In the U.S., someone dies in a car accident every 13 minutes, making car crashes the leading cause of death among people ages 1 through 35. And for every fatal crash, there are approximately 40 non-fatal ones. Approximately four people are injured every minute in vehicle crashes.

In Alabama, drivers have greater than a 40% chance of being involved in an injury or fatal crash over the course of their lifetimes. The likelihood of any given driver being involved in a vehicle accident of any severity during their lifetime is more than 90%.

Those are scary numbers. However, knowing the causes of crashes can make you less likely to be involved in one.

Common Causes of Crashes in Alabama

The U.S. General Services Administration Office of Motor Vehicle Management says that 98% of crashes in the U.S. are caused by human error. Some of the most common causes of crashes include:

  • Speeding: In 2021, speeding contributed to 28% of all traffic fatalities in Alabama. Speeding includes exceeding a posted speed limit as well as driving too fast for the conditions of the road. As speed increases, so does the likelihood of serious injuries in crashes. For example, when speed increases from 40 mph to 60 mph, the energy released in a crash more than doubles.
  • Distraction: A driver who texts is 23 times more likely than a non-texting driver to be involved in a crash. But distraction goes far beyond cell phone use. It also includes eating, drinking, smoking, engaging with the stereo or radio controls, and more.
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving: Drowsy drivers are responsible for about 100,000 accidents every year in the U.S. On average, there are approximately 3,532 drowsy-driving crashes in Alabama every year. Fatigue is especially problematic for commercial vehicle drivers, who often drive for several hours at a time and late at night.
  • Incorrect assumptions about other drivers: When we assume a driver is taking one action when they’re really doing something else, it can result in a potentially fatal miscommunication. For example, this might include situations in which a driver assumes another vehicle is coming to a stop when they aren’t.
  • Tailgating or not leaving adequate space between vehicles: Following vehicles too closely leaves very little reaction time when the driver in front of the trailing vehicle brakes quickly.
  • Not checking traffic before pulling out or crossing lanes: When a driver fails to look both ways, they could put themselves and other motorists in dangerous situations.
  • Drunk driving: Data suggests that drunk driving contributes to one-third of all traffic deaths in Alabama. That includes not only drivers who exceed the legal threshold of 0.08% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), but even drivers who have just 0.01% BAC.

Other Factors That Influence the Likelihood of Crashes

Though human error causes most crashes, vehicle accidents are more likely in certain conditions or when other mitigating factors are present. This can include:

  • Poor weather: Though most crashes in Alabama happen in dry, clear weather (since that’s when most people are on the road), rain, ice, sleet, and fog make crashes more likely.
  • Geography: Urban areas see 75% of the Alabama’s crashes, though 61% of fatal crashes occur on the state’s rural roads. In rural environments, 83% of crashes occur on open country roads. In urban environments, 56% of crashes happen in shopping or business districts.
  • Poor vehicle maintenance: When a vehicle hasn’t been properly maintained, it increases the likelihood of tire blowouts, stalled vehicles, and roadside breakdowns that put drivers and their passengers at risk of collisions with oncoming traffic. Vehicle maintenance issues pose dangers to the driver and other motorists they share the road with.
  • Infrastructure issues: Potholes, defective traffic lights, missing guardrails, missing signage, and road debris are just a few of the dangerous road conditions that can lead to an increased risk for crashes.

It’s important for drivers to do their best to be mindful of their environments, so they can adjust their driving behaviors accordingly. Unfortunately, we can’t control the actions of other drivers, but we can hold them accountable.

Legal Recourse and Compensation Following a Car Crash in Alabama

Alabama’s legal system provides avenues for victims of car accidents to seek compensation for their injuries, damages, and losses. Here’s what you need to know about navigating the legal landscape:

Understanding Fault in Alabama

Alabama follows a “pure contributory negligence” rule, which means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering compensation from other at-fault parties, even if the other driver is 99% at fault. This strict standard underscores the importance of a thorough investigation into the crash to accurately determine fault and liability.

Types of Compensation Available

Victims of crashes in Alabama can pursue compensation for damages, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Covering current and future medical treatment, rehabilitation costs, and any long-term care needs related to your crash injuries.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for income lost while recovering from injuries, as well as any future loss of earning capacity due to permanent disabilities.
  • Property Damage: Reimbursement for repairs or replacement of your vehicle and any personal property damaged in the crash.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life resulting from the accident.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases of egregious negligence, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party and deter similar conduct in the future.

Why Legal Representation Matters

The aftermath of a car crash can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with injuries, insurance companies, and legal complexities. From negotiating with insurance companies to representing you in court, if necessary, legal representation is invaluable in securing a favorable outcome.

If You Need Help After a Crash, Contact Tyler Mann

If you’ve been involved in a car crash in Alabama, don’t navigate the legal process alone. Contact a personal injury law firm to discuss your case, understand your options, and take the first step toward recovery and justice.