Birmingham Car Accident Attorneys
Helping car crash victims throughout Alabama
Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama, and our rich history has always lent itself to a steady stream of tourists. It’s no wonder that, on any given day, you’ll be surrounded by people driving to and from the city. All of those cars, however, increase your risk of getting into a wreck. When you do, you deserve a Birmingham car accident attorney from Mezrano Law Firm, who will treat you right and treat your case with the respect is deserves. Give us a call to find out how we can help.
Fast facts about Alabama car crashes
In 2016, there was a car crash every 3 minutes and 22 seconds, according to Drive Safe Alabama. Per their research, “typical drivers in Alabama have greater than a one in three chance of involvement in an injury or fatal crash operating a vehicle over their lifetimes.”
Birmingham had 18,329 car accidents – 4,250 which led to injuries, 44 which were fatal – in 2016. There were more car crashes in Birmingham than in any other city in Alabama. In fact, the only city that came close was Mobile, and Birmingham had 7,000 more accidents that year than Mobile did. We had the greatest number of injuries, and the most fatalities, too.
The moral of this story is, driving in Birmingham can be dangerous.
Did You Know?
“The probability of individuals being in a crash of any severity during their lifetimes is greater than 98%.” – Drive Safe Alabama
Leading causes of car accidents
No matter where you are – on I-65 in Hoover, on Us 11 in Bessemer, even taking in the view from the Easley Bridge in Oneonta – the biggest risk you face is another driver. This is because driver error is the leading cause of collisions. Driving in Alabama isn’t just about being safe on the road; it’s about keeping an eye on everyone else, too.
The leading causes of car accidents in Birmingham are:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving (like tailgating, or cutting in and out of lanes)
You also have to be aware of “distracted walking” by tourists or negligent pedestrians, as well drivers who were unprepared for things like road work, or construction zones.
One of the most common causes of car accident injuries in Alabama is one that, thankfully, we can fix on our own: we just need to buckle up. Almost 60% of all fatal car accidents in Alabama involve an unrestrained driver or passenger, according to Drive Safe Alabama; “in contrast, 97.8 percent of people involved in crashes but not harmed were reported to have been wearing their seat belts.”
What they say is true: seat belts save lives – especially for our children.
Other causes of car accident injuries may be out of our control. They include things like:
- Unsafe, damaged, or defective roadways
- Drivers running through red lights
- Other drivers going the wrong way on entrance/exit ramps, or on one-way streets
- Lack of visibility
- Animals running across the road
- Head-on collisions with other cars or stationary objects
- Defective auto parts, including gear shifters, seat backs, and brakes
Minor collisions can cause major injuries
Getting into a car accident doesn’t necessarily lead to injury. If we use the 2016 numbers as our model, about a quarter of all crashes will lead to someone sustaining an injury. That’s good news.
The bad news is, even a “minor” injury can develop into something more serious, and you can be critically injured in a crash where there is a limited amount of property damage.
Why does this matter? Because in Alabama, if you have less than $2,500 worth of property damage after a crash, the state believes you cannot infer a serious medical issue. At Mezrano Law Firm, we know that this is 100% untrue. People can and do develop serious medical issues in “minor” collisions.
The most common of these issues is called a MIST injury: Minor Impact Soft Tissue.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is the most well-known MIST injury, and it is a much bigger deal than people credit it with being. Whiplash can lead to vertigo, dizziness, headaches, and chronic pain.
- Strains and sprains. Any time you damage a tendon, ligament, joint, or muscle, there is a risk that it will need corrective surgery to fix. In some cases, people require cortisone shots for the rest of their lives, and even that doesn’t fully ease the pain.
- Bruising and contusions. Bruises look bad, but they usually fade. However, in some rare cases, the bruising can permeate the muscle. This is incredibly painful, and can have long-term repercussions.
- Dislocation or broken bones. Seat belts save lives, but when they lock up, the impact can dislocate your shoulder, or crack your collarbone. Most of the time, these will heal with only minimal discomfort, but the medical bills can still be high, and you may be unable to work.
Do I need a Birmingham car accident attorney?
