Why Are Pedestrian Accidents Increasing in Alabama?

Walking is one of the healthiest ways to get from Point A to Point B—if you’re lucky enough to live in a walkable city, you may even be able to get by without owning a car. But even if you just walk for fun and exercise, you deserve to walk freely without worrying about a rogue driver hitting you. Unfortunately, that’s not how it is for Alabama pedestrians. Pedestrian accidents are on the rise and the fallout is devastating.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a pedestrian accident, find out if you are entitled to compensation. Call McPhillips Shinbaum at 1-866-224-8664 to set up a time to talk to our team.

What the Data Says

The best source for accident statistics in Alabama is the Crash Facts booklet, an annual publication put out by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The most recent version covers 2020 data and includes a section specifically covering pedestrian accidents. In 2011, there were 741 pedestrian crashes resulting in 589 injuries and 84 deaths. How have those numbers changed over the years?

Let’s jump forward to 2019 since data from 2020 includes the pandemic when fewer cars were on the road. In 2019, there were over 900 pedestrian accidents. These collisions led to over 70 injuries and 114 deaths. These numbers reflect a 35% increase in fatalities and a 22% increase in total collisions. Not only are crashes on the rise, those crashes are becoming more and more deadly.

Even though crash numbers are deceivingly low in 2020 thanks to the pandemic, you might be surprised by fatality numbers. Even though crashes decreased significantly in 2020, fatalities remained high—there were 97 deaths in 2020.

How Drivers Can Cause Pedestrian Accidents

In many cases, drivers are to blame when pedestrian accidents occur. Distracted driving is a huge problem in Alabama and across the country, and pedestrians often pay the price. Drivers who are glancing down at their phones or completely engrossed in text messaging may not see a pedestrian as easily as they’d see a car in their path. By the time they notice—assuming that they notice at all—it may be too late to stop. 

This is exacerbated by speeding, another common mistake made by drivers. When drivers are zipping down city streets, they don’t leave themselves enough time to come to a complete stop.

Drivers also have a problem yielding right-of-way to pedestrians. Even though pedestrians generally have the right-of-way in intersections and elsewhere, drivers often try to squeeze through rather than wait for pedestrians. This leads to preventable accidents.

Impaired driving is a significant contributing factor to pedestrian collisions in Alabama. Impaired drivers are less likely to see pedestrians, less able to respond appropriately when they do notice them, and less likely to have the motor skills needed to stop in time.

When Pedestrians Are to Blame

Although drivers may be to blame for the majority of pedestrian crashes in Alabama, it is important to acknowledge the role that pedestrians play. They have to be active participants in their own safety, rather than expecting cars to stop for them. Even if a car is in the wrong, being right isn’t worth being hit.

Jaywalking is one of the main ways pedestrians cause accidents. Drivers are far less likely to see jaywalkers than they are to see people crossing at intersections. This gives them minimal time to stop and dramatically increases the likelihood of an accident.

Some pedestrians also have a habit of ignoring walk and don’t walk signals. While drivers are technically supposed to stop to allow people to cross intersections, crossing on a don’t walk signal makes it much more likely you’ll get hit. It’s just an unnecessary risk to take.

Distracted walking is an issue much like distracted driving. Pedestrians should be cognizant of the drivers around them, what they’re doing, and their surroundings.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Call McPhillips Shinbaum Today

If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a pedestrian crash, don’t wait any longer to talk to McPhillips Shinbaum. Our team is committed to helping you fight for full and fair compensation. Reach out online or call us at 1-866-224-8664 to schedule a consultation now.

Julian McPhillips Stands Against Dismissal

Julian McPhillips Stands Against Case Dismisal

From the Selma Times Journal:

Following a ruling by the Dallas County Circuit Court, which dismissed all cases against the three Selma Police Department (SPD) officers indicted last year, Montgomery attorney Julian McPhillips held a press conference alongside officers Toriano Neely, Jeffrey Hardy and Kendall Thomas Thursday.

