The Interstate which runs 80.008 miles from Montgomery, Alabama to north of the Georgia state lane is known as I-85. Interstate 85 is the primary highway between Atlanta and Montgomery, and connects Montgomery to Auburn, Opelika and Tuskegee. As I-85 heads east toward the downtown section of Montgomery, there are eight lanes of traffic, with interchanges providing access to the Alabama State University and the Alabama State Capitol. After leaving Montgomery, I-85 runs parallel with SR-126 through the community of Mount Meigs, then heads east/northeast as it leaves Montgomery County and enters Macon County at Line Creek, then passes through a portion of Tuskegee National Forest, and into Lee County.
I-85 has an interchange with the Auburn Technology Parkway on the southern edge of Auburn, then joins US-29 at the College Street interchange. I-85 then travels northeast into the city of Opelika, eventually crossing over the Norfolk Southern Railway line. Finally, I-85 crosses the Chattahoochee River on its way to La Grange and Atlanta, Georgia. An extension of I-85 is in the works which would go West from Montgomery to just east of the Mississippi-Alabama state line. I-85 and I-20 would meet each other twice if this extension is completed. Interstate 85 is an increasingly busy trucking corridor, connecting the major metropolitan areas of Charlotte and Atlanta.
Interstate Accidents More Common Than on Other Roadways
If you have traveled across the state of Alabama, you may have found yourself on Interstate 85 at some point. If not, then you have probably traveled on one or more other Interstate highways in the state. Interstates are great for moving a lot of traffic quickly, however during high-traffic times (rush hour) or during the holiday season, many Interstates can become congested with traffic, therefore much more dangerous to drive on. Further, those who regularly drive Interstates often are probably aware of the seemingly constant road construction.
That construction, plus traffic which merges at many different speeds, can lead to an Interstate accident. Accidents which occur on an Interstate are more likely to involve multiple vehicles, than accidents which occur on less congested roadways. Quite often, an Interstate accident is the result of tailgaters who don’t leave sufficient space between their vehicle and the one in front of them. Up ahead, one driver is forced to come to a sudden stop, leaving all those behind him or her to slam into one another. An Interstate accident can be very dangerous, with the traffic behind unaware there is an accident up ahead.
Across the state of Alabama, there were 13,179 automobile accidents on Interstates in 2014. More of those accidents (7,927) occurred in urban areas than in rural (5,252) areas. As a whole, about 10 percent of the state’s auto accidents occur on Alabama Interstates, although about 12.5 percent of the total auto accident fatalities occur on Alabama Interstates. Truck accidents are even more likely to occur on Interstates—in 2014 about 27 percent of the accidents involving a large commercial truck occurred on an Alabama Interstate.
Auto Accidents in Montgomery and Lee Counties
Interstate 85 primarily runs through Montgomery (Montgomery) and Lee (Auburn and Opelika) Counties The state of Alabama has an automobile accident rate of 19 auto accidents per 100,000 residents, while the overall rate of auto accidents in the United States is 11.5 auto accidents per 100,000 residents. Montgomery County had a total of 2,645 auto accidents in 2012, and 2,811 in 2013. In those accidents, 31 people died in 2012, and 32 in 2013, while 2,645 people were injured in car accidents in 2012 and 2,811 in 2013. In Lee County, there were 4,319 auto accidents in 2012, and 4,434 in 2013. Of those accidents, 13 people died in 2012 and 12 in 2013, while there were 1,048 injuries from auto accidents in 2012 and 1,023 in 2013. While there are multiple reports claiming Alabama has the seventh-highest fatality rate for automobile accidents among the states in the U.S., in fact, this is due more to the lack of hospitals in rural areas, rather than to bad drivers in the state.
Claims and Defenses Following a Car Accident
If you have been involved in an Alabama auto accident, you could be shocked to find that, after you file all the necessary paperwork, and notify those who need to be notified, the other driver or their insurance company may either assert they were not at fault or that you were the driver at fault. Now what you thought would be a simple claim process has gone south, and you are left unsure of how to proceed. Some of the most common claims you may have to deal with include:
- The defendant asserts no negligence was involved. Perhaps you have filed your claim under the belief the other person was either reckless or negligent, and he or she is now asserting they behaved in the same manner as any reasonable person would have. You must prove negligence as a prerequisite to collecting damages, therefore if the defendant can show his or her actions were completely normal and reasonable, your claim may die a slow death.
- The defendant asserts you were the negligent party. If the defendant asserts that any of the negligence involved in the accident was yours, then under the contributory negligence laws of Alabama, you may only be entitled to a portion of total amount. In other words, if it is determined that you were 20 percent at fault, and your damages equal $100,000, then you would only receive $80,000.
- The defendant asserts you failed to prove your case. As the plaintiff, you have the weight of demonstrating negligence on the part of the other driver as well as proving that negligence caused you specific harm. In our system, defendants don’t have the responsibility of proving they are not responsible for an accident, rather plaintiffs must show they were If you are unable to prove the foundations of the case, then the other driver can be judged not liable.
- The defendant asserts your injuries are not real. If the other driver claims you are exaggerating your injuries from the accident simply for the sake of collecting compensation—and is able to successfully prove this assertion—he may be able to walk away without any responsibility for your accident and resulting injuries. It is extremely important that a person injured in an auto accident keep very careful records regarding all details of the accident.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of an Alabama Interstate accident, and that injury is causing you considerable amounts of pain, medical expenses and time away from work, you may find it necessary to speak to an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The car accident attorneys at Martinson & Beason have extensive experience helping people just like you. We not only have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of auto accidents, we also have a solid understanding of injuries resulting from auto accidents as well as the necessary medical treatments. Don’t face an auto accident on your own—call Martinson & Beason today.