September 21, 2012

Alabama Child Safety: Check Your Car Seat this Week

Buckle up your child. Every car ride. It could save their life.

State and federal safety advocates are sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week this week, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Officials with the NHTSA recently joined forces with Safe Kids in an effort to get more parents to properly buckle their kids into car seats during every car ride. According to recent studies, parents and guardians are making very common mistakes in using car seats. These surveys also noted that about 20 percent of parents fail to even pick up the instruction manual.
Montgomery injury lawyers understand that car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for kids under the age of 12 in the U.S. The most effective way to protect them in the event of an accident is to put them in the right child car seat and to use it the right way. To take it a step further, we're asking parents to visit one of the Child Car Seat Inspection Locations in Alabama to double check that their seats are being used correctly and that their children are buckled in the right way.

"The key to keeping kids safe is to make sure your child is in the right seat for their age and size - and to make sure that the seat is correctly installed in your vehicle," said U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood.

According to a new survey from the NHTSA, there are five serious mistakes that parents are making when buckling in kids.

Car Seat Mistakes:

-Parents are oftentimes using the wrong harness slots when installing these seats.

-Parents are not placing the chest clip properly over their child or they're not using the clip at all.

-Parents are installing these seats too loosely. They shouldn't be able to move more than an inch when properly buckled.

-Parents are leaving the harness too loose and are allowing too much slack between the child and the harness strap. There should be absolutely no slack when properly buckled.

-Parents are placing the seat belt improperly over the child. It should always rest over the stomach and never over the face or the neck.

Alarmingly enough, although 20 percent of drivers don't read the instruction manual and don't properly install these seats, about 90 percent of parents say that they're "very confident" in their ability to do so the right way. This is no time to take chances! Make sure that your child is properly buckled in the correct seat during each and every car ride. They can't do it themselves and they must rely on your good judgment to help keep them safe on the road!

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September 18, 2012

Drivers Behaving Badly in Alabama, Even With Stricter Laws

Bad driving just might be your fault.

According to Science Magazine, drivers who are likely to use a cell phone while driving might not be any safer when they don't have a phone in their hand.

A recent study in Accident Analysis & Prevention concluded that if you're willing to talk on a cell phone behind the wheel then you're likely to engage in other dangerous driving habits.
Our Montgomery car accident lawyers know just how dangerous it is to use a cell phone behind the wheel, especially when you use it to text message. Drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident while they're texting behind the wheel. What many safe-driving officials are puzzling over, however, is why anti-distracted driving laws aren't working to reduce the number of car accidents. Studies have shown that cell phone use by drivers has decreased significantly in states with these laws, but the number of car accidents has not shown a corresponding decline.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), only drivers who have an intermediate license, and have had it for less than six months, are prohibited from using a cell phone behind the wheel in Alabama. All drivers are banned from text messaging while driving. Still, these laws might not be reducing the risks of accidents like officials had hoped. Drivers are still driving dangerously even without a phone in their hand. There's little to no regard for safety out there!

"The fundamental problem may be the behavior of the individuals willing to pick up the technology," said Bryan Reimer, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The study determined that drivers who are likely to pick up a cell phone behind the wheel are also likely to engage in other dangerous driving habits on a regular basis. These habits include excessive accelerating and braking, speeding, unnecessary lane changes, tailgating and driving too fast for conditions. Officials think it might not be the phones that are causing these accidents, but the dangerous driving habits of drivers regardless of cell phone use.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that this study in spot on! Officials with AAA have recently conducted a survey that determined that many drivers are aware of the risks that are associated with dangerous driving behaviors, but neglect to do anything to change their own behavior behind the wheel. They continue to speed down our roadways with little to no concern for the risks associated with their driving habits.

It's clear that drivers know the difference between right and wrong. But the big question is why are drivers still behaving badly? We're asking everyone to focus on the importance of safe driving as we head into the fall travel season. Keep the phones out of the driver's seat and make sure to obey all road laws -- your life depends on it.

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September 10, 2012

Alabama Supreme Court's Due-Diligence Ruling Highlights Importance of Properly Identifying Negligent Parties

An August decision by the Alabama Supreme Court highlights the importance of properly identifying negligent parties in a personal injury lawsuit.

A thorough understanding of statute-of-limitations and other matters of law is equally critical. Your Montgomery personal injury attorney will often face off with the experienced legal counsel hired by insurance carriers, doctors and hospitals, where the focus is avoiding responsibility, limiting payouts and, when all else fails, endless delay. 1314902_medical_doctor.jpg

Dulin v. Northeast Alabama Regional Med. Ctr. is a case that has already made it to the state Supreme Court and back, despite the fact that it's not yet made it to trial.

