Our Personal Injury and Class Action FAQ
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What are the minimum car insurance requirements in Alabama?
All vehicles in the state of Alabama are required to be covered by auto insurance. This law exists to protect people if they are involved in an accident, in which case the insurance policy would provide compensation for property damage, medical bills, and more. However, there are many options when it comes to choosing auto insurance, and it’s important to understand all the different types of coverage, as well as know what minimums the law requires.
Understanding Auto Insurance Basics
Most auto policies across the U.S. share the same basic components, which address the different types of damages and injuries that most commonly occur after a car crash. Typically, basic policies cover:
- Bodily injury. Bodily injury coverage provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages for those injured in an accident.
- Property damage. Property damage coverage provides compensation to repair or replace a vehicle, possessions damaged within the vehicle during the accident, and any other outside property that is affected by a crash.
Both bodily injury and property damage insurance are required by the state of Alabama, although they typically only address the damage that a driver causes to someone else, not his own vehicle repairs or physical injuries. Other additional coverages are available through insurance companies that address the driver himself. They include:
- Collision. Collision covers the driver’s own vehicle if he is involved in a crash. It could include the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Comprehensive. Comprehensive coverage provides compensation to repair or replace a vehicle that is damaged by some event other than a crash such as theft, vandalism, hail, and more.
- Uninsured/undersinsured. While insurance is mandatory, not all drivers adhere to the rules. In fact, a 2016 study reported that Alabama ranked sixth in the country for the most uninsured drivers. Purchasing uninsured/underinsured coverage would provide compensation to accident victims when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover injuries.
A vehicle accident can cause serious physical, emotional, and financial harm to those involved. Insurance exists to help everyone recover as quickly and fully as possible, so it’s important to consider all the possibilities when choosing coverage.
Policy Limits and The Cost of Injury
The state also mandates how much coverage is needed. This is usually expressed with three numbers—25/50/25. This means drivers must have:
- $25,000 bodily injury
- $50,000 maximum for one accident
- $25,000 property damage
These figures are the minimum requirements for car insurance in Alabama. While many drivers do enhance their coverage, many others simply purchase the cheapest policy. So, what happens when an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the full extent of a victim’s injuries?
When Your Injuries Exceed Insurance Policy Limits
Some accident victims experience severe, complicated injuries that require a significant amount of medical care and rehabilitation. The total cost of recovery may well exceed a minimum policy amount. In those situations, victims do have some options. They can:
- Call on their own uninsured/underinsured policy
- Seek payment from an umbrella policy (if one exists)
- File a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver
Insurance is important for accident victims—both their own and the at-fault driver’s. Compensation that will play a vital role in your physical recovery and financial stability will likely come from insurance. In the best circumstances, both drivers have sufficient insurance to provide for as complete a recovery as possible. However, even in these situations, it may not be as easy as one would hope. Insurance companies are out to save money, and they may try any number of tactics to reduce their own liability.
That’s when an experienced Alabama injury attorney can help. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team is here to support victims after a crash and protect their rights when dealing with at-fault drivers and their insurers. Right after an accident, we can answer your questions, guide you through the negotiation process, and ensure that an insurance company does not take advantage of you during this stressful time. To learn more about what we do and how we may be able to help, call our Mobile office, or fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Do I have to appear in court if I file a car accident claim?
After a car accident, victims have a lot of decisions to make, including whether to pursue a legal claim against the person responsible for their injuries. Victims may hesitate to file a claim because they’re unsure of their rights, they fear legal action will be expensive or time- consuming, and, in some cases, they worry about appearing in court.
Settling an Alabama Injury Claim Outside of Court
If you are an accident victim apprehensive about navigating the legal system, there’s some good news. In the U.S., the vast majority of car accident injury claims are settled before they go to court. In most cases, the injury victim and the at-fault driver (or typically his insurance company) are able to reach an agreement on a fair settlement and avoid appearing before a judge. Going to court can be unpredictable and uncertain for both sides, so it is usually in everyone’s best interest to reach a compromise.
When a Settlement Agreement Isn’t Possible
In some cases, reaching a settlement agreement may not be possible. This typically happens when the two sides disagree on who is at fault for the accident or how much compensation is appropriate. In Alabama, the rules about fault are extremely strict, and the at-fault driver may be looking to shift some of the blame in an attempt to avoid payment.
