Tag Archive for: car accident

dashcam footage in a car accident

How Dashcam Footage Can Impact a Car Accident Claim

Dashboard cameras (commonly known as “dashcams”) can have a significant impact on auto accident claims. Dashcams are mounted inside the car and provide ongoing footage of what is happening in front of the vehicle and sometimes the rear as well. Higher-end models can deliver better quality video, and some models can also record audio inside the vehicle.

There are a number of ways that dashcam footage can help a car accident claim:

  1. Prove Who Was at Fault

Dashcams can provide a great deal of clarity about how the auto accident occurred, what factors caused and contributed to it, and who was at fault. It is important to note, however, that dashboard cameras do not lie. If the other driver caused the crash, it might show more clearly how that happened. But if you were the one who caused the accident, it may show that as well.

  1. Show the Damage Done to your Vehicle

By being able to show footage of the accident, having a dashcam can assist in identifying the various ways in which your car was damaged by the crash. This can help ensure that you are fully reimbursed for all needed repairs.

  1. Prove that the Accident Actually Occurred

Having dashcam footage can be instrumental in proving that your car was involved in an accident in which the vehicle was damaged, and you potentially sustained injuries. This is important in hit-and-run cases in which the other driver fled the scene and there was no police report. Video footage from the dashboard camera may also be able to identify the other vehicle’s license plate number and help law enforcement can track them down.

  1. Protect Yourself from a False Liability Claim

Not only can dashboard camera footage help show who was at fault in an auto accident, but it can also protect a driver who is being falsely accused of causing the crash. Clear video footage can often exonerate the driver and show that they were not the one who caused the accident.

  1. Help Your Attorney to Secure the Best Outcome for Your Auto Accident Claim

Video footage that clearly shows how an accident occurred and what caused it is some of the best evidence for your attorney to use if you need to file a legal claim. This is especially important if you suffered moderate to severe injuries, in which case you may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation from the at-fault party.

Having dashcam footage strengthens your case and gives your attorney more negotiating leverage when dealing with the responsible driver’s insurance company. This increases the likelihood that the insurer will agree to a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you for your injuries. With this video evidence, the insurance company representative will know that they are likely to lose in court, which will motivate them to settle before the case ever gets that far.

Things to Keep in Mind about Dashboard Cameras

While dashcams can be very helpful in an auto accident case, there are some important things to remember when you use them. First of all, as we talked about earlier, dashcam footage favors no one, so always be sure to drive safely when you have the camera rolling.

Secondly, your dashcam may not always show clearly how an accident occurred. This depends largely on the location of the camera and the specific circumstances of the accident. For example, if you were sideswiped by another vehicle (or you sideswiped them), the camera might be able to provide a good idea about the impact of the collision, but it may not clearly show which car initiated the crash.

Finally, no matter how clear your dashcam footage is, it will not help you at all if you fail to capture it in time. Most low to moderately priced dashboard cameras save the footage for only a set amount of time before automatically deleting it to make room for new footage. It is up to you the driver (or someone else in your car) to capture the footage before it gets permanently deleted.

Work With an Experienced Alabama Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone close to you suffered an injury in a car crash, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. Whether you have dashcam footage or not, a skilled and knowledgeable car accident attorney will be able to put you in the best possible position to secure a favorable outcome in your case.

If your auto accident occurred in Alabama, contact M. Adam Jones & Associates for assistance. Get in touch with us today to set up a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588

 

 

can keyless cars cause accidents?

How Keyless Vehicles Can Contribute to Auto Accidents

Today’s vehicles come with numerous features that help automate the driving process and make our lives easier. Some of these features have made driving safer. Examples include blind-spot monitors and rearview cameras. There are other features, however, that though they may be more convenient, they come with some downsides as well. Vehicles with keyless starters are a good example of this.

Keyless cars were first introduced by Mercedes-Benz in the late 1990s, and at that time their product was called “Keyless Go”. These days, most vehicles are equipped with remote smart keys to lock and unlock the doors, and a lot of new vehicles come with keyless ignitions, also known as keyless “fobs”.

