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Yearly Archives: 2015

A Recent Workplace Accident Could Qualify for a Third Party Lawsuit

Jul 24, 2015 - Tuscaloosa by

A primary underlying principle behind the Alabama workers’ compensation system is the elimination of liability issues. With a few exceptions, workers can obtain benefits regardless of whether the worker or employer negligence causes an accidental injury. Of course, this means workers cannot sue employers for negligence, but they can sue negligent third parties. To protect the rights of workers and their families, an experienced Tuscaloosa workplace injury lawyer looks beyond workers’ compensation claims to determine if an outside party needs to be held accountable. A deadly January 2015 construction site accident shows how this might work. Guilt and Negligence Are Not the Same Things According to WVTM-TV, a truck driver hit and struck a young construction worker from behind while he directed traffic in a Birmingham construction zone. The driver admitted that the accident happened because she ran off the road while reaching for her coffee. Perhaps surprisingly, the police decided not to file charges against the driver. In spite of the police decision, the following are reasons why the construction worker’s family may have a good case if they decide to file a wrongful death suit against the driver — and probably her trucking company, as well: • As long as the trucker is not directly connected with the construction company, workers’ compensation liability limitations do not apply. • Police reports would substantiate that distracted driving caused the driver to run off the road. • Distracted driving amounts to negligence, which is a primary requirement for prevailing in a […]

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Workers’ Comp Retaliation Can Become a Federal Case

Jul 10, 2015 - Tuscaloosa by

After a recovery from serious injury on the job, most employees want to put the experience behind them when they return to work. This can seem impossible if an employer starts retaliating in often-subtle ways — just because a worker claimed much-needed benefits that are granted by law. Perhaps more disturbing, some employers use veiled threats to convince workers not to file a workers’ compensation claim, leaving them to find other ways to pay for medical care after a workplace accident. Our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers want to clarify that retaliation is illegal at both the state and federal level. It is important for workers to recognize the signs so they can seek the legal help they need to ensure their claims receive fair treatment. Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim is a Right of Employment With very few exceptions, individuals injured as a result of their employment have the right to file workers’ compensation claims. While most employers handle these claims fairly, some see a claim as a black mark on their record that increases the premiums they pay. Perhaps this kind of thinking was a factor when a supervisor from the New York- and Connecticut-based Metro North railroad took advantage of the time spent driving an injured employee to the hospital to make threats of damaging write-ups on the employee’s record. The injured employee was recording that conversation, according to the New Haven Register. That recording provided evidence of a direct violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. In […]

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How an Injury Attorney Can Assist with Nursing Home Abuse Situations

Jun 26, 2015 - Nursing Home Neglect by

One of the most difficult decisions in life involves placing elderly loved ones in a nursing home. This choice may be essential to ensure their wellbeing and about 90 percent of Alabama nursing home residents and their families rate their facilities as excellent or good. However, it only takes one errant caregiver — or even another resident — to turn a highly-regarded facility into a dangerous nightmare for defenseless seniors. Filing a Complaint is a Multi-Step Process After hearing about abuse and neglect concerns from several viewers, WSFA published a story pertaining to these issues. During their investigation, a representative from the Alabama Nursing Home Association laid out the process that concerned families should follow when they have concerns: • The process begins by expressing concerns to facility administration and then watch for improvements. • If no changes occur, it is time to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). • The ADPH then has to contact the facility and request information about the concerns. • The facility must quickly respond to the ADPH request, which then needs to review the information and decide if they need more information or if they need to perform an on-site investigation, which requires additional time. Although every step of the process has strict time limits, it is easy to expect that senior family members may see little or no relief for an extended time period. During this time, families typically must make numerous visits to their loved ones to help ensure their […]

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Patients are Encouraged to Learn More about Prescribed Medications

