February 2013 Archives

February 22, 2013

Tuscaloosa 5-Year-Old Killed in Pedestrian Collision

A kindergartner was killed earlier this month when she and her older cousin were hit by a truck while crossing the street near their home. sign1.jpg

Our Tuscaloosa pedestrian accident attorneys are heartbroken for the family of this 5-year-old, who reportedly died at the hospital after being rushed there by the driver of the truck.

According to local police, the driver is not expected to be charged with a crime. News reports indicate that the driver was stopped at an intersection, then proceeded forward and immediately realized he had hit something. He stopped, realized he had struck both girls, loaded them both in his truck and called 911 as he raced to the hospital.

It's unclear at this point whether there is anything the driver could have done differently to have prevented this incident. The 14-year-old cousin later told investigators that she believed the driver of the truck had stopped for her and the younger girl, which is why she proceeded into the intersection.

She too was injured, though she is expected to make a recovery. In a testament to what a small world we live in, the driver of the truck actually knows the family of the girl who was killed.

While the investigation is still ongoing, it highlights the importance of teaching our children pedestrian safety from a very young age. We know it may not prevent injury or wrongful death in every case, but we have a responsibility to do the best we can to arm them with information that will prompt them to use caution around moving vehicles.

Safety advocates suggest the following:


  • When your child is still a toddler, begin teaching her that she must always hold an adult's hand when near the road and must never enter the road alone.

  • Explain to even young children the importance of paying attention to their surroundings when they are out walking - especially when crossing the street.

  • Make sure children know that they must always stop, look and listen before stepping into the street.

  • Teach your preschooler to stay on the sidewalk. If she is crossing, teach her to first stop, look both ways - twice - and listen closely for oncoming traffic. Walk school routes with them, and have them help you decide when it might be safe to cross the street.

  • Make it a general rule for your child to make eye contact with a driver at an intersection before crossing the street.

  • Instruct your children about crosswalk signs, and what each signal means. Teach her how to press the button and determine when it is safe and unsafe to cross.

  • Teach your child to look both ways even when the signal has given the go-ahead.

  • Make sure your child knows to be extra careful when walking past driveways, especially those that are obstructed or hidden. Same rules apply for crossing street corners and alleys.

  • Elementary school children should be taught about bicycle safety rules, as well as the basics of driving safety. They should have a basic understanding of what red, yellow and green lights mean and how they should react tho them as pedestrians.

Continue reading "Tuscaloosa 5-Year-Old Killed in Pedestrian Collision" »

February 17, 2013

Alabama Trucking Accident Risks Heightened By Bad Weather

A serious accident involving two 18-wheelers on I-459 in Hoover is under investigation by local authorities. dangeroustruck1.jpg

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys were amazed to learn that no one was hurt in the crash, though we weren't surprised to learn that yet another trucking accident had occurred on the highway.

Although it's not yet clear whether the weather was a factor in this crash, we do know that it occurred just two days after a huge swath of Northern Alabama was under a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service, with a mix of rain, sleet and snow causing particularly treacherous conditions on elevated roadways and bridges.

This is relatively common this time of year in our state. Although the southern half of the state is noted for its more tropical climate, Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile have been known to drop several degrees below freezing, and in some cases can see a foot or more of snow, according to to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All of this is compounded by the fact that winter brings shorter days and longer nights. Given that the majority of crashes occur after dark, this combination can be deadly.

Truckers can't be held responsible for the weather, obviously, but they can be held liable for a negligent reaction to it. They are (or should be) trained to know when road conditions or poor visibility requires them to slow down or even pull over. There are also industry-wide federal guidelines with regard to how much weight these vehicles can safely haul and how long of a stretch drivers can safely go before a dangerous level of fatigue begins to set in.

And yet, we continue to see serious crashes resulting from actions and behaviors that are entirely preventable.

It then becomes incumbent upon motorists who share the road with these large vehicles to take safety into their own hands. While you should always drive defensively and without distractions, this is doubly important in the midst of inclement weather and at night.

As you grab your keys and head out the door, keep these safety tips in mind:


  • Slow down and leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you find your wheels locking up, ease off the brake.

  • Make sure your lights are on.

  • Keep your windshield and lights clean.

  • Use your high beams whenever possible - just remember to dim them for oncoming traffic.

  • If the road is icy, refrain from putting the car in overdrive or cruise control.

  • Look away from headlights coming in your direction, as they can temporarily blind you.

  • Use extra caution on bridges, overpasses or roads less traveled. These will be the first to freeze.

  • Don't pass snow plows or sanding trucks.

  • If you suspect your vehicle may not be able to handle the road, stay home. Same goes if you think you might be too tired to drive.

Continue reading "Alabama Trucking Accident Risks Heightened By Bad Weather" »

February 10, 2013

Millions of Vehicles, Car Products, Recalled in 2012, Says NHTSA

Hundreds of recalls alerting consumers to millions of potentially defective vehicles and vehicle products were announced over the last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. carspeed.jpg

While it's good news that these products are no longer on the market, our Montgomery personal injury lawyers find it appalling that so many companies would put the public in harm's way. Manufacturers, even if they aren't aware of the risk they have posed, have a responsibility and an obligation to fully vet their products before making them available for sale. Vehicles are among the largest investments a family makes, and can take years to pay off. At a minimum, they should be free from defects that could result in serious or fatal injuries.