McPhillips called the ruling “historic and unprecedented” and condemned the actions of Special Agent Susan Smith of the Alabama Attorney General’s office, who presence during grand jury testimony ultimately led to the officers’ cases being dismissed.

Read the entire article at the Selma Times Journal.


Alabama College Campus Concealed Carry Law

Can I Carry a Concealed Weapon on an Alabama College Campus?

What is the Alabama College Campus Concealed Carry Law? Can I carry a concealed weapon on an Alabama college campus?

In the first nine months of 2018, there were 36 school shootings in the United States, resulting in 81 injuries and 42 deaths. While some believe that more regulations are necessary to stop these events, others want to protect the lives of students and staff by allowing concealed weapons on certain campuses.

This is a hotly debated topic, and it is an issue that is currently addressed at the state level. Some states allow people, including teachers and students, to have licensed concealed weapons on campus and others don’t permit the practice. Still others have tight restrictions on who can do this and under what circumstances. In some states, the decision to allow concealed weapons on campus is left up to the individual college or campus.

The Citizens Crime Commission of New York City conducted a study on campus gun violence. It found that, between the 2010-11 and 2015-16 school years, on-campus shootings increased from 12 to nearly 30, a 150% increase. Since 2011, there have been close to 200 shootings on college campuses, with the most incidents taking place in California, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. If you’re wondering whether you can carry a concealed weapon on an Alabama college campus, the answer is, “It depends.”

States that Forbid Concealed Weapons on College Campuses

Although many states allow citizens to apply for a concealed carry permit and have a concealed weapon on their person, they draw the line at permitting this on a college campus. The 16 states that have expressly forbidden this include:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • North Carolina
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Massachusetts
  • South Carolina
  • Wyoming

States that Allow Concealed Weapons on College Campuses

Some states have given a blanket approval for people to conceal and carry firearms on their public college campuses. Tennessee only allows faculty to have this privilege. Both Arkansas and Georgia are the most recent additions to the states that allow faculty, students, and visitors to conceal and carry on campus. Other states that allow this include:

  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Idaho
  • Texas
  • Mississippi
  • Wisconsin
  • Oregon
  • Utah

States that Leave the Decision Up to the Individual College or Campus

That leaves 23 U.S. states, all of which put the decision on conceal and carry into the hands of the individual colleges or campuses. When it comes to Alabama, there have been some decisions that apply statewide.

For example, the Alabama Community College System has a rule (Board Policy 511.01) stating that no guns are allowed on the state’s community college campuses – with a few exceptions. Law enforcement officers who are either acting in the performance of their duties or who are enrolled in classes may carry firearms. Firearms are also permitted when they are part of an instructional program at the school.

The entire University of Alabama system has established a “Dangerous Weapons & Firearms Policy.” The policy expressly prohibits any “dangerous weapons” on its campuses. These include:

  • Any device that delivers or shoots a bullet, pellet, BB, dart, arrow, electrical charge, flare, or other projectile, whether loaded or not, including any devices powered by CO2.
  • Any devices or instruments that can be used as a weapon to threaten someone or inflict injury, including non-culinary knives that have a blade longer than four inches.
  • Any fireworks or other explosive devices.

The policy forbids anyone on campus from having such things as guns, rifles, ammunition, crossbows, swords, tasers, and air guns. It applies to students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The only exception applies to law enforcement officers who are on duty. Private security officers and other staff with an express purpose must receive pre-approval from the university to have a firearm on campus.

Do You Have Questions About Your Gun Rights in Alabama?

Gun laws can be complex, particularly when a regulatory body decides to make sweeping changes. Running afoul of the law when it comes to a firearms regulation can lead to some unpleasant consequences not to mention a potentially dangerous encounter with law enforcement.

If you have been accused of violating a gun law or have questions about Alabama’s laws related to firearms, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP for assistance. Reach us at our Montgomery office at 334.262-1911.

Trucking Accident Attorneys - McPhillips Shinbaum

How to Avoid an Accident with a Big Rig Truck

Crashes involving big rig trucks can be devastating and are happening with greater frequency in Alabama. Interstate commerce needs have put more tractor trailers on our nation’s roads, and they are being driven further than ever thanks to a critical driver shortage.

