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Category: Car Accidents

Potential Defendants in an Alabama Car Accident Lawsuit

Dec 31, 2019 - Car Accidents by

For many first-time plaintiffs, the prospect of car accident litigation may seem quite straightforward.  In truth, however, it may the case that the defendant-driver is not the only one responsible for the injuries at issue.  The dispute could grow in complexity due to the presence of multiple liable defendants. In Alabama, this increased complexity is associated with a significant advantage: joint and several liability.  Stated in simple terms, joint and several liability allows the plaintiff to sue and recover their damages (in full) from any of the defendants, regardless of their specific level of fault. For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident and the court finds that the defendant-driver is 50 percent at-fault, and that the city government is 50 percent at-fault (for failing to properly maintain the traffic lights).  You would be entitled to recover all 100 percent of your damages from either party, which can be extremely beneficial in situations where one or more of the defendants lack adequate insurance coverage. Plaintiffs often do not realize that there are a number of potential defendants they could hold responsible in a car accident lawsuit.  Consider the following. Drivers in Tuscaloosa and Elsewhere in Alabama Drivers are the obvious defendants in a car accident lawsuit, and for good reason.  It’s worth noting that multiple drivers could be responsible for your injuries, however.  In multi-car pileup scenarios, there could be several negligent drivers whose actions contributed substantially to the suffered harm.  Splitting liability among multiple drivers is […]

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5 Roadway Hazards That Can Contribute to a Car Accident

Nov 29, 2019 - Car Accidents by

Car accidents — in Alabama and elsewhere — can be caused by a variety of factors, from negligent drivers to roadway defects.  If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, then securing maximum compensation for the losses you suffered will require that you comprehensively evaluate the various avenues for recovery.  In many car accident disputes, the individual or entity who controls the roadway (and adjacent property) may be significantly responsible for the harm caused. Contact a Tuscaloosa car accident attorney today to discuss your options. As you explore the prospect of car accident litigation, let’s take a brief look at five common roadway hazards that can contribute to the occurrence of a car accident.  Consider the following. Poor Visibility Poor visibility is among the most significant factors contributing to car accidents.  There are a range of situations that can create poor visibility conditions: inadequate street lighting, objects that block the field-of-view of drivers (and have not been cleared by the defendant), or even sharp distinctions on the vertical or horizontal plane that interfere with the ability of drivers to spot incoming traffic. Physical Hazards Physical road hazards, such as construction barriers that have been misplaced, or large potholes, can create a significant risk of harm for drivers on the roadway.  If a driver suddenly tracks their tires across a pothole, that tire-road contact can cause damage to one’s drivetrain and suspension systems and may even penetrate the tires.  In extreme scenarios, a pothole can cause the driver to lose […]

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Suing a Property Owner in a Motor Vehicle Accident Case

Aug 30, 2019 - Car Accidents by

Experienced Injury Attorney in Tuscaloosa, AL If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Alabama, then you may be entitled to bring a right of action for damages against the liable parties.  As you consider the prospect of litigation, it’s important that you identify and sue every potentially responsible defendant.  Most motor vehicle accident plaintiffs do not realize that they might actually have a legitimate claim for damages against multiple third-party defendants — not just the negligent driver. For example, if you are injured in an accident due to a defective traffic light, then you would likely have a claim against the City for damages, as the City (who is responsible for maintaining the traffic light in a reasonably safe condition) failed to properly inspect the traffic light, to discover the defect, and to repair it in a timely manner, leading to the accident. As in the above example, it is not uncommon for motor vehicle accident plaintiffs to find that a third-party property owner — such as the City, State, a school district, or even a private landowner — negligently contributed to their injuries.  These disputes do not necessarily proceed in the same way as more “standard” motor vehicle accident litigation, as the legal basis for the action against the property owner defendant is fundamentally different. Here at Cross & Smith, our team has extensive experience working with injured plaintiffs in Alabama.  Over the years, we have gained key insights necessary for investigating complex facts, identifying all […]

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Liability Insurers Are Not Your Allies

