If you have been hurt in a Mobile, Alabama car accident and have suffered injuries, the rules and procedures of our legal system are likely unfamiliar to you. This is particularly true because each state has its own rules and laws that relate to car accidents. While some of these rules have an important purpose, others can unfairly harm your Alabama personal injury lawsuit. Below are five rules in Alabama that can harm your car accident claim.
Rule #1: Alabama’s Survival Statute:
consider this example – two victims suffer the same injuries in different car accidents caused by another driver, but one files his or her claim right away while the other does not and they both die from unrelated conditions. The first victim’s estate may continue to pursue the claim because the lawsuit was filed prior to death while the estate for the second victim cannot. The result is unfair treatment under the law.
Rule #2: Alabama’s Guest Passenger Statute:
if you are a passenger in an Alabama car accident and are hurt, while you can make a claim against the other driver if he or she was negligent you cannot make a claim against the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger even if he or she was negligent. Indeed, most insurance companies will deny a claim and cite the state’s Guest Passenger Statute. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule.
Rule #3: Alabama’s Contributory Negligence Doctrine:
this legal doctrine prevents an injured accident victim from recovering monetary compensation if he or she is found to also be at fault – even if ever so slightly – for causing the accident that resulted in harm. This harsh principle is only followed by a handful of states in the country – including Alabama. The rest of the country follows a comparative negligence rule which, instead of barring recovery for an at-fault plaintiff, it instead reduces the monetary award by the percentage of fault found to be attributed to him or her.
Rule #4: Alabama’s Medical Reimbursement Evidence Statute:
when someone is seriously injured in an Alabama car accident, medical bills start to pile up quickly. Some people have private insurance, others have government benefits, and still others may have no health care at all. Previously, the state followed the collateral source rule, which prohibited defendants from introducing evidence that an injured victim’s health insurer satisfied a medical bill for less than the charges. Alabama Code Section 12-21-45 changed this, essentially punishing those who have healthcare coverage because they still have to pay back the insurer even if the debt swallows up their recovery.
Rule #5: Alabama’s Hospital Lien Statute:
Alabama Statutes, section 35-11-370, grants hospitals a lien against accident victims for medical charges incurred. This causes issues in an Alabama personal injury lawsuit because the hospital asserts its lien for the full bill – not a lesser amount that is accepted in all other insurance-related scenarios. As a result, a hospital lien can be more than the funds available to recover by the injured victim.
Legal Help Available for Alabama Car Accident Victims
If you or someone you know has a serious personal injury claim in Mobile, Alabama – or anywhere else in the state – contact the experienced Mobile Car Accident attorneys at Stevenson Klotz. Hiring the right Alabama car accident attorney can make a significant difference in your final recovery.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.