Personal Injury Lawyers in Dothan, Alabama
Have you been injured in an accident? Was it the fault of another party? When someone fails to live up to their responsibility of living in a civil society and that negligence causes another to be injured, the injured party may have the basis to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation.
Compensation may cover pain and suffering, traumatic brain injury, a permanent disability, mental anguish, medical treatment and rehabilitation, lost wages, both past and future, and the loss of life as you once knew it. Compensation can be sought for the death of a loved one through someone’s negligence as well, although in Alabama, only punitive damages can be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Right after an accident and injury is a confusing time that raises many questions you may have no experience in answering. If you are unsure of your next steps, you would be well-advised to seek the direction of an experienced Dothan, Alabama personal injury law firm to help you navigate your case. Smith & McGhee will offer you strong personalized representation with any type of personal injury.
Without counsel, the other side may take advantage of you and you may agree to a settlement that is far below the maximum amount of benefits and compensation that you are owed. This is where we can help!
Some areas of personal injury we handle include:
- Auto, Truck, Motorcycle Accidents – Not everyone is showing caution when they get behind the wheel and if you have been injured on the road, you may have the basis for a personal injury claim. Hit-and-run and pedestrian claims may also fall into this category. We specialize in car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
- Premises Liability – Someone did not keep their property in a safe condition and when you visited you were injured through no fault of your own. A danger was created by a property that was not properly lighted or a property had a substance on the floor that led to a slip-and-fall. If you are a visitor to a dangerous premise, especially when there is no warning on-site, you may have the basis for an action.
- Dog bites– Like premises liability, some people do not secure a dangerous dog and if you are injured as a result, the irresponsible dog owner may be held liable.
- Medical Malpractice– This is preventable damage and the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Whether a doctor, dentist, nurse, hospital or clinic, or nursing home, medical malpractice can include withholding important treatment, or providing the wrong treatment or drugs. This is considered a form of negligence and can incorporate wrongful death.
- Other areas of personal injury include – Workplace injuries, defective products, boating accidents, ATV accidents, and farm accidents.
Understanding Personal Injury
As the name implies, personal injury harms the individual physically, mentally, or financially either through negligence, intentional misconduct, or strict liability, an inherently dangerous situation.
The wrongdoer is expected to compensate the injured for the loss. Personal injury claims are conducted in civil court and seek a financial remedy. What is filed is a tort action against the at-fault party. In contrast, a crime is committed against society and is punished by the laws of that society in criminal court.
Negligence – The civil action must prove negligence. The question must be asked, was the party who allegedly caused the injury behaving in the way a reasonable person would under the same circumstances? If not, that party was negligent, whether an auto accident, a dangerous dog or dangerous property.
Intentional Misconduct – The injured must prove this was a deliberate action that results in an accident and injury to another person or property. Examples might include knowingly selling a defective product that causes harm. In additional to damages for pain and suffering as well as injuries, punitive damages are often sought in very large sums of money to punish the wrongdoer for their conduct.
Strict Liability – The theory of strict liability is that some actions are so dangerous total responsibility must be taken for any resulting damage. Strict liability applies to very dangerous situations and the plaintiff does not have to prove the defendant acted knowingly or with intent to cause harm.
Personal injury cases usually involve an insurance company for the responsible party. As you may come to understand, that insurance company is not on your side after an accident and in fact, may be quite the opposite, encouraging you to settle a claim for pennies on the dollar.
We’ve seen this time and again and strongly encourage you not to go it alone when you are facing the other side. A strong legal representative can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Understanding Alabama Laws
Statute of Limitations – Like other states, Alabama has a law called “statute of limitations” which requires a lawsuit to be filed within a set time limit. For personal injury cases in Alabama, that time limit is two years from the date of your accident. If you do not file you case in a timely manner you may time-barred from filing. That means you will be unable to recover anything.
Burden of Proof – In a civil law case, the standard of proof that must be met is a “preponderance of the evidence”. This is a lower standard than what is needed to prove a criminal case. And this means that a company may be found not guilty of criminal charges but found liable in a civil action from the same event.
Shared Fault – Don’t be surprised if the defendant claims you are at least partially responsible for your accident. Alabama applies the “contributory negligence” rule, which means if you bear some responsibility for the injury (even 1%), you may not be able to recover anything at all from the defendant.
Caps on Compensation – There is no limit on compensation for damages in injury cases in a civil action against a private individual except for punitive damages. To be awarded punitive damages, you must show that the other party acted with deliberate or conscious malice by clear and convincing evidence. But there is a limit on punitive damages of three times the compensatory damages or $1.5 million. Municipal lawsuits are limited to $100,000 for liability in a personal injury case.
Serving Dothan, Ozark and Enterprise — Accident Lawyers
At Smith & McGhee, we will provide you with aggressive and compassionate representation either before a jury or a mediator, arbitrator or insurance claims adjuster to explain how your life has changed since the accident.
Call our Dothan office today at 334-377-1674 or message us online to schedule a consultation and case assessment. We are ready to begin the conversation about your injury and how we can help you best resolve it in your favor. You may also visit our personal injury FAQ page for more information.