After any type of accident, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the party you believe to be responsible for your injuries.
In the vast majority of personal injury cases, you must prove that the other party was legally negligent before recovering any damages.
To prove another party acted negligently, Alabama negligence law requires you to establish each of the following elements.
- The other party owed you a duty of care;
- They breached or failed to fulfill the duty owed to you;
- Their breach of this duty resulted in or caused your injuries; and
- You suffered economic or non-economic damages as a result.
While proving the elements of negligence may seem straightforward, complications often arise.
One such complication involves the Alabama contributory negligence law.
Alabama Contributory Negligence Law
Alabama negligence law is unusual in that it imposes a strict barrier to recovery for anyone who shares responsibility for the accident leading to their injuries.
In most states, if an accident victim is partially at fault for their injuries, the court will reduce their damages award by their percentage of fault. This is referred to as a comparative fault, or comparative negligence, model.
However, Alabama courts use the contributory negligence model. Under Alabama contributory negligence law, an accident victim is not allowed to recover anything for their injuries from an accident if they are even the slightest bit at fault.
For example, assume another driver hit you while you were making a left turn, causing a serious car accident. You were in the left-turn lane but forgot to use your turn signal.
Next, assume that a jury found you sustained $200,000 in damages but that you were 10% at fault because you didn’t use your turn signal.
In a state using a comparative fault model, your total recovery would be $180,000, which is your total damages ($200,000) less 10%. However, under Alabama contributory negligence laws, you would recover nothing.
Contributory negligence is widely recognized as an incredibly strict and outdated legal doctrine. In fact, only a handful of states across the country continue to use a contributory negligence model.
And, despite the efforts of Alabama personal injury attorneys and other organizations advocating on behalf of accident victims, Alabama lawmakers have yet to revisit this doctrine.
That said, many accident victims are still able to recover compensation after an accident.
With the assistance of an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney, you can develop a compelling case for recovery, even if you fear that the other party may claim you were partially responsible for your injuries.
Did You Suffer Injuries in an Alabama Accident?
If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident, don’t assume that you are without options. Instead, reach out to the Fob James Law Firm to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Our Alabama personal injury lawyers will meet with you to discuss your case and provide you with an honest assessment. We take all cases on a contingency basis.
This means that if you decide to pursue a claim, we will take your case at no upfront cost to you. We only charge you for our legal representation if we can recover compensation on your behalf.
To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with an Alabama personal injury lawyer, contact the Fob James Law Firm at 205-407-6009. You can also reach us through our online contact form.