Every year, we see cars being produced with innovative safety features designed to make driving less hazardous. Although cars are becoming safer, the freedom of movement driving offers comes with risks. In 2012, traffic accident deaths and injuries rose five percent from the 2011 numbers, totaling around 36,200 fatalities and 3.9 million injuries necessitating a trip to the doctor or emergency room, according to National Safety Council statistics. In Alabama alone, 514 people died in highway crashes in 2012.
These statistics represent an unacceptable loss of human life, health, and productivity. Many car accidents are not the fault of the person who is injured or killed, but are caused by someone else’s carelessness, negligence, bad driving, disregard for the law, or lack of concern for the safety of others sharing the road.
If you or someone in your family has become a victim of an Alabama car accident that wasn’t your fault, for example if the accident was the result of someone’s bad driving, hazardous road conditions caused by lack of proper maintenance, or a defect in your car, tires, or other equipment, you may be able to recover money for your damages: economic damages such as cost of medical treatment and lost current and future earnings, along with non-economic damages, which are those that affect your quality of life, such as pain, suffering, and inability to do the things you enjoy.
You need an experienced Alabama car accident attorney with a practice limited to representing injured clients, or the survivors of those fatally injured, in pursuing of compensation for their accident-related damages.
For unparalleled legal advocacy in Huntsville and the surrounding area, an excellent choice is Wettermark Keith, an Alabama law firm with a powerful record of success in obtaining awards for clients, an impressive 95 percent success rate, and in excess of 250 million dollars in personal injury and wrongful death awards since 2003.
Many people ask if they need a lawyer for a car accident injury case. Often, an insurance adjuster will tell an accident victim that a lawyer is unnecessary; but beware—the adjuster is working for insurance company’s best interests—not yours! The insurance company is in business to make profits, not to help the injured. Insurers want you to negotiate with them directly, without an attorney, because they know they will get away with paying less. Insurance companies employ numerous techniques to diminish and deny claims. Having the right personal injury lawyer to represent you evens the playing field in settlement negotiations. In general, accident victims represented by an experienced personal injury law firm, such as the Huntsville firm of Wettermark Keith walk away with significantly more money than those who attempt to go it alone. Our attorneys are familiar with insurance company tactics and know how to handle negotiations to your benefit, making sure you get everything your case is worth.
At Wettermark Keith, we handle all types of auto accident fatalities and serious injuries: spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, burns, scarring, facial injuries, herniated discs, joint injuries, broken bones, dislocations, amputations, organ damage, complex regional pain syndrome, and psychological damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and phobias.
When drivers engage in negligent or careless behaviors on Alabama’s roads, the results can be disastrous. These are some of the more common driving behaviors responsible for injuries and fatalities:
At Wettermark Keith, we have years of experience in successfully helping people who have been injured as a result of these and other driving behaviors. We are proud of our 95 percent success rate for our clients, and we are available to offer you the focused and dedicated attention to your case that will give you the best possible outcome.
Contact Westmark Keith to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our dedicated auto accident lawyers. You have a limited amount of time to file a law suit in Alabama, so don’t delay; call today.
Attorneys in the United States who complete law school and are admitted to the Bar are faced with the task of deciding what kind of law they want to practice. Of course you can decide to be a general practitioner and do a little of this and a little of that, but without an area of focus, you’ll never be among the best in any one particular area.
For most of us, deciding on a primary practice area is a big deal; it’s about what we’ll be dedicating our professional life to accomplishing. Here at Wettermark Keith in Huntsville, Alabama, our dedicated personal injury lawyers have made that decision and the commitment that goes with it: we have chosen to spend our professional careers as a voice for the injured and bereaved, whose lives have been changed—sometimes permanently—by someone else’s mistake or deliberate wrongdoing.
In personal injury law, an attorney can do a world of good. What we do has a lasting affect on the lives of the people we help. Prospective clients come to us not knowing where to turn. They can’t work, they have piles of medical bills and no idea how they’ll be paid. Or the family’s breadwinner was killed when a drunk driver ran a light, and there is little or no money coming into the home. Each victim has their own story, but they have one thing in common: their lives have been torn apart someone else’s wrongdoing.
In other areas of law, if you want to hire a lawyer with a top reputation, you need to come up with a hefty retainer. But in our practice, anyone with a serious injury can come to us for help. Our clients pay nothing up front and nothing out-of-pocket. We do all the work, cover all the expenses, and you pay nothing until the case is resolved and money has been paid. And in the unlikely case we don’t win money for you, you’ll owe us nothing.
We think this is a terrific way to practice law, because it makes highly skilled legal services equally available to everyone—not just the few who can afford to pay. In our personal injury practice, everyone has an equal right to pursue justice, regardless of their financial means.
