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Yearly Archives: 2015

Christmas Day Driving Can Reduce Accident Risks

Dec 25, 2015 - Car Accidents by

With typical Alabama winter temperatures ranging between 50 and over 60 degrees, drivers in the state do not experience the extreme holiday weather conditions as those in the northern states. In 2013, Alabama Media Group reported information from a recent study by the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety. It showed that the days immediately prior to Christmas are among the most dangerous times on the road. Just about any Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer would agree that the study’s findings remain just as true today. A Variety of Different Traffic Patterns Affects Roadway Safety Individuals who make daily commutes to and from work in major metropolitan areas might argue that these traffic conditions are the most congested. However, these drivers know and understand rush hour conditions and generally have the skills and experience to help anticipate and avoid accidents. Holiday drivers do not benefit from long-term experience and can be subject to risks such as the following: Last-minute holiday shopping panic: With just a few days left to complete gift shopping, every minute counts. Rushed drivers are more likely to ignore speed limits and other driving laws. They also have a greater propensity for tailgating when they perceive that the driver in front of them is keeping them from completing their missions. More night-time shoppers are now hitting the roads: From Black Friday and through to Christmas Eve, stores are open for business day and night. Night drivers, in particular, have little experience driving in heavy traffic after […]

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Are Electronic Medical Records Causing Harmful Treatment Errors?

Dec 11, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Patients who obtain care from a number of different medical professionals face a distinct risk that the variety of treatments they receive might conflict with treatments from prior doctor visits. Under the current health care law, healthcare providers are expected to use Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), which can help avoid health care conflicts by providing all doctors with comprehensive electronic record access for any patient. While each Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm recognizes the clear benefits of better communication between medical providers, we believe that EMRs can potentially reduce communication between the providers in the same facility. Patients need to monitor any provider’s recording practices, particularly during the early phases of complex EMR system use. Complex EMR Systems Can Shift Focus Away From the Patient When used properly, EMRs can enhance communications between all providers who treat a particular patient. However, these systems are more complex than the traditional clipboard. In some cases, provider attention shifts from the patient to the EMR, and when that occurs, accidents can happen. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, a noted doctor asserts that EMRs are killing and injuring people, largely due to this shift in focus. He cites an example of a patient in a world-famous university who sustained injury over a relatively simple issue of intravenous fluid administration. In essence, this patient alternatingly received too much fluid or not enough over a three-day period, eventually resulting in significant injury. It appears that the hospital staff members were so chained to […]

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Alabama Drowning Fatalities Happen to People of Any Age

Nov 27, 2015 - Personal Injury by

November might not be the ideal time to jump into an outdoor swimming pool, but with local high temperatures ranging at nearly 70 degrees, water activities remains a real possibility for boating enthusiasts. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys believe that anytime water recreation is possible is a good time to remind people of the dangers of drowning accidents. Just as important, understand that the risk of drowning is very real for adults, as well as for children. Adults May Face Greater Risk of Drowning When Children are in School Even during the summer months, adults are at risk of drowning. According to Alabama Media Group, Alabama saw 69 drowning deaths according to most recent statistics from 2013. Even though drowning is considered to be the number one cause of death in children, that same article cites five drowning deaths within the prior week that involved victims with ages ranging from teens to 63. Once children are back in school, adults often take the opportunity for adult-only boating trips, and they may be likely to engage in more risky behavior when no kids are present. Unfortunately, 2014 statistics indicate that alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. While these deaths may pertain to intoxicated operators, alcohol use by victims can lead to their deaths, as well. Tips for Preventing Adult Drowning Incidents Whether they ride in motorboats, enjoy personal watercraft, head out in a non-motorized boat or even jump in for a cool swim, adults need to […]

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Statistics Show Vehicle Accidents Cause Majority of Alabama Workplace Fatalities

