What You Should Know About Rear-End Collisions

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 at 3:58 pm    

If I’ve been hit in a rear-end collision, is the driver behind me automatically at fault?

rear end collision
When rear-end collisions happen, the trailing driver will likely be considered at least partially responsible for the accident. This is because all drivers have a responsibility to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. If the car in front of you needs to slow down or stop for any reason, you need to allow enough distance to bring the vehicle to a sudden stop and avoid a collision.

There are some instances in which the driver of the car that was rear-ended could be partially responsible for the accident. Some examples of negligence on the part of the driver in front include:

  • Broken or malfunctioning brake lights – If the vehicle’s brake lights were not functioning correctly, the driver of the following vehicle might not have adequate warning of the impending stop.
  • Reversing suddenly – If the driver in front reverses without notice, they could be at fault for the accident.
  • Stopping for no reason – If the driver in front stops without an apparent reason, they could be held liable for the crash.
  • Mishandling mechanical problems – Stopping to address a mechanical issue is normal, but drivers have a responsibility to pull over to the side of the road or engage their hazard lights.

When it comes to recovering compensation for a rear-end collision, it is important to note how the process works. Alabama subscribes to a “contributory negligence” system, which means that it will be challenging to recover compensation if you are found to be at fault for the crash by even a slight percentage.

That’s why it is so important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side if you’ve been hurt or if your property was damaged in a rear-end collision. To secure the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, replace lost wages from time missed from work, and get your vehicle repaired or replaced, you will need to present a convincing claim.

Your attorney will work quickly to secure all of the necessary evidence to prove that the other driver was at fault and behaved negligently. They will negotiate with insurance company representatives to get a fair settlement for your claim, and if no such arrangement is offered, they will try your case in court.

The most important thing to remember after a car accident is that time is of the essence. You should first seek immediate medical attention and then contact an attorney as soon as possible to make sure that vital evidence is preserved and witness testimony is secured.

Contact Us

If you have been hurt in an accident in Alabama, the car accident lawyers at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP are here to help you. We have the experience, skill, and resources that you need on your side. Contact us at (205) 324-1212, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation with us today.


Facts About Distracted Driving

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2018 at 6:20 pm    


What You Need to Know About Riding a Motorcycle in Alabama

Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2018 at 4:46 pm    

Riding a motorcycle can be one of the most thrilling ways of getting around town, often providing an unmatched feeling of freedom during an otherwise normal commute. However, since some legislation has recently changed, everyone may not be aware of the current Alabama motorcycle laws and others may have questions about what they’re legally required to have on their person during a ride. If you’re currently a rider or plan to become one soon, here’s what you need to know about riding a motorcycle in the Yellowhammer State so you can stay safe and avoid getting pulled over.

A Change in Alabama Motorcycle Laws

For many years, Alabama was the only state that did not require a specific license or endorsement for operating a motorcycle. It only required the rider have a regular driver’s license and be 16 years of age or older. That law was recently changed. As of May 2015, all Alabama riders must possess a driver’s license with a class M endorsement to operate a motorcycle. To obtain the endorsement, you must either pass the DPS’ motorcycle knowledge exam or complete a motorcycle safety course.

Helmets and Other Legally Required Accessories

An endorsement isn’t the only thing required to ride. According to Alabama law Section 32-12-41, a safety helmet “specifically designed for motorcycle riders and motorcycle passenger use” is legally required when operating a motorcycle. The law also has specifications regarding the exterior shell, padding, chin strap and cradle. Visors, while not required, must be flexible or “of a snap on type” for example. Here is some more information about legally required accessories and regulations, as detailed by AmericanMotorcyclist.com:

Required/Regulated

  • Passenger seat and footrest (if carrying a passenger)
  • Left and right mirrors
  • Compulsory liability insurance
  • Handlebars less than 15 inches above the seat
  • Daytime headlight use

 

Not Required/Regulated

  • Eye protection
  • Noise limits
  • Passenger age restrictions
  • Muffler noise and style
  • Periodic safety inspections
  • Turn signals

 

Riders should also be aware that lane splitting, which refers to driving in between traffic lanes on the center lines, is illegal. However, two bikes may share one lane side by side.

Not Legally Required, But Always Recommended

Unfortunately, motorcycle collisions, especially those involving vehicles, are all too common. There were 74 motorcycle driver fatalities in 2015.1 That same year, motorcyclist deaths accounted for 14 percent of total traffic fatalities nationwide.2 These statistics highlight the importance of utilizing certain safety items and why they’re recommended by riding experts even though they’re not legally required.

