Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

Wondering who is at fault in a car accident in the state of Alabama? Unlike some states, Alabama is an “at-fault” state when it comes to determining who was at fault in the event of a car accident.

In short, this means the person responsible for the accident is liable for all the damages as a result of the accident.

As with most injury claims, however, things are not always straightforward. Here’s a closer look at how auto liability laws work in Alabama, and what you should do if you’re involved in a car accident.

What You Should Do if You’re Involved in a Car Accident

First of all, it’s important you know what to do if you’re involved in a car accident. Not only from a safety aspect but also to protect your rights.

Each accident will pose its own unique challenges. Generally speaking, however, you should take the following steps:

Call 911 and check everyone is safe – The first step after an accident is to always check everyone is safe. Call 911 and report the accident to the police (you’ll need a police accident report number later), and an ambulance if needed.

Don’t talk about it with the other party – Resist apologizing or talking about who you think was at fault. Emotions are going to be running high, and you may say something you later regret.

Under Alabama law, you must provide your contact details, driver’s license number, vehicle registration details, and the names of your passengers. You can give this information to the other party and the police. Don’t say anything else about the accident.

Gather evidence – Regardless of who you think was at fault, the more evidence you can gather the better. Take photos and film footage on your phone, make sure you capture any tire marks, the damage to both cars, and other evidence you think is relevant.

Get a copy of the traffic accident report – The police officer will fill out a traffic accident report. They may also ask you to fill out an SR-13 form. Get copies of these records as soon as they’re available as you’ll need them when filing a claim.

Contact an attorney – Dealing with insurance companies, understanding local laws, seeing medical professionals, and communicating with the police department in the aftermath of an accident can be challenging.

The only way to be sure you will receive the maximum possible compensation is to work with an experienced attorney.

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

In the event of an accident, the general rule of thumb is that the person responsible for the accident is the one at fault. Or, another way of putting this is the person who was more “careless” is at fault.

Proving that one person was at fault is often easier said than done. With a lot on the line, it’s common for people to dispute being responsible for causing an accident.

A further complication is that in some cases, the driver of the other vehicle might not be the person at fault. For example, if the accident was due to a manufacturing fault with their vehicle, the manufacturer could be held liable.

It’s important to establish whether or not you were at fault. As well as ways to prove who was at fault if both parties dispute who they think is at fault.

Proving Who Was at Fault

Proving Who Was at Fault

If both parties in a car accident cannot agree who was at fault, the insurance companies will attempt to make this determination.

Depending on the complexity of the crash, law enforcement and insurance companies can assess the incident.

An insurance company will usually start by asking the police officer that attended the scene for a report. They may then send out accident investigators to visit the scene and provide their professional input.

The insurance companies for both parties will work together to figure out who was at fault, and to what extent.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Help Prove Who Was at Fault?

You do not have to retain an attorney if you’ve been involved in a car accident. However, depending on how complex and serious your accident was, hiring an attorney is going to be able to help in a number of ways.

The main benefits of hiring an attorney include:

Handing paperwork and legal documents – There will be various documents to fill out following a car accident. Small things like making a mistake or missing a deadline can harm your case. An attorney will help ensure all paperwork is filled out correctly and filed on time.

Proving fault – If you think the other party was at fault but are disputing it, an attorney can help conduct an investigation to find evidence that they were at fault.

Compensation – You may be eligible for personal injury compensation along with damages for the damage to your vehicle. Personal injury law is complex, an experienced attorney will be able to advise if you’re eligible.

Negotiating with insurance companies – Dealing with insurance companies is often time-consuming and difficult. Attorneys have experience working with insurance companies and are better placed to pursue the best outcome in your favor.

Protecting your rights – You’re not expected to understand the law in detail and know how to act after a car accident. Being in an accident is traumatic enough, you should leave the legal matters to a qualified attorney.

About Warren Freeman Attorney At Law

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, call the office of Warren Freeman attorney at law today.

Whether you were at fault, or not. To protect your rights you should always retain the expertise of an experienced auto liability and personal injury lawyer.

Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s experience representing clients on both sides of auto accident cases. He will fight for you to ensure you’re awarded the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.

Call the office of Warren Freeman, Attorney at Law, today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.

What Is a Power of Attorney & Why Would I Need It?

What is a Power of Attorney

Almost everyone will need a power of attorney at some point in their lives. A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to name a person or an organization to manage your assets in the event that you’re unable to do so.

It’s a decision you need to make carefully, and you have several options when naming a power of attorney in Alabama. In this article, we’re looking at what a power of attorney does, and why you would need to name one.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

In Alabama, a power of attorney is someone named to act on behalf of and make decisions for the person who appointed them.

