Car accidents happen often in Alabama. According to the state’s Crash Facts report, Alabama averaged over 153,000 total traffic accidents per year from 2016 to 2020. These crashes killed nearly 970 people and injured over 45,000 people annually.

Fortunately, Alabama law provides remedies to innocent accident victims. When you suffer an injury due to another driver’s negligence, you can seek financial compensation to pay for medical treatment and physical therapy. The at-fault driver and their insurer may even compensate you for the income you lost during your recovery.

Auto Accident Law

Legal Rights After a Crash

Almost all car accidents will involve auto insurance. All vehicle owners in Alabama must buy auto insurance, including:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) for one accident victim
  • $50,000 BIL for multiple accident victims
  • $25,000 property damage liability (PDL) per accident

Liability insurance is a contract between an insurer and a policyholder. The insurer agrees to pay liabilities incurred by the policyholder in a covered event. In the case of auto liability insurance, the insurance company pays for injuries and property damage caused by a covered driver’s negligent driving.

When a driver injures you in a car crash, they may be liable to you for your losses under three legal theories:

Intentional Injury

Intentional injuries rarely happen. Someone fleeing the police may deliberately hit your vehicle to move you out of the way. Or a driver overcome with road rage might intentionally crash into you.

Auto insurance does not cover deliberate acts. As a result, you may need to pursue a legal claim against the driver directly rather than filing an insurance claim. 

To prove liability for an intentional injury, you must show that the other driver intended to make harmful contact with you. This does not mean they intended to hurt you. Instead, you only need to show that the act of hitting you was intentional rather than accidental.


Most car accident claims fall under negligence. A driver acts negligently when they fail to exercise reasonable care and their failure causes an injury. A driver could violate this duty of care by running a red light or committing a similar traffic violation.

Drivers may also breach their duty of care by doing something they know or should know to be unreasonably dangerous. A common example is eating while driving. Alabama has no law against eating while driving. But eating takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a statutory claim that arises when a car accident victim dies. Historically, a person’s legal claims died with them. Alabama remedies this unfair outcome by allowing the deceased person’s executor or personal representative to pursue claims against the at-fault driver.

A wrongful death claim can apply to intentional or negligent crashes. In other words, the injury lawyer proves the same elements for wrongful death as they would for an intentional injury or negligence. But instead of representing the crash victim, the lawyer represents the crash victim’s estate.

Damages Recoverable for Crash Injuries

After your injury lawyer proves liability, you are entitled to recover compensation. The compensation you seek for your car accident injuries will include both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic Losses

Economic losses represent the financial impact of your injuries. They cover both the amounts you spent and the amounts you could not earn. Some examples of economic losses include:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost income due to missed work days
  • Diminished future earning capacity due to long-term or permanent disabilities
  • Reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries

You will prove your past economic losses using financial records. Medical bills, receipts, credit card statements, and pay stubs will show your past losses. You may need your doctor to testify about the future medical expenses you will incur and the disabilities you will suffer.

Non-Economic Losses

Non-economic losses represent the diminishment in your happiness, well-being, and quality of life due to your injuries. For example, the pain from an injury can cause intangible losses like physical misery, mental stress, lost sleep, and worry. Although these losses do not come with a price tag, you can still pursue compensation for them.

Some examples of non-economic losses include:

  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Disability
  • Dismemberment
  • Disfigurement
  • Inconvenience

You illustrate the impact of these losses through testimony by you and those close to you.

Defenses Against Car Accident Claims

The at-fault driver and their insurer will defend vigorously against your claim. Two defenses they might raise include:

Pre-Existing Injuries

To recover compensation, you must show that the other driver’s actions caused your injuries. Logically, a car accident cannot cause injuries that existed before the crash. An insurer will attempt to avoid or reduce its liability by arguing your claim only includes pre-existing injuries.

For example, suppose that you included your knee injury in an auto insurance claim. The insurer can dig into your medical records and find that you suffered from knee pain since high school. As a result, the insurer can argue that you deserve nothing for your knee injury.

Your injury lawyer can counter this defense in a few ways. You can seek compensation for a prior injury that healed and was re-injured in the crash. You can also get compensated for a prior injury that was worsened in a crash.

car accident claim process

Contributory Negligence

Alabama is one of only a few states that allow the contributory negligence defense. Under this defense, your negligence, however slight, blocks you from getting any compensation for your injuries. In other words, if you are even 0.1% at fault and the other driver is 99.9% at fault, you get nothing under Alabama law.

To counter this defense, your lawyer needs to make sure all the blame falls on the other driver. One way to do this is to argue that your actions did not contribute to the cause of the accident. 

For example, suppose that your car was T-boned when another driver ran a red light. The fact that you may have been speeding is irrelevant since your speed neither caused the crash nor worsened its effects.

Contact Us After Your Crash

You need many resources after your crash to start analyzing and pursuing your legal claim. Alawreck helps drivers and passengers who have been injured in car accidents. We streamline the investigative process and provide support, including a free wreck report and medical consultation, to pursue compensation. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

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