Accidents in Alabama State Parks – How Do I Recover Damages?
Fall in Alabama is a wonderful time of year. Alabamians visit state parks to hike, let their children play on the playground, participate in recreational activities, and just relax with family and friends. The last thing on anyone’s mind is that a member of their party may sustain a serious injury. Unfortunately, this happens all too often and the injured person or his or her family don’t know where to turn. That is because filing a personal injury claim against the state is much more complex than it would be with a private individual or business.
How a Claim Against the State Differs from Private Claims
You have just one year to bring a claim against state government as opposed to two years with other personal injury cases. Additionally, people injured on public property need to work with the Alabama Board of Adjustment and not a private insurance company. You stand the greatest chance of success with your case if you can prove that state workers knew about safety hazards but either ignored or inadequately addressed them. Finally, you may be limited to damages of $100,000 when suing the state in a personal injury lawsuit.
State Tort Liability and Sovereign Immunity
Prior to 1946, state and federal government had almost complete immunity from lawsuits filed against them or their individual employees. That year, the federal government passed the Federal Tort Claims Act that required the federal government to accept some liability in injury cases when appropriate. Numerous state governments followed suit by enacting legislation of their own that defined immunity limits in lawsuits against them or their employees.
Filing a Claim with the Alabama Board of Adjustment
Alabama requires claimants to include very specific information when filing a personal injury claim with its Board of Adjustment. You can obtain a copy of the form here. Please note that you must include your full name and social security number or federal employment identification number (FEIN) if filing on behalf of a business. You must also ensure that you file the claim within the one-year statute of limitations. Other information you need to include on your Claim for Personal Injury/Property Damage includes:
- Facts of claim: This section should detail the date of the accident, where the injury occurred, and what happened to cause you to sustain injuries. You should attach an incident or accident report if you have one.
- Healthcare providers and pharmacies: Here you should list the name and contact details for any healthcare professional who treated you for this injury as well as pharmacies that dispensed medication.
- Permanent disability and lost wage information, if applicable: Complete these sections if they apply to your situation. Be prepared to answer whether you have applied for workers’ compensation or any other type of disability and your pay rate at work.
- Expenses: This should only include costs you accrued in direct relation to the accident. The Alabama Board of Adjustment will not pay any amount already covered or expected to be covered by private insurance. Please include the name and contact information of your insurance provider along with your identification number.
- Supporting Documentation: This can include uninsured medical expenses, proof of accident report, lost wages while recovering from your injury, vacation or sick time used for your recovery period, miscellaneous expenses such as mileage and parking costs to obtain medical treatment, and any damage to personal property that you also wish to claim.
Once you have completed the claim form, you need to sign it in the presence of a notary public. Alabama’s Board of Adjustment will not accept it otherwise, which could delay your claim past the statute of limitations. This can be an extremely complicated and unforgiving process. You should always consult with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney before taking on the state of Alabama.
Get Qualified Legal Help to Bring a Case Against the State
Alabama places the entire burden of proof on the injured person to explain why he or she is entitled to financial compensation. Unfortunately, you can expect aggressive challenges to your responses no matter how much detail you provide.
Some people feel so intimidated by this process that they drop their claim altogether. At Alsobrook Jackson Attorneys at Law, we don’t want to see that happen to you. If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of the State of Alabama, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Please contact our Alabama personal injury attorneys at our Opelika office to request a free and confidential review of your personal injury case against the state for negligent management of one of its parks. If you retain our services, we will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. We can be reached at (334) 737-3718 or online through our website contact form.