Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers
We have handled thousands of car accident personal injury claims throughout north Alabama. There are a lot of moving parts in a car accident claim. From talking with the difficult insurance adjusters, gathering evidence, obtaining medical records and bills, dealing with liens and subrogation, and trying to figure out whether a personal injury settlement offer is fair.
We handle every part of the case. And we only get paid if we win.
How the Claims Process Works
The first thing we do after a client hires our firm is to notify to the insurance companies of our involvement. We also tell the insurance companies to have no further contact with our client. At that point, we handle the entire claim. We tell our clients that their only job is to focus on recovering from their injuries.
We help with getting our clients to an orthopedic doctor or a chiropractor to get proper medical treatment. Our goal is to help our clients have the quickest possible recovery from their injuries.
Once you have recovered, then (and only then) do we attempt to settle your claim. It is not smart to settle your claim while you are still receiving medical treatment. After all, you only get to settle your case once.
We gather all of your medical records, medical bills, and all other evidence about how you were harmed in the car accident. We compile all of this information and summarize it. Then we provide it to the insurance company and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement.
Our Approach to Car Accident Cases
We understand that most of our clients don’t want to have to file a lawsuit. So we try to always settle car accident personal injury claims before filing a lawsuit. Insurance companies sometimes make the settlement negotiation process difficult. Several insurance companies routinely make unreasonably low offers.
If the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer, a lawsuit becomes necessary in order to reach a fair settlement. If we have to file a lawsuit in your car accident case, that does not necessarily mean your case will go to trial. The majority of cases will settle prior to trial.
How Are Car Accident Injury Lawyers Paid?
We handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we charge a percentage of the settlement (or verdict) that we get you for your car accident injury claim. We typically charge a 33.3% contingency fee in car accident cases.
If we do not get you a settlement or verdict, we do not get paid. Therefore, there is no financial risk to you by contacting a personal injury lawyer.
For a more in-depth explanation of how personal injury lawyers are paid, listen to this message from attorney Bart Siniard:
Car Accident Injuries
The most common injuries we see in car accidents are spine injuries involving herniated or bulging discs. Car accidents can also cause shoulder and knee injuries, including torn ligaments or tendons such as an ACL tear or a rotator cuff tear. In very high-impact wrecks, we see fractured bones such as bimalleolar fractures (ankle), tibial plateau fractures (top of the shin bone), and fractures of the sternum.
We also handle cases involving soft tissue injuries. While wrecks can cause broken bones and torn ligaments, they also can cause strains of muscle, fascia, and tendons. These strains are called soft tissue injuries and can be quite painful. The most common soft tissue injury we handle is known as “whiplash.”
Types of Wrecks
The most common type of collision is a rear-end wreck. This type of wreck occurs when a driver either misjudges their stopping distance or is driving while distracted.
The second most common type of wreck is due to the other driver failing to stop at a traffic signal. Usually, this wreck is due to a driver being in a hurry or failing to look at the roadway.
The third most common type of wreck is when someone crosses a center line leading to a head-on collision. These wrecks are usually due to distracted driving or driving under the influence.
Our Complete Guide to Car Accident Injury Claims
Review our Complete Guide to Car Accident Injury Claims. It’s a comprehensive guidebook that outlines everything you need to know when you are injured in a car accident. From the basic legal principles involved to inside information about how insurance adjustors evaluate claims, it’s a full explanation of what you should know.
How to Prove Distracted Driving
We have handled thousands of personal injury claims from Alabama car accidents. Over the last decade, there has been a drastic rise in car accidents caused by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones.
But how do you actually prove the at-fault driver was using their cell phone? Watch this video from attorney Bart Siniard about how we go about proving distracted driving:
FAQS About Car Accident Injury Claims
How do personal injury lawyers get paid?
Personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that a personal injury lawyer only gets paid if there is a settlement or verdict in your favor. If the personal injury lawyer does not get you a settlement or verdict, you don’t owe the lawyer a dime. Contingency fees are based on percentages. Our firm typically charges 33.3% for car accident injury cases.
