>> Hello and welcome. We have the answers to your legal questions. In our caller segment, we will talk about traffic accidents. If you have been injured, what’s the first thing you should do after receiving medical help and why do insurance companies sometimes get to decide who is at fault. Give us a call. Plus, your car is totaled, you have a stack of medical bills and the other guy doesn’t have insurance. We will tell you how to avoid getting wiped out. Got a good joke? You may not realize it, but our lives are a lot better because of lawyers. First, personal injury attorney Kirby Farris is here to look at one of your questions: Nellie says “I was parked in front of my apartment, when another car slammed into the back of mine, took off. I was hurt, my car is damaged and the police haven’t found the other car yet. What can I do?”
>> Well, that is a tough situation. Whether or not the police find your car is a big issue for you, and if they haven’t found them by now, they may not. So where are you, if they don’t find the other driver? If they don’t find the other driver, you can use fur own insurance to pay for your property damage, if you have full coverage. We are going to hear a segment about underinsured motorist coverage. It is very important in your case. For your personal injuries, you can use your own insurance, under your underinsured motorist coverage to pay you for the claim. And underinsured motorist coverage will cover you if there’s no insurance on the part of the other driver, or in like in your situation, the other driver is a phantom vehicle or leaves the scene. So you probably want to call your own insurance agent and let them give you some direction on those.
>> All right. For more information, go to my fox al.com. Ken Riley talks about what you can do to protect yourself from uninsured motorists.
>> Is uninsured motorist coverage worth getting? It wasn’t required in Alabama, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting it. Uninsured motorist coverage is an option, which will cover you and your passengers for property damage and injuries caused by the driver with no insurance. If someone has no policy at all, you are in big trouble. Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you from underinsured drivers. If you don’t already have the coverage as part of your policy, ask your insurance carrier about upgrading. It might be the best decision you ever make. If you have a question, send it along to law calltv.com. I’m Ken Riley.
>> We are glad to see you this Sunday evening. Hope you had a great weekend. Tonight’s “LawCall,” we are focusing on traffic accidents. Maybe you are sitting at home and something happened this week, messed up the car and you are home on medical leave and you don’t know how the pay the bills, tonight is the show to help you find answers and get to the bottom line. So give us a call if you have been in an accident and you know how to move forward or whether or not you might have a case. We have Kirby Farris on. You handle phone calls, tell people the next step to take and provide help if they have been seriously injured and you take the cases to the ones that have been injured maybe not by just a car, but -wheelers.
>> Sure. All sorts of accidents, especially motor vehicle accidents. You don’t know where to turn, if you have been seriously injured. You need to seek a lawyer.
>> All right. I want you to tell everybody, this is hopefully maybe starting to be a familiar face, but tell who you brought on.
>> I saw a young lawyer named JD Lawrence try a case long ago.
>> That’s a while back. He joined our firm. We are so thrilled to have him. He’s doing a great job.
>> Good to see you.
>> Good to be here.
>> Well, share maybe a nugget of information about yourself, so folks can get to know you.
>> I’m also a personal injury lawyer, working with Farris for a little over a year now. This is all I have done. I have represented individuals who have been injured over the last years of my career.
>> We have callers that want to talk to you. We will begin the terry.
>> Good evening. How are you?
>> Yes. I was in an accident in, and I received a settlement. My question tonight is, I’m having some residual effects from that wreck, and pain and problems. Should I revisit that with my attorney or is that a lifetime benefit? Or exactly what should I do?
>> Okay, JD?
>> Well, unfortunately, when you settle the case, the case is settled. What you can do, if you are health insurance, you can use your health insurance to cover you through, for your injuries and medical bills.
>> Is that why it is important to seek an attorney before you get to that point, if the other side is wanting to settle?
>> Absolutely. One of the things that worries is me is lawyers are get in a hurry. You can’t get in a hurry, because you will end up in a situation like that, where you haven’t fully vetted someone’s injuries, you don’t know how serious they are, you settle the case and later you have a residual problem. You can’t be in too big a hurry when it comes to resolving the case.
>> We have Brenda on the line next. Hey, are you there? Hello? One more time. Okay, I think we are still waiting — is she there? Let’s try again. Hello.
>> Yes. How are you all doing?
>> How are you?
>> I have a question. — hit by a car in. Had injuries, had surgery, nothing has been settled with my case, but I gave my deposition in, I have talked to my attorneys twice since then. I have called nine or ten times, trying to reach my attorneys, and they will not call me back. Can you help me? What do I need to do? Is there anything I can do?
