January 9, 2020

What Determines If an Alabama Driver Was Negligent?

If you’ve been involved in an Alabama vehicular accident, you need to know who was at fault. You also need to know if you contributed to the crash in any way. Understanding who is at fault is crucial in determining who is financially responsible for the accident. This person will be held liable for medical bills and other damages associated with the accident. Alabama’s negligence law is based on the principle of contributory negligence. This means that if you were at fault for the accident in any way, you won’t be able to recover damages. You will need an Alabama car crash lawyer to prove the other party was completely responsible.

Proving Negligence as Explained by an Alabama Car Crash Lawyer

Negligence refers to an individual’s failure to take reasonable care and the resulting foreseeable harm which someone else suffered. There are several elements of negligence which must be proven in order to successfully claim compensation. These are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Duty

Every driver owes other road users a basic duty of care. They are not supposed to drive in a way that would injure others. Since you have to prove that the driver was negligent, you need to prove that they were not exercising reasonable care.

Breach of duty

You will need to show how the defendant breached their duty of care. If they were following too closely, speeding or texting while driving, that’s constitutes a breach. You’ll need to have evidence to support your claim. If the driver was cited by law enforcement, you can strengthen your case. You’ll have to prove that a reasonable person wouldn’t have acted in the same way.

Causation

You will need to show that you wouldn’t have been injured were it not for the driver’s actions. This is called actual causation. For example, if you suffered neck and back injuries, you need to prove that they were caused by the accident. If you were hurt in another way, you may find it difficult to link the accident to your injuries.

You also need to need to prove that the driver’s actions caused your injuries. This is called proximate cause. The injury must have been foreseeable. For example, a reasonable driver would foresee that texting while driving could lead to an accident.

What Damages Can Your Alabama Car Crash Lawyer Get You?

After proving these elements, you will need to show proof of your losses. You must attach a dollar figure to your injuries. If you can’t prove your injuries or any financial losses, you won’t be able to recover anything. Let’s say a driver breached their duty by talking on the phone while texting and they rear-ended you. If you didn’t suffer physical injury, you didn’t have to miss work, and your car wasn’t damaged, you can’t get compensation.

That’s why it’s important that you keep your medical records, hospital bills and other proof of your losses. You should also hold on to the invoices for any repairs done to your car. Your attorney will use these to build your case for compensation.

How Contributory Negligence Could Impact Your Case

Alabama’s negligence laws are harsh. It’s the only state which practices contributory negligence in 2019. Most states have what is called comparative negligence”. The injured party can still recover damages even if they are partially at fault for the crash. They simply have to be less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.

Meanwhile, a few states practice pure comparative negligence. Under this system, plaintiffs can be awarded damages even if they were 99 percent at fault. However, the amount they get is reduced by the share of blame assigned to them. If their case was worth $10,000 and they were assigned 40 percent of the blame, they would get $6,000. In Alabama, that person would not be able to get any compensation.

As a result, the other driver and their insurance company will put some of the blame on you. If they make a strong enough case that you contributed to the accident, they won’t have to compensate you. That’s why it’s so important to work with an attorney to build the strongest possible case against the other driver.

Contact an Experienced Alabama Car Crash Lawyer Today

If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, don’t hesitate to call The Vance Law Firm. We will listen to your account of the accident, review the facts and determine whether you have a case. If we find your injuries were due to someone’s negligence, we will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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