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
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.