You Can Win an Alabama Car Accident Lawsuit Even if You Were Speeding
If you have been injured in a car accident in Alabama, you may be entitled to recover damages as compensation for your losses — but what if you were also partially at fault for the accident? Read on to find out what you need to know and do to win your case.
Partial Fault Does Not Mean You Automatically LoseMost injured individuals want to know if they will still be able to recover monetary damages if they are partially at fault for an accident. The general answer to that is “maybe.” The legal answer isn’t necessarily straightforward, as Alabama law does not always favor plaintiffs. In fact, some of its rules can be downright burdensome for injured plaintiffs.
Still, injured plaintiffs who are partially at fault for a car accident may find that they have to overcome some challenging barriers to recovery — specifically as it relates to the contributory negligence doctrine. Despite these challenges, it’s important not to give up. Skilled legal advocacy may open up opportunities for you to strategically avoid Alabama’s burdensome laws and recover the compensation you need and deserve to cover your losses.
You Must Understand Alabama’s Contributory Negligence LawAlabama has implemented the doctrine of contributory negligence — and as such, it is much stricter on plaintiffs than most other states. The doctrine of contributory negligence generally prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages in cases where they were also at fault — this prohibition on recovery applies even if the plaintiff was only 1 percent at fault!
For example, if you get involved in an accident with another vehicle and the court establishes that you were speeding (and therefore, say, 10 percent at fault for your own injuries), Alabama law would preclude you from recovering on your civil claims.
Causation is the Key to Potentially Winning Your CaseFortunately, although contributory negligence is a strict doctrine that puts the plaintiff in a difficult position, there may be an opportunity to overcome the contributory negligence barrier and recover damages, if the facts support it.
It’s important to understand that fault is only tied to an injury through a “causal link.” For example, if you had a flat tire when you got involved in a car accident, for example, but you were actually stopped at a red light when you got hit, then the negligence — failing to fix your flat tire — would be completely irrelevant with respect to the injury you suffered.
You Will Need to Show That Your Negligence Doesn’t Negate Your Right to Full RecoveryIf you can introduce evidence that shows your negligence — your “fault” — was disconnected from the injuries you suffered (i.e., it didn’t contribute to the accident in any way), then you will be able to avoid the contributory negligence rule, thus enabling a full and adequate recovery. That said, it is important that you are well organized such that you are able to provide sufficient evidence that will be irrefutable. Keep thorough notes of the incident and take many pictures, when possible. Avoiding the contributory negligence rule can be quite challenging -- but it can be done.
Having Quality Legal Guidance Could Be the Difference Between a Win or a LossWhile there is no rule that says you have to work with an attorney on any case, when dealing with issues of a complex nature (such as contributory negligence), it may be prudent to speak with a knowledgeable attorney (at the very least). An attorney can guide you on how to best proceed with your claims and prove your case. Should you decide to go it alone, be sure you have a clear understanding of the above-mentioned nuances regarding negligence and the role it will play in your case.