>> Well, if your attorney has been working your case this long, I would suggest you continue to use him or her. Keep calling back. We spend a lot of time outside the office, as lawyers, so it takes some time for us to return calls, but keep calling. They will call you back eventually.
>> I would suggest getting in touch with your attorney’s staff and setting up an appointment to go down and there visit with them. Just set up an appointment to sit down with your lawyer. I think that’s really important.
>> We need that take a break. When we come back, we will take more of your questions and phone calls. Traffic accidents, that’s our topic. We will be right back.
>> Live, with award-winning broadcaster Tiffany Bittner and, from the law firm Farris, Riley & Pitt, Kirby Farris, Ken Riley and Bob Prince. Plus, guest attorneys from across Alabama. Your rights, your calls, live.
>> Lawyers get bad press a lot of time, but Bob Prince explains why that shouldn’t be the case.
>> Hey, I like a good lawyer joke as much as the next guy, but let me say why having a lawyer can be a very good thing. Lawyers are the people that help you have your say. We are effective communicators. When you have been wronged, a lot of times, we are your spokesperson in the courthouse. Only in our court system can a person come before a judge and jury have their concerns considered and be addressed equally, with all of the other citizens, event the wealthiest or biggest. You can’t do that without a good lawyer. So it’s highly unlikely that your work place would be as safe as it is, discrimination would have rampant without lawyers, and if you got hurt by someone, hey, you would be on your own. Because of lawyers, the courthouse is the only house where you are on equal footing with the president of some giant corporation. There are a lot of noble professions out there, and maybe not surprisingly, I think being a lawyer is one of them. That’s your legal brief for tonight, I’m Bob Prince. Back to you.
>> Well, we are discussing traffic accidents.
>> We would like to hear from you. If you are watching and you haven’t called in now is the perfect time to call us. We have George tonight with a question or comment. Hey, George.
>> How are you?
>> Good, thank you.
>> I was coming through town, and this guy, red light, he decided he’d go ahead and take a left turn in front of me. Hit me in the side. I don’t know he got insurance — my liability is — insurance be able to fix my truck, fix my truck.
>> Okay. Well, George, I think we are only hearing bits and pieces, but can you make a little out of this?
>> I believe, if I am understanding you right in the way the accident happened, this guy turned in front of you and you hit him broad side. If he does have insurance, that carrier is responsible for fixing your truck. The insurance company is given enough time to make sure they are liable or that this individual is liable, so they have a little time to investigate, but ultimately, if that is the facts of the accident, it’s supposed to pay for your truck. If he does not have insurance, that makes its more difficult for you to make a recovery. You may have to look to your own insurance in the event he doesn’t have insurance, to fix your truck.
>> Thanks for calling. Zacharias is next in Birmingham. Hello. Go ahead and talk to us.
>> I had an accident in October, and the insurance company — my wife to get this insurance paid, take care of the vehicle, but my car was totaled. I’m wondering, could they repair my car also or replace it?
>> I didn’t understand the question.
>> Okay, can you explain again? Because we are only hearing bits and pieces of your story.
>> It was totaled, I think.
>> I was driving and — the insurance company covered — and the — my car, but they did not do — am I authorized to get a —
>> We are going to let Kirby talk —
>> Your car was totaled in this accident, I believe I heard you say and it was the other guy’s fault. I believe you are asking us what does the insurance company owe you for you totaled vehicle. They owe you the fair market value of your vehicle immediately before the accident. So they don’t have to buy you a brand new vehicle, but they do have to give you a sum of money equal to the value of your vehicle at the time of the accident. There’s a lot of great internet services you can go on to look and see what the value of your vehicle was, or if you know where you bought the car, you can call the dealership and they could give you some idea what the value was, so when you are negotiating with the insurance company, you can make sure they are paying you correctly.
>> We need to take another break. Grab a pencil, because we will give you the information to contact these attorneys when we come back, and ask some questions. So we’ll be right back.
