Questions and Answers
Call THE ODUM FIRM. If
you've been injured, you may want a lawyer to make sure you
receive a fair settlement from the insurance company. Also,
proving to another driver's insurer that its policyholder
caused the accident might require the services of an attorney.
Automobile & Eighteen Wheeler Accidents
What is the “Golden
Rule” of personal injury?
Never, under any circumstances, settle with an insurance
company before contacting The Odum Firm.
What should I do if I am involved in an accident?
Stop. If you get in a crash, you must stop. If you leave,
that's known as a "hit and run," and might be a felony. This
includes hitting property, animals or pedestrians. Also, stay
Call for help. If someone is injured, call 911. If not, your
first call should then be to the police. The police will
advise as to whether the crashed vehicles should be moved out
of traffic, and will take statements from the drivers and
Call your insurer. As soon as you are able, call and file an
accident report. You should also notify the other driver's
insurer of the accident.
Don't sign anything. If an insurance adjuster shows up at the
scene, don't give any statements and don't sign anything.
Gather information. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers
of everyone at the scene, especially witnesses.
Go see your doctor. You may have injuries of which you're
unaware. If you are examined by a doctor, make sure you are
specific in explaining how the accident happened and any and
all injuries and problems you sustained as a result.
Call THE ODUM FIRM. If you've been injured, you may want a
lawyer to make sure you receive a fair settlement from the
insurance company. Also, proving to another driver's insurer
that its policyholder caused the accident might require the
services of an attorney.
Who is liable for paying for my physical injuries as well
as any personal property damage?
The driver(s) who caused the accident’s liability insurance
pays for your car damage and personal injuries. If you are at
fault for the car accident, your liability insurance will pay
the other driver(s) for property damage and personal injuries
up to your policy's limits.
Should I take the settlement my insurance company is offering
You should not take any settlements offered by an insurance
company without first speaking with an experienced Alabama
auto accident lawyer. Insurance companies typically offer a
minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating
that you will not sue them. Never take an insurance check
without first consulting an attorney.
What if I cannot afford to pay my medical bills?
If you suffer injuries from
a car accident, you will likely have medical bills from
physicians, hospitals, physical therapists, and other health
care providers. Under Alabama law, you are primarily
responsible for paying your bills, regardless of the cause of
your injuries. The at-fault person's liability insurance
carrier is responsible for paying you reasonable compensation
for damages incurred, which includes medical bills, but the
insurance carrier is not responsible for paying your doctors,
hospitals, and other providers. Sometimes the amount the
insurance company is willing to pay is far less than the
actual amount you owe.
When will my personal injury claim be resolved?
claims can be resolved in a matter of a few weeks or months.
However, they can take up to several years depending on the
complexity of the case. It is best to speak with an
experienced Alabama personal injury attorney about your
What is a permanent injury?
A permanent injury is an
injury that will be with you for the rest of your life or for
some period beyond the settlement of the claim. In most cases,
the injured party is entitled to compensation from the
at-fault party or their insurance company for all medical
bills incurred to date and into the future for all injuries
caused by the accident. This includes future pain and
I did not feel pain at the scene and refused medical
treatment. Now, a few days later I am in pain. What should I
You should immediately consult your medical provider regarding
any pain, discomfort or possible injuries from a car accident,
even if you think they may be only minor injuries. Even if you
did not complain of injuries at the scene of the car accident,
you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills,
compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of
earnings capacity, and emotional anguish due to personal
injuries. You should consult an experienced Alabama car
accident attorney to discuss whether you need representation
on your claim.
What sources of compensation can I expect after an auto
After an accident and depending on who is at fault, you may
pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and
suffering, future medical expenses and future pain and
What is negligence?
Negligence is the failure of the person to act as a reasonably
prudent person would act under like or similar circumstances.
Should I contest an accident-related traffic citation?
If you were not at fault for the accident, you should seek to
contest any accident-related traffic citation.
What if the driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time
of the accident? Can damages be recovered?
Alabama law does not bar a victim's right to compensation just
because they were not wearing a seatbelt.
My son was rear-ended and the other driver claimed my son
caused the accident. How does the law decide what is being
A rear collision is where one vehicle collides into the rear
of another. Typically, the person who hits the vehicle in the
rear is at fault. However, a vehicle that is rear-ended may
still be responsible for the accident. If the person stopped
suddenly or had improperly working brake lights or turn
signals, he/she could be held responsible or partially
responsible for the accident. If someone else is driving your
vehicle, as long as that person had your expressed or implied
permission, your insurance coverage will cover the accident.
