Articles Posted in Car Accident

Even after their defective airbags resulted in a series of recalls and several deaths, officials at Japanese manufacturer Takata reportedly falsified testing information to representatives at Honda, the company’s largest buyer. honda1

That’s according to internal documents obtained recently by  The New York Times, via the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Legislators say this points to a pattern of lies by the company – even well after the seriousness of the airbag defect issue was widely known.

Testing at issue involved a newer component design. Although it did not go into production, as it was considered experimental, engineers at the North American branch of the firm said they were under intense pressure from headquarters to move forward with this new design, even as they staunchly believed it was most likely to fail.  Continue reading

A jury in Mobile recently assigned guilt to a man behind the wheel of a pickup truck involved in a fatal crash in 2014. The collision killed a 24-year-old Mississippi woman. Defendant, 23, reportedly looked down at his phone for just a few seconds before looking back up to realize the vehicle in front of him had stopped. He swerved to avoid a rear-end collision, but ended up striking another pickup head-on, causing the second truck to roll and ejecting its driver.driver

Prosecutors say he was “fixated” on his smartphone at the time of the wreck. reports that in the 1 hour 25 minutes before the crash – the whole time of which he was driving – defendant reportedly checked instant messages, looked at dating site profiles, accessed Facebook and Twitter and updated his own dating site profile. The last time he accessed his phone, records show, was 32 seconds before the 911 call about the wreck.

This kind of situation is not uncommon. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports every single day in this country, 9 people die and another 1,153 are seriously injured in distracted driving crashes. And yet, last year when the Alabama legislature had the chance to expand its anti-texting law to encompass other forms of driving distraction, it declined to do so. The bill would have banned not just texting, but personal grooming, reading, writing, interacting with pets or engaging in any action that prevents a driver from devoting necessary attention to driving.

But, there is some good news, auto manufacturers are taking action. In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), vehicles equipped with front-end crash prevention are far less likely to rear-end other vehicles. Rear-end collisions in Alabama are among the most common types of distracted driving crashes.  Continue reading

The vast majority of car accident lawsuits settle out-of-court. That means before the case goes to trial, both sides collaborate to reach a fair conclusion. The defendant(s) agree to pay a certain amount, and plaintiffs agree to release those defendants from future liability. caraccident7

Even if you have no intention of taking your case to court, you will need an experienced injury lawyer to help walk you through this process. One of the many reasons is the language of that settlement agreement can contain a few costly pitfalls.

That was the case in the recent medical malpractice lawsuit of Gores v. Miller, which was filed subsequent to a car accident settlement signed on behalf of an injured 15-year-old girl.  Continue reading

Tailgating is an important part of football culture in Alabama and across the country.beerplastic

These events can get rowdy, and there’s always a risk of possible injury. The University of Alabama has a host of tailgating rules to improve safety that include everything from  notices regarding proper electricity use on “The Quad” to limits when bringing dogs and other pets to such events. What they do not ban, unlike a growing number of schools: Beer kegs.

Among those schools corking the kegs on game day: Penn State, Arizona State, Michigan State, University of North Texas and The Ohio State University.

In Connecticut, Yale University has also banned kegs at tailgate events, an action that stems from a very specific – and tragic – event. In 2011, at the popular Yale-Harvard match-up, a fraternity brother driving a U-Haul packed with kegs on his way to tailgate with his “brothers” plowed into a row of pedestrians crossing the street. One of them, a 30-year-old artist and fashion designer, was killed.  Continue reading

No injury lawsuit can proceed until service of process has been properly made on the defendant. That means defendant has been properly notified of the litigation. Service of process is the way in which courts establish personal jurisdiction, which is required in every lawsuit. In fact, it is only after a plaintiff obtains proper service on defendant that the court obtains the jurisdiction over defendant to impose an enforceable judgment of liability and damages. airbag

So it’s a critical step. But it’s not always simple one, and it can be the source of major delays – or even dismissals – if it isn’t done right.

