Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys in Chatom
While no one plans to be involved in a serious accident that leaves them with severe short- or long-term injuries, the truth is that anyone can be a victim of a personal injury. At Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell P.A., our personal injury lawyers know that an injury may take you completely by surprise, leave you with severe losses, and result in feelings of hopelessness and questions about the future.
While nothing can ever truly right the wrong that you have suffered and restore you to the same condition and life that you maintained prior to your injuries, filing a personal injury claim may yield monetary compensation that helps you to move forward. To learn more about personal injury claims in Alabama and how our law firm can assist you, please reach out to us today for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation.
Our Personal Injury Practice Areas
A personal injury claim exists when one party’s negligence or other wrongdoing leads to another’s harm. Common types of personal injury claims include:
- Car accidents;
- Truck and commercial vehicle accidents;
- Products liability claims;
- Premises liability claims;
- Wrongful death cases;
- Slip and fall claims;
- Boating accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Serious Injuries;
- Dog bites
- Maritime Injuries, and more.
If you or a loved one has been harmed and you’re wondering whether you have a personal injury claim, please do not hesitate to call our law firm directly for the information you need.
The Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim will generally be successful, which means that the defendant will be found liable for a plaintiff’s damages, when four elements are satisfied. It is the role of our law firm to gather evidence and build a compelling case that ensures that each of the following elements is proved:
- Duty of care. The very first element that must be established in the case is the existence of a duty of care. Duty of care refers to the duty that the defendant owed the plaintiff. Duty of care differs in different case types. For example, in a premises liability case, a property owner has a duty to maintain his or her property in a reasonably safe condition; in a motor vehicle case, a motorist has a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a way that a person of ordinary prudence would.
- Breach of duty of care. The second element that must be established is that the defendant breached the duty of care. In many ways, this is the crux of the personal injury claims process. If you cannot prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to you, you will not be able to hold them liable for damages. Again, what a “breach” looks like depends on the specifics of the case. In most personal injury claims, breaching the duty of care occurs when a defendant does something that is outside the realm of what a person of ordinary prudence would do in the same situation.
- Causation. Even if a plaintiff can establish duty of care and breach of duty of care, they will not be able to hold a defendant liable for their injuries unless they can also prove causation. Causation means that the accident and injuries suffered by the plaintiff would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions; that there is evidence that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of harm. This is one of the most important parts of a personal injury claim and one of the top reasons why working with a skilled attorney is so important.
- Damages. Finally, a plaintiff must prove that they’ve suffered actual damages as a result.
If successful in a personal injury claim, a plaintiff can recover damages, or monetary compensation, to pay for his or her losses. Types of damages recoverable in a personal injury claim in Alabama include but are not always limited to the following:
- Medical expenses. You deserve to be compensated for the full values of your medical expenses, including both past and future medical costs associated with the accident and your injuries.
- Lost wages. If the accident resulted in injuries that have left you unable to work and earn an income, then you should be compensated for the full value of your lost wages, as well as future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and loss of benefits that you would have accrued had you been able to continue working.
- Property damage costs. If your personal property was damaged in the accident in which you were involved, then you should be compensated for the value of your lost property.
- Pain and suffering. In addition to compensation for the actual economic losses you’ve incurred, you should also be compensated for the noneconomic damages you’ve suffered, including the value of your pain, suffering, and emotional distress. An attorney can help you understand how these damages are calculated in an Alabama personal injury case.
- Punitive damages. Unlike the types of damages listed above, which are compensatory damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate victims for their losses and are instead intended to punish the defendant.
Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Case
Talking to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
One of the biggest mistakes you can make after an accident is to talk to the other party’s insurance company. They might seem nice, but they are definitely not on your side. They want to whittle away their client’s share of the blame so they can offer you as little money as possible, leaving their company with more profit. You need someone to represent you during negotiations.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer
If you’ve already spoken with the insurance company, maybe they’ve given you a settlement offer and warned you that it’s the best you’re going to get—even if you get an attorney. Don’t start sweating yet. They know what to say to make people consider their incredibly unreasonable offers. The first settlement offer tests your willingness to accept what they are saying as truth, so it’s generally not even worth considering.
Going Public with Your Accident
Social media can be your biggest enemy when you are in the middle of a personal injury case. The insurance company is looking for anything they can use against you, so keep your accident off of the internet until your claim is completely settled and done with.
When Is It Time to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When You Have Sustained Injuries
If you have suffered physical injuries in an accident, you should definitely discuss your claim with a personal injury attorney before settling. They may tell you that it’s not worth a lawsuit or that you are unlikely to get much from an insurance company, but if that’s the case, you haven’t lost any money on a consultation. The fact is, you simply don’t know how much your injury claim is worth until you speak to an attorney.
Before You Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t be surprised when their insurance company calls you faster than you’ve ever received a return call from your own agent. They know that they’re likely on the hook for your medical bills, and they want to get to you before you realize the value of your claim.
When Multiple Parties or Corporations Are Involved
Personal injury cases can be fairly straightforward, but they get complex quickly when there are multiple parties involved. When this happens, all involved insurance parties tend to fling blame at each other, with no one accepting accountability. This makes it exceptionally difficult for accident victims to get the compensation they deserve. Bringing in your own attorney makes it easier to figure out who is truly liable and who is responsible for compensating you for your losses.
Before You Sign Anything
If the other party’s insurance company gets ahold of you, they’ll urge you to sign a liability waiver in exchange for a settlement. Do not sign a thing until you have discussed it with your attorney. That waiver prevents you from ever seeking additional compensation for any injuries related to your claim. It doesn’t matter if your minor headache suddenly turns out to be a traumatic brain injury that requires years of occupational therapy—they won’t pay out any more than they already have.
How Our Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You
When you or a loved one has been severely injured and your future is on the line, you need an advocate on your side who can investigate and build your case, calculate your damages, and represent you during negotiations or personal injury litigation. Our personal injury attorneys are ready to fight for you. For a free consultation to learn more about the claims process, please call us at (251) 847-2237, visit our law office in person, or send us a message online telling us more about your case.
We also assist with: