How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement in Alabama
Unfortunately, car accidents are relatively common on the roads of Alabama. In 2017, a traffic accident occurred every 200 seconds in the state. Drivers in Alabama have more than a one-in-three chance of being in an accident involving at least one injury or death in their lifetimes. If you get into a serious or fatal car accident, you could be eligible for a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Finding out the potential value of your car accident settlement could help you move forward with a plan for your future.
Types of Damages Available
If you settle through a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you will receive benefits according to the types and limits on the driver’s policy. You will generally receive a check for damages such as vehicle repairs and medical bills through an insurance claim. If you take the at-fault party to court, on the other hand, you could receive a compensatory award that covers all your economic and noneconomic damages related to the car accident, not just the types of losses listed in the insurance policy.
- Lost wages
- Lost capacity to earn
- Past and future disability costs
- Pain and suffering
- Legal fees
- Travel expenses
- Punitive damages
- Loss of consortium
A serious car accident case could result in a jury verdict to cover all these damages and more. The total amount you receive for your car accident damages could reach a six- or seven-figure award depending on how catastrophic your losses are. If you suffered a life-changing injury or lost a loved one, for example, the compensation the defendant owes you could be substantial. A lawyer could help you take a party to court in pursuit of fair compensation if a settlement does not succeed in Alabama.
The Contributory Negligence Rule
Alabama is one of the rare states in the U.S. that uses a contributory negligence rule rather than more lenient comparative negligence laws. Under the state’s contributory negligence rule, any amount of negligence on the plaintiff’s part will completely bar him or her from recovery. If you were even partially responsible for causing a car accident, you could lose all right to a settlement or financial compensation, even if the other party was mostly at fault for the crash. You may need to hire a Birmingham personal injury lawyer to help you defend yourself if the defendant tries to claim contributory negligence to get out of paying for your damages.
How to Calculate the Value of Your Car Accident Case
The first step in evaluating what your case could be worth is calculating all your tangible, economic losses. These can include medical bills, vehicle repairs and lost wages. Add up all out-of-pocket expenses the car accident cost you. This will be the total amount of economic damages the insurance company could owe you. Use hospital bills, paystubs, receipts and repair estimates to calculate an accurate economic damage value.
Then, estimate the potential value of your noneconomic losses by multiplying your total economic damages by a number from one to five. Use a multiplier of one if you did not suffer very serious injuries or work your way up to five for catastrophic injuries or life-altering injuries. The multiplier method is one of a few different calculations a jury in Alabama could use to award pain and suffering damages in a car accident case.
Keep in mind factors that could diminish the value of your car accident settlement, such as traffic tickets or partial fault. Work with an attorney for a fair and accurate evaluation of what your car accident case could be worth. A lawyer could help you understand whether or not your case might go to court, as well as the categories of damages the law could entitle you to receive. A lawyer can also review your case and estimate its fair value during a free consultation. Finally, hiring a Birmingham car accident lawyer could lead to a greater settlement or verdict award due to a lawyer’s advanced negotiation skills.