Every day in Alabama someone gets injured, or worse, loses their life in a car accident. A car accident can occur in many different ways. You can get hit by a car while simply crossing the street, biking or jogging. Your car can get struck by another motorist who is distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not following traffic laws. You can also be involved in an accident when a defect in your car causes it to malfunction. No matter how your accident occurs, a car accident can cause serious and long lasting injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, fractures, burns, lacerations, paralysis or amputation. A serious car accident can also take lives.
It can happen in just the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, one second of metal upon metal is all it takes to change a life, and most people are woefully unprepared for the aftermath of an accident. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, we pride ourselves on compassionately and kindly guiding our clients through the process of filing a claim and recovering monetary damages for a personal injury. Helping you to pursue fair compensation for your injuries is of utmost importance to the attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt.
We realize that car accidents come in many shapes and sizes. No injury is too big or too small, and we understand at Farris, Riley & Pitt that any injury is stressful and important to the person living with it. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident, consider allowing our capable and experienced attorneys assist you with your legal claims and the pursuit of the compensation owed to you.
Recovering for Injuries from Hit and Run Accidents in Alabama
As in most states, leaving the scene of an accident, more commonly known as a hit-and-run, is illegal in Alabama. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a hit-and-run accident is the cause of death in almost one in five pedestrians killed in automobile accidents nationwide.
If you are injured, or your loved one is killed in a hit-and-run accident, it is crucial to file a claim with the police immediately. The police represent your best chance of determining who is responsible for the accident after a thorough investigation. Give the police any information you may have gotten from the scene of the accident. This information can include a partial or full license plate number, color, make or model of the vehicle or any other distinguishing characteristics from the scene.
That being said;, many hit-and-run accidents often occur without any resolution as to which driver caused the accident. This fact doesn’t make the injuries or even death incurred in the accident any less real. Victims of hit-and-run accidents are often traumatized, in pain, or grieving and in need of monetary compensation for the terrible event.
Farris, Riley & Pitt can help you if you are injured, or a family member has been killed in a hit-and-run accident in the State of Alabama. If the responsible driver gets caught, your claim for compensation can proceed like any other accident. If the driver isn’t caught, as is the case in many hit-and-runs, you have not lost your chances of recovery. We will pursue compensation through your uninsured motorist insurance policy. We will make sure your insurance company compensates you to the full extent of your policy and as swiftly as possible after the accident. We will also pursue any possible claims against third-parties. For example, did the hit-and-run occur due to inoperable or improper street lighting? Was debris left on the road by construction a contributing factor? We will explore all avenues of compensation for your losses.
Bringing a Lawsuit for an Alabama Drunken Driving Accidents
There are few things more senseless and devastating than you or a loved one being injured or killed because of a drunk driver. According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there were 257 alcohol-impaired related driving fatalities in the State of Alabama in 2012 alone. Drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car is a crime. The individual who hit you will undoubtedly be arrested and subject to prosecution by the criminal law system of Alabama. It is always reassuring to know that a drunk driver will be off the streets. However, criminal prosecution will not provide you with compensation for your injuries, or for the death of a loved one hit by a drunken driver.
The caring and compassionate attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have years of experience pursuing personal injury cases on behalf of innocent people who have been injured or killed by drunk drivers. The stakes are high in an alcohol-related accident. Chances are you will not only seek compensatory damages to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and emotional distress, but you will also likely seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person who injured you if their behavior is found to be egregious or reckless, which is always the case in a drunken driving situation. Punitive damages can run as high as ten times the amount of your compensatory damage award. You need an attorney who is extremely experienced in pursuing drunken driving claims and who can obtain the largest damage award that you are entitled to. It will not diminish your pain and suffering, or bring your loved one back. But in the case of a senseless drunken driving accident, any measure of compensation can help in the long healing process.
Bringing an Action for Fatalities from Automobile Accidents
Unfortunately, a large percentage of automobile accidents result in fatalities. In 2012, there were 865 fatalities as a result of car accidents in the State of Alabama, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, one study ranked Alabama as the third most dangerous state for automobile accidents. If someone you love has been killed in a car accident in the State of Alabama, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In the case of an automobile accident fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate if the death was a result of the driver’s negligence or criminal behavior. Negligent or criminal behavior while driving may include driving while intoxicated, while texting or with disregard for traffic laws. If the death occurs due to a defective vehicle, there can be negligence on the part of the car manufacturer. Regardless of the cause, a death in a motor vehicle accident has devastating effects on the family.
Alabama law pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits is different than the law of most other states. It puts restrictions on who may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit and the types of damages surviving family members can collect. For example, in the case of wrongful death, only the estate representative of the deceased individual can pursue a lawsuit. In the case of the death of a minor, the custodial parents may sue. Only punitive damages are allowed in a wrongful death suit in Alabama. That means, for example, an estate cannot collect damages for lost wages for the number of years the deceased was expected to work. Also, for example, parents cannot seek damages for the emotional distress caused by the loss of a child. Nor can survivors seek compensation for funeral or medical expenses resulting from the accident. However, punitive damages, which are intended to punish the negligent party for their behavior and deter them from repeating it in the future, can be substantial.
If your loved one was killed in an automobile accident, it is crucial that you consult a lawyer knowledgeable in Alabama state wrongful death laws. Your attorney will help you seek damages for the horrible event that has befallen your family. The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt are extremely qualified to help with this matter. We will determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, navigate the intricacies involved in filing a lawsuit, and get you and your family the justice you deserve.
Automobile Defects Lawsuits in Alabama
While most automobile accidents are caused by the negligent behavior of a driver, there are accidents that occur that have nothing to do with a driver at all. Some cars are sold with either manufacturing or design defects. These defects can often cause serious car accidents that result in personal injury or death. Examples of defects that have caused injuries include structural issues, poor rollover protection (particularly for SUVs), defective airbags or seat belts, faulty wiring or brakes, and dangerous fuel tanks or tires. This list of problems is only a partial representation of the many manufacturing or design defects that can turn a routine drive into a horrific accident.
Car manufacturers have a responsibility to provide the public with safe products. If you are injured as a result of a product that is inherently unsafe, you probably can pursue a legal action against the manufacturer for damages and compensation for your injuries. It doesn’t matter if you were the driver of the car, the owner, or simply a passenger. Any person injured by the vehicle has the right to sue. A lawsuit against the manufacturer of a faulty or defective product is called a product liability action.
If you suspect that a faulty car part caused or contributed to your accident, do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt. We can determine which parties may be responsible for your injuries. We have the experience to bring your lawsuit against a big car manufacturer and emerge victoriously. The tenacious attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt will not back down until they have obtained the best outcome possible.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Drivers on the roads in Alabama face a very different set of issues these days than they have in the past. Although drivers have always faced distractions—smoking, attending to children, applying makeup, engaging in conversation—these distractions are nothing compared to the lure of technology that drivers encounter each day. A typical driver has access to many types of distracting forms of media while driving their car. Cell phones alone can distract a driver with calls, texts, emails and even Internet surfing. Add a lap top computer to the mix, and drivers can watch movies, and easily conduct business from the road. Unfortunately, most people are not capable of utilizing these technologies while safely operating a car.
According to recent statistics, distracted driving caused more than 10% of the car accidents in the State of Alabama in the year 2010. This percentage was estimated to be approximately 14,000 accidents in total. The University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety broke this number down even further and estimated that out of the 14,000 accidents, 132 people died, and 4,380 suffered injury. The experts concluded from these numbers that the use of a cell phone while driving was as, if not more, dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
Predictably, since these 2010 statistics were made available, the number of accidents caused by distracting driving has continued to be extremely problematic in Alabama and most other states. These statistics have led the State of Alabama to address the issue by passing a law in 2012 that bans texting while driving. However, the fines for violations are low ($25 for a first offense and $50 for the second) and many drivers are ignoring the ban.
If your or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, we will analyze the facts of your specific case and immediately seek the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Recovering for Pedestrian Accidents in Alabama
Pedestrian accidents often cause the most serious injuries and fatalities. When a car hits a person who is walking, common injuries include broken bones, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, amputation, coma and often death. Clearly a pedestrian is no match for a negligent driver.
In Alabama, as in the nation at large, pedestrian accidents are a serious and growing problem. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,432 pedestrians killed and 69,000 pedestrians injured in car accidents across the country in 2011. In that same year, Alabama saw 84 pedestrians killed and over 589 injured. Most of the accidents occurred in urban areas at night.
