The process for recovering financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit can be challenging. Plaintiffs may need to gather a large amount of evidence to prove that they were hurt because of defendants’ negligence. Furthermore, defendants often attempt to dispute crucial aspects of victims’ claims.
If you suffered a personal injury in Montgomery, Alabama, then our attorneys can help assess the strength of your potential claim. Additionally, our legal team can help build your case and fight for the full extent of monetary damages you are owed.
Get help from our experienced personal injury attorneys at Howe Law by calling (888) 559-7612 for a free review of your case.
Common Sources of Personal Injuries in Montgomery, AL
Personal injuries can stem from several different types of accidents. If you were injured because of any of the following, then our personal injury attorneys may be able to help pursue payment for the harm you endured:
Many people are hurt because of motorcycle crashes in Montgomery. Furthermore, many riders suffer these accidents because other drivers acted negligently. For example, motorists regularly collide with bikers while attempting improper lane changes and illegal left turns. Victims of these accidents can sustain serious injuries when they are struck by vehicles and when they collide with the ground.
Another very common cause of personal injuries are car crashes. Like motorcycle crashes, most of these accidents happen as the result of drivers’ negligence. Car accidents often occur because drivers were speeding, distracted, or impaired. Thankfully, after such accidents, injured parties may be able to sue at-fault motorists for the damages they caused.
Furthermore, truck crashes are also a common source of devastating personal injuries in Montgomery, AL. These accidents have a high propensity to cause severe harm because of the size of vehicles involved. While truck crashes can occur as the result of drivers’ negligence, these types of accidents can also happen because of trucking companies’ negligence. Therefore, determining fault for your truck accident may be challenging but it is a crucial step toward recovering monetary damages.
Many people suffer personal injuries because of pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are regularly struck while traversing intersections, parking lots, and congested urban streets. Many pedestrian accidents happen because drivers become distracted and disobey traffic signals. Fortunately, if you were hurt because of a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you incur.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are also a source of many personal injuries in Montgomery. These accidents often occur because property owners fail to maintain their premises for the safety of visitors. For instance, a customer may slip because of an unmarked wet spot on the floor of the store they were shopping in. Furthermore, a patron at a restaurant may slip because of a loose rug or mat. In such cases, victims can file lawsuits against the property owners responsible for their injuries.
How to Prove a Personal Injury Claim in Montgomery, AL
In order to win your personal injury case, you need to choose the right party to sue or file an insurance claim against. In addition, you need enough evidence to prove four major elements of the case: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Choosing the Right Defendant
Depending on what type of personal injury case you are filing, the party you file against and their involvement in the case will be different. For example, car accident cases usually see you sue the driver who hit you directly. However, they can rarely involve an auto defect that caused the crash, making both you and the other driver victims of the auto manufacturer’s carelessness. This is an example where the party or parties to sue might not be so obvious.
With slip and fall and property injury cases, the owner of the property is usually at fault. However, the owner might have a hands-off approach to property management, and fault might lie instead with the tenant or operator of the property, such as in the case of a commercial space owned by one company but operated as a store by another company.
In cases involving accidents caused by an employee, their employer might be at fault in some cases. This is especially common with accidents involving commercial drivers, such as truckers and bus drivers. In these cases, the individual employee might not have the money and assets to cover your damages, but their employer likely will.
It is rare to hold a state, city, or local government responsible, but they can sometimes be sued in certain cases. For example, if you are hit by a garbage truck, the city’s sanitation department might be at fault. Sometimes, road defects and unmarked dangers can also be the cause of fall down accidents or crashes.
If you have any doubts about which party or parties are responsible for your injuries, our personal injury attorneys can help you select the right defendant(s).
You need enough evidence to meet the “burden of proof” in your case. It is up to the victim – the plaintiff – to produce evidence sufficient to prove the case “by a preponderance of the evidence,” which is a “more likely than not” standard.
The majority of the evidence in most cases will be your own testimony about what happened to you, supplemented by eyewitness testimony. Photos of an accident scene, bills for property damage and medical care, medical records, and other “documentary evidence” will also be used.
All in all, your evidence needs to be enough to convince a jury that your claims about the accident and who caused it are more likely than not to be true. This burden must be met with regard to each element of your case.
Elements of a Personal Injury Case
Most personal injury cases involve “negligence,” though others involve intentional actions like assault and battery. In negligence cases, you must prove four elements to win your case:
To prove the duty element, you must show that the at-fault party owed you a legal duty. This relates back to picking the correct party to sue in that you cannot sue a party who had no responsibilities over you or your safety. In most cases, the duty will be one of reasonableness, such as the duty to make your property reasonably safe for guests. In some cases, such as with traffic violations, the duty is more specific, such as the duty to stop at a red light.