May 22, 2015 - Personal Injury by

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves medications for specific uses which are posted on the labels. Less known, however, is the fact that the FDA does not regulate “off-label” prescribing. This term refers to a common practice when physicians prescribe a drug for something other than its intended use. In many cases, off-label prescriptions can be valuable to patient recovery. Still, patients need to make sure they are fully aware of every detail about the prescriptions they are about to take. Reasons Why Physicians Prescribe Medications for Off-Label Purposes Particularly in the case of minor medical conditions, off-label use of prescription drugs can be very effective. For example, a person with a minor external skin irritation may benefit by applying a sore throat medication containing Lidocaine. Even for more serious conditions, however, doctors may prescribe medications off-label in situations such as the following: A lack of a known treatment: A drug may not exist to treat a medical condition, but physicians may be aware of drugs known to help or even cure a condition, even if it is not intended for this particular use. Standard medications fail to work: Perhaps the most common example pertains to cancer. Once patients stop responding to the known treatments for their type of cancer, doctors may turn to other medications that have some potential for prolonging a patient’s life or reducing painful symptoms. Unaffordable medications: Most doctors know that some patients may not fill an outrageously-priced prescription, while others will stretch their dollars […]

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Repetitive Stress is a Common Source of Workplace Injuries

Apr 24, 2015 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Variety may be the spice of life, but just about every job involves some degree of repetition. Whether individuals perform one part of a manufacturing process or write key reports, proposals or correspondence on a computer for eight hours every day, their activities can put stress on the same part of their bodies. The resulting injuries can be serious — and they typically qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) do not typically occur as the result of accidents; however, they are conditions that often directly relate to on-the-job activities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports them as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which accounted for an alarming 33 percent of all injury and illness cases in 2013. All too often, injured workers need help from our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorneys due to the challenges of substantiating their claims. Common Types of RSIs Anyone who has hammered one too many nails has probably experienced soreness to the wrists and hands. This type of pain generally goes away within a few days; however, injuries like these can become permanent and debilitating for individuals who hammer nails every day. The following parts of the body commonly sustain RSIs that qualify for workers’ compensation claims: Hands and wrists: A number of years ago, Harvard Gazette dispelled the common believe that excessive use of computers can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is no longer classified as repetitive stress. Nonetheless, this disorder is common to assembly line workers, and computer use can cause RSIs, particularly […]

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The Dangers to Children Posed by Laundry Detergent Pods

Apr 10, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Using less water and energy than traditional machines, high energy (HE) washers offer many advantages, particularly to families whose children create extra loads. However, the new technology behind these washing machines also requires families to replace their old laundry soap with HE detergent. Although the detergent is offered in traditional containers, many manufacturers also supply it in single-load pods that make them convenient — and potentially dangerous to children. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys support new washing machine designs that preserve water. However, parents who switch to low-sud, highly-concentrated detergent pods need to understand the risks. It takes only minor changes to one’s routine to help ensure the pods do not result in a trip to the emergency room. Why Detergent Pods are Riskier than Standard Detergents Traditionally, a box of laundry powder or a bottle of liquid posed a relatively low safety risk to children for three main reasons: The containers are not particularly attractive to children. Small children (and even adults) cannot easily lift the heavy boxes and bottles. Even with some additives for stain removal and brightening, the formulas are not highly toxic if ingested. Detergent pods, on the other hand, are formulated specifically for use with low-water machines. In fact, new machine owners should not use the older detergents. In addition to keeping the suds level low, their contents are highly concentrated and more toxic. The pods themselves are a double-edged sword: they protect the skin from direct-contact with the detergent, but they look like playthings or […]

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Details Count When Establishing Cause in an Alabama Personal Injury Case

Mar 27, 2015 - Personal Injury by

At first glance, the causes of most accidental injuries seem obvious to many people, but this is certainly not always the case. A tragic story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a 13-year old Nevada girl who committed suicide after being bullied illustrates how state laws can complicate a case. By Nevada state law, the school was responsible for notifying parents about a known bullying incident, but failed to do so. Thus, the uninformed parents were unable to prevent the suicide. They chose to sue the school for the wrongful death of their daughter. In Nevada, this legal case has a good chance of success. But if the same set of circumstances occurred in Tuscaloosa or elsewhere in Alabama, local personal injury lawyers would potentially face certain legal challenges. Two Concepts Apply When Determining the Cause of an Accident Before determining whether someone’s negligence caused an accidental injury, injury lawyers need to establish a connection between the person’s actions and the accident. This requires proving two things under the law: Cause in fact: This is essentially a direct connection between negligent actions and the accident, noting that the accident would not have occurred, except for the negligence. A clear example of cause in fact in the bullying case fact might be if the school knew about a problem between two children and locked them in a room together to resolve their differences with no adult supervision to protect against physical altercations. Proximate cause: This concept is more complex because it […]