Most consumers like the convenience of having keyless ignition systems in their vehicles. This allows them to start the car with the push of a button and without having to dig around in their pocket or purse to find their keys. Keyless ignitions definitely save time and make driving more convenient, but they have also given rise to some potential hazards.

The Dangers of Keyless Ignition Cars

One of the most serious unintended consequences of having a keyless ignition vehicle is the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In 2018, the New York Times reported that there had been at least 28 deaths and numerous other injuries to individuals who had inadvertently left their keyless cars running in their garage.

This occurs when people park their cars in the garage, close the garage door, and forget to shut off the vehicle. Because there is no key that needs to be removed from the ignition, it is easier to assume that the vehicle is already turned off when the person exits the vehicle.

Why does this happen? For one thing, newer vehicles tend to idle more quietly than older ones, so it is not always easy to tell if the car is turned on or off. In addition, most people in our society have a lot going on, and distractions are everywhere. When someone is focused heavily on other things, they might not remember to push the button and turn off their car.

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from keyless vehicles seems to be higher among the elderly. For most of their adult lives, aging drivers have used keys to start and turn off their vehicles. So, when they switch to a keyless car, it can be harder to form a new habit of turning the car off with the push of a button.

Several years ago, the Society of Automotive Engineers proposed a solution to this problem; to install some type of alert system on the vehicle that would beep if the car was still running without the key fob in or near the car, and even shut off the engine if the car was running for a certain amount of time in that status. This would essentially involve a software change that many experts believe could be accomplished for pennies per vehicle.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a federal regulation that would mandate a software change to create an alert system like this on keyless vehicles. But the automotive industry opposed the idea, and the proposed rule change was left to languish. Hopefully, the rule will be revived, and in the meantime, the hope is that manufacturers will voluntarily install these systems into their new vehicles.

Another potential hazard that keyless ignition vehicles are more susceptible to is rollaway accidents. A rollaway accident usually occurs when a vehicle is turned off, but it is not in park. With a traditional keyed ignition, the driver cannot remove the key from the ignition if it is in drive or reverse; but with keyless ignitions, a driver could push the button and turn off the car even if it is in one of these two settings.

Automakers are supposed to install warning systems in their keyless vehicles to prevent rollaways from happening. But unfortunately, these systems do not always work properly. Manufacturers need to devote more effort to making sure their keyless ignition cars are safe for consumers, and they need to take reasonable steps to ensure that the chances of serious and fatal accidents are minimized.

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

If you or someone close to you got hurt in a keyless vehicle accident or suffered any other type of personal injury in Alabama, you need experienced legal guidance to help guide you through the complexities of a vehicle accident claim, and to put you in a position to recover maximum compensation.

Get started on your claim today by calling M. Adam Jones & Associates for a free, no-obligation consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!

Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588

car accident in company vehicle in Alabama

What Happens if you are Involved in a Crash with a Company Vehicle?

Auto accidents that involve commercial vehicles are typically far more complicated than those that involve personal cars. First there is the question of who is responsible for the crash and any injuries and other losses that are sustained. This could be one of several different parties, including the driver of the company vehicle, their employer, the driver of other vehicles involved, or a third party.

Another issue that would need to be resolved is how an injured company driver gets reimbursed for their losses. Workers’ compensation coverage is available in many cases, but this only provides limited benefits for direct economic costs and does not cover any of the intangible losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress. In some instances, the driver of the company vehicle might be able to recover compensation for these losses if another party is at fault for the accident.

Whether you were the company driver or another driver or passenger who was involved in a crash with a company vehicle, this is not the type of case that can be easily handled on your own. If you suffered injuries from the accident, it is very important to have the case examined by an experienced attorney, so you understand your rights and legal options. In Alabama, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-699-5599 for the strong legal guidance you need.

