How Are Alabama’s Negligence Laws Different from Those of Other States?
Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2022 at 12:38 pm
When you’re injured in a car crash, it is your right to hold the negligent driver liable for causing your injuries. You could pursue compensation from the at-fault party for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses. What happens, though, if the jury decides you were partially at fault for the crash?
In most other states, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you might be able to recover compensation for some portion of your compensable losses from an accident. However, Alabama is a different kind of state altogether.
Alabama’s Negligence Doctrine
Alabama follows the doctrine of contributory negligence. That means the plaintiff, the person filing the lawsuit, cannot share any blame for their injury if they want to obtain compensation. The defendant in the case should be the one with 100 percent liability for the accident. Multiple parties might even be at fault for the plaintiff’s injury, which is acceptable as long as the plaintiff doesn’t share any of the responsibility.
For example, let’s say the jury reviews all the evidence and determines the other motorist is 90 percent at fault for the crash because they were under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is dangerous behavior, but that still leaves ten percent of the fault unassigned. The jury decides you were also at fault because you exceeded the posted speed limit. Although 90 percent is a significantly higher percentage, your ten percent shared fault bars you from receiving any financial recovery.
In Alabama, if the jury determines you share even the slightest responsibility for the crash, they could decide you are responsible for your own injury and make no financial award to you.
Calculating the percentage of fault after a car accident can be challenging. However, even if you are only one percent at fault, it’s enough to prohibit you from recovering compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier in Alabama.
Shared fault can negatively affect anyone’s injury claim. It’s vital to hire an experienced car accident lawyer immediately following the collision to assist you with the process.
Understanding Shared Fault
If the fault for your accident is shared among other parties in the accident or others that contributed to the accident but not you, you can still obtain compensation. For instance, if the at-fault driver was driving under the influence but also had a brake system error that contributed to the accident, shared fault might be divided between the driver and the auto manufacturer, and you could still obtain compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses.
Common Factors Contributing to Shared Fault
In a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties, you could seek compensation for your injury. However, Alabama’s contributory negligence laws could prevent you from receiving any amount of money for your incurred costs if you shared any portion of fault for the accident yourself.
The jury might realize you are partially responsible for what happened and deny your demands for a monetary award. Common factors that might indicate you share fault for the car accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe lane change
- Failure to check blind spots
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Fatigued driving
If you displayed any sort of negligent behavior in the moments leading up to the car crash, the jury could assign partial fault to you and dismiss your case. Your misconduct could hinder your rights to compensation. That means you might have to pay out of pocket for your medical treatment and other expenses.
Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP Today
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP has proudly represented Alabama clients for more than 20 years. We have a reputation for success among legal organizations. The awards and accolades we received over the years show the level of dedication we bring to every case we take. We also support various charitable organizations to make our community a better place.
Our Birmingham car accident lawyers understand the trauma of getting hurt in a car crash someone else causes. Pursuing legal action can be overwhelming. You don’t have to go through this experience alone. We will fight by your side for the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you sustained an injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, call Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for your free consultation today at (205) 324-1212. You can also reach out to us online. We’re available 24/7, so you can speak with us whenever you need us.