Some argue that personal injury victims should receive injury related compensations as if we lived in an equal society, regardless of wages or current economic situation.
On the other hand, some are strongly opposed to reward a person with lower income the same compensation as someone with a higher earning potential.
With so many news reports of social injustice, some minorities, including women, African Americans and Latinos, continue to question whether their personal injury settlement can be impacted by a discriminatory and biased present.
If you feel that the insurance company is offering you a settlement that is way too low, a good lawyer or law firm who values you as an equal citizen will take your legal case to trial if need be.
There are even law firms that will provide an interpreter or assign a Spanish-Speaking lawyer to handle your personal-injury case.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury; whether at work, a car accident or a slip and fall in a public place, there is much to know about filing a claim and receiving the benefits you are entitled to under Alabama personal injury laws.
Most of the time; an injury that occurs while at work falls under your employers Worker’s Compensation plan. There are guidelines that must be met and in some cases, certain medical protocol must be followed. Many of these plans provided a wage replacement benefit for a period of time with the goal of you returning to your job as soon as possible.
However, if you feel you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, meaning your employer failed to warn you of the particular dangers of the job-site, or failed to provide adequate safety measures and you sustained partial or permanent disability, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation for pain and suffering and other damages.
Alabama has strict laws as it pertains to dog bites and dog attack cases. While many states allow for a “one bite rule”, giving protection to a dog owner should there be no known reason to believe the dog was dangerous and it has caused injury for the first time. Alabama does not adhere to this relaxed view and follows “strict liability” when it comes to dog bites, making the animal’s owner responsible for any and all injuries caused by their dog.
Car accidents on Alabama highways and back-roads can be a bit more complex. Even if someone else caused the accident, can it be proven you shared fault in the accident? Could you have avoided being hit had you not slammed on your brakes? Could you have honked your horn alerting the other driver they were about to hit you, had you not been on your phone?
If you have suffered an injury, regardless of what happened or where it occurred, you should be aware of the key Alabama laws as they pertain to your injury lawsuit.
Like all states, Alabama sets time limits, called “statute of limitations”, in which you can file an injury lawsuit. Most time limits are 2 years from the date of the accident or injury. However, if a child has been involved, then the Statute of Limitations to file lawsuit on their behalf does not expire until the child turns 19 years old.
If you have not filed your injury claim during this time period, then in most cases, you will be unable to recover any financial compensation.
“Shared Fault” is the same way as “At Fault” when it comes to Alabama state law. While some states follow “No Fault” guidelines to govern injury law, Alabama does not. If you have filed an injury lawsuit, there is a possibility that you could shared some of the legal blame for your injuries and reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
For example, you were hit from behind at a light. While the other driver hit your car, you slammed on your brakes at the last minute, not giving the other driver enough warning or time to stop. Or the light had already turned green, but you were distracted with your phone or radio and sat there.
The "contributory negligence" rule, which means you contributed to your injuries in some way, can result unfavorably for plaintiffs.
Even if a jury determines you were only 5% responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, under Contributory Negligence, you may still be unable to recover financial compensation for your injuries.
In situations where you are not certain if you contributed to your injuries, you may want to speak with a licensed personal injury attorney. A lawyer who is familiar with Alabama’s contributory negligence rule can advise you as to what’s in your best interest; whether to settle with the insurance company or go to trial.
According to the Alabama Supreme Court, caps or limits on compensation can receive due to injury or medical malpractice injury is unconstitutional. Therefore, in injury lawsuits against private individuals, there are no limits on compensation for damages.
This does not apply to punitive damages. In order to receive punitive compensation, you must be able to present clear and convincing evidence that an individual acted with intentional malice, purposefully causing you harm and injury. If, in fact, that malice can be proven, you are eligible for punitive damages in the amount of three times compensation damages or $1.5 million.
Alabama does, however, set a limit for municipal (city, town, or county) liability in personal injury cases of $100,000. There are no exceptions to this rule under any circumstance.
If you or a loved one has been injured in Alabama due to the wrongful or negligent conduct of another person, then you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering. State law uses the phrase “pain and suffering” to describe the physical, mental and emotional pain that can result from an accident or injury. Emotional injury includes mental anguish with ongoing symptoms such as: worry, anxiety, shock, humiliation, terror or grief.
Damages, or financial compensation, for pain and suffering is left to the judgment of the court, as Alabama has no fixed guideline or limit. Because of this, it is left to the injured person and representing lawyer to describe the severity, duration and frequency of pain, as well as the interference of daily life and strain on business and personal relationships.
If you have been injured by an active government employee, whether municipal state or federal, then there are strict guidelines regarding time and procedures that must be adhered to in order to properly file a claim. In the state of Alabama, you have 6 months from the date of injury to file a formal claim against a local municipality or one year against a county.
A formal claim precedes the actual filing of a lawsuit and is more of an administrative process. However, if this notice is not filed properly, it may prevent you from filing a lawsuit. You may consider hiring an injury lawyer to assist you.
You have two years from the date of injury to file a formal claim against the federal government. If your formal claim is denied, then you have six months to file your injury lawsuit.
If you have been injured, even if you have not secured an injury lawyer to represent you, it is still suggested you keep a daily journal or diary that keeps track of your emotions, concerns you have about your injury, days missed from work, the struggles you are having on a daily basis, medical bills and miles driving to and from the pharmacy and therapy.
Whether you present this journal to the insurance adjuster, a mediator or a judge should your claim go to court, having accurate information about your emotional and physical stress will maximize the amount of compensation you receive for “pain and suffering”.