At these times, however, an experienced personal injury attorney can help victims feel confident about going to trial by:
- Fully explaining the legal process and what to expect inside the courtroom
- Reviewing specific information pertaining to the case and questions that may be asked
- Standing up in court alongside accident victims
Contact an Experienced Alabama Attorney About Your Claim
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident in Alabama, talk to us about a possible claim. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team is here to provide effective, compassionate counsel for Alabama accident victims. We know that the time after an accident can be painful and uncertain, and we have helped many victims get the peace of mind and the compensation they need to move forward. Call our Mobile office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch with a member of our team.
How can a lawyer help resolve my accident claim?
In Alabama in 2017, a person was injured in a car accident every 11 minutes. Serious and minor, many of these accidents had life-changing consequences for victims and their families, and the injured often needed to seek compensation for their pain through a personal injury case. Each accident victim must decide for himself how to move forward after a crash. One major decision that must be made is whether or not to seek help from an attorney.
What an Attorney Can Do for Accident Victims
Insurance companies or at-fault drivers may try to convince victims that an attorney isn’t necessary, but an experienced injury lawyer can provide information and services that make a significant difference in the outcome of a claim. Many accident victims have little experience with law, putting them at a disadvantage. However, an experienced injury lawyer can:
- Explain your rights fully. It’s difficult to make effective decisions if you aren’t fully aware of your legal rights. An attorney can explain all the laws pertinent to your claim.
- Investigate your case. Gathering evidence and ascertaining a full picture of what happened can help victims make a strong case, and it can ensure that all the parties at fault are held responsible.
- Manage paperwork and meet deadlines. The legal system is typically strict in its proceedings, and even a simple error can hurt an injury claim. An experienced lawyer knows what forms must be filed, where to find information, and what the timeline will be—from the initial demand for insurance payment all the way through trial work.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Insurance companies are known for pushing quick, unfair settlements onto inexperienced victims already dealing with the stress of injuries. An attorney knows these tactics and can advocate for the compensation victims deserve.
- Provide facts and advice about settlements. If a victim does receive a settlement offer from an insurance company, how can he know if the offer is a good one? An attorney can explain what a claim is worth and provide guidance in obtaining that compensation.
- State your case if the claim goes to court. While many claims are settled before they go to court, this is not always the case. If a claim goes to trial, an experienced attorney can ensure that your side is fully stated, complete with supporting documents, witnesses, experts, and references to applicable laws.
- Protect your compensation from others who may seek to cash in. Even after a victim has been awarded proper compensation, there may be third parties who will seek payment. Understanding your possible liabilities and fighting bogus claims to your compensation will protect your future.
The Non-Legal Benefits of an Injury Attorney
In addition to the legal aspects of your claim, there are personal elements, as well. The time after an accident is often stressful for victims and their families. They often find themselves facing new physical and financial challenges, and accident recovery can be painful and time consuming. An attorney can lighten the load by helping to bear the burden of the legal claim. Victims and their families can focus on what really matters while an attorney meets filing deadlines, secures evidence and witnesses, makes and answers repeated phone calls with the insurance company, and much more.
Accident victims in Alabama have rights, and an experienced injury attorney can help protect those rights. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team is here to answer your questions, so you can take the most effective action and move forward as quickly as possible. Call our Mobile office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What should I do if I’ve been hurt by a speeding driver?
Speeding is a common practice on the road. Many drivers routinely push the posted limits and travel faster than allowed by law. While it happens all the time, speeding is a dangerous driving behavior. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding killed more than 9,700 drivers in 2017. Speeding can increase the likelihood of a driver losing control of his vehicle, as well as the severity of a crash. Speeding requires that the vehicle have greater stopping distance, and it can diminish the effectiveness of vehicle safety features.
If You’ve Suffered Injuries Because of a Speeding Driver
If a driver breaks the law by speeding and causes your crash, he should be held accountable. However, making this happen requires some work on your part. Victims must either work with an insurance company or file a lawsuit to obtain the care and compensation they deserve. Thus, it’s helpful to have an experienced, knowledgeable advocate on your side. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our lawyers help Alabama accident victims ensure they obtain the best possible legal outcome. Our legal team can help victims:
- Find and preserve evidence. Even if the other driver was clearly speeding, it’s vital to obtain evidence to support your claim. Police records, accident scene photos, and eyewitness accounts can help build a strong case. Victims should retain as much information as possible after a crash to ensure that the most accurate, reliable information can be provided to an insurance company or the court. The at-fault driver may dispute the victim’s claims, so it is important to be prepared with solid evidence.
- Negotiate with an insurance company. Typically, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will contact victims in an attempt to settle a claim. However, insurance agents are out to save money, and they will employ any number of tricks to convince victims to settle quickly and for less money than they deserve. An experienced attorney will recognize these tactics and take action to protect a victim’s rights.
