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Yearly Archives: 2014

Alabama Lays Claim to One of the World’s Most Dangerous Roadways

Dec 24, 2014 - Personal Injury by

Thanks to a 2013 ranking by the World Health Organization, Alabama has the dubious honor of having one of the world’s most dangerous roads. According to Yellowhammer Multimedia, U.S. Route 431, which runs through the state, is also the fourth most deadly road in the U.S., as evidenced by the many memorial crosses placed along the roadway. Injury victims and families who lose loved ones because of dangerous roads in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere in Alabama may be forced to go against powerful municipalities to seek compensation for their losses. These cases require skilled personal injury lawyers who know both the state and even federal laws that protect the interests of their clients. Alabama US 431 Received Four Out of Ten on the Fear Factor Scale A rating of four does not seem too dangerous based on a 10-point scale. However, the primary hazards cited on US 431 are common causes of accidents: Poor visibility High speed driving Sudden changes between two and four lanes of traffic In just the last week of October, 2014, Navbug.com noted six serious accidents on this road, including a severely-injured deputy who was hit by a car while directing traffic at a wreck site. Determining Fault for Dangerous Road Accidents is Very Complex When accidents occur on dangerous roadways, identifying liability is not always a simple matter. Consider some of the possible factors that might have contributed to the deputy’s injuries: The motorist may have failed to comply with the state’s “move over” laws. The […]

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Alabama Pedestrian Danger Index Rated Second in the Nation

Dec 12, 2014 - Car Accidents by

Between 2003 and 2012, 723 Alabama pedestrians suffered traffic-related fatalities. This number earns the state its high national Pedestrian Danger Index ranking, according to SmartGrowthAmerica.org, Younger and older pedestrians seem most susceptible to danger, with 49 children under 16 and 93 adults making up a significant portion of the statistics. Negligent drivers are at fault for many of these accidents; but they are not necessarily the only cause. Experienced Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys understand the importance of investigating beyond the obvious causes to help protect the rights of injured clients and their families. Common Causes of Clashes between Cars and Pedestrians Establishing all underlying causes is essential to identifying all parties who have liability for any accidental injury legal case. The following are some of the individuals who may share liability in a pedestrian accident: Negligent drivers: Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving too fast for conditions or distracted can fail to notice or react to a pedestrian on the road. Dangerous roadways: Curvy roads can reduce the ability to see pedestrians crossing the road. Potholes can send pedestrians and vehicles out of control. Overgrown foliage can also block the vision of drivers and pedestrians. In other words, everyone from municipalities to private property owners can share liability for these devastating accidents. Guardians of the very young and the very old: Some individuals, such as small children or senior citizens require 24-hour care to protect them from any number of daily hazards. Whether they do […]

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Parents Found to Contribute to Teen Driving Distractions

Nov 28, 2014 - Car Accidents by

For most parents, the day their teens get their driver’s licenses is a frightening one. Losing control over their children’s activities means losing the ability to keep them safe. These days, parents typically use mobile phones to regain a degree of control. In fact, teens report that calls from their parents represent a notable contributor to the distractions teens experience while driving. In Tuscaloosa alone, each auto injury lawyer at our firm has seen too many examples of the results of distracted teen driving. We recommend taking a common-sense approach to keeping everyone safe on the road. Many Teens Report Driving While Talking to Parents The American Psychological Association interviewed eight restricted and unrestricted licensed teen drivers, all of whom reported talking to parents while driving. The results from a written survey of nearly 400 teens were not quite as alarming. However, based on license types, 31 to 50 percent of drivers reported talking to parents — more than talking to friends in most cases. Just as disturbing, only 43 percent of drivers with learners’ permits reported no cell phone usage. Unfortunately, that percentage seems to decrease based on license type. Only 10 percent of drivers age 18 with unrestricted licenses report they do not use phones while driving. A Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer understands that an unrestricted license does not instantly provide the ability to drive effectively while distracted. Most calls can wait until all drivers arrive at their destination safely. Parents Need to Become Part of the Solution […]

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Proposed Electronic Log Rules Might Help Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyers Protect Victim Rights