Pedestrians can follow a few simple safety rules, to avoid traffic deaths and injuries. They should try to wear reflective clothing at night and avoid dark colors that blend into the darkness. They should also try to cross in designated crosswalks when possible. Pedestrians should walk facing the traffic so as to have a full view of oncoming cars and should also avoid wearing headphones that can block out the sound of an approaching car.
Even with precautions, negligent drivers can still cause serious injuries when accidents involve pedestrians. If you’ve been hit by a car, chances are you are entitled to recover damages for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Getting hit by a car can be life changing and sometimes life ending and the damages award you receive should reflect that. Not only should you be able to collect from the person that hit you, but you also may have a claim against the city or municipality where the accident occurred. For example, the city may be liable if a street light was out, and caused poor visibility at the time of the accident. The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, can analyze your specific case and help you with their customary speed, expertise and compassion to obtain the proper outcome.
Steps to Take if You’ve Been Involved in an Automobile Accident
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be traumatic and disorienting. You may not be thinking clearly at the time. However, to whatever extent possible, there are steps you should follow that will make the aftermath of an accident easier for you.When you follow the proper steps, it may be easier to recover what’s legally owed to you as compensation for the injuries and damages caused by the accidents. Here are some simple steps that will help you get through the moments following an accident:
Don’t Leave the Scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. If you leave the scene before the proper time, you can be charged for a hit-and-run.
Call for Medical Attention if Needed. Make sure every party involved in the accident is ok. If you or another party requires medical attention, call for an ambulance immediately.
Call the Police. Make sure you call the police who will write down the details of the accident in the form of a police report. This report can be very helpful in a future lawsuit. Take down the names and badge numbers of the officers at the scene. While you should always cooperate with the police, do not admit to any fault while answering questions for the report.
Get the Other Driver’s Information. Ask all other drivers involved in the accident for their names, phone numbers, addresses, license and license plate numbers and insurance information. You should also get the names and numbers of any passengers involved. Keep this record in a safe place. Again, do not admit any fault or guilt while exchanging this information.
Talk to Witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get a quick recounting of what they saw. Write down their names and numbers in case your attorney needs to contact them in the future.
Take Pictures. If you can, take pictures of the accident scene and your damaged vehicle.
Call Your Insurance Company. Contact your insurance company immediately after you’ve been in an accident. Tell them everything you know about the accident, and any injuries you may have incurred. Send them a copy of the police report as soon as you get it.
Get Medical Attention. Even if you don’t feel as if you are injured, you should pay a visit to a doctor or hospital emergency room soon after your accident. Some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries or whiplash injuries don’t manifest until a few days after an accident but may still require expensive medical attention or cause you to miss work. Keep a record of all the times you have seen a doctor and all the money you have spent for medical care.
Get Estimates for the Damage to Your Car. Take your car to a few body shops for estimates on how much it will cost to repair. Your insurance company will probably send a representative out to evaluate the damage to your car as well.
Consult an Attorney. Immediately consulting a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the potentially murky waters after you’ve had been in an accident. The other driver’s insurance company may contact you and offermoney for your injuries. Such offers are probably nowhere near the amount you are entitled to. An attorney can help you to understand exactly what you may be entitled to in damages for your accident and can help you pursue those damages.
Statute of Limitations
Every state, including the State of Alabama, has what’s called a Statute of Limitations. A Statute of Limitations governs the amount of time a person has with which to file a lawsuit. It can vary depending on the type of lawsuit and particular facts of the case. However, the time periods with which to bring certain lawsuits are often relatively short. People who have been injured in a car accident and who plan to file a lawsuit for damages should consult a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. You don’t want to file a lawsuit only to be told that you took too long and exceeded the time allowable under the Statute of Limitations. Swift action and meeting with an attorney as soon as possible will help you to avoid these problems.
Contact Us for Help
Since the firm opened its doors in 1996, the attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have been expertly handling personal injury cases, particularly those related to car accidents. The caring and compassionate attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt know too well how much an accident can impact someone’s life. Hospital bill, medical expenses and lost wages can be financially devastating to a family. And life altering injuries affect not only the injured party, but that person’s family members and loved ones.
Let Alabama lawyers Farris, Riley and Pitt help you to pursue justice. For a free evaluation and to learn more about whether you have a claim in the event you’ve been injured in a car accident contact the attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt today. You can call us at 205-324-1212 or toll-free at 1-888-580-5176. You can reach our knowledgeable legal staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling our toll-free lawyer assistance line at 1-888-937-7534.