May 26, 2023
personal injury

Originally published November 8, 2021.

When you get hurt because of someone else’s negligence, the ramifications can be serious and long-lasting. Not only are you in pain, but you also could be suffering financially. Your medical bills are piling up, and you’re not earning the paychecks you need to pay them while keeping up with your family’s living expenses.

Getting money from a personal injury settlement or lawsuit can help give you peace of mind that you can financially recover from an accident that wasn’t your fault. The relief of knowing that your bills will be taken care of can help make your physical recovery easier and less stressful as well.

But no two injuries—or injury claims—are alike, and while some victims may need a few thousand dollars in compensation, others may need hundreds of thousands or more. Thankfully, Alabama only caps certain aspects of personal injury claims, and most victims can get as much compensation as they need for their medical bills and other expenses.

There’s No Cap on Economic Damages in Alabama

In personal injury lawsuits, economic damages refer to damages that can be easily quantified and calculated in a dollar amount. These are the financial losses you suffered, and usually include:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Current and future lost paychecks
  • Lost earning potential
  • Property damage
  • Other injury-related expenses, such as vehicle and home modifications (for example, if you require a wheelchair as a result of your injury)

According to data collected by the Lawsuit Information Center, the median personal injury verdict (the number that falls precisely in the middle when looking at all verdicts sorted from lowest to highest) in Alabama is around $25,000. However, the average personal injury verdict (the number you get when dividing the sum of all verdicts by the number of verdicts) in the state is over $300,000.

The significant difference between these two figures is because some personal injury lawsuits are settled for well over $1 million. And while that amount may seem extreme, many victims are owed that much because of how significantly their injuries have impacted their lives and their finances.

There’s Also No Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Alabama

Some states don’t cap economic damages but do cap non-economic damages. Alabama isn’t one of them, and victims are free to pursue as much compensation for their non-economic damages as they do for their economic damages.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and consortium
  • Emotional distress

Getting fair compensation for non-economic damages can be more challenging than it is for economic damages. That’s because you can’t easily put a price tag on things like emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.

But because serious and disabling injuries can make it difficult or impossible to spend quality time pursuing hobbies or with friends and family, our lawyers work hard to ensure our clients are fairly compensated for these losses.

What Caps Does Alabama Place on Personal Injury Lawsuits?

The Alabama Code has three caps on personal injury lawsuits in Alabama that victims need to know about:

  • Punitive damage cap—These damages are awarded to victims when the people or parties who hurt them were excessively reckless or negligent. In Alabama, they are capped at three times the compensatory damages that victims receive with a hard cap of $1.5 million.
  • Small business cap—When a small business is found to be at fault for a victim’s injuries, it can’t be required to pay more than $50,000 or 10% of its net worth, whichever is greater.
  • Municipality cap—Municipalities are governmental bodies, and their maximum level of financial liability on injury claims is $100,000 per victim and $300,000 per accident.

Don’t Let the Insurance Company Tell You How Much Your Injury is Worth

At Vance Law Firm, we have one goal in mind when we take on new injury claims: getting our clients every penny they’re owed. To accomplish that, we look at all the ways their injuries affected them not just today, but tomorrow, next month, and years down the road.

Our clients are often shocked when they get their first medical bills after their injuries. But they may be even more shocked when they find out how much money they’re truly owed for those injuries, especially if the insurance companies have already made them “lowball” settlement offers.

Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Contact our Alabama personal injury lawyers today. Our consultations are free, and you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we win your claim.

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