Nov 14, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

If a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule proposed in March 2014 moves forward, truckers will be required to monitor their hours of service using electronic devices. Many drivers use these devices already, but others still rely on paper logs. Our truck wreck lawyers believe the proposed change will help ensure greater accuracy in trucking records. More accurate evidence would help level the playing field for individuals who sustain serious injuries at the hands of drowsy truck drivers. How the Proposed Law Would Work The proposed law has received overall support from many trucking companies, as well as the American Trucking Association, According to TruckingInfo.com, the law would require truckers to switch from paper logging to electronic logging devices (ELDs). These devices would comply with many standards, such as the following: In-vehicle devices would record basic information about truck use, including date, time, location, engine hours and other information about the driver, vehicle and carrier. Each ELD would be synchronized with the engine to record activity. The devices would also record pertinent information when a truck is moving. Tampering protection would prevent anyone from changing original information while providing the ability to check information integrity. Reliable Tracking May Facilitate Legal Cases for Accident Victims In spite of detailed logging requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service, hand-written records are more error-prone than electronic information. Even more important, these records are easy to falsify. When our Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyers […]

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Alabama Families Need To Take Action To Protect Elderly Drivers, Tuscaloosa Accident Attorneys Say

Nov 4, 2014 - Car Accidents by

As medical science continues to advance, people are living longer, more active lives. In 2010, the Social Security Administration Period Life Table, predicted life expectancy for males and females at 76.1 and 80.94 years, respectively. In fact, many people are significantly exceeding those expectations. Regrettably, tables cannot predict when seniors need to stop driving since every person is unique. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys have seen too many lives cut short by elderly drivers. Family members need to know how and when to take the car keys away. A recent Alabama accident illustrates how a lack of focus or perhaps reduced vision can put seniors and others on the road at risk. According to an October 7 report by Alabama Media Group, a 78-year old man was fatally injured when he pulled out of his retirement community into the path of a school bus. The good news is that no children were on the bus at the time of the collision, but the man’s family lost a valuable member who clearly had good years ahead of him. A Progressive Approach is Essential in Helping Seniors Make the Right Decision Keep in mind that seniors are traditionally the heads of families. Many do not take kindly to edicts from their children. So, rather than taking the keys away suddenly, our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys recommend taking it one step at a time, as follows: Check for medical issues: Anyone, young or old, can experience medical concerns that temporarily affect their driving abilities. Perhaps […]

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Tuscaloosa Car Accident Attorneys Say Auto Safety Features May Increase Accident Risks For Alabama Drivers

Oct 24, 2014 - Car Accidents by

On October 7th, AAANewsroom released a new warning that hands-free technology is not necessarily risk-free. They have issued significant warnings about distracted driving and hands-free devices in the past. However, the new report looks specifically at how poor design and errors can seriously reduce driver attention to the road. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys recommend that clients do their homework before using any hands-free system while driving. If the use of a system is not second nature, just say “no.” Some Car Models Rank Better Than Others It is well known that hands off the wheel and eyes off the road are only two factors that contribute to distracted driving. Keeping the mind engaged on driving is critical. Many of today’s complex, confusing and error-prone hands-free systems are failing — whether drivers engage in talking, texting or even changing radio stations. Tests on changing radio stations and voice dialing revealed that some vehicles were better than others. Using a five-point category scale, where five was the highest cognitive distraction rating, AAA reports the following results: Toyota’s Entune® system rated 1.7, the lowest cognitive distraction rating, making it a better choice than many other systems. Hyundai’s Blue Link rated 2.2. Chrysler Uconnect™ ranked 2.7. Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch® ranked 3.0. Mercedes COMAND® rated 3.1. Chevrolet MyLink® had the highest rating in the test, at 3.7. While the AAA report predicts that these systems will continue to improve over time, it is clear that drivers need to understand that these systems […]

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Fatal Truck Crash Reportedly Caused by Fatigued Driver

Aug 25, 2014 - Birmingham by

A truck driver’s lack of sleep is blamed for a crash that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian in New Jersey. Authorities say the 35-year-old Georgia driver hadn’t slept for 24 hours before the crash, which occurred when he failed to stop for slowed traffic on the highway. Federal law limits driving to 11 hours in a 14-hour period, followed by 10 hours of rest, although the driver’s employer, Wal-Mart, insists he was operating within those guidelines. The truck was equipped with safety systems designed to slow the rig’s speed and notify the driver of stopped traffic ahead, but it’s unclear whether the technology was activated or that the system was operational at the time of the crash. Birmingham truck accident attorneys recognize that while this case is under investigation, truck driver fatigue continues to be a serious ongoing problem throughout the country despite recent legislation. Every year, truck crashes kill more than 5,000 people and injure nearly 150,000. And yet, just days before that deadly crash, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved to weaken safety rules pertaining to truck standards. Last summer, officials passed a number of “restart” regulations requiring truckers to rest for at least 34 straight hours from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., prior to their next work week. The primary goal was to reduce the amount of driver fatigue. The new rules also limited the maximum work week from a maximum of 82 hours down to 70 hours, and drivers were also mandated to […]

