Pain and Suffering Damages in Alabama

Sure your leg is healing up nicely after you slipped and fell at the market, but soul food just does not comfort you the way that it used to, and while bed rest sounds relaxing, all the relaxation is starting to get old. It turns out that the Alabama legal system has more than just your medical bills covered. The following information is intended to help you learn about pain and suffering damages in Alabama.

Noneconomic Damages

While economic damages are intended to compensate you for your monetary losses due to an injury, pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate your non-monetary injuries, including physical discomfort, lingering mental effects, and the loss of enjoyment of life. Through pain and suffering damages, you may be able to recover damages for all that time you have spent being tired of relaxing and trying to identify food you might actually find comforting.

In Alabama, pain and suffering damages fall under the larger category of noneconomic damages and are more commonly known as "mental anguish damages." Courts in Alabama itemize damages as one of three categories: past, future, or punitive damages. In any one or more of those categories, a jury may award noneconomic damages.

For more information on pain and suffering damages in Alabama, see the table and accompanying explanations below.

Statute of Limitations

• Two years for accidental personal injury (Ala. Stat. § 6-2-38(l))

• Two years for wrongful death (Ala. Stat. § 6-2-38)

• Two years for medical malpractice (Ala. Stat. § 6-5-482(a))

• Six years for intentional injury (Ala. Sat. § 6-2-34)

Damages Limits

• $400,000 in medical malpractice cases (Ala. Stat. § 6-5-544(b))

• No pain and suffering in Worker's Comp Claims (Ala. Stat. § 25-5-57)

• No pain and suffering in Product Liability Claims (Ala. Stat. § 6-5-520)

Other Limits

Contributory Negligence (Jackson v. Waller, 410 So.2d 98 (1982))

Action Types

By law, pain and suffering damages may be available in cases of medical malpractice and to victims of crime. For victims of crime, the Alabama Crime Victims' Compensation Commission exists to help victims recover from their injuries. In Alabama, medical malpractice claims are the only actions that provide for pain and suffering damages within the text of the law. However, courts have recognized the need for "mental anguish damages" in several other cases, including:

Contributory Negligence

Alabama is one of the few states that employs the strict traditional contributory negligence rule. Contributory negligence can be employed by the defendant against the plaintiff as a defense because contributory negligence bars the injured party from any recovery at all if the injured party was at all at fault for his injury.

Damage Limits

By law, noneconomic damages are limited to $400,000 in medical malpractice cases. Additionally, medical malpractice claims must be brought within two years.

For injuries sustained in an accident, a lawsuit must be filed within two years. But if the injuries were inflicted intentionally, the victim has up to six years to file a claim.

Unfortunately, like most states, no pain and suffering damages are available in a worker's compensation claim or product liability claim in Alabama.

Get a Free Claim Evaluation from an Alabama Attorney

After a stillborn birth, a car accident that leaves you bedridden, or a criminal act leaves you in constant fear, the State of Alabama recognizes that you have suffered more than just medical bills and other monetary damages. But estimating the amount of pain and suffering damages owed to you can be challenging. Instead of doing it all alone, get a free claim evaluation from an Alabama attorney.

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