John R Spencer Attorney in Mobile, AL FREE Consultation: 251.445.0590
   

“Learn to do good; seek justice,
correct oppression; bring justice
to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.”
-- Isaiah 1:17.

 
     
 
 

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Committed to vigorous and thorough representation of injury victims throughout Alabama while exercising the highest degree of professional, ethical and moral standards.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a contingency fee?

Who pays the expenses of litigation?

What should you do when you are in an automobile accident?

Do I need automobile Insurance?


What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is a fee that is not owed unless or until a recovery is made in your case, either by settlement or by a jury verdict.  In other words, the fee is contingent upon a monetary recovery being made in your case. The contingency fee is a certain percentage of the money you recover in your case.  No fee is charged or due if I fail to make a recovery for you. 

The fee (or the percentage) charged may vary depending on the type and complexity of the case, the time and labor required, the likelihood that employment in one case will preclude me from employment in other cases, the fee similarly charged by other attorneys in the community and the risk associated with the case.  The fee (or percentage) charged will be higher the more complex, labor intensive or the higher risk associated with the case.

Whatever the contingency fee may be in a given case, I will always discuss the same with you and the fee will be agreed to in writing before I accept your case.


Who pays the expenses of litigation?

Litigation is expensive. Common expenses incurred in most cases include filing fees charged by the trial courts; appearance fees charged by treating physicians; hospitals and doctor’s offices charge to produce copies of medical records; court reporter fees for deposition transcripts, fees charged by expert witnesses, and costs for out of town travel. In most circumstances, I will advance those costs on your behalf as they are incurred in your case. However, I am required by law to deduct or recoup those expenses from the recovery ultimately made in your case.

In all but a few types of cases, the law provides that the parties to a lawsuit are responsible for the costs of their litigation. This means that even if we lose your case you are still responsible for reimbursement of these costs. However, it has always been my practice to close the file without pursuing reimbursement of the expenses advanced on those few occasions that I have not successfully made a recovery on behalf of my client. 


What should you do when you are in an automobile accident?

Remain calm. If you have been involved in an automobile accident remember to remain calm. An accident is precisely that – an accident. Reacting with anger or outrage will only make an unfortunate or bad situation worse. It is highly unlikely that the individual causing the accident did so on purpose.

Check for injuries.  The first thing you should do is check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Next, check on the occupants of any other vehicles involved in the accident for injuries but only if it is safe to exit your vehicle to do so. If anyone is injured do not move that individual unless absolutely necessary.  Call for emergency medical personnel if there are injuries.

Call the police.  A police officer will make a police report, assess whether any drivers were intoxicated, and direct traffic around the accident. A police report will document the facts of the accident, such as the date, time, and location of the accident; the names of the parties involved; the identity of witnesses; damages; details of the accident; and a diagram of the accident scene. A police report is not admissible into evidence in Alabama, but a police officer may testify as to observations he or she made at the scene of an accident.

Document the accident.  You should document every aspect of the accident if possible.  Take photographs of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved. Try to do so before any of the vehicles are moved. Obtain the name and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

Do not talk about the accident.  You may be tempted to discuss the accident with the other driver or witnesses at the scene of an accident.  However, it is important to refrain from doing so.  A misinterpreted comment, or even a comment made in jest, could be interpreted as an admission of liability.  Thus, your words could be used to establish fault in a lawsuit or in negotiations with an insurance company.

Make notes.  Memories fade over time.  It is important to make notes after a traffic accident.  Having an accurate account of the accident will help a lawyer create a legal claim against the driver at fault. Taking notes is an important way to supplement your memory about the details of the accident. These notes should document important facts, such as the time and date, the people involved, the names of witnesses, the weather and road conditions, what witnesses said about the accident, and what happened immediately before the accident.

If injured, seek medical treatment.   If you are injured in an accident it is imperative that you obtain reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your injuries.  Furthermore, it is not uncommon for people to develop pains and for injuries to reveal themselves in the days or weeks following an accident.  Even if you felt fine at the scene of the accident, you should seek medical attention if you develop pains in the hours, days or weeks thereafter.  It is important to keep a record of medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, noneconomic losses, and out-of-pocket expenses for products and services used to care for your injuries. An accurate record of the damages will help determine the compensation you may receive from a lawsuit or an insurance claim.

Report the accident to the Alabama Department of Public Safety.  Alabama law mandates that the parties to an automobile accident resulting in property damage of more than $250 file a report within 30 days. The report is filed on form SR-13. Under certain circumstances, a driver’s license may be suspended for failing to comply with this law.


Do I need automobile Insurance?
Alabama law provides that no person shall operate or permit another person to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway unless the motor vehicle is covered by a liability insurance policy with a minimum of $25,000.00 in coverage per person and $50,000.00 in coverage per accident. I can tell you from personal experience, however, that even though this law is in effect the number of uninsured drivers on our roadways are staggering. EVERY person operating a car should carry appropriate insurance. A description of terms is provided below to help you understand what types of insurance you should consider.

