Auburn is a bustling college town that sees countless individuals moving here for school and work. However, this influx of people means more cars on the road, leading to more accidents.
Fortunately, you have several options to recover compensation if you are injured in a car accident. While you have the option of filing an insurance claim after a car accident, your rights will be better protected through a lawsuit. Through a lawsuit, you can claim a wide range of damages that insurance will not usually provide. However, you only have a limited amount of time to file your lawsuit, so it is important to get your case underway quickly.
For a free assessment of your case with our experienced car accident lawyers, contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 today.
How to Recover Compensation After a Car Accident in Auburn, AL
In Auburn and throughout Alabama, a fault-based insurance system is in place. This means that the party responsible for a car accident can be held liable for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages. First, you could file a claim against the negligent driver’s liability insurance to receive compensation. However, you must prove that the other driver is at fault for the accident to receive damages. You can also file a claim with your own insurance provider for benefits not covered by the other driver’s insurance.
In most cases, though, filing a lawsuit will be the best option to recover the full range of damages you are entitled to. This is often preferable to filing for insurance benefits because it allows for recovery beyond just economic damages. In a car accident lawsuit, a victim can seek non-economic damages, which include physical pain, emotional distress, and other subjective damages caused by their injuries. These damages are usually not included in the compensation provided through an insurance claim.
The Elements of Negligence in an Auburn, AL Car Accident Case
Understanding the elements of negligence and how they apply to a car accident case in Auburn is essential for successfully proving liability and getting compensation for your damages. By gathering compelling evidence and presenting a strong case in court, you can greatly increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your lawsuit. Fortunately, our car accident lawyers can help you gather and organize your evidence so each element of negligence is established. The following elements must each be satisfied to recover compensation in an Auburn car accident lawsuit:
Duty of Care
First, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. All drivers in Auburn have a duty to follow local traffic laws and drive responsibly to ensure the safety of other road users. This includes adhering to posted speed limits, obeying traffic signals, and maintaining a safe driving distance. You can usually reference local traffic laws and regulations to establish that the other driver owed you a duty of care.
Breach of Duty
Next, you must prove that the other driver breached that duty of care through their negligent actions. A driver could be shown to have breached their duty of care if they were violating traffic laws, driving recklessly, or engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, such as texting while driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Evidence used to establish the breach typically includes traffic citations, surveillance footage, and witness statements.
Once the previous two elements have been established, you will need to show that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused your damages. This means showing that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant had exercised reasonable care under the circumstances.
This is usually the hardest element to prove and typically requires expert testimony from medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, or other experts to help establish the causal link between the other driver’s breach of duty and your injuries. Expert testimony is also useful to show that your current injuries were not caused by a previous accident or medical condition. If you have been injured in the past, it is almost certain that an insurance company or defense attorney will attempt to use that to help their client escape liability.
Lastly, you must have suffered actual harm or losses as a result of the other driver’s negligence. Damages can be both financial and psychological. To prove your damages, you should be ready to submit medical bills, records of lost wages, property damage estimates, and evidence that shows the pain and suffering you have experienced on account of your injuries. In most cases, you will need an expert to testify to the psychological harm your car accident injuries have caused.
Determining Contributory Negligence in an Auburn, AL Car Accident Case
Dealing with car accidents can be quite complex since your own negligence in causing a car accident can play a role. Insurance companies and defense attorneys often argue that the victim contributed to their injuries, even if their client was partially at fault. This can prevent victims from recovering compensation completely.
This is because the “pure comparative negligence” rule is followed in Auburn. Essentially, if the court finds that the victim is even one percent at fault for causing the accident, they will not be able to recover a single dollar in compensation. This is an extremely unfair rule that most states do not follow. Thus, it is critical to discuss your case with your attorney so you can get ahead of any claims that you caused your injuries.
Time Limit to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Auburn, AL
The statute of limitations is a critical aspect of the legal system that sets time limits for individuals to file a lawsuit or face losing their right to pursue legal action. Under Ala. Code § 6-2-38, individuals have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in Auburn for a car accident. However, suppose you are filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for property damage and not for personal injuries. In that case, you have six years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. Also, if the victim in a lawsuit was a minor when the accident occurred, the statute of limitations will be paused until they turn 18, after which they will have two years to file their lawsuit.
There are several reasons to get your car accident case started as quickly as possible. Failing to file a lawsuit within the specified time frame will usually result in losing the right to pursue legal action and recover compensation for your injuries. Also, evidence might be lost, destroyed, or become less reliable as time passes. If there are witnesses in your case, they might move away, forget details, or even pass away before their testimony can be gathered. To increase the chances of securing a witness for trial and getting the necessary testimony introduced as evidence, it is strongly recommended that you initiate your case as soon as you are able.
Our Auburn, AL Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
Call Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your case with our car accident attorneys.