commercial truck accident attorney in little rock

5 Things to Do if You are in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle

Getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler can be a devastating experience. Accidents between a commercial vehicle and a regular passenger vehicle typically do not go well for occupants of the passenger vehicle. Big rig trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more when they are fully loaded, and the sheer force of colliding with this type of vehicle at even medium speeds can result in serious injuries.

Immediately after the collision, you are most likely in a state of shock. Whenever we encounter a situation like this, our heart rate accelerates, and our mind starts to race in a million different directions trying to figure out what all this means. As you look out at the damage caused to your vehicle, you may be sitting there wondering whether or not you can even get out of your car.

The first thing you need to do is breathe deeply and collect your thoughts. Yes, this is a crisis situation, but you can get through it. And the actions you take right after the accident will be critical in securing everyone’s safety and protecting your right to take legal action against the party (or parties) responsible.

Whether you are reading this on your mobile phone immediately after a collision with a semi-truck or you are doing research to prepare for an event like this in the future, we are going to give you five important steps that you should take if you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle:

Safety First

The top priority before anything else is to make sure that anyone who may have been injured in the accident receives prompt medical attention, and this includes yourself. Symptoms for some injuries may not show up right after the accident, and this can be true of even more serious injuries such as internal bleeding. Call 911 immediately and get an ambulance to the accident scene before too much time passes.

Bring the Police

In addition to medical personnel, the police should also be summoned to the scene of the accident, especially if there are any injuries, which is more likely when a large commercial vehicle is involved. Having the police there is not only important to help secure the accident scene and get the vehicles and their occupants away from oncoming traffic, but also to create an official accident report. This report will most likely be a critical piece of evidence to help determine how the accident happened and who was at fault.

Gather Information

While the police will create an official report, you should create your own accident report as well.  Start by exchanging information with the truck driver. Make sure you obtain their name, contact information, driver’s license number, insurance information, the name and contact number of their employer (if they are employed), and U.S. DOT serial number (if it is available).

If you are physically able, you will also want to take several photographs of the accident scene showing as many angles as possible. In addition, write your own report of what happened, so you can compare it to the police report later and ensure that their report has no inaccuracies. If you are unable to write at the moment, use the voice recorder in your smart phone to create an audio report that you can transcribe later.

Obtain Statements from Witnesses

The testimony of eyewitnesses is another important piece of evidence that you will want to obtain.  If there are any individuals who saw the accident, try to obtain statements and contact information from them right away. In many instances, a witness will allow you to record an audio or video statement on the spot, which helps ensure that their immediate recollection of events is preserved.

Be Careful What You Say

While interacting with the truck driver, police, witnesses, and anyone else, it is important to be very careful how you discuss the accident. Do NOT, under any circumstances, admit fault or apologize for it. Alabama is a “contributory negligence” state, meaning you can be barred from receiving compensation if you are found to have “contributed” in any way to the accident, even 1%. Be polite, courteous, and empathetic, but never admit any wrongdoing – leave the determination of fault for the experts to sort out.

Contact a Seasoned Alabama Truck Accident Lawyer

Commercial vehicle accident cases are complex and challenging to pursue. There are numerous governing laws and regulations that may apply, and there are several parties that could be responsible (for the accident). If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you need a lawyer who not only has personal injury experience, but who also has extensive experience with these types of cases and the proven ability to successfully recover full and fair compensation.

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

car accident

What Happens if I Miss the Statute of Limitations for my Car Accident Injury?

If you were injured in an auto accident, one of the most important things you need to be aware of is the statute of limitations. “Statute of limitations” refers to the deadline you have to file a lawsuit against the person or party that caused your injury. In Alabama, the personal injury statute of limitations for most cases is two years. 

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?

For most personal injury cases, the clock starts running on the statute of limitations from the date of the underlying accident or incident. There is a big exception to this rule, however, which would apply in cases in which an injury is not discovered immediately after the underlying event. This is commonly known as the “discovery rule” exception.

