Serious Auto Accidents
When a loved one is in an automobile accident that results in a serious injury or even death, it is not uncommon for a family to hire a law firm to represent their interests. Medical bills, lost wages, the inability to pay for basic things in life because of a loss of income, pain, rehabilitation, loss of life or loss of the enjoyment of life – these are all things that no one is truly able to understand until they have to go through it. If a serious injury or death is caused by the bad driving or bad decisions of another driver, that person needs to be held accountable for the harm they caused.
Unfortunately, most people driving the roads are not adequately insured to cover a serious injury or death claim. In Alabama, the minimum insurance limits that are required by law for a driver is $25,000. If a person with minimum limits seriously injures or kills your loved one, $25,000 is all that is available from the opposing driver’s insurance, which is a drop in the bucket for a serious injury or loss of a loved one. Many people carry their own underinsured motorist coverage that can also pay, but it is extremely rare for these policies to provide adequate coverage for a serious injury or loss of life.
While most people assume the insurance of the opposing driver and your own insurance is the only possible source of recovery, there are always others avenues that need to be explored by a lawyer in a serious injury or fatal car accident. One of the main areas our firm researches when helping a family with a serious injury or loss of life is defects in the vehicles themselves. An issue with steering or a defective tire that blew out may have cause the other car to lose control. There may have been a defective part on one of the cars that could have prevented the accident from happening in the first place.
Many accidents these days are be survived because of safety features that are available on newer cars. The ability for a car to protect its occupants in a crash is called “crashworthiness,” and this should be looked at by a lawyer in any serious accident. Our firm regularly looks at whether all available safety features were in the vehicle at the time of the accident and whether they worked like they should have. This includes everything from airbags to the structural frame of the car, all of which are supposed to be designed to help prevent serious injury in accidents. It is not uncommon for us to bring a lawsuit against an opposing driver alongside a claim against a car company for failing to keep safe the occupants of the vehicle they manufactured.
There are other factors that we look at that lawyers should research when evaluating serious car wrecks – Were there road conditions that contributed to the accident? Was there something about someone else’s conduct that contributed to the accident – did a bar over-serve a drunk customer who later drove, did a company force its driver to drive over the allowed amount of hours, did another car cause the accident and leave the scene, was someone or something blocking the view of traffic? These, and many other considerations should all be investigated when evaluating a serious injury or fatal collision.