Under Alabama law, all individuals seated in the front seat of a vehicle are required to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion, although there are some exceptions to the law. The next question is whether this law affects an individual’s ability to recover compensation in an Alabama car accident case if the person was not wearing a seat belt when a crash occurred.

SeatbeltThe Seat Belt Defense in Alabama

Under Ala. Code 1975 32-5B-7, failing to wear a seat belt “shall not be considered evidence of contributory negligence and shall not limit the liability of an insurer.” What this means is that an individual’s failure to wear a seat belt cannot be used against him as evidence of contributory negligence. It also cannot be used against the plaintiff as evidence of the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages.

Contributory Negligence in Alabama

Alabama follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, which often comes up in car accident litigation. It is one of the few states that follow the doctrine of “pure contributory negligence.” That means that if the plaintiff is found to be negligent, then the plaintiff cannot recover any damages.

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Chemical exposure can result in serious illness or even death. Over the past few years, researchers with the International Agency for the Research of Cancer have been studying the effects that Benzene has on humans. According to a recent news report, the agency’s conclusions regarding the carcinogenic properties of the chemical were grossly understated, and the chemical may present a much higher risk of cancer than originally thought. Such exposure may be the basis for an Alabama wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.

FactoryBenzene is a colorless or light-yellow liquid that is frequently used in manufacturing a wide range of products across the United States. For example, benzene is routinely used in the manufacture of plastics, nylons, resins, and synthetic fibers. It is also used to create certain lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, and pesticides. Despite the dangers of benzene, it is listed as one of the top 20 most commonly used chemicals in the United States.

The Risks that Benzene Presents

According to the Center for Disease Control, those most in danger of experiencing the effects of benzene are those who work in the manufacturing industry, especially those who use the solvents containing the chemical. However, benzene is also found in car exhaust, tobacco smoke, and industrial emissions. Thus, people who spend large amounts of time in and around gas stations likely have more exposure to benzene. People have also suffered benzene exposure when it has leaked from underground storage tanks and contaminated well-water supplies.

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Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle assumes a duty to those with whom they share the road. This duty requires that the motorist exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicle, in addition to obeying all traffic laws and posted signs.

MotorcyclistNo matter which type of vehicle a motorist chooses, there is always the risk that another driver will negligently cause an accident. However, riding a motorcycle presents unique risks that other vehicles do not. Indeed, each year, there are about 1,200 Alabama motorcycle accidents, resulting in roughly 75 fatalities.

The fact that a motorcyclist is more likely to be seriously injured or killed if they are involved in an accident does not limit the liability of the person responsible for causing the accident. Thus, a motorist cannot rely on the fact that the person they hit chose to ride a motorcycle – rather than a car or a truck – as a defense. Of course, a defendant in a personal injury case is still free to claim that the plaintiff was partially at fault for causing the accident.

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What are the potential dangers to welders from the welding process, in particular, stainless steel welding?

Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in stainless steel, electrodes, and filler metals. These materials are all commonly used in welding processes. During welding, the intense heat turns this metal into a gas.

This gaseous form of chromium is known as hexavalent chromium, and has serious health risks for individuals exposed

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog post about the difference between a criminal case filed by a prosecutor’s office and a civil case that is filed by the victim of a crime. In both types of cases, the defendant is potentially liable for the harm they caused, with the difference between the two types of cases coming mostly from whose rights are being vindicated. In short, a criminal case seeks to punish the defendant for a wrong committed against society as a whole, whereas a civil case is focused on the particular victim of that specific crime.

GavelGenerally speaking, if an Alabama crime victim hopes to obtain financial compensation for the harm they have suffered, they will file an Alabama personal injury lawsuit. This post discusses a booklet designed to help Alabama crime victims and will describe several of the steps involved in filing a civil case. Of course, it is strongly advised that anyone considering filing an Alabama personal injury lawsuit reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney prior to doing so.

When to File a Personal Injury Case

In general, Alabama law requires that a personal injury case be filed within two years of the injury. However, if the accident victim was a minor at the time they were injured, the claim will generally not expire until two years after the victim’s 19th birthday.

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When someone’s negligence results in another’s death, the estate of the accident victim is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party through an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit. Alabama Code section 6-5-410 governs Alabama wrongful death lawsuits, and provides that any person or corporation can be liable for the death of another caused by any “wrongful act, omission, or negligence.”

Legal BindersAlabama’s wrongful death statute is unique in several ways. First, as noted above, the family of the deceased is not entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. Instead, only the personal representative of the deceased can initiate the claim. Of course, there is no law preventing a family member from being named as a personal representative.