After being admitted to the hospital in May 2005 for "crush injuries to the chest," George Dulin's tracheostomy tube became dislodged during a bath administered by the nursing staff. As a result, Dulin suffered from oxygen deprivation for an undetermined period of time. A medical malpractice case ensued, wherein Dulin and his wife sued the Center and 17 fictitiously named defendants (John Doe, Jane Doe, these are placeholders a plaintiff's attorney may use when filing a lawsuit in cases where the identities of the defendants -- in this case, doctors, nurses and hospital staff -- are unknown or unconfirmed).

Dulin's wife reportedly received a hospital review of the case a month after the incident. The file contained paperwork that purported to identify eight members of the Code Team involved in Dulin's care. When the lawsuit was later amended to include the names of defendants, three members of the team petitioned Calhoun Circuit Court for summary judgment.

Summary judgment requests the judge rule in favor of a party before trial or before all of the facts of a case are presented-- in this case by dismissing the lawsuit. In this case, the defendants raised a statute of limitations defense, arguing the amended version of the suit (which named them) was filed more than two years after the 2005 incident. They also argued the Dulins failed to exercise due-diligence in learning the nurses' identities.

However, the motion was denied by the trial court, prompting the nurses to file a writ of mandamus with the Alabama Supreme Court. A writ of mandamus essentially requests a review of a trial court's actions before the underlying matter has been settled. Latin for "we command," it seeks an order from a superior court requiring a subordinate court to take action (or refrain from action) as a matter of law.

Upon review of this case, the state Supreme Court found the law requires "ordinary" due diligence, not "extraordinary." As such, the court could not find that the Dulins failed the due-diligence test based on the prompt acquisition of the medical records, and the promptness of the substitution of those names in the lawsuit. As a result, the application for writ of mandamus was denied and the case was sent back to the trial court for additional proceedings.

You'll note we are 7 years down the road from the time of this incident. Given just the rudimentary facts of the case as outlined in the high court's opinion, it would seem the Dulins have a solid case for damages. The hospital and its insurers understand culpability is almost a foregone conclusion. This case will likely boil down to fiscal calculations, including cost of long-term care, calculation of career lost wages and other damages.

When choosing a personal injury or wrongful death law firm in Alabama, experience matters. You also need a firm with the resources to fight back, and to make sure your legal rights are protected at each stage of the process.

Continue reading "Alabama Supreme Court's Due-Diligence Ruling Highlights Importance of Properly Identifying Negligent Parties" »

August 31, 2012

Alabama Injury Lawyer: School Bus Safety Refresher

While National School Bus Safety Week doesn't start until mid-October, the start of the new school year marks an appropriate time to address the issue of school bus accidents. schoolbus.jpg

Alabama injury lawyers know they are far too common - and they are almost always preventable.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that more than 25 million children board some 475,000 school buses each year. In Alabama last school year, there were about 375,000 public school students riding the bus every day, with nearly half a million miles traveled collectively each day.

That's a lot of opportunity for accidents.

We know that there are relatively few child deaths due to school bus accidents (on average, about 8 per year), but more than 8,000 are injured. That's actually a fairly low estimate, as the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that more than 17,000 kids show up in hospital emergency rooms to be treated for school bus-related accidents.

Bus drivers can be responsible for child injuries when they slam on the brakes or turn corners too sharply.

However, the vast majority of accidents occur when kids are getting on and off the bus. In fact, kids are three times more likely to be fatally injured while outside or near the bus than while actually on it. There are a large number of child injuries that occur while students are walking to the bus stop or waiting for the bus. Children must often navigate busy roads, sometimes in the dark, to get to their stop.

It's possible in some cases that a driver simply may not see the child, but most injury-causing accidents occur because other drivers are impatient. They are more concerned about getting to their destination than the safety of our children. About 40 percent of school bus pedestrian accidents involve young children, primarily between the ages of 5 and 7, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Recognizing this, Alabama legislators enacted a measure in 2006 that requires vehicles attempting to pass a school bus to come to a complete stop when the bus displays its red flashing stop sign, indicating children are being picked up or dropped off. This applies to drivers moving in both directions, except when traveling in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Violation of this statute will result in a fine of $400, and second-time offenders will lose their license and have to perform 100 hours of community service.