Because of the violence surrounding a crash involving a large commercial truck, many of these accidents involve very serious injuries and often result in loss of life. One of the best ways to stay safe on the road is to have a better understanding of the dangers of these big rigs and know how to best avoid accidents with large commercial trucks.

The Dangers of 18-Wheelers

There are roughly half a million accidents involving big rigs on our nation’s roads each year. The maximum weight for one of these vehicles is 80,000 pounds of gross weight, which is over 15 times heavier than the average passenger car. When accidents happen, they are often due to truck driver error. Some of the most common mistakes that lead to these devastating crashes include:

  • Substance abuse. Somewhere between one third and one-half of large truck drivers involved in accidents also use some type of drugs. These can impair decision-making and reflexes.
  • Driver fatigue. Another truck driver impairment and cause of accidents is the extreme fatigue that comes with working and driving too many hours.
  • Blind spot errors. When truck drivers are fatigued, impaired, or distracted, they may lose track of vehicles in their blind spots, which could lead to a serious crash.
  • Speeding is extremely dangerous in any vehicle but can have tragic consequences when a commercial truck exceeds the speed limit. Speeding trucks can cause rollover accidents, jackknife accidents, and multicar crashes that result in severe injuries or death.

 How to Avoid Accidents With Big Rig Trucks

Passenger car drivers may need to operate their vehicles more defensively around large trucks. Since a truck’s visibility and stopping time may be diminished, a passenger car driver maintains the most control over their vehicle. While this doesn’t mean that you would shoulder the responsibility for a crash, keeping yourself and your passengers safe should be a priority. Some of the things that you can do to avoid one of these dangerous truck accidents include:

  • Keep a safe distance. Many big rigs have signs and stickers warning of their limited visibility. Take these seriously. As a general rule, you should try to stay as much as four car lengths behind a truck and avoid changing lanes right in front of them.
  • Know the “no” zones. That limited visibility that trucks have is because of their blind spots that are referred to as “No Zones”. When driving near these massive vehicles, stay out of these blind spot areas, which are on all four sides of the vehicle.
  • Pass big rigs safely. Use extreme caution when you pass a big rig. If you are on a two-way road, it’s going to take much longer to pass a truck than another car, and your visibility could be limited for part of the time. Always pass on the left side, use a turn signal to announce your intentions, and wait until you are six or more car lengths ahead of the truck to re-enter the lane.
  • Give trucks space to turn. Big rigs require a significant amount of space to turn, and you risk being trapped or causing an accident if you creep up on their right side. Always use extra caution around intersections.
  • Report unsafe operation. If you ever witness a truck driving erratically, operating too fast for conditions, or driving with an unsafe load, pull over and report it to the authorities. You may end preventing a serious crash.

Speak with an Experienced Alabama Truck Accident Lawyer

Most big rig truck crashes are avoidable. While they aren’t all the fault of the truck driver, many are. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in one of these tragic accidents, the experienced Alabama truck accident attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, will investigate your claim and work diligently to protect your rights.

Our Alabama personal injury attorneys aggressively advocate for the rights of accident victims throughout the state. We will investigate the circumstances of your accident and pursue damages from the parties responsible for your losses. Contact our office now at 334.262.1911 or reach out to us online to discuss your case.



school injury kids playing on a moon climber

What To Do if Your Child is Injured at School in Alabama

As parents, when you send your children to school each morning, you’d rather not have to worry about their health and safety throughout the day. Unfortunately, school accidents and injuries are a serious problem in Alabama and throughout the country.

While the types of injuries that an elementary school student is exposed to could differ from those of a high school student, the truth is that all children who attend school are at risk when they walk into a school or participate in school-sponsored activities.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that as many as 80% of elementary school students who visit the school nurse do so because of an injury. While some accidents can’t be avoided, others on school property are caused by unsafe conditions or the negligent behavior of another student or staff member. Unfortunately, legal liability in these cases can be complicated.