The second way in which Alabama handles wrongful death cases differently is the availability of damages. In most states, wrongful death plaintiffs can pursue compensatory damages for the loss of the deceased. However, Alabama provides only for punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to accomplish two goals: to punish the defendant who was found to have acted negligently, and to deter similar conduct by other parties. Any punitive damages awarded in an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit are paid to the heirs of the deceased, and are not made a part of the estate, as is the case in other states.

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Within the next three years, two Japan-based auto-manufacturers are expected to begin construction of a $1.6 billion factory in the Huntsville area. The good news is that the factory is expected to bring upwards of 4,000 jobs to the greater Huntsville area once the factory is fully operational. However, lawmakers and advocacy groups have expressed concerns that the state’s existing traffic laws and infrastructure may need tweaking in order to support the increased burden the factory will place on the area’s highways.

Highway InterchangeAlabama Traffic Laws Rated as Middle-of-the-Road

When followed, strict traffic laws can prevent Alabama car accidents. However, over time, as a city grows, its population increases, and the type of traffic on the roads changes. When this happens, existing traffic laws may need to be amended and new laws passed to accommodate a city’s changing needs.

According to a recent study conducted by a traffic-safety advocacy group, Alabama was one of 31 states that received a “yellow” rating regarding its traffic laws. The study ranked each of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia as either “green,” “yellow,” or “red,” based on the traffic laws currently on the books.

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When someone is a victim of a crime in Alabama, they may have several avenues to seek compensation for their injuries. One method of pursuing compensation is by participating in a criminal prosecution against the offender. Importantly, criminal cases are brought not by the accident victim but by the government. Thus, the focus is not necessarily on providing the victim of a crime with compensation but on punishing the behavior of the defendant.

Helping Crime VictimsThat being said, criminal courts in Alabama do have the ability to order an offender to pay restitution to a crime victim. However, restitution is limited by the defendant’s ability to pay. Additionally, the Alabama Crime Victims’ Compensation Commission provides monetary compensation to crime victims if they meet certain criteria. Compensation awarded by the Commission may include medical and dental care, prescriptions, psychiatric care and counseling, rehabilitation, moving expenses, travel expenses, limited property reimbursement, future economic loss, lost wages, and funerals. However, the Commission will not issue compensation for a victim’s pain and suffering.

In order for a victim of a crime to obtain compensation for their pain and suffering, the victim must file an Alabama personal injury lawsuit. Unlike a criminal prosecution, civil cases are brought by the crime victim, which therefore allows the crime victim to have more control over the case. Importantly, the burden of proof in order to establish liability in a civil case is less than is required to prove an offender guilty in a criminal trial.

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When someone is involved in a serious Alabama car accident, the chances are they have to deal not just with the physical injuries and property damage caused by the accident, but also with the mounting medical expenses and the loss of income due to time spent away from work. Additionally, an accident victim’s life may not ever be the same, even post-recovery.

Insurance ContractAfter a car accident, an accident victim may be able to seek compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident through an insurance claim. In Alabama, all drivers must maintain a base level of liability insurance to cover the costs of injuries caused by that driver’s negligence If the at-fault party has an insurance policy, the claim will initially be through the at-fault driver’s policy.

Some drivers, however, fail to obtain insurance despite the legal requirement they do so. In other situations, a driver has insurance, but the injuries sustained in the accident are very serious, warranting compensation above the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. In the event of an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, an accident victim may be able to file a claim with their own insurance company.

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When someone is injured in any kind of Alabama accident, the injured party is entitled to seek compensation from the party they believe to be at fault for their injuries. However, all personal injury cases in Alabama must be filed within a specified amount of time, as outlined in the relevant statute of limitations. It is incredibly important that personal injury plaintiffs comply with the relevant statute of limitations that governs their case, or the case may be dismissed without ever being reviewed on its merits.

Stop WatchEssentially, a statute of limitations provides the time frame in which an accident victim must file their case. As long as a case is filed by the time the statute of limitations expires, the case will be considered timely, even if the case is not ultimately resolved until after the statute of limitations has expired.

Under Alabama Code § 6-2-38, any lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injuries or wrongful death must be filed within two years of the injury or death. In many cases, determining when the statute of limitations expires is a straightforward task; however, that is not always the case. For example, under Alabama Code § 6-5-482, a claim of medical malpractice is generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations; however, if the plaintiff does not discover their injury until a later date, the statute of limitations can be tolled, or extended, until six months after the plaintiff’s discovery of their injury.

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