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6 Questions You Should Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring Them

If you’ve been involved in a car crash and need help, it’s hard to know who has your best interest in mind — and who is out to take you for a ride. When you or someone you love suffered devastating injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you can’t risk your future on a lawyer who doesn’t have your back.

In this blog, the Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys team outlines six essential questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before hiring them.

Meeting With a Lawyer? Ask Them These Questions

When you need to make a decision about which lawyer to hire, it can be hard to know who is truly ready to fight for you and who has their own best interests in mind. Asking questions during a free consultation is one way to figure out whether a lawyer is a good fit for your case.

Below, we outline six questions that every victim should ask when vetting their potential personal injury lawyer.

1. Who Will Be Handling My Case?

Some prominent attorneys are with “big-box” firms that do two things:

  • Accept only the easy-to-settle cases
  • Refer everything out to other firms so they can claim a referral fee

These lawyers are not equipped to handle complex cases. They’ll simply shuffle you along and collect their fee. And if you ask them who will be handling your case, they won’t be able to tell you for sure. When you ask this question at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we will tell you the name of every person on our team who will be helping you with your case.

2. What Kinds of Cases Do You Handle Most Often?

Some law firms are willing to take any case that comes through the door if they think it will make them money, even if they’re not experienced or equipped to handle it. When you have a serious personal injury case, you need a lawyer who’s experienced at investigating, negotiating, and taking your type of case to trial (if need be). For example, truck and commercial vehicle claims involve a variety of important federal regulations. If your lawyer doesn’t understand them, you’re at a serious disadvantage. You should never trust your case to someone who doesn’t focus on personal injury claims.

Don’t be shy when you ask a lawyer about their specific experience with complex injury claims. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we love discussing our track record with potential clients.

3. When Was the Last Time You Took a Case to Trial?

Knowing how many cases a lawyer takes to trial helps you understand if they are prepared and skilled enough to fight for you. Many good lawyers help victims get financial compensation through settlements. Only great lawyers are willing to take a case to trial if it means getting their clients the justice and financial resources they deserve.

4. What’s Your Plan of Attack for Handling My Case?

Any attorney with experience, tenacity, and vision should be able to provide you with a clear outline of how they’ll handle your case. Personal injury litigation can be a complicated process with many steps that you need to understand. Your lawyer should inspire confidence in their abilities and let you know what to expect if you choose to hire them.

5. What’s Your Record of Verdicts and Settlements?

The longer the track record of successful verdicts and settlements a lawyer has, the better. It indicates that you have a skilled professional on your side. Additionally, the insurance company is familiar with all of the personal injury lawyers in your area and will build its strategy based on who they will be opposing. Successful personal injury attorneys have a reputation that carries as much weight and significance as their skills in the courtroom. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’re proud of our reputation for tenacious representation and track record of success.

6. What’s Your Policy on Legal Fees?

Hiring a lawyer is a significant investment. For victims who’ve sustained severe injuries and extensive property damage, the financial burden of retaining a lawyer may seem like too much. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we want our clients to feel comfortable talking through their options without having to worry about the cost. That’s why we operate on a contingency fee basis — meaning that unless we win for you, you don’t owe us a dime.

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys With Your Personal Injury Questions

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we have a long history of assisting people with catastrophic injuries receive compensation for their suffering. For example, we recently helped Carlton, a retired veteran, get the financial compensation he needed after a car crash.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident, please contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys to schedule your free consultation with our skilled and experienced Alabama and Mississippi personal injury attorneys. During our discussion, we’ll listen to the details of your case and offer direct advice about potential next steps.

Please complete this brief online form or call our offices at 251-888-8888 today to schedule your appointment.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

5 Reasons to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

Contacting a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer when you’re in a tough situation can feel like a big step, but in many cases, it’s the right one. Yet, after a car accident, many people aren’t sure if hiring a lawyer is really “worth it.”

In this blog, we outline five reasons you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney and how they can help you after a car crash.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help After a Car Crash

Ultimately, a personal injury lawyer’s job is to help you maximize the compensation you receive from a settlement or trial. Utilizing their advanced understanding of the law and legal processes, lawyers serve their clients through skilled representation.

Here are five reasons to contact a personal injury attorney if you’ve been involved in a car crash.