In short, this means; if for some reason you are not able to make a decision regarding your personal financial or legal issues, the person you gave power of attorney to will be able to do so on your behalf.

In legal terms, you create a relationship backed by law. You are named the ‘principal’, and the person you give POA to is the ‘agent’.

You can use POA for temporary things, such as giving someone the power to manage your financial affairs when you’re out of the country. Or, you can give someone a POA to manage your estate in the event that you become unable to do so yourself due to being incapacitated in some way.

What Can Power of Attorneys Do?

You can hand over just about any responsibility to a POA. As long as you make it clear in a legal document what you’re giving them the power to do.

Some of the common ‘powers’ or responsibilities handed over to a power of attorney are:

Financial Matters

Handling financial matters when you’re not able to is one of the most common reasons for awarding POA to someone you trust.

A lot of people name a power of attorney to step in and make financial decisions if they fall sick and are not able to make the decisions themselves.

This can be something as simple as managing house bills in the short term until you’re back from vacation. Or, it could involve handing over a whole estate in the event that you will never be well enough to make decisions yourself.

Real Estate Decisions

Managing real estate is often a time-consuming task. Your properties and tenants will suffer if you’re suddenly not able to make decisions for yourself.

You can assign someone power of attorney to pick up managing your properties in your absence. This can save you a lot of money, as well as ensuring any tenants you have are taken care of.

Business Affairs

If you run your own business, operations have to carry on in your absence. Otherwise, you risk losing a lot of money and potentially running into legal issues.

You can name a power of attorney to handle certain urgent day-to-day tasks when you’re not available. Or, you can give someone the power to take over operating your business if something happens to you.

Legal Matters

It’s fairly common for people to hand over power of attorney for some of their legal matters. In this instance, you may want to choose an attorney or someone with legal experience as they’ll make informed decisions.

You can use a POA to help with everything from ensuring important and timely legal affairs are taken care of when you’re briefly not available. Or, you might want to assign someone the power to handle your affairs in the event that you’re no longer able to.

Why Would You Need a Power of Attorney

Why Would You Need a Power of Attorney?

You should consider naming a person as a power of attorney to manage your affairs in the event that you’re not able to.

It can be a thing of convenience, such as enabling someone to appear in person for deals when you’re busy. Or, you can think ahead and make sure someone you trust will take over your affairs if you suddenly fall ill or are incapacitated in some way.

If you don’t appoint a power of attorney, your business and personal affairs could quickly spiral out of control. In some cases, a court will step in and appoint one or more people to act on your behalf.

Therefore, it’s better you give power of attorney to someone who knows you, and you trust. A lot of people use this principal/agent relationship to help manage their affairs throughout their lives.

It’s important to be aware that a power of attorney expires when the principal dies. The power or authority to manage the principles affairs and estate after death is handed over to the executor.

How to Choose a Power of Attorney

Trust is the biggest factor when choosing power of attorney. It’s a big decision, with potentially huge implications for your loved ones.

Whether you choose a friend, family member, an attorney, or an organization, you need to be sure you can trust them to carry out your wishes and act with your best interests at heart.

You also need to choose someone willing to take on the responsibility. They need to understand what is expected of them, and they should be good at keeping accurate records.

This is a decision an attorney can help you with. But ultimately it’s going to come down to you to select someone you feel is best for the role.

About Warren Freeman Attorney At Law

If you’re considering giving power of attorney to someone in Alabama, hiring an experienced attorney will make sure the POA is lawful and you’re handing over the right powers.

Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s experience working with power of attorney cases in Alabama. He can help you fill out the forms and submit your paperwork quickly, and easily.

Call the office of Warren Freeman, Attorney at Law, today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.

Divorce for Adultery and Incompatibility in Alabama

Divorce for Adultery and Incompatibility in Alabama

Sometimes, spouses can no longer live together, remain as a couple, and stay married. Whatever the reason, if this is the case for you and your spouse, you need to file for a divorce. Continue reading to learn more about Divorce for Adultery and Incompatibility in the State of Alabama.

In Alabama, two of the most common reasons for divorce are adultery and incompatibility.

Both of which mean different things and require different approaches to pursue. However, it’s important that you are able to explain the reason why you’re getting a divorce for a judge to grant it.

It’s important to note that the grounds for divorce can greatly impact how your assets will divide, alimony payments, and some other financial implications.

In this article, we’re looking at how to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery and incompatibility. As well as what the implications are and what you should do next.

Filing for Divorce in Alabama – Where To Start

When you and/or your spouse have decided you want to file for divorce, the first thing you should do is seek representation from an experienced divorce attorney.

