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What you need to know about car accidents, fault, and filing claims

| Feb 3, 2021 | Auto Accident Injuries |

Car accidents may be common, but the aftermath can be stressful, time-consuming, and frustrating. Once an accident occurs, an injured person’s priorities are often about addressing immediate injuries, the safety of all those impacted and collecting the other party’s insurance. Once the trauma of the event is over, those impacted can address the next steps, including filing lawsuits against other parties and collecting insurance. In Alabama, parts of the process are unique compared to most states.

Statute of limitations

Those who wish to file a lawsuit against another driver can’t wait too long. There are laws called “statutes of limitations” that limit the amount of time between the injury and time to file a claim. In Alabama, the time limit is two years. Missing the deadline by just a day could prevent a plaintiff from moving forward with a case at all.

Standards for drivers

Alabama takes a more rigid stance on collecting money damages from other parties. “Contributory negligence” is a concept in the law that means that the other driver must be completely at fault for a plaintiff to successfully collect damages. In other words, those who suffer injuries requiring short or long term medical care but were minimally at fault cannot recover from the driver who hit them.

Standards for passengers

Passengers of cars in accidents can look to “guest statutes” to determine whether they could collect money damages to pay for their injuries. In Alabama, passengers can successfully sue their own drivers if the driver was acting willfully, recklessly or unsafely. This is a higher standard than many other states because simple negligent and accidental behavior wouldn’t allow a passenger to recover for injuries.

Although these higher standards can be discouraging, those who wish to file claims can learn about options available to them. Sometimes accidents happen, and a strong legal team can assist in providing the best opportunities possible for injured drivers and passengers to recover for injuries.