Jury Verdict Research conducted a study of Alabama jury trials and found that the average personal injury verdict was $309,062. As always, the high verdicts stretch the average, including a $12,000,000 verdict. The median compensatory award for personal injury trials in Alabama is $25,771. Plaintiff’s win – winning defined as recovering some money damages – 47 percent of cases that go to trial in Alabama. Putting those numbers in context, the national median is $40,000 and the nationwide plaintiff recovery probability is 48 percent. The study is based on award data from 2003 through 2009.
- Alabama malpractice verdicts (average malpractice awards)
Alabama Personal Injury Settlements and Verdicts
The following is a sampling of verdicts and settlements from Alabama:
- 2023, Alabama: $15,000 Settlement. Plaintiff alleged that she and her minor child sustained unspecified injuries when they tripped and fell at a water park operated by the defendant. She brought a premises liability action against the waterpark and the case settled for $15k.
- 2023, Alabama: $100,000 Settlement. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants’ dog was allowed to escape from its yard and then it attacked her and her son (a minor). Both the plaintiff and her son sustained serious physical injuries as a result of the attack and sought to hold the defendants liable under Alabama’s strict liability rule for dog bites.
- 2023, Alabama: $25,000 Settlement. The plaintiff, a minor, sustained injuries to her neck, left knee, and lower back when a motor vehicle she was operating was rear-ended by the defendant at the intersection of AL-204 and Broadwell Mill Road in Calhoun County, AL. The defendant was allegedly looking down at his cell phone when the collision occurred.
- 2022, Alabama: $35,000,000 Verdict. A man accidentally cut his left thumb’s fingertip with a table saw. He presented to the ER. An orthopedist surgeon recommended a fingertip amputation. The man underwent the procedure. He experienced no complications. The man was transferred to the orthopedic floor. He received Dilaudid via IV. Ten hours later, the man was found unconscious and not breathing. He never regained consciousness. The man’s family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff administered excessive doses, failed to appreciate his pre-existing conditions, and failed to monitor his vital signs. The jury awarded $35,000,000.
- 2022, Alabama: $123,000 Verdict. A man and his pregnant girlfriend were rear-ended. The man suffered a concussion and a C3-4 injury. His girlfriend suffered soft-tissue injuries. Their baby was born prematurely ten days later. The woman continued to experience residual pain, headaches, and post-concussion syndrome. The couple alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. They claimed he drove while intoxicated and failed to watch the road. The jury awarded $123,000.
- 2021, Alabama: $100,000 Verdict. A man was struck. He injured his shoulder. The man underwent shoulder surgery. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed she failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and safely operate her vehicle. A jury awarded $100,000.
- 2021, Alabama: $100,000 Verdict. A man was rear-ended by a truck. He suffered a T8-9 herniation, shoulder pain, and C5-6 pain with radiculopathy. The man underwent chiropractic therapy for three months. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he failed to slow down and maintain a proper lookout. A jury awarded $100,000.
- 2021, Alabama: $500,000 Verdict. A truck driver hauled stacked pallets from a Publix warehouse. He arrived at a pallet storage warehouse. The man opened the truck. The unsecured pallets fell on him. The man fell to the ground. He fractured his pelvis. The man underwent a pelvic procedure. He alleged negligence against Publix. The man claimed its employees failed to secure the pallets and poorly stacked them on top of each other. He received a $500,000 verdict.
- 2021, Alabama: $25,000 Settlement. A minor passenger was struck at an intersection. She suffered a corneal abrasion, a left orbital fracture, and severe conjunctivitis. The girl experienced left eye vision loss. Her mother alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she failed to yield the right-of0way and maintain an appropriate lookout. This case settled for $25,000.
- 2021, Alabama: $50,000 Settlement. A Goodyear employee tried to remove rubber from a quad loader. He felt his right shoulder pop and tear. The man underwent three shoulder procedures. He sustained permanent injuries. The man was left with a four percent whole body impairment. He made a workers’ compensation claim against Goodyear. This case settled for $50,000.
- 2021, Alabama: $250,000 Verdict. A woman was rear-ended. She suffered C5-6 stenosis and displacement, a back strain, and shoulder and chest injuries. The woman underwent surgery. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed she recklessly operated her vehicle and failed to timely brake. She received $250,000.
- 2020, Alabama: $500,000 Verdict. A man’s vehicle was struck head-on by the Police Chief of the City of Selma, who lost control of his car. He was transported to the hospital with chest pain complaints. His tests came back negative, and he was sent home. The following day, he checked up with his family physician for his chest pain and neck soreness. He was ultimately diagnosed with soft-tissue neck injuries and a herniated C5-6 disc. The man underwent discectomy and fusion surgery at C5-6 a year later. It was a success, and the man was now pain-free. He settled with the City of Selma, the Police Chief, and UIM carrier, Alfa Insurance, for $150,000. However, he would go to trial over his UIM claim against his secondary carrier, State Farm. After a three-day trial, the jury awarded $500,000.
