July 17, 2014

Verdugo v. Target Corp. - Retail Store Had No Duty to Keep Medical Device on Hand

Per a new ruling by the California Supreme Court, large stores in California are not required to keep automatic defibrillators on hand to treat patrons and/or workers who suffer from cardiac arrest. puzzleheart3.jpg

The plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit of Verdugo v. Target Corp. argued the retailer should have kept one of the devices on hand as part of its first-aid plan. Ultimately, however, the state's high court found that would be an unfair burden for the retailer to shoulder.

Still, our Montgomery personal injury attorneys understand the courts left it open for lawmakers to decide whether a requirement to keep the life-saving devices on the premises is necessary.

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July 7, 2014

Loyacono v. Travelers Insurance Company - Prejudicial Statements Result in Remand of Crash Case

A car accident victim will receive a new trial after a state supreme court ruled highly-prejudicial statements regarding the occupation and salary of the plaintiff's husband were allowed before the jury prior to its verdict.
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While the Mississippi Supreme Court declined to back the appellate court's position that the jury's determination contradicted the overwhelming weight of the evidence, justices nonetheless agreed a new trial was in order in Loyacono v. Travelers Insurance Company.

Car accident attorneys in Montgomery know that while this is an out-of-state case, both Mississippi and Alabama are "fault" -based tort systems when it comes to crash liability. Both states also require underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage to be offered by insurers, only to be released with a written waiver from the insured.

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July 1, 2014

Reducing Fourth of July Injuries in Alabama

Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers urge you and your family to have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. This year over the Fourth of July weekend, millions of Americans will hit the roads in search of fun. Some will go to cookouts, others will head to the beach, and most will cap off the night with a fireworks display. Whatever your plans, we would like to offer a few simple steps to help stay safe from some obvious and some hidden risks this holiday weekend.

One major risk when traveling over the holiday period is being involved in an alcohol-fireworks1.jpgrelated car crash. It should come as no surprise that many people will drink alcohol while attending backyard barbeques and other festivities. Unfortunately, it should also come as no surprise that many of these people will get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol.

While driving over the holiday weekend, you should be alert for intoxicated motorists. It helps to know some of the signs of drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified a variety of things that will tell a police officer when a driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These signs include weaving, swerving, almost striking another vehicle or object, driving at least 10 miles under the posted limit, drifting, braking or accelerating for no apparent reason, slow response to traffic signals, driving without headlights at night, and driving in the opposite lane or wrong way on a one way street. If you see a driver exhibiting these behaviors, you should assume the person may be drunk and give yourself plenty of room between that vehicle and your own.

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June 30, 2014

Reducing Medication Errors in Alabama: Hospitals Try New Strategy

Dangerous drug interactions and medication errors account for some 7,000 deaths in hospital emergency rooms nationwide each year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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Of course, such errors can occur in any type of health care facility, including nursing homes, long-term care facilities and dialysis centers. However, Montgomery wrongful death attorneys recognize emergency rooms as particularly risky because of the fast-paced nature of the environment. It's easy for a decimal in a prescription order to become misplaced or for a doctor's handwriting to be misunderstood by a harried nurse administering the drug.

It's exacerbated by the fact that in a doctor's office setting, a doctor may be counting on the fact that if there is a problem, a pharmacist will fact check him later. In an emergency room, it doesn't work like that. Or at least, it didn't used to work like that.

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June 20, 2014

Underinsured Motorist Benefits a Safety Net for Many Motorists

In the recent Alabama Civil Court of Appeals case of Perry v. USAA Casualty Insurance, the plaintiff has been fighting for - and likely will obtain - uninsured motorist benefits from two separate sources.
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She has been fighting to have a payout tendered ever since the crash in question occurred in October 2007 in Madison County. As our Montgomery car accident attorneys know well, insurance firms will aggressively battle to keep their costs as low as humanly possible, regardless of the legitimacy of the claim.

This often means customers will be given low-ball offers or in some cases, denied coverage altogether. This is unacceptable, and the only way to ensure a fair deal is to take the case to court. As this case reveals, there are situations where that battle can drag on for years. But if your attorney is experienced and the case is strong, it can mean justice at the end of the journey.

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June 11, 2014

State Farm v. Gruebele - Teen Driver Insurance Coverage Can Be Tricky

In many car accident cases, the question of insurance coverage is fairly straightforward. The individual is either insured or they are not. Each individual is typically only covered with a singular policy provided by one company, and the terms of that policy are usually standardized.
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Even in these situations, Montgomery car accident attorneys know there can be conflict with regard to interpretation of certain clauses as they apply to the circumstances.

But with teen drivers, the question of coverage can be even more complex. Some complicating factors include parental divorce, which could call into question whether the teen is a "resident household member." In some instances, both parents have policies that cover the teen. In some cases, the vehicle may be insured on a separate policy. If the teen wasn't driving according to the state's graduated driver's licensing laws, there could be questions about whether the insurance company is liable at all.

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June 3, 2014

Report: Pedestrians Accidents in the South "Epidemic"

Authorities in Millbrook recently took the heartbreaking call regarding a 2-year-old pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle. The child was transported to the hospital and died.
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The case is just one of thousands of pedestrian deaths that occur every year. The latest Dangerous by Design 2014 report calls the problem "epidemic," focusing particular attention on the South, where the danger is not only highest, but the risks are increasing.

Among the top 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas in the country for pedestrians, the Birmingham-Hoover region ranked No. 6 on the list. In fact, Montgomery pedestrian accident lawyers have learned nine of the top 10 on that list were cities in the South, including four metro areas in Florida, as well as one each in Tennessee, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.

