Articles Posted in Car Accident

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

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Auto insurance companies have a responsibility to deal fairly and in good faith with both insureds and claimants, and to make reasonable efforts to settle claims. A breach of these duties by the insurer will result in the company being responsible for damages sustained as a result – and in some cases, it could mean treble (triple) damages.

While insurance companies are notorious for cutting corners to reduce the possibility of a payout, even in legitimate cases, claims asserting bad faith by an insurer can be difficult to prove.

Alabama has recognized “bad faith” as a tort claim since the 1981 state supreme court decision in Chavers v. Nat. Sec. Fire & Casualty Co. Essentially, the court found there are two ways an insurer can be found to have acted in bad faith.

  • Refusal to settle when there is no lawful basis for the refusal, along with actual knowledge of that fact.
  • Intentional failure to determine whether there was any lawful basis for such refusal.

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While injury lawyers must be fully prepared to take an auto accident lawsuit to trial if necessary, the reality is many — or at least portions pertaining to certain defendants — are settled out-of-court before trial.

Such cases are concluded through what are commonly known as settlement agreements, and they are contractual and binding. They often contain stipulations on release of liability for current and future claims stemming from the accident, and in some cases they will contain confidentiality clauses.

Don’t take these as boilerplate forms. t’s very important for you and your attorney to carefully read these documents before signing. There may be important information regarding inability to collect future payments or pursue litigation against other parties.
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It’s been well-established that ignition interlock devices, now mandatory for DUI offenders in many states, reduce instances of drunk driving, drunk driving injuries and drunk driving deaths.

These devices are installed inside a vehicle and require the operator to pass a breath-alcohol test to determine impairment. If the driver’s breath-alcohol content is measured above a certain threshold (usually 0.04 percent, or half the legal limit), the ignition locks and the vehicle will not start.

However, the positive effects of these systems are limited to how long they are actually in place. Because they are imposed as a penalty for DUI conviction, they are almost always temporary. But researchers with the University of Michigan Health System wanted to know what would happen if the devices came standard in all new model vehicles – permanently, and not just for those drivers who were being punished.

The results, published in the American Journal of Public Health, are astonishing. Over the course of 15 years, we could potentially reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities and injuries by 80 percent. In real terms, that would be 59,000 lives saved. It would be 1.25 million people spared serious injuries. It would mean $340 billion saved in injury-related costs associated with drunk driving accidents.
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The Alabama truck accident that spurred the federal case of Tri-National, Inc. v. Canal Ins. Co. did not result in any severe personal injuries, though it very well could have.

There was extensive property damage when a semi-tractor and trailer driver collided with another truck. However, no one was seriously injured. Still, the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reveals how trucking companies are regarded under the Federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980, and the obligations they have when crashes happen.

While the act was largely an effort to deregulate the trucking industry, it did impose additional requirements for motor carriers that transport property. This includes the responsibility of the carrier to make sure it has the required limits of insurance to cover public liability in the event of a crash. Even if the victim has their own insurance, it does not absolve the trucking company and/or its insurer of responsibility for paying damages caused from negligent operation of these large vehicles.
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An appellate court affirmed a $1.3 million verdict in favor of an auto accident victim who suffered serious injuries after defendant’s employee negligently struck a vehicle stopped at a red light.

The appellate court in Bean v. Pacific Coast Elevator Corp. did find trial court erred in how it calculated prejudgment interest, but otherwise affirmed the verdict, despite defense protestations that the non-economic damages – $1.1 million of the total – were excessive.

This case reveals how economic damages – such as lost wages, property damage and medical bills – are only part of what may be considered in a crash case.
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