- Navigate the court system when necessary. At times, insurance negotiations fail, and it is necessary to pursue your claim in court. The injury attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, PC, have navigated this process many times before, and we can help ensure the proper papers are filed, deadlines are met, and evidence is prepared. Our legal team can be a strong voice for you in court, so you obtain all the compensation you deserve.
Protecting Accident Victims’ Rights in Alabama
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, the state’s most basic law requires drivers to avoid driving a vehicle faster than what is reasonable for the current road conditions. This means obeying posted speed limit signs and adjusting driving speed in response to bad weather and traffic patterns.
The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, PC understand that the time after an accident can be physically, emotionally, and financially challenging. We are here to help ease that burden and to ensure that victims are able to obtain the justice and compensation they need to move forward. Call our Mobile office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or take a moment to fill out our contact form to get in touch with a member of our team.
How do I know if I need a car accident attorney?
Following a car crash, most accident victims ask themselves if they need a lawyer. The answer depends on the situation. Minor car accidents with no injuries typically don’t require the expertise of an attorney, and those involved can manage the claim on their own. And while injury victims can handle their own cases for more serious accidents, an attorney may offer valuable experience and information.
What an Accident Attorney Can Do for Injury Victims
Many accident victims have little experience with the law. Even if you’ve been in an accident before, each case is unique and different options may be available to you. An experienced injury attorney can offer insight and guidance to help you be as successful as possible. As part of his work, the attorney will:
- Investigate your claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Manage the paperwork
- Meet deadlines
- Protect personal information not related to the claim
- Explain your rights, so you make the best decisions
- Be your voice and advocate
5 Situations When You Really Need an Injury Attorney
While an attorney can provide critical services and offer victims protection in most any situation, there are certain times when it is especially important to speak to a lawyer about your case. These situations include:
- Fault is unclear. Often, there is a dispute about who is at fault for an accident. This is especially true in Alabama, a state with very strict rules about fault and compensation. If you believe the police report is unclear or incorrect, or you think you are being unfairly blamed, seek the advice of an attorney.
- You have suffered serious injuries. Serious injuries that require long-term care can change your life and those of your family members. It’s important that injury victims are able to obtain all the compensation they deserve, so they can heal as fully as possible and remain financially stable.
- You have experienced significant property damage. Losing your vehicle can cause a variety of problems in your life. Insurance companies my try to avoid their duty to repair or replace your vehicle, but an experienced attorney may be able to help.
- The insurance company is not cooperating. Insurance companies will try a variety of tactics to save money, almost always to the detriment of the victim. If you feel the insurance company is not being straightforward, talk to an attorney with experience.
- The insurance company is pressuring you to accept a settlement. Insurance companies frequently pressure accident victims to settle quickly, often for much less than they deserve. To protect your health and future, resist the temptation to settle right away on your own.
Speak to a Alabama Car Accident Lawyer Today
Even if you’re not sure you need an attorney, the legal team at Lattof & Lattof wants to talk to you. With free, no-obligation consultations, our team can help you understand your situation and make the best decisions moving forward. Call our Mobile office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll speak to a member of our team and learn more about what we do and how we may be able to help.
How long does it take to resolve a car accident case?
Most injury victims are understandably eager to move forward from their accident. They hope for as complete a recovery as possible as quickly as possible, and getting back to normal life is often the goal. But many victims feel this will be difficult if they take legal action against the at-fault driver. During an already stressful time, it may feel like an additional burden. However, pursuing a legal claim may not be as time consuming as you think. And even if it does take time, the result may be vital to protecting the future for you and those you love.
Factors That Affect the Timeframe For Resolving Your Claim
Every accident situation is unique, so it’s impossible to say exactly how long your case will take. Some can be resolved very quickly, in just a matter of weeks, while others may take longer. Some key factors that affect the duration of a claim include:
- The extent of your injuries. In some cases, injuries may be minor, allowing the claim to move along swiftly. However, it’s important that you never settle a claim before you understand the full scope of your injuries and have a clear prognosis for the future. It may take your medical team time to gain a complete picture of your health, and settling too quickly could leave you without necessary care in the future.
- The assignment of fault. Accidents are not always straightforward. Drivers may share different portions of responsibility, or there may be a dispute among those involved about who was at fault. If there is question of fault, it could take time to prepare and state your case for blame. It’s important not to rush this aspect, as fault is incredibly important to a victim’s ability to recover damages.