You could be held liable for the accident along with your
friend if your friend was operating the vehicle for your
benefit or you negligently entrusted the vehicle to your
What is uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage?
Uninsured motorists coverage covers damages an individual
suffers as a result of a motorist who fails to carry the
required insurance on his/her vehicle. Underinsured motorists
coverage covers a person for damages whose injury claim value
exceeds the insurance coverage the at-fault owner/driver
What is the purpose of obtaining uninsured or underinsured
Having uninsured motorist coverage protects you from the
irresponsible driver who drives without insurance.
Underinsured motorists coverage helps protect you when you
have serious and significant injuries.
If I get injured in a car accident but do not have
insurance, can I still sue and recover for my injuries?
You can recover from a third party who is responsible for your
injuries even if you do not have insurance. However, if the
third party responsible for the accident does not have
insurance then you may not be able to recover for your
How do insurance adjusters operate?
Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and are not
necessarily working for your best interest. They are licensed
by the state and are required by their companys to follow
guidelines and procedures set out by the state and their
company. Most insurance adjusters will want a statement from
you, their insured, a police report, and any witness
information before deciding to pay a claim.
I gave a recorded statement to the insurance company of the
woman who hit my car. Now I'm thinking about getting legal
representation. Is there a problem?
You may still seek and obtain legal representation after
giving a recorded statement. Any statement you make can be
used later against you.
I injured somebody in an accident. The insurance company
refused to settle within my policy limits. The jury awarded
damages in excess of my policy limits. Must I pay the excess
instead of the insurance company?
If your insurance company failed to settle the claim within
your policy limits when the other side would have agreed to
settle, you are liable for the excess verdict. However, your
insurance company's action may have risen to "bad faith". If
the insurance company acts in "bad faith" then the insurance
company ultimately could be responsible for paying the excess
judgment/verdict. I was injured in a crash where a truck
driver was at fault. Can I receive money for time I missed at
work? You can recover lost wages when you have missed time
from work due to injuries from the accident. In order to
recover the lost wages, you need to have doctor's verification
of the time missed along with verification from your employer
for the time you missed including what amount of money you
Eighteen Wheeler Accidents
What are some of the common causes of tractor trailer
Failure to inspect tires,
brakes and lights
Cell phone use
Failure to install blind
Speeding and ignoring
reduced truck speed limit
Added hazards include the
absence of rear and side bumpers and high front bumpers that
punch into automobile passenger compartments. Together, these
factors account for the high percentage of serious injuries
and deaths in these crashes.
Are there any state or federal regulations governing truck
There are many regulations, both state and federal, that
trucking companies are required to follow. Some of those laws
include the following: • Trucking companies are required to
follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA)
regulations concerning equipment and hours of service.
• Truck drivers are required to maintain a driver’s log.
• Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry
certain levels of insurance coverage depending on the nature
of the materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of
large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have the
financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.
• The Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program
requires that individual states and other political
jurisdictions unify to develop and implement programs that
will ultimately improve motor carrier, CMV, and driver safety
and establish a safer and more efficient transportation
• Commercial driver’s license standards are federal
regulations in place to reduce or prevent truck accidents and
resulting injuries and/or deaths by requiring drivers of
certain vehicles to obtain a single commercial motor vehicle
• Both Alabama and / or federal law, depending on whether the
truck was involved in intrastate or interstate transport may
govern truck accidents.
Why should a lawyer be hired as soon as possible?
The major trucking companies will immediately have lawyers
hired and working for them. The scene must be secure.
Photographs and statements must be taken as soon after the
accident as possible. Many important pieces of evidence
helpful to you can be lost, misplaced or be purposely
What are the “hours of service” rules?
Under federal “hours of service” regulations, which took
effect January 2004, interstate commercial drivers are not
allowed to drive more than 11 consecutive hours or drive after
14 hours on duty until they have had a 10-hour break. In
addition, according to federal regulations, commercial truck
drivers cannot drive after accruing 60 work hours during a
7-day period or 70 work hours during an 8-day period.
Violation of these regulations are a serious cause of many
commercial truck accidents.
How do I deal with trucking companies or their insurance
carriers after a truck accident?
The best advice is NOT to deal with them! The first thing you
should do is contact an expert truck accident lawyer. The last
thing you want to do is personally negotiate with a trucking
company about your semi truck accident or semi rig injury.
Most trucking companies are highly skilled at semi truck
accident investigation and claims. Anything you say or sign
may be held against you further down the road. When in doubt,
refer to The Odum Firm “Golden Rule.”