Alabama has some of the strictest laws in the entire nation about who can get compensation after a car crash.
That’s because not only does Alabama say that victims of car crashes can be partially at fault for their own injuries, it also says that anyone who is even a little bit at fault cannot get any compensation whatsoever.
That’s why if you’ve been involved in a car accident and there is even the slightest hint of doubt about who could be at fault, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away to protect your rights to compensation.
In fact, even if you think the situation is cut and dried, you should still be ready to contact an attorney, because insurance companies know that if they can prove you were even 1% at fault, they don’t have to pay.
Who Decides Who Is At Fault?
Primarily, it will be the insurers, both yours and the other driver’s, who decide fault between themselves. However, they are going to look at a lot of different sources to make that decision.
For example, if a police officer issued a ticket to one of the drivers after the crash, the insurance companies will almost always agree with the police officer and decide that the driver who was issued the ticket is at fault. If the driver pays the ticket, they are automatically accepting fault. However, tickets are not always issued, so the insurance companies will also look at other evidence, including witness statements and crash scene analysis.
However, streets need to be cleared to make them safe for traffic again and witnesses leave to get on with their days, so evidence after a crash, including pictures of the scene and contact information from witnesses often need to be collected quickly before the opportunity to get them is lost.
An experienced car accident attorney will know what type of evidence is needed to prove who was at fault after a collision. They can build a strong case proving that you did not do anything that contributed to your own injuries.
Reasons Someone Might be Considered Partially at Fault
Even if the other driver was obviously at fault, there are many reasons why their insurance company might argue that the victim was also at least partially at fault.
Here are some common examples:
- The victim was hit by a drunk driver, but they were looking at their phone when they were hit.
- The victim was hit by someone running a red light, but they had enough room to take evasive action and didn’t.
- The driver ahead stopped suddenly and for no reason, but the victim was considered to be following too closely.
- The victim was a pedestrian who was hit while crossing a crosswalk, but they didn’t start walking until after the red light began flashing.
What Should I Do If I Was Assigned Minor Fault?
Don’t give up! And don’t get discouraged. Because insurers know they won’t have to pay you if they can pin even 1% of blame on you, they will sometimes go to absurd lengths to do so. But they also know that if their excuse is flimsy, it probably won’t hold up in court.
Speak to an Alabama car accident lawyer before all else. Your lawyer can evaluate your chances, build your case, and negotiate with the insurance company for the fair settlement you both know you deserve.
Are There Exceptions to the Rule?
It depends. Although Alabama law is firm that even 1% of blame disqualifies car crash victims from getting any compensation, if your crash happened in another state or was partially caused by a driver from another state, you may be able to file your claim according to that other state’s rules.
For example, if you live in Alabama, but your crash happened in Georgia, or if the other driver with the majority of fault is from Georgia, you could file your claim in Georgia instead, where you could still be eligible for compensation.
Injured in a Crash in Alabama? Contact the Law Offices of Gary Bruce Today
At our firm, we’ve helped many injury victims of crashes in Alabama get the full compensation they deserve, despite the strict laws. We know what it takes to build a convincing case and we don’t let insurance companies try to place blame where it doesn’t belong.
Furthermore, as we are licensed to practice in both Georgia and Alabama, we know the laws and know when victims are eligible to file in Georgia. Even when crashes happen in Alabama, there are circumstances where Georgia has jurisdiction. By contacting our firm for a free, no obligation consultation, you could learn if this applies to your case.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce today.