Every state has different statute of limitations regarding when a victim can file a personal injury lawsuit after an incident occurs. In Alabama, the statute of limitation is two years after an accident. It’s vital to contact an Alabama attorney as soon as possible if you have been seriously injured, and another party is to blame, so you don’t miss your opportunity.
Types of incidents that may be the cause of a serious personal injury due to negligence include:
- Car accidents
- Big truck accidents
- Motorcycle/motor vehicle accidents
- Dog bites
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Construction or work accidents
- Nursing home or caretaker abuse
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall accidents
If you or a loved one has experienced serious injury due to an accident like these, negligence may be to blame. It’s important to consult with Birmingham personal injury attorneys or lawyers wherever the accident occurred to get assistance. Here is what you can expect when filing a personal injury lawsuit in Alabama.
First, Gather Evidence
Most personal injury attorneys in Alabama will offer free consultations and only take on a case if they believe they can prove the other party’s negligence. One of the most critical components in proving guilt of the other party is evidence. Hopefully, the victim was able to get contact information of everyone involved in the accident, as well as gather a police report and witness testimony.
If not, revisiting the scene to gather any environmental details that will help a case is wise. Keeping records of medical visits, as well as photos of injuries or a physical product that was defective, are other examples of items that might benefit a personal injury lawsuit.
In cases where there is little hard evidence to present, an attorney may bring in expert witnesses to testify, such as a doctor in the case of a medical malpractice lawsuit. A lawyer can help to gather as many supporting elements as possible to aid a victim.
Alabama is a state that has contributory negligence. This means, if the plaintiff fails to prove that the other party was 100 percent at fault for an accident, there is a possibility that the plaintiff may acquire zero payment in damages. The comforting news is that many personal injury lawsuits will never take on a case they don’t think they can win.
To prove negligence, the following will need to be presented in a lawsuit:
- It was the other party’s duty to make sure you were unharmed
- The other party failed to meet that duty
- You would not have been injured if it were not for the other party
- It was the other party who caused your injury, not something else
- You have experienced loss as a result of your injury, such as hospital bills and time missed off work
If you are confident in the other party’s fault, and you receive a settlement offer from an insurance company that is too low, an attorney may be able to help.
How Personal Injury Lawsuits Progress in Alabama
After contacting an attorney and letting them know the details of your case, they’ll decide whether or not to take it on. Once they do, they will work with you to make sure you’re organizing all pertinent records and have an accurate record of the details affecting your case.
The attorney will file a complaint against the defendant. There will also be a request for documents related to the case, which the defendant is asked to produce. If the defendant is unresponsive, a motion to answer with the court at a hearing date may be filed.
Once the defendant responds to the complaint, the defendant’s attorney will usually conduct a deposition of the plaintiff, which is a question-and-answer session under oath. The plaintiff’s attorney will be present during the deposition, but only the client will answer the questions. A deposition of the defendant may also be conducted by the plaintiff’s attorneys.
The case will then move into the mediation phase, where the plaintiff and defendant strive to work together to form a mutual agreement. If no agreement is met, the case will go to trial in front of a judge and jury. Trials can last as little as one day, or up to several weeks or more.
Should You Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Alabama?
Personal injury lawsuits, as mentioned, can take years to complete. It may be tempting to accept a settlement offer outright, but consider:
- The injury you suffered may be inflicted upon others without the justice of the courts
- Your pain and suffering deserve compensation if they’re due to negligence
- A worthwhile personal injury attorney will always act as your ally with your best interests in mind
You have the option to consult with several personal injury lawyers during the free consultation phase, to learn about their history with cases like yours and what they can offer your unique situation. Just be sure to do so within the statute of limitations, in case you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit.