Salter Ferguson, LLC



Being in a car accident in Birmingham can be disorienting. You may be wondering, ‘What exactly should I do now?’ This guide delivers clear, practical steps to take after a car accident in Birmingham, from securing the scene to navigating the aftermath, without overwhelming you with detail.

Key Takeaways

  • At the accident scene, prioritize safety by checking for injuries and securing the scene to prevent further accidents, notify local police or Alabama Highway Patrol, and collect evidence and witness information for future claims or legal proceedings.
  • Exchange crucial information with other drivers involved without admitting fault, document accident details thoroughly, and promptly seek medical attention to support future insurance claims and accommodate state statutes for treatment eligibility.
  • Report the accident to your insurance promptly, understand the damages claimable, consider consulting a car accident attorney for legal representation, manage communications with insurance carefully, and consider long-term insurance coverage and legal time frames.

Immediate Actions at the Accident Scene in Birmingham

An accident scene can be a whirlwind of confusion. In such chaos, maintaining composure and prioritizing immediate actions for personal safety and legal compliance is paramount. As the dust settles after a car crash, remember your immediate priority should be ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Switch on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the emergency and assist emergency responders in locating the scene.

Check for Injuries and Prioritize Safety

Right after a car accident, evaluating injuries for safety is a must. Check all parties involved, including yourself, for injuries ranging from minor cuts to severe conditions. If any injuries are discovered, stop immediately and contact emergency medical services for assistance.

If you must evacuate the vehicle, do so with extreme caution to avoid additional hazards. In precarious situations, stay inside with seatbelts fastened until help arrives.

Secure the Scene and Prevent Further Accidents

After evaluating injuries, the subsequent task is securing the accident scene. If feasible, move the vehicle to the side of the road to prevent further traffic disruptions. If the vehicle is immobile, activate your emergency flashers to increase visibility.

Exercise extreme caution when exiting the vehicle after an accident, ensuring visibility to other drivers to avoid additional accidents. If the situation is hazardous, stay inside the vehicle with seatbelts fastened while waiting for police and emergency personnel.

Notify the Local Police or Alabama Highway Patrol

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, notifying the local police or Alabama Highway Patrol is vital. According to Alabama law, in the event of an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $250, it’s mandatory to report the accident immediately to the police. Having an Alabama car accident checklist can help ensure you follow all necessary steps in such situations.

An official police department accident report is an important document for insurance claim processes as it accurately captures the events of the accident and often includes critical details that can aid in the settlement of claims.

Essential Information Exchange with Other Drivers

After addressing immediate safety measures, you should shift your focus to exchanging important information with other drivers. It’s legally required to exchange information following a car accident, including:

  • Names
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Vehicle registrations
  • Proof of insurance

Remember, when exchanging information, avoid suggesting fault or guessing about the causes of the accident; it’s not the time to admit fault.

Be especially cautious when in contact with the other driver’s insurance company and only provide basic details about the incident.

Gather Driver and Vehicle Details

Collecting accurate information from the driver involved in a car accident is pivotal for any subsequent reports or claims. Here are the key details you should obtain:

  • Full name of the other driver
  • Contact information of the other driver
  • Driver’s license number of the other driver
  • Names and addresses of all passengers involved
  • Details of the other vehicle such as its type, color, and model

Make sure to record all of this insurance information to ensure a smooth claims process.

Also, ensure you gather the insurance company name and the policy number from the other driver to facilitate insurance claims and communication.

Document the Scene Thoroughly

At the accident scene, documenting every detail thoroughly is of utmost importance. Photos and videos taken immediately after an accident serve as undeniable evidence for insurance claims or legal proceedings. Documentation should include photographs from various angles showing the damage to all vehicles involved, as well as capturing the overall scene, like the positions of cars and relevant traffic signs.

If possible, secure video footage from witnesses or nearby surveillance for additional perspectives of the accident.

Obtain Witness Contact Information

Witness statements play a vital role in determining liability and providing detailed accounts of the accident, which are essential in insurance claims and legal proceedings. Therefore, obtaining the names and contact information of witnesses at the accident scene is crucial.

Remember, witnesses offer objective viewpoints that can significantly influence the outcome of insurance claims and legal disputes.

Prompt Medical Attention and Documentation

Following the immediate actions at the accident scene and information gathering, the focus should shift to the medical side. It’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident, not only for health reasons but also to ensure your actions are aligned with state requirements. States have various statutes of limitations for seeking medical treatment to remain eligible for insurance reimbursement, which can range from 72 hours to 14 days after an accident.

Seek Immediate Medical Assistance

A medical evaluation right after a car accident can reveal injuries such as internal bleeding or soft tissue damage that might not be instantly noticeable. Late-appearing injuries such as concussions and soft-tissue injuries like whiplash highlight the need for timely medical assessment after accidents.

Remember, seeking medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident is critical not only for health reasons but also to comply with insurance requirements for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and to strengthen your personal injury claim.

Keep Track of Medical Visits and Expenses

While seeking medical treatment, remember to keep track of all medical visits and expenses. This includes maintaining accurate medical documentation, which is pivotal for receiving full compensation from insurance claims. Keeping organized records, including medical bills and documentation of treatment, is essential for a straightforward claims process or potential legal actions.

