Written by attorney Drew Barnett

Tort Immunity Law Causes Unfair Results For Alabama Car Accident Claim Victims

Alabama has several categories of tort immunity, usually granted to various industries or groups by statute. Essentially, tort immunity safeguards a specifically announced class of persons or industry from civil liability. The effect of such a safeguard is that recovery against a protected individual will be prohibited, even if the individual is shown to be at fault. While such immunities may be justified in limited instances, tort immunities often produce arbitrary and inconsistent results in the context of motor vehicle accidents.

For example, the Alabama legislature passed the Volunteer Service Act in 1991, immunizing volunteers from tort liability. Under the law, a volunteer is defined as anyone performing services for a non-profit corporation, hospital, or government entity without compensation. The law immunizes a volunteer from civil liability if he/she acted in good faith and within the scope of his/her volunteer duties, so long as the volunteer’s injuring conduct is not willful or wanton.

To display the problem with tort immunities like the Volunteer Service Act, one need only think of an ordinary automobile accident. If Driver A negligently crashes into Driver B, Driver B is entitled to recover her property damages and personal injuries from Driver A. However, if Driver A is a volunteer worker for a registered non-profit driving to the store to pick up office supplies for the non-profit, Driver A is immune from liability, and Driver B will be left to cover his own car accident damages.

Due to the vast number of persons/groups immunized from tort liability, car accident victims in Alabama often experience inconsistent results in their ability to recover from negligent drivers engaged in identical conduct. Those “lucky" drivers are hit by an individual without tort immunity; unfortunate drivers who are hit by immunized persons are left with to deal with their own damages simply based on the identity of the faulty driver—not the nature of the conduct causing injury.

Despite their blanket prohibitions to recovery, many tort law immunities have loopholes that allow injured individuals to circumvent the immunity and recover under specific circumstances. Drake Law Firm’s Alabama car wreck attorneys are familiar with such loopholes and may be able to help you recover from an otherwise protected defendant.

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