One common example of the discovery rule exception would be a workplace illness that occurs over time because of exposure to a toxic substance. When this type of situation occurs, a court may rule that the statute of limitations begins either on the date that the plaintiff discovered the illness, or on that date when the plaintiff should have reasonably known about it.

Unfortunately, the discovery rule exception is not likely to apply to a car accident case, so you should not plan on being able to use this rule to extend your deadline for an auto accident injury.  There is, however, another exception you should be aware of, which would apply to personal injury lawsuits against a government entity.

If your accident was caused (at least in part) by a government agency or entity, different deadlines will apply. If the claim is against a municipality, it must be filed within six months of the accident.  If the claim is against a county, it must be filed within one year of the accident. There is also a complicated administrative process that must be followed before filing a lawsuit against the government. If this process is not followed properly, you may not be allowed to file the suit later.

The Importance of Early Action in an Alabama Car Accident Case

If your accident just happened recently, like in the past week or two, you may think you have plenty of time to pursue an injury claim. But even though two years can seem like a long time, there are some very good reasons to act on your claim sooner rather than later:

Preservation of Critical Evidence

By organizing your claim immediately, you are better able to preserve evidence that may not be available if it is not obtained quickly. Examples may include photos of the accident scene, video footage from a stoplight camera, and records from the cell phone company of calls that were placed or texts that were sent (around the time of the accident). It is also very important to obtain statements from individuals who may have witnessed the accident. Memories tend to fade over time, and the sooner you can secure witness testimony, the better off you will be.

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Just as important as preserving evidence is making sure you do not do anything that will damage your claim. This is especially important in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, you may be barred from recovering damages if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident. You can be sure that the other side will try to use the state’s defendant-friendly legal standard against you, and this is why it is absolutely essential to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible in the process. Otherwise, an honest mistake could cost you your right to the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Maintaining Leverage during Settlement Negotiations

While you can still settle an injury claim even after the statute of limitations expires, your chances of recovering a decent amount of compensation are seriously diminished once you pass that deadline. Insurance companies are well aware of the fact that letting the statute of limitations expire means you forfeit their right to file a personal injury lawsuit, and they will have very little motivation to present you a fair offer at that point. The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner settlement negotiations will begin, and the sooner your claim will be paid. And if the other side is not willing to be reasonable, your attorney always has the option to take the case to trial if necessary.

Injured in an Auto Accident in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Assistance

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. Call our office today at 334-581-9238 or message us through our online contact form. You may also stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

teen drivers and distracted driving

Teen Drivers & Distractions: What you Need to Know

For the past several years, distracted driving has been a growing problem in Alabama and throughout the country. As the use of smartphones has become mainstream, the need to “stay connected” has become a major distraction for many motorists. This is especially true among teenage drivers, who are very tech savvy and not always aware of the dangers certain driving behaviors pose.

Statistics on Distracted Driving

At any given time during daylight hours, approximately 660,000 motorists throughout the country are on their cell phones, and on average, nine individuals are killed in the United States each day in crashes that involve a distracted driver. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,166 individuals were killed by distracted driving in 2017 alone.

Teenage drivers are more vulnerable to distractions than other age groups, largely because of their youth and inexperience. For this reason, it comes as very little surprise that teens are the group most likely to be distracted at the time a fatal crash occurs.

More than half of all teens have admitted to using a cell phone while driving, and about 25% of those in this age group admit to having used a cell phone while driving during the past 30 days. Distraction is a primary factor in nearly 60% of all crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 19, and even though alcohol-related driving fatalities have decreased among teens in recent years, the number of overall traffic fatalities (among this group) is on the rise. Many experts believe that distracted driving is the primary reason for this.

Why Texting while Driving is so Dangerous

Since the automobile was invented, motorists have always had distractions. Tuning radio dials, dealing with noisy and unruly passengers, eating and drinking, looking at billboards, or just inattentiveness all present hazards that increase the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident.

