October 2012 Archives

October 26, 2012

Montgomery Injury Attorneys Wish You a Safe and Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is upon us, and before you start thinking about the scary ghosts, goblins and witches, you might want to think about the risks for pedestrian accidents and other Halloween dangers involving children.
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Did you know that children are about four times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident on Halloween than during any other night of the year? They're also at severe risks for burn injuries and fall accidents during this time, too.

To help you to stay safe during this All Hallow's Eve, our Montgomery personal injury attorneys are here with the Alabama Department of Public Health to bring you some simple safety tips that can help your family avoid Halloween injuries.

Safety Tips for Costumes:

-Don't wear masks. Opt for face paint so that your visibility is not hindered.

-Make sure that all young children are accompanied by an adult.

-Make sure that you have a cell phone with you at all times in case you run into a problem.

-Look for costumes that are flame resistant.

-Dress in shoes that are easy to walk in. Sneakers are your best bet.

-Don't allow costumes to have loose ends. These serve as both fall hazards and as fire hazards.

Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Choose a route before you head out. Pick one that's well lit and has safe crossings.

-Always cross the road at a crosswalk or at a street corner.

-Use sidewalks whenever they're available.

-Make sure you're wearing a bright-colored costume, carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective materials to make sure passing motorists can see you.

-Never dash out from behind a parked car.

-Look both ways before crossing the street. You also want to walk across the street -- never run.

-Never walk across someone's yard. There may be strands of lights or other tripping hazards.

-Stay away from animals that you do not know.

-Never allow young children to cross the road alone.

-Never go into someone's house who you don't know.

-Walk, don't run!

Treat Safety Tips:

-Let parents inspect candy before eating. They can help to make sure that there are only treats and no tricks!

-Discard all items that are not wrapped or have been tampered with.

-Get rid of small items or toys that can serve as a choking hazard.

Drivers are asked to be extra careful during this time of the year, especially in residential areas where kids are likely to be found. Avoid driving on Halloween night if you can. If you're heading somewhere to drop off kids, make sure you keep the passenger side of the car away from passing traffic when making the stop. Make sure you drive slowly and keep an eye on your surroundings. Beware of little ghosts and goblins in the area. Have a safe and Happy Halloween and keep safety as a number one priority out there.

Continue reading "Montgomery Injury Attorneys Wish You a Safe and Happy Halloween!!" »

October 21, 2012

Fatal Alabama Work Accidents in 2011 a Reminder of Risks

The government reports more than 4,600 people were killed on the job last year -- or about 13 people a day. Hundreds of thousands of others are seriously injured, sometimes disabled, as a result of an accident on the job.

Our Montgomery work accident attorneys note the risks are expected to increase with economic recovery. Though in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report just released, fatal work accident statistics for 2011 show Alabama saw decline, from 92 in 2010 to 74 last year. 1125238_forklift_1.jpg

Nationwide, there were 4,609 people who died on the job last year -- compared to 4,690 in 2010. However, the government expects to add about 150 to the total as final cases are reported, making any change a statistical wash.

Fatal Alabama Work Accidents

Transportation Accidents: 36
Contact Object/Equip.: 17
Falls: 10
Violence: 6
Exposure: 4
Fire: 1

Safety advocates, including the Occupational Safety & Health Administration continue to push safety programs aimed at addressing three core risk areas: Transportation accidents, falls, and workplace violence.

"On average, 13 workers lose their lives each and every day, and that loss ripples throughout their communities -- Children, parents, brothers, sisters and neighbors all bear an enormous burden when a loved one dies on the job," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "We know how to prevent these fatalities, and all employers must take the steps necessary to keep their workers safe."

Nationwide, violence in the workplace now accounts for more deaths at work than any other type of accident except transportation accidents. A total of 780 people were killed in acts of workplace violence. In many cases, negligent security may be to blame.

Transportation accidents -- and particularly distracted driving -- continue to be a focus. The federal government now forbids all federal employees from using cell phones behind the wheel. And organizations like the National Safety Council continue to push employers to adopt distracted driving policies. Those that don't are opening themselves up to liability in the event of an accident. Employees who are involved in an accident on the job should always consult an experienced attorney about the best course of action.

The number of construction accidents in Alabama and elsewhere has declined throughout the economic downturn. The U.S. Department of Labor reports 721 deaths in construction accidents last year, compared to 774 in 2010. However, that trend is also likely to reverse as the housing market recovers. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the housing market is recovering faster than many economists anticipated.

OSHA also continues to be concerned about the large number of construction accidents among Latino workers. While the overall number of workplace fatalities has declined by about 20 percent in the last decade, the number of fatalities among Hispanics has increased 35 percent. This is particularly true among those in the construction industry.

Continue reading "Fatal Alabama Work Accidents in 2011 a Reminder of Risks" »

October 15, 2012

Alabama Supreme Court Reaffirms $4M Wrongful Death Verdict in Boudreaux v. Pettaway

Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and their attorneys have all of the resources necessary to mount a vigorous defense. And, when all else fails, "delay, delay, delay" is an apt motto for the prevailing legal strategy among large corporations and the law firms making millions to protect them.