Types of School-Related Accidents

From the time your child boards the school bus in the morning until they get home in the afternoon, they could be exposed to a wide variety of hazards that could result in serious injury. As a general rule, your child’s school and the governing school board has a responsibility to keep children reasonably safe from harm. Sometimes they fail in that duty, and some of the most common school-related accidents and injuries include:

  • School bus or other school-sponsored transportation accidents
  • Food poisoning
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Injury from defective products such as toys or playground equipment
  • Sports injuries
  • Assault by other children or an adult

In some of these cases, the accident or injury happens due to the careless or negligent acts of another party. When a child suffers harm, you have the right to ask those responsible to pay for damages.

Liability Issues in Alabama School Injury Cases

As with any personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove negligence by showing several facts. First, you must show that the school owed a duty of care to your child. Second, you must prove that the school breached that duty of care. Finally, you’ll need to show that the breach of duty either caused or contributed to your child’s injuries.

When it comes to school activities, many accident and injury cases deal with the school’s failure to adequately supervise children. Lack of supervision can lead to playground accidents, bullying injuries, illness from unsanitary conditions, and injuries from slip and falls. These are just a few examples of the ways that a child can experience an injury on school grounds.

Who is Responsible When Your Child is Injured in an Alabama School?

If your child was injured while on school grounds or while they were participating in a school-sponsored activity, determining who is responsible for that harm can be a challenge. Because the school district has a duty to provide a safe and secure environment for your child, this is a primary consideration for any personal injury case. For example, a school bus accident could be the fault of another driver, but it’s also possible that there were some safety issues with the school bus that contributed to injuries.

The primary barrier to most school-related lawsuits involves a protection called “sovereign immunity.” Provided your child’s school is a public school, there are laws in place that give government entities immunity from lawsuits except under certain conditions. Fortunately, all states have waived this rule when the negligence of the school district and/or one of its employees causes or contributes to the injury of a student.

Before you can file a lawsuit against a school district or its employees, the state requires that you meet certain requirements and follow some specific procedures. Failing to do either could bar your claim for recovery. There are also time limits in place to file a claim for damages against a school district.

Speak with One of Our Child Injury Attorneys in Alabama

When a child suffers from an injury, a parent’s first instinct is to fight back against those responsible for the harm. Unfortunately, school-related injuries and accidents can be complex legal matters. Having a qualified and experienced child injury attorney in your corner will give you the best chance of uncovering the responsible parties and seeing justice served. Contact the Montgomery, Alabama office of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP today at 334.262.1911 or online to arrange a free consultation.

school bus accidents

Is Your Child’s School Bus Safe?

Each day, school buses across the nation carry more than 25 million students to and from school and activities. The school year has been back in full swing for two months in some places, and many children are spending extra time on school buses for sports and field trips. But, are your children really safe on school buses?

In reality, school bus accidents are rare. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 327 children lost their lives in school bus-related accidents between 2004 and 2013. That might seem unacceptably high, but of this number, 147 children were in other vehicles, 125 were pedestrians or cyclists, and 54 were on a school bus. Still, there’s always room for improvement.

Improving Alabama School Bus Safety

Despite the figures that favor the safety of school buses, there are some real concerns. The NHTSA itself believes that there are several ways that schools and school bus companies can improve safety. Their recommendations include:

  • Paying extra attention to loading and unloading zones. More school bus-related accidents and injuries occur while buses are loading and unloading children than when they are driving on the road. When drivers fail to see children in a blind spot, in front, or behind the bus, they are more likely to hit or even run over a child, causing serious injury or death.
  • Reducing driver distractions. Just as with passenger vehicles, distracted school bus drivers can cause some serious if not deadly accidents. The NHTSA recommends that policies be in place to prohibit such things as texting or interacting with passengers while driving so that buses are as safe as possible. In fact, it is now illegal in the state of Alabama to use a cell phone while driving to send or receive text messages.
  • Requiring seatbelt use. Another way to increase the safety of school buses is to have seatbelts on the vehicles and require their use. The NHTSA believes that all school buses should have seatbelts, but the federal governments and most state governments have done little to further these initiatives.