Determining Liability for a Crash with a Company Vehicle

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of parties that could potentially be at fault in an accident that involves a company vehicle:

The Driver’s Employer

Whether it was the driver of the company vehicle or their employer who was to blame, the employer’s liability insurance would usually kick in and pay for the damages. Even if the employer did not cause the crash, it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they own are operated safely.

The Company Vehicle Driver

When the company vehicle driver is at fault for a crash, the employer’s insurance will usually take responsibility. But there are some exceptions to this general rule. Situations in which the company’s insurance would not cover an employee who causes a commercial vehicle accident include:

  • Criminal Activity: Many commercial insurers will refuse to indemnify an employee who causes a company vehicle crash while in the midst of committing a crime. The most common example of this would be an employee who is driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Going on a Frolic: If an employee decides to run personal errands or otherwise take an extended break while on company time, they might be held personally liable if they are at fault for a crash.
  • Non-Business Activity: Crashes involving company vehicles that happen outside of business hours are often not covered by the driver’s insurer. Examples include commuting to and from work or using the vehicle for personal or recreational activity during their time away from work.

The Driver of Another Vehicle

If the driver of a vehicle other than the company car is at fault for the crash in the company vehicle driver is injured, then they can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer. As we talked about previously, this would allow an injured company employee to recover compensation for losses over and above what would be available through their employer’s workers’ comp policy.

Third Parties

There are a number of parties who are not directly involved in a company vehicle crash that could hold some responsibility, including:

  • A cargo or shipping company that overloads or unevenly loads a commercial vehicle which leads to a crash. This is most common with large tractor-trailers.
  • The party who is responsible for maintaining a company vehicle when the crash results from mechanical failure.
  • The designer, manufacturer, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part that causes the accident.
  • The party in charge of maintaining the roadways when problems with the roads (such as potholes or cracks in the surface, hidden or damaged road signs, or missing guardrails) cause the vehicle to crash.

A thorough investigation is necessary in order to gather all of the critical facts and pieces of evidence and identify the underlying cause of the crash and all contributing factors. This is why you want an attorney in your corner who understands the complexities and nuances involved with these types of cases and has the proven ability to ensure that all responsible parties are held fully accountable.

Get in Touch with M. Adam Jones and Associates Today

Crashes involving company vehicles are very complicated cases, and the sooner you get our firm involved, the better your chances of recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call our office today or message us online to schedule your free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

dealing with insurance after personal injury

Are you Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company After an Accident?

If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may be going through a very turbulent and challenging time. If you sustained injuries from the accident, then you should be working closely with your medical provider to obtain the treatments needed to get you on the road to recovery. You might also be looking at missing work while you are getting treated and going through rehabilitation. If the injury is more serious, this process might take quite a bit longer, perhaps several months or more.

While all of this is happening, you will be contacted at some point by the insurance company. In many cases, you may hear from the insurer for the at-fault driver within just a few days. The insurance company representative is usually friendly, courteous, and seemingly empathetic. They will call and ask how you are doing and assure you that everything is going to be okay. Shortly thereafter, they might request that you provide them a recorded statement about the accident.

The insurance company representative might make it seem like giving a recorded statement is standard operating procedure. And they might make you feel like you are obligated to comply with this request. They might not tell you that directly, but they may imply that by providing them with a recorded statement, it will help ensure that the claim gets processed smoothly so you can get your settlement check sooner.

It is very important to understand that you are under no obligation to give the insurance company a recorded statement, and you should never do so without being represented by an attorney. It is never in your best interests to give the insurer any type of statement on the record without legal representation, because such statements can be used to undermine your claim.

Why Does the Insurer Want a Recorded Statement?

Before considering whether or not to provide a recorded statement, it helps to understand the motivation of the insurance company. As we talked about earlier, they might come across as kind and courteous, and we know that they portray themselves to the public as “like a good neighbor” or “the good hands people”.

The truth is that insurance companies are not in business to take care of people, they are in business to make a profit. This is not necessarily an indictment of their industry, it’s just business. In order to maximize profits, they need to pay out as little as possible for injuries that are caused by their insured. And as such, their interests are not aligned with yours.

