If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering if you can save money by working out a settlement with the insurance company on your own.

Everyone is looking for ways to save money these days, and perhaps you think that if you negotiate your own claim you will be able to keep more in  your pocket by avoiding an attorney’s fee.  But in many cases handling your own claim can actually end up costing you money.  Here’s why:

Despite what their commercials may lead you to believe, insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims.  This is true, of course, because the less they pay out in claims the more profit they make.   While the insurance adjuster may seem nice you should remember that she is not on your side!

So, if the insurance company isn’t looking out for your best interest, who is?

Having an attorney on your side can help level the playing field and give you a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

According to a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, injury victims who use lawyers for their personal injury claims receive bigger settlements than victims who do not use a lawyer.  You may be saying to yourself, “yeah, but how much of that money do they actually keep after paying for the lawyer?”  According to the study, injured persons who used lawyers received more money on their claims even taking into account fees paid to their lawyers.

The bottom line is that an attorney can help get you your best possible recovery because he knows how to deal with the insurance companies.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help maximize your recovery to get you the compensation you deserve.  Call Al Lewis of Lewis, Lewis & Falkner at 205-553-5353 for your free consultation.

We recently wrote about Alabama’s new seat belt law, and today we are reminding you about another update to Alabama traffic laws.  If you like to cruise in the left lane then you need to be aware of this change.

As its name suggests, the so-called “Anti-road Rage Act” is designed to prevent situations that can lead to road rage.

Under the new law, you cannot drive in the leftmost lane of the interstate for more than a mile and a half without passing another vehicle.  There are some common-sense exceptions to this rule including provisions for road hazards, inclement weather, traffic congestion, and moving over for emergency response vehicles.  It’s also important to note that the Act does not apply to every Alabama roadway – only interstate highways.

While the bill went into effect September 1st, 2019, only warnings will be issued until November, 2019, at which time violators could face a ticket for up to $200.00.

As mentioned, this isn’t the only recent update to Alabama traffic safety laws.  Read our blog post on the recent seat belt law here.

These changes to the law should help Alabama drivers stay safer, but unfortunately accidents still happen.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call Lewis, Lewis & Falkner today at 205-553-5353 for your free consultation and case evaluation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help make sure you get the recovery you deserve.

Everyone knows that one of the safest choices you can make is to use a seat belt when you are in a car. Now, a new Alabama law encourages everyone to make the safe choice to buckle up.

Starting September 1, 2019 everyone traveling in a vehicle in Alabama must wear a seat belt. While Alabama’s previous seat belt law applied only to people in the front seat and minors in the backseat, the new law follows common sense by requiring all passengers and drivers to buckle up.

Why is Buckling Up So Important?

A few key seatbelt statistics:

  • According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, 60 percent of the people who died in traffic accidents in the state in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that buckling up in the front seat of a car reduces your risk of fatal injury by 45%, and your risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%.
  • The NHTSA also tells us that wearing a seatbelt in a light truck is even more important: it reduces your risk of fatal injury by 60% and of moderate to critical injury by 65%.

And remember that just because your car has an airbag doesn’t mean you can get away with driving unrestrained.

Airbags and seatbelts are designed to work together, not to replace each other. If you don’t wear a seatbelt your airbag can become dangerous – the force of being thrown unrestrained into a rapidly opening front airbag can seriously injure or even kill you.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Car Accident?

Whether you’re wearing a seatbelt or not, being involved in a car accident is scary and stressful.  Safety should, of course, be your first priority.  Once you have determined that you are safe and have called for medical assistance, follow this link to read about  next steps.

If you have been in a car accident you may be entitled to compensation.  Call us at 205-553-5353 for your free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Mistake #1: Not Calling the Police

Always call the police after a car accident, even if you think the damage is minor. The police can keep you and the other driver safe by doing things like diverting traffic from the scene of the accident. Plus, a police report will be especially vital to you if you were not at fault in the accident.

Mistake #2: Not Seeking Medical Attention

Your car accident has made you late for work and thrown off your entire schedule for the day. You don’t want to further derail your routine by taking time to go to the doctor for a comprehensive exam, especially if you think you feel “okay.” You’re a little sore but you decide to wait and see if your injuries just heal on their own over time.

Sounds reasonable, right? Big mistake.

While you may truly not have any injuries from your car accident it’s a good idea to seek medical attention right away no matter how “okay” you feel.

Getting immediate medical attention is obviously important for your health because a trained medical professional can assess your injuries and help you get on the road to recovery sooner than if you put off treatment.