Texting and other electronic activity while behind the wheel brings these dangers to a whole new level, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively.  In other words, electronic activity on a smartphone demands the driver’s full attention, taking his or her focus off of the road. To help put this into perspective, sending or reading a text for just five seconds driving at 55 miles per hour is like driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Preventing Distracted Driving among Teenagers

Texting while driving is illegal in Alabama and most other states. Unfortunately, just the fact that this practice is against the law does not prevent teens (and drivers in all other age groups for that matter) from sending texts and engaging in other cell phone activity while behind the wheel. We must all do more discourage distracted driving and make our roads safer.

Here are some tips to help reduce distracted driving among teens:

  • Education: It always starts with education. This topic will certainly be covered during a teen’s driver education courses, but it is also important for parents to sit down with their teens and discuss the dangers of distracted driving. The more education they have, the less likely they are to engage in this type of behavior.
  • Put it in Writing: Teens are more likely to take something to heart if you put it in writing. Create a written contract between you and your teen stating all of the ground rules for safe driving. By having a written contract, your teen is more likely to take ownership and follow what is stated in the guidelines. This also provides a written framework for you to revoke their driving privileges if they do not follow the rules.
  • Leverage available Technology: There are numerous apps available that can block texts, social media activity, and even making phone calls (except for emergency 911 calls) on your smart phone while driving. If you feel this is necessary, consider installing one or more of these apps on their phone to help keep your teen safe.
  • Lead by Example: Finally, be sure to provide a good model for your teen by refraining from texting and other dangerous activities when you are behind the wheel. Regardless of what you tell them, your teen will only think something is important if you are actually doing it yourself.

Injured by a Distracted Driver in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injury at the hands of a distracted driver (teen or otherwise), you have a right to be compensated. Before talking with any insurance adjusters, it is important to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer, so you understand your rights and legal options. 

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

insurance tactics after car accident

Tactics used by Insurance Companies during an Injury Case

Being injured in an accident is a traumatic and unsettling event. In the aftermath, it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening and what to expect next. During the insurance claims process, you will usually be dealing with the adjuster for the responsible party’s insurer. And because this is a new experience for most people, insurers typically use various tactics and tricks to try to minimize the amount of compensation they pay you.

Insurance companies may act like they are your “good neighbor” and that you are in “good hands” with them, but the truth is that these companies care very little about making sure you are adequately compensated after an injury. Their top priority is to protect their bottom line, which means paying out as little as possible when someone files a claim. As such, their interests are not aligned with yours.

There are several ways an insurance company may try to undermine your injury claim, here are some of the most common:

Contacting you Quickly after a Claim is Filed

Insurance adjusters commonly contact accident injury victims very soon after a claim is filed, usually within a few days. This is presented as a courtesy call to find out “how you are doing” and to reassure you that you will be “taken care of.” The goal of this call is to build rapport with you and encourage you not to hire a lawyer. If they can get to you before you have spoken with an attorney, then they believe they can convince you that you are better off working directly with them. Always be courteous and polite with the insurance adjuster, but never forget that they are not looking out for your interests.

Making Unnecessary and Potentially Damaging Requests

Once an insurance company believes they have earned your trust, they may start asking you for things that could damage your claim. For example, they might request a recorded statement under the pretense that this is just a “formality” needed to process your claim. However, the questions they ask are usually worded in a way that is designed to get you to admit things that could be used against you later. Another thing they may request is a full medical release, saying they need this to get your medical bills paid. The problem is when you release your full medical history to the insurance company, they will go through that information looking for a reason to claim that your injury (or at least the severity of your injury) was caused by a preexisting condition. Never agree to these types of requests without first speaking to an experienced attorney.

Making Lowball Settlement Offers

When someone is injured in an accident, finances are usually very tight. In addition to the mounting medical costs, the injured party typically has to be out of work for an extended period of time. Insurance companies know this, and they often try to take advantage of the situation by presenting a quick settlement offer in exchange for a release of your claim. In general, these types of offers are for only a fraction of what your claim is really worth. Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without talking to your lawyer first. 

