In a legal context, negligence is behavior that falls below the standards for protecting others from unreasonable risk of harm. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important that you understand what happened and how it impacts your case before filing an insurance claim.
This article written by the experts at Long & Long will address some of the most common questions regarding negligence in Alabama personal injury cases so that you’ll know exactly how to proceed after your accident.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is the most common theory of liability in personal injury cases. Negligence refers to someone’s failure to exercise reasonable care or caution when it comes to their actions or words.
Negligence can be found in many types of lawsuits. A company may be negligent in marketing a defective product, a landlord may be negligent in not repairing the stairs, or a drunk driver may be negligent in killing a pedestrian.
In order for someone who has been harmed due to another person’s negligent conduct to be compensated by that party, they must prove that:
- The defendant owed them a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty of care through their own actions or inaction (i.e., the defendant was negligent)
- As a result of this breach, they suffered damage
What Are the “Duty of Care” and the “Reasonable Person” Standard?
To be considered negligent, the defendant must owe the plaintiff a duty of care. Duties of care are imposed on those who have control over the safety of others. For example, in an automobile accident case, both drivers would have duties of care to each other because they had control over the safety of their passengers. The duty of care gives an idea of what a reasonable person would have done given the same situation, and this is known as the reasonable person standard.
Other examples of falling below the reasonable person standard and violating the duty of care include:
- Not using reasonable prudence (e.g. keeping your headlights turned off at night)
- Not meeting the expectations of your profession (e.g. a pharmacist handing over a medication without checking the label)
- Ignoring well-known or obvious information (e.g. a shopkeeper notices a wet floor but allows people to walk over it anyway without putting up a sign
What Is Alabama’s Contributory Negligence Law?
Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that says if you are in any way partially responsible for your injuries, you may not recover damages. In Alabama, this means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for your injuries, you cannot seek compensation from the other party.
For example, if you were driving too fast and rear-ended another driver, but the other driver was also speeding and ran a red light, neither party will be able to recover damages from one another because both parties were partially at fault for the crash.
This contributory negligence doctrine can make seeking compensation for your injuries and property damage difficult, but not impossible. With the right legal advocates behind you, you can still pursue justice and recover your losses.
How Can I Get Help With My Personal Injury Claim?
If you’ve been injured in Mobile, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or anywhere else in Alabama due to someone else’s careless actions, don’t let the other party’s insurance company put the blame on you. Proving that you hold no liability for your accident can be difficult, but we can help.
If you have questions about your legal rights after an accident or personal injury case, contact Long & Long for a free consultation today.