September 5, 2022
Auto Accident

Drivers often neglect to follow seemingly insignificant traffic laws. Whether distracted, rushed, or assuming no other vehicles are nearby, you may accidentally forget to use a turn signal or roll through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop.

Unfortunately, small mistakes can significantly impact your ability to get the compensation you need after a car crash in Alabama.

Learn why these minor driving errors may prevent you from receiving compensation after a car accident. Hire a personal injury attorney from The Vance Law Firm to increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement for injuries caused by a negligent driver.

What is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that allows a court to reduce or eliminate damages awarded to a car accident victim if their actions contributed to the crash.

In Alabama, contributory negligence bars victims of auto accidents from receiving compensation if they bear any fault for the incident. Even receiving a 1% fault designation can disqualify you from receiving restitution, meaning you cannot receive damages for medical expenses, lost wages, or other expenses incurred due to the accident.

Contributory negligence differs from comparative negligence, which assigns monetary damages for each party’s percentage of fault. For example, under comparative negligence, a court may find you 40% at fault for an accident in which you are texting but the other driver is speeding.

Under these circumstances, you can receive 60% of your awarded damages in a comparative negligence state. In Alabama, if you bear any percentage of fault, you can’t receive damages for your injuries.

Small Driving Mistakes That Affect Your Ability To Recover Compensation in Alabama

Several small driving mistakes can affect your ability to recover compensation in Alabama. If you make one of these errors while driving and are involved in an accident, you may be unable to obtain a settlement for your accident-related expenses.


In 2019, speeding was a contributing factor in 7,778 car crashes and 103 fatalities in Alabama. Even though it may seem negligible to travel a few miles per hour over the speed limit, the severity of injuries and material damages increases when colliding vehicles have higher speeds.

If you speed while driving and an accident occurs, you will likely forfeit your ability to gain compensation, even if the other driver caused the collision.

Rolling Through Stop Signs

While pausing at a stop sign on a side street or non-busy road may seem like a minor traffic error, rolling through stop signs is one of the leading causes of car accidents. In Alabama, failure to yield the right of way, including not stopping at stop signs, is the second most common accident cause, resulting in 25,124 crashes and 98 deaths in 2019.

You must come to a complete stop at stop signs to avoid contributing to an accident and losing your ability to gain compensation.

Following Too Closely

Tailgating or following other vehicles too closely contributed to 21,585 Alabama car accidents and 5 deaths in the state in 2019. You may tailgate another car accidentally, for example, if you are distracted by your phone or passengers in your vehicle. You may also tailgate out of frustration in heavy traffic or if the other driver is moving slowly and you are in a hurry.

Tailgating is dangerous driving behavior. If you tailgate another driver and contribute to the accident, you may lose your right to a settlement for your injuries.

Not Using a Turn Signal

One of the most basic rules of safe driving is to use your turn signals when changing lanes or making a turn. Unfortunately, many drivers forget to signal when turning, causing an accident. When you don’t use your turn signals, you may blindside other drivers and give them no warning of your intentions.

Using a turn signal makes everyone safer on the road. If you accidentally forget to signal a right or left-hand turn and an accident occurs, it can impact your ability to receive compensation.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Avoid Loss of Compensation

A personal injury attorney can help you avoid a loss of compensation by thoroughly investigating the accident and gathering evidence to prove that you were not at fault. For example, your attorney with The Vance Law Firm can pull phone records or access streetlight camera footage to show you followed traffic laws and didn’t add to the cause of the incident.

We can also use police records or a collision reenactment to show that you weren’t speeding or under the influence while driving. Contacting a knowledgeable lawyer to help you navigate contributory negligence in Alabama is essential to winning a fair settlement in an auto accident.

Get Experienced Legal Help for Your Car Accident Claim

When the details of your accident can make the difference between recovering costly medical expenses, lost wages, and mental-anguish damages and not receiving a dime, trusting a skilled Montgomery personal injury lawyer is vital.

Contact The Vance Law Firm today to get the legal advice you need. We offer a free initial consultation where you can ask us any questions you may have about your case.

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