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How to Secure Punitive Damages in Your Alabama Personal Injury Lawsuit

Mar 30, 2018 - Personal Injury by

Throughout the United States — and in the state of Alabama — punitive damages awards occupy a special place in popular culture, though many people may be unaware of its importance.  When civil lawsuits (non-criminal) capture the attention of the mainstream, it’s typically due to the existence of a sizable and perhaps disproportionate damage award. For example, a trip-and-fall injury case is not particularly noteworthy if the damages are $100,000 in total, but it may be picked up by various media outlets and make the nightly news if the damages rocket up to $10 million. What does this have to do with punitive damages? Well, put simply, punitive damages act as a multiplier for the “actual damages” in the case.  Suppose you have suffered a grand total of $500,000 in damages, including wage loss, medical expenses, and emotional damages, among other things.  If the court awards punitive damages, then your total compensation may be multiplied by some factor — say, three times — thus leading to damage recovery worth millions of dollars! If you have been injured due to another person’s reckless or intentional actions, then an Alabama court may award punitive damages.  Punitive damages are only infrequently awarded, however.  Given the inherent challenge in securing an award of punitive damages, it’s important to work with a qualified Tuscaloosa personal injury attorney who has experience successfully obtaining such damages on behalf of their clients. Punitive damages (sometimes referred to as exemplary damages) may be a rather confusing and unfamiliar topic […]

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What Constitutes Negligence in Alabama?

Feb 28, 2018 - Personal Injury by

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused due to some mistake made by the defendant, then you might not be certain as to whether you have a legitimate claim through which you can sue and recover damages.  Liability does not necessarily attach to the defendant on the basis of a mistake.  Mistakes only give rise to negligence when the standard of care has been violated.  Negligence, and more generally, the concept of negligence — whether in Alabama or elsewhere — can be quite difficult for the average person (who lacks legal experience) to understand.  Fortunately, however, negligence is a straightforward concept at its core. The conduct of the defendant in a given accident scenario is perhaps best viewed as a point along a spectrum.  On one side is a basic mistake that other reasonable people would have made in similar circumstances — such mistakes will not give rise to negligence, and will therefore not attach liability to the defendant.  On the other side of the spectrum is intentional misconduct, where the defendant specifically intended to cause harm to you.  Finally, resting somewhere in the middle is negligence.  Negligent behavior is not specifically intended.  In fact, negligent behavior can be seen as a mistake that is “unjustified” by the circumstances. Demonstrating that the defendant’s conduct actually qualifies as “negligent” lies at the core of a successful negligence-based personal injury claim, in Alabama and elsewhere.  In order to do so, you’ll have to show that the defendant’s conduct violated […]

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Pre-Existing Injuries Can Affect Your Current Lawsuit

Jan 31, 2018 - Personal Injury by

Few claimants are in perfect health at the time of an accident.  Whether the claimant has been dealing with a long-term degenerative condition, an illness, or a prior injury that is substantially similar to the one suffered in the accident at-issue, the bodily status of the claimant can vary wildly from case-to-case. If you have been injured due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Alabama law.  Pre-existing injuries and conditions can have a significant effect on the outcome of your lawsuit, however, so it’s important that you work with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney who has a track record of success in obtaining favorable results for claimants with pre-existing injuries. As a general rule of tort law, in Alabama and elsewhere, the defendant — the individual or entity responsible for your injuries — is required to “take the plaintiff as they find them.”  This is known as the eggshell skull rule.  Essentially, the risk of encountering a particularly sensitive or physically-weakened plaintiff (whose damages may be excessive compared to the average person) must be absorbed by the defendant. For example, imagine that you have a condition that makes your bones much more likely to fracture in an impact.  Now, suppose that the defendant-driver collides with your vehicle at relatively low speeds.  As a result, you suffer serious fractures.  Despite the fact that your injuries are excessive in comparison to the average victim, the defendant may be held liable for your damages […]

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A Brief Look at Alabama Personal Injury Damages

Dec 29, 2017 - Personal Injury by

In Alabama, as in other states, if you are injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of another, you may be entitled to sue and recover damages. Litigation can be difficult and emotionally-draining.  As such, many would-be plaintiffs are reasonably concerned about whether it’s worth litigating their injury claims — in essence, they want to know what damages they might be entitled to under the law, and whether those damages justify the potential frustrations of a lawsuit. Have you suffered injuries due to someone else’s fault?  Get in touch with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Your injury claims have a deadline attached to their filing.  Consulting with an attorney early on will ensure that your claims are assessed and litigated in a timely manner. Let’s walk through some of the basics of personal injury damages in Alabama.  By understanding the foundational elements, the extent of your damage recovery will be made more clear. Compensatory Damages Generally speaking, damages are intended to compensate the injured party for their various losses and put them in as close a position as possible to their status prior to the accident at-issue.  Compensatory damages should not unjustly “enrich” the injured plaintiff — they must (to the extent possible) track the actual losses suffered by the plaintiff. Economic Damages Economic damages compensate the injured plaintiff for those losses that are financial in nature.  Though there are exceptions, economic damages tend to be easier to […]

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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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