At the core of every car accident lawsuit is the concept of negligence. Like other states, Alabama allows victims to recover compensation if they can show that another party acted negligently and caused their accident. If you were injured due to another person’s carelessness or recklessness, you may have grounds for a civil lawsuit.
How the state of Alabama determines negligence in car accidents includes applying specific personal injury laws and analyzing the evidence available in the case to determine what happened and who is at fault. If you can prove the other party is at fault, it may be possible to recover costs associated with the crash, such as medical expenses or the wages you lost while recovering away from work.
Determining Negligence and Liability in an Alabama Crash Case
Alabama’s personal injury laws require the court to determine who acted negligently, causing the crash at the heart of any disputed accident case. Four elements must be present to confirm negligence occurred in your case. They include:
- One driver had a duty of care toward the other, such as checking the adjacent lane before moving into it
- They failed in this duty
- This caused the accident
- The victim suffered physical, emotional, and/or financial injuries as a result
In many cases, the judge and jury can look at the claimant’s submitted evidence and see that the defendant violated a traffic law that led directly to the crash. This is the most common way these cases are won for victims at trial in Alabama.
In most cases, the party responsible for causing the crash is also the liable party. If the court believes that one person is responsible for the injuries due to a lack of care, it may hold that party liable for the damages. However, there are some cases when there are additional responsible parties.
This is most common in commercial vehicle accidents. Alabama recognizes the legal doctrine of respondeat superior when:
- The at-fault driver is working at the time of the crash
- The driver is “within the scope of his employment” when they cause the collision
Under the 1929 Alabama Supreme Court opinion in St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Robbins, the employer of a commercial driver is vicariously liable when that worker causes a crash or another type of negligence accident.
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Alabama Has Unusual Laws Regarding Shared Negligence
Alabama follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. This is rare and still exists only in four states. Under this type of shared fault law, affirmed by the Supreme Court of Alabama in Golden v. McCurry (1980), a driver cannot secure damages if they played a causative role in the crash.
The defendant can use this as a defense if there is evidence that the plaintiff had a part in causing the accident in some way. The court will make this determination. If it finds both parties contributed to causing the incident, neither can recover compensation via an insurance claim or lawsuit.
If you believe this could occur in your case, you should connect with our attorney as soon as possible following your crash. You will need a strong case to prove the other driver acted negligently and single-handedly caused the accident.
Do I Need an Attorney to Prove Negligence and Get Compensation in Alabama?
Recovering damages after a car accident may not be straightforward or easy. The insurance company may not offer the appropriate compensation, and the negligent driver may argue that the plaintiff contributed to the collision. An attorney can make this process much easier and less stressful to manage.
It also takes time to build a solid case. This includes:
- Gathering the appropriate evidence to support a claim
- Preparing documents and presenting this information
- Valuing your case’s damages
- Demanding fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer
Alabama’s negligence laws can be challenging to comprehend, but our lawyer will help you understand how they will affect your claim and answer any questions you have. They will handle your claim and sue the at-fault party if needed to prove your case.
In Alabama, Ala. Code § 6-2-38 gives you two years from the crash date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Speak With a Team Member for Free Today to Learn More
At the Morris Bart law firm, our attorneys will assist you with your Alabama car accident claim. One of our personal injury lawyers will evaluate the circumstances surrounding your car accident and explain your options for pursuing damages.
Our consultations are free, and our law firm works on contingency, which means we charge no fees to start on your case. We offer services throughout Alabama.
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