Our Personal Injury and Class Action FAQ
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What should I do if I’m in a hit-and-run accident?
It’s a terrifying moment when you’re in a car crash, and the panic you feel may be compounded if the other driver leaves the scene. This is known as a hit-and-run accident when a person leaves the scene without identifying himself or giving aid to an injured party. It’s important after any accident to call the police and seek medical help. However, after this type of accident, there are other important steps to take that can help you find the driver who fled the scene and maximize your chances of fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run
It’s likely after the accident that you’ll feel emotionally charged and upset, and it may be nearly impossible to focus on important steps that will help protect a personal injury claim. However, if the driver leaves the scene and you’re able safely get out of the car and think clearly, try to proceed with the following checklist in mind:
- Gather evidence. Be sure to get the contact information for all parties involved in the crash, as well as for any witnesses. Takes photos of the car, the area, and the accident scene. Check for cameras in the area that may have videos of the accident.
- Note details about the other vehicle. If you’re able, write down all the information about the car that fled the scene. This can include the license plate number if you were lucky enough to see it; the model and color of the vehicle; and any distinctive features such as bumper stickers or specialty hubcaps.
- Note the direction of the other car. If you can remember, mentally note the direction the driver took as he left the scene. Knowing which streets the offender might have taken could help police follow his path.
- File a police report. Be sure to file a complete report with the police about the incident, providing every detail you have about what happened.
After a hit-and-run car accident, you can benefit from having a personal injury attorney who will talk to your insurance company and any insurance adjusters. You may have uninsured motorist car insurance—coverage that could help pay for some or all of your losses if the other driver isn’t found. However, that also means your insurance company may be resistant to provide this necessary compensation. The agency’s goal is to minimize the claim you file. Having a personal injury attorney working on your behalf helps ensure that you get a fair recovery. Your attorney can aid in:
- Gathering all data to support your claim
- Communicating with the insurance company and adjusters
- Fighting any attempt by the insurance company to reduce your claim
- Going to court if the insurance company fails to compensate you
Work With Our Legal Team for Your Hit-and-Run Accident
When you contact Lattof & Lattof, PC, you’ll gain insight into the legal obligations your insurance company has in honoring your claim for losses in an uninsured motorist claim. Schedule a free consultation to start working on your case.
Should I see a doctor if I was involved in a car crash?
In 2017, there were 6.4 million car accidents that occurred on American roads. In some cases, the drivers and passengers involved in those accidents were able to walk away from the crash unharmed. But nearly 1.9 million people suffered injuries requiring medical care, time away from work, and lifestyle changes. While it’s common for adults to downplay their injuries, it’s important for those involved in a car accident to seek medical care, even if they don’t feel they’ve been hurt or that their injuries are so minor they don’t warrant a doctor visit.
When Small Injuries Become Big Health Issues
Often, accident victims minimize their injuries and their pain and convince themselves and others that they don’t need to visit a doctor. In some cases, however, minor injuries can evolve into more serious health issues. Only a medical professional with knowledge and experience can determine the significance of an accident victim’s symptoms.
In addition to being harmful to your health, failing to see a doctor can hurt a later personal injury claim. The at-fault driver and his insurance company will likely point out that you didn’t seek medical care and try to prove that no real injury existed. They will use this tactic to reduce or even eliminate the compensation they owe—money you need for vital medical care and to replace lost wages as you recover.
The Body’s Protective Response Can Mask Injury Symptoms
When facing a suddenly stressful situation like a car accident, the human body has a natural response to protect itself. Even a low-speed crash can trigger what is known as the fight or flight response. This response is a hormonal response during which the body releases endorphins and adrenaline. These chemicals can act as natural painkillers, and they can hide painful symptoms of injuries. As hours and days pass, however, this response wears off, and injuries can become apparent. This is why it’s important to get medical attention right away, as the lack of immediate care can have negative effects on your health and ability to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Seek Medical Care After Any Alabama Car Accident
If you suffer injuries after a car accident, injury compensation can make all the difference for your future. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our experienced lawyers are here to help injury victims navigate this stressful and confusing time. We can answer your questions and help you understand your rights. Call our Mobile office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about what we do and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What should I do if my child was hurt in a car accident?