Large school buses around the nation still don’t require safety belts. This is not the case, however, with smaller school buses. According to the NHTSA, the weight of larger school buses provides a measure of safety as a heavier bus will distribute crash forces differently than a passenger vehicle. Smaller school buses, under 10,000 pounds, are different. These need to have safety belts, either lap or shoulder belts, to provide additional crash protection.

Ways to Keep Your Children Safe Around School Buses

School bus companies and school districts must do their part to keep the transportation experience as safe as possible for children. There are also several ways that parents, and even children, can help prevent dangerous school bus accidents. Because most accidents occur outside the bus, here are five safety precautions to keep in mind courtesy of the National Safety Council:

  1. As the bus is approaching, children should move back from the road to line up.
  2. Children should not move towards the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the vehicle’s doors have opened.
  3. When getting off of the bus, children should cross the street at least 10 feet in front of the bus for the most visibility. Have children make eye contact with the bus driver before beginning to cross. Children should still look out for unexpected traffic.
  4. If a child must cross the street where there is a visual obstruction, such as a parked car, the child should carefully move to where others cars can see them before beginning to cross. Again, children should always look for traffic and look both ways before crossing the road.
  5. Always stay away from the rear wheels of the bus.

Who is to Blame When a School Bus Accident Occurs?

When a school bus accident does happen, the result can be serious and life-changing. Depending on the situation, the fault could lie with any number of parties. These include:

  • The school bus driver
  • The school bus company
  • The school district
  • Another driver
  • The bus manufacturer
  • A parts manufacturer
  • The school bus maintenance company

When there is potentially more than one party at fault in an accident, a case can become complicated. Whatever the cause of a school bus accident, if your child is injured, you may be entitled to compensation for damages.

Contact the Alabama school bus injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum today at 334.262.1911 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Carnival Accidents in Alabama - McPhillips Shinbaum

The Alabama National Fair Begins Soon – What Happens If I Get Injured at a Fair or Carnival?

One of the things that Alabama residents enjoy doing for recreation is attending the various fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks around the state. The Alabama National Fair in Montgomery opens from October 25 – November 5 of this year, which is another opportunity to enjoy a long-running tradition. There is also the possibility for serious injury should one of the rides at this popular fair break or malfunction.

Thousands Injured Annually by Amusement Park Rides

Amusement park and fair ride accidents are in the spotlight once again after the tragic incident that took place in Ohio this past summer. When a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair, one person died, and seven more were injured. In 2016, three girls were injured when they fell from a Ferris wheel in at a Tennessee county fair. In Kansas, a 10-year old boy was killed due to a defect on the world’s tallest water slide.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 30,900 injuries occurred last year alone due to amusement park attractions. The types of rides that can cause serious injury can vary from small coin-operated rides to carousels and bumper cars to large roller coasters. One 20-year research study found that 70% of injuries occurred during summertime when most amusement parks are open and state fairs are held.

Amusement Park Injuries and Accidents in Recent Years

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that only the bigger and faster rides cause problems. Those rides can lead to some catastrophic injuries and even death, but just about any type of ride can cause serious injury. Most of these rides sit on hard surfaces, so just the act of falling out of an attraction can lead to injury.

Injuries from these amusement park accidents range from minor cuts and scrapes to issues that may be life-threatening. Some common injuries include head and neck problems, soft tissue injuries, and traumatic brain injury.

There are a variety of reasons why an amusement park or carnival injury might occur. Over a 10-year period, some of the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Ride defects, including weight-bearing issues
  • Equipment and cable defects
  • Poor ride maintenance
  • Park guests entering unsafe or restricted areas
  • Ride safety bar issues

 What Happens If I Get Injured at a Fair or Carnival?

When the above-referenced study was published, the authors suggested that more regulations needed to be in place to make these rides safer for the public. Unfortunately, the ability of the CPSC to oversee these rides was taken away back in the 1980’s. The CPSC only deals with the regulation of mobile rides, which are those that you’ll find at local carnivals.