- The cooperation of the insurance company. Insurance companies are out to protect their own interests. They want to settle your claim as quickly as possible for as little money as possible, and they may use various tactics to do so. If your claim is very clear, and the insurance company cooperates appropriately, it may resolve expediently.
- The legal process. If a claim cannot be settled, it will move forward through the legal process. This means you must follow certain steps and adhere to specific timelines. The court schedule and holidays can affect how quickly your case can move forward.
- The case details. The unique details of your case will also determine how quickly it can be resolved. Pursuing claims against government entities or large corporations, for example, may take more time than a straightforward claim against an individual. Additionally, if the at-fault driver lacks insurance or law enforcement is missing information, it could add time to your claim.
It can be difficult to know exactly how long your claim will take after an accident. However, an experienced attorney can give you a better idea of what may be involved in your case. Additionally, the benefits of pursuing a claim can far outweigh the time it may take to resolve it. These claims can provide vital medical care and compensation to ensure that victims and their families can move forward with their lives.
Request a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an accident, the legal team at Lattof & Lattof may be able to help. Our Mobile-based lawyers have helped many Alabama victims and their families understand their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve. Call our office today, or fill out the contact form on this page to reach us. A member of our team can answer your questions and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident attorney?
For accident victims, financial worries are frequently among their top concerns. Growing medical bills, missed work, and lifestyle changes add even more pressure to those already dealing with physical and emotional pain. It’s natural, then, that victims and their families may hesitate to contact an attorney because they worry about spending money during such a difficult time. At Lattof & Lattof, our legal team understands these fears, and we provide a fee arrangement that ensures victims have effective representation.
Our Lawyers Offer Clients a Contingency Fee Agreement
Our attorneys offer accident victims what is known as a contingency fee agreement. With this type of arrangement, attorneys don’t get paid unless the claim is successful. When your claim is settled or you are awarded compensation by the courts, legal fees are then paid out of that recovery. Typically, the attorney and client agree on a certain percentage from the outset, and that percentage is taken out of the award. Accident victims and their families do not have to worry about hefty retainers or constant bills.
Other Expenses Associated With Your Claim
While injury victims do not have to pay any legal fees up front, there may be some other nominal costs associated with your claim. This could include filing fees, payment for hiring expert witnesses, costs to copy medical records, and other similar charges. Typically, these fees are nominal, and in some cases, it is even possible to pay these costs later out of the case award.
The Cost of Not Hiring an Experienced Injury Attorney
Even with this flexible type of fee arrangement, some victims and their families may wonder if they can achieve the same outcome on their own. While in some small and straightforward cases this may be true, it can be difficult. Typically, injury victims with attorneys are able to obtain more compensation than those without—even after paying legal fees. Investigating the case, navigating the legal system, and negotiating with insurance companies can be complicated and frustrating. The compensation provided by a successful case can protect victims and their families for years to come.
At Lattof & Lattof, our legal team has helped many Alabama injury victims successfully move forward after an accident. Call our Mobile office today, or fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Why are rollover accidents so dangerous?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollover car accidents accounted for only one percent of all crashes in the U.S. in 2017. However, they were also responsible for nearly one-third of all traffic accident deaths. All drivers should understand why these accidents are so dangerous and cause such serious injuries.
Understanding Rollover Crashes
By the NHTSA definition, a rollover occurs when a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof at any point during a crash. There are two types of rollovers:
- Tripped. In a tripped rollover, a vehicle comes in contact with an object or road condition (such as soft soil off the road or a guard rail), which causes the car to roll over.
- Untripped. Untripped rollovers are less common, and they occur when uneven weight distribution causes a vehicle to tip during a turn or other maneuver. This happens more frequently with top-heavy vehicles.
The Unique Dangers of Rollover Crashes
Rollover crashes present risks that are different from other types of crashes. It’s more likely that a driver or passenger will be ejected from the vehicle during a rollover as compared to other accidents. In addition, most car safety structures are designed for side and front impact. The roof of the car is typically not as strong and lacks these features. This can leave passengers at risk for serious head and neck injuries when the roof sustains an impact.
Common Causes of Rollover Crashes
Like many other types of crashes, rollover accidents occur most often because of driver error or negligence. The most common causes of a rollover include:
- Speeding. Approximately 40 percent of rollovers involved excessive speed, and nearly three-fourths of the accidents took place in locations where the posted speed limit was 55 mph or higher.
- Overcorrection. A driver may panic and make a sudden, major adjustment when only a minor steering change is necessary. Coupled with speed and road conditions, this can lead to a rollover.