Unnecessarily Delaying your Claim

If you are not willing to accept the insurance company’s offer, they could decide to slow walk your claim by not communicating with you for several weeks or even months at a time. By doing this, they are hoping to frustrate you into giving up and taking whatever settlement amount they offer you. At the same time, they are running out the clock on the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Once that deadline has come and gone, you may forfeit your right to sue the insurance company if you are not happy with what they are offering you.

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years. And two years can go by fast when you are not hearing from the insurance company on a regular basis. If this is happening to you, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible.

Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Legal Assistance

When someone files an injury claim, there are numerous tactics that an insurance company might use to undermine the claim and minimize the compensation that is paid out. To prevent this from happening, it is best to retain skilled legal counsel as early as possible after your injury, so your legal rights can be protected.

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also send us a message through our web contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

motorcycle helmet laws in alabama

I Was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident without Wearing a Helmet, Can I still Recover Compensation?

Motorcycle accidents can result in some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries. This is why many states, including Alabama, have universal helmet laws. In Alabama, motorcyclists of all ages are required to wear a helmet that meets the state’s specifications; including the requirements that the helmet must contain a hard, exterior shell that is made of non-shattering material, shock-absorbent padding, and a secured chinstrap.

Although wearing a helmet is mandatory for all motorcyclists in Alabama, some riders do not follow this requirement. This can make things far more complicated if they are injured in a motorcycle accident. Even if the accident was caused by the negligence of another person or party, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet will give the defense ammunition that they would not have otherwise had to argue that the accident was at least partially your fault.

The defense may not win this argument, but if they do, you may lose out on getting any compensation for your injuries. This is because of Alabama’s “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to their injuries, even 1%, they can be barred from recovering damages. Contributory negligence is applied in almost all motorcycle accident cases, except for those which are caused by malice or willful misconduct, such as DUI.

Most other states use some form of comparative negligence, which would allow an injured party to collect damages even if they were partially at fault, with their damage award being reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share in the accident. In states like these, it would be much easier for a motorcyclist to recover compensation even if they were not wearing a helmet.

Because of the high bar to clear in Alabama, it is extremely important to obtain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible, so your attorney can go to work immediately to construct your case and develop the most effective legal arguments.

How Could not Wearing a Helmet affect my Motorcycle Accident Claim?

As with all personal injury claims, no two motorcycle accident cases are exactly alike. As such, your chances of recovering compensation depend largely on the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. As mentioned earlier, the defense is likely to use the fact that you were not wearing a helmet to argue that this makes you partially liable, but in most cases, helmet use is not actually related to the cause of the accident.

For example, if a car collided with your motorcycle because the driver was sending a text and he did not see you, this collision could not have been prevented if you had been wearing a helmet. With this type of case, the defense will likely make a more general credibility argument along the lines that not wearing a helmet shows that you are a careless and irresponsible rider.

The other factor that is much more relevant to helmet use is the type and severity of the injuries you suffered. In some cases, the extent of your injuries would not have been affected by wearing a helmet, while in other cases, wearing a helmet could have made a big difference. 

For example, if the accident resulted in a broken arm or a broken leg, these injuries would still have happened if you had not been wearing a helmet. But if you sustained a head or neck injury, this will be a much more difficult argument to make. At the very least, the other side will argue that your injuries would not have been as severe if you’d had a helmet on. And this could make recovering compensation an uphill battle.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Alabama

If you or a loved one sustained an injury from a motorcycle accident that was caused by another person or party, it is important for you to speak with an attorney right away, so your case can be evaluated and you can be advised of your legal rights and options. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, you might still be able to recover compensation, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. The sooner you get in touch with us, the better the chances we will be able to help you.

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

motorcycle accident attorney in Dothan Alabama

What do I Need to Know after a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents are some of the deadliest incidents that occur on the roadways. Thousands of individuals are killed each year in motorcycle crashes throughout the nation, and tens of thousands more sustain serious and catastrophic injuries. In Alabama alone, dozens of individuals are killed in these types of accidents on an annual basis.

