Personal Injury Attorneys in Birmingham
If you have suffered an injury through no fault of your own, you naturally have a lot of concerns and questions. Worrying about the legalities of filing a claim while recovering from your injuries only adds to the stress. That is where we can help you.
The personal injury lawyers at Burge & Burge will take the important steps necessary after your injury to file your claim as soon as possible, and we will handle the entire process from start to finish. This will make things a lot easier for you and increase the chances of receiving all of the compensation you deserve.
There are numerous types of accidents and events that can result in a personal injury. A large number of these injuries happen because of motor vehicle accidents, such as:
- Boating Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Burn Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Bicycle Accidents
- Product Liability
- Bone Fracture Injuries
- Amputation Injuries
We have handled just about every type of vehicle accident claim, and we understand the complexities of these types of cases. Even with auto accidents that are fairly straightforward with facts that are pretty clear, it can be surprisingly difficult to recover full and fair compensation when you are injured.
We know how to deal with insurance companies, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. We put our experience to work to develop the strongest possible case for our clients, which often leads to a sizable settlement that is in keeping with their best interests. If the other side is not willing to be reasonable, however, we are ready and able to pursue full damages through litigation.
Another area of personal injury where we have helped a large number of clients is medical malpractice. Medical professionals have a duty to provide at least a minimum standard of care that is recognized as acceptable by similar healthcare providers. When they fail to live up to this duty, they must be held accountable. Medical malpractice cases tend to be far more complex than many other areas of personal injury law, and it is very important to work with attorneys who know what to look for and who know the right medical experts to call upon to provide testimony that helps substantiate the claim.
Our injury attorneys at Burge & Burge also have extensive experience successfully representing clients with the following types of personal injury claims:
You can be injured by an unsafe or dangerous product that has either a design flaw or a manufacturing defect. We have experience seeking compensation from the manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer because of a defective product. Our product liability claim attorneys have represented individuals with injuries resulting from:
- Dangerous or defective consumer products and household appliances
- Design and manufacturing flaws and defects
- Tire blow outs
- Inadequate instructions or warnings
- Poorly designed industrial machinery, tools heavy equipment
- Defective car, truck and sport utility vehicle components
- Faulty seat belts and airbags
- Prescription Drug Recall
- Other drugs
Slip and fall injuries suffered on the premises of a property owner, such as a business, may be caused by the following:
- Broken stairs, broken steps and dangerous stairwells
- Negligent stocking of store merchandise
- Elevator and escalator defects
- Failure to warn of a hazardous or dangerous condition
- Negligent security
- Excavations and holes
- Unsafe buildings
If you are exposed to a toxic substance because of the carelessness or recklessness of another person or company and you are injured as a result, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The following list includes some of the types of toxic tort injuries that our lawyers handle:
- Carbon monoxide
- Toxic mold litigation
- Chemical burns and exposure to toxic chemicals
- Water contamination
- PCBs and other hazardous materials
- Mercury and lead paint
- Prescriptions, medications or supplements
When a loved one dies because of the negligence or reckless actions of another party, a wrongful death action can be brought against the party (or parties) responsible. This is similar to a personal injury claim, but there are some significant differences. Alabama has some of the most unique wrongful death laws in the country. First of all, a claim cannot be filed by just any family member, it can only be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. And unlike most other states, compensatory damages are not available from Alabama wrongful death lawsuits, you are only allowed to recover punitive damages.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim in Alabama
Personal injuries can range from mild to moderate to severe, and in the most extreme cases, catastrophic. Those who suffer measurable losses because of their injury deserve to be fully compensated in the form of damages. Compensatory damages can be grouped into two general categories:
- Economic Damages:This is compensation for direct monetary losses that the victim incurs, such as hospitalization costs, costs for surgeries and other types of medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, costs for ongoing medical care, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and property damage.
- Noneconomic Damages:This is compensation for intangible losses that are real but more difficult to quantify. Examples of noneconomic damages include physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and permanent disability.
In rarer cases in which the actions of the party responsible for your injuries were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to “punish” the wrongdoer and help discourage these types of actions in the future.
Recovering damages from a personal injury lawsuit is far more difficult in Alabama than most other states because our state applies the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering damages if they are found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident (even 1%).
This is a very high standard to meet, and you can be sure that the other side will attempt to use it against you in order to avoid paying you the compensation you deserve. And this is one of many reasons it is important to get an attorney involved as soon as possible after your injury, so you can ensure that your right to compensation is protected.
There’s also work related injuries that happen, such as transportation worker accidents. We handle those too.
How Are Damages Calculated in Car Accident Cases?
In the state of Alabama, once the person who was found to be at fault (who caused the accident) is completely and convincingly determined, then damages will be awarded.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident and you were found to be 20 percent at fault, while the other driver was found to be at 80 percent at fault, then because you were found partially negligent, you would not be awarded any damages. This is called contributory negligence, which is not commonly used in the U.S. Most other states use comparative negligence, which means that if you were found to be 20 percent at fault, then whatever the jury awarded you would be 20 percent less.
