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5 Common Strategies for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Cases

Oct 31, 2017 - Personal Injury by

In Alabama, if you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident by a negligent driver, there’s a strong possibility that the defendant-driver is uninsured or underinsured. A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council revealed that 19.6% of motorists in Alabama were uninsured (though the Alabama Department of Revenue has recently reported an uninsured motorist rate of 12.9%). How can you recover damages if the defendant is uninsured/underinsured?  Consider the following. Purchase UM/UIM Coverage Alabama does not require that drivers purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).  Despite the fact that such coverage is not mandatory, it’s highly recommended that you purchase UM/UIM coverage given how many drivers in the state of Alabama are uninsured or underinsured. Suppose that you are seriously injured in a collision.  You sue the defendant-driver to recover damages, but they are uninsured.  You could attempt to sue them and recover against their personal assets, but they do not have sufficient assets to cover your total damages.  Generally speaking, drivers who are uninsured do not have substantial personal assets. If you have UM/UIM coverage, however, you can file a claim with your insurer to receive benefits. Obtain a Lien on the Defendant’s Assets Some defendant-driver’s may have a substandard insurance policy, but have assets enough to pay out damages.   In such cases, you may be able to sue the defendant and obtain a lien on their assets to cover your losses.  This can be a difficult process, however, so it’s typically better to be paid out by your UM/UIM […]

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Tuscaloosa Personal Injury Lawyers Discuss Attributing Fault

Aug 31, 2017 - Personal Injury by

In the personal injury context, plaintiffs often mistakenly and prematurely believe that their case will be straightforward.  Contrary to these initial beliefs, however, further investigation of the facts may reveal a much more complicated case that involves multiple defendants, questions of contributory fault, evidentiary issues, and more. For example, suppose that you are rear-ended at a red light in Tuscaloosa.  The impact is serious enough to cause significant injuries.  You may initially think that the ensuing litigation will be a basic motor vehicle accident case involving a negligent defendant-driver.  As the case progresses and additional evidence comes to light, however, new legal issues may emerge on the basis of new facts. Suppose that your airbag failed to deploy during the accident, and — as a result of this failure — your injuries were much more severe than they could have been.  If the airbag’s failure to deploy is due to a product defect (i.e., manufacturing defect or design defect), then you may be entitled to obtain compensation from both the defendant-driver and the manufacturer of the airbag.  This will necessarily complicate litigation. The prospect of having to sue multiple parties, and on the basis of different claims, can seem rather overwhelming.  If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to recover damages, but compensation will not necessarily be easy or straightforward. To ensure that your chance of success over the course of litigation is maximized, it’s important that you consult with […]

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Viral Video Exposes the Dangers of Unsecured Furniture

Jul 31, 2017 - Dangerous Products/Liability by

An Orem, UT family started the new year with a frightening event, according to an article from The Washington Post. A nanny cam video illustrated how easily 2-year old twin toddlers can tip over a dresser, in this case, trapping one twin under the heavy furniture. Thanks to heroic efforts by the other twin, his trapped brother escaped without injury. In spite of the happy ending, most people will find this short video to be difficult to watch. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys want to help families make sure that their nanny cam videos do not ever reveal this type of accident Consumers are the First Line of Defense Against Tip-Over Accidents The most recent report from the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that over 17,000 children went to emergency rooms due to tip-overs between 2013 and 2015, and more than 400 children died. Perhaps statistics are more accurate than they were years ago, but it seems clear that the materials and design of much of today’s furniture and appliances makes them less sturdy than their older counterparts. There are many ways for consumers to take action to protect themselves and their children from accidental injury, including the following: Read all product instructions before installation: In addition to reviewing how-to information that includes instructions on how to ensure that any product is secure, be sure to read the safety warnings that are generally prominently displayed first on the instruction sheet or pamphlet. Secure anything that potentially poses danger: Even when flat-screen […]

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Would Less Protective Equipment Make Football Safer?