Insurance companies are professional organizations with representatives who are very good at what they do. They have various tactics that they can use to help protect their employer’s bottom line, and one such tactic is to have an injury claimant provide a recorded statement.

How a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company Can Hurt your Claim

By getting the injured person to go on the record, the insurer can use their words against them later to minimize the amount that is paid for their claim or even to deny their claim altogether. One way a recorded statement could hurt you is if you end up with delayed symptoms from the accident that do not show up until several days or weeks later. For example, if you start to experience extreme pain in your neck and lower back sometime after the recording, the insurance company might deny treatment for these problems because you did not mention them in your original statement.

Another thing that could happen with a recorded statement as you may give an answer that implies that you were at least partially at fault for the accident. You might not remember all of the circumstances of the crash even a day or two later, and you might not be totally sure of everything that happened. But whatever the case, make sure you do not admit any kind of fault for the crash.

If the insurance company can get you to take even partial responsibility for the accident, this can be especially problematic in a state like Alabama. In Alabama, an injured party can be barred from recovering damages even if they are 1% at fault for the underlying accident or event. This is all the more reason to get a skilled and knowledgeable attorney involved in your case as early as possible, so your right to recover compensation can be fully protected.

Injured in a Car Crash in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in an auto accident, do NOT give a recorded statement to an insurance company without speaking with a lawyer first. If the accident occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is ready to go to work for you. Call our office today or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.

holiday safety tips

Safe Driving Tips for Holiday Travel

The holidays are just around the corner, and this is the time of year when people are out and about to go shopping, attend holiday gatherings, and visit with loved ones. This year will be different because of COVID-19, and it is likely that some who would normally be out during this time of year will choose to stay home. Perhaps some families will do virtual visits instead of getting together in person.

If you are one of those who has decided to travel to see relatives or friends during this holiday season, there are still likely to be millions of others doing the same thing you are. And if you are taking a road trip, expect heavy traffic in some areas, and allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

Here are some other important tips for those taking holiday road trips this year:

Get Your Vehicle Ready for the Trip

Make sure your car is ready to take a lengthy road trip. Take it into a mechanic and have them check over all of the important areas. These may include:

  • A battery and alternator test.
  • Changing the oil and topping off all of the other fluids.
  • Properly inflating the tires and checking their tread depth.
  • Checking the wiper blades to ensure that they are not worn or damaged.
  • Inspecting the brakes to make sure there is plenty of wear left on the pads.
  • Changing the spark plugs and performing a tune-up on the vehicle.
  • Making any repairs that the mechanic recommends.
  • Cleaning out the car and reducing the clutter inside.

Prepare for Emergencies

Put together an emergency kit in the event that you are stranded somewhere along the roadway. Your kit should include some basic supplies, such as:

  • Blankets
  • A first-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Road flares
  • Flashlights with backup batteries
  • Snacks and drinking water
  • A functional spare tire

You should also make sure you have emergency roadside assistance either through your auto insurer or an outside service such as AAA. Write down the phone number for emergency assistance and put it in a safe place. You may also want to load the phone number into the contact list on your cell phone.

Plan your Route Ahead of Time

Before you start out on a trip, it is always a good idea to have your route planned out and know where you will be traveling. Decide who else will be driving besides yourself and plan out a driving schedule. Also decide who will be in charge of navigating and handling the phone. This of course should not be the driver. Finally, inform others of your travel plans before you leave.

Be Aware of Inclement Weather

As the day of travel approaches, monitor the weather reports in the areas in which you are going to be traveling. Be on the lookout for heavy rain, winds, ice, sleet, and snow in the forecast. If it looks like you are going to be going through dangerous weather conditions, plan alternative routes that will allow you to avoid these conditions as much as possible. In some extreme cases, you might want to consider canceling or postponing the trip.

Be Well Rested before Driving

Before driving for a significant distance, you should always have plenty of rest the night before. If you try to drive on too little amount of sleep, you run the risk of getting drowsy or sleepy behind the wheel, something that could result in disastrous consequences. For the average adult, it is best to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep before driving.