Unfortunately, no penalty is going to prevent every driver from being careless around school buses. With that in mind, here are some ways your children can protect themselves from danger:

  • Always walk - never run - to the bus stop.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, if there is one. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left of the road, facing traffic, so that you can easily see vehicles coming toward you.
  • While at your bus stop, do not run and play. Wait in a safe place, away from the road.
  • When getting off the bus, make sure you take at least three giant steps away from the door. Stay away from the wheels of the bus and watch out for cars.
  • If you leave something on the bus, don't try to go back and get it. The driver may not see you trying to get in and could start moving before you've gotten all the way on.

Continue reading "Alabama Injury Lawyer: School Bus Safety Refresher" »

August 28, 2012

Montgomery Injury Lawyers Wishing a Safe Labor Day Weekend

Be ready for congested roadways and more accidents. According to AAA Travel, there's going to be a near 3 percent increase in the number of travelers over the Labor Day weekend in 2012 compared to the numbers in 2011. Last year, there were 32.1 million travelers over the long holiday weekend. This year, experts are predicting 33 million.
Our Montgomery car accident lawyers wish each of you a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. Traffic is expected to be fierce. Be patient and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

For statistical purposes, a Labor Day "traveler" is defined as someone who travels more than 50 miles from their home to their vacation destination. According to NBC 13, the Labor Day holiday weekend runs Thursday the 30th through Monday the 3rd. During this time, drivers are asked to be safe and alert on our roads. More travelers equates to higher risks for accidents.

There may have been a recent hike in gas prices and the economy is still struggling a bit, but that's not stopping travelers. Since this time last year, gas prices are up nearly 15 cents a gallon. But the last of the trio of summer holidays is expected to be plenty busy.

Auto travelers will be accounting for nearly 90 percent of holiday travelers. That means that more than 28 million Americans are expected to jump behind the wheel and head out for that much-needed time away from work. It's important to understand the risks that accompany a road trip. You want to make sure that you inspect your vehicle before heading out to help ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"It is an encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel," said Bill Sutherland, with AAA Travel Services. "Travel is still within America's discretionary spending budget."

According to a recent travel survey, drivers are going to be taking a little longer trip than normal, too. The average distance of this year's Labor Day trip is just over 625 miles, compared to about 605 miles in 2010.

Travelers are expected to be spending more on their trip this year, too. The median holiday funds are expected to total close to $750, according to Fox Business. That's up from just $700 in 2011.

Regardless of where you're going or how much you're spending, you're urged to keep safety a number one priority. The streets are going to be congested. Practice your safest driving habits and stay sober behind the wheel to help to keep you and your passengers safe over this long holiday weekend.

We're especially talking to those who plan on drinking. During this time of the year, drunk driving accidents are common. To help to stop these accidents before they happen, law enforcement officers in the state of Alabama and across the nation will be pushing the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" anti-drunk driving campaign. In 2010, there were more than 150 people killed over the Labor Day weekend. Drunk driving car accidents accounted for about 40 percent of these accidents.

Stay safe and enjoy the weekend responsibly. Happy Labor Day!

Continue reading "Montgomery Injury Lawyers Wishing a Safe Labor Day Weekend" »

August 19, 2012

Smart Consumers Carefully Review Alabama Auto Insurance Policies

Guys pay more for car insurance. It's just a fact of life. Generally speaking, men get into more accidents and get more traffic citations than women. As drivers age, the gap in these costs start to close, but never quite make it back to even, with men always paying more than women.
When it comes down to it, insurers know that they're going to have to dish out more for their male clients than their female clients, according to Yahoo News.

Our Montgomery accident attorneys understand that no one really wants to deal with an insurance agency after a car accident. It can oftentimes be quite the headache just to gain the compensation that you know you deserve. You always need a lawyer when dealing with an insurance company in the wake of accident that result in serious or fatal injury. Even when dealing with your own company after an accident.

Sometimes it seems as though you need an attorney just to choose a policy! The male-female issues is just one example. According to a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), male drivers were involved in about 18 million more accidents than female drivers during 2000 through 2009.

During this time, women not only got into fewer accidents, but they were also involved in less DUI issues and were cited by law enforcement officials less often. Male drivers are more likely to speed and to engage in other dangerous driving habits behind the wheel, and insurance companies know this and they're not granting any mercy.

So how can men work to lower their coverage rates? One of the easiest things is to age. That's right! All a driver has to do is reach their 25th birthday and they're automatically granted lower rates. Men who are over the age of 25 are typically safer drivers and are involved in fewer accidents. Experts say that this decrease is the result of driving experience and maturity.

