Birmingham, Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys
Injured in an Accident? Call (877) 487-8375
Accidents can cause life-altering injuries and sometimes death. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a plaintiff is important, but hiring a knowledgeable Birmingham serious injury attorney can assist you through an often complex legal system.
Personal Injury Types
There are several ways accidents and resulting personal injuries can occur with medical errors, drunk drivers, defective products, and unsafe premises.
- Medical errors are common with medication errors, wrong diagnosis, or wrong surgeries. These medical errors are usually the result of doctor or other health care provider fault where the provider has not been reasonably competent for the job and can be held liable for medical malpractice. Defective medical products, such as faulty artificial knees, are manufacturer liabilities.
- Vehicle Accidents can occur for many reasons including drunk driving or intoxicated driving, distracted drivers, poorly maintained roads, and road construction accidents.
- Defective products such as medical devices, toys, and car parts, among other products, can cause serious injury and even death if they are not manufactured properly. Children are often especially vulnerable to dangerous products with, for example, small parts in choking accidents or products that contain paint with toxic chemicals.
- Unsafe premises are liabilities for property owners. When a property owner or manager fails to keep the premises safe for visitors, guests, or tenants, dangerous accidents such as slip and fall injuries can occur.
What Kind of Recovery Should I Expect in Alabama?
Each legal proceeding, whether civil or criminal, is unique and what may apply for one case could be irrelevant in the next. It's difficult to say with what your case may be worth because the situations in each case are different. However, there are basic guidelines for understanding what compensation is available such as damage types, liabilities, and caps on personal injuries.
Categories of Personal Injury Damages
There are two common categories that personal injury claims cover, economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic Damages are the concrete costs associated with an accident. Property damage, hospital bills, medical expenses, and any future rehabilitation such as physical therapy fall into this category. Loss of wages or employment or, with death, loss of future earnings for the survivors is economic damages.
- Non-Economic Damages are considered the "soft" damages resulting from accidents. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering. Generally, the more severe the accident or negligence, the larger these awards can range.
Liabilities in an Accident in Birmingham
While most liabilities are straight-forward with negligence where the defendant is fully liable, there are cases where there is what is called contributory negligence, or a situation where the plaintiff bears responsibilities for the injuries.
An example of this would be a pedestrian who did not heed lights at a street crossing and was hit by a vehicle. In court, the pedestrian would be subject to pure comparative negligence where his or her contribution to the injury would be decided. The jury or judge might decide there was 25% plaintiff responsibility and lower the amount of settlement to the plaintiff. In modified comparative negligence, the plaintiff found to be equally responsible or more than 50% responsible cannot recover damages.
Caps on Alabama Personal Injury Cases
In Alabama, there are no limits on compensation for personal injury cases against private individuals, except with punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their conduct and deter similar conduct of the defendant or others in the future. These damages can be subjective and therefore imprecise because the nature of the wrongdoing is variable. The terms characterizing punitive damages include fraud, malice, bad faith, oppression, wicked, and reckless situations the defendant did without regard for the rights of the plaintiff. Alabama law state there should be the tough standard of "clear and convincing evidence" the defendant acted with "deliberate or conscious malice." This is sometimes hard to establish but if you are eligible for these, the recovery limit is the larger of three times the compensatory or $1,500,000.
Other limits to personal injury cases in Alabama are municipal (city, town, or county) limits. The limitation in these situations is $100,000. In general, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years to file a lawsuit. Hiring an attorney knowledgeable in personal injuries can be helpful to you in navigating the court system. Contact us at the Guster Law Firm, LLC at (205) 581-9777 or toll free at (877) 487-8375.