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Personal Injury Law 101 — What You Need To Know

By: Fred Moore | Jun 30, 2020

At Moore Law Firm, our attorneys have helped more than 12,000 clients seek compensation for their damages in all types of personal injury cases. We believe that the more our clients know about the law, the more empowered they feel to make well-informed decisions. Knowing what to expect if you’re considering filing a personal injury claim can help you better understand the process and potential outcomes that may result.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Also known as tort law, personal injury law enables someone who has been harmed or injured to sue a negligent party or entity for damages in civil court. Financial settlements or awards in tort cases are intended to make the injured person “whole” after they have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act.

The Elements Of Personal Injury Law

These four elements are typically applied to prove negligence in most personal injury cases, including:

  1. Duty of Care — In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation to practice a standard of reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. For example, motorists are legally obligated to follow the rules of the road to keep themselves and others safe. In this situation, a motorist owes a duty of care to others.
  2. Breach of Duty — A person or entity that causes harm owes the person who was injured a duty of care, even if they breached that duty. For instance, if a dog owner knows their animal is prone to attacking people or other animals and lets it walk around unleashed or unsupervised, they have breached their duty of care.
  3. Causation— To prove causation, you must show that the negligent party’s breach of duty caused harm or losses to the person who was hurt, which can be challenging to do on your own. A lawyer who is experienced in personal injury law understands how to use evidence and the details surrounding the incident to prove causation.
  4. Damages— The final element that needs to be proven is damages, which means that the injured victim must demonstrate that they sustained loss of compensation or were harmed because of a breach of duty of care.

Common Types Of Personal Injury Cases

Accidents — When someone behaves negligently or carelessly and causes harm to another person, they may be liable for any injuries or damages that are generated. The most common personal injury cases involve motor vehicle crashes and premises liability, which includes slip and fall injuries, dog bites, and other scenarios in which someone is hurt on another person’s property.

Product liability — Designers, manufacturers, and sellers have a legal obligation to ensure their products are safe for reasonable use. They must provide adequate instructions for a product’s usage, and prominent warnings about its potential dangers must be apparent as well. Product liability can apply to a countless number of products, from faulty auto parts to medications with side effects that can cause harm.

Intentional acts — When someone causes deliberate harm to another, the injured person may bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. A common example of this is assault and battery.  

Alabama Personal Injury Law

Alabama tort law is complex, and not necessarily victim-friendly, so having a personal injury attorney to represent your interests and protect your rights is crucial. For an adult, there’s a two-year statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury action, so it’s essential to act fast following an injury.

In Alabama, pure contributory negligence is applied in personal injury cases, which means if an injured person is determined to be even 1% at fault, they potentially cannot recover any damages regardless of how negligent a party’s conduct may be.  However, there are some exceptions such as wanton on reckless conduct which is why it is important to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney.

In addition, Alabama only awards punitive damages to the estate of victims of wrongful death, and only the severity of the defendant’s conduct is taken into account, not the value of the life of the person who died.

There are other limitations and nuances in Alabama personal injury law. If you’re unfamiliar with tort law, trying to represent yourself is usually a losing battle. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help you understand the law, how it’s applied, and what’s involved in building and proving a solid claim.

What’s The Process For Personal Injury Claims?

Although no two cases are the same, most personal injury claims follow similar paths. A person injured or harmed can usually bring a charge against a negligent party’s insurance company. Your lawyer knows how to accurately determine the value of your claim, depending on the extent of your injuries and losses. They’ll aggressively fight against the tactics insurance companies often use to discredit or devalue claims to ensure you recover the full and fair compensation to which you’re entitled.

Your personal injury lawyer will work to prove your case and handle all settlement negotiations. Most personal injury suits are settled out of court. However, if a reasonable agreement can’t be reached, you may file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Mediation is sometimes required before a trial begins. If it’s not effective, evidence and arguments are presented in court, and a judge or jury will reach a verdict.

There’s no set timeline in personal injury cases. Sometimes they’re straightforward and only take a few months to settle, while more contentious or complex cases take multiple appeals and years to resolve. Regardless of how long it takes, making things right for injured victims is well worth the time and energy.

Contact An Attorney To Learn More About Personal Injury Law

If you’ve been hurt or have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, our Mobile personal injury lawyers can help. Call Moore Law Firm at 251-445-7602, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.