Change might be on its way though. Women are starting to engage in more dangerous driving behaviors behind the wheel now. This is partially because there are more female drivers. Years ago, you would typically only find females in the passenger seat while they allowed their male counterpart to drive. That's not to much the case anymore.

"In 1963, 40 million motorists in the U.S. were women. Today, more than 88 million women are licensed drivers, almost half of all motorists in the U.S.," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Male or female, insurance companies can be tough to deal with. Oftentimes, they're thinking in business terms and not in your best interest. If you're dealing with you insurance company after an accident, make sure you get in touch with an experienced attorney to help you to fight for your rights.

In general, you should choose coverage limits as high as you can afford. Often, substantial additional coverage limits are available for a modest increase in premium. In the wake of an accident, motorists with $100,000 or $200,000 in coverage are going to be in a much better position than those whose policies provide legal minimums.

You may also be eligible for a number of discounts, including low-mileage discounts; early payment discounts; discounts for anti-lock brakes, airbags and anti-theft devices; and discounts for bundling your insurance policies. In today's online Internet marketplace, comparison shopping can be difficult. Seeking the advice of an agent may result in making a better purchasing decision.

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August 9, 2012

Alabama Work Zones and Summer Risks for Traffic Accidents

There were nearly 3,000 car accidents in highway work zones in the state of Alabama in 2010. In these accidents, there were nearly 850 injured and more than 20 killed. These numbers were significantly higher than the previous year. What's most alarming about these accidents is that most all of them are completely preventable. Car accidents in work zones are most commonly the result of speeders, distracted drivers and drunk drivers.
"Most work zone crashes can be avoided if drivers slow down, pay attention and don't drive while impaired," says John R. Cooper, director of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that the summer season is prime-time work season for road construction. Crews take advantage of the clear, warm weather and work to help to make roads safer for travelers. The problem is that drivers aren't doing their job to help to make these construction zones safe for everyone.

Experienced drivers may feel lulled into a false sense of security when driving through road-construction zones. The truth of the matter is that serious and fatal traffic accidents are common in construction zones.

"Always be aware and alert that the situation could change at any time with construction equipment or construction workers," ALDOT Spokesperson Rebecca White said.

To help to keep everyone safe through Alabama's work zones, officials with ALDOT offer you the following safe driving tips for road construction areas:

-Always obey road flaggers. They're there to help you to navigate your way through a work zone as safely and as efficiently as possible. Flaggers know what is best for moving traffic safely and have the same authority as a sign. You can be cited for disobeying their directions.

-Stay alert at the wheel and minimize distractions. Keep your hands off the radio, stay off your phone and avoid other distractions during this time.

-Stay up with traffic flow. Don't slow down to "gawk" at road work equipment and crews.

-Plan accordingly. Schedule yourself enough time to deal with the delays of work zones.

-Stat calm. Work zones aren't there to inconvenience you. They're there to help to make traveling safer and more efficient for you.

-Always expect the unexpected. These aren't normal driving conditions. Be ready to react. Look out for dangers from roadside workers, roadside equipment, other motorists and even bicyclists and pedestrians.

-Avoid changing lanes in work zones. Get in the lane that you need to be in as soon as possible, before you enter into the work zone.

Alabama AGC is working to get companies and resident drivers to make a pledge and commit to participate in a Safety Stand Down. This pledge is to help to get drivers to be more aware and cautious through our state's work zones.

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July 30, 2012

Defective Product Injuries in Alabama: Make Checking CPSC Recall List a Habit

Parents and guardians are urged to stay up to date on the most recent product recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). All too often, we forget to check out this important information and face the risks of injury as a result of a dangerous or defective product marketed to consumers.

Every day, more and more products are placed on the recall list after accidents or reported injuries are sustained. Consumers can help protect against defective product injuries by checking the government's monthly recall list on a regular basis -- just like the batteries in your smoke detector. You'd be surprised how likely it is that you have a dangerous or recalled product in your household and quite possibly in the possession of your child.
Our Montgomery personal injury attorneys are here to help, whether it's warning of dangerous products in the household, or assisting with litigation in the wake of an accident. Knowledge and awareness are the first steps to helping to keep your family safe. Here are some of the latest recalls from the CPSC:

Chicco Polly High Chairs:

Nearly 500,000 of these chairs are being recalled in the United States and another 31,000 in Canada because children can fall on the pegs on the back of the chair. This poses a bruise and laceration hazard for these young users. There have already been more than 20 reports of injuries. If you have one of these chairs, you're urged to contact Chicco to get more information on receiving your free peg cover kit. Call the company at (800) 807-8817.

