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Who’s Liable? How Fault Is Established After a Car Accident in Alabama

By: Fred Moore | Jan 30, 2024

From fender benders to head-on collisions, thousands of auto accidents occur each day in the U.S. After a crash, it’s important to determine who is at fault so those who may be hurt can be compensated for their injuries. At Moore Law Firm, our vehicle accident lawyers in Mobile, Alabama, help clients understand car accident liability disputes and what’s involved in determining fault.

Car Accident Liability: How Does It Work in Alabama?

Car accident liability is applied differently according to the laws of individual states. Alabama is an at-fault state, which means the party responsible for causing damage in an accident is required to pay for that damage.

However, one element that complicates things in Alabama is the contributory negligence rule. Under Alabama law, if a driver contributed to the circumstances that caused an accident, they may not be able to receive compensation from the at-fault party at all. For example, if a vehicle turns in front of you from an intersecting street despite your right of way and you rear-end them, if you were traveling faster than the posted speed limit you may be denied compensation due to Alabama’s contributory negligence doctrine. Insurance companies will normally try to argue contributory negligence in cases which is why it is extremely important to reach out to an attorney on your case.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s always a good idea to have a car accident lawyer evaluate your case if you’ve been hurt in a crash that you believe was someone else’s fault. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, even if you do not proceed with a claim.

How to Determine Liability in a Car Accident

The process for establishing fault after a car or truck accident isn’t always straightforward. An auto accident attorney can thoroughly investigate your case to determine who may be liable for damages. Some valuable types of evidence that can prove car accident liability include:

Police Reports

A police report from the officers who respond to an accident offers valuable evidence that can help show how a crash happened. These reports usually include the officer’s assessment of the accident along with statements from witnesses and involved parties and may even include a preliminary determination of fault. Traffic law violations also can play a significant role in determining fault. For example, if a driver ran a red light and T-boned another car, they likely would be found liable for damages.

Evidence Gathered From the Scene

Pictures or videos taken at the accident scene can provide visual evidence of what happened. This may include damage to vehicles, skid marks, road conditions, and the overall layout of the accident scene. Statements from witnesses who saw the accident also provide valuable information that can help corroborate or challenge the involved parties’ versions of events.

If you’re involved in a crash, make sure to take photos, jot down or record everything you remember about what happened, and gather contact information from any witnesses if possible.

Electronic Recording Devices

In cases involving large commercial trucks or tractor-trailers, driver logs and the truck’s black box recorder can provide proof that an accident was caused by driver negligence. Many newer passenger vehicles also have onboard event data recorders that capture and store data before, during, and after a crash in which an airbag is deployed or a vehicle decelerates quickly.

Cell Phone Records

Cell phone records offer valuable insight into what drivers were doing at the time an accident occurred. This can be especially helpful when a crash is caused by distracted driving behaviors like texting or talking on the phone behind the wheel.

Accident Reconstruction

In more complex cases, your personal injury attorney may hire accident reconstruction experts to analyze the evidence and recreate the sequence of events leading up to the accident.

Insurance companies conduct their own investigations to determine fault and look for ways to minimize payouts and deny claims. That’s why it’s crucial to have a car accident lawyer who knows how to conduct their own investigation and prove fault if there is a car accident liability dispute.

How a Mobile Car Accident Attorney Can Help

After investigating and gathering evidence, a car accident lawyer can use it to build a case showing who is at fault for a crash. Your personal injury attorney will handle all communications and negotiations with insurers and fight to help you recover the maximum compensation you may be entitled to receive. Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to help you recover damages such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

If a reasonable settlement can’t be reached, your car accident lawyer will take your case to trial. Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit in Alabama, so it’s important to act fast if you’ve been hurt in a crash. Valuable evidence can be lost and memories fade, which can make it more challenging to prove fault. Your car accident attorney can ensure your rights and interests are protected and provide the legal support you and your family need to get through tough times and move on with your lives.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Mobile, AL

Over the past 39 years, Moore Law Firm has served more than 15,000 personal injury victims in Mobile, Alabama, and the surrounding areas. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, we know how to prove car accident liability and help you recover the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with an auto accident lawyer, call 251-445-7602, contact us, or use the convenient chat feature on our website to get in touch.