1) The Time to Take Action Is Already Counting Down

In Alabama, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury case is only two years, and it begins counting down the moment of the crash. This means you only have two years to seek justice through legal action.

In the Mississippi Gulf Coast, there’s a three-year statute of limitations in personal injury claims.

If you’re not sure of what to do or just want to discuss your options, you should contact a lawyer right away. Many seemingly straightforward cases are actually quite complex, so it can take a long time to gather your evidence and investigate your claims. Consulting with a lawyer right away can help you understand your options and timeline.

2) Your Evidence Could Disappear

Evidence plays an important role in any case. While there is some evidence you can gather and preserve yourself (a pain diary, photos from the scene of the crash, the damage to your vehicle, etc.), a seasoned lawyer knows how to obtain hard-to-get items that might otherwise disappear. Doctors’ notes, phone records, trucking logs, and even written statements from the other party are all valuable pieces of evidence that can be challenging for victims to recover on their own.

3) The Insurance Company Is Pressuring You to Settle

The insurance company and their representatives will never tell you how much your personal injury claim is really worth. Remember, it’s their job to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible.

For example, a $50,000 settlement might seem like a large sum after a crash. But if you’ve sustained devastating injuries, this settlement may not cover a lifetime of medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced lawyer can help you determine the true value of your case and go head-to-head with the insurance company to ensure you get the compensation you need to live a full and healthy life — both now and in the future.

If you have questions about a settlement, don’t wait to call a lawyer.

4) You Have Significant Out-of-Pocket Bills and Liens

When you can’t pay your medical and other accident-related bills, the companies can file liens with the court or start collections actions. When there is a lien on your account, any settlement money goes toward paying off that lien before it goes to you. We believe that victims should receive every cent they deserve after a devastating car crash.

We have a long and successful history of fighting for clients and resolving liens. Read more from one client and how we took care of him after a crash.

5) You May Need to Fight for Justice in Court

Sometimes, when settlement negotiations fail, you must take your case to trial. It’s incredibly challenging to represent yourself in court, especially when the insurance company you’re up against has a team of veteran attorneys on their side.

When you have an experienced lawyer in your corner, you can rest assured that you’ve done all you can to prepare for the best outcome possible. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we refuse to settle if we know an offer is unfair, and we aren’t afraid to take a case to trial.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Victims Across Alabama and the Gulf Coast

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ve been fighting for personal injury victims throughout Alabama and across the Gulf Coast for over 30 years. Time and again, we meet good people hurt by the careless actions of others who don’t think they have a case — when in reality, they’re eligible to collect thousands of dollars in damages.

If you have questions about your case, need help understanding the value of your damages, or just need to speak with an experienced Alabama or Mississippi Gulf Coast personal injury lawyer about your options, you should reach out today to schedule your free, no-risk case evaluation. During your appointment, we’ll get to know you, learn more about your claim, and offer sound legal advice.

Please complete this brief online form or call our offices at 251-888-8888 to schedule your evaluation today.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

How to Stay Safe on a Motorcycle in Alabama

Riding a motorcycle on the open Alabama road is thrilling, but it can also be dangerous. While many accidents occur through no fault of the motorcyclist, it’s important to understand Alabama motorcycle laws to stay safe while you ride.

In this blog, we outline safety tips for Alabama bikers and recommend the best course of action if you or a loved one has been injured on the road.

Alabama Motorcycle Safety

It’s impossible to predict when, where, and how other drivers are going to make negligent decisions on the road. However, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for other drivers’ reckless decisions.

Always Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, one in five motorcycle crashes cause head or neck injuries. Helmet use can drastically reduce these serious or fatal injuries.

Thankfully, in Alabama, wearing a motorcycle helmet isn’t just the smart choice; it’s also the law. All riders must wear a motorcycle-specific helmet when riding.

Follow the Rules of the Road in Alabama

Motorcycles are smaller and more agile than cars or trucks. Because these vehicles are more nimble, many riders are tempted to ride on the shoulder, lane split, or perform other dangerous maneuvers. This makes it difficult for other motorists to anticipate your actions, which increase the risk of a serious crash. Additionally, riding on the shoulder is dangerous because there’s often more debris that can cause motorcycles to lose traction and crash. So it’s always in your best interest to stay in your lane and follow the rules of the road.

