Car Accident Compensation in Alabama – What Can I Ask For?

Car Accident Compensation in Alabama – What Can I Ask For?

Car accidents wreck-havoc on everyone involved.

You rarely see it coming until it’s already upon you, and often, by that time, it’s too late to react. Once the shock wears off, the panic sets in—you might be injured or hospitalized, your vehicle might have sustained substantial damage, leaving you without transportation.

Hospitalization, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, loss of transportation, insurance disputes and meetings with attorneys—so many after-effects of a car accident can take time (and money!) away from work and your family.

You might be overwhelmed with unanticipated costs and injuries, and a list of to-dos longer than you can keep up with. You are likely unsure of what steps to take next. Unfortunately, things are happening quickly, and you need to keep making hard decisions and shelling out money you don’t necessarily have to spare.

If you find yourself victim to a car accident, you have options to get compensated for damages you’ve suffered.

Is Alabama a No Fault State for Car Wrecks?

For insurance purposes, states either fall under the fault or no-fault system. Alabama is a fault state when it comes to filing an insurance claim after your car accident. This means that a determination of legal responsibility for the crash will affect who receives compensation and how they can go about retrieving that compensation. Fault must be shown before an insurance claim can be paid. You can opt to file a claim with your own insurance company, the at-fault driver’s insurance company and/or you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This tort system allows little room for gray areas, though. The other driver must be entirely at-fault in order for you to recover damages. If you are even somewhat at-fault, even if the other driver is on the hook for most of the blame, insurance will likely not compensate you.

What Are The Types Of Car Accident Compensation In Alabama?

Compensation that is able to be recovered after a car accident falls under two main categories—economic and non-economic damages.

What is the Compensation for Economic Damages after a Car Accident?

  •       Medical bills
  •       Property damage to your vehicle
  •       Lost wages for time off work
  •       Future lost income due to a diminished earning capacity resulting from permanent injury or disability
  •       Rehabilitation costs or predicted future medical expenses (i.e. follow-up visits, surgeries for disfigurement, etc.)
  •       Other out-of-pocket expenses to cover tangible losses

What is the Compensation for Non-Economic Damages after a Car Accident?

Non-economic damages include damages that are not easily seen and that do not carry a known value. These losses incurred by a car accident victim include pain and suffering, or the emotional toll the accident has on the wounded party.

Non-economic damages can be attributed to a dollar amount determined by a court of law. This amount will vary based on the extent of mental anguish the car accident victim has suffered or will continue to suffer.
Things to consider include:

  •       Post-traumatic stress disorder
  •       Anxiety and/or depression
  •       Permanent disability
  •       Scarring and disfigurement
  •       Other mental anguish occurring as a direct result of the car accident or from physical injuries sustained in the car accident

“Hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, loss of transportation, insurance disputes and meetings with attorneys—so many after-effects of a car accident can take time (and money!) away from work and your family.”

What is the Compensation for Punitive Damages after a Car Accident?

Punitive damages is a special type of non-economic damages. It is intended to punish the at-fault driver.

However, punitive damages can only be applied to cases proving deliberate, intentional or malicious conduct or gross negligence that resulted in a car accident. This conduct must go beyond mere negligence and it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence—a high standard to meet.

In other words, the at-fault driver must have either taken actions with the purpose to harm the victim or have been so reckless that their behavior qualifies as a blatant disregard for the life and safety of others put in harm’s way.

What is the Compensation for Loved Ones after a car Accident?

Compensation might be available for loved ones of car accident victims, too.

One type of non-economic damage that can result in compensation for relational losses is called loss of consortium. This claim applies to car accident victims who are married.
Following an accident, serious injuries can occur leading to decreased intimacy between spouses. The effect a car accident has on a marital relationship can be emotional and/or physical, causing additional undue mental anguish or pain and suffering.
Additionally, should a car accident result in the death of a loved one, you might be able to file a lawsuit for a wrongful death. This type of claim differs from a personal injury claim and the type of compensatory damages that can be recovered.

Compensatory damages in a wrongful death suit in Alabama might include:

  •       Loss of support, including future losses such as loss of income
  •       Loss of companionship
  •       Loss of parental support and guidance
  •       Actual expenses for medical and/or funeral costs
  •       Pain and suffering

Is There a Limit to Car Wreck Compensation in Alabama?

Alabama does have some restrictions to recoverable compensation in car accident claims.

Alabama Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations is the time limit for filing a case. After a car accident, drivers involved have two years to file a legal claim. For this reason, it is imperative that you work quickly to file an insurance claim in case there are any delays in processing and/or ultimately denying the claim.

Alabama’s Guest Statute

Another limit to be aware of is Alabama’s Guest Statute. A guest passenger, who is along for the ride without payment, is prevented from bringing a lawsuit against the culpable driver unless they are found to have acted willfully or recklessly. This standard carries a greater burden of fault than just merely negligence.

Is there a Cap on Alabama Car Accident Compensation?

Lastly, like many states, Alabama places caps on the amounts of certain compensation that can be recovered after a car accident.

Municipal liability—which refers to an injury or car accident caused by a public employee—has a maximum recoverable compensation of $100,000 when a lawsuit is brought against a city or county.

Likewise, there is also a cap on the amount able to be recovered for punitive damages. The limit is equal to three times the actual damages or $1,500,000, whichever amount is greater.

Why Should You Hire an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer?

Car accidents happen every day—but they don’t happen to you every day.

Hiring a seasoned attorney to walk you through the often complicated process of filing insurance claims, beating down the red-tape, and figuring out what types of compensation you are entitled to, can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress, leaving you time to recover and carry on with your life.

It can actually be more cost beneficial to you in the long-term, as well.

So, don’t go it alone. If you or a loved one were harmed due to an accident, we offer a free consultation where victims can meet with an experienced  Alabama Car Accident Lawyer to evaluate your options. Contact us today at 1-800-256-7728 or here on our website.

Be safe out there on the roads!

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