As personal injury lawyers, we fight the large, wealthy insurance companies who put profits ahead of people. Maybe you thought insurance companies exist for the purpose of helping people who have been injured, or who have lost a loved one in an accident. But in reality, they exist to make profits for their shareholders. So it’s not in their interest to display any generosity when paying your claim; on the contrary, every penny they pay out is a penny that reduces the company’s profit picture, the dividends it pays to shareholders, and the bonus the CEO might get for a year of raking in big bucks.
So no, insurance companies don’t exist to help the injured, and they have plenty of tactics they use to minimize the amount they have to pay out. But good personal injury lawyers, like the attorneys who make up our team here at Wettermark Keith, know how to overcome those nefarious tactics for the benefit of our clients.
We are here for the individual who must face corporate giants with the money and power to fight the ordinary person, who wants nothing more than justice. We have a network of experts who are always on call to help us investigate the cause of your accident and identify anyone whose negligence contributed to your injury or loss. We have the knowledge and the resources to level the playing field and get you fair compensation for what you’ve lost. We can’t bring back the loved one you’ve lost, and we can’t magically restore you to health, but in a very large percentage of cases, we can help you get the money you need to go on living and to get the care you need when an accident has deprived you of so much.
Why do we practice personal injury law? At Wettermark Keith, we have chosen personal injury law because we are committed to justice, fairness, and accountability. We believe the person or company that has caused you so much pain should be held to account for your suffering.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that someone else’s negligence caused, we want to help. Contact Wettermark Keith, to schedule your free appointment to tell us about your situation.
The impact occurs suddenly, leaving you stunned and shaken. It takes a few minutes to get your bearings, and you realize that you’ve been hit by another car. What you do in the next minutes, hours, and days can make a real difference in your ability to recover money to compensate you for your injuries and the damage to your life that comes along with them. Because no one plans to be injured in a car accident, you may be unprepared and uncertain of what you need to do. So we’re here to offer you some guidelines on how you can protect your right to the recovery that is your legal due.
Before we begin, we need to emphasize that if you are seriously injured there may be nothing you can do but lie still and wait for help to arrive in the form of an ambulance to take you to the hospital. That’s the most important thing for you to do—get the medical attention you need right away.
If you are ambulatory or able to sit up, try to get the names and contact information of other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Get the driver’s license, registration, plate number, insurance information, and make and model of every car in the accident.
If possible, take photos of the cars, showing body damage. Photograph geographic markers or street signs to identify where the accident occurred.
Call 911 and get a police officer to the scene. Get the offer’s name and badge number and ask for instructions on how to obtain a copy of the police report.
See your doctor, or get to an emergency room or urgent care clinic as soon as possible after the accident.
Call an experienced Huntsville car accident attorney and schedule an appointment. An unbeatable choice in Huntsville is the law firm of Wettermark Keith, with a 95 percent success rate in recovering money for clients and a record of winning $250 million in victim compensation since 2003.
Here are some things you should not do.
Don’t apologize. It may be second nature for you to apologize for any mishap without giving a thought to whether or not you did anything to apologize for. It just seems like the polite thing to do. But hold on. You didn’t cause the accident, so don’t apologize. If you apologize to anyone at the scene of a car accident, even just out of instinctive politeness, it could come back to bite you. An apology could be interpreted as your confessing to having caused the accident.
Don’t give anyone anything that could later be used against you. Say as little as possible to anyone. Especially avoid commenting on whether or not you’ve been injured. During an accident, your body releases a surge of adrenaline, which can keep you from feeling pain. This is just temporary. It often takes a while until the adrenaline wears off before realize that you’re hurting.
Don’t be in a hurry to assure the other driver that you’re okay. If you say, “I’m fine,” another meaningless automatic response, that can be taken as a statement that you are uninjured, which may not be accurate.
You’ll know better in a day or two, but don’t wait to see a doctor; get checked out as soon as possible, preferably the day of the accident. Give a detailed description of the accident type and any pain, bruising, swelling, or other symptoms you’re experiencing, even if they seem small or insignificant. Some injuries that appear to be minor at first can become worse over time.
Sometimes an insurance company representative will arrive at the scene of the accident. Don’t give a statement, and don’t sign anything.
The Huntsville, Alabama, personal injury lawyers at Wettermark Keith will meet with you at no charge to discuss the details of your accident and advise you on the best way to proceed. We investigate the accident and, when necessary, call upon experts, such as accident reconstructionists and engineers, to help prove your claim. We handle all negotiations and exchange of information with the insurance company, and fight vigorously for your right to a fair recovery that will adequately compensate you for all your damages: damages to your finances and to your quality of life. You risk nothing, because you never pay us anything until your recovery check has been received.
