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If your injury was a result of someone else's negligence, you can take that person to court and you may be awarded money to cover your losses. Alabama is a contributory negligence state. That means if your own negligence contributed to your injury, you may not recover anything for your injuries. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation may depend on the type of accident that caused the injury.
For example, workplace injuries generally are covered by worker's compensation benefits, which compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, and impairments, without regard to fault by anyone. A claim can be made if the accident was caused by someone other than the employer or a coworker.
Generally, people who operate motor vehicles must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Failure to use reasonable care is the basis for most lawsuits for damages caused by an automobile accident. In these cases, proof of fault is often contested and requires thorough investigation. A driver may also be liable for an accident caused by intentional or reckless conduct. A reckless driver is one who drives unsafely, with willful disregard for the probability that the driving may cause an accident.
If you were injured at someone else's home or at a commercial establishment, the person responsible for the premises may be found liable. You will need to prove that the injury was caused by an unsafe condition that the owner should have known of and corrected before the accident. In a typical slip and fall accident, the injured person must show that the person responsible for the premises was negligent in the design, construction or maintenance of the property. The standard of care a property owner owes to a trespasser is usually less than that owed to a person who has permission to be on the property. The law does recognize an exception for children and requires adults to take greater care to protect against harm to children.
Claims for injuries caused by an unsafe condition on public property are subject to strict claims requirements and liability is only established in certain circumstances. For lawsuits brought against public entities, there are statutes which often require lawsuits be brought within a very short period of time, and only after written notice of the injury has been given to the government.
Injury can result from defective products, as well. When a company designs and manufactures a product, they have a responsibility to ensure that anyone exercising reasonable care within the expected parameters of usage expected for the product will not be injured. In a product injury case, you do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent. You only have to prove that the product was defective or that the manufacturer did not provide sufficient warning of potential risks or fail to provide adequate instructions. This concept is called strict product liability. A lawsuit can be brought against anyone participating in the chain of manufacture for that product, from the manufacturer, to the designer to the retail store.
Injuries can occur in many other situations as well as those outlined above. Once again, you may have a claim if someone else was more at fault for your injury than you are.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.