Even most people who are risk-averse own and drive vehicles. Our culture mandates that getting from one location to the next often requires transportation in a motor vehicle, frequently at high speeds and during periods of major congestion and traffic. While driving may seem as natural as walking, the truth is that driving is highly dangerous. In fact, more Americans die from injuries, including injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, than from any other cause, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Car accidents happen so frequently that most people know at least one person who has been involved in a crash and may have even been involved in at least one crash themselves. And when a serious crash occurs, the injuries and damages suffered by those involved can be life changing.
At the Zach Peagler Law Firm, our attorney is committed to providing high-quality legal representation to those who are navigating the claims process and seeking compensation for their harm. If you’ve been seriously harmed or have questions about your rights and options following a crash, our legal team can help.
Your Rights After an Alabama Car Accident
If you have been in a crash in Alabama, you have certain rights. Because Alabama is a tort liability state, if you can prove that the other driver was to blame for your crash, you maintain the right to:
File a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance;
File a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver; or
File a claim against your own insurance coverage (i.e., your uninsured/underinsured coverage).
In order to recover the compensation award that you deserve, you’ll need to prove that your car accident would not have occurred but for the negligence of the party against whom you’re filing a claim.
Negligence in a Car Accident: Acts of Negligence and Shared Fault
There are a variety of different forms of negligence that may lead to a crash, some of which are actually a violation of code or statute (negligence per se), and others which are merely irresponsible. Acts of negligence that can lead to a serious crash include:
Drunk or impaired driving;
Failing to yield;
Aggressive driving/road rage; and
Performing illegal maneuvers.
In addition to drivers’ errors, the errors or negligence of others may cause a crash as well. For example, a vehicle manufacturer has a duty to manufacture a vehicle that’s free of defects – a brake or steering defect that causes a crash could result in the manufacturer being held liable.
Note that Alabama maintains strict laws regarding shared fault. While a driver or party who causes an accident will be held liable for the damages that result, if fault is shared between the plaintiff and the defendant, the plaintiff loses their ability to recover compensation. This is per the rule of contributory negligence, which holds that an injured party cannot recover if they are found to be at all responsible for the crash, even a mere one percent. With such a high bar to clear, it is absolutely critical that you have an experienced lawyer on your side, especially if your case is expected to end in litigation.
Distracted Driving Accidents in Birmingham
More than nine people are killed in the United States, and over 1,153 individuals sustain injuries daily due to crashes reportedly caused by distracted motorists. Various things, both outside and inside the vehicle, can be distracting to a driver. Such distractions can lead to serious road accidents. Distracted driving is hazardous and increases the chances of a vehicle crash, regardless of the cause of the distraction.
Texting or using a handheld cell phone: It is entirely disallowed for commercial truck drivers to engage in texting when driving. They may only use a hands-free phone, which is within easy reach.
Smoking: It is a serious hazard to light a cigarette, smoke, and put ash in the tray.
Eating and drinking: A motorist who is eating or drinking behind the wheel is 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a wreck.
Reading or using maps: As the attention of a motorist is drawn from the road when reading or using maps, it causes a hazardous driving distraction.
Adjusting an MP3 player, CD player, or radio: Taking the focus off the road even for a few seconds can cause deadly errors.
External distractions: People, objects, or events outside the vehicle can present dangerous distractions.
The Hazards of Distracted Driving
Any time a driver takes their focus off the road or other vehicles around them, they cause a threat to themselves and others on the road. Statistics on the issue serve to highlight just how wide-spread distracted driving is on our streets and roadways.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that more than nine people lose their lives, and another 1,060 are injured every day in the country due to accidents resulting from distracted driving. The three main types of distractions while driving include:
Manual, involving taking your hands off the steering wheel
Visual, involving taking your eyes off the road
Cognitive, involving taking your mind off of driving
All of the above types of distractions are hazardous and can cause a major auto accident.
Texting and Driving Laws and Limitations in Alabama
Under Alabama law, there are various provisions in place to prevent distracted driving. These include the following:
Primary law banning all mobile phone use (both hands-free and handheld) for bus drivers
Primary law banning all mobile phone use (both hands-free and handheld) for motorists below the age of 18
Primary law banning texting for motorists of all ages
A primary law allows the police officer to stop a vehicle. But under secondary laws, a law enforcement officer must have another cause to stop a vehicle before citing a driving for cell phone use. For drivers aged 19 and older, hands-free devices or Blue Tooth technology are allowed.