There is an exception, however. If the defendant in your case acted in a wanton or reckless manner, such as in a drunk driving case. The defendant would be fully at fault.
Another part of the equation for determining damages is finding out who is liable, or legally responsible, for the injuries and suffering that another person sustained during an accident or incident. If someone purposely harmed you, then he would be liable.
On the other hand, if someone was negligent, meaning reckless or careless, liability can be a murky issue. For example, if you are injured during a recreational activity or while playing a sport, then defendants can claim that there was an assumption of risk with this activity.
Sometimes, the liable party isn’t even present at the time of the accident or injury. One example is a business which is found liable for its employees’ actions.
Steps to Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement
While processes may vary slightly from one insurance company to another, the general steps to negotiating an injury settlement are as follows:
- Most insurers allow you to file a claim over the phone, and some have online forms you can fill out and submit. This should be done as soon as possible as insurance companies typically have tight deadlines.
- One of the first ways the insurance company will contact you after filing a claim is by sending you a “Reservation of Rights” letter. This letter typically states that they received your claim and will investigate it and be in contact with you about it. In the meantime, they are not admitting any liability for your injuries. Shortly before or after you receive this letter, you may also be called by the insurance adjuster to discuss the claim.
- Once you have been treated for your injuries, you understand the extent of them, and you have either fully recovered or recovered as much as your doctor expects you to, you can calculate your overall damages and send a demand letter to the insurance company asking for compensation. This letter should lay out your case clearly and present your total damages (both economic and non-economic).
- Shortly after you send your demand letter, you will receive a call or letter from the insurance adjuster either agreeing to pay the damages you have asked for, offering a lower amount, or denying the claim. Most of the time, they will try to claim that your injuries are not as severe as you are making them out to be, and offer you a lower amount, sometimes much lower. They may also try to claim that you are at least partially at fault for the injury, which, because of Alabama’s “contributory negligence” standard, they can use as a basis to deny your claim. This is where the real negotiations begin.
- The negotiation process can be difficult and grueling. You need to be well-prepared, patient, and persistent to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion.
Coping with the Physical and Emotional Impact of a Personal Injury
When someone suffers an injury that was the fault of another person or party, it can become a life-altering event. If it is a moderate to severe injury, the medical bills can start to pile up quickly. In addition, there is the prospect of missing work for an extended period of time.
These are just the financial costs of a personal injury, however. There is also a physical and emotional component that injured individuals must deal with, the effects of which can add up to untold amounts of pain and suffering, as well as trauma for the victim’s family members.
Although things can look pretty dark right after suffering an injury, there are several ways to effectively cope with the physical and emotional effects that are associated with it:
Involve your Family
It is understandable that someone would not want to “burden” their family members with fears and concerns about their injury. But staying silent is usually not the best approach. Silence makes family members worry even more, because they do not know what is really going on. This causes additional stress and tension, which can become a major impediment to your recovery.
In most cases, the best way to handle a personal injury is to be as open about it as possible with your family. Sit down with members of your household and let them know what you are dealing with, what changes will be required because of your injury, and how long you expect the recovery process to take. By getting your family involved, they can become a major source of strength and support during this difficult time.
Lean on your Social Network
When you are dealing with a personal injury, you can receive a lot of support and encouragement by staying connected to your closest friends and relatives. You may be physically unable to leave your house, and it may even be unsafe for others to visit you depending on your condition and any COVID-19 protocols that are in place in your area. Still, you can maintain contact doing virtual visits on platforms like Zoom or Skype, and you can even play some of your favorite games and do lots of other enjoyable activities online.
Keep a Personal Injury Journal
Journaling is one outlet that helps a lot of people deal with personal injuries. Each day, note how you are feeling, whether you are improving or taking a setback over the day before, and other things that are worth noting about your injury. A personal injury journal is not only therapeutic, it can also be a very important component of a legal case to help determine how much compensation you should receive for noneconomic losses.
Seek Professional Help
Mental anguish and psychological trauma are very common among personal injury victims, and there is no shame in reaching out for help from a therapist. Speaking with a therapist can give you some much-needed perspective from an outside party who has worked with numerous others who were in your shoes. Many therapists offer virtual visits that allow you to receive the help you need without having to leave your home.
Be Good to Yourself
Even when a personal injury is caused entirely by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, we as humans still have a tendency to blame ourselves for what happened. We spend so much time retracing our steps and wishing that we had done something differently or not been where we were at the time that an adverse event occurs.
Contact Our Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers
In personal injury cases, you need skilled attorneys who understand all of the issues involved and who are committed to exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. At Burge & Burge, our clients are our number one priority, and we work closely with them to provide the strong personalized representation they need and deserve.
If you still have questions you may visit our Personal Injury FAQ page.
To schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team, call our Birmingham office today at 205-549-8371 or toll free at 800-633-3733. We also handle Personal Injury cases in Homewood, AL, and we handle personal injury in Gardendale.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation for you