Injuries incurred in a car accident can wreak havoc with your life. Car accident injuries can cause a range of problems from relatively minor temporary impairments to catastrophic, permanent, life-changing impairments. and even death.
At the Huntsville, Alabama, personal injury law firm of Wettermark Keith, we handle many kinds of accidents, fighting the insurance companies for adequate compensation for short, medium, and long term medical treatment, pain, disability, and disruption of life resulting from someone else’s negligent, careless, or deliberately wrongful act, or in some cases, failure to act in a reasonable manner.
Here we identify some of the most common types of auto accident injuries that we see in our practice.
Back and neck injuries are extremely common in motor vehicle accidents. They include soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains, spinal cord damage, nerve damage, and fractures. The injuries may affect any of the tissues in and around the spine, including:
Spinal cord damage is a catastrophic injury that generally causes paralysis below the damaged part of the spine. Injury to the lumbar or thoracic spine typically causes paraplegia, paralysis of the lower body. Damage to the cervical spine or neck area often results in tetraplegia, which is paralysis of all four limbs and often of the diaphragm, necessitating use of a respirator.
Injuries to the brain run the gamut from mild concussions to death. Below is a partial list of some of the brain injuries that can occur in a car accident:
Bones can easily be fractured by the impact of a car accident. Fractures can be painful and may keep you from work and activities for week or months while they heal. Serious displaced fractures usually require surgery if they are to heal properly. Fractures of the hip, pelvis, and vertebrae are extremely serious and often life-threatening. Broken ribs sometimes puncture a lung, another organ, or a blood vessel. Serious complications include infection, nerve damage, and blood clots.
Facial injuries include broken jaw, broken teeth, broken nose, broken cheekbone, bruises, and lacerations that cause scarring. Eye injuries and blindness sometimes occur. A mandibular fracture (broken jaw) can make eating and speaking a problem.
Blood vessel damage may cause internal bleeding, which can result in other health problems including, dizziness, excessive fatigue, thirst, anemia, and paleness.
An abdominal aorta aneurysm is a rupture of the largest artery in the abdominal region. A rupture of the abdominal aorta is nearly always a fatal injury.
It is not uncommon for one or more of the internal organs to be damaged in a car accident impact, resulting in bleeding or loss of function of the organ.
Pneumothorax is a serious injury usually caused by a fractured rib puncturing the lung, causing it to collapse and allowing air to leak into the chest cavity.
A ruptured spleen is a painful injurythat often causes serious internal bleeding, requiring surgery. In cases of severe damage, it may be necessary to remove the spleen entirely.
Kidney damage from the impact of a car accident can be relatively minor bruising or may cause the kidney’s complete destruction.
Liver injuries are the most common type of abdominal injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may require surgery to repair.
Burn injuries often occur in car accidents where leaking fluids burst into flame. Burns are excruciatingly painful and often life threatening, especially when complicated by infection, which is common. Disfigurement may result in social isolation and psychological damage. Serious burns cause deforming scars and contractures that may make it difficult for the victim to engage in social or business activities.
Amputation accidents— loss of arms, hands, legs, feet, fingers or other body parts—may occur in serious accidents. Loss of a body part can affect your ability to perform certain kinds of work and often make it impossible to participate in many sports and other activities you enjoy. Amputation injuries typically require surgery, prostheses, and painful rehabilitative therapy, and many amputees experience phantom limb pain, a hard-to treat condition causing pain that feels as if it is coming from the missing limb.
Occasionally car accident victims are left with unrelenting chronic pain that goes on for years. Sometimes the cause can be determined and treated, but a condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can develop from even a minor car accident injury. This is a kind of pain that is disproportionate to the severity of the injury. It usually starts at the injury site and spreads from there, making sleep nearly impossible and limiting the ability to work or enjoy life.
Traffic accidents not only cause physical damage; many accident victims suffer from serious psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression, and phobias.
At the law offices of Wettermark Keith, we have many years of experience helping auto accident victims. We understand how car accidents damage lives and diminish your quality of life while emptying your pocketbook. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, justice demands that you receive enough monetary compensation for what you’ve lost. We have a 95 percent rate of success in getting our clients the money they need and deserve. When a car accident has affected your life for the worse, call us. We have recovered over $250 million for our clients since 2003. Come in for a free, no-obligation consultation to discover how we can help. Call today!
