Alabama Negligence Law & Contributory Negligence

Before you can even be in a position to receive a single dollar from a personal injury case, you must establish that someone else actually owes you the money. To do so, you would need to show that they were to blame for what happened. However, even if the other party bears some of the blame, it is not the end of the story. You could be prevented from receiving any compensation if you were even partially to blame for the accident. Contact Steve Morris Law to discuss your Anniston personal injury case today.

The Role of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

In order for the defendant to have a legal obligation to pay for your damages in a personal injury case, you must show that they were negligent. In any legal case, the word “negligence” has a very specific meaning. Specifically, there are four elements that you need to prove to be in a position to win your case:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant breached their duty of care by doing something that would be considered unreasonable under the circumstances
  • You suffered an injury to your person or emotions
  • You would not have been injured had it not been for the wrongful actions of the other party

In some cases, the question may revolve around who actually was the party that did something wrong. There are some personal injury cases where both parties may share in the blame.

Depending on the state, the legal rule for that instance may be different.

How Contributory Negligence Affects Your Personal Injury Case

In any personal injury case, you need to show that the defendant’s wrongful actions were the proximate cause of your injuries. If the chain of causation is broken, you may not be able to receive full compensation for your injuries. One way that the defendant may be able to get off the hook is if you bear some of the fault for the accident.

Comparative Vs. Contributory Negligence: What’s The Difference?

There are some states where you can still recover some or most of your personal injury damages if you were partially to blame for the accident. Alabama is not one of those states, raising the stakes for your personal injury claim.

In comparative negligence states, you would be able to receive compensation in proportion to the amount of fault that the other party bears for the accident. Your compensation would be reduced by the percentage of fault that you bear because that was not caused by the other party. In a modified comparative negligence state, you would not be able to receive anything if you were more than 50% to blame for the accident.

In Alabama, even if you bear only part of the blame for the accident, you are completely barred from receiving any type of settlement. For example, if you were broadsided in an intersection, but you were speeding or were not wearing a seatbelt, you may be viewed as partially at fault for the accident. In that case, you would get nothing for your injuries. While it seems to be a very harsh and unfair result, this is the law in Alabama.

Exceptions to Pure Contributory Negligence

There are some times when pure contributory negligence may not apply to a case. For example, when a minor is involved, they are not always held to the same exact high standard of conduct as an adult accident victim. In addition, there are times when the person who had the last clear chance to prevent the accident could be the one who has a higher duty of care. Your attorney may review the situation and determine whether there are any exceptions that can be used to your benefit.

Alabama’s contributory negligence law can be viewed as very unfavorable towards personal injury accident victims. Anything that is bad for you as an accident victim is certainly good for the insurance company. Thus, they will do anything possible to manipulate the system for their own advantage and to cost you money. Therefore, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who will stand up for your legal rights at every step of the way.

The main way that your lawyer would fight for you in an Alabama personal injury case is by keeping the insurance company from unfairly blaming you in any way for the accident. If the insurance company throws a bunch of allegations at you, and they make any of them stick, you would come away with nothing for your claim. Your attorney would need to investigate your own actions and be prepared to defend you at every turn when you are being blamed.

Contact an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Steve Morris Law is your staunch defender when the insurance company turns persecutor. We fight to defend your legal rights at all times during your claim. You can begin the legal process by scheduling a free consultation with an attorney today. To speak with a lawyer, you can send us a message through our website, or you can call us today at 256-357-9211.

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