Ride Focused and Sober

Staying sober is your first line of defense to staying safe on the road. While driving under the influence is equally problematic for traditional motorists and motorcyclists alike, bikers are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash involving substances. According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, 90% of motorcyclists are injured in crashes involving substance abuse — compared to just 33% of motorists.

Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident? An Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

When you’re hurt on the road due to another driver’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to suffer alone. Time and again, we see responsible motorcyclists struggling because someone else made a series of poor decisions that impacted their health, ability to work, and sense of safety.


“While many accidents occur through no fault of the motorcyclist, it’s important to understand Alabama motorcycle laws to stay safe while you ride.”


If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider contacting an Alabama motorcycle accident lawyer to help you recover the compensation you need to cover your:

  • Medical treatment
  • Long-term care
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Mental health care
  • Lost wages from missing work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Damaged property

A skilled and experienced attorney can also help you determine the value of your case and provide sound legal advice that protect you and your family moving forward.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Fight for Motorcycle Crash Victims Throughout the Gulf Coast

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we believe Alabama roads should be safe for all. That’s why we fight for motorcycle crash victims every day, and our dedication speaks for itself. We’ve won millions in compensation for our clients.

In fact, you can click here to learn how our team recently helped a motorcycle crash victim recover enough funds to cover the costs of his medical care and ensure long-term stability.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash in Alabama, please contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation. (We can even come to you if you can’t leave the house!) During our discussion, we’ll get to know you, gather all the details of your story, and offer legal advice on what to do next.

Please contact us today to schedule your no-risk consultation by calling 251-888-8888 by completing this brief online contact form.

References

(2014, February). Motorcycle Operator Manual. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Retrieved from

https://www.alea.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/motorcyclemanual_0.pdf

Motorcycle Safety. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Five Signs You Have an Undiagnosed TBI

It comes out of nowhere: a car disregards a stop sign, ploughing through the intersection, slamming into your car. Your head snaps sideways and hits the driver’s side window and you black out. You might not realize it, but you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Accidents and crashes of any kind are scary enough, but when you’re suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI), they can take a serious situation from bad to worse. In this blog, the experts at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys outline common symptoms of mild TBIs and provide suggestions for what to do if you’ve been hurt by someone else’s negligence behavior.

TBIs Are Serious, but Easy to Miss

Roughly 1.5 million people experience traumatic brain injuries every year. Historically, TBIs have been incredibly challenging to identify and diagnose because the symptoms are easy to miss. Fatigue, confusion, and pain are all common after an accident. Many victims try to “sleep it off” or wait for the pain to go away rather than treating it like the serious injury that it is simply because they don’t realize how serious the issue is.

RELATED ARTICLE: Head Injuries: What Every Accident Victim Needs to Know

Signs You Have an Undiagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI symptoms are wide-ranging and can be easily attributed to other factors. However, if you or someone you love are or have experienced any of the following, it could be a sign that you might be experiencing a TBI.

Loss of Consciousness

Most people with mild TBIs are unconscious for less than 30 minutes. According to the International Brain Injury Association, losing consciousness for any period of time is one of the main indicators that a victim is suffering from a mild TBI.

Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common signs you’re experiencing a TBI. Impact headaches occur when the brain hits the skull and can be caused by pools of blood or fluid inside the skull — or from the injured brain tissue. While it’s tempting to simply take a pain killer, drink some water, and hope the pain goes away, ignoring a brain injury can be devasting for your long-term health.

Sensory Issues

Any changes to your senses can indicate that your brain has been injured. Blurred vision, ringing ears or muffled hearing, and changes to how you smell or taste things are all signs that might appear over time. You might also experience sensitivity to light and sound or struggle to moderate other sensory input that normally wouldn’t bother you.

Behavioral Changes

After a head injury, it’s common to experience mood or behavioral changes. Irritability, depression, combativeness, and mood swings are all indicators that the brain has been damaged. These symptoms are easy to miss in the stressful aftermath of an accident. In fact, many symptoms can overlap or correlate with other conditions — such as depression, anxiety, or even sleep disorders.

Cognitive Challenges

Loss of memory and other cognitive issues before or after the accident can serve as major TBI warning signs. In addition, any trouble thinking, reasoning, or processing can signal a TBI.