Car accidents happen every day and for every conceivable reason; but there are certain driving behaviors are common to most car accidents, forming the underlying reasons that accidents occur. It may be that you or someone close to you was injured in an Alabama car accident, or perhaps a member of your family died because of someone else’s incautious or negligent driving. Any person who has suffered injuries or the survivors of a person killed in a car wreck that was caused by someone else is entitled to make a claim for compensation against the person who caused it to recover money for their economic and non-economic losses. For success in a serious injury or wrongful death case, you’ll want to find an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at the Huntsville, Alabama, law firm of Wettermark Keith. We know the questions to ask, and we have the resources and experts working with us to determine what was going on in the moments before the accident. Below are some of the most common behaviors that cause car accidents:
We are always on the go, and many Americans spend hours every day driving. It is not surprising that drivers often use driving time for other activities: grooming, eating, listening to music, disciplining the kids, talking on the phone, or perhaps worst of all, sending or reading text messages. These activities take the driver’s attention away from the road and dramatically increase the likelihood of a crash. Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in the United States today.
A driver using a phone or other hand-held electronic device quadruples the chance of a wreck. Texting makes it 23 times more likely that a crash will occur.
These are some of the possible consequences when a driver fails to focus on the road:
Speeding is a factor in one of every three traffic accidents in the United States. The greater the speed at which a car is moving, the harder it is to control, and the longer it takes to stop. Aggressive driving and speeding go hand in hand. Weaving, cutting drivers off, and ignoring traffic rules at a high speed is recipe for disaster and the cause of many injuries and fatalities.
Across the nation, drunk driving crashes kill one person every 51 minutes, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); in 2012, 10,322 people were killed and approximately 345,000 injured in accidents involving alcohol, according to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). The yearly cost of alcohol-related crashes is more than $132 billion in the United States. Alabama saw 261 alcohol related fatalities in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that in roughly one out of every five U.S. car accidents, mechanical failure is to blame. In many cases, a manufacturing defect is the cause. In 2012, U.S. car manufacturers recalled almost as many cars as they sold. When a defective part is discovered and the car is recalled, it is usually after a number of accidents have resulted injuries and fatalities. You don’t have to prove negligence if a defect in manufacturing was the cause of your accident. Manufacturers are held strictly liable for damages resulting from defective products.
When you need a highly qualified and experienced personal injury attorney following a car accident, you’ll find the help you need at the Huntsville, Alabama, law firm of Wettermark Keith. We have years of experience helping accident victims obtain fair compensation for car accident injuries, and a 95 percent rate of success.
We offer a complimentary legal consultation in which we’ll provide honest answers to your accident-related questions and advise you on the steps we’ll take on your behalf. We take cases on contingency, so there is no risk to you. We do all the work and cover all the expenses of putting together your case; you only pay us when your case is resolved, and only if we’ve obtained money for you. Call us today!
Car crashes vary in type and severity. The point of impact and the speed at which the car is traveling have a great deal to do with the injuries that an accident victim is likely to sustain.
The personal injury attorneys at the Huntsville, Alabama, law offices of Wettermark Keith have experience with nearly every type of car accident imaginable, and we are able to prove liability in nearly all the cases we accept when the accident is caused by another driver who was negligent, reckless, or careless. The accident types that we see most frequently in our car accident practice include, head-ons, t-bones, sideswipes, rear-impact, and rollover crashes.
We are happy to report that head-ons don’t occur very often. They make up only two percent of all car accidents. Unfortunately though, when they do happen, they are the most deadly of all accident types, causing ten percent of all traffic fatalities.
Head-on collisions usually happen on a two-lane road when a driver—who is usually either substance impaired, distracted, or overly fatigued—drives into the other lane and collides with an oncoming vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. The force of the impact is essentially doubled (assuming both vehicles are traveling at the same speed) and the resulting front-end impact is often deadly.
Head-on crashes also occur when a drive turns the wrong way onto a one-way street or enters a highway from the wrong direction after getting on the wrong ramp.
A T-bone accident is one where one car strikes another on its side at a right 90 angle. T-bone accidents occur most commonly at intersections when one car runs a stop sign or red light and ploughs into the side of a car properly traveling through the intersection, or when a car attempts to turn left without yielding to oncoming traffic.
T-bones are the cause of a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities: they comprise 13 percent of all car crashes and produce 18 percent of the deaths, killing around 9000 people every year.
A sideswipe is a side impact collision that involves one car glancing off another. The two cars can be traveling in the same direction during a careless lane change, when attempting to merge into traffic from a ramp, or when a one car wanders sideways from its lane and swipes the side of a car in the lane next to it.
In some cases, a sideswipe occurs when contact occurs between the sides of two cars traveling in opposite directions.