Motorcycle accidents are especially common in the summertime. The weather is warmer, kids are out of school, and there are more motorcycles and other types of vehicles on the road. There are also more inexperienced drivers on the road, as well as an increase in alcohol consumption before driving, all of which are contributing factors to the rise in traffic-related accidents during the summer months.

A motorcycle accident can be a terrifying experience, especially for the motorcyclist. Without the protection of a steel cage, there is not much that separates them from the pavement and other hard objects. This is why motorcyclists are far more likely to be killed or sustain a severe injury when they are involved in a crash.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the steps you take shortly after the crash can have major repercussions regarding your physical well-being and the ability to protect your legal rights. 

Here are six things you should do if you have been in a motorcycle crash:

Call for Immediate Medical Attention

The first priority after a motorcycle accident is to ensure that everyone who was injured receives treatment, including yourself. Even if you do not feel hurt right away, call 911 anyway and bring an ambulance to the scene. The 911 operator may also contact the police for you. If not, call the police to the scene as well. 

Some injuries have delayed symptoms, often because of the adrenaline rush you feel during the heat of the accident and other factors. Make sure to get checked out at the scene and go in for follow-up visits as needed. Finally, follow all of your doctor’s recommendations and thoroughly document all of the medical care you receive.

Take Photos of the Scene

Photos are one of the best forms of evidence in a personal injury case. Take multiple photographs of the accident scene from as many angles as you can. This will help show, in detail, how the collision occurred. If you are physically unable to take photos yourself, have someone else take them for you.

Obtain Statements from Witnesses

The testimony of witnesses is another strong piece of evidence that you will need if you have to file a legal claim. Speak with any individuals who may have witnessed the accident and obtain their contact information. And if they are willing, have them provide a statement. You can either record their statement with the video camera on your cell phone, or if they do not want to be on camera, ask if they will at least give you an audio statement, which you can capture with your phone’s voice recorder.

Compile your Own Report

One of the purposes of calling the police is so that there will be an official report compiled for your accident. However, it is also important for you to have your own report of what happened.  Whenever it is convenient, write down, in as much detail as possible, your recollection of the events while everything is still fresh in your mind. If you do not have anything to write with, you can use the voice recorder on your cell phone to create an audio report that can be transcribed later on.

Do NOT Admit Fault

As you interact with the others involved in the accident, the police, witnesses, and when you report the accident to your insurance company, NEVER apologize or admit any wrongdoing. Alabama is a “contributory negligence” state, meaning if you are found to have “contributed” in any way to the accident (even 1%), you may be barred from recovering damages. Be calm, courteous, and polite, but only state the facts of the case as you know them. Refrain from speculating on who was to blame and leave that for the experts to sort out.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Contributory negligence has a high bar to clear, and there are many potential pitfalls that can cause you to lose out on the compensation you need and deserve for the injuries you suffered. For this and many other reasons, it is absolutely essential to retain strong legal counsel as early as possible after the accident, so your right to recover compensation can be preserved.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we understand that a motorcycle accident injury can exact a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation you deserve. We have in-depth knowledge of Alabama personal injury law, and we know what it takes to successfully overcome the challenges victims have when trying to recover damages in our state. 

Call us today at 334-581-9238 or send us a message through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

motorcycle accident

How to Avoid Blind Spot Motorcycle Accidents

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. We all know that motorcyclists lack the protection and safety features that occupants of other motor vehicles have, and this makes them inherently more at risk of serious injury when they are involved in an accident. In fact, according to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are actually 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists.

As part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we want to highlight one of the factors that plays a primary role in many motorcycle accidents; failure of motorists to see motorcycles that enters their blind spot. Because motorcyclists have a smaller profile, it is very easy for drivers of other vehicles not to notice them in their blind spots, especially if they are not paying proper attention. 

