How Do the Alabama Negligence Laws Affect my Personal Injury Claim?


A personal injury claim is a civil action filed in the court to seek financial reimbursement for your injury. Unlike criminal court, civil court has financial reimbursement as its only remedy.

You could be injured by a dog bite, in a car accident, or by falling in a big box store.

If you have been injured in any sort of accident, there was negligence that contributed to your injury, and that has cost you money for medical care, or for replacing lost or damaged property, the civil courts are the place to seek a financial remedy.

A Duty of Care

We all go through our day and from time to time, we make a mistake and in doing so violate the duty of care we all share in a civilized society.

Maybe we look down to our dashboard for a few seconds taking our eyes off the road or let the aggressive dog out when he shouldn’t be loose. We all have an obligation to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming others, and we sometimes make mistakes while trying to fulfill this obligation.

There are times, however, when those mistakes can be defined as negligence. Negligent behavior goes above and beyond the normal circumstance, in other words, it violated the “standard of care” that is normal behavior.

Looking down at the dashboard for 20 seconds while your vehicle is traveling down a highway, for example, is negligence. Letting a dangerous dog with a history of biting loose and running free throughout the neighborhood is negligence. If you are lucky, there will be no ramifications from these actions.

Let’s apply this to Alabama personal injury law.

Negligence Requires Causation

There are two rungs to climb to prove negligence in civil court.

When you file a personal injury claim, your lawyer must prove the defendant violated what is considered standard behavior or what is legally required to prevent injury. In other words, you must prove he is at fault.

Secondarily, you must then prove the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries.

For example, in Alabama, there is a rule that automobiles must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the road within a marked crosswalk. If the defendant failed to do so, he violated the law. If you are injured as a result of that driver violating the law, that is the basis for your personal injury case.

On the other hand, if the driver had an expired auto registration, that did not necessarily lead to your injuries. Again, the driver must be breaking some law and that recklessness must be linked to your injuries. 

Negligence Law in Alabama

In Alabama, there is another hurdle to clear, a legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence.”  That is defined as the degree to which you may have contributed to your own accident.

For example, you were in the crosswalk when you were injured, and clearly by virtue of just being there, you did not contribute to your own injury. But what if you walked slightly diagonally on the road outside of the crosswalk? 

Even if the defendant driver was mostly at fault, if you share even 1% of the blame, contributory negligence may be used to bar the claim in Alabama.

Be prepared – the defense will not hesitate to use this against you arguing that contributory negligence bars any recovery for simple negligence. The insurance adjuster will also use it against you when it comes to offering a settlement.

An Experienced Alabama Accident Attorney

As an experienced Alabama accident attorney, Chip Nix will gather the facts to advocate for you. If the other party was negligent and breached their duty of care to you and that caused your injury, you deserve damages in the form of a monetary award.

Mr. Nix is well versed in Alabama’s complex personal injury laws and specifically the contributory negligence rules that can make recovery challenging. He has spent 40 years as an attorney representing people in personal injury claims following a catastrophic accident. Rather than taking the first settlement that is offered, Mr. Nix will fight hard for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve. Please call our Montgomery, Alabama office at 334-203-6669 to schedule a free consultation or message us through our online contact form.

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