Cross & Smith LLC


Railroad Accidents in Alabama, U.S., Increasing

Apr 19, 2014 - Train Accidents by

Railroad accidents throughout the country are on the rise – and Alabama has one of the highest railroad fatality rates in the nation. Our accident lawyers in Birmingham note just last year there were 85 vehicle collisions and 19 pedestrians deaths involving trains. Alabama ranked in the top 15 for overall railroad fatalities, according to records from the Federal Railroad Administration. In fact, Alabama media outlets in January reported numerous train accidents throughout the state in a single week. On railroad tracks on Alabaster Road in Jefferson County, a man fell asleep and was struck and killed by a freight train. That incident followed a crash in which four people in a van died in Chilton County after they tried to cross a set of tracks near Thorsby. Four others inside were seriously injured. There had been no traffic barriers at the crossing. In Tuscaloosa, three deaths were reported in January due to train and car crashes. Two other incidents were reported in Bessemer, though there were thankfully no fatalities.

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Vicarious Liability in Alabama Car Accident Injury Cases

Apr 17, 2014 - Car Accidents by

In filing a Tuscaloosa car accident lawsuit, an experienced plaintiff attorney looks beyond those obviously negligent. The at-fault driver behind the wheel will be named in any negligence lawsuit. However, other parties may be found vicariously liable for the actions of that driver. In English common law, this was known as the “theory of respondeat superior.” This is the principal that allows employers to be held liable for the actions of an employee committed within the line and scope of his or her employment. The employer or vehicle owner can also be sued for independent torts such as negligent entrustment and/or negligent hiring, training and/or supervision. Each state has their own laws and limitations on vicarious liability. At the federal level, Congress passed a measure in 2005, called the Graves Amendment, which bars states from holding vehicle rental or leasing firms liable for negligence in cases where customers cause accidents.

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Laurel v. Prince – Physical Injury Necessary in Alabama Medical Malpractice Claim

Apr 15, 2014 - Medical Malpractice by

In filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Birmingham, it’s not enough for the plaintiff to show the defendant erred. He or she must prove that the error caused a compensable degree of harm. That could be in the form of additional medical expenses incurred as a result of the error. It could be in the form of lost wages, due to the fact that the error rendered you unable to work for a time. It could be physical pain, permanent scarring or impairment. Absent proof of physical harm, though, a medical mistake may not be worth a lawsuit, as the case of Laurel v. Prince, recently reviewed by the Alabama Supreme Court, demonstrates.

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Establishing Standing in Alabama Wrongful Death Claims

Apr 10, 2014 - Wrongful Death by

Alabama’s wrongful law is different in many ways than most other states. In Alabama, dependents of the decedent are not allowed to file suit unless the death took place on the job. Spouses, children, parents, dependent siblings – all are potential beneficiaries. However, per Ala Code 6-5-410, only a “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate has the ability to file a wrongful death claim. Unlike in other states, family members in Alabama can’t file a wrongful death claim on their own behalf or on behalf of the deceased – unless they are the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. An Alabama wrongful death claim involving the death of a Montgomery man in a fatal truck accident has given rise to a challenge that could change who qualifies as a potential beneficiary. The crash occurred one night when the man struck an overturned UPS vehicle blocking the northbound lanes of I-65.

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Intentional Work Injuries Not Compensable in Alabama

Apr 8, 2014 - Amputation by

Workers can successfully file a Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation claim in most every case where an injury has occurred on the job (or in the course of employment). One of the few instances in which employers can rightfully deny a claim for benefits is when the injury was intentionally self-inflicted. In this situations, it all comes down to the intent of the worker, and the onus is on the employer to prove intent. This was the issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in the case of Smith v. Tippah Electric Power Association. Despite this being an out-of-state case, the same general principles are applicable.

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Alabama Truck Accident Case Heard by State Supreme Court

Apr 3, 2014 - Birmingham by

The Alabama Supreme Court recently denied a request for a change of venue in a truck accident case involving two commercial truck drivers who collided in Mobile County. In the lawsuit, Cruz v. J&W Enterprises, LLC, the defendant trucker and his employer requested that the case be moved from Clarke County to Mobile County, on the basis of forum non conveniens – or in other words, what is more convenient to the parties involved. As Birmingham truck accident lawyers, we recognize that many times, there is more than one appropriate venue, but in those cases, there must be sufficient grounds on which to justify a move before a court will approve it.

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Progressive Gulf Ins. Co. v. Faehnrich – Update Auto Insurance Following Life Events

Apr 1, 2014 - Car Accidents by

If there is any chance that an auto insurance company can find grounds on which to deny a claim, you can bet they are going to try. Our personal injury lawyers in Tuscaloosa know one element that can make it tougher to win your claim is if the policy is outdated. When your policy fails to accurately reflect your living situation with regard to residency and household members, it can create problems when it comes time to file a claim. This was what happened in the recent case of Progressive Gulf Ins. Co. v. Faehnrich. This Nevada Supreme Court ruling reveals why it is so important to revisit your auto insurance policy in the event you move, divorce, have a licensed teen driver in your home, or experience other relevant life events. You want to make sure your loved ones are going to be covered in the event of a serious crash. Here, a married couple in Mississippi secured auto insurance for themselves and their household members. The policy listed Mississippi as their state of residency, and indicated that Mississippi was the state statutory law the policy would incorporate. Any disputes, the policy indicated, would be resolved by the law of that state.

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Morrow v. Caldwell: Statutory Damage Caps Not Applicable to Municipal Workers Sued in Their Own Capacity

Mar 25, 2014 - Wrongful Death by

The Alabama Supreme Court recently returned a decision in the personal injury case of Morrow v. Caldwell that negligent government workers sued in their own capacity shouldn’t expect protection under the state’s statutory $100,000 damages cap. Our Birmingham wrongful death attorneys recognize that this was an important decision in favor of families who have suffered the ultimate loss as a result of a government worker’s carelessness. And it means that the damages to which these families are entitled to receive can exceed that $100,000 limit that is otherwise imposed. The death that gave rise to this case was that of a young boy who was playing outside at the Montgomery home of his great-grandmother.

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Tuscaloosa Work Injury Claim: Previous Injuries Can Factor

Mar 23, 2014 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Workers who sustain on-the-job injuries must be careful to provide ample documentation and proof regarding the cause, particularly when older injuries come into play. Our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorneys recognize that when insurers and/or employers can’t refute the seriousness of the injury, they may attempt to argue the source. When old work injuries are exacerbated by new work injuries, they are compensable. Even when a non-related injury is exacerbated by a work injury, it may be compensable, but the amount you can collect could be diminished.

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Birmingham Slip-and-Fall Claims Require Evidence of Negligence

Mar 20, 2014 - Premises Liability by

One of the more common types of injuries that people sustain is a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall. However, Birmingham personal injury lawyers recognize that in order to have a valid premise liability claim against the property owner for such an incident, plaintiffs have to show there was some degree of negligence. This is a several-step process. It involves establishing that: The property owner had a duty of care to you; The property owner breached that duty of care to you; As a result of this negligence, you sustained injuries for which you deserve compensation. A lot of this is going to depend on your relationship to the property owner, the type of hazard that resulted in the fall and whether you in any way contributed to the fall with reckless or negligent action.

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Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"I worked with these lawyers for almost 6 years as a paralegal and only left as my husband took a job in another state. I have worked for other personal injury law firms since and none of them come even close to the way this group of lawyers go above and beyond for their clients. They are true professionals, extremely detail oriented and efficient in the way they handle and work up each and every case."
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