But it’s also important to keep in mind that your failure to get immediate medical attention can be used by the insurance company to justify lower compensation for your injuries.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to Gather Information and Evidence

It is crucial to gather the other driver’s personal information after the car accident. The police will put this information in their report as well, but while you wait for them to arrive it’s a good idea to make note of it yourself. You’ll want to keep track of:

  • The name, contact information, driver’s license number, registration number, and insurance information of the other driver(s) involved;
  • The make, model, and license plate number of the other car(s) involved;
  • The names and contact information of any witnesses to the crash, including passengers in any other vehicles that were involved;
  • Details like the weather, date, and time of the crash;
  •  The damage to the vehicles, the vehicles’ positions, and any other relevant factors, like the presence of skid marks on the road.

Document the scene and any injuries or damage by using your cell phone to take pictures (assuming it is safe to do so).

Mistake #4: Admitting You’re at Fault

Your impulse may be to apologize after an accident, even if you know you’re not at fault. You may think you’re just being polite by saying “I’m sorry,” but the other driver can later use your words against you, arguing that they were an admission of fault.

In general, you should remember that anything you say after a car accident could come back later to haunt you.

Don’t say things that minimize your injuries like “I’m fine,” and don’t say things that could make the accident seem like your fault, such as “I didn’t mean to slam on my brakes,” or “I didn’t see your car in the other lane.”

Mistake #5: Trusting Insurance Companies

The insurance adjuster may seem nice and may even say things like “I want to help you.”

Despite what their advertisements may say, insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims; they’re in the business of making money for themselves.

Their goal is to pay you as little as possible for your accident, so don’t assume that the other party’s insurance adjuster is on your side, no matter how friendly he seems.

Mistake #6: Talking About Your Accident on Social Media

Anything you post about your accident on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media site can be used by the insurance company against you. For example, if a friend comments on your Facebook page asking how you are feeling and you reply “much better,” the insurance company could later use this as evidence that your injuries are not serious enough to merit the compensation you really deserve.

Mistake #7: Accepting the First Settlement Offer

The first offer from the insurance company is often much lower than what they are actually willing to pay. It may seem like a good idea to get the process over with quickly by accepting the first offer, but don’t sell yourself short. Your claim may be worth much more!

And remember that once you settle your car accident claim you can’t go back later and ask for more money if your injuries are worse than you initially thought.

Don’t lock yourself into a too-low settlement just for the sake of putting the accident behind you.

Mistake #8: Not Hiring a Lawyer

The biggest mistake you can make is not hiring an attorney to handle your personal injury claim.

The insurance adjuster may even tell you that you don’t need one, but that’s because they don’t want you to have one. They know that accident victims with attorneys receive, on average, settlements that are 3.5 times higher than what victims without attorneys receive.

You may think that you can handle your car accident claim on your own, but a personal injury attorney can help you maximize your recovery. It’s important to get in touch with an attorney soon after your accident so that he or she can begin investigating your case and putting you in a position to get the best possible recovery.

Lewis, Lewis & Falkner Can Help

Let an experienced lawyer guide you through the personal injury claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Call us today at 205-553-5353 or come visit our office in Tuscaloosa for your free consultation.

What if I was in a car wreck and wasn’t wearing my seatbelt…can I still win damages?

In Alabama you are required to wear a seat belt if the car is in motion and you are in the front seat.  Interestingly, if you are seated in the back seat of a car and over 15 years of age you are NOT required to wear a seat belt, even if the car is moving  (although, or course, it’s a good idea to always wear a seat belt, no matter which seat you’re in!).

But, what happens if you are in a car wreck and aren’t wearing a seat belt even though you’re in the front seat?

To answer that question we first have to discuss a concept called “contributory negligence.”

Under the contributory negligence principle, if an injured person negligently “contributed” to his own injury then he cannot recover damages (money) from anyone else who caused the injury.

For example, if you step into a busy intersection without looking for oncoming traffic and are hit by a car you may be “contributorily negligent” for your own injuries.

So, does not wearing a seat belt make you contributorily negligent for your injuries in a car wreck?

Alabama has rejected the so-called “seat belt defense,” which applies in some other states to award plaintiffs only the damages they would have recovered had they been wearing a seat belt.

Instead, in Alabama failure to wear a seat belt is NOT evidence of contributory negligence and does not limit the liability of an insurer. 

