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Yearly Archives: 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Gives Alabama Police More Tools to Combat DUI

May 1, 2014 - Drunk Driving Accidents by

A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Navarette v. California will hopefully mean fewer DUI injuries in Alabama, as it gives authorities a greater opportunity to stop reckless and potentially drunk drivers. Birmingham DUI injury lawyers know that the crux of the Navarette case had to do with reasonable suspicion as it pertains to a defendant’s Fourth-Amendment right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Specifically, the question before the justices was whether information provided by an anonymous 911 tip was enough to establish reasonable suspicion. The court ruled that, in some cases, it is. The reason this is important for potential victims of DUI is that, No. 1, it provides more incentive for people to call when they see a reckless driver as they know police will be more inclined to act. Secondly, when police are given the authority to stop a car based on an anonymous 911 tip, they can get a possibly dangerous driver off the road faster. Officers may not necessarily have to wait to observe the driver engaged in a traffic violation before initiating a stop. This ruling is in line with a 1990 decision by the high court in Alabama v. White, where the court found that an anonymous tip, when corroborated by independent police work, provides the basis for the reasonable suspicion necessary to make an investigatory traffic stop.

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Bill to Ban Children in Alabama Truck Beds Stalls

Apr 29, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

Recently in Auburn, one university student was seriously injured and another charged with DUI following a crash that occurred when several youth were riding in the bed of a pickup truck near South College Street. The 22-year-old student is expected to survive, but accident lawyers in Tuscaloosa recognize it as only the latest in a long string of Alabama injuries resulting from passengers riding in truck beds. It’s exactly this kind of incident that a recent Alabama state bill was poised to address. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that still allow people to legally ride in truck cargo beds. State lawmakers have been trying since 1998 to pass a provision that would prohibit this activity, but have so far been unsuccessful. Now, it seems the wait may be even longer, meaning we can expect to see even more injuries and deaths resulting from people riding in truck beds.

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Alabama Lawnmower Injuries a Spring Risk

Apr 25, 2014 - Birmingham by

Every year, emergency room administrators report more than 250,000 people receive urgent care after suffering lawn mower injuries – with nearly 7 percent of those being children. May and June are the peak time for these incidents, so it’s a good time for our Birmingham personal injury lawyers to broach the subject, particularly considering that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that the risk of such incidents has risen in recent years. In Alabama, an 8-year-old boy who was killed in 2010 in Gurley when authorities say he was accidentally run over by his father’s lawn mower. Two years later, a 6-year-old girl in Florence was killed after she fell off a lawn mower she’d been riding on with an adult. In some cases, operator error or negligence is to blame for such incidents. Other times, faulty product design, manufacturing or failure to warn could cause or contribute to serious or fatal injury.

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Deadly Truck Crash Has Feds Examining Bus Safety Regulations

Apr 22, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

A fiery, fatal crash involving a Fed-Ex truck and a tour bus carrying high school students has prompted at least one lawsuit so far and the launch of a federal investigation into safety regulations. Authorities are interested in learning whether more stringent laws regarding seat belts, fire suppression systems and better windows might have prevented the crash that left 10 dead in Northern California. Our Tuscaloosa injury lawyers know that the National Transportation Safety Board has long advocated such measures, but other federal agencies have been slow to heed that call. NTSB officials say that if there is anything to be gained from this tragedy, it could be a renewed sense of urgency in adopting safety measures to save lives.

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Railroad Accidents in Alabama, U.S., Increasing

Apr 19, 2014 - Train Accidents by

Railroad accidents throughout the country are on the rise – and Alabama has one of the highest railroad fatality rates in the nation. Our accident lawyers in Birmingham note just last year there were 85 vehicle collisions and 19 pedestrians deaths involving trains. Alabama ranked in the top 15 for overall railroad fatalities, according to records from the Federal Railroad Administration. In fact, Alabama media outlets in January reported numerous train accidents throughout the state in a single week. On railroad tracks on Alabaster Road in Jefferson County, a man fell asleep and was struck and killed by a freight train. That incident followed a crash in which four people in a van died in Chilton County after they tried to cross a set of tracks near Thorsby. Four others inside were seriously injured. There had been no traffic barriers at the crossing. In Tuscaloosa, three deaths were reported in January due to train and car crashes. Two other incidents were reported in Bessemer, though there were thankfully no fatalities.