Some of the newer vehicles are coming equipped with blind spot monitors, which should help reduce the number of blind spot motorcycle accidents that occur in the future. That said, most vehicles on the road today do not yet have these monitors, so motorists need to be extra cautious to prevent a blind spot accident.

Here are some steps motorists should take to avoid blind spot motorcycle accidents:

  • Adjust your mirrors properly: Your mirrors should be positioned so that the size of your blind spot is minimized. Make sure your rearview mirror completely frames your back window, so you can see all of it and point your sideview mirrors toward your blind spot.
  • Always signal your intentions: Drivers often make last-minute decisions to change lanes, so they do not miss a turn or for other reasons. Unfortunately, it is easy to get in the habit of making these lane changes without signaling. This could be a deadly mistake if there is a motorcycle or another vehicle in your blind spot. Be sure to always signal when you are changing lanes or making a turn, even if it is at the last minute. This will help warn anyone who may be in your blind spot to honk to get our attention and/or get out of the way.
  • Look over your shoulder before changing lanes: Even if your mirrors are properly adjusted, you might still have missed a motorcycle or vehicle that snuck into your blind spot. To be absolutely certain that you are clear to change lanes or make a turn, get into the habit of manually looking over your shoulder in the direction which you are turning.
  • Stay free of distractions: In today’s electronic age, distracted driving is a growing problem that is contributing to an increasing number of motorcycle accidents. Refrain from texting while driving or any other smartphone activity while behind the wheel. If you have to make a phone call, put the phone in “hands-free” mode. Far too many unnecessary accidents are the result of distracted driving, and it’s just not worth the risk.

There are also some things motorcyclists can do to help prevent blind spot accidents:

  • Give other vehicles adequate space: These days, bikers need to ride defensively and give other vehicles enough space to make turns and complete lane changes. One good rule of thumb is to stay about 20 feet away from other vehicles, so you have enough time to react appropriately when they make last-minute moves.
  • Spend minimal time in other vehicles’ blind spots: There are certainly times when it is unavoidable to enter the blind spot of another vehicle, such as when you are passing them up or they are passing you up. But aside from that, do not stay in their blind spot for any length of time.
  • Stay visible: When you are out riding, make it a point to wear clothing that is brightly-colored, fluorescent, or otherwise easy to see. Also be sure to keep your headlights on, even when you are riding during daylight hours.

Injured in a Blind Spot Motorcycle Accident in Alabama? Speak with a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer

We hope everyone follows these safety practices to avoid blind spot accidents and stay safe this spring and summer. We know, however, that sometimes even when you follow all the rules, you may still end up in an accident. If this occurs, be sure to get in contact with a skilled accident injury lawyer. Insurance companies are known for playing games and using various tactics to diminish the value of an injury claim or even deny the claim altogether. For this reason, it is important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so your right to recover compensation can be protected.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have extensive experience successfully representing motorcycle accident injury victims in Alabama, and we fight hard to help ensure that our clients recover the full and fair compensation they need and deserve. Call us today at 334-581-9238 or send us a message through our online web form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Motorcycle Accident attorney

I was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, do I Need to Retain an Attorney?

With the arrival of spring, more and more motorcyclists will be hitting the roadways. The warmer weather allows bikers to get out and enjoy the scenic rides on the open roads. But riding season also means an increased risk of a motorcycle accident, and motorcyclists who are involved in a crash with another type of motor vehicle are inherently more at risk of a serious injury. 

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you might wonder whether or not it is worthwhile to retain an attorney. Maybe you have already been contacted by the insurance company for the other party with a settlement offer to cover your injuries and property damage, and you don’t see the need to hire a lawyer and give them a percentage of the settlement.

There are some circumstances in which it might be okay to take the settlement offer and move on with your life. For example, if you sustained minor injuries and property damage, the facts of the case are straightforward and not in dispute, and the insurance company has given you an offer that you are satisfied with, then accepting the offer might be the right choice.

Even in a scenario like this, however, it is still a good idea to at least talk to a lawyer to review your case and discuss your legal rights and options. This way, you can make the most informed decision on which way you want to go with the case.