Nov 13, 2015 - Tuscaloosa by

Without a doubt, construction work is among the most dangerous professions in the U.S. Working from great heights, sometimes from faulty support structures, while using power tools and heavy equipment certainly seems extremely hazardous. However, when it comes to work-related fatalities in Alabama, even our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers were initially surprised that there seems to be a higher risk involved in transportation. According to 2013 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) about the 78 fatal workplace injuries for that year, the majority were caused by the following events: • Transportation incidents (42) • Falls, slips, trips (11) • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals (11) Why Transportation Causes a Higher Rate of Workplace Fatalities Since many workers drive on company business, common roadway accidents play a contributing role in the number of work-related transportation fatalities, with a lack of seat belt use, speeding and alcohol cited as factors. However, earlier analyses of these accidents cite the three primary causes of vehicle accidents at work zones to be the following: • Runovers / Backovers represent nearly half of worker fatalities, and about half of those fatalities were caused by workers struck by construction vehicles. • Vehicle Collisions are the second most common cause, typically involving vehicles or mobile equipment. • Caught In Between or Struck by Object Accidents are the third most common cause. As the name implies, they involve workers who become caught between or struck by construction equipment and objects. Injuries or fatalities that […]

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Choosing Between Jury and Bench Trials in Injury Cases

Oct 23, 2015 - Personal Injury by

When the Washington Post and other news outlets reported that a Virginia patient won $500,000 after his secret cell phone recording during a medical procedure captured an anesthesiologist insulting him and even planning to diagnose a non-existent condition, portions of the recording went viral. Like Alabama, Virginia law allows the use of recordings as courtroom evidence as long as one party permits it. Used in front of a jury, that recording provided powerful evidence in court. Presented in front of a judge (known as a bench trial), however, a case like this one might have different results. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases have a choice between jury and bench trials and many case details go into deciding which type of trial offers the most benefits. Each Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm carefully assesses those details before making recommendations to our clients. Facts, Perception and Emotion Drive Courtroom Verdicts Surprisingly, studies show that judges agree with jury decisions on liability as much as 80 percent of the time. However, while judges may award larger damages in about 40 percent of cases, they favor smaller awards in over 50 percent of cases. One study indicated that the differences may be due to judges’ lower susceptibility to two specific cognitive illusions: • Framing, which involves treating economic gains differently than losses, even though their value is actually equal • Representativeness, in which a reduced value is placed on background statistical information or base rates that are relevant to the case Additionally, even […]

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Would Transparent Semis Increase Road Safety?

Oct 9, 2015 - Car Accidents by

It seems as if new safety technologies appear on motor vehicles almost every year. Considering the devastation that our clients experience on the roads on a regular basis, our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys applaud these developments — especially when they allow small cars to share the roads with big trucks more safely. It may be early in the game, but it is not too early to start thinking about one of the latest developments: the transparent truck. A New Invention That Addresses Visibility Issues for Small Vehicles Anyone who is forced to drive behind a huge semi knows that it is like driving behind a solid wall. Without the ability to catch a glimpse of traffic in front of the truck, it is virtually impossible to safely pass these slow-moving vehicles, much less remain aware of potential hazards on the road ahead. In June 2015, Samsung announced the development of its Safety Truck, which could vastly reduce these visibility issues. The concept behind the Safety Truck is simple: Put wireless cameras on the front of trucks and transmit the images to screens on the back, allowing motorists to see the road almost as if the truck was not in front of them. Early prototype tests in Argentina (which has some of the most dangerous roads in the world) showed positive results. The screen images made passing safer on two-lane roads, while also reducing accidents caused by sudden braking or animals on the road. Samsung is now working with the U.S. […]

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Truck Drivers Tend to Extend the Concept of Distracted Driving

Sep 25, 2015 - Truck Accidents by

Anything from adjusting the radio to grabbing some pretzels is common behavior for many drivers, especially when commute times are long. Of course, any behavior that takes a driver’s attention from the road or hands off the wheel can lead to accidents. However, it is not uncommon for a Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer to see cases of severe injuries caused by behind-the-wheel activities that only semi drivers are likely to do. Living Life Behind the Wheel Can Lead to Unusual Distractions Most people engage in countless activities every day, but they perform a limited number of tasks while driving. While typical driver distractions probably involve cell phones, food or drink, truck drivers generally have hands-free devices and other equipment in their semis to help keep their hands on the wheel. That said, however, long-haul truck drivers may be in the cabs of their massive vehicles for more hours than they spend anywhere else. They still have to get things done, so they sometimes find creative ways to accomplish those tasks while on the road. In addition to using cell phones and CB radios, the following are some of the more common trucker activities: • Reaching in a pocket or reaching to the floor • Looking at paperwork • Smoking-related activities • Looking in mirror while using a toothpick • Making grooming and clothing adjustments Of course the list does not stop there. In January 2015, Reuter’s reported a massive traffic shutdown near Tuscaloosa after a trucker veered off the road, […]

