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Huntsville Personal Injury Law Blog

Murder trial begins in traffic death of college student

A former Alabama high school championship softball player was killed in 2012 by a woman suspected of driving while impaired in a drug-related traffic accident on Highway 53. The trial of the woman accused of killing the 24-year-old college student is currently underway.

The defendant is charged with murder in the case. The indictment indicates she was under the influence of multiple drugs when the crash happened. The auto accident happened near Harvest Road on Highway 53 on Dec. 29, 2012, when the defendant's southbound vehicle reportedly crossed into the northbound lanes and struck the victim's car, killing her. The defendant suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

What are the consequences of a traumatic brain injury?

Families of Alabama accident victims may have concerns about the changes they should expect from their loved ones' traumatic brain injuries. Complications arising from TBIs tend to correlate to the severity of the victim's injury.

Some TBI victims experience persistent issues with processes that involve thinking ahead to the future, such as planning or organizing. They sometimes have trouble focusing on information presented to them or on completing tasks without being reminded. Difficulty solving problems or making decisions is also common. Victims may also have trouble retaining or processing information, and they may experience memory loss.

How to avoid accidents at the construction site

It may interest some Alabama construction workers to know that employers must provide their workers with adequate protective training as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Additionally, employers or managers must regularly examine the working environment, taking steps to ensure that it is safe, not conducive to falls and free of falling objects.

According to OSHA guidelines, wherever construction employees work at height, supervisors are required to regularly train employees. OSHA also requires employers to make sure that elevated working surfaces are strong enough to support employees.

Understanding different types of TBI

Residents in Alabama may benefit from learning more about the different types of traumatic brain injuries that can occur. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, almost any type of significant injury to the head may cause a traumatic brain injury. The main classifications of traumatic brain injuries are closed head injuries and penetrating injuries. Victims involved in these incidents often suffer primary brain damage, secondary brain damage or both.

Closed brain injuries may result from blunt force to the head, such as the head striking the dashboard or window during a car accident. These injures may lead to primary brain damage or secondary brain damage. Penetrating injuries may be described as an object entering the skull, causing damage along its trajectory. The ensuing symptoms or health conditions are typically dependent on the degree of damage caused by the foreign object, which may be a bullet or a rock in some cases.

Making roads safer for pedestrians

As many Alabama residents might already know, traffic accidents involving pedestrians result in many catastrophic and even fatal injuries year after year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the implementation and use of pedestrian crossing islands and medians may effectively reduce the number of fatal pedestrian accidents and mitigate the risk of crossing traffic for pedestrians.

Also called refuge islands or center islands, a pedestrian crossing island is a raised section at a midblock location or intersection, separating pedestrians from vehicles. Authorities recommend that local governing bodies consider constructing such islands on multi-lane roads where significant numbers of pedestrians and motorists intermix. According to federal authorities, these islands should be eight feet wide for the safety and comfort of pedestrians. Pedestrian islands also need to be long enough to allow numerous pedestrians to stand on one half of the island while waiting for traffic to pass.

Awareness could cut distracted driving accidents by 50 percent

Alabama residents may be surprised by some of the findings contained in a study about the dangers of distracted driving released by the American College of Surgeons on Oct. 28. The study found that the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving could be cut by half if drivers became more aware of the risks.

According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives on the nation's roads in 2012 because of driver distraction, and the vast majority of these accidents occurred immediately after the driver was distracted. Studies looking into the problem often point to electronic devices such as cellphones as a leading cause of distracted driving accidents, and using such a device while behind the wheel is considered to impair a driver as much as a blood alcohol level of .08 percent. Many people believe that speaking on the phone while behind the wheel is relatively safe, but research indicates that it may be as dangerous as dialing.

Filing a workers' compensation claim in Alabama

When workers in Alabama are injured on the job, they might qualify for workers' compensation benefits. To obtain these benefits, there are certain steps that must be followed in accordance with the law.

For example, workers must report their injuries to their employer or supervisor. Moreover, workers are to locate a doctor approved to treat work-related injuries through their employer or supervisor.

The health care industry's need for better health programs

Health care workers in Alabama have likely heard about the Ebola virus making its way to Texas, where a second hospital worker contracted the virus. The situation has shown that there may be a need for better health and safety programs for health care employees.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected only 138 out of thousands of U.S. hospitals in 2011. An extra 233 hospitals underwent state safety inspections the same year. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's executive director explains that there is only one inspector for every 66,000 employees in 7 million workplaces.

Motorcycle fatality statistics

Alabama residents who ride motorcycles may be at a higher risk of dying while on the road than those who ride in passenger vehicles. Motorcycles, including scooters, mopeds, mini bikes, off-road vehicles and pocket bikes, account for only three percent of all vehicles registered in the United States. Yet 15 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2012 were motorcyclists.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, 23.27 motorcyclists die in an accident. For passenger cars, that number is only 0.89. This means that motorcyclist are 26 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than people in passenger vehicles.

Alabama man charged after allegedly driving truck through house

Law enforcement officials have reported that a 20-year-old man was arrested after he drove his pickup truck through a residence in Mobile on Oct. 17. The accident occurred at 1 p.m. on West Barker Road. The man faces criminal charges of vehicular assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

According to witnesses, the man was driving at a high rate of speed when he drove through the home. Five people inside at the time, including three children, had to be rushed to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries in the crash. While those injured are expected to recover, all five remained in the hospital at the time reports were made available.