Downeast Concepts' Children's Beach Chairs:

More than 15,000 of these chairs have been recalled because they have exposed, sharp metal rivets that pose serious laceration hazards to young children. The chairs were sold in purple, blue, yellow and pink. There have already been injury reports submitted. If you have one of these chairs, the company is offering a full refund. Call (800) 343-2424 for more details.

Toddler Girl Aqua Socks by Old Navy:

There are nearly 35,000 pairs of aqua socks that Old Navy is recalling These socks have less traction when worn on wet or smooth surfaces such as hardwood or tile, creating a slip and fall hazard. There have already been two accident and injury reports submitted. The style number 896452 is involved in this recall. If your child has a pair of these socks, discontinue use and take them to any Old Navy store to get a full refund.

Troxel's Flexible Flyer Swing Sets:

Nearly 101,000 swing sets in the U.S. and another 5,000 in Canada are being recalled because the seats can break away from the bolt fasteners during use, posing a fall hazard. There have already been more than 1,230 accident reports filed, with nearly 15 injury reports. There are more than 10 models of swing sets that have the seesaw attachment impacted by the recall. If you have one of these sets, call the company at (888) 770-7060 for a free repair kit.

Continue reading "Defective Product Injuries in Alabama: Make Checking CPSC Recall List a Habit" »

July 23, 2012

Faulty Warning System Reportedly Causes Railroad Crossing Accident in Huntsville

A recent railroad crossing accident in Huntsville left one injured. The accident was between a railroad maintenance vehicle and a pickup truck at the crossing near Jordan Road and Moores Mill Road.

Huntsville police report that that the occupant of the rail maintenance vehicle, owned by the North Alabama Railroad Museum, was injured in the accident. According to Sgt. Clay Warmbrod, both vehicles were railroad vehicles and both had to be towed from the scene. Both were heading to the museum when the crash happened.

It all happened just before 10:30 a.m. as a pickup truck was heading south and was hit by the railroad vehicle and tow-vehicle, which were operating on the tracks. A man in the railroad vehicle was ejected during the collision. He is currently in the Huntsville Hospital and was last listed in serious condition. According to Alabama Live, the warning lights at the railroad crossing were not on or working when the accident happened.
The vehicle that was hit in the accident is referred to as a "speeder." It's used to maintain the tracks and right of way, said Hugh Dudley with the North Alabama Railroad Museum. It had broken down and was being towed back to the museum. Dudley also confirmed that the warning lights at this railroad crossing do not work.

Warning devices at railroad crossings are there to help to eliminate the risks of these kinds of accidents. Unfortunately, there are thousands of accidents that happen at these kinds of crossings each and every year. In most cases, it's a train that slams into a passenger vehicle crossing the tracks, with devastating results.

When approaching a railroad crossing, drivers are to yield appropriately to the right of way. It's just like approaching a highway intersection. The only difference here is that the opposing traffic, or the train, must only rarely yield the right of way to the other motor vehicle. That's because it's virtually impossible. Drivers like you and I have the ability to steer and to brake somewhat easily. Trains can't alter their path or stop as easily. Train operators are restricted to moving their trains down a fixed path, and changes in speed can only be accomplished much more slowly. For this reason, motorists must be on the lookout when approaching these areas.

And accidents at railroad crossings are an ongoing risk as the railroad infrastructure ages. In 2009, there were nearly 10,000 train accidents. There were nearly 650 people killed and another 7,000 injured in these accidents. More than 95 percent of these accidents happened at either highway-rail crossings or during trespassing. There were more than 220 accidents that involved a motor vehicle and a train. In these incidents, more than 190 were killed.

Unfortunately, track defects and faulty warning systems are some of the top causes for these kinds of accidents. With the lack in funding, most rail companies don't renovate tracks that need attention until it's too late -- or until after a major accident happens.

Continue reading "Faulty Warning System Reportedly Causes Railroad Crossing Accident in Huntsville" »

July 17, 2012

Couch v. Red Roof Inns, Inc. & Contributory Negligence in Alabama

The Georgia Supreme Court recently ruled a property owner could share blame with criminal defendants in a negligent security claim.