Is there an initial consultation fee to meet with a personal injury lawyer?
No, there is no initial consultation fee to meet with our personal injury attorneys. Unlike divorce or criminal defense lawyers, we do not charge a fee to meet with you. We do not require a retainer. Nor do we charge by the hour. We only get paid a percentage of your settlement/verdict. If there is no settlement/verdict in your favor, your personal injury lawyer will not get paid.
What happens at an initial consultation?
We meet with the potential client to gather all information about how the incident occurred. For example, in a car accident case, we will want to know what you remember about the wreck, where you received medical treatment, and whether you have car and health insurance.
We will also want to gather any evidence you have, including the crash report, photographs of the scene of the wreck, photographs of the vehicles, and any medical bills you have received. Then we explain in detail the legal process and how we can help. At that point, if you wish to hire us, you will sign documentation that allows us to represent you.
Do people who have personal injury lawyers get more money than those who don’t?
Yes. Studies generally conclude that people who have an attorney get about three times as much money as someone who doesn’t have an attorney. The primary benefit of having an attorney is that an insurance company knows if you have an attorney, that there is a risk of the attorney taking the case to trial.
How long does a personal injury case take?
The time frame depends primarily on two things. The first factor is how much medical treatment you need. We generally do not like to reach a settlement until you have completed medical treatment. It is hard to determine the true value of your case until we can see the full picture of how much you have suffered, whether you will have any permanent medical issues going forward, and the full amount of medical bills and lost wages.
The second factor is whether the insurance company offers a fair settlement amount. We always want to be able to reach a settlement without having to file a lawsuit. However, if the insurance company denies responsibility or makes a low offer, you have the option for us to file a lawsuit on your behalf. If this occurs in your case, it will take many months, and sometimes years, to reach a settlement or trial date. However, sometimes it is necessary to receive fair compensation.
What am I entitled to when my car is damaged in a wreck?
The other person’s insurance company has to pay not only for your injuries but for damage to your vehicle. If your car is totaled, you are entitled to the vehicle’s fair market value. If your car is repairable, you are entitled to 100% of the repair costs, loss of use damages (this usually means the cost of a rental car while your car is being repaired), and compensation for the loss of value of the vehicle sustained due to the wreck.
How much time do I have to settle my personal injury claim in Alabama?
You always need to be aware of the “statute of limitations.” This is the timeframe in which you must either settle your claim or file a lawsuit. For example, in Alabama, there is a two-year statute of limitations for cases involving negligence (the time period is shorter if the claim is against a county or municipality.)
If you have not settled your case by the expiration of the statute of limitations period and have not filed a lawsuit, you have lost your case. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later.
How do I get a copy of the accident report?
There are a few different ways to get an accident report after a car wreck. First, you can download the crash report for $15 at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s website. You will need either the crash report number given to you by the police or your driver’s license number in order to download the report.
If you prefer to speak with someone about it, you can call the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency at 334-242-4241 to request the accident report. You can also go in person to the law enforcement agency that handled the crash investigation. Huntsville, where our firm is located, has its main Police Station at 815 Wheeler Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35801.
What is a hospital lien?
In Alabama, hospitals have a right to file a lien on your personal injury claim for the full value of their bill. What’s frustrating is that the hospital can do this even if you have health insurance. Hospitals like to file hospital liens because they can collect more money from your personal injury claim than they could from your health insurance. Usually, hospital lien amounts are negotiable if you have an attorney.
Do I need to get my own medical records?
If you hire us to handle your injury claim after a car accident, we generally obtain all of the medical records on your behalf. However, some hospitals, including Huntsville Hospital, provide a patient portal where you can download your hospital records for a small fee. We encourage our clients to use this portal because it is quick and cheap.
Should I let an insurance adjuster record my statement on the phone?
We always advise against giving a recorded statement to an insurance company without first consulting with a personal injury attorney. This is because insurance companies will try to twist your words at a later time to make it seem like the incident was partially your fault.
