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Auto Collisions 101: Fault, Negligence, & More

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By best estimates, Americans own and operate over 278 million vehicles. These personal and commercial cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and vans power our commutes and our economy. But while the machines grow safer and more advanced, their drivers may not grow similarly. Auto collisions will happen—possibly even to you.

By arming yourself with knowledge and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can ensure your rights are protected in the wake of an auto collision. This handy guide explores the causes, assignment of fault, and next steps you should consider after a car wreck in Birmingham, AL and beyond. 

Understanding Auto Collision & How Personal Injury Lawyers Help in Birmingham, AL

Car wrecks, truck accidents, and motorcycle wrecks are common occurrences on American roads, with staggering statistics painting a grim picture. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 6.7 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes in the United States per year. These collisions result in over 38,000 fatalities and countless injuries.

So, why do accidents happen? Accidents can occur due to a wide range of factors, including:

  • Distracted Driving: In an age of smartphones and constant connectivity, distracted driving has become a leading cause of accidents. Activities like texting, talking on the phone, or using in-car entertainment systems divert drivers' attention from the road.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a driver's reaction time and increases the severity of accidents. In 2019, speeding was a contributing factor in over 9,500 fatalities.
  • Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication significantly impairs a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and fog, can reduce visibility and road traction, leading to accidents.
  • Reckless Driving: Aggressive behaviors like tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, and road rage can escalate into accidents.

Who Is At Fault For An Auto Collision?

Determining fault is a critical aspect of dealing with auto collisions. It not only influences insurance claims but also plays a role in potential legal actions. Fault is often assessed based on the concept of negligence, which involves the failure to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle. Negligence can encompass various behaviors, such as:

  • Failure to Yield: Accidents often occur when drivers fail to yield the right of way at intersections or during lane changes.
  • Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Ignoring traffic signals is a common form of negligence that can lead to dangerous T-bone collisions.
  • Following Too Closely: Tailgating increases the risk of rear-end collisions, which can result in significant injuries and vehicle damage.

Determining fault in auto collisions is a multifaceted process that requires a thorough understanding of negligence and an examination of the circumstances . Your personal injury attorney plays a crucial role in this process. 

By carefully assessing the events leading to the collision, your car accident lawyer can build a strong case on your behalf. Get help covering medical costs, repair bills, and missed wages by finding the right personal injury attorney for your case. 

Understanding Your State’s Auto Collision Laws

The way blame is assigned in auto collisions can vary significantly from state to state, particularly in Birmingham and the greater South. Some states adhere to a no-fault insurance system, which means that regardless of who is at fault, each driver's insurance covers their medical expenses and vehicle damage. 

In contrast, others follow a fault-based system, where the at-fault party's insurance is responsible for the costs. Understanding your state's approach to fault can have a profound impact on how you navigate the aftermath of a collision.

The Limitations Of Police Reports in Car Wrecks

When involved in an auto collision, one of the first steps is typically contacting the police. While a police report is invaluable for documenting the incident, it's essential to recognize its limitations. 

Police reports provide a snapshot of the accident scene, including details like location, date, time, and involved parties. However, they may not always capture the full story. Given these limitations, it's crucial to gather your own evidence and consult with an attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

As soon as it’s safe to do so, remember to take pictures of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, the roadway, and the weather conditions. Jot down any important details on your phone so that you’ll be able to remember the events better later on. 

Finally, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case before signing paperwork, assuming blame, or taking any other next steps. 

The Role Of Physicians in Auto Collisions

In the aftermath of an auto collision, medical care is paramount. Even seemingly minor accidents can result in hidden injuries or delayed symptoms. 

Seeking prompt medical attention is not only essential for your well-being but also plays a pivotal role in insurance claims and potential legal actions. A trusted physician can make all the difference in the world by:

  • Documenting Injuries: A medical professional can thoroughly assess your injuries, providing crucial evidence for insurance claims and legal cases.
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation: Physicians can recommend and oversee treatment and rehabilitation plans, ensuring you receive the care needed to recover fully.
  • Expert Testimony: In cases where legal action is pursued, a physician can serve as an expert witness, providing testimony about the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life.

Call The Attorneys At Low Cost Lawyer After An Auto Collision

The attorneys at Low Cost Lawyer have over 30 Years of legal experience serving clients in Birmingham, AL and throughout the US. At Low Cost Lawyer, we leverage modern technology to save money in-office. With these savings, we’re able to seek justice on your behalf for an industry-low 30% fee—10% or more less than typical personal injury law firms. 

Get the help you need with paying medical bills, replacing or repairing your vehicle, and making up for lost wages while you recover. If you have been in an auto collision, then contact us today for legal assistance. 

Put 30 Years of Auto Collision Experience On Your Side in Birmingham!

Robert L. Gorham has over 30 years of experience practicing personal injury law throughout the Southeast. As an expert in truck accidents, motorcycle wrecks, car wrecks, and traffic fatalities, “Bobby” (as his friends call him) knows what it takes to make the most compelling case on your behalf. Get the justice you deserve at a price you can afford & recover better! Contact Low Cost Lawyer today!

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