If you get into a wreck, you might be tempted to simply accept whatever the insurance company offers you, and go on your way. We strongly caution against this. Remember that your insurance company’s only goal is to make money. As such, they will offer you the least amount of compensation they can. Most insurance companies in Alabama use a program called Colossus to calculate their offer, and that routinely leads to lowball offers.
If you have been injured in a car accident, your lawyer is your strongest advocate to get you the compensation you need. At Mezrano Law Firm, we won’t accept an unfair, unjust settlement from your insurance company just to close your case. We make it a point to prepare every case we take for a trial, because our willingness to go to court often leads to a better initial settlement offer for our clients. Because we’re used to the lowball offers Colossus puts out, we know how to build a case which proves the software’s calculations were unfair and incorrect.
Dealing with your insurance company is part of our job, but we do much more than that for our clients:
- We help you get a tow truck and a rental car, if you need one
- We make sure you get the medical care you need, and help you find the right neurologists, imaging centers, and chiropractors
- We work with your doctors to ensure that your medical records are up-to-date
- We team up with outside experts, like financial planners or counselors, to make sure you have a plan for moving forward
- We interview witnesses, take depositions, and work with accident reconstructionists to show how your collision was caused by someone else’s negligence
- We answer the phone – day or night – so that you never feel out of the loop, or unclear about how your case is progressing
At Mezrano Law Firm, you’re not just a client; you’re family. We protect you and your loved ones from the start.
How long do I have to make a claim?
Under the law, you have 2 years from the day you were injured, or could have reasonably known you were injured, to file a personal injury lawsuit. It is important that you seek legal representation quickly after a car accident, because time isn’t on your side.
Filing a claim against Jefferson County
Over the past few years, Mezrano Law Firm has successful represented multiple clients in claims against Jefferson County. Some of those claims involved car crashes with county vehicles, including police cars and garbage trucks. Some involved defective roadways – specifically, that the poor-quality asphalt used by Jefferson County to pave the roads made it more likely that drivers would slide or skid out, even when they were doing nothing wrong. Claims against municipalities have a six-month statute of limitations, and claims against the county have a one year statute of limitations, so if you were hurt on a dangerous road, or hit by a county vehicle, call us immediately so we can get started on your claim.
How much is my Birmingham car accident case worth?
Every case is different, so there is no way to tell just how much your car accident claim will be worth, based off the initial meeting. In many cases, the full extent of your injuries may not be known until a few weeks or even months have passed.
Generally speaking, however, you could be entitled to three different types of damages:
- Economic damages, like your medical bills, property damage, and loss of income
- Non-economic damages, for your pain and suffering, your loss of companionship, or other less-objective losses
- Punitive damages, which are awarded to teach the negligent party a lesson
Your economic damages are straightforward, in that there are usually set amounts to be tallied up and awarded. Your non- economic damages are more subjective, so we make sure to put our negotiation skills to work on your behalf. Punitive damages are rarely awarded, but even when they are, they are capped at 3x the amount of your damages or at $500,000, whichever is less.
How contributory negligence can affect your claim
Alabama has a rather draconian process for car accident claims, called contributory negligence. What this means is, if you are found to be even 1% at-fault for your accident, you could be barred from recovering any damages at all. Whatever you do after a crash, do NOT admit any fault or role in the accident. Instead, call us and schedule a free consultation, and we can help you determine a path forward.
What happens if the negligent driver is uninsured/underinsured?
The state only requires $25,000 in liability coverage. For a collision with minor property damage and no injuries, that is probably enough coverage. For an accident where you sustain a TBI, or break a bone, or end up with injuries that require an inpatient hospital stay, it will not even begin to scratch the surface of what you need.
If you were hit by an uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist, or were the victim of a hit-and-run crash, you can use your own UM/UIM coverage to make up for it. Unless you waived your right to this coverage, you should have a UM/UIM policy that exactly mimics your own policy limits. This extra money can help you in the event of a crash.
Hit by another driver in Birmingham? Give us a call
At Mezrano Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting car accident victims and their families. Our Birmingham injury attorneys will fight for your future. To learn more about what we do, who we serve, and how we can help, please call 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form.
If you have a case, you have a lawyer. Call us today to learn more.