Of course, you should still wear a seat belt because seat belts save lives.  When used properly, a seat belt can reduce the risk of fatal injury by front seat passengers by up to 45 percent.

Don’t let an insurance company convince you to settle for less just because you weren’t wearing a seat belt.  Find an experienced personal injury attorney to help you maximize your recovery.

If you have been hurt in a car accident in Alabama you may be entitled to compensation.  Call or come by our Tuscaloosa office today for your free consultation

I was just in a car accident… when should I call a lawyer?

You have a lot on your mind after your car wreck.  You’re worried about missing work, getting your car repaired, and finding temporary transportation, all while trying to recover physically and treat your injuries.  Because of all these things you may be tempted to put off calling a personal injury attorney.

However, it’s crucial that you consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your accident.


First, you want someone to get started investigating your case as soon as possible.

The longer you wait the more difficult it will be to track down witnesses and the more likely it will be that the witnesses’ memories will fade.  Other pieces of evidence, like accurate pictures of the scene of the crash, are also easier to get closer to the time of the accident.

Second, the law places certain time limits on your ability to file claims.

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Alabama is two years, meaning that if you’re going to file a lawsuit it typically must be done within two years of the wreck.

Third, the sooner you hire an attorney the sooner you can focus on getting your life back.

When you hire a personal injury attorney you no longer have to deal directly with the insurance company – your lawyer will handle that for you.

Let an experienced lawyer guide you through the personal injury claims process and fight for the compensation you deserveCall us today at 205-553-5353 or come visit our office in Tuscaloosa for your free consultation.

When you are involved in a car wreck one of the first things you’ll want to know is how much your case is worth.

Every case is different, and there is no way to predict the exact dollar amount of your claim.  An experienced personal injury attorney, however, can look at the factors in your situation to give you an idea of the potential value of your claim.

So, what affects the value of your car accident case?

The answer is many things.

One obvious factor is how badly you are injured.

For example, a permanent or disabling injury is generally going to have a much greater value than minor muscle strain. Did you recover quickly from the accident or were you hospitalized, have to go through rehabilitation or lose time from work?

 Liability is another component.

Was the accident the other driver’s fault? If liability is clear, the insurance company has one less thing to argue about.

One not so obvious factor is venue.

Venue is the place the lawsuit will be filed if the case gets to that point. Juries in some areas of Alabama are more generous to accident victims. Insurance companies know this and will often take venue into account in determining what they are willing to pay on a particular claim.

You don’t want to guess blindly at the value of your case when you’re dealing with an insurance company.

You need an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you determine your actual damages and handle the negotiations for you to get the most out of your claim.

Do you want to know how much your car accident case is worth?  Call our Tuscaloosa office today at 205-553-5353 for a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers.  Let us help you maximize the value of your car accident claim.

Al Lewis, Tuscaloosa personal injury attorney

Have you ever wondered how much car insurance coverage you really need?

Alabama law requires that drivers carry a certain amount of auto insurance for their registered vehicles. But is that minimum coverage enough?


Think about it:  Alabama only requires you to have liability coverage of $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident for bodily injury or death. If a car accident causes serious injuries, though, the medical bills involved can easily be much, much more than that.

If you don’t have good liability coverage and are in a car accident that’s your fault then you can end up paying out of your own pocket for the other driver’s medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

So, your best bet is to buy as much insurance as you can reasonably afford.

Most experts recommend people should have bodily injury coverage of at least $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident and property damage coverage limits of $100,000.00. If you can afford more coverage than that you should strongly consider buying it to give your assets even more protection.

The same is true for your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  Since as many as 1 in 8 drivers are uninsured UM/UIM policies are crucial.  This is particularly true in Alabama:  the Insurance Information Institute ranks our state as #6 on its list of highest percentage of uninsured drivers!

The good news is that UM/UIM policies are relatively cheap.  Many insurers will add UM/UIM coverage to your policy for only a few dollars a month.

Car insurance can be complicated.  Even if you buy the right policies you may still need help after an accident to make sure you receive the benefits of those policies.

You want an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Call us today at 205-553-5353, or come by our office in Tuscaloosa, and let us get started working for you.

Car insurance is car insurance, right? WRONG! The insurance on your car is actually a collection of policies that protect you in different ways. Let’s go over the basics of each type of policy so that you can understand what your car insurance does for you.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage takes care of certain expenses when you’re at fault in an accident. Up to the limits of your insurance policy, liability coverage will pay for the medical treatment and property damage sustained by third parties in an accident you caused, but it does NOT cover you or your passengers. No matter what kind of car you drive, you need liability insurance. In fact, Alabama law requires you to have it. To fulfill Alabama car insurance laws, you must have liability insurance with the following minimum coverage:
• $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person;
• $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident;
• $25,000 for property damage.