Rules for service of process are outlined in Rule 4 of Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. This provision outlines the fact that the service of summons and complaint has to be made to defendant within 120 days of filing the complaint, or else the court may dismiss the action without prejudice. The only exception would be plaintiff could show good cause for the failure or if plaintiff is granted an extension. There are stipulations for who may accept the summons, who may not and where it must take place. Continue reading

Sometimes in personal injury law, it becomes necessary to initiate litigation against people you love or care about. The goal is not necessarily to collect money from that individual, but rather to obtain compensation from his or her insurance company.motorbike

Because insurance companies cannot be named as defendants in injury lawsuits until liability has been established, one must name the insured. Sometimes, that individual is someone to whom plaintiff is close.

Many times, those sparring in the courtroom retain no ill feelings outside the doors. What takes place is a formality that allows the injured person to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Plaintiff must show defendant owed a duty of care to plaintiff and then breached that duty, causing plaintiff’s injury. Continue reading

In Alabama auto accident injury cases, the purpose is to compensate victims for actual losses caused by the defendant. A substantial part of that typically involves payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred by the injured party as a result of defendant’s negligence. caraccident1

These medical bills have to be authenticated and there has to be competent medical testimony as to the necessity of those treatments. In some states, defendants can benefit from certain write-offs or adjustments that are deducted from the medical provider’s charges due to insurance contractors. However in Alabama, we follow the collateral source rule, which states benefits received by plaintiff from a wholly independent source (i.e., the insurance company), shouldn’t diminish the damages otherwise recoverable by the wrongdoer. So payments or credits received by a third-party payor aren’t credited against defendant’s liability.

California, where the case of Uspenskaya v. Meline was recently heard by the Third Appellate District in Sacramento, allows collateral source evidence as well, but there are some exceptions. Continue reading

Legislative action is planned again for next year to reintroduce a state measure that would quantify the legal amount of drugs allowable in a driver’s system.

The bill was introduced in the 2015 session as S.B. 162. As it was written for the last session, there would be further definition of the term “under the influence” in Ala. Code 32-5A-191 that would specify and prohibit “measurable amounts of specific substances in a person’s body.”

The action would also require minimum mandatory sentences for fourth or subsequent violations and would remove the requirement that a prior conviction would need to occur within the last five years in order to be considered. The law would state that it would be illegal to drive under the influence of any substance or substances that would render him or her incapable of safely driving.

Most crashes occur because a driver made a mistake. However, sometimes, the way the roadway or traffic is designed or constructed can play a role in either causing an accident or amplifying the severity. carbridge.jpg

In such cases, car accident victims may be able to secure compensation from the public agency responsible, and potentially from contractors who may have worked with that agency on the project.

In the case of Logan v. Miss. Dept. of Transportation, the issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court was whether there were sufficient issues of material fact for plaintiffs to proceed with their claim that a defective repair of a bridge caused them to spin out-of-control and suffer injuries. The court ruled there was, and that a statement by the couple’s daughter-in-law regarding a conversation she had with transportation department officials at the scene of the crash was admissible in court – even though the workers hadn’t been authorized by their employer to make those statements.

Here’s what happened, according to court records:

Plaintiffs – husband and wife – were driving over a bridge that had recently undergone repairs. As they approached, there were no warning lights or indications that there was anything unsafe about the structure or the roadway. But as they crossed, the undercarriage of their vehicle got caught on two metal plates that were crisscrossed and sticking up from the road. This caused the driver to spin out of control and both vehicle occupants suffered injury. They called for help, and when their daughter-in-law got word, she rushed to the scene.
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In the course of civil litigation, it is not uncommon for parties to settle out-of-court prior to – or even during – a trial.
In cases where there are multiple defendants, there may be situations in which some defendants settle out-of-court and others don’t. While those that do settle may not longer be compelled to pay additional damages, they may still be found liable in court. Generally what this means is that damages owed by the remaining defendants will be reduced by whatever share the settling defendant would have owed.

However, there is the issue of joint and several liability. This is when there are multiple parties liable for the same act or event, and plaintiff could collect damages from any, several or all liable parties.
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