Can I Sue for Injuries in Alabama if I Was Partly At-Fault?
If you were injured in an accident – whether a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other accident – you may be afraid to sue if you were partially at-fault for the accident. Part of an attorney’s job in framing the injury and the case against the responsible parties is looking at each party’s actions and assigning blame where it belongs. Many times, accident victims blame themselves in ways that the law never would.
If you were injured in an accident in Alabama, you may still be able to sue for your injuries, even if you think you were partially to blame. Our lawyers have put this article together to explain some of the laws surrounding “fault” in Alabama injury cases. If you were injured in an accident, talk to the Montgomery personal injury attorneys at the Morrison Law Firm, LLC, today. Our attorneys may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries.
Alabama Strict Contributory Negligence Rules
When you are injured in an accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation from anyone who contributed to the accident. The money that you recover in court is called “damages,” and any party who added to the cause of the accident might be held accountable for their own share of damages. This means that if you were injured in a three-way car crash, the other two drivers may each be partly responsible for the crash. The jury will decide which parties were at-fault in an accident, how much they were each at-fault (usually as a percentage), and the overall damages you are entitled to. This may mean that each party splits the damages by their percentage of fault, or it may mean that the parties must, collectively, pay you those damages – but they can determine who pays which share.
Alabama is one of the few states left in the US that follows a strict doctrine called “contributory negligence.” This used to be the rule across the country, but every state except Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia (as well as Washington D.C.) have stepped away from it. Contributory negligence rules block a victim from recovering damages from a case where they were partly responsible for their own injuries. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident while typing a text message, you may be partly to blame for that accident. Even if the other driver was drunk and speeding, the fact that you were also driving distracted might block you from winning your case against them.
In some states, victims are still allowed to recover for injuries as long as they were less than 50% or 51% liable. Some states even let parties recover some compensation, even if they were 99% responsible for their own injuries. (However, that often means the other side will sue them for more than they would win.) In Alabama, your case may be shut down if you were even 1% responsible for your own injuries.
Suing for Partial Fault in Alabama
If you think you may have been partially at-fault in causing your accident injuries, still talk to an attorney about your case. Your idea of fault may not be the same as the legal definition, and you may still be able to recover. This brings us to some important legal concepts in Alabama. The first is the concept of fault itself.
While there are many little events and chances that come together to cause an injury, not all of them are part of the legal cause of an accident. For instance, while the accident may have never occurred if you were never born, your parents are not partially at-fault for the accident because they gave birth to you. Only actions that are closely related to the accident count as legal “fault.” You are not partially to blame for your own injuries because you decided to drive that particular route or because your car was a sedan instead of a pick-up truck. Instead, you would only be partially liable for your own injuries for things like distracted driving, speeding, or violating other rules of the road.
In non-traffic accidents, the same rules apply. If you were injured in a slip and fall at the supermarket, you are not “at-fault” for your own injuries if you could not see a puddle on the floor or decided to walk down that aisle. Instead, you may be responsible for things like running through the store.
Additionally, your actions must cause the accident to block your case. If you were stopped at a red light when a tractor-trailer read-ended you, the same accident might have occurred even if you were texting and adjusting the radio when it happened. These distractions may be against the rules of the road, but they might not have legally contributed to the accident.
Montgomery Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident in Montgomery or the surrounding areas, talk to an attorney at the Morrison Law Firm. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling personal injury lawsuits, standing up for our clients, and helping them get the compensation they need for their injuries. For a free consultation on your case, call (334) 625-6128 today.