  • Eye Protection – A visor, glasses or windshield attached to the front of the bike protects eyes from harmful rocks and dirt that fly toward the face at high speeds. This helps keep eyes both clear and on the road. Sunglasses during the day can protect from debris and bright sunshine. Just remember to remove them at night and switch to clear protection.
  • Footwear – Sturdy, closed-toe footwear covering the entire foot and ankle should always be worn by motorcyclists and passengers while riding. This protects feet from road rash, debris and burns from the scorching hot engine components. Any leather or work boot will provide ample protection. Low-top canvas shoes and sandals should be avoided.
  • Clothing – Like footwear, long sleeves and pant legs are always recommended for protecting limbs from the elements and road rash. Leather works best, but denim or any other thick material will suffice. Try to avoid baggy or loose-fitting clothing, as they may get caught on a tree branch or other roadside hazard.
  • Gloves – Aside from your head, your hands are doing the most work to keep you safe, so you might as well protect them. Thick gloves protect from debris and the elements and help riders maintain their grip during a long ride. Leather gloves are best, but again, any protective material with a gripping surface on the palms and fingers will be more than enough.

In the Worst-Case Scenario, You Will Need Legal Protection

Despite riders’ best efforts and the many laws in place to keep all motorists safe while sharing the road, accidents do happen. In those instances, it’s important you seek experienced legal services from lawyers who will fight for your best interests.

Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP have many years of experience advocating for motorcyclists who were seriously injured in an accident that could have been avoided had another driver acted responsibly. If you or a loved have been injured in a collision and you believe you are entitled to financial compensation, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt by calling 205-324-1212 or visit our website to start your FREE case evaluation today!

1 http://drivesafealabama.org/uploads/files/ALDOT-2015-CrashFactsBook.pdf
2 https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2017-01/Spotlight%20Motorcycle%202016%20H.pdf


Safe Summer Drinking

Posted on Friday, April 13th, 2018 at 6:24 pm    


The Legal and Societal Implications of Self-Driving Trucks

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2018 at 8:02 pm    

Autonomous trucking is a big deal these days. While many are enthusiastic advocates, others are concerned about what autonomous trucking would mean for society and the industry as a whole. (more…)


Legal Discovery Strategies CLE

Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 2:48 pm    

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tom James will be speaking at an ICLE webcast seminar as a plaintiffs’ lawyer expert on the issues of informal legal discovery in accident cases. The webcast seminar is open to all Michigan lawyers.

Although Tom was asked to speak primarily from the plaintiff injury lawyer perspective, the legal discovery seminar is more about the many universal and informal legal discovery strategies that attorneys can apply to better serve their clients. These are the strategies that smart lawyers from both sides use to move cases faster and reach great settlements for their clients.

They are also the strategies that lawyers normally do not learn in law school.

The discovery strategies unique to plaintiffs that Tom will review include informal ways to make sure attorneys know about ALL of the layers of insurance coverage, ordering complete driving records, how to find and discover redacted records, and how lawyers can verify injuries and lifestyle change evidence to meet serious impairment and threshold challenges in automobile accident cases.

The webcast will become part of the ICLE continuing education on demand. You can take a look here.

ICLE is the Institute of Continuing Legal Education for lawyers. The organization provides training and education to Michigan lawyers.

Tom focuses his practice on litigating auto accidents and No Fault insurance disputes. He has taken more than 30 cases to trial, including several that have resulted in multimillion dollar verdicts. Two of the cases he’s taken to trial have been the top- reported automobile accident trial verdict in Michigan, according to year-end compilations of trial verdicts and settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Prior to joining the firm, Tom worked at the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office. Tom started at Michigan Auto Law as a law clerk in his second year of law school.

He’s been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Up and Coming Lawyer,” a Michigan Super Lawyer and a Michigan Association for Justice “Pacesetter.” Tom is a member of the Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, the Michigan Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union. Tom frequently speaks at legal educational seminars throughout the country on topics dealing with trucking and auto accident litigation strategies and No Fault law.
This entry was tagged Tags: Attorney Tom James, discovery, ICLE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Criminal vs Civil

Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 2:46 pm    

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In criminal cases, action is taken by the state against an individual for a violation of the law. The state may refer to federal, state or local government authorities. A criminal matter can result a sentence such as a fine, probation or time in jail. The sentence is imposed upon a defendant who pleads guilty or is found guilty to keep him from acting in the same manner in the future and also to deter others from acting in a similar manner.

Criminal

  • State vs. You
  • Penalty: Jail/Fine

Civil

  • Person vs. You
  • Penalty: Money

In civil cases, the controversy is between two or more litigants, which may include individuals, businesses or government agencies. Most often, the result is an award of money to be paid by one party to the other. The judgment is imposed to make the victim “whole” for the harm that has been caused by the other. A judgment in a civil matter does not include a criminal sentence.

The rules of civil procedure are different than that of criminal procedure because proceedings are different.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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