How Do Fault and No-Fault Apply To Auto Accidents?
Fault states require that you prove that another driver was at fault in the wreck in order for you to prevail, but in no-fault states, essentially, it’s really more of an insurance question, which means your insurance company will pay for your wreck, regardless of whose fault it is, up to a certain amount. Alabama is a fault state, which means you must be able to prove that someone else was negligent or reckless in causing your injuries in a motor vehicle accident.
What is Contributory Negligence and How Does It Apply to My Auto Accident Claim?
Contributory negligence is a part of the law in Alabama and what it means is that there is no allocation of fault such as what you would have in other states, with what is called comparative negligence. With contributory negligence, if someone makes a claim against another person for a car wreck, and they are in any way negligent and it is a cause of their injury, they are not allowed to recover. With comparative negligence, a jury is actually given the opportunity to allocate a percentage of fault between the person who brought the claim and the person they allege caused their injuries.
Can You Provide Examples of What is Construed As Negligence in An Auto Accident Case?
What usually constitutes negligence includes causing the wreck, meaning you violated the rules of the road, such as you ran a stop sign or a red light or changed lanes without looking, failed to yield the right of way, whatever the case may be. Other types of negligence can include the failure to see everything that should have been seen or failure to properly keep your vehicle from coming into contact with another vehicle, such as what happens in a rear-ender, or a number of vehicles crossing the center line, which is more or less a failure to yield the right of way. Those are all things that can cause you to be considered negligent and to potentially have a claim made against you as a driver in Alabama.
If I Am Cited by the Police for Causing the Accident, Is My Auto Accident Claim Doomed?
If you are the driver of a vehicle and the wreck is your fault, then you have no claim against anyone else. You can make an insurance claim for property damage to your vehicle, assuming that you have insurance coverage, and you also potentially have what we call medical payment coverage, or Med-Pay, which is actually a type of insurance that is no-fault and has a smaller coverage limit. That is part of your own insurance policy and will pay your medical bills regardless of who is at fault. Generally speaking, you are barred from a claim if the accident is your fault.
What is an At-Fault Person Potentially Liable For in An Auto Accident Claim?
Let’s begin with the property damage of the other person’s car. If you cause a wreck and another person’s vehicle is damaged, then you are obviously responsible for that property damage. You very well may be responsible for all of the medical bills associated with treatment of injuries from a wreck that was your fault, as well as other damages, including lost wages, based on how long the injured person was out of work and their rate of pay.
Of course, all of that has to be proven; the injured person can’t say they could have missed work; they actually have to have done so. However, if they do prove them, the negligent party can be responsible for all types of what we call non-economic damages, which includes pain and suffering, loss of full enjoyment of life, disfigurement and permanent disability, which can even lead to future lost wages; all types of things that can affect someone else’s life due to your negligence.
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