Car accidents send more than 2.3 million people to hospital emergency rooms across the country every year, and traffic crashes continue to rank among the leading causes of death for young Americans. Driven by their parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors, children are too often the victims in dangerous crashes and are made to suffer the painful consequences of a driver’s negligence.
Common Injuries Sustained by Children in Car Accidents
Being involved in a car crash can be a traumatic experience for a person of any age, but it’s especially true for a young child. The emotional and physical consequences of the crash can be devastating. Children may need ongoing care for a variety of injuries, including:
- Brain injury
- Lung injury
- Broken bones
- Emotional distress
What to Do for Your Child After a Car Crash
If your child has been involved in a car accident, it’s important to take action quickly. First, seek medical care as soon as possible after the crash. Even if the child appears fine, have her checked out by a doctor. In some cases, injuries are not readily apparent, and only a qualified professional can assess your child’s medical state. Second, keep a close eye on the child. Note any changes in physical or emotional behavior, and let other caregivers in your child’s life know about the accident, so they can also help monitor the situation. Also, it might be appropriate to file a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for your child’s injuries. Talk to an experienced attorney who can help you understand your child’s rights more fully.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child
The state of Alabama recognizes that children have rights when another person causes their injuries in a car crash. It is possible to file a personal injury claim on behalf of a child, just as an adult could do for himself in a similar situation. In Alabama, parents of the injured child may be eligible to file a claim. Married parents would file the claim together, while the custodial parent would have the right in cases of divorce or never-married parents. A personal injury claim can provide compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Home and vehicle modification
- Assistive devices
- Pain and suffering
As a parent, you want to protect your children and ensure they have the best possible start in life. When another negligent driver causes your child to suffer serious injuries, it is possible to stand up for your child and hold that person accountable. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our experienced legal team has been helping accident victims in Alabama for over 60 years. We can help you understand your child’s rights and take the action necessary to protect her future. Call our Mobile office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about who we are and how what we do. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Will a pre-existing condition impact my recovery?
There’s never a good time to be involved in a car accident. This is especially true if you are already suffering from a medical condition or some other injury. A crash can make these issues worse, and it also can make it more difficult to recover compensation to address the new or increasing symptoms. However, accident victims have rights, and if another person’s negligence causes injuries or exacerbates medical problems, he can be held accountable.
Your Pre-Existing Condition Is Not a Defense for the at-Fault Driver
Under Alabama law, at-fault drivers must take the injured parties “as they find them.” This is known as the eggshell plaintiff rule, and it means the at-fault driver cannot assert that the injury victim should have been stronger or healthier. A person with neck pain, for example, may be more prone to further neck injury, or a passenger with a degenerative bone disease may more easily experience a bone fracture. Even if the average, healthy person would not have suffered a similar injury, the driver who caused the crash is still liable for any injuries or worsening of other conditions directly related to the accident.
Insurance Companies and Pre-Existing Conditions
While the at-fault driver can be held accountable, it’s likely that his insurance company will not make it easy. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to save money, and placing blame for a victim’s injuries elsewhere is a common tactic. Insurance companies will aggressively pursue your medical records and attempt to tie your pain and injury to your pre-existing condition, rather than the accident.
For this reason, it’s especially important to seek medical care as soon as possible, and be very specific with your doctor about your symptoms. To obtain compensation for the new or worsening injuries, those symptoms must be clearly related to the accident. Medical records, bills, and provider testimony will provide crucial support for your claim
An Experienced Alabama Attorney May Be Able to Help
Insurance companies and at-fault drivers are likely to dispute a victim’s claims after any car accident, but this is especially common for those with a pre-existing condition. Victims who are already suffering from an injury or illness are particularly vulnerable to these attacks, and it is important that they take all the steps possible to protect their rights. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our experienced legal team has helped accident victims with pre-existing conditions obtain the compensation they deserve. Our lawyers can provide the documents and testimony to support your claim of new or worsening injuries directly related to your accident. We can act as a voice and a negotiator when insurance companies try to diminish your claim. Call our Mobile office today, or fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch with a member of our team who can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
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.