If you’ve been injured in an accident in Alabama, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation, but there are a number of different ways in which the defendant can avoid liability — among the most common of these defense strategies is asserting contributory fault (i.e., claiming that the plaintiff contributed to their own injuries).
This can be a difficult barrier to overcome in personal injury litigation, so let’s take a closer look at how it works.
Alabama is rather anti-plaintiff, and as such, is one of the few states still implementing strict contributory fault principles.
What does this mean?
Under strict contributory fault in Alabama, an injured plaintiff is completely prevented from recovering damages in a lawsuit if they are partially at-fault for their own injuries. In fact, they are barred from recovery if they are found to be even one percent at-fault!
For example, suppose that you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a store. The court evaluates the facts and determines that you did not notice the slipping hazard when you had the opportunity to do so, and so you are ten percent at-fault for your own injuries. Under Alabama law, you would be prevented from recovery entirely.
Strict contributory fault may seem like an overwhelming barrier, but there is a way to overcome it.
If you can show that your “fault” contribution is not causally-linked to the accident, then you can avoid the effect of strict contributory fault (and can recover damages).
For example, suppose that you are involved in a car accident. The defendant is attempting to argue that your own negligence in operating your vehicle (speeding) means that you were also at fault for your injuries, and are therefore prevented from recovery under Alabama law.
You could counter by explaining that the defendant slammed into you from the side. As such, your speed was unrelated to the accident (and the injuries) that you suffered. Though you may have been negligent, that negligence was not causally linked and therefore cannot prevent you from recovering damages through a lawsuit.
Cross & Smith is a Tuscaloosa-based firm with decades of experience representing injured clients and helping them secure compensation. We are committed to personalized legal advocacy, and as such, work closely with clients to identify the particularities of their case (and adjust our arguments appropriately).
Over the years, our client-centric approach has helped us secure many favorable results, in negotiated settlements and trial verdicts alike.
If you’d like to get in touch with an experienced Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm, call us at 877-791-0618 or contact us through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.
"I have been friends with Dell Cross since we were roommates at UA Law and have had the pleasure of conferring with Cross & Smith, LLC in a professional capacity for many years. As a law office which specializes in domestic relations and family law matters, it is imperative that my office maintain a consistent client referral relationship with a law firm which can effectively address personal injury matters brought to us by our clients."
Posted By: Mark Sterling Gober