Alabama is one of only two states in the nation that has what is called contributory negligence. This means if you, the injured victim, were at fault in any way for the car wreck, slip and fall, etc. then normally you cannot recover any damages against the party that was primarily at fault.
Most states have something called comparative negligence which means that the court “compares” your degree of negligence with the degree of negligence of person or company that you sue. Normally your damages will be reduced by whatever percentage you are at fault.
But in Alabama if you are even 1% at fault, the normally the defendant will win the case based upon contributory negligence.
There are exceptions to this rule, some of which are obvious and some of which are not quite so obvious. The point of this blog post is not to get into a lengthy legal discussion of those exceptions but simply to point out that if either you were at fault or it appears that you might of been partially at fault, then you need to be carefully understand your rights before you start dealing with the insurance company or find yourself in a lawsuit.
The insurance companies love to say that you were at fault and therefore are entitled to no damages. We always expect them to say this.
I cannot think of a single personal injury case that we have ever had where the insurance company and the defense lawyer did not raise contributory negligence as a defense. So every single case we have ever filed, the other side has said that our client was guilty of contributory negligence.
This is true even in cases where our clients settled their cases for seven figures.
The point is that this is something to be aware of and it is a serious danger to you, but normally we can demonstrate that either you are not at fault or one of the exceptions applies so that you can still recover damages against the party that was primarily at fault.
If you live in Alabama have any questions about this for free to call us at 205-879-2447 words you can contact us through our website BirminghamInjury.com.
Note — we do have a page of definitions that may be helpful to you where we quickly define certain words and phrases such as “contributory negligence.”