Fixed-site rides, such as the ones you find at amusement parks and some large fairs are now regulated by state and local governments, which has led to a complex and fragmented system. What does this mean for fair rides in Alabama? It’s not good news.

Alabama remains one of just six U.S. states that has no provisions for the inspection of amusement parks. Since no federal agency has jurisdiction over fixed-state amusement parks, regulations and inspection are left up to the state. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) may review accidents after the fact, but they won’t take prevention measures.

Liability for Alabama Amusement Park Accidents and Injuries

Not only can carnival ride injuries be serious and life-changing, but the liability issues involved with these cases can also be complex. In many of these cases, the accident and injuries could have been prevented if it weren’t for negligence. Even without government oversight, amusement parks and fairs have a duty to ensure that their rides are safe for the public. Each ride should be maintained, serviced, and inspected regularly to ensure that hazards don’t exist. When this duty of care is breached, the chance of an accident occurring increases and injured parties can bring suit for damages.

If you or a loved one have suffered from an injury while attending a carnival or fair in Alabama or while riding any of this state’s amusement park rides, it’s important that you speak with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These ride operators will try to avoid any negative publicity and may attempt to settle a case quickly. This is never in your best interests. The skilled and knowledgeable legal team at McPhillips Shinbaum understand this system and know what it takes to protect your right to cover just compensation.

Contact the Alabama amusement park injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum today at (334) 262-1911 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.



Expert Testimony in Personal Injury Case - McPhillips Shinbaum

How Important Are Expert Witnesses in Alabama Personal Injury Cases?

In personal injury cases, the injured party has the burden of proof. This means that a victim in an accident must show that they’ve suffered damages because of someone else’s negligence. That other party is called the defendant in a personal injury case. Even if you have clear testimony, solid proof, and witnesses, you may still need additional evidence to make your case. This is often where the testimony of an expert witness can help.

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is a person that has specialized knowledge in a particular field that qualifies as being beyond the knowledge of the average person. Expert witnesses can provide testimony in both criminal and civil cases and their testimony may be used to either prove or disprove a claim. Expert witnesses are not the same as fact witnesses or an accident eyewitness.

A fact witness provides testimony that doesn’t involve expertise or require any special training. They simply tell the court what they heard or saw with respect to the case. Expert witnesses, on the other hand, can provide their opinion on certain issues in a lawsuit. The expert must be qualified as an expert in their field before they can give admissible opinions in a case.

Types of Expert Witnesses for Personal Injury Cases

Many types of expert witnesses might be used in a personal injury case. There are two classifications of expert witnesses: consulting experts and testifying experts. A consulting expert might help explain key facts and issues involved in a case to a legal team, but they won’t actually testify in court. A testifying expert is someone who will provide sworn testimony in court to either prove or disprove a legal point.

The specific types of experts called in to help with personal injury cases include:

  • Physicians and other medical experts
  • Psychiatry and mental health
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Technical Fields
  • Vocational Training
  • Toxicology
  • Forensics
  • Economics
  • Other specialized areas

 The Role of an Expert Witness in a Personal Injury Case

When pursuing just compensation in a personal injury case, the defendant will often claim that they were not to blame for the accident or the resulting injuries. In these cases, expert witnesses can testify and explain how an accident occurred as well as the ways that the plaintiff’s injuries and damages were caused by the accident. Expert testimony is often used to help attorneys address both the issue of liability as well as the full extent of damages.

  • Expert testimony to address liability– Whether the case is an auto accident, or products liability claim, the factors leading up to and causing an accident can sometimes be complicated. Expert witnesses can play a critical role in demonstrating and explaining how an accident was caused through recreation and explanations of complicated factors in laymen’s terms.
  • Expert testimony to address damages– When the issue of the scope of injury is in question, expert witnesses can address this for the courts as well. Medical professionals can speak to the nature and extent of injuries as well as the degree of future care necessary. Vocational experts can give opinions about the ability of the plaintiff to earn a living or their need for retraining services.