  •  Liability coverage pays for accidental bodily injury (including medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages) and property damage (including automobiles and personal property) in a crash when you are at fault.   Alabama laws call for minimum liability coverage of $25,000/$50,000.  But, drivers should carry more than the law requires – at least an amount equal to your net worth.

  • Collision insurance compensates you for damage to your vehicle that is incurred in a collision with another vehicle or object. The amount of collision coverage you carry – and the premium charged therefore - relates to the value of your car.  Collision insurance is not required by Alabama law.

Comprehensive coverage applies to losses and/or damage sustained by your vehicle other than in an auto accident.  For example, comprehensive coverage applies if your car is damaged by fire, a windstorm, or has been stolen.

Medical coverage covers your medical expenses sustained in an auto accident regardless of who is at fault, or regardless of the ownership of the vehicle in which you were riding. Medical coverage may also apply to cover medical expenses incurred by other occupants of your car at the time of an accident.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage pays for injuries suffered in an accident when one or more other drivers are at fault and are either uninsured or don’t have sufficient liability insurance to cover your loss (i.e., they are “underinsured”). UM/UIM protection is “portable”, meaning that they follow a policy holder into a non-owned vehicle and as a pedestrian.  Furthermore, if more than one vehicle is covered by the same policy containing UM/UIM coverage, you can “stack” up to three UM/UIM coverages on a single claim.  You are not required by law to carry UM/UIM coverage, but the insurance company is required by law to offer it to you.  If you reject UM/UIM coverage when you purchase automobile insurance, this rejection must be made in writing.  I highly recommend UM/UIM, with a minimum of $100,000/$300,000 in coverage. UM/UIM coverage is relatively cheap. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to decline to represent people that have suffered serious injuries at the hands of an “uninsured motorist” because they had no UM/UIM insurance on their own policy.

 

 

 
       
  ©2014 All rights reserved. John Ronald Spencer, P.C. The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Nothing contained herein shall establish or create an attorney-client relationship. No opinions regarding the value of a particular legal claim or future results are intended. Every case is different and must be evaluated upon its individual facts and circumstances. “No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.” Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.  
       
   


John Ronald Spencer, P.C.
301 St. Louis, St., Mobile, AL 36602 | tel. 251.445.0590 | fax. 251.432.7817

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  John R. Spencer, P.C. practice areas include:

Akka, Alabama Port, Allenville, Barnwell, Battles Wharf, Bayou La Batre, Bay Minette,  Bayleys Corner, Belforest, Bellfountaine, Blacksher, Blakeley, Bon Secour, Bridgehead, Bromley, Bucks, Calvert, Carney, Carpenter, Caswell, Cedar Grove, Chastang, Chickasaw, Chunchula, Citronelle, Clay City, Coden, Creola, Crichton, Crossroads, Daphne, Dauphin Island, Dawes, Delchamps, Dixon Corner, D’Olive, Douglasville, Dyas, Eight Mile, Elberta, Ellisville, Elsanor, Fairhope, Fairview, Farnell, Faustinas, Fernland, Foley, Fort Gaines, Fort McDermott, Fort Morgan, Fort Studdard, Fowl River, Gasque, Gateswood, Georgetown, Grand Bay, Gulf Highlands, Gulf Shores, Gulfcrest, Hatters, Heron Bay, Houstonville, Irvington, Jackson Oak, Josephine, Kushla, Latham,Laurendine, Lillian, Little River, Lloyds, Lottie, Loxley, Mackies, Magazine, Magnolia Beach, Magnolia Springs, Malbis, Mann, Marlow, Mauvilla, Mertz, Miflin, Millertown, Mobile, Moffet, Mon Louis, Montrose, Mount Vernon, Movico, Navco, Neely, Nenemoosha, Neshota, North Mobile, Oak Grove, Orange Beach, Orchard, Palmetto Beach, Park City, Pennsylvania, Perdido, Perdido Beach, Phillipsville, Pinchona, Pine Grove, Pineola, Plateau, Point Clear, Prichard, Rabun, Redtown, River Park, Robertsdale, Romar Beach, Rosinton, Saint Elmo, Salco, San Souci Beach, Saraland, Satsuma, Saraland, Seacliff, Seminole, Semmes, Serange, Seven Hills, Sibert, Sidney, Silverhill, Smithport, Smithtown, Spanish Fort, Stapleton, Steelwood, Stockton, Summerdale, Sunny Cove, Tacon, Tanner Williams, Tensaw, Theodore, Tillmans Corner, Toulminville, Turkey Branch, Union Church, Vaughn, Volanta, Whistler, Warley, Wheelerville, Whitehouse Forks, Whistler, Wilmer, Yupon

 

 
email john@jrspencerlaw.com