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Yearly Archives: 2014

Madden v. City of Iowa City – Injuries Caused by Road Defects

Jun 20, 2014 - Personal Injury by

A bicyclist who suffered a fall and injury from her bicycle due to an allegedly defective university sidewalk sued the city for failure to maintain its roads. In later proceedings, the city sought to bring in the state as a third-party defendant to share the liability. In Madden v. City of Iowa City, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the state’s motion to dismiss the cross-claim, finding a city ordinance could establish duty on the part of the state, and the claim of contribution of liability was not excluded under the state’s tort claims act. Tuscaloosa bicycle accident attorneys recognize the relevance of this case to those who typically commute on bicycles at The University of Alabama. Previous case law in Alabama supports the idea that municipalities and state governments can be held accountable for injuries sustained by negligent maintenance of public roadways.

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Fatal Truck Crash Reportedly Caused by Fatigued Driver

Jun 10, 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.

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Perry v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co. – Fighting for Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Jun 9, 2014 - Car Accidents by

In Alabama, it’s estimated more than one in four drivers lacks auto insurance. Even among those who do carry insurance, about 55 percent have policies that only cover the bare minimum, which is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per crash. This usually is not enough. Medical bills for serious injuries could easily top six figures. This makes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage practically a necessity in this state. By having one of these policies, you ensure you are covered in case the at-fault party didn’t have insurance or didn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages incurred. Coverage also extends to you as a passenger. However, car accident lawyers in Tuscaloosa recognize that even those with coverage may find themselves in court, fighting to get the insurer to pay.

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Report: Southern Pedestrians at High Risk — Birmingham Ranks 6th

Jun 8, 2014 - Birmingham by

Researchers at Smart Growth America recently analyzed the safety of pedestrians nationwide, finding that not only is the problem worsening, but it’s especially bad in the South. In particular, the Dangerous by Design 2014 report found the Birmingham-Hoover metro area to be the sixth-most dangerous place for walkers in the country. Study authors calculated the ranks by determining the average number of pedestrians versus the number of those killed on the streets and sidewalks. This gave them what they called the “pedestrian danger index,” or PDI. Birmingham-Hoover tallied 148 pedestrian deaths between 2003 and 2012, resulting in a PDI of 125.6. Compare this to Houston, Texas, which had a total of 1,034 pedestrian fatalities during those years, yet ranked No. 7 with a PDI of 119.64. Rounding out the top 10, all but one of those cities (Phoenix, Arizona) was in the southeastern part of the U.S. Birmingham injury lawyers recognize these areas grew rapidly as post-war suburbia brought roads to rural areas. That meant wide streets and fast speed limits, primarily catering to motor vehicles. Pedestrians were an afterthought, if they were a thought at all.

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Asklar v. Gilb – Jurisdictional Issues in Truck Accident Lawsuits May Impact Insurance Payouts

Jun 3, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

Every day, hundreds of thousands of large trucks traverse state lines to deliver cargo. When one of these vehicle is involved in a crash, it can raise a host of jurisdictional questions. The trucker could be from one state and the trucking company from another, while the accident occurred in a third state. There are even cases that are further complicated when an injured party is from yet another state. Tuscaloosa truck accident attorneys recognize that sorting through these jurisdictional issues is important not only for the purposes of deciding which court should hear them, as we recently discussed in the Alabama Supreme Court decision in Cruz v. J&W Enterprises, LLC. The question of jurisdiction can also have a great bearing on insurance issues. Basically, each state has differing requirements on what kinds of insurance must be carried and paid out and by whom.

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

May 27, 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.

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Lockwood v. Geico – Unreasonable Delay in Payment of Insurance

May 15, 2014 - Car Accidents by

The contract you hold with your car insurance companies is probably filled with numerous caveats designed to minimize the firm’s risk of paying up when the time comes. But an element that is inherent in these contracts – no matter what the language – is the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. If an insurance company acts in bad faith in dealing with the client, it could be subject to severe punitive damages. Examples of bad faith dealings would be if an insurer denies a claim without proper cause or delays a claim unreasonably. Our Tuscaloosa car accident lawyers have a detailed understanding of uninsured motorist law. You are entitled to coverage for which you paid, and we are committed to helping you obtain that compensation.

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Alabama Motorcycle Accident Statistics

May 12, 2014 - Motorcycle Accidents by

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that motorcycle deaths were down 22 percent last year in Alabama and more than 7 percent nationwide. Although any reduction in fatalities is good news, those figures may be more of a fluke than a trend. As much as safety advocates want to tout 2013 as the start of a downward trajectory, it’s more of a stabilization of the statistics, following a big spike in motorcycle deaths in 2012. Birmingham motorcycle injury lawyers note the primary factors in the 2012 increase had to do with a warmer-than-usual riding season and higher-than-average gas prices. Better weather is more conducive to riding, and rising gas prices prompts people to choose a cheaper alternative to cars and sport utility vehicles.

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Attractive Nuisance Doctrine & Premises Liability in Alabama

May 7, 2014 - Premises Liability by

Premise liability law is founded upon the principle that a property owner (or manager) has a responsibility to maintain a property in a safe manner for those who enter. The duty owed by the property owner to those on site depends on the relationship. For example, the owner of a property open to the public would owe to a patron is far greater than a private property owner would owe to a trespasser. For the most part, Tuscaloosa premises liability lawyers recognize that trespassers aren’t entitled to many protections, except in cases of injury caused by willful or wanton negligence. The one notable exception is attractive nuisance. This legal theory alters the duty that is usually owed by a property owner to a trespasser or licensee for the simple fact that the “visitor” is a child drawn to the property by a hazard. A perfect example of this is a swimming pool. This not only poses a serious potential danger, it’s one a person could reasonably expect would be considered an attractive place to play. In order for a liability lawsuit to be successful, the owner must know a dangerous condition exists, the child must not know or recognize the danger and the child must not receive proper warning of the danger.

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Alabama DUI Accidents – Ignition-Interlock Law Passes

May 5, 2014 - Drunk Driving Accidents by

Shortly before he was convicted of DUI manslaughter in the death of fellow motorist and the serious injury of his passenger, a Hoover man conceded he’d had too much to drink while watching the 2012 Iron Bowl game on television. He said he knew after the crash that getting behind the wheel after drinking so much was a mistake. If only he’d come to that realization before he put the key in the ignition. And that’s the problem with so many DUI offenders – their failure to first think through the consequences. There is however technology that takes the choice away for previous offenders. DUI injury lawyers in Birmingham note Alabama just became the 21st state in the country to adopt an ignition-interlock law.

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"We realize there are many options for representation out there, and we talked with several of the “big names” before finding Cross and Smith. With the others, it felt like we were being bullied, in a tank with hungry sharks. We are still receiving junk mail from some. We are SO thankful we were referred to Justin Smith (Cross and Smith) for our accident claim. He and his team were absolutely amazing."
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