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Guide to Alabama Personal Injury Law – Part 5 – Limitations on Damages

Guide to Alabama Personal Injury Law - Part 5 - Limitations and Exceptions

As a general rule, Alabama injury cases do not have limits placed on the damages injured victims can receive for a winning case. However, as is the case with most general rules, there are exceptions.

Limitations on Alabama Damages

Estimations of damages in an Alabama injury case must be reasonably certain for future damages such as future lost wages and medical expenses. In other words, a lawyer and client cannot simply throw out a huge number without being reasonably certain the figure is accurate. A qualified Alabama injury lawyer will ensure this standard is met.

Other limitations apply to non-economic damages as well, and these limitations apply to emotional damages such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium and similar harms. These subjective harms may be limited by statute and/or the facts and circumstances of your case.

Additionally, state statutes are explicit when it comes to the limitation placed on punitive damages. Under the Code of Alabama Section 6-11-21(d), punitive damages generally may not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $1.5 million, whichever is greater. However, these guidelines may change from year to year as the law is constantly changing.

And, these limitations on damages also come with exceptions that allow victims to receive compensation above and beyond these limitations.

Exceptions to Limits on Damages

Even where the aforementioned Alabama limitations exist, it is worth pointing out that these caps are thrown out the window for intentional torts, according to the Code of Alabama Section 6-11-21(j). In practical terms, intentional torts are harmful actions taken by a defendant where the harms a victim suffered were a direct result of the defendant’s intention to cause harm. As such, even if a limitation on damages would have existed, an intentional tort in Alabama serves to remove the cap on those damages.

Another exception to Alabama’s limitations on damages can be applied in wrongful death cases. Alabama differs from other states in that its wrongful death law focuses exclusively on punitive damages, not compensatory damages. Compensatory damages pay for things like medical bills, funeral costs and the like, whereas punitive damages focus on the wrongdoing of the defendant.

Depending on the egregiousness of the defendant’s wrongdoing and the court’s desire to deter similarly negligent acts in the future, damage limitations may be removed as deemed appropriate by the court in a wrongful death case.

In summary, victims of an Alabama injury need to seek out a trusted Alabama injury attorney who understands the nuances of Alabama law. Working with such an attorney gives victims the best chance of obtaining the maximum damages and compensation they are allowed to receive under Alabama law.

Noel B. Leonard is an Alabama injury attorney who understands victims and their families deserve the most compensation allowed under Alabama law in order to repair and rebuild their lives. From his Foley office, Noel represents the residents of Foley and Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties in their personal injury cases.

Contact Alabama injury attorney Noel B. Leonard or call 251-943-8638 for a consultation with an Alabama personal injury lawyer who will fight for your right to receive legal compensation.

To learn more about Alabama Personal Injury, review all six parts to this guide:


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