Couch v. Red Roof Inns, Inc., in a negligent security claim stemming from a violent attack at a hotel. The court found apportioning damages between the property owner and criminal assailant would not violate the victim's Constitutional rights of due process and equal protection. The court also found it permissible to provide jury instructions and a special form requiring such a division of blame. 1336316_sign.jpg

Premise liability claims in Montgomery can be brought as a result of a variety of incidences or accident claims, including slip and fall accidents, dog bites and swimming pool injuries. A negligent security claim alleges the business or property owner was not diligent in protecting customers and invited guests from a foreseeable criminal attack.

In this case, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit after suffering a violent criminal attack by unknown criminal assailants.

"The statutory scheme is designed to apportion damages among "all persons or entities who contributed to the alleged injuries or damages," the court wrote. The purpose of the tortfeasors, the court said, is for the jury to decide which entities shared liability for a victim's injury, so that their respective responsibilities can be determined. A determination on the fault of the plaintiff, may then reduce the award by a corresponding percentage.

Georgia's high court rejected a number of arguments from the plaintiff's, including that appropriation would nullify the obligation of property owners to keep their premises safe and to avoid the consequences of actions or inactions; and that the property owner should be held responsible as an accomplice to the crime, just as criminal law often holds accomplices responsible for an entire course of criminal conduct.

A negligent security claim in Alabama may result when a residential landlord, hotel owner, bar owner, concert promoter or other defendant is accused of facilitating a criminal attack through negligence. Parking lot assault, rape, robbery, or mugging may fall beneath the umbrella of negligent security. Under Georgia law, victims who are more than 50 percent responsible cannot collect damages.

While Georgia premise liability law does not directly apply in Alabama, our state is one of only five jurisdictions that recognize pure contributory negligence in auto accident cases. Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia also recognize contributory negligence in auto accidents. The law permits a victim to be assigned partial blame in the event of a crash.

As a practical matter, this means seeking experienced legal advice is a critical first step in the immediate aftermath of a traffic collision or an injury sustained on someone's property. Documenting the scene, collecting witness statements, taking pictures and beginning an early investigation can be the determining factor in whether you are ultimately forced to share blame.

Time can be of particular importance when dealing with a premise liability claim, as property owners and managers often quickly repair dangerous conditions in the wake of a serious or fatal accident.

Continue reading "Couch v. Red Roof Inns, Inc. & Contributory Negligence in Alabama " »

July 10, 2012

Motorcycle Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere Still High Despite Overall Fatality Reductions

According to the most recent traffic statistics, the number of motorcycle accidents in Montgomery and elsewhere in the state has not budged. There has been little to no progress made in the reduction of these accidents and these fatalities. According to Alabama Live, the state reports that about 10 percent of all traffic accident fatalities were of motorcyclists from 2008 through 2011.
In 2011, there were nearly 1,000 highway fatalities in the state of Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. About 100 of these traffic fatalities, or a little more than 10 percent, were motorcyclists. These accidents affect riders of all ages, too. One of the youngest motorcycle riders killed in these accidents was a 9-year-old. There were also 71- and 75-year-old victims.

Our Montgomery motorcycle accident attorneys understand that the number of traffic accident fatalities in the state started to dip in 2008, but the number of riders killed has remained stubbornly high nationwide. Officials with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report riding accidents have been on the rise for more than a decade.

The truth of the matter is that drivers aren't paying attention to these two-wheeled motorists and they're in trouble because of it. They're oftentimes overlooked on our roadways because of their small size. Although they may be smaller motorists, they still have the same rights to our roadways as you and I.

Safe driving advocates with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offer some safe driving tips to motorcyclists along with a number of courses for motorcycle safety. One of the closest locations to participate in these courses is at the University of Montevallo.

Throughout the summer travel season, we see a significant increase in the number of motorcyclists on our roadways. With the summer weather, riders get to dust off their helmets and hit the open road. Unfortunately, the increase in motorcycle riders brings about increased risks for traffic accidents. Motorcyclists are urged to be safe and cautious out there. Staying alerts and practicing defensive driving habits may be one of the most effective ways to stay out of an accident.

Motorcycle Safety Tips:

-Never travel in a driver's blind spot.

-Make yourself as noticeable as possible.

-Always use your blinker and make your movements in traffic as predictable as possible.

-Wear brightly-colored clothing to help other motorists to see you.

-Always expect the unexpected. Oftentimes drivers are not paying attention at the wheel. Be ready for their mistakes.

-Never assume that a driver sees you.

