When Is It Too Late to Hire a Automobile Wreck Lawyer in Birmingham
Imagine you're watching the clock tick after a car wreck in Birmingham - time is crucial. In Alabama, you're racing against a two-year statute of limitations for filing a motor vehicle accident claim. But this isn't just a countdown; certain situations can bend these rules. For example, if you were incapacitated, or if new injuries related to the accident emerged later. Knowing these nuances can be the difference between a valid claim and a missed opportunity.
If you’re like most people, after taking the main steps of calling the police and attending to injuries, you call an automobile wreck lawyer in Birmingham. But for those of us who wait to call legal counsel, is it ever too late?
Statute of Limitations
While it’s a large window of time, many people wait too long to file their car wreck claims. The statute of limitations changes from state to state, and in Birmingham, Alabama, you have 2 years to file a motor vehicle accident claim. When you’re suffering severe personal injury and spend months recovering from your wounds, 2 years can fly by! As long as you start your claim within the 2-year time window from when the accident took place, however, you can hire an automobile wreck lawyer in Birmingham.
Think of it like calling the best seat at the movies - getting in early matters. The same goes for legal advice after a car wreck in Birmingham. A quick call to your lawyer can set the stage for a stronger case, ensuring that crucial evidence is preserved and you're not stepping into any legal traps set by insurance companies.
Accepting a Settlement
If you’ve ever been in Birmingham car accidents before, you know the drill: A representative from the insurance company will call you and offer you a settlement you know is less than the compensation you deserve. It doesn’t cover the cost of your medical bills or property damage, yet you still accept it, because to do so seems easier than negotiating. If you formally accept, there’s very little a lawyer can do for you at that point. You’ve taken a settlement of your own free will, and there is no more negotiation that can take place. Call your accident attorneys in Birmingham, AL next time!
Steps to Take After a Car Wreck:
Immediately after a car wreck in Birmingham, your actions can significantly impact your well-being and your potential claim. Here's a detailed guide on what you should do:
- Ensure Safety: First and foremost, check if you and your passengers are safe. If possible, move to a safe location away from traffic to avoid further accidents.
- Call the Police: Dial 911 to report the accident. Having a police report can be crucial for insurance claims and legal purposes. Provide accurate information about the accident when speaking with the authorities.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it's essential to seek medical attention. Injuries may not always be immediately apparent, and prompt medical evaluation can document your condition.
- Exchange Information: Collect the contact and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. Include names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance policy details.
- Gather Evidence: Document the accident scene by taking photographs or videos. Capture the positions of vehicles, license plates, road conditions, traffic signs, and any visible injuries. Also, gather witness contact information.
- Don't Admit Fault: Avoid discussing fault or admitting guilt with anyone at the scene, including other drivers, passengers, or witnesses. Leave the determination of fault to the professionals.
- Contact Your Insurance: Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate details, but avoid giving recorded statements until you've consulted with an attorney.
- Consult an Attorney: Consider reaching out to an automobile wreck lawyer in Birmingham before speaking extensively with insurance adjusters. An attorney can guide you on how to protect your rights and handle negotiations.
Common Causes of Car Accidents:
Understanding the common causes of car accidents in Birmingham can help drivers recognize potential hazards and negligence in others. Here are some frequent causes:
- Distracted Driving: One of the leading causes, distracted driving involves activities like texting, using smartphones, eating, or adjusting the radio while driving, diverting attention from the road.
- Speeding: Driving at speeds exceeding the posted limits or too fast for road conditions reduces reaction time and increases the severity of accidents.
- Driving Under the Influence: Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs remains a significant cause of accidents, resulting in impaired judgment and coordination.
- Reckless or Aggressive Driving: Aggressive behaviors like tailgating, road rage, and excessive lane changes contribute to accidents and road rage incidents.
- Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, or ice can make roads hazardous, leading to accidents if drivers fail to adjust their driving accordingly.
- Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Disregarding traffic signals or signs can lead to dangerous T-bone or intersection accidents.
- Fatigue: Fatigued drivers are prone to lapses in attention and slower reaction times, making them more likely to cause accidents.
You Might Think It’s Too Late
There are a lot of myths out there about when it’s too late to call an attorney in the instance of an auto accident. We’re here to tell you that there are very few actual circumstances wherein you shouldn’t hire injury attorneys. For instance, you’ve probably seen on TV that if someone “talks,” or implicates themselves by giving away too many details, they are automatically held guilty. While we will say there are things you shouldn’t say to insurance companies or to hired doctors, no matter what you say, it’s not too late to hire a legal professional.
Likewise, if you think something like going a few miles over the speed limit or a past parking ticket on your record will bar you from being able to file a claim, you’re mistaken. Additionally, you can file a case even if you’re not the one actually in the accident, like in the event of wrongful death. Again, contrary to what people think, it’s actually most beneficial for you in these circumstances to call your lawyer.
Ultimately, if you have doubts about whether or not an automobile wreck lawyer in Birmingham could help you, just set up a free consultation with us anyway. We’ll connect you to our appropriate practice areas and be able to tell you honestly about what is best for your case and point you in the right direction.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s advisable to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an automobile accident. Prompt legal consultation can help in preserving vital evidence and providing early legal guidance, which is crucial for your claim.
Injuries from automobile accidents can sometimes become apparent days or weeks later. It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms and consult a lawyer to discuss how this may affect your claim.
Yes, you can still hire a lawyer even if you have already spoken to the insurance company. A lawyer can take over further communications and ensure your rights are protected.
Yes, you can still file a claim even if the accident was partly your fault. Alabama follows the contributory negligence rule, but each case is unique, and a lawyer can help determine your eligibility for compensation.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.