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Tuscaloosa Auto Injury Lawyer Advises Drivers to Review Safety Laws

Apr 22, 2016 - Car Accidents by

In a perfect world, all drivers would review the Alabama Driver Manual from cover to cover every year without waiting for the need to study for a written test. In this busy world, however, few individuals have the time to commit to an annual review of 88 pages. All rules of the road are important because they work together to help motorists know how get from Point A to Point B without excessive accidents. Still, in the interest of public safety, our attorneys want to present five important laws that we believe can save many lives. Five Laws That Make a Major Difference in the Safety of Motorists and Their Passengers A review of automotive history indicates that automobiles became relative fixtures in larger U.S. cities early in the 1900s. In fact, 7.5 million cars were registered in the country as early as 1919. Even before that time, however, some municipalities started developing speed limits, as well as other laws. The laws continue to change as needs arise, and these days, the following Alabama laws may be the ones that directly affect the safety of nearly four million motorists in our state: Seatbelt use: All front-seat passengers must wear a seatbelt or face potential fines and points against driving records. Only children under 15 years old are required to wear seatbelts in the back seat. Child car seats: Children younger than one year old or weighing 20 pounds or less must be in rear-facing child restraint seats, with requirements changing […]

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Values of Alabama Workplace Injury Claims Can Be Surprising

Mar 25, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

Shortly after a National Public Radio (NPR) report exposed the disparity among workers’ compensation benefits for the same types of injuries in different states, Alabama lawmakers introduced a bill to increase benefits for workers within this state. In spite of the fact that Alabama workers’ compensation benefits for certain injuries are reportedly the lowest in the nation, this bill never seemed to take off. However, each Tuscaloosa workplace injury lawyer at our firm reminds employees that third-party claims can potentially provide injured workers with the compensation they need. A State Border Can Make a Dramatic Difference in the Value of a Claim The NPR story looked at the claims of two workers who lived within 75 miles of each other, with surprisingly similar claim details: Their ages were similar: 27 and 25. They both lost part of a left arm in a machinery accident. Their family situations were similar — married, with two children of similar ages. Both victims even had tattoos of their children’s names. Perhaps the main difference was the location of their accidents since they lived on different sides of the Alabama/Georgia border. While the Georgia victim received lifetime benefits expected to exceed $740,000, the Alabama victim received a total of $45,000 in workers’ compensation benefits. Since the overall cost of living fluctuates in different areas of the country or even within a state, it is somewhat logical to expect differences in claim valuations based on location. Still, it is less logical to understand why a border […]

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The Many Faces of Motor Vehicle Airbags

Mar 11, 2016 - Car Accidents by

When airbags first came into wide use in the 1970s, they took on a very basic design that protected drivers and front-seat passengers by sensing collisions and inflating large bags between occupants and hard objects in front of them. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys are happy to report that the basic concept of inflatable safety devices has exploded. The chances are that an inflatable device now exists to protect many people who are exposed to dangers on the roads, sidewalks or just about anywhere. Still, things can go wrong to prevent airbags from doing their jobs properly — or even causing injuries when they perform as intended. It is important to understand the potential pros and cons of these devices and what to do if they contribute to serious injuries. New Airbag Designs Keep Coming The unfortunate truth is that collisions with trucks and passenger vehicles can cause injuries from all sides. As injury statistics continue to reveal more and more types of injuries are faced by individuals inside and outside of cars, new devices are invented to help mitigate those injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, airbags now take on many shapes and forms, such as the following: Bags within cars and other enclosed vehicles are standard equipment in front of front-seat passengers and drivers, and side airbags are almost as common. New designs can protect victims of rollovers. Others address the needs of back-seat passengers, such as rear window curtain airbags […]

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Financial Abuse: A Real Concern For the Elderly