-Slowdown in inclement weather.

-Keep an eye on your speed.

-Wear a helmet. It's one of your best defenses against injury and death in the event of an accident.

-Wear other protective gear, like gloves and a jacket.

Continue reading "Motorcycle Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere Still High Despite Overall Fatality Reductions" »

June 30, 2012

Montgomery Personal Injury Attorneys Wish You Happy Fourth of July!

Our Montgomery injury attorneys wish you a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.

The risk for Alabama traffic accidents will remain high all week. The Birmingham News reported record numbers of travelers are expected to hit the road through the upcoming weekend. In fact, with Fourth of July falling in the middle of the week, the rush has already started -- significant numbers are expected to hit the roads over the weekend and through the first part of the week. 1375076_fireworks.jpg

The long holiday week is one reason AAA is forecasting a record number of travelers. Some 40 million will hit the road Friday, accounting for about 25 percent of holiday travel. About half of all travelers will hit the road Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Alabama Highway Patrol plans a statewide enforcement blitz beginning Wednesday July 4 and continuing on through the weekend.

"We urge motorists to focus on the road (and not cell phones and other distractions) and to obey all traffic laws, said trooper spokeswoman Robyn Litchfield. "We want people to buckle up, avoid drinking and driving and pay attention to speed limits."

The National Safety Council estimates 173 motorists will die this year in holiday traffic accidents. The defined holiday travel period is Tuesday at 6 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. More than 17,000 will be injured. That is an increase of 50 percent compared to a non-holiday period.

Alabama fireworks accidents are also a concern. The National Fire Protection Association reports more than 8,000 people are treated each year in U.S. emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. Injuries to the hands, arms, face and eyes are most common.

The Birmingham News reported fireworks sparked 20 fires in Birmingham last year, injuring 8 people and causing some $80,000 in damages. City ordinance prohibits firing firearms or fireworks in the city limits and is punishable by a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail.

The United Eye Injury Register reports 400 Americans suffer permanent vision loss in fireworks accidents each year. About half of injury victims are children. Frequently, it's bystanders who are injured. This can also be true at professional shows when debris rains into the crowd or onlookers are otherwise injured.

Swimming pool accidents, boating accidents and drowning are also primary threats through the height of summer -- particularly around the trio of summer holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

More than 3,500 people a year die in unintentional drowning accidents. Please remember to pay special attention to children, even when lifeguards are present. Teach your child never to swim alone. Always use approved life jackets and flotation devices. And celebrate responsibly.

Lastly, authorities remind you to get plenty of water. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious threats as the country simmers beneath a summer heatwave. These illnesses can result in extreme rise in body temperature and may be life-threatening. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat illness, move them into the shade and contact emergency medical assistance.

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June 19, 2012

Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere Taking Innocent Lives

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released brand new statistics regarding alcohol-related car accidents in Montgomery and elsewhere.

The newest statistics are from 2010 and they again point to drunk driving as the leading cause of motor-vehicle fatalities. These kinds of accidents account for about 30 percent of all fatal car accidents nationwide year after year yet they're all completely preventable.

In 2010, drunk driving-related accidents took the lives of nearly 10,500 people, many of them completely innocent. In a drunk driving car accident, at least one driver returned a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
We saw a near 5 percent decrease in these kinds of accidents from 2009 to 2010, but safe driving officials aren't hanging their hopes on these numbers. Our Montgomery car accident attorneys understand that the summer travel season is here and so are the increased risks for accidents.

During this time, more and more motorists will be hitting our roadways and visiting with friends and family members and making their way to their vacation destinations. Unfortunately, many of these destinations involve family gatherings, parties and alcohol. With more motorists on our roadways we have higher risks for an accident.

In 2010, someone was killed in an alcohol-impaired-driving accident every 51 minutes. Every state in the country has by law created a threshold making it illegal per se to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. Of the near 10,500 people who were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in 2010, nearly 70 percent were drivers who had a BAC of .08 or higher.

There are innocent people who are killed in these kinds of accidents, too. Of the remaining 3,000 people who were not the intoxicated drivers, about 30 percent were motor vehicle occupants and another 10 percent were nonoccupants.

These accidents can also impact children. In 2010, there were more than 1,200 children under the age of 15 who were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents. More than 60 percent were occupants of a vehicle with a drunk driver, more than 10 percent were pedestrians who were hit by a drunk driver. Of all of the kids who died throughout the year, more than 15 percent were killed in these kinds of accidents.

