Although we all want to believe that our car or motorcycle will deliver us safely as we travel for work or pleasure, the unfortunate reality is that vehicle accidents are an all too common occurrence in this country, leading to countless personal injury claims each year. While insurance companies are experienced in handling these claims and are ready to fight to protect their interests, most personal injury victims have never experienced a courtroom. This is why the personal injury lawyers at The Martin Law Firm, LLC are here to help. As one of the premier personal injury law firms in the Southeast, at The Martin Law Firm, LLC we have the experience necessary to help victims in Alabama and Florida successfully pursue their personal injury claims.
Accidents On The Road
Personal injury claims during travel can take many forms, and may be the result of automobile, motorcycle, or truck accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident. In 2010, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 235,000 traffic accidents, including almost 2,500 fatalities. Similarly, in Alabama a car accident is reported every 255 seconds, and 894 auto accident fatalities were recorded in 2011. In total, these accidents cost each state over a billion dollars in lost wages and medical expenses each year.
Liability for Traffic Accidents
Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents can occur for many reasons. A driver may be tired or distracted by a phone call or text, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In any of these situations, both Florida and Alabama law hold that a driver can be held responsible for injuries he or she has caused when acting in a way that is either (1) intentional or reckless or (2) negligent. Every driver has a duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances” that he or she must exercise while on the road. When a driver fails to use reasonable care and this results in injury to another, the driver may be held negligent. This is the basis for most personal injury lawsuits related to traffic accidents.
In Alabama, drivers are required to follow the state Rules of the Road. These include obeying traffic signals, respecting right of way, and maintaining reasonable speed. Where a driver fails to follow these rules, he is presumed to have acted without reasonable care and may be negligent. Similarly, in Florida, negligence is presumed when a driver fails to drive in a careful manner.
If you are the victim of an accident in Florida it is also important to know that Florida is a No-Fault accident state. This means that after an accident, a personal injury claim will be paid for by a driver’s own personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance, in order to avoid extensive litigation over fault and insurance in a court room. As a result of this law, all Florida drivers are required to maintain PIP insurance. Only in particularly severe circumstances where injuries are considered to be permanent may a driver seek compensation from another driver in an accident.
What You Can Do
Experiencing a car or motorcycle accident can be very traumatic and disorienting, and it is often difficult to focus on how to best protect your legal rights in such a situation. However, there are several important steps that you can take after an accident to help protect yourself.
- Find a safe place to pull over
Your most important concern must be to avoid further injury after an accident. You should immediately seek out a safe place to move your car, if possible, or at least move yourself out of traffic. This will allow you to safely evaluate what happened.
- Call the Police
The law requires that you contact the police after an accident regardless of whether anyone was seriously injured. Calling the police will allow them to create a report of the accident.
- Obtain the necessary information from the other driver and from the scene
After an accident you should exchange necessary information with the other driver, including obtaining contact and insurance information. You should also attempt to document the accident as best you can through pictures, drawings, or written notes. You should not discuss who was at fault in the accident with the other driver – wait until you have the chance to contact an attorney.
- Contact your insurance company and an attorney
After the accident, you should contact your insurance company to notify them of what happened. You should also immediately contact a qualified automobile accident attorney who can look over your documentation and advise you what to do.
Bringing A Personal Injury Claim
The personal injury attorneys at The Martin Law Firm, LLC are here to assist you with your personal injury claims in Florida and Alabama. If you have been the victim of an automobile or motorcycle accident, or have questions about who may be responsible for your medical expenses as a result of an injury, contact The Martin Law Firm, LLC at 1(866) 514-1957 or online.