Stay Safe during Stops

Along the way, you will be making several stops for fuel, food, and restroom breaks. During the holiday season, the places you stop at your likely to be very busy with lots of people passing through. This means you need to be especially careful around surfaces that have been touched by numerous others.

Whenever you stop, be sure to follow all of the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC. These include wearing face coverings in public places, distancing, washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and using plenty of hand sanitizer. Remember that the holiday season is also peak flu season in most places, so COVID-19 is not the only illness you need to watch out for.

Injured in a Vehicle Accident During the Holidays? Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer

Even if you have done your best to stay safe, accidents are sometimes unavoidable, and they are often caused by the negligence of others. If you or a loved one got injured in an accident this holiday season, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help.

Message us online or call our office today to schedule free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588

 

 

sun glare accidents

Tips for Avoiding Sun Glare Accidents

When the fall arrives, daylight savings time ends and the days start getting shorter. One of the challenges for drivers (with the shorter days) is dealing with sun glare during peak driving hours. While driving to work in the morning, for example, it is not uncommon to get hit with a blast of bright sunlight after making a turn and driving east. The glare of the sun can seem blinding, and it can make it extremely difficult for drivers to see what is in front of them.

It is hard to quantify the extent to which sun glare contributes to auto accidents. Drivers are naturally very reluctant to admit that their view was inhibited by bright sunlight after a crash, and this does not always show up as a cause on a police report.

The most comprehensive data that we know of (with regards to sun glare accidents) is a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study looked at more than 11,000 life-threatening vehicle crashes over a 20-year period, and they examined the reasons for hospitalizations resulting from these accidents.

The NIH found that bright sunlight/sun glare was present in approximately one third of all accidents that happened during the daylight hours. This shows that, although there could be other contributing factors, sun glare is definitely a hazard that drivers need to be prepared for, particularly during the autumn and winter months when the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Is Sun Glare Considered an “Act of God”?

Some may argue that they are not liable for a sun glare accident because bright sunlight is an “act of God”. While it may be true that sunlight is part of nature and out of a driver’s control, this does not absolve the driver of responsibility if the glare of the sun were to cause them to crash the vehicle.

Events that are typically referred to as “acts of God” are those that are unpredictable and thus more difficult to prepare for. Examples would include floods, mudslides, earthquakes, or an animal that dashes out in front of an oncoming vehicle.

A driver is responsible to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicle, and this includes preparing for events that are predictable and known to happen each day. It is not difficult to know the daily forecast and what time the sun is expected to rise and set, and therefore, a driver should be ready to deal with bright sunlight, especially if it is present on their daily drive to or from work or school.

Protecting Yourself from Sun Glare Accidents

The best way to avoid being held liable for a sun glare accident is to take steps to prevent getting into one in the first place. Here are some precautions drivers should take to avoid collisions caused by bright sunlight:

  • Wear Polarized Sunglasses: While nothing can totally eliminate the glare of the sun, polarized sunglasses do the best job of minimizing the effects of bright sunlight.
  • Clear your Windshield and Dashboard: Keep your dashboard free of clutter, especially reflective objects that can worsen the sun glare. Also, make sure to keep your windshield clean and free of streaks and marks. Have an adequate supply of window washer fluid available before you begin driving and be sure your windshield wipers are in good repair.
  • Reduce your Speed: When you get hit with bright sunlight, one of the best defenses is to slow down. By driving more slowly, you will have more time to identify other vehicles and objects that are more difficult to see because of the glare.
  • Keep your Headlights On: When there is bright sunlight present, drive with your headlights on to help other drivers see your vehicle in case they are battling sun glare.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving: It is always good practice to avoid distractions while driving, and in fact, certain distractions like texting while driving are unlawful. Do your best to eliminate other distractions, especially when you are trying to deal with sun glare.
  • Adjust your Route If Possible: While not always practical, one good way to avoid sun glare is to minimize the amount of eastbound travel in the morning and westbound travel in the evening. This might mean a simple route adjustment that allows you to spend more time traveling north or south, or it might be just a matter of leaving to or from work a little earlier or later. Take a look at your driving route and schedule to see if there are any helpful changes you could make.

