The Basics of Alabama’s Negligence Laws
When a person suffers a personal injury due to another’s negligence, pursuing litigation is often a course of action that victims consider. In Alabama, consulting with an Alabama personal injury attorney at Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys can be helpful in these situations. Our team understands Alabama’s negligence laws and has extensive experience fighting for the most compensation on a victim’s behalf. Read on for more information about this important topic.
The General Elements of a Negligence Case
In any case, where a plaintiff is attempting to recover compensation for personal injury sustained due to another party’s negligence, a basic framework exists that helps guide the courts in determining whether or not the case has a solid legal footing. To receive serious consideration from the courts, the following elements of a plaintiff’s case must be presented:
- A duty of care exists. The defendant should have acted in a way that limited the risk of personal injury to others. With respect to motor vehicle accidents, this duty of care is often perceived as following the universal rules of the road.
- A breach of duty occurred. The defendant breached this duty of care in some way. This is the negligent behavior that the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney is arguing caused the accident in question. Breaches of duty in personal injury cases involving motor vehicle crashes can include distracted or impaired driving, tailgating, or improper lane changes.
- Cause. The defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the cause of the injuries the plaintiff incurred as a result of the accident. The plaintiff must have demonstrated injuries that could have been avoided if the defendant had not breached their duty of care.
- Damages. The accident resulted in some quantifiable amount of damages that the plaintiff can be compensated for. Medical bills, time lost from work, and pain and suffering are examples of damages that can be compensated for by the court.
Alabama’s Negligence Laws
Alabama employs a doctrine of fault determination known as “contributory negligence”. Under this system, a plaintiff cannot recover compensation for damages if they are found to have played even the slightest role in causing the accident.
This system is known to be stricter than other states that prorate the amount of compensation available to plaintiffs based on their assessed proportion of fault for the accident. Personal injury victims should therefore take time to consult with an experienced local personal injury attorney to review their case and determine if litigation is appropriate.
Types of Compensation Available
Compensatory damages are the kind of financial compensation that accident victims commonly imagine when they discuss the litigation process with their personal injury attorney. This type of court-appointed award is meant to “compensate” the victim for any expenses they have realized as a result of the accident. This often includes the costs of medical care, lost wages from time taken off work including potential future losses of income, “pain and suffering”, and quality of life changes that may inhibit the individual from returning to the same level of functioning that they knew before the incident.
Punitive damages are the other common type of compensation awarded by civil personal injury courts. Punitive damages are meant to “punish” the negligent party in cases where their negligence is clearly reckless and dangerous. Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case but are reserved only for those cases where gross levels of negligence are apparent.
Professional Counsel in Alabama
For years, the attorneys at Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys have been helping accident victims in Birmingham, Huntsville, and throughout Alabama as they fight for compensation after an accident. Contact Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation with a Birmingham personal injury lawyer to obtain expert insight into your case.