Divorce can become particularly complex and is often emotional. You need an experienced lawyer fighting for your rights if you’re going to receive everything you’re entitled to.

The person filing for divorce is called the ‘plaintiff.’ The plaintiff is responsible for citing a legal ground for the divorce.

In Alabama, couples have the option to file for a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. Here is a closer look at what each of these types of divorce means:

Grounds for a No-Fault Divorce in Alabama

There has to be a legally acceptable reason for a judge to grant a divorce in the state of Alabama. After all, marriage is a legal contract.

However, sometimes it’s hard to define the exact reason or place blame on one spouse. Under these circumstances, you’re able to file for a ‘no-fault’ divorce. This essentially means you’re citing one of the following two reasons:

Incompatibility – this means that either one or both of you agree that you’re not able to get along any longer.

Irretrievable breakdown of your marriage – this means that either one or both of you say that your marriage is simply beyond repair.

No-fault divorces are typically easier and quicker to resolve than fault-based divorces and less expensive.

Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce in Alabama

As the name suggests, a fault-based divorce is filing for divorce by placing fault on your spouse. This form of divorce is often more demanding, as it requires you to prove your allegations to a judge.

It also means airing your ‘dirty laundry’ in a public forum and confronting your spouse. This form of divorce is typically a more drawn out and expensive process than a no-fault divorce.

Some of the grounds for a fault-based divorce in Alabama include:

  • Adultery
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Physically and incurably incapacitation of a spouse while getting married
  • Discovering the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage without disclosing it
  • Being in prison for at least 2 of a 7-year sentence
  • Mental illness that has resulted in at least 5 consecutive years in an institution
  • Performing a crime against nature, human or beast
  • Abandoning the marriage for at least 12 months

Filing for Divorce on the Grounds of Adultery

Filing for Divorce on the Grounds of Adultery

Adultery is the most common reason cited in a fault-based divorce. In Alabama, adultery is defined in section 13A-13-2 of the Alabama code as:

A person commits adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is not his spouse and lives in cohabitation with that other person when he or that other person is married.

If you can prove your spouse committed adultery, there is a good chance you will be granted a divorce on those grounds.

How Proving Adultery Affects Alimony and Division of Assets

When two people are granted a divorce and go their separate ways, their assets have to be divided fairly and reasonably.

This doesn’t mean everything will be split 50/50. Neither does it mean if one spouse has contributed a lot more during the marriage, they will receive more from the settlement.

A judge has to make a determination on how the assets should be split. This also includes whether or not the judge will award alimony and how much it should be.

The main factors a judge will take into account when deciding on how to divide assets and award alimony are:

  • The conduct of the spouses during the marriage and the grounds for divorce
  • The earning ability of both spouses
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • The current living situation and standard of living of both spouses
  • Values of the property and assets each spouse has to their names
  • Any other facts and circumstances the judge thinks are relevant to the case.

As you can see, the grounds for divorce and the conduct of both spouses are factors judges take into account when deciding on how to award both spouses.

This doesn’t mean the court will award you more favorably if your partner commits adultery. But it does mean it can be taken into account.

There is also a limitation when granting a divorce on the grounds of adultery in Alabama; Judges cannot award the plaintiff any of the adulterous spouse’s non-marital property.

Is There a Homewrecker Law in Alabama?

The ‘Homewrecker’ law, which is also called the alienation of affection lawsuit, is a law that enables someone to sue a third party for damages incurred due to the break up of their marriage.

At the time of writing this, however, legislation has been passed to abolish alienation of affection laws in Alabama.

There are currently only six states that currently have some form of Homewrecker law.

About Warren Freeman Attorney at Law

If you’re considering divorcing your partner on either grounds of adultery or incompatibility, hiring an experienced attorney is the only way to seek your most favorable settlement.

Going through a divorce is an emotionally draining experience. It would be best if you didn’t try to also navigate the legal process yourself, especially with so much on the line.

Attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s experience representing clients in Alabama. He’s represented many clients on both sides of divorce proceedings and has a comprehensive understanding of the legal system in Alabama.

If you want the very best outcome in your case, call the office of Warren Freeman, Attorney at Law, today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.

The Most Common Criminal Law Charges and How To Avoid Them

The Most Common Criminal Law Charges and How To Avoid Them

According to the latest statistics made available by the FBI, across the U.S., a property crime is committed every 4.1 seconds and a violent crime every 24.6 seconds.

