Nearly all of us drive every day. It is a commonplace occurrence that is typically, otherwise unremarkable. But that can change in an instant. No matter how carefully you drive, that will have no effect on the driving behaviors of others. The sad fact is that each and every day, people get into accidents, get hurt, and are left to pick up the pieces.
One of the questions that must be asked in the face of car accidents is, who should pay the costs? And there are real costs associated with accidents, even the smallest fender bender. The first and obvious cost is the damage done to cars. Vehicles are not cheap, and fixing a damaged car can be very expensive. But outside of property damage, people get hurt too.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes estimates of people injured in car accidents every year. And every year those injured in accidents reach millions of people. For every injured victim in an accident there will be hospital bills, time off work, and other costs associated with the accident. And then there is the pain and suffering. Many people suffer traumatic episodes following accidents where any number of bad things could have happened. That all creates a cost that someone should be liable for.
At Fault Liability
Fortunately for those injured in an accident, Alabama has civil laws designed to protect and compensate victims. In Alabama, car accident law is a part of personal injury law. Personal injury law, or tort law, is one of the oldest and best developed areas of law in our legal system. Every lawyer in America today started his or her legal education by learning the basics of personal injury law.
The basics of personal injury law, or car accident law are simple. The law puts a duty on each of us to act with a duty of care towards one another so as to not cause harm. This means that when a person gets behind the wheel and starts driving, that driver has a duty to obey traffic signals, drive attentively, and not breach traffic laws. In fact, almost all accidents could be avoided if each of us simply kept this duty.
Unfortunately for car accident victims, some drivers do not keep their duty to drive safely. When that happens and a victim is injured because of the breach of a duty to drive safely, the person at fault will be held liable for the accident. This is the civil code of laws we all live under, and the standard we should be held to.
Common Causes Of Accidents
It is clear that none of us is perfect, but sometimes drivers can be downright dangerous. Even though most accidents, if not all, can and should be prevented, we continue to get injured by negligent drivers. At the heart of the problem with negligent driving is distracted driving.
Distracted driving has received national attention in recent years. With the high rate of smartphone usage while driving, new gadgets for cars, and other distractions, people are more distracted while driving than ever. A large number of accidents every year can be directly attributed to electronic device use, being distracted by a fast food meal, or some other distractions.
In addition to distraction, a lot of accidents are caused by simple negligence of following traffic signals. Or people in a hurry will speed and reduce the ability to react in time to a difficult driving situation. And then there is the deplorable act of drinking, driving, and causing an accident. These common causes of accidents are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are as many potential causes of accidents as there are drivers and decisions being made.
Birmingham's Car Accident Law Firm
Do not take the chance of being mishandled or taken advantage of by taking a case on by yourself. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact us. We are an experienced law firm and we know how to help you get everything you deserve following an accident. At The Nomberg Law Firm our team of dedicated professionals will be here to help you.
Our Firm represents people who have been injured in automobile accidents. Many of our clients are injured while driving automobiles or trucks as part of their job duties. We are able to assist our clients with both their workers’ compensation claim as well as the car accident or third party claim. We have also successfully represented clients over the years recover from their uninsured/underinsured insurance policies.
Bernard recently settled a bad automobile collision case for $200,000. Our clients, a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, were driving along a two lane road in Shelby County when a woman crossed the centerline and hit them head-on. The child was belted in the front seat but unfortunately suffered numerous internal injuries, including several lacerated organs. She remained in Children’s Hospital for more than a month and is still being treated more than five months after the accident. The mother sustained numerous orthopedic injuries and was also hospitalized for more than a month. This accident occurred because the defendant driver ran off the shoulder of the road and then over-corrected when reentering the lane. She was cresting a hill at the same time when she crossed the centerline before hitting our clients head on. This case once again shows the vital importance to have enough under insured and uninsured motorist coverage.
Bernard settled an underinsured motorists insurance benefits claim with our client’s auto insurance carrier for $200,000. Our client was initially injured in December, 2011, in Jefferson County when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. This collision caused several permanent personal injuries, including injuries to her shoulder, chest and low back. The most serious injuries were to her head including posttraumatic concussion syndrome and migraine headaches which occur just about daily. According to her doctors these headaches will likely be part of her life going forward. In September, 2013, we settled for policy limits of $100,000 with the tortfeasor.
