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Category: Car Accidents

Negligent Entrustment Claims in Alabama

Aug 31, 2018 - Car Accidents by

In Alabama, those who are injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence or otherwise wrongful misconduct of the driver are entitled to sue and recover damages — and under certain circumstances, may have a legitimate right of action against the owner of the vehicle itself. Oftentimes, motor vehicle accidents involve vehicles that are owned by different individuals than the drivers whose negligence actually caused the accident.   If a vehicle owner is aware (or should be aware) of an unreasonable risk of injury posed by the driver, but permits use of the vehicle anyway, then such conduct could expose them to significant liability pursuant to the doctrine of negligent entrustment. As the injured plaintiff, negligent entrustment represents an excellent opportunity for securing damages.  In many cases, the driver may not have the necessary insurance coverage to payout your damages in full — by looping in other liable defendants, such as the vehicle owner, you can spread liability around, thus maximizing your chance of a successful and adequate recovery. Elements Necessary to Prove Negligent Entrustment In Alabama, you can successfully hold the vehicle owner liable if you can prove that the following elements are true: The driver was incompetent; The vehicle owner permitted the driver to use the vehicle; The vehicle owner knew or should have reasonably known that the driver was incompetent; and The driver’s incompetence substantially contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, imagine that you suffer injures in a motor vehicle collision.  As it […]

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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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Every Week Should be Child Passenger Safety Week

Feb 17, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Child Passenger Safety Week occurred last September. However, considering that road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to U.S. children, every week is important for paying attention to the younger passengers in any vehicle. Any experienced Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer would assert that a single auto accident case involving injured children is one too many. All drivers who are responsible for child safety need to regularly review the special precautions that help protect young passengers throughout the year. Age and Size Make a Difference in Child Passenger Safety As a general rule, safety devices are designed for use by children based on age group. However, age limitations may change when children are smaller or larger than the norm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children remain in the back seats of vehicles while offering the following guidelines based on age, but this advice does not replace the need to read the instructions and guidelines for any safety device: Rear-facing car seats are generally appropriate for children from birth to age 2. Still, these seats can pose certain issues when the seat back starts creating issues for longer legs. Forward-facing car seats are designed for use by children from the age of 2 until or even exceeding age 5. Regardless of age, these seats become inappropriate when a child no longer fits into them properly. Booster seats are the next step until such time that children fit properly into a standard seat belt. As a […]

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Apps Can Convert Smart Phones Into Distracted Driving Preventers

Jan 13, 2017 - Car Accidents by

It is no secret that the use of cell phones while driving significantly increased car accident rates across the U.S. That impact increased sharply when smart phones brought everything from text messages to full Internet access behind the wheel of moving vehicles. Until recently, each Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer at our firm believed that powered-off smart phones are the only safe phones to have in moving vehicles. However, the development of apps that focus on driving safety can help reduce the inherent risks. No Need to Power Off When Phones Can Be Smarter According to Consumer Reports, a number of cell phone companies now offer free apps that help drivers automatically avoid texting while driving with these features: Automatic activation: Most apps activate automatically when vehicles reach a specified speed. However, some apps must be turned on by the user before driving. Disabled texting: Drivers cannot send or receive text messages as long as any of the apps are activated. Auto responders sent for incoming text messages: Some of the apps automatically respond to incoming text messages to notify senders that they must wait for a response until drivers reach their destination. This feature is particularly helpful for stopping texters who send more and more messages when they do not receive an immediate response Monitoring of young drivers: Some apps allow parents to monitor the driving and texting activities of their children. Certain apps even assign points for safe-driving behavior, which parents can use to provide positive incentives for avoiding […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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