Many people we see with traumatic brain injuries struggle to go back to work after a crash because normal processes are suddenly a challenge, but they don’t know why. We always encourage victims to get medical help as soon as possible after an accident. Left untreated, these symptoms could lead to more serious medical conditions and negatively impact your quality of life.

Traumatic brain injuries are complicated medical conditions with a wide range of symptoms. Everyone’s body is different, so if you’re experiencing challenges that are not listed above, it’s still in your best interest to see a doctor right away.

Contact an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your TBI

Traumatic brain injuries can have a profound impact on your life. Medical bills, inability to work, and the impact on family life can take a heavy toll — something victims should never have to deal with. If you’re suffering because of someone else’s negligence, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer.

An empathetic and tenacious lawyer can help you recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Treatment costs
  • Long-term care
  • Missed wages
  • Pain and suffering

If you have questions about your options, you should reach out to a lawyer today.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Alabama TBI Victims

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we take brain health and wellness seriously and fight to deliver justice to our clients. And with millions in compensation recovered, we have a reputation of success.

For a free personalized evaluation and practical advice, please call 251-888-8888, or complete this form.

References

Bitonte, R., DeSanto, D., Hecht, K., & Tribuzio, B. Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Were Previously Undiagnosable, and Therefore Treatment Uncertain, and Damages Speculative. International Brain Injury Association. Retrieved from https://www.internationalbrain.org/mild-traumatic-brain-injuries-were-prev-undiagnosable-therefore-treatment-uncertain-and-damages/

Traumatic Brain Injury Signs and Symptoms. BrainLine. Retrieved from https://www.brainline.org/article/traumatic-brain-injury-signs-and-symptoms

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Medical Marijuana and Drugged Driving in Alabama: Everything You Need to Know

Using marijuana and marijuana products is illegal in every form in Alabama. Even children who use cannabidiol (CBD) to treat seizures must have special permissions. However, Mississippi has decriminalized first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana, and medical marijuana is legal in Florida.

As many states have adopted more lenient marijuana laws, Alabama created a 15-member medical cannabis commission to study the effects of medical marijuana in treating certain health conditions, with anticipated legislation coming in 2020. However, as more people become interested in medical marijuana, concern is rising over the risks of people who choose to drive under the influence.

In this blog, Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys outlines current Alabama’s marijuana legislation and what to do if you suspect you’ve been the victim of a drugged driving accident.

It’s Illegal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana

If someone decides to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana in Alabama, no matter how they obtain it or why they use it, they are subject to the penalties of Alabama’s drugged driving laws. In other words, there are no special passes for medical marijuana users who cross the border from other states.

Alabama has a zero-tolerance stance on drugged driving. If an officer pulls you over, administers a drug test, and finds traces of marijuana in your system, you may face serious drug charges.

RELATED ARTICLE: Did a Drunk or Drugged Driver Cause Your Crash? Here’s What You Need to Know

What to Do If You Are the Victim of Drugged Driving

Driving under the influence of marijuana is never safe or a good idea. Signs a driver is driving while high include:

  • Lack of coordination and reaction time
  • Poor short-term memory and concentration
  • Poor perception of time and distance
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of marijuana or marijuana smoke

If you think someone is driving under the influence, you should call the authorities right away. If you’ve been hurt in an accident with someone you suspect is using marijuana, here’s what to do.

Make Sure Everyone Is Safe, and Call the Authorities

The most important thing to do after a crash is to make sure everyone is safe and out of harm’s way. If someone is injured, call emergency medical services right away. It’s also in your best interest to call the authorities to generate a police report, which is extremely helpful for your case as it will list which driver is at-fault and if there is any suspected substance use. If you notice signs of drugged driving, be sure to mention it to the police on the scene so they can administer a roadside test or request bloodwork.

Get Medical Attention

We always recommend that victims seek medical attention after a crash, whether they think they’ve been hurt or not. A doctor can treat wounds before they have a chance to get worse. They can also diagnose hard-to-find injuries that would otherwise cause long-term damage if untreated — such as internal bleeding, mild traumatic brain injuries, or whiplash. Furthermore, medical records are valuable evidence if you need to take legal action against the negligent driver.

