What Is Contributory Negligence?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, fault will be one of the most important aspects of your personal injury claim.

This is because Alabama uses the “contributory negligence” system. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, individuals are barred from recovery in a personal injury claim if they are even 1 percent at fault for their accident.

Alabama is one of the few states in the U.S. that uses this system of fault in personal injury law. Most states, instead, use the “comparative negligence” system. This system allows injured people to recover in a personal injury claim even if they were partially responsible for their accident. Under the comparative negligence system, a person who is 10 percent responsible for his or her accident can still receive damages from the person who was 90 percent responsible. However, the amount of damages he or she is allowed to receive is reduced by 10 percent.

Few states use the contributory negligence system because it can lead to harsh outcomes: people who shared very little of the blame for an accident can be denied the compensation they need and deserve. Unfortunately, this is the reality that Alabama residents live in.

When you are injured in an accident in Alabama, the stakes are high. Fault is not always cut and dry, and most defendants will try to argue that they are not completely at fault.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you talk to a personal injury lawyer after your accident. A skilled, knowledgeable lawyer can discuss your situation with you and let you know if fault is unclear in your case.

At Martinson & Beason, P.C., we have years of experience helping people just like you navigate their personal injury claims. We’re dedicated to providing outstanding service and the best result possible.

Call us today if you have suffered an injury and have questions about fault or filing a claim. Your consultation with an experienced Huntsville personal injury lawyer is free and confidential.

To learn the other elements that can affect a personal injury claim, please visit our What Is My Claim Worth? page.