Can I recover damages if I was partly to blame for my accident?

No. Unlike most other states, Alabama follows a legal doctrine known as contributory negligence. According to Alabama law, you cannot recover any damages if you bear any of the responsibility for the incident that led to your injury. For example, if another driver fails to stop at a red light and hits you while you are traveling just seven miles over the speed limit, then you may be unable to make a legal recovery.

This rule is extreme, and it is one of the reasons why it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have been hurt in an Alabama accident.

Different Rules for Children and People Who Are Mentally Incompetent

Contributory negligence generally prevents people who bear any responsibility for their injuries from recovering damages. However, special rules apply to children and people with mental disabilities. Children under the age of seven are presumed not to be negligent and children between the ages of seven and fourteen may be presumed not to be contributorily negligent. Similarly, people with cognitive or mental disabilities may be presumed not to be negligent. Of course, evidence may be submitted to refute these presumptions.

Be Prepared for the Defendant to Argue That You Were Partly at Fault

A defendant only needs to prove that you were one percent responsible for an accident in order to get out of paying any damages. Thus, you can expect that the defendant, the defendant’s lawyer, or the defendant’s insurance company is going to try hard to argue that you bear some legal responsibility for what happened.

You should be prepared for this argument. Strong evidence that clearly establishes liability and persuasive arguments from your own attorney can help you protect your rights and recover the damages to which you are legally entitled. For more information, or to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer directly, please reach out to us via this website or by phone to schedule a free consultation.