Contributory Negligence

Q. I was turning left when a car hit me. The car was absolutely speeding and the officer said fault was undetermined. I had a yellow light that had been a green arrow. I talked to a lawyer and they wouldn’t take my case, will you?

Charlotte, Killen, AL

A. Alabama is a contributory negligence state. What that means is that if a person contributes to their own injury, they can not recover. Most states are comparative negligence states and under that type of law, the negligence of the parties is compared and adjustments are made depending on a percentage of fault assigned by a jury.

Your case is an example of contributory negligence. One person is speeding and another person pulls out in front of them and fails to yield the right of way. In Alabama, neither party will be able to successfully bring a claim against the other because both parties are at least 1% at fault for the accident.

In a comparative negligence state, if the party who was speeding was 10% at fault and their case is worth $100,000.00, the jury would merely deduct 10% from the $100,000.00 to account for their share of the accident.

Contributory negligence must be proven but it is a complete bar to recovery if you were even 1% at fault in Alabama.

Buckle up, drive safely, wash your hands and as always your referrals are appreciated!


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