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Vicarious Liability in Alabama Car Accident Injury Cases

Apr 17, 2014 - Car Accidents by

In filing a Tuscaloosa car accident lawsuit, an experienced plaintiff attorney looks beyond those obviously negligent. The at-fault driver behind the wheel will be named in any negligence lawsuit. However, other parties may be found vicariously liable for the actions of that driver. In English common law, this was known as the “theory of respondeat superior.” This is the principal that allows employers to be held liable for the actions of an employee committed within the line and scope of his or her employment. The employer or vehicle owner can also be sued for independent torts such as negligent entrustment and/or negligent hiring, training and/or supervision. Each state has their own laws and limitations on vicarious liability. At the federal level, Congress passed a measure in 2005, called the Graves Amendment, which bars states from holding vehicle rental or leasing firms liable for negligence in cases where customers cause accidents.

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Laurel v. Prince – Physical Injury Necessary in Alabama Medical Malpractice Claim

Apr 15, 2014 - Medical Malpractice by

In filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Birmingham, it’s not enough for the plaintiff to show the defendant erred. He or she must prove that the error caused a compensable degree of harm. That could be in the form of additional medical expenses incurred as a result of the error. It could be in the form of lost wages, due to the fact that the error rendered you unable to work for a time. It could be physical pain, permanent scarring or impairment. Absent proof of physical harm, though, a medical mistake may not be worth a lawsuit, as the case of Laurel v. Prince, recently reviewed by the Alabama Supreme Court, demonstrates.

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Establishing Standing in Alabama Wrongful Death Claims

Apr 10, 2014 - Wrongful Death by

Alabama’s wrongful law is different in many ways than most other states. In Alabama, dependents of the decedent are not allowed to file suit unless the death took place on the job. Spouses, children, parents, dependent siblings – all are potential beneficiaries. However, per Ala Code 6-5-410, only a “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate has the ability to file a wrongful death claim. Unlike in other states, family members in Alabama can’t file a wrongful death claim on their own behalf or on behalf of the deceased – unless they are the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. An Alabama wrongful death claim involving the death of a Montgomery man in a fatal truck accident has given rise to a challenge that could change who qualifies as a potential beneficiary. The crash occurred one night when the man struck an overturned UPS vehicle blocking the northbound lanes of I-65.

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Intentional Work Injuries Not Compensable in Alabama

Apr 8, 2014 - Amputation by

Workers can successfully file a Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation claim in most every case where an injury has occurred on the job (or in the course of employment). One of the few instances in which employers can rightfully deny a claim for benefits is when the injury was intentionally self-inflicted. In this situations, it all comes down to the intent of the worker, and the onus is on the employer to prove intent. This was the issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in the case of Smith v. Tippah Electric Power Association. Despite this being an out-of-state case, the same general principles are applicable.

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Alabama Truck Accident Case Heard by State Supreme Court

Apr 3, 2014 - Birmingham by

The Alabama Supreme Court recently denied a request for a change of venue in a truck accident case involving two commercial truck drivers who collided in Mobile County. In the lawsuit, Cruz v. J&W Enterprises, LLC, the defendant trucker and his employer requested that the case be moved from Clarke County to Mobile County, on the basis of forum non conveniens – or in other words, what is more convenient to the parties involved. As Birmingham truck accident lawyers, we recognize that many times, there is more than one appropriate venue, but in those cases, there must be sufficient grounds on which to justify a move before a court will approve it.

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"I was injured in an accident and I chose Justin Smith to handle my case. I worked with every staff member there by the end of the ordeal and was treated like family but also with true professionalism. They worked diligently on my case and never faltered or backed down regardless of the obstacles. I am so happy with the outcome and highly, highly recommend Cross & Smith, LLC to anyone that needs someone they can trust."
Posted By: Shane Weaver

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