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Category: Tuscaloosa

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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Referring Physician Initially Blamed for Wrong Patient Surgery

Mar 29, 2017 - Personal Injury by

Wrong patient surgery is considered to be a surgical “never event” within the medical community, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that never events happen with some regularity, and 71 percent of them are fatal. Our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers believe that even one instance of wrong patient surgery is too many. Patients should take a warning from one recent Massachusetts example and learn as much as possible about how a surgical facility safeguards against patient misidentification before they undergo surgery. Patient Misidentification Can Happen in a Number of Ways Last year, reports surfaced of a wrong patient surgery in Massachusetts that resulted in the removal of a healthy kidney. In initial reports the hospital claimed that the misidentification error occurred outside of their hospital, possibly connected with the referring physician. However, a NY Daily News article published two months later told a different story. State and federal health investigators noted that the patients were several years apart in age. A birthdate check while examining the CT scan — and a display of the patient’s birthdate on computer monitors in the operating room might easily have resolved the issue. Patients and their family members should never have to take responsibility for this type of error, but it is advisable to take the following precautions: Check the arm band to make sure that it correctly shows enough information to conclusively identify the patient. Ask about identification protocols used at the facility. […]

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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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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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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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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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Posted By: Jaimie Copeland

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