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NHTSA Urges Drivers to Proactively Check for Vehicle Recalls

Sep 23, 2016 - Car Accidents by

In 2015, about 51 million vehicles were affected by recalls. Yet, 25 percent of those vehicles are left unrepaired. This is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started 2016 off with the Safe Cars Save Lives campaign, which urges vehicle owners to check for vehicle recalls even when they have received no recall notice. Each Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer at our firm has seen too many cases of accidents that might have been avoided by simple auto repairs. It takes only a small amount of effort for motorists to find out if their vehicles are safe. Every Driver Should be Aware of Vehicle Safety Defects Many drivers have experienced the frustration of a car that stalls out in traffic. The frustration increases when the drivers learn that an active recall exists. If notified, they might have avoided an inconvenient situation. This is an example of a recall that is not specifically safety-related. However, some recalls pertain to defects that pose imminent danger, such as might be the case in situations such as the following: Airbags that inflate prematurely or with too much force, as is the case in the nation’s largest product recall Defective wheels that can cause drivers to lose control Wiring system defects that can cause fires Faulty accelerator or braking controls The chances are that individuals who purchase their cars new from a dealership will receive timely notification of serious defects such as these. However, vital notices can get lost in the mail, particularly when […]

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Workplace Injuries from Equipment Often Justify Third-Party Claims

Sep 9, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

Any injured Alabama employee can certainly appreciate a workers’ compensation system that pays expenses related to on-the-job injury, usually without regard for liability on the part of the employee or the employer. Still, when a third party causes the injury, liability issues can be back on the table. Our Tuscaloosa workers compensation lawyers regularly assist workers who are seriously injured by defective or otherwise-unsafe equipment. In these cases, workers’ compensation still provides the benefits needed for immediate treatment, but injury victims have every right to pursue additional compensation from any third party responsible for the condition of the equipment. Employees Often Blame Themselves for Equipment Injuries All too often, workers assume that their own negligence somehow caused equipment to injure them, such as in the following circumstances: The equipment was so new that they did not fully understand how to operate it safely. Knowing that the equipment was very old, they should have taken extra precautions when using it. They failed to notice a warning label that announced a safety risk. Safety devices had been removed to make machine operation easier. Of course, every situation has unique aspects, but as a general rule, individuals should not suffer injuries when they use equipment at work. Whether a manufacturer built an unsafe device that injured a worker, or even if a repair shop caused injuries due to errors made during routine maintenance, there is a good chance that a third party was ultimately liable. Alabama Law Contains Strong Protections Related to the […]

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New Vehicles, Old Airbags

Aug 26, 2016 - Car Accidents by

Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys have touted the importance of airbags for a long time, and we will continue to do so. However, consumers need to know that it has been years since the first reports of defective airbag recalls were announced, and additional recalls make the news with alarming regularity. According to a June 2016 Office of Oversight and Investigations Minority Staff Report, the recall completion rates across automakers are unacceptably low, ranging from .04 percent to 57.1 percent. Just as disturbing is the fact that defective airbags continue to be installed in new vehicles. One Technical Detail Permits Recall Noncompliance A simplified explanation of the general issue behind the defective airbags involves the use of non-desiccated inflators. Due to the use of ammonium nitrate propellants, these airbags can inflate over-aggressively in a crash, exposing vehicle occupants to metal and plastic shrapnel. Even though airbags are intended to make driving safer, these accidents have resulted in at least 10 U.S. fatalities and more than 100 injuries. In fact, it is possible that accident victims might have fared better in accidents without the airbags in some cases. As recently as June 2016, the Minority Staff Report stated that four auto manufacturers acknowledge that they continue to install airbags known to be defective. They explain that this practice is within legal boundaries, however, since the official recall is set for the end of 2018. The reasons for the extended recall date are not clear, but they most likely pertain to supply […]

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The Potential Dangers of General Anesthesia in Dental Procedures