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May 25, 2014

Alabama Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Service by Publication

A $37 million verdict against a business that served alcohol to a driver who then killed a man in a DUI collision has been overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court on the grounds that notice of the lawsuit wasn't properly served. This was despite the plaintiff's compliance with the formalities of service by publication as approved by the trial court.
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Montgomery DUI accident lawyers recognize this as a cautionary tale regarding serving a defendant by publication, and underscores the plaintiff's burden to prove that every effort was made to serve the defendant before the case progresses.

It's not uncommon for defendants to avoid being served with civil court papers. The theory is that if they aren't served notice, the case can't proceed. This is only true to an extent. The case will eventually move forward - but only if plaintiffs can prove they made every effort to serve notice on the defendant and the defendant actively hid or endeavored to avoid being served.

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May 20, 2014

Alabama Motorcycle Deaths Fall - Officials Warn Against Complacency

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a new report indicating the number of motorcycle fatalities has fallen significantly, both in Alabama and at the national level.
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Across the U.S., motorcycle deaths were down 7.2 percent in the first nine months of last year, compared to the first nine months of 2012, according to preliminary figures. In Alabama, officials noted a 22 percent decline.

It would be great if we could assume that officials finally succeeded with a motorcycle awareness campaign that was extremely effective or that motor vehicle operators were at last exhibiting greater caution. However, Montgomery motorcycle accident lawyers, know that the decline is more a stabilizing statistic, following an especially sharp rise in motorcycle fatalities in 2012.

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May 12, 2014

Liability and Pure Contributory Negligence in Alabama

Laws regarding personal injury in Alabama can be complex. For example, a lot of people aren't aware that in this state, the courts recognize a legal theory called pure contributory negligence. busdriver.jpg

We're one of only four states, plus D.C., that recognize this theory, and it holds that if a person is found responsible on any level for his or her own injuries, the other at-fault party can't be held liable - at all.

Personal injury attorneys in Montgomery recognize that this means the standard of proof for victims of negligence in Alabama is higher than for many other places, so it's critical that you have experienced legal help from the outset.

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May 1, 2014

Alabama Train Accidents Target of Awareness Campaign

"See tracks? Think Train!"

That's the slogan for a new national awareness campaign designed to warn both motorists and pedestrians of railroad dangers. Here in Alabama, we have one of the highest rates of fatality for highway-railroad crossings in the country.
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Our Injury lawyers in Montgomery note Alabama ranks 15th in the country for overall railroad deaths. That's according to the Federal Railroad Administration, which tallied 85 train-related collisions with vehicles and 19 deaths, including those in vehicles and on foot, in Alabama during 2013.

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April 25, 2014

Fatal Montgomery Car Accident Prompts GM Ignition Switch Lawsuit

News of the recall of millions of General Motors vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch has been big national news, but one of the cases to result in a lawsuit involved a young mother here in Northwest Alabama.
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She was killed in a Montgomery car accident in December, and now her father is suing the auto manufacturer on the grounds that it knew of the defects in the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt model she was driving - and did nothing to warn her or other customers.

According to the lawsuit filed in Lauderdale County Circuit Court, the ignition in the woman's vehicle suddenly quit on Dec. 4, 2013. As a result, the 3,200-pound vehiclel was totally uncontrollable. She crossed the center line into oncoming traffic, slamming directly into the path of an 18-wheeler log truck. Investigators say she died instantly as her vehicle burst into flames.

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April 18, 2014

Building Code Violations May be Grounds for Negligence Claim Following Injury

When a person suffers injury as a result of conditions on a property that fail to meet the current building code standards - either by state or local ordinance - this could be grounds for filing a premises liability lawsuit. houserailing.jpg

Of course, there are exceptions, which is why it's important to have your case carefully examined by an experienced personal injury lawyer in Montgomery before proceeding.

The Alabama Supreme Court weighed this issue in the 2005 case of Parker Bldg. Servs. Co. v. Lightsey. Here, the case stemmed from an injury to a 5-year-old boy in Homewood, resulting from his presence on commercial property where building code violations existed. The ceiling caved in, causing the boy to fall to the floor and hit his head, resulting in a stroke and permanent paralysis.

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April 10, 2014

Alabama Supreme Court: Damage Caps Not Applicable for City Worker Sued Individually

A young boy in Montgomery was electrocuted when he came in contact with a broken chain link fence that had become electrified due to improperly secured wiring at a commercial building next door to his great-grandmother's house.
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Following his death, his mother filed a lawsuit against not only the owner of the property, but also the city inspector who had deemed the property to be in safe condition several months earlier. Recently, that case, Morrow v. Caldwell, was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court on the issue of state-agent immunity and damage caps.

When the mother filed the lawsuit against the city electrical inspector, she sued him in his official capacity. He responded by claiming state-agent immunity. She then amended her complaint to sue him in his individual capacity for "individual acts of negligence and wantonness that contributed to the death of (her son)." She alleged he hadn't followed proper protocol, and had either intentionally or in bad faith allowed the property to be cleared for electrical restoration (it had been off for eight months prior, which is why the inspection was required).

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April 4, 2014

Roe v. St. Louis University, et al. - Establishing Liability By Deliberate Indifference

When we send our children off to college, we know that we can't protect them from every possible scenario that may arise. We trust that we have equipped them with the necessary tools to act wisely and seek our counsel when they need it.
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However, when it comes to the issue of campus sexual assault, parents have little control. We must trust that the university will do everything in its power to limit the potential for such incidents or, at the very least, respond swiftly and appropriately when an allegation is made. In fact, higher educational institutions that receive federal funding are legally bound to do so under Title IX.

Montgomery injury attorneys
know, however, that proving a school failed in this regard can be a tough task. Plaintiffs are required to show that the institution acted with "deliberate indifference," either to the threat of an assault before it happens or in response to an assault, after the allegation is made.

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