Feb 26, 2016 - Personal Injury by

Physical abuse of the elderly is a recognized issue for seniors placed in the care of others, whether in nursing homes or through in-home care. Even individuals who receive acceptable levels of physical care, however, may be victims of financial abuse. When the money runs out, the physical care ends as well. Certain Alabama statutes now recognize the crime of elder financial abuse and impose penalties, but each Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm believes that more preventive types of laws might help seniors avoid destroying their golden years. Three Common Forms of an Underreported and Growing Crime No accurate statistics identify the severity of the senior elder abuse problem, but most experts in the field agree that it is underreported. During a time when increasing numbers of aging baby-boomers now need senior care, the problem is undoubtedly getting worse. Recent estimates indicate that seniors might be losing an average of $30,000 from financial abuse. The following three types of financial abuse are most common: Nursing home theft: Elderly individuals living in residential care have virtually no privacy or security. Caregivers and even other residents have full and frequent access to rooms, making them ripe for theft of everything from personal valuables to financial documents. Phone and computer scams: Anyone living at home is susceptible to scammers who prey on them over the phone, at the door or on their computers. Scammers often count on even minor diminished mental capacity of individuals who willingly hand over massive amounts of money, […]

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Auto Blind Spot Monitors Provide Little Protection for Motorcyclists

Feb 12, 2016 - Motorcycle Accidents by

When buying a new vehicle, few consumers pay close attention to blind spots during the test drive. Of course, all cars have blind spots that often prevent drivers from being aware of other cars driving right next to them — or even unseen bicycles and pedestrians. Mirrors help reduce the problem to some extent, but in the interest of increased safety, some vehicle manufacturers now offer blind spot monitors. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys applaud the introduction of a device that provides electronic detection assistance to help reduce the blind spot issue. Still, drivers with these devices still need to use their eyes. Just as important, motorcyclists should feel no safer on the road. Many Blind Spot Detectors Sense Larger Vehicles Better than Smaller Ones Even if riders knew for certain that every vehicle sharing the road was equipped with a blind spot detection device, they still need to avoid riding in blind spots. RideApart, a portal that serves the power sports industry, cites AAA findings that show that the abilities of one device over another can vary widely. In addition to potentially having detection ranges that are too short to provide ample warning for any driver, the devices do not always detect motorcycles because: The devices that may effectively detect larger vehicles are 26 percent slower at identifying nearby motorcycles. They detect slower-moving vehicles better than they pick up faster-moving vehicles, often notifying drivers too late to help avoid motorcycles. They provide auto drivers with a false sense of security, […]

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Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyer Warns: Truckers Retain Certain Cell Phone Rights

Jan 22, 2016 - Truck Accidents by

Considering that thousands of drivers across the country operate electronic devices while driving, it is not surprising that many people are injured in distracted driving accidents every day. When large commercial trucks are involved, the chances for serious injuries and fatalities increases exponentially due to the weight of these vehicles. In spite of this risk, however, federal trucking regulations do not impose any additional electronic device restrictions on truck drivers than the ones commonly imposed by the states for drivers of passenger vehicles. Proposed Ban Fails, but Limited Ban Takes Hold Asserting that distracted driving was approaching the risks of DUI driving back in 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) proposed a full ban on the use of even hands-free devices for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers. While that ban failed, the NTSB tried repeating the hands-free ban recommendation in 2014 after cell phone use by a truck driver appeared to be the direct cause of a massive truck-versus-train collision in Maryland. Regrettably, federal legislators have not recognized the wisdom of the NTSB recommendations. Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued the following restrictions for interstate truck and bus drivers, as well as for anyone who transports certain hazardous materials: No texting while driving: The restriction clearly defines texting as anything that requires more than a single button-press. Hands-free talking: Commercial motor vehicle drivers cannot hold a phone to talk, and the rule includes anything that amounts to reaching for a phone for positioning […]

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Five Common Misconceptions About Alabama Workers’ Compensation

Jan 8, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

Alabama workers’ compensation provides essential benefits for injured workers, but depending on the nature of a given claim, it may not always work exactly as expected. Every situation is unique, so employees cannot always assume that they know the rules. Five Rules That Are Not as Simple as They Seem The Alabama Department of Commerce created the Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation Manual in an attempt to simplify the state’s employment-related laws. However, the actual rules contain legal language that includes many details and exceptions. The following five misconceptions are among the ones that commonly affect claims: Part-time and contract workers do not qualify for coverage. Not true for part-time workers, but probably true for contractors. With some exceptions, the Alabama workers’ compensation system considers full and part-time workers to be employees, and businesses that have five or more employees must carry coverage. Contract employees should be covered under their own employers’ workers’ compensation policies when working for a business under a lease agreement, and independent contractors may not have any coverage. Any contractor who is uncertain about coverage should seek guidance from our experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers who can advise them on their legal options for getting coverage. The right to privacy in workers’ compensation claims is the same as for any other health care situation. Not generally true. To determine benefits and the validity of claims, employers and their insurance companies generally need access to private information about a claimant’s injuries and past medical history. Still, requests for […]

