Boat Wreck, Car Wreck: Not the Same in Alabama

Oct 17, 2021 | Allen A. Ritchie


If you are hurt on the water or the roads, different laws will determine what you might collect.

Have you heard of admiralty law? Well, if you are hurt near Perdido Pass or off Dauphin Island, you will hear a lot about it. Here are some of the differences between a boat wreck and a car wreck.

First, you can NOT collect in an Alabama traffic accident if you are even 1% at fault. However, admiralty law does allow you to collect based on how much the other person is to blame. For example, if you are 10% at fault, you can collect 90% of a judgment.  Note that the 1% rule for traffic accidents is not true in Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.

Second, under admiralty law, it is much more difficult to bring a wrongful death action. Wrongful death is generally used to compensate the family for the loss of a deceased loved one. This can include compensation for lost wages, emotional support, funeral expenses, and the like.

Third, if you are a passenger in a car, Alabama has a law that basically prevents you from suing the driver unless the driver is disobeying the rules of the road. No such law applies under admiralty law. Note: Alabama is the only state left that has such a guest passenger law for traffic accidents.

One last thing, there is no liability insurance requirement for the operator of a boat. The lack of insurance can make finding the money needed for a victim’s recovery very difficult.

Whether hurt on the water or the road, you need to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. As you can see, there are a lot of hurdles to get you the money you need.

If you suffer a personal injury like a boat/auto/truck accident, railroad accident, or slip and fall, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We are taking a fall break and will offer 5-minute segments for the rest of the year and a live call-in segment every Monday on NBC 15 at around lunchtime.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer