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Alabama Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Feb 29, 2024 - Personal Injury by

The unexpected happens, well, unexpectedly!  Car accidents, construction accidents, truck accidents, swimming pool injuries, and many other types of accidents and injuries occur frequently in people’s lives.  When the unexpected happens, contact a Tuscaloosa personal injury attorney at Cross & Smith, LLC to learn more about the options available to you. The following frequently asked question will give you a bit of background into the legal world of personal injury law. 

Personal Injury Law Basics: Our Tuscaloosa Personal Injury Attorney Has the Answers You Need

What is personal injury law? 

Personal injury law is part of tort law. A tort is a wrongful act other than a breach of contract that injures another, and for which the law imposes civil liability. Torts can be negligent or intentional.

What is the difference between intentional harm and negligence? 

When a person does something intentionally, they mean to cause harm. A driver who rammed your car on purpose acted intentionally. On the other hand, a person who is negligent probably didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but they have failed to act in the way that a reasonable person would. For example, reasonable drivers follow the speed limit and stop at each red light. A driver who speeds or runs red lights could be considered negligent. 

How do I know if I have a personal injury case? 

The only way to know if you have a personal injury case is to meet with a Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyer. To win an Alabama personal injury case, you have to prove two things: 

  • That the other party was negligent, and 
  • That the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries. While these questions might seem simple, they sometimes present tough legal questions. The result in each case depends on its unique facts. 

I want to handle my case myself. Do I really need to hire a Tuscaloosa personal injury attorney? 

Yes. Only a personal injury lawyer can fully understand the difficult legal issues that arise in a personal injury case. Moreover, lawyers have inside knowledge about how courts work, which judges are helpful, and the competence of the court staff. Finally, the insurance company will certainly have a lawyer, so you should have one too. 

What if I can’t afford a personal injury lawyer? 

 Most personal injury attorneys don’t require that you pay up front. Instead, they work on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee agreement, you agree to give the lawyer a percentage of your recovery if you win. So, if you recover $100,000 and your contingency fee agreement says that your attorney will be entitled to 35% for his or her services, you will receive $65,000. 

When should I contact a Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyer? 

If you are injured, do not wait to contact a personal injury lawyer. Under Alabama law, every case must be filed by a certain deadline, known as the statute of limitations. The general statute of limitations for Alabama personal injury cases is two years. But some cases – such as wrongful death cases – have other deadlines that are much earlier. Some of these deadlines can be as early as six months after your accident. So, don’t wait to contact a personal injury attorney.  

How does the personal injury claim process work?

Every personal injury case is different. Sometimes, the court is not involved. If the personal injury attorney is able to successfully negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, there is no need to proceed. If the parties can’t agree on a settlement, your lawyer will file a document called a complaint with the court. The complaint lists the reasons why the plaintiff – the injured person – believes that the defendant – the other party – caused the injury. The complaint will also include a demand for damages. After the complaint is filed, the attorneys will begin negotiating again. Often, each side will request information from the other. If they reach a settlement, the case ends. If they can’t agree, the case will proceed to trial. 

At trial, there will be a judge and jury. The judge decides the legal questions. The jury decides questions of fact such as whether a traffic light was red or green. The judge will instruct the jury on the law and the jury will deliberate. The jury will then return and the judge will read its verdict. 

How long does a personal injury case take?

Each case is unique. Some cases may be decided quickly. Others may last for months or years. Your personal injury attorney will be able to give you a better idea of how long it will take to resolve your case.  

How much money is my personal injury case worth? 

Every personal injury case is unique. Without knowing the exact facts of your case, no one can provide you with an accurate estimate. The best way to get a sense of the worth of your case is to ask a personal injury attorney.  

What kinds of damages can I get in a personal injury case?

There are various types of damages available in an Alabama personal injury case.  First, there are compensatory damages that cover economic damages like lost wages, past medical bills, and future medical bills. There are also non-economic damages that provide compensation for pain and suffering. Finally, punitive damages punish the defendant in hopes that they, or others, will not repeat that behavior.

Can my lawyer force me to settle my personal injury case? 

No. Lawyers must follow strict ethical rules. One of those rules says that the client, not the lawyer, gets to make important decisions. The decision to accept a settlement is one of those decisions. So, your lawyer can try to persuade you to accept the settlement, but they cannot force you to do so or accept the settlement without your consent.

Contact Our Tuscaloosa Personal Injury Attorney If You Have Questions  

We hope that these answers to commonly asked questions regarding Alabama personal injury cases help you. If you have more questions, Cross and Smith’s legal team can help you. We will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation including a detailed case evaluation, contact us at  877-791-0618. We look forward to hearing from you!

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