November 2012 Archives

November 28, 2012

Alabama Injury Attorneys Warn of Holiday Shopping Dangers

Since Thanksgiving officially kicks off the festive season, many people will be spending time at the mall over the next month, doing their holiday shopping. Buying gifts for your loved ones is supposed to be fun, but unfortunately, there are some risks associated with hitting the stores over the holidays.

Our Montgomery accident lawyers want to draw your attention to some of the biggest risks of holiday shopping so you can avoid these potential pitfalls. We also urge store owners, managers and employees to do their part in making the shopping experience safe since ultimately it is these commercial property owners who are responsible when something goes wrong. 864602_escalator_2.jpg

Holiday Shopping Dangers
Awareness is the first step to staying safe this holiday season, and there are many different risks that you should be alert to when you are buying gifts. For instance according to, Montgomery police warn crime prevention is important when making holiday purchases. Among other tips, police recommend you remain alert, carry minimal cash, use ATMs only in well-populated areas, avoid overloading yourself with packages, and check your vehicle carefully before entering.

While theft issues are often given a lot of attention during the holidays, these risks aren't the only ones that shoppers face. In fact, there are many potential hazards that can arise when shopping and cause injury. Dangers include:

  • Escalator and elevator accidents. America Now News cautioned readers that escalator accidents are becoming more common and warns that these accidents can be deadly. Each year, more than 10,000 people are hurt on escalators, 70 percent of whom are injured in falls.

  • Icy, wet or slippery floors. Winter weather combined with crowds of shoppers creates a recipe for disaster. Shoppers track ice and snow into stores where it melts and creates a serious fall risk.

  • Parking lots and stores with inadequate security. If a parking lot or store doesn't have a sufficient security presence, this creates a dangerous situation for patrons. Without adequate security, for example, you have a greater chance of being robbed in the store or when going out to your car. You also have a greater chance of being injured if a crowd gets out of hand and there are no security personnel present to do crowd control.

  • Improperly stocked merchandise. Stores may get busy over the holiday season and may not keep up when it comes to properly stocking shelves. There may be a lot of people putting items back on shelves where they don't belong, and stores may try to overfill their shelves so they don't run out of popular items. All of this creates a situation where there is a good chance that merchandise could fall and injure shoppers.

These are just some of the many potential risks that you can run into at a store or mall during the holiday season. Many of these risks are preventable if stores follow reasonable procedures to ensure their premise is safe for customers.

If a store fails in its obligation to make the premises safe, the store can be held liable for any injuries that shoppers experience. Shoppers who have suffered an injury should consider talking to a lawyer to find out if the store can be held responsible and to learn about what types of compensation may be available after an injury.

Continue reading "Alabama Injury Attorneys Warn of Holiday Shopping Dangers " »

November 22, 2012

Alabama Injury Attorneys Wish You a Safe Thanksgiving

Traveling to see your family over the Thanksgiving Holiday is a long-held tradition.

In fact, AAA reports that more people will be traveling this Thanksgiving than in the past. An estimated 43.6 million Americans are going to drive distances of 50 miles or more this holiday season.

Unfortunately, the increased number of people who are traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday creates an increased risk of auto accidents. Other factors during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend can also present dangers on the roads, including drivers who have celebrated with too much to drink. 661386_holiday_banquet.jpg

Because of the increased accident risks, our Montgomery accident attorneys want to urge every driver to exercise care this holiday season and to follow good safe driving practices to minimize the dangers.

The Risks of Driving Over Thanksgiving
The National Safety Council (NSC) provides some important information to drivers on the risks of Thanksgiving travel. According to their Thanksgiving Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimates:

  • Between 41,100 and 56,500 non-fatal injuries will be caused by auto accidents that occur during the 4.5 day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

  • The number of traffic deaths over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekends between 2005-2010 was 9.8 percent greater than the number of traffic deaths during other weekend periods.

  • In November of 2010, 13.76 percent of all monthly traffic fatalities occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend holiday.

  • In November 2005-2010, 15.3 percent of all November traffic deaths occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend.

For purposes of the NSC report, the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend is considered to last from 6:00 PM on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving (Nov 21 this year) until 11:59 PM on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Minimizing Your Auto Accident Risks During Thanksgiving
With so many more accidents occurring over the Thanksgiving holiday, smart drivers will take steps to minimize their risk of becoming involved in a crash. While there is never a guarantee that you'll always be able to avoid an accident, following these safe driving tips should help you to stay safe:

  • Plan for extra traffic due to the holiday and leave yourself enough time to get to your destination. You don't want to feel forced to speed because you are running late.

  • Whenever possible, avoid the areas where the traffic is likely to be the heaviest. This can include areas around shopping malls during the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping frenzy.

  • Never drive after drinking.

  • Refrain from distracted driving, including driving while on your cell phone.

  • Never drive when you are drowsy. Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

  • Whenever possible, avoid construction zones, which can increase the accident risk.

  • If you can, try to time your journey to hours when the roads are likely to be less crowded such as early in the morning before everyone has headed out to start their celebrations.

These safety tips should hopefully help you to reduce your risk of a Thanksgiving accident. Of course, sometimes an irresponsible or negligent driver will still manage to cause a crash even if you've done everything right. If this occurs, the negligent driver can be held responsible for losses and damage that he causes.

