Cross & Smith LLC

Category: Car Accidents

Multiple Occurrences in Auto Insurance Claims

Aug 5, 2014 - Car Accidents by

As with almost all liability insurance policies, auto insurance policies contain provisions that limit liability. This provides a maximum amount that can be provided in case of a single “accident” or “occurrence.” Some of these policies indicate a per-person cap on damages awarded for bodily injury resulting from “each occurrence.” This seems like a fairly straightforward concept. However, our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys recognize there are circumstances, particularly when multiple plaintiffs or vehicles are involved, where it can be claimed the injuries arose out of multiple occurrences. This is true even when the primary catalyst for a multi-vehicle crash was the negligence of a single driver. That may have been the “trigger,” but subsequent wrecks could potentially be considered separate “occurrences” for insurance purposes. Typically, the question of whether there have been multiple occurrences is a matter of law, to be decided by the court in advance of a trial. In most cases, the determination of the number of occurrences involves the court weighing whether there was repeated or continuous exposure to certain conditions. The reason this determination matters so much is because a determination of multiple occurrences will ultimately mean larger damages awards for each individual plaintiff. If a liability limit allows for up to $50,000 per accident and the court finds there was only one accident, $50,000 will be the most that the plaintiffs could collectively receive. However, if the court finds there were multiple occurrences, the plaintiffs could be entitled to receive $50,000 each. Insurers have tried […]

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Perry v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co. – Fighting for Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Jun 9, 2014 - Car Accidents by

In Alabama, it’s estimated more than one in four drivers lacks auto insurance. Even among those who do carry insurance, about 55 percent have policies that only cover the bare minimum, which is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per crash. This usually is not enough. Medical bills for serious injuries could easily top six figures. This makes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage practically a necessity in this state. By having one of these policies, you ensure you are covered in case the at-fault party didn’t have insurance or didn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages incurred. Coverage also extends to you as a passenger. However, car accident lawyers in Tuscaloosa recognize that even those with coverage may find themselves in court, fighting to get the insurer to pay.

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Volcano Enterprises, Inc. v. Rush – Alabama Supreme Court Rules on DUI Death Lawsuit

May 27, 2014 - Birmingham by

Plaintiffs in Alabama personal injury cases should take care to exhaust every means of serving defendants notification of a complaint before proceeding with service by publication. That’s the lesson gleaned in Volcano Enterprises, Inc. v. Rush, recently decided by the Alabama Supreme Court. The decision effectively vacates an earlier award of $37 million in favor of a family whose choir minister husband/father was killed by a drunk, off-duty Birmingham police officer in 2009. Birmingham DUI injury lawyers know the officer received 12 years in prison on a charge of reckless manslaughter, and was also ordered to pay $3 million in civil damages. The criminal court additionally ordered him to pay $43,000 in restitution. The $37 million liability claim was against the strip club that had served alcohol that night to a patron whom plaintiffs allege was already visibly impaired by the time he arrived. He had reportedly consumed hard liquor in his vehicle while waiting for a friend to show up after their shift.

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Lockwood v. Geico – Unreasonable Delay in Payment of Insurance

May 15, 2014 - Car Accidents by

The contract you hold with your car insurance companies is probably filled with numerous caveats designed to minimize the firm’s risk of paying up when the time comes. But an element that is inherent in these contracts – no matter what the language – is the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. If an insurance company acts in bad faith in dealing with the client, it could be subject to severe punitive damages. Examples of bad faith dealings would be if an insurer denies a claim without proper cause or delays a claim unreasonably. Our Tuscaloosa car accident lawyers have a detailed understanding of uninsured motorist law. You are entitled to coverage for which you paid, and we are committed to helping you obtain that compensation.

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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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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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Alabama Car Accidents & Disproving Contributory Negligence

Mar 6, 2014 - Birmingham by

There are many states in which a plaintiff can be at least partially at-fault for an auto accident and still collect compensation – these states adhere to the doctrine of comparative negligence. The degree to which a plaintiff is negligent is called “comparative fault” and the higher it is, the more it will impact the overall amount of compensation to which a plaintiff is entitled. Alabama, though, is different. As our Birmingham car accident attorneys must sometimes explain, here, if a plaintiff is partially at-fault the claim is completely barred under a legal doctrine known as contributory negligence.

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Severe Winter Weather Blamed for Many Alabama Auto Accidents

Feb 13, 2014 - Car Accidents by

Alabama isn’t generally known for being a cold-weather state. You might not be able to tell that, however, if you had ventured out onto the highways over the past several weeks. A 17-car pileup occurred recently in Hoover, just south of Birmingham. Then there were numerous cars and at least five 18-wheelers piled up recently on I-59. And in, Central Alabama, I-65 had to be shut down after numerous 18-wheelers jack-knifed in the middle of the highway. In fact, since Dec. 1, there has been at least one report of a weather-related, multiple-vehicle pileup somewhere in the country, according to a recent analysis by USA Today. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys want to caution drivers to use the utmost care when heading out in bad weather.

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Alabama Motorists Among Top 5 Worst Drivers in Nation

Jan 24, 2014 - Car Accidents by

Drivers in almost every state believe they have a monopoly on the “worst drivers” list. Our Tuscaloosa car accident lawyers tend to believe this has a great deal to do with the fact that so many people have been either involved in a serious crash or have experienced a close call. But as it turns out, Alabamans actually do have a legitimate stake in this claim.

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Uninsured-Motorist Accidents a Common Cause of Hit-and-Run in Tuscaloosa

Dec 27, 2013 - Car Accidents by

An Alabama man is facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident after allegedly hitting a car with mother and child inside before fleeing, according to news reports. A witness to the crash called police and followed the 35-year-old Limestone County man onto Highway 252, where he was stopped by the Alabama State Patrol. Our Tuscaloosa car accident lawyers understand that hit-and-run car accidents are on the rise nationwide for a number of reasons. According to USA Today, hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in many areas across the nation. And these crimes often complicate financial recovery for victims and can prove difficult for law enforcement to investigate and solve.

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Posted By: Jaimie Copeland

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