Consider Consulting With an Experienced Car Crash Lawyer

Drugged driving is a serious offense, and when you’ve been hurt because someone else made the reckless decision to drive while high, you deserve answers and justice. When you’re missing work, medical bills are piling up, and you’re unsure what to do next, you should speak with an attorney. They can offer advice on next steps, support you as you heal, and help you take steps to recover the damages you need to get your life back on track.

Hurt by a Drugged Driver? Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Today

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we believe everyone deserves to be safe on the road, and someone else’s poor choices  shouldn’t affect you for the rest of your life. That’s why we’ve dedicated our careers to fighting for victims just like you.

If you need to speak with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys, please contact us today to schedule your free consultation. We’ll meet with and get to know you, learn about your case, and offer sound legal advice on what to do next.

Please call (251) 888-8888 today or complete this brief and simple online form.

References

Drug Impaired Driving. Governors Highway Safety Association. Retrieved from https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/drug%20impaired%20driving

Gore, L. (2019, June 11). Medical marijuana isn’t legal in Alabama; Bill only establishes study. Alabama.com. Retrieved from https://www.al.com/news/2019/06/medical-marijuana-isnt-legal-in-alabama-bill-only-establishes-study.html

Lautieri, A. (2019, July 25). What Are the Signs that Someone Is High? American Addiction Centers. Retrieved from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/marijuana-rehab/how-to-tell-if-someone-is-high

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Injured by a Dangerous Drug or Medical Device? Know Your Rights

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a defective drug or medical device, it’s important to know your rights. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you could be entitled to receive compensation from doctors, drug companies, and manufacturers. If you want to file a product liability claim to get the compensation you deserve, you’ll need to work with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney who can help you investigate these large corporations and sift through medical records for the proof you need.

Keep reading to learn more about what determines whether you have a valid product liability claim and what compensation you have a right to receive.

Do I Have the Right to File a Medical Product Liability Claim in Alabama?

If you’re considering filing a product liability claim in Alabama, these three state laws will determine whether you can start the filing process.

  • Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations for product liability cases in Alabama is two years. This means you have two years from the date you suffered your injury from a defective product to file your claim.
  • Discovery Rule: If you do not discover the defect within the two-year statute of limitations, the discovery rule states that you can file up to a year from the time you discovered (or should have discovered) the defect.
  • Economic Loss Rule: The defect must damage you, another person, or other property to file a claim. You cannot file a product liability claim if the defective product only damaged itself.

Product Liability Issues in Alabama

There are three types of product liability issues that may be used in defective drugs or medical devices claims. In order to file a product liability claim, you need to meet the criteria outlined in the previous section and prove that at least one of these circumstances applies to your defective product.

  1. Design Defect: Product has a defect that was included in the original design, and an alternative design could have been used to produce a safer product.
  2. Manufacturing Defect: Product deviated from the intended design during production, resulting in a defect.
  3. Failure to Warn: The manufacturer knew about the potential dangers and failed to include proper safety instructions or warnings with their product.

What Compensation Do I Have a Right to Receive in a Medical Product Liability Claim?

Once you’ve established that you have a right to pursue compensation through a product liability claim, it’s important to understand other factors that may affect your compensation.

Compensation and Types of Damages

If you have a valid claim, you are entitled to receive compensatory damages — which can include compensation for both financial losses related to your injury and any suffering you experienced.

In addition to compensatory damages, you may also be entitled to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party for their wrongful acts. A judge will only award punitive damages in cases where the defect resulted in a death or if the defendant acted fraudulently or maliciously.

The Effect of the Contributory Negligence Law

Each state decides how negligence is determined for personal injury and product liability cases. Many states use a comparative fault model for this determination and rule that if you are partially to blame for an injury, your compensation will be decreased by the percent of your blame. However, Alabama is one of the few states that follows a contributory negligence law.

Under contributory negligence, if the defense can prove that you were even 1% responsible for your injury, you will not be entitled to receive any compensation. This is one of the most common ways the defense will try to counter your claim. For product liability cases, the easiest defense is to claim that the victim used the product improperly or did not take the medication safely or as directed. It is up to you and your attorney to prepare strong evidence to refute these allegations.

