The Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS), in conjunction with the University of Alabama at Birmingham University Transportation Center (UAB UTC), states that one traffic accident is reported in Alabama approximately every 4 minutes. Every day, three people die from car accidents on our roadways. All you need to do is look at a newspaper to see the wide spectrum of vehicle crashes that occur each day. Some accidents involve tractor-trailers, others ordinary passenger vehicles. Driver error causes some, others by external factors that have little to do with the driver. Some accidents are head-oncollisions while others involve rear-end crashes or rollovers. And some accidents involve only a single car while others involve many. The injuries that result in each accident are different as well.
Recently, a single car accident occurred when a vehicle left the roadway and smashed into a utility sign and a pole. One passenger was pronounced dead a short time later, after being ejected from the car. A day or two later, another passenger died from his injuries. The driver and another passenger were hospitalized with injuries. Investigations into the cause of the crash are ongoing. This particular scenario does raise some interesting issues that are critical in many accident cases.
Regardless of the type of auto accident you may experience in Alabama, our attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt are here to consult with you. We can help you with a claim to recover damages for your injuries and can ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Whether you have lost time at work and cannot meet your financial obligations or have lost a loved one due to someone else’s reckless driving, contact our experienced attorneys.
Who is to Blame?
When a claim is filed after a car accident, someone must determine who, if anyone, is at fault. When two or more cars collide, the possibilities are endless. If a crash only involves one vehicle, you would think it is easy to figure out liability. However, even in an accident involving only one car, determining fault can be tricky. Consider the questions that arise in the scenario above-
- Was the driver speeding?
- What were the road conditions? Was it wet from rain or snow? Was it wet from a water main break? Was it dry but covered with sand from a construction job?
- Was the driver under the influence of any alcohol or drugs?
- Was the driver distracted by a phone call or a text? Were the passengers loud or unruly?
- Did another vehicle influence the accident?
- Were the tires bald? Were they defective or poorly maintained?
- Did the brakes fail? Did the steering wheel lock?
- Was the speed limit properly posted? Was the road illuminated properly?
The answer to any of these questions may direct fault at a number of parties. The driver, the car manufacturer, the parts manufacturer, a construction company, or even the town, county or state responsible for maintaining the roadway, may each share some blame for the accident. For example, the passengers may initially blame the driver, but the driver may later learn that their car malfunctioned or the road was not maintained in a safe manner. A thorough investigation is crucial. Finding out who acted negligently or recklessly, and what insurance company to contact are tasks best left to the experts.
Design Defect and Liability
What about the injuries in a single car accident like the one above? The police report states that seatbelts were not in use. What if they were not in use because they were not working properly? It is possible that the seatbelts were on but failed to restrain the victims. Did the air bags deploy as expected? If not, perhaps the injuries to the survivors are far worse than one would expect. What if the brakes failed and that malfunction is determined to be the cause of the accident? You see, in some accident cases, you can file a claim against the car manufacturer or parts manufacturer. It is not always the driver who isentirely at fault. If you have evidence that a defective part or a design flaw contributed to your accident or caused or exacerbated your injuries, you may be able to recover from the automobile maker or parts company.
Wrongful Death Claim
In any accident that causes a fatality, including one that only involves a single vehicle, the estate of the deceased can bring what is called a wrongful death claim. This claim can be brought against the party or parties whose negligence caused the accident or injuries that resulted in death. In Alabama, unlike other states, the estate of the deceased can only recover what are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are a monetary award designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from acting in a similar manner in the future.
In the event of a claim for damages by an injured driver, compensatory damages, which are different than punitive damages, may be awarded. Compensatory damages are designed to repay the injured party the amount of money they have already spent and/or will need to pay for their future medical care, lost earnings, pain, and suffering.
Contact Alabama Accident Attorneys
All car accidents are unique. No two cases involve the same facts and circumstances. Automobile accidents in Alabama do share one common thread, however. They all require a certain amount of knowledge and expertise. The attorneys at Farris, Riley &Pitt have years of experience helping accident victims and their families. We know Alabama law and can help you recover the monetary compensation you deserve. It can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate a claim against a large insurance company or even to determine the correct party to pursue. Let us do the legwork for you while you heal from your injuries. Time may be of the essence. Alabama has a statute of limitations which is the period you have during which to file a claim. We need the facts of your case in order to determine whether or not you still have time to preserve your legal rights. Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt today.