Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyers
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct causes you harm, you have the right to take legal action. At Mike Slocumb Law Firm, we fight to make sure that those responsible for your injuries and damages are held accountable for the life-changing pain, suffering, and financial losses you have endured. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Birmingham proudly represent clients throughout Jefferson County, Shelby County, and all of the surrounding areas, providing personal attention and aggressive advocacy every step of the way. Our relentless approach to protecting our clients has helped us recover more than $500 million in settlements and verdicts—learn how we can help you seek the justice you deserve today.
Contact us online or call our office at (205) 236-2502 to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Hablamos español.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
After a serious accident or injury caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct, you only have a limited amount of time to seek compensation for your losses, or damages. Known as the “statute of limitations,” the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Alabama is just two years from the date of injury or the date on which the injury was discovered, with some exceptions. In most cases, if you fail to file your claim in court before the statute of limitations expires, your case will be dismissed.
The same statute of limitations applies in most wrongful death cases. In other words, if your spouse, child, parent, or family member tragically passed away due to the careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct of another, you only have two years from the date of death to sue for damages.
Although two years may seem like a long time, the reality is that those two years can fly by. Over time, evidence may be lost, and your memory of the event may fade. It can become increasingly difficult to prove your injuries, and the insurance company may use this to dispute or deny your claim. We strongly encourage you to reach out to our legal team as soon as possible after an accident, injury, or the death of a loved one. The sooner you discuss your case with our team, the sooner we can begin putting together evidence on your behalf, communicating with the insurance company, and fighting for the maximum compensation you are owed.
Proving Liability in Your Personal Injury Case
Proving liability is one of the most important elements of your personal injury case. “Liability” refers to the legal responsibility of another party to pay for your injury-related losses, or “damages.” These damages can be either economic or non-economic but, regardless, are compensated financially via either a settlement or court verdict.
To prove liability in your personal injury case, you must typically prove each of the following points:
- The person or party against whom you are bringing your claim (known as the “defendant”) had a legal responsibility to take or avoid certain actions that could cause foreseeable harm. This is known as the “duty of care.”
- The defendant failed to act or acted in a manner that breached the duty of care. Most often, this is proven by demonstrating that the defendant was negligent or acted wrongfully (i.e., illegally) in some way.
- The defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the direct or indirect cause of your injuries and resulting damages. This is known as “causation.” Inherent in proving this element of your case is proving that you did, in fact, sustain injuries and compensable damages.
In some cases, such as those involving defective products, you may not need to prove that the defendant was negligent to have a case. However, in most personal injury claims, including car and truck accident cases, as well as slip and fall claims, you must prove that the defendant’s acts or omissions were the cause of your injuries.
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Along with certain economic damages—such as medical expenses, future care costs, lost wages, and lost earning ability—“pain and suffering” is one of the most commonly awarded damages in Alabama personal injury claims. Generally speaking, the court recognizes that people who suffer significant injuries experience considerable physical and mental pain and suffering for which they should be fairly compensated. But, with no associated dollar value, how are pain and suffering calculated?
In Alabama, there is no specific formula when it comes to calculating pain and suffering damages. Instead, the court will weigh the various unique factors present in a case when determining the value of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.
Some factors the court may evaluate when awarding pain and suffering include:
- The nature and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries
- The overall cost of medical care, including future care considerations
- Whether or not the plaintiff was disabled, either temporarily or permanently
- To what degree the plaintiff’s injuries have affected their quality/enjoyment of life
- How long the plaintiff’s injuries are expected to last (as determined by a medical professional)
- Whether the defendant acted with gross negligence and/or malice
- Whether the plaintiff had a preexisting condition
- The degree of fault (if any) the plaintiff had in causing the incident that led to their injury
Under the state’s strict rule of contributory negligence, you may not receive compensation for any of your losses if you are found partly at fault for the accident or event that caused your injuries, even if your degree of fault is just one percent. Because of this, it is extremely important that you work with a knowledgeable attorney who can prove that you were not to blame.
Even if your case seems relatively straightforward, it is always a good idea to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney can help you avoid common mistakes people make when filing personal injury claims, as well as protect your rights and best interests against the insurance company. Your attorney can also advocate for your maximum recovery and may be able to help you secure a better settlement than you could recover if you tried to resolve your claim on your own.
But how can you find the right personal injury attorney for your case? With so many lawyers to choose from, the process can feel overwhelming.
At Mike Slocumb Law Firm, we recommend that you look for a personal injury team that:
- Demonstrates considerable experience in the type of case you have
- Has a track record of success, both in settlements and verdicts
- Offers personalized legal representation tailored to your unique situation
- Responds quickly to your calls, emails, and other forms of communication
- Takes the time to listen to you, understand your goals, and answer your questions
- Works directly with you throughout the legal process and keeps you informed about your case
- Is committed to utilizing all available resources to build your claim and maximize your recovery
Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys take great pride in providing client-focused, results-oriented representation. Though we are aggressive when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, we are compassionate and caring when it comes to helping our clients navigate this incredibly difficult time in their lives. Our goal is to help you not only secure the money you need to manage unexpected financial difficulties associated with your injuries but also provide the information you need to make empowered decisions about your recovery and your future.
Get in touch with us at (205) 236-2502 or contact us online to request a free consultation today.