Aug 12, 2016 - Personal Injury by

Commercials for dental offices are becoming more common on television and radio, and the big sell appears to involve no pain through the use of general anesthesia. Like any dental patients, our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys support the overall concept of pain-free dental visits. However, we also believe that the delivery of anesthesia in dental offices should follow the same strict standards observed in hospital operating rooms. Strict Standards Might Have Prevented Recent Child Fatalities In a typical operating room, surgeons are responsible for performing operations, but anesthesiologists are responsible for closely monitoring patients throughout the procedure. Since dental offices often leave all responsibilities in the hands of one oral surgeon focusing on the procedure, things can go very wrong, such as what happened last year in California, when ABC 10 News reported the death of a 6-year old boy during a tooth extraction. Allegedly, no one noticed that he stopped breathing until it was too late. A dedicated anesthesiologist in the room might have prevented this death, along with several others that occurred in California in the same year, and a new law that should tighten up dental office anesthesia requirements (Caleb’s Law), has moved to the CA Senate floor this month. Meanwhile, anyone in Alabama considering the use of general anesthesia for dental procedures needs to know the regulations that are in effect in this state. The Alabama Dental Practice Act states that the use of general anesthesia is permitted when dental practitioners meet certain qualifications, including the following: […]

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Favoring Productivity and Cost Over Safety Leads to Workplace Injuries

Jul 25, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

In January 2016, a news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its proposal to penalize an Alabama manufacturing company nearly $200,000 for repeated safety violations. This situation illustrated how the government holds companies accountable for safe premises even if they do not face liability issues for worker injuries under the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ Compensation Should Never Protect Employers from Safety Violations Perhaps the most important feature that helps Alabama workers’ compensation to protect employees is the stipulation that injury victims have a clear path to compensation by giving up their right to sue their employers. In other words, regardless of whether worker or employer carelessness contributes to an accident, the system steps in to help ensure that workers obtain appropriate medical attention, without incurring out-of-pocket expenses — and without fear of litigation. Sometimes, injured workers can feel a sense of frustration when they cannot seek greater compensation in cases where their employers’ clear and repeated consistent negligence makes their jobs unsafe. The good news is that a lack of liability in a workers’ compensation claim does not mean that employers cannot be held accountable. OSHA can be relentless in monitoring for responses to violations that they uncover during inspections. Just as important, if they are not aware of violations, OSHA makes it easy for workers to file a safety and health complaint. Productivity Losses and Expenses are No Excuse for Unsafe Working Conditions Any company is responsible for keeping up with the costs of doing […]

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Workplace Injuries are Common Among Hospital Workers

Jul 18, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

According to the most recent fact sheet published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), hospitals are among the most dangerous places to work. In fact, the rate of injuries and illnesses that cause hospital workers to lose time from work exceeds even those experienced within the construction industry. Naturally, hospital workers in Tuscaloosa and throughout the state rely on workers’ compensation coverage to help pay the short- and long-term expenses related to their workplace injuries and illnesses. However, challenges to their claims are not uncommon — and their medical complaints often pertain to third-party liability. It is important to know when to seek support from experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers. Hospital Workers Face a Broad Range of Daily Risk Factors Virtually any type of hospital worker is at greater risk because of factors such as the following: Overexertion: Nearly half of all injuries involve musculoskeletal disorders. Lifting and moving patients and heavy equipment is a major contributor to these injuries. Slips, trips and falls: Hospital environments are volatile. Puddles can appear unexpectedly, and it is difficult to predict what equipment (potentially with dangling cords) will be in a hallway at any given moment. Contact with objects: This can involve anything from heavy equipment to sharp objects, with the resulting injuries often becoming severe. Violence: Patients in a state of confusion and pain can strike out at the people who are trying to help them. Emergency room nurses are particularly susceptible to violent attacks by anyone who walks in […]

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Electronic Logging Now Required for Most Truckers – Cross and Smith

Jun 30, 2016 - Truck Accidents by

No one wants to share the roads with drowsy drivers. However, each Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer at our firm has seen the dangers increase almost exponentially when someone nods off behind the wheel of a commercial semi truck weighing in at 80,000 pounds or more. Federal law has required truckers to maintain paper records of their hours of service for nearly three decades, but those requirements have only been marginally effective in helping truck drivers remain alert on the road. Hopefully, new laws that require electronic record-keeping will prove to keep more motorists safe. New Law Moves Forward in Spite of Some Trucker Protests According to one report from CBS News, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finalized requirements for a system that replaces paper records with electronic hours reporting. They predict that the new requirements will help prevent records tampering, save about 26 lives per year and prevent 562 injuries annually. Some of the key points of the new law are as follows: With some exceptions, the law requires truckers to transition into the use of approved electronic recording devices over a two-year period. Truckers who use previously-approved devices that do not meet the new requirements have four years to replace their current devices. Smart phones and other electronic devices that satisfy technical requirements can be used, provided they are FMCSA-approved. At least one trucker advocacy group has argued that the use of unproven technology does not guarantee increased safety or hours-of-service compliance so much as it increases […]

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Can Surgical Anesthesia Errors Be Prevented?

