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  • Writer's pictureGibbs & Sellers

Understanding negligence in a personal injury case

You may be entitled to compensation or other forms of relief if you are hurt while traveling on an Alabama highway, eating at a restaurant or playing basketball at the park. However, this is generally only true if you can prove that another party was negligent in causing you to break a bone, sustain a concussion or experience an internal bleed.

The elements of negligence

Typically, you’ll need to show that the defendant breached a duty of care in the moments prior to the event that led to your injuries. This generally means that the defendant knew or should have known that an action was unsafe even if there was no intent to hurt you. For instance, this may be the case if the defendant was drunk when causing an accident that resulted in bodily injury. Furthermore, you must be able to show that you incurred financial losses that were the direct result of a defendant’s negligent behavior.

Negligence may be shared

It’s possible that you will be found at least partially responsible for a car accident or slip-and-fall incident that is the impetus for a personal injury lawsuit. Under Alabama law, you may be barred from collecting compensation in such a scenario as the state uses a contributory negligence system. For example, you may not be entitled to any damages for a car wreck if you followed too closely or ran a red light prior to impact.

You might be liable for a slip-and-fall if you failed to heed a wet floor sign or were distracted in the seconds prior to falling. Distractions may include listening to music, looking at your phone or taking other steps that make it unnecessarily difficult or impossible to maintain your duty of care to yourself.

Typically, a personal injury case is decided based on the strength of the evidence provided during settlement talks or at trial. You may be able to use witness statements, video footage or photos of the accident site to show that the defendant was responsible for medical bills or other expenses related to your accident.

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