If there are any complicating factors in your case, then you should definitely consider retaining skilled legal counsel. Some examples include:

  • There are disputes regarding who was at fault for the accident;
  • An investigation is required to uncover key facts in the case;
  • The motorcycle accident involved multiple parties;
  • You sustained moderate to severe injuries, the extent of which are not yet fully known;
  • Your injuries are likely to keep you out of work for an extended period of time;
  • There is a possibility that your injuries could be permanent and debilitating.

Dealing with the insurance company on your own is a confusing process that is full of potential pitfalls, and if there are complicating factors such as those mentioned above, you may not end up receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries. In fact, you could end up without any compensation at all.

This is especially true if the motorcycle accident occurred in Alabama. Alabama is one of just a handful of states that applies the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident. For this reason, if there is any question at all about who was at fault in your case, it is absolutely essential to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so your legal right to recover compensation can be preserved.

What is Causing my Neck & Back Pain after a Car Crash?

Auto accidents, and the force that accompanies them, can be very hard on the neck and back.  This is true even with lower impact accidents that happen at reduced speeds, such as rear-end collisions. A lower impact rear-end accident, also commonly known as a “fender-bender”, typically does minor damage to the vehicle. But even when there is minimal property damage, you may still end up with injuries that are more than just a minor inconvenience.

Neck and back injuries are not always immediately apparent after a car crash. Sometimes, it can take several hours or even a few days before you start to feel the effects of the crash. This is largely due to the adrenaline rush those involved in an accident typically experience. After the crash, your heart rate increases, and your mind starts going in different directions as you focus on dealing with the situation. The adrenaline often masks the pain associated with various injuries, which can deceive people into believing that they were not really hurt by the accident.

Reasons for Neck and Back Pain after a Vehicle Crash

After some time passes following a car crash, the pain of neck and back injuries eventually shows up. This is often the sign of a condition known as “whiplash”. The sudden, jerking motion of a vehicle crash, even one that occurs at a low speed, can throw the body rapidly back and forth, similarly to the motion of a horse whip.

Whiplash injuries are especially common in rear-end crashes, and occupants of the lead vehicle are the most susceptible to this type of injury, because they are usually not able to brace for the collision.

A whiplash injury can also vary in severity, depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, such as the speed in which the vehicles collided, the angle at which the collision occurred, the position of the drivers and passengers who were hurt, and many others. In some cases, the effects of the injury are fairly minor and will only be felt for a couple weeks or so. In other cases, however, the effects of the injury can last for several months or even years.

Whiplash is a severe sprain or strain in the neck that produces general neck and back pain. Other symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Neck stiffness;
  • Limited range of motion in the neck;
  • Increased pain with neck movement;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Dizziness or blurred vision;
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms;
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulders, arms, and upper back;
  • Lower back pain;
  • Difficulty with focus and concentration;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • Tiredness and fatigue;
  • Anxiety and depression.

Whiplash is one possible cause of neck and back pain after a car crash, but this type of pain could also be an indication of another condition, such as:

  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Herniated disc
  • Thoracic spine injury
  • Lumbar spine injury

What to Do if you are Feeling Neck and Back Pain from a Car Crash

If you are experiencing neck or back pain or any other type of physical pain after a motor vehicle accident, this is not something to be taken lightly. If you ignore the pain, it will probably not go away on its own. If anything, it is likely to become worse over time and possibly even become permanent and irreparable. As soon as you feel any symptoms at all, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. The sooner you see a medical professional, the sooner you can get an accurate diagnosis and ensure that your condition is properly treated.