In the state of Alabama, there were nearly 900 people who were killed in car accidents in 2010. Of these fatalities, nearly 315, or close to 40 percent, were the result of alcohol-related car accidents. All of these accidents could have been prevented and the victims could be here with us today if drivers were a little bit more responsible behind the wheel and made alternative plans to get home and stayed out of the driver's seat after consuming alcohol.

Continue reading "Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere Taking Innocent Lives" »

June 13, 2012

Sleepiness Causing Car Accidents in Montgomery

Drivers know the dangers of drinking and driving, but does anyone know the real dangers associated with driving while sleepy? The answer is no. Most people overlook the dangers that are associated with drowsy driving.

According to a recent study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, there's virtually no difference between driving drunk and driving while sleepy, both have alarmingly high risks for car accidents in Montgomery and elsewhere.
The recent study examined the accidents of nearly 700 people who were hospitalized between 2007 and 2009. The findings illustrate that drunk driving and drowsy driving were equally dangerous.

Researchers concluded that both young drivers and male drivers were the ones who were most likely to drive while sleepy. But everyone else isn't off the hook. Drivers of all ages are hopping behind the wheel without enough sleep and the safety of motorists nationwide is at risk because of it.

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that residents are spending more time on the roadways during this time of the year. It's the summer travel season and it's dangerous out there. More and more motorists are hitting the streets and setting out on their summer vacations. With a higher volume of traffic, risks for accidents increase. When you throw drowsy drivers into the mix, the risks are even higher. Every year, thousands are killed in these kinds of accidents. And officials believe there are more accidents that result from drowsy driving than are actually reported. The problem is that it's difficult to determine if a driver was drowsy during an accident as there's no way to test for it, like a breathalyzer tests whether or not a driver was drunk.

"Anytime you're feeling sleepy behind the wheel is a danger sign," said Christopher Drake, with the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center.

A number of studies have determined that just four hours of sleep loss is the same as if a driver was to drink an entire six pack. If a driver loses a whole night of sleep, that's equivalent to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.19.

Drivers are warned! Be safe and stay awake behind the wheel. Make sure that you get plenty of sleep before heading out. If you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel, it's very important for you to stop driving. You're recommended to either switch drivers with an alert passenger or to pull over and take a rest. You never want to power through your tiredness behind the wheel. It's a recipe for disaster.

Continue reading "Sleepiness Causing Car Accidents in Montgomery" »

June 5, 2012

Swimming Pool Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere Likely through Summer

The summer is here and it's time to pack away those jackets and scarfs and pull out the swim trunks and the pool toys!

It's also time to be on the lookout for swimming pool dangers and to take the proper safety precautions to help to eliminate the risks of swimming pool accidents in Montgomery and elsewhere. Drownings and other pool-related accidents are in fact 100 percent preventable when the proper safety precautions are taken.
During this time of the year, we see the highest risks for these kinds of accidents. We all need to keep an eye on our children especially. It's our young ones that face the highest risks for fatal pool accidents during the summer season. As a matter of fact, about 20 percent of drowning-related accidents occur to residents who are under the age of 15-years-old. For every child who suffers a fatal drowning accident, another 5 are sent to the emergency room for related injuries. Luckily, there are some safety steps that we can all take to help to reduce these risks. Our Montgomery child injury attorneys are here to share that information with you and help to keep everyone safe during this year's summer season.

From 2000 to 2009, there were nearly 4,000 fatal drowning accidents that happened in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This doesn't even count boating accidents. It's most important that we keep an eye on our youngest children. Kids between the ages of 1- and 4-years-old have the highest swimming pool-related accident rates. In 2009, of the young ones who died from an unintentional injury, about a third of them died in drowning-related accidents.

What can help to keep our little ones safe near the pool?

-Consider swimming lessons. Kids who are, and have been, enrolled in swimming lessons have a smaller change of drowning. Unfortunately, most young ones don't have formal swim training.

-Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When seconds matter, this is going to be your life-saving tool. When CPR is performed by bystanders, the chances of surviving increase dramatically.

Tips to help keep you safe in the water:

-Always supervise young ones near a pool.

-Always use the buddy system. Never allow anyone to swim alone.

-Learn to swim. Make sure everyone in your household has undergone professional swim training.

-Remember that floating toys are not a substitute for safety devices.

-Never swim and drink alcohol. The two don't mix and can produce deadly results.

-Know about the weather conditions before scheduling your pool party.

-Consider installing a four-sided fence if you have small children in your home.

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