Jun 30, 2017 - Uncategorized by

Unless the rules of play in football changed dramatically, the answer to this question is a resounding NO. Granted, rugby is seen as the fastest growing sport in the U.S., despite its players’ use of no protective equipment while playing a tackling sport. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys warn that while the injuries suffered while playing the two sports are somewhat different due to different rules of play, rugby players still sustain serious injuries. Most important, regardless of the amount of equipment or rules of play, child athletes need to be under the diligent protection of the parties in charge of their teams. Reasons Why Rugby is Considered Safe Without Protective Equipment Utah Youth Rugby asserts that rugby does not require safety equipment for the following reasons: The objective is possession rather than yardage. Players are encouraged to pass prior to being tackled, and they learn other techniques to retain the ball. In football, the objective of reducing the opponent’s yardage encourages tackling. Tackling is a different experience. Rugby requires that tacklers wrap their arms around opponents, with no tackling permitted above the shoulders. Football applies fewer tackling rules — and tackled players are hit by hard and heavy equipment. Evasion rather than blocking is the choice. By evading opponents, rugby players rely on better knowledge of the players around them in order to anticipate and avoid contact. In the event of a tackle, they are better prepared than football players who are often hit unexpectedly with brute force. Of course, […]

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Weather Conditions Can Have a Major Impact on Trucks

May 19, 2017 - Truck Accidents by

Weather conditions affect all motor vehicles. Often those effects are most pronounced for big rigs. While truck drivers generally benefit from a low risk of major injuries, any Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer can confirm that other motorists who share the roads with them are not always as lucky. To help reduce the chance of serious truck accidents, drivers of smaller vehicles need to recognize how weather conditions can affect their own vehicles — and how neighboring trucks can pose greater risks. Weather-Related Road Conditions Can Have Unexpected Effects on Motorists The results of certain weather conditions are obvious, but those results may be more extensive than most drivers realize. And when they affect massive vehicles weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds, the risks are even more pronounced. The Federal Highway Administration’s Road Weather Management Program offers a list of weather events that impact roads, which includes the following: Wind speed reduces visibility by blowing dust and debris, which reduces truck drivers’ abilities to see smaller vehicles. It also affects the stability of top-heavy vehicles, making drivers more likely to lose control or even tip over. Other drivers should be aware of the risks and give semis a wide berth. Precipitation makes roads slippery, affecting braking distances for trucks more than for other vehicles. However, it can also create lane obstructions, requiring truckers to react more quickly than their vehicles allow. Other drivers can reduce the risks by maintaining a greater distance between their vehicles and all four sides of trucks. Fog […]

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Smart Phone Addiction Can Contribute to the Increase in Auto Accidents

Apr 14, 2017 - Car Accidents by

According to PewResearchCenter, nearly 20 percent of Americans rely on their smart phones for Internet access to some degree. For about 7 percent, phones provide the only option for Internet access. While there are many valid reasons for extensive smart phone use, however, CNN reports a poll in which about half of teens indicated that they are addicted to their phones. Just as the use of addictive substances like alcohol and drugs can lead to injuries and fatalities on the road, our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys warn that device addiction can be just as harmful. Addiction Typically Leads to Poor Choices It may be surprising to learn that smart phone addiction has become a recognized psychological condition, but it is less surprising when looking at the following symptoms, which resemble those of other types of addictions: A need to increase use in order to achieve the same desired effect Inability to reduce usage after trying repeatedly Psychological dependence demonstrated by turning to the phone to fix feelings of anxiety or depression, while experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the phone is not available The loss of a sense of time while using the phone excessively Putting relationships or employment at risk because of too much smart phone use Unfortunately, addicted individuals often make poor choices, regardless of the type of addiction. While teen children might make more poor decisions than adults, it is clear that the risk to passengers and other motorists is significant, regardless of the age of a smart phone-addicted […]

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Referring Physician Initially Blamed for Wrong Patient Surgery

