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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 KOCO.com 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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Recognizing and Preventing Common Office Workplace Injuries

Jan 23, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Most office workers do not see their jobs as dangerous. Most certainly do not face the severe hazards that construction workers or miners face on a daily basis. Still, the fact remains that countless employment-related injuries and illnesses occur regularly in offices. Even though Alabama workers’ compensation can provide financial relief for these workplace injuries, accident prevention is a better choice, whenever possible. Recognizing Common Types of Office Injuries Danger does not discriminate. An impressive executive office in Tuscaloosa may have as many hazards as a row of cubicles in Birmingham, so all workers need to be able to spot risky situations anywhere. While a workplace injury may qualify for compensation, an experienced lawyer would say that the best workplace accident is one that never happens. Some good advice comes from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which identifies a number of common hazards, including the following: Falls: Surprisingly, office workers sustain injuries from falls more than twice as frequently as workers who do not work in offices. Sometimes, they are victims of the environment, such as when they trip on loose carpeting, slip on wet floors or do not see steps due to poor lighting. However, they can easily cause their own injuries when they choose a chair over a step-stool, pile items on the floor or even leave the bottom desk drawer open. To help prevent these accidents, workers need to watch their own practices and notify their employers when they spot other hazards in the workplace. Lifting injuries: […]

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Complying With Universal Helmet Laws is Just One Step Towards Motorcycle Safety

Jan 9, 2015 - Motorcycle Accidents by

In 1967, Alabama was among the first four states to implement universal helmet laws that require all individuals who ride motorcycles to use helmets. To be sure, enactment of the law has helped to save lives. Still, most accident lawyers believe motorcyclists and their passengers should take additional preventive actions to further protect themselves from the risk of potentially devastating injuries. Studies Show that the Move to Universal Helmet Laws Has Improved Rider Safety Motorcycles offer little protection, so most people can clearly see why the use of good-quality helmets is so important. Still, individuals who like to feel the wind in their hair may need more evidence. The Community Preventive Task Force offers the following median statistics for states that switched from partial helmet laws or no laws to  universal helmet laws: The total number of deaths decreased by 37 percent. Fatalities related to head injuries went down by 44 percent. The total number of non-fatal injuries decreased by 32 percent. The total number of non-fatal head injuries went down by 51 percent. On the other end, states that repealed universal helmet laws completely or reduced the laws saw similar increases in the median value of these same statistics. Bikers Can Do More to Protect Themselves Helmets represent an essential first step in biker protection, but riders can do much more to protect as many body parts as possible. Our Tuscaloosa attorneys recommend that every biker download a copy of Personal Protective Gear For the Motorcyclist. This two-page brochure, […]

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Alabama Lays Claim to One of the World’s Most Dangerous Roadways

Dec 24, 2014 - Personal Injury by

Thanks to a 2013 ranking by the World Health Organization, Alabama has the dubious honor of having one of the world’s most dangerous roads. According to Yellowhammer Multimedia, U.S. Route 431, which runs through the state, is also the fourth most deadly road in the U.S., as evidenced by the many memorial crosses placed along the roadway. Injury victims and families who lose loved ones because of dangerous roads in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere in Alabama may be forced to go against powerful municipalities to seek compensation for their losses. These cases require skilled personal injury lawyers who know both the state and even federal laws that protect the interests of their clients. Alabama US 431 Received Four Out of Ten on the Fear Factor Scale A rating of four does not seem too dangerous based on a 10-point scale. However, the primary hazards cited on US 431 are common causes of accidents: Poor visibility High speed driving Sudden changes between two and four lanes of traffic In just the last week of October, 2014, Navbug.com noted six serious accidents on this road, including a severely-injured deputy who was hit by a car while directing traffic at a wreck site. Determining Fault for Dangerous Road Accidents is Very Complex When accidents occur on dangerous roadways, identifying liability is not always a simple matter. Consider some of the possible factors that might have contributed to the deputy’s injuries: The motorist may have failed to comply with the state’s “move over” laws. The […]

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Alabama Pedestrian Danger Index Rated Second in the Nation

Dec 12, 2014 - Car Accidents by

Between 2003 and 2012, 723 Alabama pedestrians suffered traffic-related fatalities. This number earns the state its high national Pedestrian Danger Index ranking, according to SmartGrowthAmerica.org, Younger and older pedestrians seem most susceptible to danger, with 49 children under 16 and 93 adults making up a significant portion of the statistics. Negligent drivers are at fault for many of these accidents; but they are not necessarily the only cause. Experienced Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys understand the importance of investigating beyond the obvious causes to help protect the rights of injured clients and their families. Common Causes of Clashes between Cars and Pedestrians Establishing all underlying causes is essential to identifying all parties who have liability for any accidental injury legal case. The following are some of the individuals who may share liability in a pedestrian accident: Negligent drivers: Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving too fast for conditions or distracted can fail to notice or react to a pedestrian on the road. Dangerous roadways: Curvy roads can reduce the ability to see pedestrians crossing the road. Potholes can send pedestrians and vehicles out of control. Overgrown foliage can also block the vision of drivers and pedestrians. In other words, everyone from municipalities to private property owners can share liability for these devastating accidents. Guardians of the very young and the very old: Some individuals, such as small children or senior citizens require 24-hour care to protect them from any number of daily hazards. Whether they do […]

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Parents Found to Contribute to Teen Driving Distractions

Nov 28, 2014 - Car Accidents by

For most parents, the day their teens get their driver’s licenses is a frightening one. Losing control over their children’s activities means losing the ability to keep them safe. These days, parents typically use mobile phones to regain a degree of control. In fact, teens report that calls from their parents represent a notable contributor to the distractions teens experience while driving. In Tuscaloosa alone, each auto injury lawyer at our firm has seen too many examples of the results of distracted teen driving. We recommend taking a common-sense approach to keeping everyone safe on the road. Many Teens Report Driving While Talking to Parents The American Psychological Association interviewed eight restricted and unrestricted licensed teen drivers, all of whom reported talking to parents while driving. The results from a written survey of nearly 400 teens were not quite as alarming. However, based on license types, 31 to 50 percent of drivers reported talking to parents — more than talking to friends in most cases. Just as disturbing, only 43 percent of drivers with learners’ permits reported no cell phone usage. Unfortunately, that percentage seems to decrease based on license type. Only 10 percent of drivers age 18 with unrestricted licenses report they do not use phones while driving. A Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer understands that an unrestricted license does not instantly provide the ability to drive effectively while distracted. Most calls can wait until all drivers arrive at their destination safely. Parents Need to Become Part of the Solution […]

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