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Christmas Day Driving Can Reduce Accident Risks

Dec 25, 2015 - Car Accidents by

With typical Alabama winter temperatures ranging between 50 and over 60 degrees, drivers in the state do not experience the extreme holiday weather conditions as those in the northern states. In 2013, Alabama Media Group reported information from a recent study by the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety. It showed that the days immediately prior to Christmas are among the most dangerous times on the road. Just about any Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer would agree that the study’s findings remain just as true today. A Variety of Different Traffic Patterns Affects Roadway Safety Individuals who make daily commutes to and from work in major metropolitan areas might argue that these traffic conditions are the most congested. However, these drivers know and understand rush hour conditions and generally have the skills and experience to help anticipate and avoid accidents. Holiday drivers do not benefit from long-term experience and can be subject to risks such as the following: Last-minute holiday shopping panic: With just a few days left to complete gift shopping, every minute counts. Rushed drivers are more likely to ignore speed limits and other driving laws. They also have a greater propensity for tailgating when they perceive that the driver in front of them is keeping them from completing their missions. More night-time shoppers are now hitting the roads: From Black Friday and through to Christmas Eve, stores are open for business day and night. Night drivers, in particular, have little experience driving in heavy traffic after […]

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Are Electronic Medical Records Causing Harmful Treatment Errors?

Dec 11, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Patients who obtain care from a number of different medical professionals face a distinct risk that the variety of treatments they receive might conflict with treatments from prior doctor visits. Under the current health care law, healthcare providers are expected to use Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), which can help avoid health care conflicts by providing all doctors with comprehensive electronic record access for any patient. While each Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm recognizes the clear benefits of better communication between medical providers, we believe that EMRs can potentially reduce communication between the providers in the same facility. Patients need to monitor any provider’s recording practices, particularly during the early phases of complex EMR system use. Complex EMR Systems Can Shift Focus Away From the Patient When used properly, EMRs can enhance communications between all providers who treat a particular patient. However, these systems are more complex than the traditional clipboard. In some cases, provider attention shifts from the patient to the EMR, and when that occurs, accidents can happen. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, a noted doctor asserts that EMRs are killing and injuring people, largely due to this shift in focus. He cites an example of a patient in a world-famous university who sustained injury over a relatively simple issue of intravenous fluid administration. In essence, this patient alternatingly received too much fluid or not enough over a three-day period, eventually resulting in significant injury. It appears that the hospital staff members were so chained to […]

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Alabama Drowning Fatalities Happen to People of Any Age

Nov 27, 2015 - Personal Injury by

November might not be the ideal time to jump into an outdoor swimming pool, but with local high temperatures ranging at nearly 70 degrees, water activities remains a real possibility for boating enthusiasts. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys believe that anytime water recreation is possible is a good time to remind people of the dangers of drowning accidents. Just as important, understand that the risk of drowning is very real for adults, as well as for children. Adults May Face Greater Risk of Drowning When Children are in School Even during the summer months, adults are at risk of drowning. According to Alabama Media Group, Alabama saw 69 drowning deaths according to most recent statistics from 2013. Even though drowning is considered to be the number one cause of death in children, that same article cites five drowning deaths within the prior week that involved victims with ages ranging from teens to 63. Once children are back in school, adults often take the opportunity for adult-only boating trips, and they may be likely to engage in more risky behavior when no kids are present. Unfortunately, 2014 statistics indicate that alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. While these deaths may pertain to intoxicated operators, alcohol use by victims can lead to their deaths, as well. Tips for Preventing Adult Drowning Incidents Whether they ride in motorboats, enjoy personal watercraft, head out in a non-motorized boat or even jump in for a cool swim, adults need to […]

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