Andy Citrin Helps Victims Protect Their Rights

If you’ve been the victim of a dangerous drug or medical device, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. But hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, large manufacturers, and insurance agencies will try to take this right away from you using the contributory negligence law and other tactics. Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys for help protecting your rights and pursuing justice through a medical product liability or defective drug claim.

Contact us today to discuss your rights and legal options by calling 251-888-8888 or completing this brief online form.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Can I Get Punitive Damages in an Alabama Injury Claim?

Fatal Car Accidents Are Still A Serious Concern in Alabama

Fatal Car Accidents Are Still A Major Concern in Alabama: Here’s What You Need to Know

In 2016, crash fatalities skyrocketed across Alabama at an unprecedented rate. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the state is still experiencing fatal vehicle accidents at a rate higher than the national average, with almost 950 occurring in 2017.

Alabama is facing a crisis in driving safety, and it’s important to have all the facts to help your family stay safe on the roads.

Common Causes of Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

There are many factors that lead to car crashes — including road conditions, vehicle defects, and human error (among others). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) focuses on these three major factors in their annual Traffic Safety Facts publication:

Alcohol-Impaired Driving

In 2017, 28% of crash fatalities in Alabama were caused by drunk driving. Nationally, there were 37,133 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. These crashes are especially difficult for the victims’ families, who are left grieving and wondering how their loved ones could be taken from them for such a senseless reason.

Speeding

ALDOT lists speeding as the top contributor in Alabama crash fatalities. Killing almost 10,000 people in the United States in 2017 (NHTSA), speeding is not only a major factor in causing fatal accidents but also in escalating the violence of crashes caused by other factors. Speeding alone is deadly, and speeding combined with other factors often has catastrophic results, turning accidents fatal when they could have been survivable — even minor.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has always been a major factor in car accidents and has received a lot of press in recent years. According to ALDOT, texting while driving increases your chances of being involved in an accident by 23%. Anti-cellphone campaigns and other awareness programs seem to be having a positive impact on the number of distracted drivers, but this factor is still a major cause of crash fatalities.

Drive Safe Alabama

Drive Safe Alabama is an initiative by the Alabama Department of Transportation focused on keeping our roads safe. Their website, drivesafealabama.org, is a great resource for Alabama driving facts and safety advice. Here are a few tips for staying safe on the roads.

Always Wear a Seatbelt

Of the Alabama crash fatalities in 2017, 60% of the victims were not wearing their seatbelts. Always make sure that you and your entire family are buckled properly before you start driving, and teach your children the importance of remaining buckled at all times while in a moving vehicle. Wearing your seatbelt could mean the difference between a fatal accident and a few bruises.

Limit Your Distractions

Most people know to never text and drive. Thoroughly eliminating all distractions while driving is sometimes impossible, but at the very least, you should decrease your distractions to an absolute minimum. For instance, consider turning off your radio or hanging up your call — even hands-free calls can be dangerous distractions. If you must return a text or email, pull over or wait until you are stopped.

Drive the Speed Limit

According to ALDOT, reducing your speed by just 10 mph can reduce the probability of a fatal crash by 50%. Slowing down is one of the easiest steps you can take to safer driving. Many newer vehicles even have optional speed alert notifications that can tell you if you are speeding and remind you to slow down.

If You’ve Lost a Loved One in a Car Accident, Andy Citrin Can Help

Alabama car crash fatalities are among the highest in the country, with accident injuries on the rise. ALDOT is making positive improvements, but it’s important to know that if you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident, Andy Citrin can help.

Mr. Citrin and his team are here to give you honest and direct legal advice and help you get the compensation you and your family deserve. Please call 251-888-8888 today or complete this brief form to receive your free consultation.

References

ALDOT. (2017). 2017 Crash Facts. Retrieved from http://drivesafealabama.org/uploads/files/ALDOT-2017-CrashFactsBook.pdf

NHTSA. (2018). 2017 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812603

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Understanding Alabama’s Bicycle Safety Laws

As the weather warms up, more people will take advantage of the nice weather by bicycling. It’s a great way to commute, exercise, and have fun, but it comes with certain risks. Whether you prefer two wheels or four, it’s critical to understand Alabama bike law before hitting the road.

Keep reading to learn bike law essentials in Alabama and what to do if you’re the victim of a bike-car accident.