Injured in a Sun Glare Accident in Alabama? Contact a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer

Even if you employ all the best safety practices, you cannot control the actions of other motorists. If you or a loved one got hurt in an auto accident that was someone else’s fault, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for experienced legal help. Alabama is a defendant-friendly state when it comes to personal injury claims, and it is always wise to work with an attorney with the proven ability to recover maximum compensation on behalf of their clients.

To get started, call our office today or send us a message through our online contact form. We look forward to serving you!

car accident lawyers in Dothan Alabama

Determining Liability when a Third Party Causes a Car Accident

There are approximately 6 million auto accidents in the United States each year. These accidents result in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of serious injuries. A common assumption with car accidents is that one or more of the drivers involved is at fault, but this is not always the case. There are instances when a party that is not directly involved in the accident is the one to blame, also known as a third party.

When a third party was at fault for a car accident, it is naturally going to be a more complicated case, and it will require an extensive investigation to establish a causal link between the outside party and the accident. In cases like these, it is extremely important to work with an attorney who has in-depth experience with vehicle accidents and the proven ability to hold responsible parties fully accountable. It is also important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the case before critical pieces of evidence become more difficult to recover.

There are a number of third parties that may be held liable in an auto accident, these include:

Passengers

A vehicle passenger could be at fault for a car accident if they do something that causes the driver to get into a crash. For example, a front seat passenger grabs the steering wheel and pulls it to the right while the car is traveling at a high speed. Passengers are also known for encouraging bad driving behaviors, especially among teenagers, although this would be more difficult to prove.

Vehicle Owners

Car owners are generally responsible for their vehicles, no matter who is driving. For example, if a car owner lends his/her vehicle out to someone who is inexperienced and/or irresponsible, the owner could be held responsible for negligent entrustment. The same holds true if they were to lend their car to someone who was intoxicated or did not have a valid driver’s license.

Liquor Establishments

Alabama and most other states have what are known as “dram shop” laws, which are laws that permit someone to go after a person or business that provides alcohol to an individual who was clearly intoxicated. This most often happens in a bar where the bartender continues to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly drunk. The law does not apply to every case of an intoxicated person being served drinks, however. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the person was drunk, which will usually include video footage and the testimony of witnesses.

Employers

Employers who allow employees to drive company vehicles are responsible for accidents that happened during working hours and while an employee is performing occupational duties. This may also apply when an employee is driving a personal vehicle but is acting within the course and scope of their employment.

Auto Repair/Maintenance Providers

When a mechanical failure causes a car accident, it could be the fault of a mechanic or auto repair shop. For example, negligent maintenance can occur when a mechanic installs incorrect parts, fails to identify a needed repair, or causes damage to the vehicle during the course of making a repair.

Product Makers

Some auto accidents happen because of faulty vehicle or vehicle parts. For example, newly installed brakes that failed to stop the vehicle or brand-new tires that blow out while traveling down the highway. When a vehicle defect causes a car accident, the manufacturer, distributor, or any other party within the product’s supply chain could be held responsible.

Holding a Third Party Liable for a Car Accident

As we talked about earlier, holding an outside party responsible for a vehicle accident is extremely difficult, and this type of case will be more complicated than a typical car crash where the question of liability is between two drivers. This is especially true in a state like Alabama, where the pure contributory negligence doctrine prevents an injured party (in most cases) from recovering damages if it is determined that they share any fault for the accident.

Your attorney will examine all of the relevant factors to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and attempt to create an unbreakable link between the accident and the party that caused it. To help substantiate the claim, various specialists might be brought in to serve as expert witnesses who can speak authoritatively to certain aspects of the case. Oftentimes, the role of an expert witness can be invaluable in solidifying the claim and ensuring that the injured party is able to recover maximum compensation.

