Huntsville Car Accident Attorneys, Alabama
Fighting hard for justice for those injured in car accidents throughout the state
Car accidents happen to other people. This is the mistaken assumption that most drivers operate under until they find themselves involved in a traffic crash. At Martin & Helms, we put our more than 45 years of combined legal experience to work on your behalf. We fight for the compensation you deserve because we are not afraid to take on the huge insurance companies. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. You will not pay attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Alabama traffic safety trends
In the recent past, the United States has experienced three straight years of at least 40,000 traffic fatalities, and about 4.5 million people were seriously injured in traffic accidents last year alone.
The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that about 156,993 traffic crashes occurred in a recent year. The following are the types of crashes by vehicle type:
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Drive Safe Alabama, a campaign of the Alabama Department of Transportation has the goal Toward Zero Deaths over a 25-year period in the state. The following are Alabama Crash Facts, and data from the AL Strategic Highway Safety Plan:
- In Alabama, a traffic crash was reported every 200 seconds in 2017.
- A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver.
- In 2017, a person was injured in a traffic crash every 11 minutes.
- In their lifetime, typical drivers in Alabama have a greater than one-in-three chance of being in a crash involving injury or death.
- For fatal crashes where restraints (seat belts) were available for use, almost 60% of fatalities were unrestrained.
Types of car accidents
There very well may be hundreds of ways cars can crash into one another on a highway, in an intersection, or on a busy secondary road. Here are a few examples of common types of car accidents:
Rear end car accidents. Rear end crashes are the most common type of car accident. They are often caused when a driver is following too closely behind the vehicle in front, and then the front vehicle slows down or stops unexpectedly. Because it is following so closely, the rear vehicle does not have enough time to avoid a crash.
Head-on collision. Head-on crashes where two vehicles collide front end to front end are relatively rare, but often deadly. Head-on crashes are often a result of impaired or distracted driving.
Side-swipe car crashes. A side-swipe crash occurs when two vehicles traveling in the same direction collide side by side.
Broadside or T-bone crash. A broadside crash often occurs at an intersection, where the front end of the striking vehicle collides with the side panels of the other vehicle. Occupants in the vehicle that has been hit can sustain serious injuries as the side panels of some vehicles do not have crumple zones or offer enough protection from side impact crashes.
Rollover. Vehicles that sit higher on the road such as Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are more prone to rollover when the driver steers too steeply or takes a sharp curve too fast.
Single vehicle crash. A single vehicle crash might involve a driver crashing into a tree, a pole, or some other fixed object. These types of crashes might occur after the driver has a medical emergency, or if the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Multi-vehicle pileup. Also called a chain-reaction crash, multiple-vehicle pileups often occur in bad weather such as a sudden snow squall, heavy fog, a sandstorm, or an ice storm.
Hit and run accidents. Alabama law requires drivers who are involved in a traffic accident to remove their vehicle from the roadway when it is possible, give their contact information to the other drivers involved in the crash, and to render aid to anyone who is injured. There are criminal penalties for hit and run drivers when they are caught, but if they are never caught, the person who was injured in an accident caused by a hit and run driver may need the assistance of a Huntsville car accident lawyer in pursuing a claim against his or her own insurance policy.
Rideshare accidents. If you are injured in a collision while traveling in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, or hit by a rideshare vehicle, you could be entitled to compensation. Bot Uber and Lyft provide up to $1 million in coverage for their drivers. Contact us to learn more about who is liable, and what you could be entitled to recover.
Bike and pedestrian accidents. Cyclists and pedestrians must obey the rules of the road, but all to often, drivers tend to ignore people on bikes and on foot. Being struck by a car can leave you with life-altering injuries, so seeking legal counsel is critical
Common causes of car accidents
Drivers who get behind the wheel of a car have one job to do: pay attention and drive safely. Unfortunately, many drivers do not uphold their end of the duty of care that they owe other drivers to drive safely and courteously and obey the rules of the road. The NHTSA maintains that most car accidents are caused by driver error. Here we have a list of the factors that can lead to car accidents:
The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that speeding was the cause of 8,455 traffic crashes of which 138 were fatal in 2017. Speeding, whether exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions can have deadly consequences.
Anything that distracts the driver from the task of driving such as talking or typing on a cell phone, eating, grooming, reaching for something inside the vehicle, or looking at something outside the vehicle increases the chances that the driver could cause an accident. ALDOT reports that there were 40 certified fatalities associated with distracted driving in 2017. However, fatalities related to distracted driving are widely believed to be underreported.
There were 5,471 drivers suspected of alcohol or drug impairment who were involved in traffic accidents in Alabama in 2017. There were 198 people who died in 90 crashes with suspected alcohol or drug impairment. For impaired traffic crashes, the proportion of fatalities involving impairment (3.13%) is 6.9 times of that in crashes in general (0.45%)
The ALDOT reports that there were 3,154 work zone traffic crashes in 2017. Of those crashes, 640 had injuries 25 of which were fatal. Most work zone accidents, said ALDOT, are rear-end collisions resulting from speeding or inattentive driving.
Teen drivers/novice drivers
Teen drivers and inexperienced drivers can be a hazard on the roads because they are often unaware of how unskilled they are and how easily their carelessness behind the wheel can lead to a car accident.
Driving at night
At night visibility is limited to about 500 feet with high-beams and about 250-feet with normal headlights, which shortens reaction time. Depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, while the glare of oncoming headlights can temporarily blind a driver according to the National Safety Council.