- 2020, Alabama: $275,000 Verdict. A man was struck by a vehicle as he was jogging at night. He suffered a dislocated knee as a result. The man was brought to the hospital, where the staff alleviated his injury. He later followed up with an orthopedist who performed multiple surgeries to repair his ligament damage. The orthopedist testified that his knee injury was as severe as it could be. He further testified that the man would undergo future knee reconstruction. The man then settled with the driver’s policy limits. He then sued his UIM insurer State Farm, seeking his UIM coverage. State Farm contended that he only was to blame for his injuries because he jogged at night without reflective gear. The jury awarded $250,000 in damages, but the final judgment totaled $75,000.
- 2020, Alabama: $12,500 Verdict. A woman was struck head-on by a vehicle attempting to turn left at an intersection. She suffered undisclosed personal injuries as a result. The woman sued the other driver for failing to yield the right-of-way as she had a green light. She received a $12,500 verdict.
- 2020, Alabama: $140,000 Verdict. A woman slipped and fell in a puddle of water at a Walmart. Employees rushed to help her. One of them explained to her that the skylights were damaged a few months prior because of a thunderstorm. Walmart failed to repair them. The woman sued Walmart for failing to maintain its premises. Walmart contended that the skylight did not leak in three years and did not know about that specific one. The jury awarded her a $140,000 verdict.
- 2020, Alabama: $150,000 Verdict. A man’s vehicle was struck by an uninsured motorist at an intersection. He sustained undisclosed severe and permanent injuries. The man sued both the driver and his UIM carrier, Access General Insurance Adjusters. His carrier eventually opted out of the case, and the trial only involved the other driver. The jury awarded him $150,000.
- 2019, Alabama: $5,000,000 Verdict. A hospitalized woman suffered multiple bedsores that reached Stage IV. She experienced infections, disfigurement, mental anguish, and deteriorating health as a result. The woman eventually died from her complications. Her estate sued for personal injury and wrongful death. They contended that the hospital failed to turn and reposition her, which would have prevented her bedsores from progressing. The Montgomery jury awarded $5,000,000 in damages for the personal injury claim, but ruled in favor of the hospital for the wrongful death claim.
- 2018, Alabama: $10,000,000 Verdict. A speeding vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian. He threatened a witness with a gun and fled the scene. The deceased woman’s estate sued the driver, seeking wrongful death damages and pre-death pain and suffering. They argued that the man was intoxicated at the time of the collision and was speeding. After a two-day trial, the jury awarded $10,000,000 in punitive damages.
- 2018, Alabama: $1,000,000 Verdict. A woman suffered an unspecified permanent back injury while at a water park. She claimed that she sustained it while on a water slide. The woman sued the water park, seeking compensation for her injury, medical expenses and punitive damages. A Jefferson County jury awarded her $1,000,000.
- 2017, Alabama: $7,500,000 Verdict. A 59-year-old Army veteran was shopping at a local Walmart. His foot became caught under a pallet under a watermelon container as he reached for a watermelon. This caused him to fall. Security footage showed that others got their feet stuck under the pallets. The jury awarded $7,500,000.
Alabama Personal Injury Law
Below is a summary of some of the key laws and procedural rules in Alabama personal injury cases.
2-Year Statute of Limitations
Personal injury cases in Alabama are covered by a 2-year statute of limitations. Ala. Code § 6-2-38 Under this law, prospective plaintiffs in a personal injury case must file their claim within 2 years of the date of the injury (or accident), otherwise, they will lose their right to file suit.
There are some exceptions to this rule which can extend the 2-year period for filing suit. One of the most significant exceptions applies in cases where the plaintiff is a minor (under 18) at the time of the injury. In that situation, the 2-year limitation period does not begin to run until the plaintiff turns 18. So they would have until their 20th birthday to file suit.
Claims Against the Alabama State Government
In personal injury cases where the defendant is the Alabama state government or a local municipal government in the state (or a division of the state government) a different set of time limits will apply. Under Alabama law, formal notice of tort claims against a municipality must be filed within 6 months of the injury. For claims against the state government, plaintiffs must submit a notice of claim within 1 year of the injury.
Alabama’s Contributory Negligence Rule
In shared fault cases (where the plaintiff is partly to blame for their injury) Alabama is among the small minority of states that continue to follow the old tort law rule of contributory negligence. Under the contributory negligence rule, if a plaintiff is found to have any share of fault for his or her injury, they will be completely barred from recovering any damages at all. So even if the defendant is 98% at-fault and the plaintiff is just 2% at-fault, the plaintiff would be completely barred from recovering damages.
In most states, the rule of comparative negligence is followed. Under that rule, the plaintiff’s damages are simply reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is 10% at fault they would get a 10% reduction in their damages.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites
In Alabama however, a specific statute (Ala. Code § 3-6-1) makes the owner “strictly liable”, meaning regardless of the animal’s past behavior, the dog owner is responsible for a personal injury caused by his/her dog. This means that regardless of the dog’s history (or lack of history) of aggression, the dog’s owner will automatically be held liable if it attacks and injuries someone. The only exceptions to this are if the dog is provoked or if the injured person is a trespasser.