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Surgical Errors: Never Say Never

Sep 11, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Back in 2012, John’s Hopkins reported that surgical “never events” occur at least 4,000 times per year. These are errors that should never happen because they are easily preventable when surgical staff members take common-sense precautions. At the time, the report was major news within the medical community and our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers believed that knowledge of these issues would prevent them in the future. Unfortunately, current reports show that some of these easily-preventable issues still exist today. Some Never Events Still Happen Today Three years after the Hopkins report, JAMA Surgery states that three of these events are still prevalent: • Retained surgical items: Many items are used in surgery and anything from sponges to surgical tools are still being left inside of patients. Taking inventory before surgery begins and again before closing the incision can easily help prevent this type of error. • Wrong site surgery: This type of error can happen most often when a patient has more than one similar site, such as limbs or eyes and the surgeon operates on the healthy site by mistake. A common way to prevent such an accident is to carefully review the patient’s records prior to surgery and then mark the correct surgical site directly on the patient. • Surgical fires: Most surgeries require the use of the “fire triangle,” which is essentially a fuel source (ranging from alcohol-based skin preparation to the patient’s own skin or hair), an igniter (such as a laser) and an oxidizer (commonly […]

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Dangerous Drug Lawsuits Can Become Complicated

Aug 28, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Take a commonly-used drug, add some serious side-effects and a seemingly-endless number of lawsuits suddenly appear. This phenomenon is not unreasonable — individuals who suffer injury or illness from a dangerous drug deserve compensation that covers their full range of losses. When the number of individual complaints rises into the thousands, however, our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers warn that the legal process can become very complex. Valuable Drugs Often Pose Risks Anyone who has ever seen a prescription drug advertisement in a magazine or on TV knows that side-effect warnings seem to make up a large portion of the message. Advertisements for Chantix, a smoking-cessation drug, are a prime example. Warnings seem to focus primarily on mood or behavioral risks, ranging from confusion and anxiety to suicidal thoughts. These black box warnings were mandated by the FDA in mid-2009. Still, most doctors weigh the risks and benefits of any drug to allow patients to make informed decisions. Clearly, an effective smoking cessation drug carries health benefits by helping smokers quit a potentially-deadly habit. One Court, One Drug Company and Thousands of Lawsuits Before the FDA mandate, many Chantix users attempted or actually committed suicide, resulting in the filing of more than 2,500 lawsuits against Pfizer between 2009 and 2012. According to Alabama Media Group, all suits were consolidated within one Alabama federal court, which used a number of methods to virtually eliminate the caseload: • Dismissal with prejudice: About 660 cases were permanently dismissed relatively early in the process. Even […]

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Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyer Explains Why Large Trucks Pose Significant Accident Risks in Work Zones

Aug 14, 2015 - Truck Accidents by

Sudden lane shifts and unexpected road debris pose challenges for any motorist maneuvering through roadway work zones. However, such challenges are immeasurably more difficult when behind the wheel of a big rig. Every motorist on the road affects everyone’s safety. To best maintain control, it is essential to obey all work zone laws — and understand the special considerations faced by truckers in these areas. Why Trucks are More Prone to Work Zone Accidents According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost 30 percent of all crashes in roadway work zones involve large trucks. The number of fatalities from these accidents continues to increase, with over 1,000 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occurring in recent years. Semi-tractor trailer trucks are at greater risk than smaller passenger vehicles for a number of reasons, including the following: • Increased stopping distance: Any driver must stop suddenly for road debris or after a vehicle in front of him or her comes to a quick stop. However, smaller vehicles can stop much more quickly than a big truck. Even at reduced speeds, being rear-ended by a truck can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. • Reduced steering control: A sudden lane change can be challenging for passenger car drivers. Truck drivers pulling one or more trailers cannot always make this type of maneuver safely. As cargo shifts and trailers swing, they can hit nearby vehicles or even jackknife. • Tire blowouts: Anyone who has ever seen blown tire parts on the road can imagine that […]

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