These are shocking statistics. Although, there are a number of things you can do to minimize your own risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Here are the top five most common criminal law charges in the U.S. and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Larceny/Theft

According to CriminalJusticeDegreeHub, by far the most common crime across the U.S. is larceny-theft. There are more than 7 million incidents of larceny reported each year, and this crime makes up around 60% of all reported crimes.

Larceny is theft, although the word “theft” is used for broader crimes. Depending on which state you live in, the word larceny might apply to different types of theft.

To commit an act of larceny, someone has to take property that doesn’t belong to them without the owner’s consent. If you’ve ever had some personal belongings stolen, you were likely a victim of larceny.

It’s important to note that a crime of larceny is different from robbery and burglary. These crimes are also covered separately on this list along with explanations.

How To Protect Yourself Against Larceny

Cambridgema.gov list the following points to help protect yourself against larceny:

  • Keep your possessions close to you when you’re out and never leave bags and other belongings unattended
  • Do not place your cell phone, car keys, and other valuables on tables when dining out
  • Keep your personal belongings in a secure drawer while at work
  • When shopping, keep your wallet, purse, etc secured on your body until you are paying for your goods
  • Do not keep your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) in your wallet or purse
  • Make a list of all your credit card numbers, ID cards, etc along with customer service phone numbers in case you need to cancel your cards if they’re stolen

2. Burglary

The second most common criminal law charge in the U.S. is burglary. Although burglary often involves the theft of items, it’s a crime that can be committed without stealing anything.

To commit a burglary, someone has to enter a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit a crime. It’s possible for that person to be convicted of burglary, even without committing a crime inside the building.

If a person does commit theft while in the building, they can face multiple criminal charges.

How To Protect Yourself Against Burglary

Safewise lists the following as ways to prevent your home/business from being burglarized:

  • Install security systems and cameras
  • Improve the locks on the doors that give access to your building
  • Make your property looked lived in when you’re not there
  • Use motion-activated security lights
  • Always lock windows overnight
  • Join neighborhood watch groups

3. Motor Vehicle Theft

According to Wikipedia, in 2017 there were 237 motor vehicle thefts reported per 100,000 people across the U.S.

Motor vehicle theft also called car theft and grand theft auto is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle.

Around 800,000 people are victims of motor vehicle theft each year, and this makes this type of crime the third most common.

How To Protect Yourself Against Motor Vehicle Theft

GEICO outlines the following as the best ways to reduce the risk of being a victim of motor vehicle theft:

  • Always keep your vehicle locked, even while driving
  • Never leave your car unattended and running, even if you’re popping out for just a couple of minutes
  • Install an anti-theft immobilizer and/or a tracking device
  • Never leave valuables inside your car where they can be seen
  • Try and park your car somewhere lit or with good visibility overnight if not in a garage

4. Aggravated Assault

The fourth most common criminal law charge is aggravated assault. The FBI defines aggravated assault as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”

This is a very different type of crime from the top three on the list. Being a victim of an assault often has a much more damaging impact on victims over theft and burglary.

Weapons are commonly used, and victims are subjected to bodily harm. There is a physical, mental, and psychological impact involved when being a victim of an aggravated assault.

How To Protect Yourself Against Aggravated Assault

It’s often difficult to predict when you’re at an increased risk of an aggravated assault. Some tips to help protect yourself include:

  • Don’t go out late at night alone
  • Know your surroundings well, be cautious when exploring new areas
  • Listen to your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable or if you’re in danger leave the area
  • Be observant of your surroundings and keep an eye out for risks
  • Don’t be confrontational with people

5. Robbery

Robbery is the fifth most common type of crime. Not to be confused with larceny or theft, robbery is defined by the FBI as “taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

It’s estimated there are around 300,000 robberies reported in the U.S. every year. This covers everything from “strong-arm” robberies involving dangerous weapons to more “minor” incidents such as attempted purse snatching.

How To Protect Yourself Against Robbery

To protect yourself from being a victim of robbery Missouri.gov recommends the following tips:

  • Be observant of your surrounds and remain alert at all times
  • Don’t make valuables visible if you can help it when out in public
  • Stick to well-lit areas late at night
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash on you
  • Display confident body language
  • Trust your instincts, if you feel like you’re at risk do something to remove yourself from the situation

Have You Been the Victim of a Crime?

If you’ve been a victim of a crime it’s important you are aware of your rights. You may be eligible for compensation or restitution, or you may feel like your case is not being handled correctly.

Criminal defense attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s of legal experience. He’s litigated some of the most challenging lawsuits across several counties in Alabama.

If you want to find out what your rights are and what the best outcome for your case is, call the office of Warren Freeman Attorney at Law today at (256) 253-3169.

Fault Based Grounds of Divorce

Fault Based Grounds of Divorce

In Alabama, couples that have decided to file for divorce have the option to file for either a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce.

A no-fault divorce relates to on irreconcilable differences. While a fault-based divorce is more complicated as it’s based on a spouse’s misconduct in the marriage.

Typically, a spouse will file a fault-based divorce if they feel “wronged”. Wanting to prove they were not the reason for the failure of the marriage.

Successfully proving the other spouse was at fault can also lead to a larger distribution of marital property.

So, it’s incredibly important you seek the advice and representation of an experienced lawyer. One with experience defending clients in fault-based divorce cases in Alabama – as Warren Freeman is.

Here’s a closer look at the fault-based grounds for divorce and what it means for both parties:

Fault-Based Grounds of Divorce in Alabama

Alabama law allows either spouse to file for a fault-based divorce if they see their spouse’s actions as a reason for the divorce.

There are some pros and cons to pursuing a fault-based divorce. In a lot of cases, it’s important to the spouse pursuing the count action to prove they were not at fault for the breakup of the marriage.

However, it is typically more expensive and requires more work to go through the fault-based count proceedings.

The spouse taking action also has to prove their allegations to the court. This often means bringing up some harmful or challenging evidence, which may include witnesses.

Here are acceptable grounds for fault-based divorce:

Physical and incurable incapacity – This can include being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As well as not being in the right state of mind or physical capacity to make the decision to get married.

Habitual drunkenness – Developing a dependency on drugs or alcohol and excessive intoxication while married.

Adultery – Being unfaithful and resulting in the breakdown of the marriage is one of the most common reasons for a fault-based divorce.

Imprisonment – This applies if a spouse has been imprisoned for the previous two years prior to filing for a fault-based divorce. They also need to be serving a sentence that is at least 7 years long.

Institutionalized – Institutionalized for at least 5 years consecutively at the time of applying for the divorce due to mental illness. This is also subject to a mental health evaluation by a mental health professional.

Abandonment or desertion – If a spouse abandoned the other for at least 12 months, in the eyes of this is fault grounds for divorce.

Domestic violence – Any form of domestic violence constitutes grounds for a fault-based divorce.

Pregnancy at the time of marriage – If the wife in the relationship was pregnant at the time of getting married without the other partner knowing, this comes under fault-based grounds.

Crimes against nature – Whether it’s with mankind or beast, crimes against nature while married are acceptable grounds.

When Both Spouses Are at Fault

Defending Against a Fault-Based Divorce

It’s not uncommon for one spouse to file for fault against the other. Only to have the other spouse counter-file with grounds for a fault divorce too.

When this happens, the court will decide which spouse is less at fault. That person will be the one who is granted the divorce.

This is called “Comparative Rectitude”. This doctrine was created to help courts avoid granting neither party a divorce.

Defending Against a Fault-Based Divorce

A spouse can object to a fault-based divorce and refute the claims made against them. This isn’t typically to avoid getting a divorce, as courts don’t push back against it. It’s usually to clear their name, prove they’ve done no wrong, and get a more “fair” division of assets.

Some of the most common defenses include:

Collusion – This usually applies to spouses who originally agreed to fabricate the grounds for divorce. One party will often change their minds during the legal process, and collusion is the defense to lessen the grounds.

Recrimination – This means the spouse filing for divorce is equally to blame or guilty of the same fault. For example, if both spouses are equally abusing drugs, neither one can use substance abuse as grounds for a divorce.

Connivance – This is the main defense against adultery. If the spouse filing for fault divorce enticed, participated, or had any involvement in their partner having an affair, it’s connivance.

Provocation – Provocation is a defense if the accused spouse can prove the other spouse provoked them. Such as encouragement to commit adultery or suffering harassment.

Condonation – This defense means that the spouse filing for divorce knew about the other spouse’s behavior, and forgave them. Only to then file for divorce after the marriage had resumed.

About Warren Freeman

Whether you’re facing a no-fault or a fault-based divorce, hiring an experienced attorney will help you seek a better settlement.

Divorce laws are complex, it’s not an area of law you’re expected to understand. Yet, there is so much on the line when dividing assets and parental rights.

Fault-based divorces are a lot less common and more complex than no-fault divorce cases. Hiring an attorney with experience in this area can make all the difference. Both to the judgment, and the settlement in your case.

Attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s legal experience. He’s litigated some of the most challenging lawsuits across several counties in Alabama.

Waren is one of the premier family law attorneys in Central Alabama. Most importantly, he has considerable experience representing defendants in fault-based divorce cases.

If you want the very best outcome in your case, call the office of Warren Freeman Attorney at Law today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.