Jul 31, 2019 - Car Accidents by

Insurers generally present themselves as good faith actors who provide a generous service to their customers — the policyholders — and while comprehensive liability insurance coverage is a valuable protection in the event that you have suffered harm in an accident, it’s important to remember that the insurance company is a profit-oriented business. Insurers are not driven to provide financial compensation merely out of kindness.  If and when they can avoid their duties under contract (to the extent that it will benefit them), they will do so.  This can all come as a nasty surprise to policyholders who are seeing their claims being mishandled firsthand by their insurer — before the accident, they might have reasonably relied on their insurance coverage to payout for their losses, only to discover that engaging with the insurer is not as straightforward as initially anticipated. For clarity, let’s dive into this issue a bit more in-depth. Insurer Interests Oppose Those of Policyholders The foundational issue that drives an insurer’s adverse decisions is the fact that the insurance company gains an advantage when their policyholder fails to secure the payout to which they’re entitled by their coverage.  The insurance company’s bottom-line is benefited substantially when a policyholder with a legitimate claim is denied or has that claim undervalued, or simply chooses not to submit the claim to the insurer. Given this dynamic, insurer misconduct and underhandedness in the wake of an accident is not particularly surprising — if an insurance agent contacts you after an […]

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Factors Contributing to Poor Roadway Visibility

Feb 28, 2019 - Car Accidents by

Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident while traveling on a roadway, then you may have a right of action for damages under Alabama law. Motor vehicle accident disputes do not always proceed in an obvious manner, however — if you were injured due to poor roadway conditions (such as a lack of visibility), then you may have a right to sue and recover damages from the entity responsible for building/maintaining the roadway.  Property owners have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care so as not to expose others to an excessive and foreseeable risk of harm. Let’s explore some of the factors that contribute to poor roadway visibility, and that may give rise to a lawsuit against the party responsible for the roadway. Upward or Downward Slant Upward and downward elevation changes in the roadway can lead to significant visibility impairment.  If a driver is traveling down a hill road with sudden changes in elevation, for example, then they might not be able to see “over” the hump, thus preventing them from anticipating an accident with upward traffic. Blind Turns Blind turns pose a genuine risk of harm to drivers, no matter how well-prepared and cautious the driver.  For example, suppose that a turn is so sharp that a driver cannot actually see incoming traffic coming around the bend — under such circumstances, visibility is sufficiently poor that it could contribute to an accident if one of the drivers (making the turn) does not exercise […]

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A Look at Liability When Your Vehicle Rolls Over

Dec 31, 2018 - Car Accidents by

Contact a Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney For Help Rollover accidents can be devastating to all involved.  When a vehicle rolls over, the driver loses all control — this is in stark contrast to other motor vehicle accident scenarios, where the driver may be able to steer the vehicle to relative safety.  Such accidents are common in Alabama (and elsewhere), especially in the truck and SUV accident context.  Trucks and SUVs sit “higher” and are therefore more prone to rolling over due to a loss of balance. What happens if you are involved in an accident in which your own vehicle rolls over?  Let’s take a closer look at the liability issues that may impact your injury claim under such circumstances. Road Hazards Road hazards often contribute to rollover accidents.  For example, a large enough pothole on a sharp turn could lift one side of the vehicle and force a rollover.  If you were involved in a rollover accident where there were road hazards that contributed to the accident, then you could ostensibly sue and recover damages from the entity that controls the roadway (i.e., the City, or perhaps even a private entity). Vehicular Defects If your vehicle “rolls over” during operation, then it’s possible that the auto manufacturer designed a defective vehicle.  There have been numerous product recalls and lawsuits over the decades relating to vehicles that are prone to rolling over during operation and therefore pose an unreasonable risk of harm to users. In Alabama, it’s worth noting that you […]

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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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"I have been friends with Dell Cross since we were roommates at UA Law and have had the pleasure of conferring with Cross & Smith, LLC in a professional capacity for many years. As a law office which specializes in domestic relations and family law matters, it is imperative that my office maintain a consistent client referral relationship with a law firm which can effectively address personal injury matters brought to us by our clients."