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In Alabama, Serving Drunk People May Not Establish Liability for Car Accident Injuries

Mar 13, 2015 - Car Accidents by

More than half of the states in the U.S. have instituted statutes that can assign liability to parties who serve alcohol to intoxicated individuals who then cause car accidents. These are commonly known as dram shop laws. Alabama currently has no such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Even without dram shop laws in Alabama, however, individuals who provide alcohol illegally can still be held liable for related injuries under state civil law. Anyone who suffers injuries due to incidents like these should seek advice from an experienced Tuscaloosa injury lawyer to take advantage of all legal rights available to them. In Alabama, Drinkers are Considered Negligent When They are Over-served Alabama law holds drinkers of legal age squarely responsible for their own actions, as long as the individuals who supply the alcohol do so legally. With no dram shop laws in place, bartenders do not have to assess the sobriety of their adult patrons. The law does not require them to refuse to serve intoxicated customers or prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a car. This is not to say that Alabama has no laws pertaining to alcoholic beverage sales and consumption. In 1990, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board implemented a Responsible Vendor Program (RVP). Although the program is largely voluntary, it helps ensure that drinking establishments stay within legal boundaries for serving alcohol. Of course, these laws actually extend beyond drinking establishments to anyone who serve intoxicating beverages. The RVP provides a […]

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Using Nursing Home “Granny Cams” to Protect Seniors’ Safety — and Their Legal Rights

Feb 27, 2015 - Nursing Home Neglect by

Placing an elderly loved one in need of 24-hour care in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions families can make. In addition to the emotional concerns connected with taking people out of the familiar surroundings that make them comfortable, families lose the ability to vigilantly monitor their safety. Many individuals wish they could use electronic surveillance to help protect their family members. One Case Illustrates How Granny Cams Can Help Protect Nursing Home Residents In August 2014, a nanny cam recording helped achieve justice for one family. After seeing signs of abuse to his mother at an Oklahoma City nursing home, a man hid a camera in her room. The recordings revealed that one worker was abusing the patient. The grannycam provided the evidence needed to convict the worker, according to a report. Alabama Laws are Somewhat Unclear Pertaining to Video Surveillance Federal law does not prohibit the installation of hidden cameras as long as they do not record sound. However, Alabama law adds a restriction by prohibiting installation on private property, according to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. As a general rule, Alabama law requires one party to grant permission for audio recording, but granny cams hidden in the rooms of nursing home residents can represent a different legal issue. Regardless of state law, families can install cameras in the rooms of senior nursing home residents by obtaining written permission from the facility. An experienced Tuscaloosa injury attorney can draft an effective […]

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OSHA Provides Common-Sense Practices for Construction Accident Prevention

Feb 13, 2015 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the construction industry’s fatal injury rate is higher than the national average within other industries. It may be impossible to completely prevent accidental injury construction site accidents. However, our workers’ compensation attorneys believe that construction worker training should focus on safe practices as much as it focuses on job skills. The Basics of Construction Zone Safety Even seasoned construction workers should regularly review the basic rules of safe practices while working in their dangerous profession. OSHA provides an online Worker Safety Series for a range of industries. Their tips for construction workers are worthy of regular review, including tips such as (but not limited to) the following: Scaffolding: Most tips apply to the safety of the actual scaffold construction, providing specifications on weight tolerance and railing requirements, as well as the need for regular inspections. Workers need certain fall-protection training and operations such as erecting, moving, dismantling or altering scaffolds should be performed only under the supervision of a “competent person.” Fall protection: Considering that falls account for the greatest number of construction-related fatalities each year, OSHA recommends the use of aerial lifts or elevated platforms that are safer to use when working at great heights. They also suggest using specific types of guardrails and making sure holes are covered. In the event of a fall, effective backup plans include the use of safety nets or some form of body harnesses. Ladders: Always choose a ladder long enough for the job […]

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"I have been friends with Dell Cross since we were roommates at UA Law and have had the pleasure of conferring with Cross & Smith, LLC in a professional capacity for many years. As a law office which specializes in domestic relations and family law matters, it is imperative that my office maintain a consistent client referral relationship with a law firm which can effectively address personal injury matters brought to us by our clients."
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