When a car accident happens, it leads to several harmful consequences for those involved. The only way for those who suffer injuries or property damage to get compensated is by instituting a legal action with a car accident attorney’s help.
Different states have different laws regulating the institution of a claim, and while some are fair to victims, others leave them with little or no compensation. Alabama is one out of the few states with unjust rules that hinder a victim’s claim, and in this article, we’ll take a look at five of them.
1. Alabama Survival Statute
The Alabama Survival Statute provides that only certain types of claims survive the death of a person. In the B part of Section 6-5-462, the law states that personal injury claims, except for injuries to reputation, will not survive after the individual’s death unless the action began before the victim’s demise.
It means that if you have a relative who suffered an injury and dies from that injury, you cannot, as a representative, bring a personal injury claim to recover damages. The only way you can proceed with legal action is if the victim filed the lawsuit before dying.
It is a defect in the Alabama Survival Statute as it fails to take into account victims who remain in a coma after a car accident and pass away in that state. The only remedy available to an aggrieved representative is a wrongful death claim. Although it might not serve the same type of justice, it would provide some form of monetary compensation.
2. The Alabama Guest Passenger Statute
The Alabama Guest Passenger Statute makes it difficult for passenger victims of a car accident to recover damages from the at-fault driver. Under the law, a passenger can get compensation if the at-fault driver is in another vehicle and not the one they are traveling in.
However, even if the driver of the vehicle the victim traveled in as a passenger caused the collision, they would have to prove gross negligence for their claim to succeed. The person would also have to show that the driver was reckless and exhibited elements of intentional misconduct. If there are only elements of ordinary negligence, your claim will not succeed.
3. Alabama’s Doctrine of Contributory Negligence
The contributory negligence doctrine originated from common law. It states that if anyone contributed in any way to a car accident resulting in injuries, they wouldn’t be able to collect damages from the at-fault party.
If you contributed to the accident even by 1% in Alabama, you would not get any compensation. The state is one out of four in the US that still uses the contributory negligence doctrine instead of comparative negligence doctrine. The latter allows victims to recover damages on the percentage of the fault attributed to them, as long as it is below the legal percentage.
4. Alabama Medical Reimbursement Evidence Statute
Health benefits are significant in personal injury claims. Before the introduction of the Alabama Code Title 12. Courts 12-21-45, the state followed a Collateral Source Rule that prevents defendants from introducing evidence that a victim’s health insurer covered their hospital bills.
With the new law, the defendant can introduce evidence of reimbursement to the plaintiff, whether they made the payment or not. This law is unfair because victims can no longer ask for medical expenses as part of their general damages once there’s proof that their insurance covered the cost of treatment.
Another downside to this is that most insurance health plans require victims to pay back their medical costs from the settlement they receive or judgment sum. Thus, whether or not you get paid for the money spent in the hospital, you have to reimburse the insurer.
5. Alabama Hospital Lien Statute
This law affects the at-fault driver more than it does the victim of a car accident. Section 35-11-370 of the Alabama Hospital Lien Statute gives hospitals a lien against car accident victims for their medical fees.
The lien allows hospitals to get their full bill, and not the lesser amount a victim under Medicare, Blue Cross, or Medicaid would pay. It often consumes the funds of the at-fault driver and presents problems during a personal injury claim.
Need Help with Your Injury Claim? Contact a Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyersyer
It’s easy to lose the compensation you are supposed to get after an accident because of your lack of knowledge of the applicable laws. To prevent this from happening, contact a Mike Bell Alabama car accident lawyer to review your case and advise on your legal rights.