Articles Posted in Car Accident

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.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

An Alabama man is now paralyzed after the semi-truck he was operating overturned on Interstate 10. truck2.jpg

He recently won a $14 million truck accident lawsuit against the company that serviced his rig several days before the wreck.

The Mobile man might have received as much as $19 million following the two-week trial. However, he and the defense struck a deal during jury deliberations. The deal was that even if plaintiff lost the case, defense would still pay $2 million. However, if plaintiff won, the most defense would pay was $14 million. Both sides also agreed there would be no appeal.
Continue reading

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released early estimates for the total number of traffic fatalities in 2014.
Statistical projections indicate 32,675 people were killed on our nation’s roads last year. That is a very marginal decrease of just 0.1 percent as compared to 2013, when a total of 32,719 traffic deaths were reported.

While traffic deaths were down slightly last year, in almost every area, the numbers actually shot up by 5 percent in the last quarter. That is when 11,396 people were killed in collisions, as compared to 10,813 reported in the fourth quarter of 2013.That is the first quarterly increase in auto accident fatalities since the third quarter of 2012.

While there has been an overall trend of declining motor vehicle accident deaths in the U.S. since 2006, there have been markedly different statistics when broken down by region.
Continue reading

Two large, heavy-duty truck manufacturers are being slapped with a $44 million fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failure to timely recall defective vehicles that posed injury risk to the public.
Spartan Motors, Inc., based in Michigan, and Forest River Inc., based in Indiana, conceded they did not initiate timely recalls on defective vehicles, as required by federal law. They also did not report important information, such as Early Warning Report data and technical service bulletins.

Most of that penalty will be deferred if the firms agree to bring their respective companies into compliance with federal regulations. For example, Forest River was given a $35 million civil penalty, but $30 million can be deferred. Meanwhile, Spartan has been given a $9 million penalty, but it will only have to pay $1 million if it complies with the consent order. It will, however, have to spend $3 million bringing the company into compliance.

Forest River first grabbed the attention of federal safety officials following a church bus crash six years ago. The crash, which occurred in Louisiana, resulted in two deaths and 21 injuries.
Continue reading

Large trucks pose a significant threat to drivers in Alabama and throughout the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 4,000 people were killed in 95,000 injured in accidents involving large trucks in 2013.
The majority of those people who suffered injury or death were occupants of other vehicles.

In the recent case of Mathis v. Huff & Puff Trucking, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, plaintiff was struck by a semi-tractor trailer while in a tow truck.
Continue reading

Auto collisions are a top cause of death for children, which is why Alabama’s Child Restraint Law has stringent requirements for use of child safety restraints for those under age 15.
However, it’s been well-documented that child safety seats aren’t properly used. In fact, the Alabama Department of Public Health reports 4 out of 5 children are improperly restrained in their safety seat. The seats either aren’t the right size for the child, the child isn’t properly belted in or the seat is incorrectly installed.This is despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued research indicating proper use of child safety seats can reduce the risk of death for infant passengers by more than 70 percent and for toddler passengers by 55 percent.

Now, a new study published in the August issue of American Journal of Preventative Medicine underscores that point, finding that older children and minority children were the most likely to be improperly restrained while riding in a vehicle.
Continue reading