Choosing the Best Expert Witness for Your Personal Injury Case

Expert witnesses are so important to some personal injury cases that they can make the difference in a judge’s or jury’s decision for or against a plaintiff. For this reason alone, it’s important to choose the best expert witness for your case. Expert witnesses must have no conflicts of interest in the cases that they work on, nor should they have anything in their past that can be used to discredit them. Witnesses may be asked unexpected questions by the other party, so they should be personable and able to think quickly on their feet.

Your experienced Alabama personal injury attorney from McPhillips Shinbaum will make sure that you have expert witnesses with impeccable credentials as well as those that are ready to provide qualified and credible testimony in front of a judge or jury.

Contact the Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum

If you have a personal injury or wrongful death case of any kind, the experienced attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP understand what it takes to protect your rights and will work hard to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (334) 262-1911 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Accident in a Rental Car in Alabama - McPhillips Shinbaum

I Had an Accident in a Rental Car – Who is Responsible for Damages and Injuries?

Few experiences are quite as stressful as being involved in a car accident. Indeed, a car wreck in Alabama, even one that doesn’t involve catastrophic injuries, can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, and one that leaves the drivers with pressing questions regarding liability and recovering compensation for damages.

Fortunately, in the aftermath of a car accident, those involved can file a claim with their insurance company in order to pursue damages. But what happens if you are involved in an accident in Alabama in a rental car? Are you still able to recover compensation for any injuries or damage involved?

Determining Who is Responsible for Damages in a Rental Car Accident in Alabama

To begin, after an accident in a rental car, determining who is responsible for paying for damages it is necessary to look at the insurance policy purchased through the rental car agency. For example, many car rental companies provide a variety of insurance types, a handful of which are described in detail below:

  • Loss damage waiver (LDW)– Loss damage waiver coverage limits the amount for which a driver is responsible in the event the car is damaged or stolen. In this case, a driver who purchased LDW would not be responsible for any of the damages sustained by the vehicle in an accident.
  • Collision damage waiver (CDW)– Collision damage waiver is similar to loss damage waiver, although it only covers damages sustained in collisions, and not due to theft.
  • Personal effects coverage (PEC)– Personal effects coverage is meant to provide compensation for damage to any personal effects damaged in a crash.
  • Personal accident insurance (PAI)– Personal accident insurance provides coverage for any personal injuries sustained in a car accident.

Ultimately, the type and scope of insurance purchased through the rental car agency will help determine who is responsible for paying for damages in the aftermath of a crash. Because rental agreements are complex documents, anyone who has been involved in a wreck in a rental car should reach out to an attorney first before discussing the issue with a company representative. By allowing your lawyer to speak to the rental car agency on your behalf, you will help ensure your rights are protected as you work to recover compensation.

What Happens if I Didn’t Purchase Any of the Available Insurance Policies from the Rental Car Agency?

Of course, not everyone opts to purchase additional insurance policies when they choose to rent a car. Many believe that they will avoid an accident in a rental car, and, as such, don’t obtain additional coverage.

In this case, if a driver has chosen not to purchase additional insurance for a rental car, they will not likely be able to obtain any compensation through the rental car agency. That does not mean that they will be forced to pay for damages out of pocket, however. Instead, any personal insurance policy that the driver currently maintains will be applied in this situation. For example, if a driver involved in a rental car accident has a separate car insurance policy, this will be used to pay for damages. In this case, the driver will still be responsible for paying for their deductible; that being said, once this amount is covered, the policy should cover the rest. In order to be certain that an existing auto insurance policy will cover your damages, you should contact McPhillips Shinbaum for assistance.

If You Have Been in an Accident, It is in Your Best Interests to Contact an Alabama Accident Attorney

In general, if you have been involved in an accident in a rental car in Alabama, it is in your best interest to reach out to a skilled Alabama personal injury attorney, regardless of the situation. You may be contacted by insurance adjusters on behalf of the rental car agency, as well as your personal coverage provider, seeking to obtain a statement. In this situation, by communicating directly through your attorney you can protect your rights as you progress through the claims process.

If you need the assistance of a legal professional, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP by calling 334-262-1911 for a free case evaluation. Our dedicated Alabama attorneys are ready to begin working on your behalf immediately.