Breach is simply a violation of the duty in question. You must show the defendant actually did something wrong to hold them responsible for your accident.
To prove the causation element, you must show that the breach of duty was what actually caused the accident. If the accident would have happened anyway, the breach of duty is not the cause. If the accident happened but it can be attributed to some intervening cause or another party’s breach of duty, you would sue them instead.
Lastly, you must prove you have damages to win your case, such as economic harm, damaged property, physical injuries, or emotional distress. Without some harm, you cannot sue.
What if You Share Some of the Fault for Your Personal Injury in Montgomery, AL?
If you share a degree of fault for the accident that caused your personal injury, then you will be unable to obtain financial compensation from another party. In many other states, damages in personal injury cases are apportioned based on each party’s percentage of fault. However, Alabama courts follow the archaic rules of contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, you will be unable to collect financial compensation for your personal injury if you share any portion of fault for the accident that caused it. For example, if you are even 1% to blame for your harmful car accident, then you are not permitted to sue the other driver for damages you sustained.
Most defendants in personal injury lawsuits will try their hardest to shift blame onto plaintiffs. They will likely be represented by insurance companies who hire teams of people to poke holes in victims’ claims. Accordingly, it is crucial to have experienced legal representation on your side when seeking to file personal injury case in Alabama.
There are often many ways we can get around claims of contributory negligence. For example, if your alleged contribution actually did not cause the accident, it should not hurt your case. Additionally, the defendant might have had the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident, making it their fault even if you did something allegedly “contributory” earlier in the sequence of events.
What if You Cannot Pay Attorney’s Fees for Your Personal Injury Case in Montgomery, AL?
Our lawyers are permitted to work under contingency fee agreements. This means that you will not have to pay attorney’s fees unless our team obtains a favorable outcome for your case. Under a contingency fee agreement, you will not have to pay any fees up front. Rather, our lawyers’ fees will be taken as a percentage out of your final settlement. If we do not recover any financial compensation in your case, then you will not have to pay anything.
Steps to Take After an Accident in Montgomery, AL
If you were injured in any sort of accident in Montgomery, there are steps you should take immediately to secure evidence and strengthen any potential insurance claims or lawsuits you end up filing for your injuries.
First, you should call 911 and get an ambulance to respond. Getting medical care is vital, as it creates a record of the injuries coinciding with the time and date of the accident so that you can show the injuries are connected to the alleged accident. It also shows your injuries are serious because you needed medical attention. You also have medical records showing just how severe the injuries are.
Second, you should call for a police response as well. Especially with accidents in public, such as traffic accidents, you will want a police report of the incident. Police can also be good witnesses to the aftermath of the accident, especially if the accident involved an intoxicated driver or someone who needs to be arrested for causing the accident.
Third, you should collect any evidence you can about the accident. Talk to witnesses and get their contact info. Take pictures of the area where you were injured or the scene of the crash. Record information about the conditions of the place or property where you were injured, including weather and lighting. Even if you were injured indoors, outdoor weather (such as rain tracked into the building) could contribute to overall safety.
After this, you should call a lawyer right away. Do not delay your case even for a few weeks or months; filing sooner means getting damages sooner. If you delay too long, you could actually lose your right to sue because of Alabama’s statute of limitations.
Steps to Avoid After Suffering a Personal Injury in Montgomery, AL
It is common for defendants’ insurance companies to reach out to victims quickly after their accidents. These insurers are often seeking to entice quick and cheap settlement agreements. Therefore, it is important that you do not speak with other parties’ insurance companies without legal representation present. If an agent from another party’s insurance company reaches out to you after your accident, you are under no legal obligation to speak with them.
Furthermore, when speaking with other parties, you should avoid making any statements that can be interpreted as apologies or admissions of fault. This applies to conversations with witnesses, friends, family members, and even your own insurance company. It can be natural to feel you need to apologize for an accident, even if you are not to blame. However, these statements may be used to suggest that you are contributorily negligent.
How Long Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Take in Montgomery, AL?
Each personal injury case is unique. Lawsuits can take from weeks to months to years to complete. Accordingly, it is very difficult to predict the amount of time it will take to reach a settlement in your case. Typically, cases involving more severe injuries can take longer to resolve.
Personal Injury Plaintiffs in Montgomery, AL Can Call Our Attorneys for Assistance
Get support from our experienced personal injury lawyers at Howe Law by dialing (888) 559-7612 today.