These are the most frequent type of car accident. They are somewhat less likely than other types of crashes to cause fatalities. They can often cause neck and back injuries, which can be serious and occasionally fatal. In a rear impact, the lower neck vertebrae are hyperextended, while the upper neck vertebrae are hyperflexed. This is commonly known as whiplash and can result in sprains, strains, and herniated discs when a car is hit hard from the rear.
Rear impact accidents are generally caused by tailgating, when one car drives too close to the car in front of it, or when a driver who is not paying attention to the road ahead doesn’t brake when the flow of traffic stops. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 29.6 percent of car accidents in the U.S. are rear-end crashes.
A rollover accident is when a car flips onto its roof. This is an extremely deadly type of accident, especially when the occupants of the vehicle are not wearing seatbelts and are ejected as the car rolls. Older model sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and vans are particularly prone to rolling over because of their high center of gravity, which causes them to be unstable, especially when taking curves at high speeds. Rollovers constitute only 2.3 percent of the nation’s accidents, but they often result in fatalities.
When you’ve been involved in any kind of a car crash in Alabama that someone else caused, you are entitled to make a claim for monetary compensation for your damages. In Huntsville, the personal injury attorneys at Wettermark Keith have a long history of success in bringing in high value damage awards, with a 95 percent win rate and more than $250 million obtained for clients since 2003. Call us today to schedule a free review of your case.
You can bank on it: within a very short time following your injury accident, you will hear from the other driver’s insurance company. Although it may seem like the natural thing to do, getting involved with an insurance adjuster is rarely in your best interest.
Insurance companies are in a tremendous hurry to get to you when you’ve been in an accident with their insured. Some insurance companies even dispatch an adjuster to the accident scene! Don’t make the mistake of believing that they’re in a hurry to pay you the value of your claim, because they’re not. What they are in a hurry to do is get to you before you have a lawyer.
Insurance adjusters are usually a friendly bunch, personable and helpful—or so it seems. But before you even think of exchanging pleasantries with the adjuster, consider the insurance company’s reason for existing.
The insurance company is not in business to help the injured. It is not in business to help anyone—except its stockholders, and maybe the CEO who expects a multi-million dollar annual bonus. The insurance company exists for the benefit of its investors. That’s not to say that insurance is not beneficial to you—it is. Not only that, it’s required by law. But the true interest of the insurance company is not its insured and it is not the accident victim. Its true interest is making money.
As in any major corporation, profits rule. And insurance companies make profits by taking in more (much more) in premiums than they pay out on claims. So they love to sell you policies, but they hate to pay on claims. So in the interest of their own profits, they work very hard to avoid paying claims. And the adjuster is well trained and has an impressive repertory of tricks up his sleeve to use on the unsuspecting.
The adjuster will buddy up to you and promise to do his/her best to make things right for you, so you won’t need a lawyer. “Lawyer’ is the very last word the adjuster wants to hear. Remember what the adjuster’s goal is. The adjuster works for the insurance company and knows that once you have a lawyer, the company is going to have to pay you a lot more than if you could be persuaded to go it alone.
The adjuster will ask to record a statement from you about the accident . . . and will then try to lead you into making a statement that will damage your case.
Adjuster: Good morning. How are you today?
You: Fine thanks.
Adjuster: Glad to hear it!
You bet the adjuster is glad. You just said you’re fine. Fine means not injured. Not injured means no payout. Enough said?
NEVER GIVE AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER A RECORDED STATEMENT!
The adjuster will give you medical authorizations and ask you to sign them, telling you that the law requires it. SIGN NOTHING! You haven’t even been treated yet, or your treatment is just beginning. Of course you will eventually provide medical records, but at this point it’s premature. All the insurance company wants to do is rummage around in your medical history in the hope that something will pop up they can use against you. Sign authorizations only when your attorney tells you to.
The adjuster will offer you a quick settlement. All you have to do is sign a full release. If you do this and next week you discover you have a herniated disc, a slow brain bleed, or complex regional pain syndrome, there will be nothing you can do to get any more compensation for the newly discovered injuries. You’ve signed that right away. And you can be certain the amount being offered won’t be close to fair.
So when the insurance adjuster comes to call, don’t engage. To protect your right to a fair settlement, all you need to tell the adjuster is, “I’ll be happy to take your card and get back to you with the name of my attorney.”
Now call the offices of Huntsville attorneys Wettermark Keith. We will throw the full force of our years of experience and success behind your claim, fighting for your right to a recovery that compensates you for all of your injuries. The consultation is free, and you never pay legal fees or expenses until the day you receive your settlement check. If we don’t win—a rare occurrence—you owe us absolutely nothing. Call Wettermark Keith today.