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How Negligence Per Se Works in Alabama

Oct 31, 2018 - Personal Injury, Tuscaloosa by

Alabama — as with other states — allows those who have been injured due to the negligent conduct of another to sue and recover damages as compensation.  Negligence can be difficult to prove in some cases, however, or may cause delays (even in more straightforward cases) where the defendant is particularly aggressive in denying liability.

Negligence per se is a unique legal principle that can strengthen your position in litigation and give you substantial leverage during early negotiations.  Let’s take a brief look at how it works in Alabama.

Establishing Negligence Per Se is Advantageous

Negligence per se can be quite advantageous in an injury lawsuit, as it allows the plaintiff to move forward with a presumption of negligence.  Normally, negligence-based injury claims require that the plaintiff establish:

  1. That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  2. That the defendant’s conduct violated the applicable standard of care;
  3. That the defendant’s violation proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer harm; and
  4. The plaintiff actually suffered harm.

With negligence per se, “proof” of negligence isn’t necessary, as the violation of law creates the presumption of negligence.  The plaintiff must simply satisfy the negligence per se requirements and show that the defendant’s violation of the law caused them harm.  This is simpler (and more favorable to the interests of the injured plaintiff) than establishing the applicable standard of care and then showing that the defendant’s conduct violated that standard of care.

Requirements for Negligence Per Se

Negligence per se in Alabama is applied rather broadly in comparison to some other state jurisdictions (where negligence per se is only applied in cases involving the violation of a criminal, non-traffic statute).  Simply put, you can establish negligence per se in any situation where the defendant violated a statute or ordinance that was enacted to protect those in the same class or circumstances as you.


Suppose that you suffer severe injuries in an accident where the defendant passed you on the right side of your vehicle, thus causing the collision.  In doing so, the defendant-driver violated section 32-5A-83 of the Alabama Code.  You don’t have to prove that the defendant’s actions were negligent given the circumstances — their violation of the law establishes their negligence per se.  They are presumptively negligent.  Other drivers (such as yourself) are the intended category of individuals meant to be protected by the regulation.

Request a Free Consultation With an Experienced Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney at Cross & Smith

If you’ve been harmed in an accident that was caused by the fault of another party, then Alabama law may entitle you to compensation for your injuries.  Litigating a personal injury claim isn’t simple, however.  What begins as a straightforward injury claim can spiral into a multi-defendant lawsuit with hostile parties who are unwilling to negotiate a fair settlement.  It’s important that you consult with a team of attorneys who have a consistent track record of success in navigating such disputes.

At Cross & Smith, our attorneys have decades of experience litigating a variety of personal injury claims, from motor vehicle accidents to slip-and-fall accidents to dog bites and more.  We are client-oriented litigators and believe that a commitment to individualized advocacy is the most effective way to represent the interests of our clients in a dispute — by maintaining open lines of communication, we are able to act dynamically and decisively on behalf of our clients, helping them secure favorable outcomes, in some cases early on in the dispute process.

If you’d like to discuss your case and speak to an attorney about the possibility of moving forward with litigation, we encourage you to call (205) 391-9557 or submit a message online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with a skilled Tuscaloosa injury attorney here at Cross & Smith.

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Posted By: Chuck Kelley

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