Jun 17, 2016 - Personal Injury by

In many ways, anesthesia makes surgery possible, since few patients would agree to undergo any type of surgical procedure without some form of pain management. In fact, whether it involved chewing coca leaves, ingesting herbs or undergoing acupuncture, anesthesia has been used as long as humans have existed on earth. Things have come a long way since early pain management practices, and today’s anesthesia is generally very safe. However, the Mayo Clinic presents a long list of general anesthesia risks that patients can face. Those often-unavoidable risks pertain largely to existing health factors, histories of past adverse reactions and histories of smoking or alcohol use. However, our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers have seen cases when anesthesia-related injuries might have been prevented with appropriate medical care. Anesthesia Errors Can Occur During Any Surgical Procedure Any procedure that requires pain management can be subject to anesthesia errors — whether it involves major surgery in a hospital, routine procedures performed in surgical centers or possibly even relatively minor care delivered in the doctor’s office. While it is certainly possible for patients to have unpredictable bad reactions to anesthesia, the following are examples of negligent acts: Failure to obtain accurate medical histories: Knowing that a patient has drug allergies, is a long-term smoker or drinker or suffers from any number of medical conditions can affect the choice of anesthesia or even prohibit the use of anesthesia altogether. Insufficient patient monitoring during procedures: Anesthesiologists and anesthetists have to do much more than keep patients asleep […]

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Fighting the Emotional War After a Car Accident

May 31, 2016 - Car Accidents by

Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys have helped countless victims who suffered serious injuries all because another party failed to exercise due care. Physical injuries can take a long time to heal, and they can also leave victims with permanent disabilities. Regardless of the level of physical injury, however, involvement in a car accident can leave deep emotional scars that can have a profound effect on someone’s ability to live a normal life. Physical Injuries and Psychological Ones Are Not Always Connected Most people who have been in a car while witnessing a vehicle speeding toward them can probably remember the experience with specificity, even if years have passed since the incident. Some people can file the memories away in their minds, but, according to WebMD, car accidents do not have to be fatal or even cause serious physical injury to have profound psychological effects on many accident victims.  Some of the common psychological issues can include: Anxiety symptoms, which are often experienced as panic attacks and can appear for no apparent reason. These attacks can include sudden fear and nervousness, along with physical changes, such as sweating, dizziness and heart rate acceleration. Left untreated, this condition can become debilitating, particularly since fear of the attacks themselves commonly becomes a major source of anxiety. Depression is also a serious disorder. This is not the same as an occasional feeling of sadness; it is a longer-term condition that can affect sleep, appetite and energy levels. Left untreated, some sufferers even have thoughts […]

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Are Public Dining Facilities Making People Sick?

May 17, 2016 - Personal Injury by

With the Food and Drug Administration and even our local health departments on the job, it is logical to assume that the food we eat is generally safe. While no Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm would advise clients to view all food with suspicion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that foodborne diseases cause nearly 797,000 illnesses, 2,000 hospitalizations and 50 deaths each year, according to Alabama Public Health. When more than one person experiences gastrointestinal symptoms after eating the same food from a public facility or even from their own kitchens, it is probably not a case of stomach flu. One Kitchen Allegedly Sickened 86 Alabama Children at a Daycare In June 2015, WHNT News reported that 86 children under the age of 10 sought hospital treatment after suffering significant digestive upsets at their daycare center. As many as 30 of the students were hospitalized. The illness came from two facilities that were both served by the same kitchen. Investigative testing revealed Staphylococcus Aureus Toxin (known to cause staph infections) in foods from both facilities. However, some questions appeared to remain pertaining to the possibility of food cross-contamination, since the samples came from garbage cans within the facilities. Still, the children displayed the following symptoms, which are common to staph infections: Vomiting Diarrhea Nausea Cramps Lethargy The Staphylococcus Aureus Toxin is a bacterium that is commonly caused when handlers contaminate food products that require no additional cooking, such as salads and sandwiches. Contamination can come from […]

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"ast year when my husband was injured in a car accident, I contacted Dell Cross. Immediately he and his wonderful staff went to work gathering all the information necessary to settle our claim. He explained every process, kept us informed and handled everything from the insurance companies down to the smallest bill. He made himself available to us anytime day or night, answering our questions and dealing with our concerns"