A Shelby County jury returned a compensatory and punitive damages verdict for our client in October 2015 in a hotly contested motor vehicle case. The jury awarded $50,000 in compensatory and $32,500 for punitive damages. Bernard was proud to sit with JD Lawrence and Nate Vanderveer, who tried an excellent case. Our client suffered facial fractures that required surgery. The defendant driver lied and the jury punished him for not taking responsibility for his actions. This was a great result in a very tough venue.
The defendant driver sped up to catch the car our client was riding in on a dark county road late at night. Our client was a passenger riding in his friend’s car on their way home after playing pickup soccer. The defendant driver passed our client’s car, immediately got in front of our client’s vehicle and then slammed on the brakes; as if he was playing a video game. He blamed the accident on a deer running out in front of his car. He was the only person who claimed to have seen a deer despite having four passengers in his car. He never took responsibility for the accident and continued to lie throughout the litigation. The jury did not believe the deer story and punished him for lying and driving so recklessly. The trial judge said it is the first time he has ever had a wantonness claim go to the jury and to have punitive damages in a jury verdict.
In our March 2013 newsletter, we discussed the important need for underinsured/uninsured insurance through your own auto insurance policy. This type of insurance coverage will cover you in the event the accident is caused by a driver who lacks insurance or has a small policy. This type of coverage will also protect you in the event an accident is caused by a phantom driver. A phantom driver causes an accident but leaves the accident scene. This happened to a client of ours. The phantom driver ran our client off the road causing our client to crash his car into a brick wall. The collision caused our client to have significant permanent injuries, requiring a cervical fusion to repair a herniated disc in his neck. His medical bills exceeded $100,000. Because our client was insured by two different underinsured/uninsured policies at the time of the accident, both insurance companies agreed to pay policy limits which resulted in a $125,000 recovery for our client. Without underinsured/uninsured coverage, our client would have no recovery to pay medical bills or compensate him for his permanent injuries. This case reflects the importance of obtaining as much underinsured/uninsured coverage as you can. This case was filed in Calhoun County, Alabama.
David settled an automobile accident case for $95,000 occurring in Montgomery, Alabama. The workers’ compensation carrier agreed to waive its subrogation interest. Our Client was compensated for his pain and suffering and reimbursed for six months of lost wages.
Bernard settled a motor vehicle accident case for two clients in Jefferson County. The clients were traveling through an intersection when their car was t-boned by a driver who was in a high-speed chase attempting to allude police. One of the clients sustained significant orthopedic injuries that have required many months of medical care. Unfortunately some of these injuries will develop into permanent conditions. Bernard settled the personal injury and property damage claims with the tortfeasor’s insurance carrier for both clients. Bernard also negotiated a very nice settlement with the clients’ underinsured motorist insurance benefits for one of the clients. These settlements, including the property damage claim for their totaled vehicle, puts the clients’ overall total settlement of more than $100,000. A very nice resolution and end to a very difficult time period for our two very nice clients.
Bernard settled a motor vehicle accident claim for a client this past month. Our client was hit from the side when the driver at fault did not realize our client was already occupying the lane. From the collision, our client sustained injuries to her low back, pain in her neck, head and shoulder. She continues to seek pain management therapy for her back injuries and headaches. Thankfully, no surgery was required. Our client received a very nice settlement just prior to litigation being initiated. This case occurred in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bernard settled a motor vehicle collision claim for another client. This collision occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, and factually, was very similar to the above case. The at-fault driver did not see our client when turning into her lane. Our client sustained serious injuries to multiple cervical vertebrae. We were able to collect full policy limits from the tortfeasor’s liability insurance policy as well as full policy limits from our client’s underinsured insurance policy. This was a very good result for our client. This case shows why it is so important to carry underinsured/uninsured automobile insurance coverage.
Our client, a resident of Georgia, received insurance policy limits of $25,000 from the driver who caused an automobile accident in Alabama. Because our client was injured while working, he also received workers’ compensation benefits including compensation and medical benefits during his recovery. Our client received $44,500 from the workers’ compensation carrier. Our client also received the benefit of the workers’ compensation carrier waiving its $63,000 lien.