What happens if both of the drivers are partially at fault for a wreck?
In Alabama, we have the doctrine of “contributory negligence.” This means that if both of the drivers were negligent and that each of the drivers’ negligence contributed to causing the wreck, then neither driver would be entitled to compensation.
What does it mean when an insurance company accepts or denies liability?
When the other person involved in the wreck has insurance, the insurance company will either accept liability or deny liability. Accepting liability means that the insurance company believes their customer was negligent and that you did not contribute to causing the wreck. It is always good news when the insurance company accepts liability.
If the insurance company denies liability, they either believe their customer was not negligent or that you contributed to the wreck. An insurance company’s decision to deny liability in your injury claim should not discourage you from reaching out to a personal injury lawyer to review the case.
What if the person who causes a wreck doesn’t have car insurance?
In Alabama, as many as 1 in 5 drivers don’t have valid car insurance. That’s why you have to protect yourself by purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. While you could always try to pursue the uninsured driver for your damages, it may be difficult to collect. As they say, it’s usually hard to get “blood out of a turnip.”
If you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, you can make a claim for damages against your own insurance company. Doing this should not make your car insurance rates go up. We handle uninsured motorist claims frequently since a good fraction of Alabama drivers who cause wrecks don’t have car insurance.
What is subrogation?
Subrogation is the legal principle where an entity is entitled to be reimbursed for the money it paid as a result of the wrongful conduct of someone else. The most common example is when someone is in a wreck, and the hurt person’s health insurance has to pay for medical treatment.
If the hurt person gets a settlement from the at-fault driver’s car insurance, then the injured person’s health insurance company has a right to be reimbursed out of the settlement. Usually, the amount of reimbursement is negotiable if you have a personal injury lawyer.
How can I prove the other driver was using his cell phone?
The only way to obtain this information is if we file a lawsuit in your case. Once a lawsuit is filed, we have the ability to subpoena the other driver’s cell phone records, which usually show the time of phone calls, texts, and data usage.
What do I do if I was in a hit-and-run accident?
Report it immediately to the police and provide all information about the other vehicle. Locate witnesses and obtain their contact information. Take photos of your vehicle and any crash debris. Get medical treatment if needed and contact your insurance company to notify them of the situation. If the police cannot locate the other driver, you may have to make a claim for property damage with your own insurance company. If you were injured, you could also claim uninsured motorist benefits with your insurance company.
Will the other person’s car insurance immediately pay my medical bills?
No. There is a common misconception that you can just send your medical bills to the insurance company, and they will write a check. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
If you have co-pays, deductibles, or have no health insurance, you are personally responsible for the medical bill until a settlement is reached. Car wreck settlements are considered “lump sum” settlements because they include compensation for pain, suffering, and medical costs incurred (among a variety of other potential damages.)
What is medical payments (MedPay) coverage?
One of the types of car insurance coverages you may have is medical payments, which is commonly referred to in the legal industry as “medpay.” Medpay coverage usually comes in amounts of either $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000. This amount of money will pay for medical bills incurred as they come due. If you get a settlement from the other person’s car insurance, your car insurance company will have a right to be reimbursed out of the settlement. However, that reimbursement amount can be reduced if you have an attorney.
Should my health insurance cover medical bills for treatment I got after a wreck?
Yes. Your health insurance will pay for medical treatment just as if the medical treatment was unrelated to a car accident. However, your health insurance will have a right of subrogation, i.e., a right to be reimbursed out of your settlement. The amount of reimbursement can be reduced if you have a personal injury attorney.
Is my personal injury settlement taxable?
Under IRS Code Section 104(a)(2), personal injury settlement money is generally not considered taxable income. However, there are exceptions and you should consult with an accountant after we conclude your personal injury claim.
Let Us Get to Work for You
If you have been hurt in a car accident in Alabama, let us review your case. We have experience in getting results for the victims of car accidents.