In the State of Alabama, Bikes Are Considered Vehicles

Bicycles are vehicles under Alabama law. As such, cyclists are required to ride on the road and not the sidewalk. Like cars, they must also obey all traffic signals and laws. It’s tempting to weave through lanes, cross a double yellow line, or ignore a stop sign when you’re on a bike, but disregarding laws you wouldn’t break in a car is illegal and can be dangerous to you and to drivers.

Bikes on the road deserve the same respect drivers give to each other. To keep bikers safe, cars should maintain at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist. They are also required to check before opening their car door into oncoming bicycle traffic and not leave doors open longer than necessary, as they can impede bike lanes.

Protect Yourself Against Possible Bike-Car Accidents

While it’s impossible to safeguard yourself from accidents completely, there are precautions cyclists can take. Wearing bright, reflective clothing,  and using bright white light headlights and red reflector taillights helps bicyclists be more visible to drivers. Also, in order to maintain the flow of traffic, cyclists are required to ride as far to the right of the road as is safe and reasonable. Additionally, bicyclists should always wear helmets, especially when they ride on the road. Further, Alabama law states that bikers under 16 must wear a helmet. And finally, as with cars, it is illegal for cyclists to ride their bikes while intoxicated, and those who do can be charged with a DUI.

Common Causes of Bike-Car Accidents

There are dozens of ways in which bicyclists and motorists can become involved in dangerous collisions and accidents. Here are a few of the most common we see at Citrin Law.

  • Dooring: When a driver opens their car door, hitting a cyclist or causing a cyclist to run into the door because they can’t get out of the way in time.
  • Side swiping: Not passing at a safe distance of three feet and hitting a biker with the side of their car.
  • Inattentive cyclists: Cyclists ignoring traffic laws, riding on the sidewalk, or biking recklessly can have drastic consequences.
  • Inattentive driving: Turning into cyclists at a stop sign or light and not checking blind spots before merging or turning.
  • Driving too close to a bike: Not leaving enough space between a vehicle and a bicycle can result in a rear-ending or side-swiping.

What You Should Do After a Bike Accident

Making a game plan before an accident will help you take the proper medical and legal steps should you be involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle.

After you’ve been hit, make sure to notify the proper authorities, including the police and medical professionals. Speak with the police and request and receive a copy of the official report, including your testimony. Gather as much information about the driver as you can — including their name, license plate number, and contact and insurance information. If you aren’t able to take this information down, ask a witness to do it for you. Don’t speak with or antagonize the driver and certainly do not apologize or admit fault; these exchanges could be used against you later. Leave your bicycle where it landed after the accident, and wait for the authorities arrive to sort out the situation.

Visit the Emergency Room or a Physician After a Bicycle Accident with a Motor Vehicle

Even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt, you should still see a doctor after a bike-car accident to assess possible injuries and establish a paper trail of medical records. Some injuries, like concussions or internal damage, can take time to develop, and you might not realize you’ve been seriously hurt until several days (or even weeks) have passed. If you are seriously injured, medical records corroborate your story, which is critical for filing successful insurance settlements and personal injury lawsuits.

Collect and Save the Evidence from a Bicycle Accident

Once you’ve left the scene of the accident, write down every detail you can remember about the crash — including license plate numbers, the names and contact information of witnesses, and all relevant police report information. Don’t wash bloodstained clothing, attempt to repair your bicycle, or throw away a cracked helmet. Take pictures of everything, and save the physical objects in case you need them as evidence at a later date.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

An experienced personal injury lawyer is critical when it comes to seeking justice for your injuries. Don’t let an angry driver, insurance company, or defense attorney bully you out of the compensation you deserve. While most personal injury bike accident cases are settled out of court, you still need an attorney on your side to negotiate the best possible settlement for your injuries and suffering.

The Andy Citrin Personal Injury Law Firm Is Ready to Fight for You

Cyclists have the same rights as motorists on the road and deserve the same avenues to legal justice. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we spend time learning about the details of your claim and developing a preliminary legal plan during your free consultation. We understand Alabama bicycle laws and have helped hundreds of victims receive fair compensation by carefully investigating their claims with the help of expert witnesses and accident reconstruction professionals.

If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver in a bicycle accident, please contact us today by calling (251) 888-8888 or completing this brief form.