In addition to the vehicles themselves, the 650 recalls announced last year by those in the auto industry included some 60,000 items of vehicle equipment, which would include things like faulty child safety seats and unsafe tires. In all, the recalls affected nearly 18 million vehicles and vehicle-related products.

To put the scope of this into perspective, assuming no consumer was hit by two vehicle recalls in the same year, that would affect roughly 9.3 percent of licensed drivers, or roughly one out of every 10 you pass on the road.

Maybe it was you?

By far, the NHTSA rates the worst offenders as:


  • Toyota (12 recalls affecting more than 5.3 million vehicles);

  • Honda (16 recalls affecting more than 3.3 million vehicles);

  • General Motors (17 recalls affecting more than 1.4 million vehicles);

  • Fort Motor Company (24 recalls affecting nearly 1.4 million vehicles)

  • Chrysler Group (13 recalls affecting more than 1.3 million vehicles).


Other companies with a high number of recalls include BMW (15), Nissan (13), Daimler Trucks (21), Navistar (20), Prevost Cars (16), Blue Bird Body Company (12) and Ducati (10). Most other companies had under 10 recalls.

For Toyota, its recalls included problems with Prius models' steering intermediate extension shafts, which could suffer damage if a sharp turn was made at a slow speed. There was also an issue with the electric motor pumps that could result in a system failure during operation. In another model, there was also a power window problem that posed a fire risk.

Hondas recalls included a roll-away problem after drivers had removed the keys from the ignition. We know of at least two people who were injured as a result of this problem, including one person who suffered a broken leg after being run over by his van even though he had removed the key from the ignition.

General Motors' recalls included problems with fuel leaks - particularly in hot-weather states.

Ford - which had the distinction of the most recalls for 2012 - had to recall some 90,000 vehicles in one instance due to overheating that could spark a fire in two of its best-selling models. At least 13 vehicle fires were reported, though no one was hurt. Others involved a swatch of carpet that could block the gas pedal in its Escape models and others involved coolant leaks from the freeze plugs.

Finally, Chrysler's recalls involved the removal of more than 900,000 Jeeps with airbags that might deploy unexpectedly or without warning while the vehicle was being operated.

Continue reading "Millions of Vehicles, Car Products, Recalled in 2012, Says NHTSA" »

February 1, 2013

Alabama Car Accidents Surge on Super Bowl Sunday

The widely anticipated Super Bowl XLVII Sunday showdown of the San Francisco 49ers versus the Baltimore Ravens will kick-off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time. beer.jpg

Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers are expecting a great game. Unfortunately, we're also expecting a spike in DUI car accidents this weekend and into the early hours of Monday morning as well.

It's the most popular broadcast on television, with some 130 million American viewers tuning in live each year.

A 2003 study conducted by the researchers at the University of Toronto and published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined nationwide DUI crash statistics for nearly 30 consecutive Super Bowl games.

The study showed that overall, the number of crashes in the hour after the game ends jumps by nearly 70 percent.

Most people would say the reasons why are fairly simple: People drink alcohol when they watch football, and are sometimes irresponsible and get behind the wheel after doing so. This is true, but there are a number of other contributing factors as well. For example, the game doesn't typically end until late in the evening. Statistically, more crashes happen at night and this also contributes to driver fatigue. Additionally, there is a lot of "Monday morning quarterbacking" that goes on during the drive home - replaying all the what-if's and recounting all the best or most disappointing plays. This inevitably contributes to driver inattention.

This phenomena is more pronounced among fans whose team has just lost. In fact, researchers found that while DUI crashes rose by 68 percent in states where the home team lost, they increased by just 6 percent in states where the home team won. Overall "neutral" states saw an increase of about 50 percent.

In general, we know that alcohol is involved in nearly 40 percent of all fatal traffic accidents claiming the lives of 16 to 20-year-olds. Unfortunately, many professional football players aren't setting a prime example for these youth, with many recent headlines chastising the National Football League for its seemingly laissez faire attitude regarding numerous players arrested for drunk driving. USA Today sports writer Jarrett Bell scolded the agency saying it "should be ashamed of its weak DUI policy."

Law enforcement officials have known anecdotally for years that DUI crashes and arrests climbed significantly on Super Bowl Sunday, prompting them to organize checkpoints and roving patrols in an effort to nab offenders. This year will be no different. Alabama authorities have pledged to be out in full force.

Sadly, they won't catch everyone. We encourage all Super Bowl fans to consider the following before kick-off:


  • Before the party starts, designate a sober driver.

  • Pace your alcohol consumption by alternating with non-alcoholic drinks and eat plenty of food.

  • If it comes time to leave and you are drunk or buzzed without a designated driver, call a friend, call a taxi or stay where you are. Whatever you do, don't get behind the wheel.

  • If you see a friend about to drive drunk, intervene.

Continue reading "Alabama Car Accidents Surge on Super Bowl Sunday" »


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