Obtaining a signed release for medical records is also critical, as it allows lawyers and insurance companies to review the details of medical treatment relevant to the claim.

Filing Your Car Accident Claim: A Step-By-Step Process

Once the medical concerns are addressed, the subsequent vital step is to file your car accident claim. Immediately reporting the accident to your insurance company is required to ensure fair and accurate handling of your claim. In Alabama, you can file:

  • a ‘first-party’ claim with your own insurance company
  • a ‘third-party’ claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
  • a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court.

Inform Your Insurance Company

Initiate the claims process by reporting the accident to your insurance company without delay. During this process, avoid admitting fault as this may affect your coverage.

Seek the advice of a lawyer when drafting a written statement for the insurance company to prevent misinterpretation.

Understand What Damages You Can Claim

Understanding the damages you can claim is essential for ensuring fair compensation. This includes claiming for:

  • Medical treatments incurred due to accidents
  • Compensation for lost income
  • Claiming for vehicle repairs through collision coverage
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also vital for receiving fair compensation in cases where the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance to cover the full extent of damages.

Remember, being aware of and adhering to the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit is critical to ensure the right to claim appropriate compensation.

Legal Representation: When to Consult a Car Accident Attorney

The aftermath of a car accident can be a maze of complexity and overwhelming tasks. However, consulting a car accident attorney can help protect your rights and ensure proper handling of your case. An experienced car accident lawyer is adept at combating adjuster tactics that attempt to assign undue blame to the victim, potentially safeguarding against contributory negligence claims.

They guide victims through the often complex legal framework, ensuring that critical deadlines are not missed.

The Role of a Car Accident Lawyer

In Alabama, the ‘contributory negligence’ law precludes individuals from recovering damages in court if they are deemed even slightly at fault for the accident. Experienced car accident lawyers have an in-depth understanding of Alabama’s laws, crucial for establishing fault and pursuing a legal claim. They help navigate the legal and insurance complexities in Alabama to ensure victims receive fair compensation.

Experienced Alabama car accident attorneys like Salter Ferguson help guide accident victims through the legal process, including filing lawsuits and courtroom representation.

Free Consultation Offers

At Salter Ferguson we offer a free initial consultation for car accident victims to evaluate their case. During a free consultation with a personal injury attorney, victims can:

  • Gain an understanding of their legal rights
  • Learn about the available options without incurring any upfront costs
  • Receive insight into the potential recovery value
  • Assess the costs involved in securing legal representation

These free consultations provide valuable information and help victims make informed decisions about their case.

Managing Communications and Negotiations

Negotiating and communicating with insurance companies can pose a formidable challenge. It’s essential to manage these communications cautiously and protect your interests by:

  • Providing only necessary information
  • Having legal representation to protect your rights during communications with an insurance company
  • Ensuring proper handling of your case

Dealing with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

Exercising extreme caution is necessary when dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. Remember, their aim is to minimize their payout. Only share basic facts and avoid discussing fault, injuries, or settlement details without legal representation.

Resist the pressure to give written or recorded statements to the other driver’s insurance company, as there is no legal requirement to do so.

Strategies for Effective Negotiation

In negotiations, having a clear idea of the compensation you need and the minimum amount you are willing to accept is crucial. If you’re presented with an unsatisfactorily low offer, don’t hesitate to request the rationale behind it and be prepared to submit a well-reasoned counteroffer. Throughout this process, remain patient yet assertive, and be mindful of tactics like delays that adjusters may employ to pressure you into agreeing to a lesser settlement.

Long-Term Considerations After an Accident

The impact of an accident reaches far beyond its immediate aftermath. It’s essential to consider long-term factors, such as insurance coverage options and the statute of limitations for filing claims or lawsuits in Alabama.

Alabama law requires drivers to have liability insurance, which protects from financial liability for others’ losses but doesn’t cover the driver’s own injuries. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is advised in Alabama to offer protection against drivers with insufficient or no insurance to cover all accident-related expenses.


We’ve explained the crucial steps to take after a car accident in Birmingham, from immediate actions at the accident scene to long-term considerations. Knowing these steps not only helps you act responsibly during such chaotic moments but also ensures you protect your rights and interests. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Skilled car accident attorneys can guide you through this process, helping you navigate the legal and insurance complexities to ensure you receive fair compensation. Stay prepared, stay safe, and drive responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do after a car accident in Alabama?

After a car accident in Alabama, it’s important to stay calm and check for injuries. Then, move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible, and exchange information with the other driver.

What is a SR 13 form Alabama?

If you’re involved in an accident in Alabama, you need to send an accident report (Form SR-13) to the Alabama Department of Public Safety within 30 days. You can obtain the form from local law enforcement offices or download it online.

Why is it necessary to document the accident scene thoroughly?

It is necessary to document the accident scene thoroughly to provide undeniable evidence for insurance claims or legal proceedings, capturing details such as weather conditions, lighting, and road conditions. This documentation can be crucial for resolving disputes related to the accident scene.

How does legal representation help after a car accident?

Legal representation can help after a car accident by assisting victims through the legal process, ensuring deadlines are met, and maximizing compensation from insurance companies. It’s crucial to have an attorney to navigate the complexities of the situation and advocate for the best outcome.