlements than what you may deserve. In such cases it becomes necessary to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help guide you through the process of seeking fair compensation for your losses.
What To Do After An Auto Accident in Alabama
As with any accident, the first priority should be to seek medical attention for yourself and others involved in the crash. If possible, move your vehicle away from traffic to prevent further accidents or injuries.
Next, it is important to collect and exchange information with the other driver(s) including name, contact details, license plate numbers and insurance information. Also make sure to take photographs of the accident scene including damage to both vehicles and any injuries sustained by you or others.
It is highly recommended that you report the accident to law enforcement officers who will investigate and compile an official report of the incident. This serves as valuable evidence when filing a claim later on.
Lastly, it is important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident as they will guide you through the process of filing a claim and may also recommend auto repair shops or medical providers if necessary.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Auto Accident Claims in Alabama
In Alabama, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims relating to auto accidents. The clock starts ticking from the date of the accident so it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.
Any delay in seeking legal advice can result in missed opportunities for recovery of damages incurred due to an auto accident.
Auto accidents can be life-changing events that are often beyond our control. It is important to understand the laws governing auto accidents in Alabama in order to protect yourself against legal repercussions and secure compensation for losses incurred.
If you are involved in an auto accident in Alabama, seek medical attention immediately followed by reporting the incident to law enforcement officers, collecting exchange information with other drivers involved and contacting your insurance company.
Furthermore, if you feel that other parties were at fault for your injuries or damages sustained during an auto accident then it becomes important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help navigate through complex legal proceedings and represent your rights in court.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in Alabama?
In Alabama, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit or settle your claim. If you miss this deadline, your case will likely be dismissed.
Are there any minimum insurance requirements for drivers in Alabama?
Yes. Drivers in Alabama are required to carry liability insurance with minimum coverage limits of 25/50/25 (i.e., $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage and $25,000 per accident for property damage coverage).
How does Alabama’s “contributory negligence” law affect car accident cases?
Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to have contributed even 1% to their own injuries (e.g., by speeding or not wearing a seatbelt), they cannot recover compensation. This makes it difficult for plaintiffs to win car accident cases in Alabama.
Can I sue the other driver’s insurance company directly after an accident?
No. The other driver’s insurance company does not owe you a legal duty until and unless a judgment has been entered against its policyholder. You must first sue the at-fault driver and obtain a judgment before pursuing the insurance company directly.
How is fault determined in an Alabama car accident case?
Fault is determined based on the principle of negligence – whether one or more parties failed to exercise reasonable care and caused the accident as a result. The party who is found to be more than 50% responsible for the crash can be held liable for damages.
Can I still recover damages if I was partially at fault for the accident?
No. As mentioned earlier, Alabama follows contributory negligence law which means that if you are found even slightly at fault for the accident, you will not be able to recover damages from the other party.
What types of damages can I recover after a car accident in Alabama?
You may be able to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, lost income and earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and permanent injuries or disabilities caused by the accident.
Do I need a lawyer to handle my Alabama car accident case?
Legally, no. But it’s highly recommended that you seek legal representation if your case involves significant injuries or damages. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
Can I still file a claim if I was hit by an uninsured driver in Alabama?
Yes, you can file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with your own insurance company if you have UM coverage. This type of coverage is optional in Alabama, but it may come in handy when dealing with accidents involving an uninsured driver.
Is there a cap on non-economic damages in Alabama car accident cases?
Yes. As of 2021, non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering) are capped at $400,000 unless the case involves wrongful death or catastrophic injury (e.g., paralysis). There is no cap on economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages though.