Injured in an Auto Accident in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Vehicle Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one got hurt in a car accident in Alabama, you need a skilled attorney in your corner working hard to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve. As soon as possible after the accident, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for a complimentary consultation. We will meet with you to discuss the specifics of your case to help determine who might be at fault and what your legal rights and options are.

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. In Alabama 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  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.

Five Things You Need to do Right After a Car Accident - Jones & Associates

 The Five Things to Do Immediately After a Car Accident

Being involved in an auto accident is one of the most unsettling experiences drivers go through. As soon as the other vehicle makes impact with yours, you experience an extreme state change. Your heart rate increases, and your mind begins to race in all kinds of different directions. At this point, it is important to take a deep breath, calm down, and collect your thoughts. Next, go over your mental (or better yet paper) checklist of what to do after a car accident.

After a motor vehicle accident occurs, there are five things you should do right away:

  1. Remain at the Scene

Never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor fender-bender. If you leave the scene, you could face severe criminal charges, particularly if there are injuries or fatalities. If your car is drivable and you are not seriously injured, keep your hazard lights on and move it over to the shoulder or side of the road. If you have flares, set them up around the vehicles involved to further protect the scene.

  1. Call 911

Before you assess the damage to the vehicles, check to make sure everyone is okay. If anyone appears to have even minor injuries (including yourself), call 911 right away so those who are hurt can get immediate medical attention. Internal bleeding and other internal injuries are not always readily apparent, but they can be life-threatening. Your call to 911 will also summon the police. The police should be notified even if there are no serious injuries, so there will be an official accident report on record.

  1. Document the Incident

Assuming again that you are not seriously injured, you should obtain as much documentation as possible to verify what happened. Write down important facts such as the time of day, the directions and speeds each vehicle was moving, what caused the vehicles to crash into each other, etc. Take multiple photos of the scene from as many angles as possible, and if you have a dash cam or similar device (highly recommended), make sure you retain the footage going back to at least a couple minutes before the accident occurred. You will also want to speak with witnesses, document what they saw, and get their contact information if possible.

  1. Exchange Information

Calmly and courteously exchange information with the other driver. Do NOT make any apologies or other statements about what happened to the other driver. Provide the other driver with the required information and ask the same from them, then move on to the next step.

  1. Contact your Insurer

If you are able, it is best to report the incident to your insurance company while you are still at the scene. Your insurer should be able to tell you what to do next. From here, file the necessary police reports, continue to seek medical care as needed, and document everything that occurs throughout the process.

What NOT to do After a Car Accident

The five things to do immediately after an auto accident are all vitally important, but just as important is what NOT to do. Here are three things you should NOT do after a car accident in Alabama:

  1. Do Not Admit Fault

Whenever discussing the accident with the other driver, the police, the insurance adjuster for the other driver, or anyone else involved, NEVER admit liability of any kind. Remember, in Alabama if you are found to even be slightly at fault for the accident, you will not be eligible to collect damages.

  1. Do Not Give a Recorded Statement to the Other Party’s Insurer

The insurance company for the other driver may contact you looking for a statement about the accident. Do not let them pressure you into giving any type of recorded statement, signing a medical release, or signing a general release. Politely inform them that you are considering hiring an attorney, and when that happens, your attorney will be in touch with them.

  1. Do Not Accept a Low Settlement Offer

Insurance companies are notorious for giving accident victims lowball settlement offers in an attempt to wrap the case up quickly and make it go away. Do NOT accept any type of settlement offer without first having it reviewed by an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney.

Injured in a Car Accident?

If you or someone close to you has been injured in an auto accident in Alabama, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. Make sure to follow the guidelines in this article, then get in touch with our office right away. At Jones and Associates, our Alabama car accident attorneys have extensive experience with even the most complex personal injury cases, and we have a strong track record of success going up against the large insurers and their expensive attorneys. For your free, no-obligation case evaluation, contact us today at (334) 699-5599.