Keep in mind that these are NOT coverage recommendations – just the bare minimum needed to satisfy the Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Law.

What do those numbers mean? They are the maximum amounts that your insurance company will pay out for an accident. For example, if you have the minimum property liability coverage required by Alabama law, then your insurance company will pay out a maximum of $25,000 – any damages after that will be paid out of your own pocket.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage may help pay for damage to your car after you’ve had an accident, possibly including replacement of your vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

This is an extra layer of coverage to help with unfortunate events besides collisions, things like break-ins, hail damage, theft, etc.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

UM coverage helps protect you when you have an accident with another driver who has no insurance. UIM helps when the other driver does not have enough coverage . Did you know that as many as 1 in 8 drivers nationwide are uninsured, and around 30% of drivers do not carry enough insurance? In Alabama the numbers are even higher: according to the Insurance Research Council, around 18% of Alabama drivers were uninsured in 2015. Don’t count on other drivers to have enough insurance to take care of your injuries. Instead, protect yourself with a good UM/UIM policy.

Medical Payments Coverage and Personal Injury Policies

These types of policies provide additional coverage for medical expenses and sometimes even loss of income caused by an accident.

Gap Insurance (Guaranteed Auto Protection Insurance)

What if you owe more on your car than it’s worth? Gap insurance can help cover the cost to pay off the loan on your vehicle after a loss.

Miscellaneous Policies

Insurance companies offer a variety of other policies, including towing and labor coverage, rental car coverage, and even policies specific to classic cars.

Car insurance can be complicated. Even if you buy the right policies you may still need help after an accident making sure you receive the benefits of those policies. Insurance companies are in the business of selling insurance, not in the business of paying claims. That’s why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer fighting for you and making sure you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 205-553-5353 or come by our Tuscaloosa office and let us get started working for you.

I Just Had a Car Wreck – What Should I Do?

The actions you take after you’ve been in a car wreck can make a big difference as to whether you get the compensation you deserve. An accident can happen any time, so it’s important to be prepared and to know ahead of time what you can do to protect yourself.

Stay Calm.

Safety should be your first priority. Calm yourself down so that you can think clearly, check yourself for injuries, and if you are seriously injured call 911 immediately. Turn on your emergency flashers, and if you are not seriously injured consider moving your vehicle to the side of the road.

Report Your Accident.

If anyone is injured or there is any property damage, you should call the police to report the accident immediately. Give the operator information about whether or not anyone is injured , and the precise location of your accident.

Gather Information, and Take Pictures as You Wait.

As you wait for the police to arrive, (and assuming it is safe to do so) collect the important information that you will need during the claims process.

This includes:

  • The name, contact information, driver’s license number, registration number, and insurance information of the other driver(s) involved;
  • The make, model, and license plate number of the other car(s) involved;
  • The names and contact information of any witnesses to the crash, including passengers in any other vehicles that were involved.You should also record important details, such as the weather, date, and time of the crash. Make a note of damage to the vehicles, the vehicles’positions, and any other relevant factors, like the presence of skid marks on the road. If you have a smartphone or camera with you, take pictures of the accident scene, including the exterior and interior of each car, any injuries, and the surrounding area.

Be careful of what you say while talking with other driver(s) and witnesses. Even a polite “I’m sorry” can come back to haunt you.

Seek Medical Care.

If you have sustained any injuries at all you should seek medical care, whether you think your injuries are serious or not. Even soft tissue injuries like whiplash, bruises, and muscle strain should be evaluated by a medical professional. Don’t wait too long to seek care, as a delay in care may diminish the value of your claim. Make sure you keep a thorough record of all care received, as well as notes about the extent of your injury, your pain, and how you’re recovering.

Report your Auto Accident to Your Insurance Company.

It is important that you report your car accident to your insurance company in a timely manner, because a delay could result in a denial of your claim. Never admit fault or exaggerate your losses when speaking with an insurance adjuster, and don’t agree to give a recorded statement or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.

Call an Experienced Tuscaloosa, Alabama Car Accident Attorney.

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck you want to maximize your recovery. That’s why you need to work with an experienced Alabama auto accident attorney. At Lewis, Lewis & Falkner, we are passionate about helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (205) 553-5353 for your free consultation.