Another reason you want to get medical help is to help establish a legal connection between the auto accident and your injuries. If the accident was the fault of another party, you may have the right to compensation. However, if you wait too long, the responsible party and their insurance company will likely claim that the injury is not from the accident and/or you did not do everything you could to minimize the effects of your injury. So, get immediate medical help, then get in touch with a skilled car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Experienced Neck or Back Pain after an Auto Accident? Contact the Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys at M. Adam Jones and Associates

If you were injured in a vehicle crash in Alabama, call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 for a free consultation. We will meet with you to fully assess your case and advise you of your rights and options. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

commercial truck accident attorney in little rock

Truck Accidents: Avoiding an Accident with an 18-Wheeler

Trucking accidents have been on the rise in recent years. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that more than 4,100 individuals were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2017, a 30% increase from 2009. And of those who were killed in these types of accidents:

  • 68% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles;
  • 17% were large truck occupants;
  • 14% were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

It comes as very little surprise that most of those who are seriously injured or killed in truck accidents are those who collide with big rig trucks. Large tractor-trailers that are fully loaded typically weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more, and the sheer force of colliding with a vehicle this size makes those who share the road with 18-wheelers especially vulnerable to severe injuries and fatalities.

Given the heightened risks motorists face when they are driving near a large commercial truck, it is important for drivers to be proactive and take extra precautions to ensure their safety. Here are five things you should do to help avoid an accident with a semi-truck:

Stay Out of Blind Spots

Big rig trucks have more and larger blind spots than a typical passenger vehicle. 18-wheelers have two blind spots on each side of the vehicle, which are commonly known as “no zones”. If you are in one of these “no zones”, it means the truck driver cannot see you, which could result in an accident if they try to change lanes or make a turn. In general, if you cannot see the driver in his/her rearview mirror, this means he/she probably cannot see you either. Do your best to stay out of truckers’ blind spots for any length of time. 

Keep your Distance

A loaded semi-truck requires 20% to 40% more braking distance than a regular vehicle, and this percentage is increased when there are wet and slippery roads or other adverse road conditions. By following a large commercial truck too closely, motorists are much more vulnerable to accidents resulting from sudden stops and slowdowns. Other potential hazards that can result from driving too close to a big rig truck include tire blowouts, brake line failures, and your vehicle being struck by materials or debris falling out of the truck.

Be Careful when Passing or Merging with 18-Wheelers

There are times when you may need to pass up a large truck or merge into traffic when you are driving alongside them. When you pass a truck, always make sure there is plenty of space in front of you to complete this action safely. Be especially careful on two-lane roads and undivided highways where you need to pass the truck using the oncoming traffic lane, or when you are passing a truck while going uphill or downhill. And when you are merging into traffic, again be sure you have enough space if you decide to pull in front of the truck.

Lower your High Beams

Most motorists are aware that they need to turn their brights off when there is a vehicle approaching them from the opposite direction. With large commercial trucks, however, you should also keep your brights off if you are driving behind them at night. Big rig trucks have larger mirrors, and they can be blinded by another vehicle’s high beams.

Avoid Distractions

Texting while driving and similar forms of electronic activity are very dangerous practices that you should never engage in while you are behind the wheel. If you are trying to send a text while driving, for example, it takes your attention completely off of the road. Always avoid distracted driving, and especially when you are driving near a large truck.

Injured in an 18-Wheeler Accident in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Sometimes, you do everything right and still end up in an accident with a big rig truck. This can happen because of driver negligence, negligence on the part of the trucking company, a faulty vehicle part, or a combination of these and other factors. Trucking accident cases are complicated because of the numerous laws and regulations that govern the industry, and the fact that there are several potential parties that could be responsible.

If the accident occurred in Alabama, things are further complicated by the state’s defendant-friendly “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, a plaintiff who is found to be even 1% at fault for an accident can be barred from recovering damages. For this reason, it is absolutely essential to obtain strong legal counsel as early on as possible in the process, so your right to recover compensation is not jeopardized.

At M. Adam Jones & Associates, we have successfully represented countless individuals who have been injured in truck accidents and all other types of motor vehicle accidents in Alabama.  We know the common tactics trucking companies and their insurers use to avoid responsibility in these types of cases, and we put our extensive experience to work to aggressively pursue full and fair compensation on behalf of each client we serve.

For a free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys, call our office today at 334-581-9238, or send us a message through our web contact form.