>> Here is our calendar for this month. Going into November, that is hard to believe. October, we will spotlight on volunteer lawyers. We will talk about what that is about and questions you may have. October will be immigration. November, we will discuss all types of injuries. Hope you will join us for those shows and call in questions you may have. If you don’t feel like calling in and you need to talk to an attorney, you could get in touch with Bob Prince in Tuscaloosa. Prince law.net. If you have more questions tonight for Kirby Farris or Ken Riley, they are here in Birmingham. — or delivering justice.com is their web site. That’s how you can find out how to get in touch with these guys and ask questions. We say the whole point of our show is to not only take your calls and talk about whatever legal topic we are tackling, but we want you to feel free to contact the tones you have seen on the show, ask them questions during the work week, maybe if we haven’t been able to take your question tonight. So get in touch with the attorneys. That’s what they are here for, to steer you in the right direction. We have mac tonight. What’s going on?
>> Hey. Having a good evening. Glad you took my call. Over the last around years, I believe we have had mandatory insurance in Alabama. I always kept my insurance up and paid on time, so I have paid in at least
>> , already. If someone hits me and they don’t have insurance, and I have four vehicles, which is hard to keep covered, but I can’t afford the underinsured motorists, before the insurance laws, if that person hit me, I had to take them to court. Now, since I paid all this money and this person may hit me now, I still have to take the person to court. What is my recourse there? Why wouldn’t my insurance, since I have supposedly paid in, how come they wouldn’t cover me and how did the mandatory insurance change things that I still don’t have to take the person to court?
>> Good question. First of all, you can always file a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage. You have the right to take these people to court, if they hit you, they damaged your vehicle, so you still can pursue it and file a suit against them directly.
>> I think that law — there was a point in time when the number of uninsured drivers was staggering. Those percentages have gone down. So just your chances of being hit by an uninsured motorist have gone down, so there is benefit there.
>> Alphonso is next, in Birmingham.
>> Yes. Hello? Yes, I have a question. I had an accident. Someone hit me. They had liability, and I was wondering, what — if the insurance company will fix the car or not, if I wasn’t a licensed driver.
>> Great question. That’s a question — we see this occasionally. Really doesn’t matter whether you have a license or not. If someone hits you and they are liable for the accident, they are liable for the damages they cause. The inverse is not necessarily true. If you are not a licensed driver and you are driving and you hit somebody, there may be provisions in that policy that don’t protect you, if you caused the accident, but if you didn’t cause the accident, it’s the other driver’s fall, then the law still allows you to recover.
>> Travis will be our next caller. Hey, Travis. Are you on the line?
>> Yes, I’m here.
>> Yes. Buy a car, at one of those pay here lots, if you pay a down payment, that usually covers the Kelly blue book value sometimes, but somebody hit your car and you are still liable for the rest of the payments, then why shouldn’t the insurance company of the other person be liable also for the total that you sign the contract —
>> Do you understand what he’s asking? You want to handle it?
>> Well, I think, if I’m understanding you, the other driver’s insurance would be liable for the damage to your vehicle. Now, it may not be the full value of your vehicle for Kelly blue book, but they would be liable for the fair market value of your vehicle.
>> Hope that helps. Randy is up next tonight. Hey, randy, welcome to “LawCall.”
>> Hey there.
>> Tell us what’s going on.
>> I had an accident on September in Tuscaloosa, right there, I was going up about miles per hour. My light was green, driving a work truck, which -wheeler, and a pickup ran the red light. I hit him in the passenger door, no injuries, they written it up as not my fault, and they written the report up totally wrong, put him as the truck driver and me as retiree, African-American and two weeks later, I took a vacation, we went, they call me on the telephone and fired me over that accident on the nd. It happened on the th of last month. Was I in the right or what do I need to do?
>> Kirby, want to tackle all that?
>> That is — I’m so sorry you are going through that. The place to begin is you can go to the police station and you can’t change the actual initial report, but you can do amendments or you could do altercations and get a new report or you could get an amendment to the report, showing the error. And our police officers do an outstanding job, but things can be chaotic and sometimes facts get misplaced. I think once you get that amendment done and corrected, then I think you could probably go back to your employer and discuss your rehiring with them at that point. Unfortunately, in Alabama, we are an employment at will state, so you could be terminated under these circumstances without any recourse. If it is just about this accident, you could show them it is an error in the report, I would certainly hope that you would get your job back.
>> We are down to less than a minute. Anything you want to share with common questions you get about maybe what to do after you have been involved in an accident, what are steps to take?
>> Well, the first thing you want to do is the police report, then contact the insurance company.
>> Get yourself taken care of first.
>> Thanks for calling everybody. We appreciate it. Have a great week, we will see you next weekend. Call these guys, if you have more questions you weren’t able to touch on tonight. Farris, Riley and Pitt in Birmingham.