As early as the 1950’s, a Memphis-to-Birmingham expressway was being discussed, however it was not until 20 years later that it moved beyond discussions. Congress approved the part of I-22 east of Fulton, Mississippi as “Corridor X” in 1978, and parts of I-22 have been under construction ever since. Public Law 108-199 designated Corridor X as “Future I-22” in 2004, and in both Alabama and Mississippi, blue signs read “Future/I-22/Corridor.” Now, I-22 covers nearly the entire distance between Birmingham and Memphis.
About 95 miles of Interstate 22 is now open to traffic in the state of Alabama, with the first section between the Mississippi state line and Jasper opened to traffic in November of 2005. Next, a six-mile segment between Brookside and Graysville opened in June 2007, and another twenty-mile section between Graysville and Jasper opened in November of that year. Eventually, I-22 connected with I-65 and US 31, and completion of I-22 was planned for October 2014 with the Birmingham 14-bridge stack interchange.
Auto and Truck Accidents on Alabama Interstates
Those who travel through the state of Alabama are likely to find themselves on an Interstate, at least for a portion of the trip. Interstates are marvelous inventions, helping get traffic quickly from one place to another, however at certain times of the day, and during holiday seasons, Interstates can quickly become congested, and much more dangerous. Merging traffic which comes in at a variety of speeds, and the seemingly endless construction on Interstates make accidents much more likely.
Because of the amount of traffic on Interstates, a simple two-car accident can quickly turn into a multi-car accident, increasing the dangers for all involved, and making collecting a settlement much more difficult. Trucks are also much more likely to travel on Interstates, therefore, there are more large commercial truck accidents on Interstates across the United States. In 2014, 27 percent of all the accidents which occurred on the Interstates in Alabama involved a large, commercial truck, while about 10 percent of passenger car accident occurred on an Interstate.
Auto Accidents in Jefferson and Walker Counties
Interstate 22 is located primarily in Jefferson and Walker Counties in the state of Alabama. According to the Alabama Rural Health Association, Walker County (Jasper) had an auto accident rate of 36.3 auto accidents per 100,000 residents, Jefferson County (Birmingham) had a rate of 16.8 auto accidents per 100,000 residents, and the entire state of Alabama had a rate of 19 auto accidents per 100,000 residents. Across the nation, the rate of auto accidents is 11.5 per 100,000 residents, so both the state and Jefferson and Walker Counties have higher-than-normal rates of auto accidents.
If you have been involved in an car accident in the state of Alabama, whether on an Interstate or another roadway, there are certain things you should avoid doing immediately following your accident such as:
- Never go into detail when you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, and never agree to have the conversation recorded. You are not legally required to agree to have your conversation recorded or to go into detail about the accident, and you should not do either of these things until you have spoken to an attorney. If you do call before speaking to an attorney, simply inform the insurance company that an accident occurred, and you will be filing a claim against them. The less you say, the better, as a seemingly innocent comment can come back to haunt you when it is taken out of context.
- If an insurance adjuster asks how you are doing, never say “fine.” In fact, you don’t actually know how you are doing until you have been thoroughly examined by your physician. Many people who felt “fine” immediately after an auto accident found out later they were very far from fine. The rush of adrenaline your body gets following an auto accident can mask the symptoms of an injury, so if you initially tell the insurance company you are “fine,” then later file a claim, you may face an attitude of “tough luck.”
- If you are asked questions regarding your prior medical history, don’t answer until you speak to an attorney. In the same vein, if you are asked for access to your medical records, it is your right to deny this request. Insurance companies often attempt to blame a current medical issue on a prior incident to avoid paying for your medical treatments.
- Never accept the first offer by an insurance company until you have spoken to an experienced personal injury attorney. All insurance companies want to settle claims quickly and cheaply—before you’ve hired an attorney and had the opportunity to fully assess the cost of your damages. Many people are tired of dealing with the after-effects of the accident, and just want to have it over and done with, so will agree to a quick settlement. Declining all initial offers, and hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the insurance maze is your best course of action.
- Never admit that the accident was your fault—even if you are fairly sure it was. Fault has not yet been legally determined, so don’t even hint you might have been at fault. Simply state that the company’s insured person hit your car and leave it at that. Don’t discuss any details which would lead the company to believe the accident was your fault because those words could come back to you later, substantially lowering the amount of the settlement.
Aside from the medical treatments following your auto accident, you may be facing time away from work, medical bills stacking up faster than you can pay them, and an opposing insurance company who is doing their best to settle quickly and cheaply. You are likely suffering pain, emotional distress, fatigue and inconvenience. If the insurance company is trying to settle your case cheaply, leaving you holding a bag of bills, don’t despair.
Remember—you may be only a claim number to the insurance company however the attorneys at Martinson & Beason will consistently treat you as the valued client you are. Serious legal issues require serious legal help. You are entitled to have someone in your corner who will fight for your rights and the Martinson & Beason attorneys will never let an insurance company take advantage of you or deny what is rightfully yours after your car accident. Call Martinson & Beason today for the legal assistance you need.