In Alabama, there are limitations to the use of electronic devices in vehicles. Teenage motorists below the age of 18 are prohibited from using any mobile electronic device when behind the wheel. If a teenage driver is apprehended for using an electronic device, they can face up to $350 in fines, court costs, suspension of their driver’s license, or additional driver’s training requirements.
Alabama laws on texting and driving for adults is more complex, and it only covers devices such as computers and smartphones, along with older devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). The law in Alabama does not cover hardwired screens such as in-dash “infotainment” devices.
Besides, the prohibitions on electronic distractions in Alabama are quite limited. Per Alabama law, adults cannot read, write, or send a text-based communication when behind the wheel. Moreover, it is unlawful to program an address into a GPS or device when operating a vehicle.
But the law does not address video games, streaming services, or chat apps. Summarily, while adult motorists cannot post on social media platforms or check their email when driving, it is technically permissible for them to engage in equally dangerous behaviors such as playing Candy Crush or binge-watching television. The state law allows motorists to dial phone numbers when operating a vehicle as well as view their GPS and onboard infotainment devices.
Alabama law does not provide for additional standards for commercial drivers, such as those who operate 18-wheelers, school buses, and delivery trucks. Many other states require commercial drivers to use their devices in a hands-free mode.
The distracted driving laws in the state are lax, and the associated penalties are minor. First-time adult offenders will be fined only $25, while repeat violators will face a fine of up to $75 per incident. For each offense, you will also receive two points on your license.
Distracted Driving is Considered Negligent Behavior
When driving on the road, we have a responsibility to each other to exercise reasonable caution. An individual who becomes distracted and takes their focus away from driving could put others in danger and fail to uphold that duty which is at the core of what it means to display negligent behavior.
In effect, this means that an officer can pull a motorist over and issue them a ticket for texting when behind the wheel. If a person is texting and causes an accident that injures you or a loved one, you could use evidence of the motorist’s violation to show negligence on their part.
How Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyer Will Serve You
If you’ve been in a crash, we can empathize with what you’re going through. We know that car accidents are stressful, and if a car accident results in serious losses–such as injuries and economic losses–the incident can feel tragic and hopeless. If this describes your situation, we want to assure you that our law firm is here to put your fears to rest and improve your chances of recovering the settlement that you deserve.
Here’s how we can serve you:
Explain your options. The first thing that our lawyer will do is to review your case free of charge. From there, our lawyer can explain to you the different options that you have, as well as which option is probably the best course of action for you to pursue.
Investigate your case. If we end up representing you, the next thing that our lawyer will do is investigate your case. This will include gathering all evidence related to your claim, and hiring any necessary experts, such as accident reconstruction experts. Once an investigation is complete, our attorney can make a determination about cause and liability.
Calculate your damages and issue a demand letter. The next step will be to consider all of the economic and non economic losses you have suffered and to calculate these damages. Our lawyer will then issue a demand letter to the relevant insurance company.
Negotiate your settlement. One of the most important jobs our lawyer has is to review any settlement offer you receive. If the offer does not fully compensate you for your losses, our lawyer can reject the settlement on your behalf and enter into negotiations to maximize your award.
Represent you during litigation. Finally, if the other party is not willing to be reasonable and a settlement cannot be reached, the next step may be filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. You can take comfort in the fact that Attorney Zach Peagler has extensive litigation experience and will be prepared to forcefully advocate for your rights and interests inside the courtroom.
Throughout the entire process, we are committed to providing you with high-quality services, answering your questions honestly and accurately, and making your case a high priority.
Car Accidents Are Life-Changing – Zach Peagler Is Here to Help
A car accident may change your life in the blink of an eye. While you may feel angry, confused, and forlorn, and while there is nothing that can be done to undo what has happened to you and the injustice that you’ve suffered, you can take action to improve your future. By bringing forth a car accident claim, you can hold the responsible party liable and recover full and fair compensation for your losses.
To schedule your free consultation with the Zach Peagler Law Firm, please visit our office in person, send our law firm a message directly, or call us at (205) 871-9990.
The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.