Mar 29, 2017 - Personal Injury by

Wrong patient surgery is considered to be a surgical “never event” within the medical community, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that never events happen with some regularity, and 71 percent of them are fatal. Our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers believe that even one instance of wrong patient surgery is too many. Patients should take a warning from one recent Massachusetts example and learn as much as possible about how a surgical facility safeguards against patient misidentification before they undergo surgery. Patient Misidentification Can Happen in a Number of Ways Last year, reports surfaced of a wrong patient surgery in Massachusetts that resulted in the removal of a healthy kidney. In initial reports the hospital claimed that the misidentification error occurred outside of their hospital, possibly connected with the referring physician. However, a NY Daily News article published two months later told a different story. State and federal health investigators noted that the patients were several years apart in age. A birthdate check while examining the CT scan — and a display of the patient’s birthdate on computer monitors in the operating room might easily have resolved the issue. Patients and their family members should never have to take responsibility for this type of error, but it is advisable to take the following precautions: Check the arm band to make sure that it correctly shows enough information to conclusively identify the patient. Ask about identification protocols used at the facility. […]

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Every Week Should be Child Passenger Safety Week

Feb 17, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Child Passenger Safety Week occurred last September. However, considering that road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to U.S. children, every week is important for paying attention to the younger passengers in any vehicle. Any experienced Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer would assert that a single auto accident case involving injured children is one too many. All drivers who are responsible for child safety need to regularly review the special precautions that help protect young passengers throughout the year. Age and Size Make a Difference in Child Passenger Safety As a general rule, safety devices are designed for use by children based on age group. However, age limitations may change when children are smaller or larger than the norm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children remain in the back seats of vehicles while offering the following guidelines based on age, but this advice does not replace the need to read the instructions and guidelines for any safety device: Rear-facing car seats are generally appropriate for children from birth to age 2. Still, these seats can pose certain issues when the seat back starts creating issues for longer legs. Forward-facing car seats are designed for use by children from the age of 2 until or even exceeding age 5. Regardless of age, these seats become inappropriate when a child no longer fits into them properly. Booster seats are the next step until such time that children fit properly into a standard seat belt. As a […]

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Product Safety Organization Cites Dismal Effectiveness of Children’s Product Recalls

Jan 27, 2017 - Personal Injury by

When the organization, Kids in Danger issued its most recent report on children’s product recalls back in 2015, it was somewhat heartened by the results. While about one-quarter of all products recalled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) were for children, there was a slight reduction in child injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, the majority of recalled children’s products (nearly 80 percent) remain in consumer hands after recall. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys want parents to understand the special challenges of keeping their children safe from dangerous products — and know what to do in the event any product causes injuries. Numbers Alone Add Challenges to Tracking the Safety of Children’s Products Many children’s playrooms seem to be stacked floor to ceiling with toys. Add strollers, cribs, car seats and countless other must-have products to the mix, and it would take a full-time analyst just to keep track of where each item is, much less whether they are all safe. Parents who dutifully register bigger ticket items have an advantage because manufacturers will notify them in the event of a safety recall. With some effort, parents can go further to protect their children, as follows: Sign up for recall lists: While the CPSC provides the most official recall information, child-dedicated sites like Safe Kids Worldwide allows parents to sign up for the most recent product alerts focused specifically on children. Inspect all products carefully: Before putting new toys or other products in the hands of children, parents should perform quality tests. […]

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Apps Can Convert Smart Phones Into Distracted Driving Preventers

Jan 13, 2017 - Car Accidents by

It is no secret that the use of cell phones while driving significantly increased car accident rates across the U.S. That impact increased sharply when smart phones brought everything from text messages to full Internet access behind the wheel of moving vehicles. Until recently, each Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer at our firm believed that powered-off smart phones are the only safe phones to have in moving vehicles. However, the development of apps that focus on driving safety can help reduce the inherent risks. No Need to Power Off When Phones Can Be Smarter According to Consumer Reports, a number of cell phone companies now offer free apps that help drivers automatically avoid texting while driving with these features: Automatic activation: Most apps activate automatically when vehicles reach a specified speed. However, some apps must be turned on by the user before driving. Disabled texting: Drivers cannot send or receive text messages as long as any of the apps are activated. Auto responders sent for incoming text messages: Some of the apps automatically respond to incoming text messages to notify senders that they must wait for a response until drivers reach their destination. This feature is particularly helpful for stopping texters who send more and more messages when they do not receive an immediate response Monitoring of young drivers: Some apps allow parents to monitor the driving and texting activities of their children. Certain apps even assign points for safe-driving behavior, which parents can use to provide positive incentives for avoiding […]

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