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Volcano Enterprises, Inc. v. Rush – Alabama Supreme Court Rules on DUI Death Lawsuit

Aug 25, 2014 - Birmingham by

Plaintiffs in Alabama personal injury cases should take care to exhaust every means of serving defendants notification of a complaint before proceeding with service by publication. That’s the lesson gleaned in Volcano Enterprises, Inc. v. Rush, recently decided by the Alabama Supreme Court. The decision effectively vacates an earlier award of $37 million in favor of a family whose choir minister husband/father was killed by a drunk, off-duty Birmingham police officer in 2009. Birmingham DUI injury lawyers know the officer received 12 years in prison on a charge of reckless manslaughter, and was also ordered to pay $3 million in civil damages. The criminal court additionally ordered him to pay $43,000 in restitution. The $37 million liability claim was against the strip club that had served alcohol that night to a patron whom plaintiffs allege was already visibly impaired by the time he arrived. He had reportedly consumed hard liquor in his vehicle while waiting for a friend to show up after their shift. Birmingham DUI injury lawyers know the officer received 12 years in prison on a charge of reckless manslaughter, and was also ordered to pay $3 million in civil damages. The criminal court additionally ordered him to pay $43,000 in restitution. The $37 million liability claim was against the strip club that had served alcohol that night to a patron whom plaintiffs allege was already visibly impaired by the time he arrived. He had reportedly consumed hard liquor in his vehicle while waiting for a friend to […]

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Harris v. FedEx – Truck Crash Injury Case Intersects With Employment Law

Aug 12, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

Our Birmingham truck accident lawyers recognize that many of these cases involve claims brought against the driver’s employer, usually for negligent training, negligent supervision, and violations of various standards set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These theories of liability ensure that trucking agencies will be held accountable when they hire drivers who aren’t qualified, don’t properly supervise them on the road, encourage overloaded vehicles, or push for drivers to work long, uninterrupted shifts to make delivery deadlines. All of these are often cited as contributing factors in tractor-trailer crashes. Since we are dealing with the responsibilities of an employer, employment law sometimes intersects with injury law in these cases. Usually, in order for an employer to be held accountable for a trucker’s negligent actions, it must first be established that an employer-employee relationship existed. In some instances, this is a straightforward matter. However, larger firms routinely contract with various trucking agencies to provide delivery services, and this can complicate matters where the injury case is concerned.   The recent case of Harris, et al. v. FedEx National LTL, Inc. is a prime example. This appeal stemmed from an earlier summary judgment in favor of FedEx, the firm that the plaintiff alleged was responsible for injuries sustained when a driver hauling FedEx goods slammed into them on a highway in Missouri. The 2/?p=1007 crash occurred when the commercial truck driver lost control of his rig on the interstate, resulting in the tractor-trailer blocking both lanes of the highway. Another driver […]

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Alabama Head Injury Lawsuits to be Filed in Wake of NCAA Settlement

Aug 9, 2014 - Personal Injury by

Usually, injury settlements end current and future litigation for the parties involved. However, the recent settlement reached with the NCAA over student athlete head injuries opens the door for more lawsuits to be filed. Our  brain injury lawyers understand the $75 million agreement will allow money to be used by current and former athletes to receive medical testing and monitoring for suspected head injuries. Those who suffered head trauma as a result of participation in sports will have the opportunity to file their own individual lawsuits. Of the settlement amount, $5 million will be dedicated to head injury research. The settlement was reached in the class action of In Re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. It also requires the NCAA to instruct schools to make changes to athletic program policies, specifically by implementing guidelines on “return-to-play” for athletes who have suffered a blow to the head.   As of February, AL.com counted the number of former college athletes suing the NCAA over the way it handled concussions at 65. The litigation followed after a similar case of 4,800 professional football players who successfully sued the National Football League on similar grounds. Of those 65 players, one was from Alabama. It was former Alabama running back Ray Hudson, who played from 2001 to 2004. Now 34, he says he was diagnosed with two concussions but believes he suffered more. He said he was forced to drop […]

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