Exploding airbags, sticky accelerator pedals, blown-out tires, defective steering systems, and other mechanical defects can cause a crash or make a crash worse than it would have been. A Huntsville defective products lawyer from Martin & Helms can hold the product manufacturer accountable for your injuries.
Poor weather conditions
Heavy fog, snow, wind, ice storms, heavy rain, and even dust or sandstorms are a few of the adverse weather conditions that Mother Nature can dole out that put drivers in danger. If you can avoid driving during extreme weather events, it is safer to stay indoors and let it pass before you venture out. Sometimes, a storm can blow in unexpectedly and catch you by surprise. Drive slowly and carefully until you can find a safe place to pull off the road and wait out the dangerous weather.
Steep curves, deep potholes, insufficient asphalt, crumbling concrete, these are just a few of the things that can cause you to get into a car accident that have nothing to do with another car on the road.
Animals crossing the roadway
There is nothing you can do to prevent a deer or any other four-legged creature from jumping out of the shadows and into the path of your car. Try to maintain your composure and keep your vehicle in your lane even as you try to process the shock and surprise about what you just saw.
Examples of common car accident injuries
When two motor vehicles collide whether on a country road, like Old Route 431, or at highway speed traveling down I-65, the result can range from minor property damage and minor injuries, to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Here are a few examples of the different types of injuries that can occur from car accidents:
Head and neck injuries. Head injuries from the trauma of a car accident can cause hematomas, which is bleeding on the brain, skull fractures, and other serious injury to the head. Injuries to the neck might include herniated discs, pinched nerves, and damage to the spinal cord among other serious injuries.
Back injuries. The seat belt is supposed to restrain the body against the seat in a crash, but sometimes, seat belts fail, or people fail to fasten the seat belt, or it only partially restrains the body and allows the torso, neck, and head to be tossed around causing injuries to the back which can include spinal fractures, herniated discs, whiplash, and other soft tissue injuries.
Spinal cord injuries. The forceful impact of a car accident can cause spinal cord injury, which is described as complete, when there is a loss of sensory function and movement below the spot where the injury occurred, and incomplete when there is still some sensory function and movement below the area of impact.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI). When the vehicle comes to a hard stop in a collision, the body keeps moving until it is restrained by the seat belt, or it collided with a fixed object. The force of the crash can cause serious injury to the structures of the brain which can have lasting negative consequences in the life of the injured person.
Bone fractures. While bone fractures most often occur in unrestrained vehicle occupants, they can also occur in other situations such as a high-speed crash, or a back-seat passenger in a broadside collision. Clavicle and rib fractures, hip, pelvis and leg fractures, broken arms, wrists, ankles and feet, and crush injures can also occur in car crashes.
Soft tissue injuries. Even in a slow-moving crash, the body can sustain soft tissue injuries such as whiplash. Just because a bone is not broken does not mean that the injury is minimal. Soft tissue injuries can cause severe pain and limited range of motion and the effects of the injury can sometimes linger for a while afterwards.
Internal organ injuries. Some of the different types of internal injuries that occur in car crashes include punctured lung from a broken rib, collapsed lung, ruptured liver or spleen, kidney injury, and internal bleeding.
Traumatic amputation/limb loss. While they are not common car accident injuries, limb loss does occur. It permanently disfigures a person and has a lasting impact on the rest of his or her life. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental limb loss in the U.S.
Burn injuries. If a car catches fire after an accident, the vehicle's occupants can suffer serious burns externally and suffer from smoke inhalation and other respiratory problems. Burn injuries are also more prone to infection.
Cuts and lacerations. Deep gashes and puncture wounds are common in car accidents from all the broken glass and twisted shards of metal in the vehicle's wreckage.
Death. Every year tens of thousands of Americans die in traffic accidents many of which could have been prevented. At Martin & Helms, our compassionate Huntsville wrongful death attorneys are here to pursue justice for your losses.
What compensation is available for car accident injuries?
If you are successful in proving liability and you reach a settlement or jury verdict, there are several types of compensation available including:
- Medical costs related to the accident injury
- Lost wages and benefits
- Disability for permanent injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
- Other losses
We understand that in the immediate days and weeks following a car accident, you will have bills to pay and expenses to handle. This is where your insurance policies can be the most helpful. Contact us if your healthcare provider or car insurance company is attempting to deny your coverage, or if there is a dispute regarding MedPay or UM/UIM coverage.
How much does it cost to hire an Alabama Huntsville car accident lawyer?
Unlike other types of lawyers, personal injury lawyers usually take cases on contingency. This means that instead of collecting a significant retainer at the outset of a case, we advance the costs of pursuing your case. This means that you get the chance to enjoy the benefits of having an experienced team of personal injury lawyers without being required to pay for their services up front. Our attorney fees get paid as a percentage of the settlement or jury verdict, so if we are unable to recover compensation for you, you are not required to pay attorney fees.
Now that you know cost is not going to prohibit you from working with a skilled personal injury team, you can contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
Schedule a free consultation with a tough Huntsville car accident lawyer team with the personal touch
After a car accident injury, you may have questions about how you might recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. At Martin & Helms, our experienced Huntsville car accident lawyers are here to fight for justice for you. You may call us at 256-539-1990 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We also serve injured clients in Decatur, Athens and Madison, and throughout the state.