- Driver distraction. Whether the driver is impaired or simply distracted, not paying attention is dangerous on the road. Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes.
- Worn tires. When tires are worn, improperly inflated, or not correctly suited to the vehicle, it can increase the risk of a rollover crash.
Our Experienced Alabama Attorneys Can Help
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a rollover crash, you may have the right to recover damages from the at-fault driver or another responsible party. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a claim, an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and find the best way forward.
At Latoff & Latoff, our lawyers are here to help Alabama car accident victims. Call our Mobile office today, or fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll talk with a member of our team who can set up a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your case.
What happens if I break a bone in a car accident?
First and most importantly, seek medical care. Only a doctor can determine the extent of your injuries and set the best course for as complete a recovery as possible. While a broken bone is a fairly common injury, it also can be accompanied by a host of painful complications.
Can I Take Legal Action for a Broken Bone?
After you’ve taken steps to protect your health, it may also be possible to recover compensation through a legal claim. In Alabama, accident victims can pursue a personal injury claim against the careless driver who caused the crash. Drivers have a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury to another person, and when they fail in that duty, they can be held responsible. Accident victims can obtain compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Future medical bills
- Future lost wages
- Emotional distress
Broken Bones Can Be Serious, Long-Lasting Injuries
It may be easy to dismiss a broken bone as a minor injury. After all, kids on playgrounds across the country are sporting casts of all varieties. However, these injuries can be much more than a simple broken arm. Accident victims may face an extremely serious and complicated injury, complete with its own set of symptoms and possible complications.
Trauma, like that experienced in a car crash, is the leading cause of broken bones. Some common accident-related bone fractures can involve the spine, pelvis, hip, leg, arm, and neck.
Getting Back to Normal Life After an Alabama Car Accident
These fractures can cause additional nerve and tissue damage, chronic pain, limited movement, diminished strength, and much more. Those who experience these injuries may have a difficult time enjoying life as they did before the accident, and the road to recovery can be challenging. Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, but it may involve lengthy medical intervention, including:
- Physical rehabilitation
Accident victims may also need to configure and use modifications to their homes and vehicles.
Get the Help You Need for as Full a Recovery as Possible
Facing this difficult road to recovery on your own is a daunting task. This can be especially true in Alabama, which follows strict rules concerning fault in car accidents. With an experienced injury lawyer, however, it may be possible to obtain compensation that can help you get the treatment you need and the financial support to remain stable during this difficult time. At Lattoff & Lattof, our attorneys are here to help you protect your rights and achieve as complete a recovery as possible. Call our Mobile office today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Find out how we may be able to help and what to do next.
Is it okay for me to post on Facebook and other social media sites after a car crash?
With the advent of social media and smartphones in every pocket, information travels quickly these days. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and many other sites and apps allow people to easily chat, upload pictures, or share text with friends, family, and the entire internet at large. But the truth is that social media is not your friend when it comes to a car accident. Here’s why you should be wary.
Avoiding Social Media After a Crash
After a car accident, the insurance company and defense counsel for the person who caused the crash are both going to be looking for any information they can use to deny your claim, weaken your case, or decrease the damage award. Your attorney has probably already advised you not to give a recorded statement to the opposing insurance company at this point because anything you say to the defense can only be used to hurt your case. The same goes for posting online. If you post about your accident online, the defense may be able to:
- Legally gain access to your social media accounts. This includes any public accounts you have so that they can look for any information that may hurt your case, however innocent you think your post was.
- Download evidence against you for use in court. Not only does this include any pictures you took before or after the accident, but it can also include photos of you that other people have taken since the accident. It also can include any of your text posts, stories, timelines, check-ins at businesses or other locations, and even conversations between you and your family, friends, or followers.
The defense will be looking for any evidence it can find to devalue your case. Even a seemingly innocent timeline post or photo taken by a friend could be used against you if the defense thinks it can use the photo to minimize the effect of your injuries, or to try and pass some or all of the fault for the accident onto you, however unfairly.
The best solution is often to delete your social media accounts while the claim is pending. If that’s not possible, have a discussion with your attorney about social media use and what’s appropriate to post—and what you should avoid talking about until the case has been settled or won.
Get Legal Help After an Accident
If you have legal questions or concerns about your accident and would like to learn more about how an attorney can help your case, contact the injury attorneys of Latoff & Lattof today. Based in Mobile and serving the entire state of Alabama, we offer free consultations for those who have been severely injured in car accidents and are seeking legal help. Contact us by phone or use our online contact form to get started with your claim today.