Montgomery wrongful death attorneys
note this Alabama Supreme Court decision last month reaffirming a $4 million award in a Mobile wrongful death case is a perfect example of the lengths to which the opposition will go to avoid accepting responsibility. In Boudreaux v. Pettaway the state Supreme Court upheld a $4 million award to the family of a 32-year-old mobile woman who died at Springhill Memorial Hospital in Mobile. 1207445_courtroom_2.jpg

The jury, having listened to all the facts, had originally awarded $20 million to the estate of Paulett Pettaway Hall. The family had sued Dr. Randall Boudreaux and other defendant's including his employer, Coastal Anesthesia. Hall presented at the hospital with abdominal pain and vomiting after having previously undergone gastric bypass surgery. Trial testimony revealed she was given anesthesia via routine induction, despite the risk of aspiration given her medical history.

Post verdict, defendants appealed, requesting a remittitur of the damage award and a new trial. A remittitur is a request of the judge to lower the damage awarded by the jury in a civil suit, typically because it's greater than even the amount requested by the plaintiff. In cases in which it is granted, the victim's family may either accept the reduced award or request a new trial.

In this case, the plaintiff's agreed to the reduced $4 million reward. However, instead of paying just one-fifth of the amount awarded by a jury of the victim's peers, the defendants again appealed, claiming the court should have granted a new trial. And, in the alternative, that it was entitled to a further reduction of the jury award!

A total of $1 million in insurance coverage had already been deposited with the clerk-of-court's office. Court records indicate the anesthesiology practice paid 7 physicians more than $11 million during a recent four-year time span and was generating annual profits in excess of $5 million.

"Given the defendant's income and the strength of their bad-faith claim, as evaluated by the trial court, there is no evidence demonstrating that the current award will financially devastate the defendants," the court wrote in denying both requests.

The court cited Mutual Assurance, Inc. v Madden, 627 So. 2d 865 (Ala. 1993) as it related to settling bad faith claims. In this case, the court notes the victim's family attempted to settle the case within the $1 million policy limits before trial. The insurer refused but then attempted to settle for less than the limits during trial.

"[The adjuster] did indeed put MAG Mutual's insureds at risk for an excess verdict when, during the course of the trial, after hearing all the evidence from all the expert witnesses establishing that there were breaches of the standards of care, [the adjuster] elected instead to try to save his employer money while exposing its insureds to the likelihood of an explosive verdict that would far exceed the $1 million coverage limits."

Unfortunately, this case is far from unusual. In fact, it's typical. When choosing an Alabama personal injury or wrongful death law firm, it's important to select a firm with the knowledge, experience and resources to properly litigate your case.

Continue reading "Alabama Supreme Court Reaffirms $4M Wrongful Death Verdict in Boudreaux v. Pettaway" »

October 2, 2012

Alabama Traffic Accidents: Parents Behaving Badly

The number of car accident fatalities is up close to 10 percent, according to the first 7 month's of statistics for 2012.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that there were nearly 21,000 people who were killed in car accidents in the United States through July.
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Montgomery car accident attorneys understand that there were close to 500 car accident fatalities reported in the state of Alabama during this time. This number shows a 5 percent decrease from 2011, but a more than 10 percent increase from 2010 statistics.

Many of these accidents are the result of irresponsible drivers. It's not that drivers don't know how to drive. It's just that they choose not to do so safely. Also, teenage drivers account for a good portion of these accidents. Their inexperience behind the wheel makes them highly vulnerable to crashes.

That's why we're asking parents to make sure that their teenage drivers are getting the proper safe-driving education they need to ensure a lifetime of safe driving habits. Recent studies are showing that parents aren't setting a good, safe example and instead are too often teaching their kids by example what not to do behind the wheel.

According to Claims Journal, more than 65 percent of teenage drivers think that their parents are following different driving rules. The most recent study was conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). Researchers talked with more than 1,500 teens about their parents driving habits while they were in the car. These habits included speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while distracted and not wearing a seat belt in the vehicle.

What do Teens Notice About Parent Drivers?

-More than 90 percent are blabbing on a phone.

-More than 85 percent are not obeying the posted speed limit.

-Nearly 50 percent are driving without a seat belt.

-About 60 percent are sending and receiving text messages behind the wheel.

-Roughly 20 percent are drinking and driving.

-More than 5 percent are driving stoned.

With all of this dangerous driving behavior reported, parents still expect their young drivers to be safe and to follow all of the rules behind the wheel. It's the "do as I say, not as I do" theory, meaning parents can preach, but they don't often practice.

It's little wonder why our teens are in so many accidents. According to the study, 90 percent of them say they often talk on a cell phone while driving. Another 95 percent say they exceed the speed limit occasionally and about a third say that they don't need to wear their seat belt. About 80 percent text message behind the wheel, more than 15 percent say they've driven under the influence of marijuana and another 15 percent say that they've driven under the influence of alcohol.

"The best teacher for a teen driver is a good parental role model," said Stephen Wallace, senior advisory with SADD.

The last three months are typically the deadliest of the year. Many teens will be completing driver education and getting their license. And winter weather will combine with the holiday travel season.

Do your part and set a good example for your teen driver -- the life you save could be your own.

Continue reading "Alabama Traffic Accidents: Parents Behaving Badly" »


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