Continue reading "Alabama Injury Attorneys Wish You a Safe Thanksgiving" »

November 14, 2012

Montgomery Injury Lawyers Support Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

As we recently reported on our Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, early darkness brings its own set of risk factors -- and increases the likelihood of being involved in a serious or fatal accident.

Included is the risk of drowsy driving -- particularly as we head into the busy holiday shopping and travel season. Accordingly, the National Sleep Foundation has declared Nov. 12 to 18 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. 490062_night_traffic.jpg

Our Montgomery accident attorneys know exhausted drivers can be every bit as dangerous as those who are intoxicated behind the wheel. And a poll conducted by the foundation in March revealed professional drivers and pilots are not immune. In fact, about 1 in 4 pilots and train operators admitted to allowing sleepiness to affect their job performance at least once a week! Truck drivers had results nearly as bad.

The same group was at six times greater risk of being involved in an accident while commuting to or from work.

"Driving home from work after a long shift is associated with crashes due to sleepiness," says Dr. Sanjay Patel, a sleep researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "We should all be concerned that pilots and train operators report car crashes due to sleepiness at a rate that is six times greater than that of other workers."

Teen drivers are also at high risk.

"Young Americans are sleepy, and this affects their health and safety," says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. "It's important to get the word out that it's dangerous to drive drowsy. This could save thousands of lives."

The NSF estimates 1 in 6 fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver. About half of American drivers admit to having driven drowsy -- more than one-third acknowledge having done so in the past month.

Safety advocates now put the risk of driving drowsy on par with driving drunk. Those awake 20 hours or longer have reaction times similar to a driver with a blood-alcohol level of .08 and may be taking 3-4 second microsleeps without even realizing it.

Even when you are awake, driving at night can be quite dangerous. And the faster you drive, the less time you have to react. As the U.S. Department of Transportation reports, it's easy to outdrive your headlights. Low beams permit you to spot an object on the road about 160 feet in front of your vehicle. And most drivers need additional time to react. Total stopping distance for the average vehicle is more than 100 feet at 30 mph. It's nearly 200 feet at 40 mph.

At 70 mph, it takes nearly 500 feet to come to a complete stop.

The consequences of poor driving decisions are exacerbated after dark. So are the penalties for poor driving habits. Commit to yourself and to your family to make it a safe holiday season on the road.

Avoid distractions. Never drink and drive. Obey the rules of the road. Get plenty of rest. And wear your seat belt. Each can reduce your risk of being involved in a serious or fatal accident. Together we can make the roads safer for everyone.

Continue reading "Montgomery Injury Lawyers Support Drowsy Driving Prevention Week" »

November 7, 2012

Alabama Traffic Crashes: Darkness and Daylight Savings Time

With the recent end of Daylight Saving Time, we gained an extra hour of sleep, at the expense of an increased risk for car accidents. The time changed on the 4th of November at 2:00 a.m. when clocks rolled back to 1:00 am.

But with earlier nights, more drivers are forced to drive in low-light conditions -- conditions that make is tougher to see and avoid hazards. According to recent studies, the number of car accidents typically increase during that first Monday after Daylight Saving Time. Drivers beware!
"The Monday after the switchover we see more crashes than the Monday before or the Monday thereafter," said John Townsend of AAA.

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that 90 percent of our decisions made while driving are made based solely on what we see. Although there's about 60 percent less travel during the evening hours, about 40 percent of all car accidents occur during this time.

Why is nighttime driving so dangerous?

-You can't see as well. Visibility is greatly hindered at night. We become completely dependent on artificial sources of light to help us to move along. Unfortunately, our peripheral vision is not as good during this time of day either. The darkness also makes it tougher for us to see as much of the roadway, more difficult to gauge distances and tougher to detect movement.

-We're more likely to be tired. When you're tired, your concentration diminishes and your reaction time is delayed. Our internal clocks know when it's time to sleep, and for most of us that time is when it's dark out.

-Drunk drivers come out at night. According to recent studies, drunk driving accidents are most likely to occur during the evening hours. It's important to drive defensively during the evening hours to stay out of the way of these irresponsible drivers.

So how can I reduce my accident risks when driving at night?

-Limit your speed limit.

-Allow greater following distances from the vehicle in front of you.

-Avoid driving too much at night. Schedule longer drives for the daytime.

-Never drive for too long during the evening hours. Allow for plenty of breaks, snacks and stretching time. If you get too tired -- stop and rest! Never try to push through sleepiness behind the wheel.

-Try to stay on roads that are well-lit.

-If vehicles behind you are following too closely or if glare from their headlights is bothering you, pull over and allow them to pass you.

-Avoid driving during inclement weather conditions.

-Make sure your headlights are always on.

-Make sure your car is prepared, too! Clean the windows, the mirrors and your headlights to help increase visibility.

And most importantly, you need to pay more attention when driving at night. Many times, drivers don't "see" the dangers on the roadway so they drive as if they're not there. The truth of the matter is that the dangers are present and we need to drive accordingly. Good luck and be safe and cautious out there!

Continue reading "Alabama Traffic Crashes: Darkness and Daylight Savings Time" »

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