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Huntsville Personal Injury Law Blog

Man sues over paralyzing accident suffered in high school

Many in Limestone may agree that recent years have seen a great deal of scrutiny placed on the sport of football and the potential for injuries that it presents. Much of this attention may be due to the alarming number of brain injuries that players at all levels of the game are suffering. Critics often point to the way that the game is taught as being the primary culprit behind the many injuries that are seemingly being produced. They may argue that kids taught to hit other players with the crown of their helmet with their heads lowered present a greater risk of harm to themselves and other players. Those tackling using such form may potentially be exposing themselves to more than just brain trauma.

A lawsuit being brought by a former high school football player in New Hampshire may show just how devastating incorrect form in football can be. The former player, now a young man, alleges that as a young junior varsity player, he had not been properly trained on how to tackle. While participating in a drill during his first full-contact practice, he lowered his head while making a tackle, which ended up colliding with the knee of the oncoming ball carrier. The collision broke his neck and left him a quadriplegic. Now five years later, he is suing the coaches involved and the school district on the grounds that he was not appropriately shown how to avoid injury.

Wrongful death lawsuits following homicides

Ask any legal expert in Jackson what the definition of “wrongful death” is, and one will likely get the answer that is a fatality resulting from the misconduct or negligence of another. Following this definition, one may think that homicides clearly fall into this category. According to data shared by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, there were 353 such crimes in the state in 2015. Along with the accompanying criminal investigations and/or trials associated with each of these incidents also may come the potential for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Those who seek such action following a homicide may typically do so after criminal proceedings have ceased. The reason for this may the desire to have a criminal conviction on the record to back up any claims against a defendant. Yet if the target of a wrongful death action is acquitted in a criminal trial, does that impact the opportunity for the personal representative of the deceased to sue for wrongful death? The answer is no, in large part due to the differences between criminal and civil legal proceedings.

Jacksonville State student dies in collision with tractor-trailer

Should one take a drive on Madison’s streets, he or she will likely encounter a semi-truck or tractor-trailer transporting various goods. While interstate commerce is a vital part of the U.S. economy, these large trucks can present a hazard to other vehicles on the road around them. Cars, trucks and SUVs that collide with tractor-trailers can often suffer catastrophic damage, which may produce tragic results for the occupants of these vehicles. Given the heightened risks their vehicles pose to others, truck drivers are expected to follow the strictest of driving standards.

An accident that recently occurred near Jacksonville may serve as an example of exactly how devastating collisions between cars and semis can be. A student at Jacksonville State who was returning to school following a weekend home was struck by a tractor-trailer outside of the city. Investigators are still looking into what might have caused the collision. Despite being airlifted to an area hospital, the young woman did not make it. The truck driver was also treated by medical personnel, yet was reportedly able to avoid injuries. Charges have not been filed against the trucker at this time.

Distinguishing liability between property owners and contractors

As a construction worker in Madison, you likely know full well that your industry presents certain dangers that are unique to your profession. Given the heightened risk of injury that comes with the work you do, understanding liability laws when it comes to construction accidents may prove to be beneficial to you. Many come to us here at Johnson, Moore and Thompson unsure whether or not the contractors that they work for are responsible for their work site accidents, or the people that own the properties on which they were working.

Typically, a property owner is at fault in a construction accident in he or she was aware of a concealed condition on the property that could present a hazard yet failed to notify you or your employer of it. He or she may also be at fault if he or she agreed to see to certain safety precautions on the property but never addressed them and did not procure another contractor to see to them.

Woman claims she was fired for seeking workers’ compensation

Many in Madison may be hesitant to file workers’ compensation claims after suffering through an injury or illness acquired while on the job due to their fear of how such action may affect their employment. In most cases, however, the law prohibits an employer for disciplining an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Yet some may feel after having been let go from their jobs that the reasons they were given for their dismissals may simply have been poorly conceived excuses to cover up for their employers’ anger at having had to deal with a workers’ compensation case.

This is one of the claims being made by a Michigan woman in a lawsuit filed against her former employer. Among the many accusations made by the woman was one stating that her firing was in retaliation for having sought workers’ compensation benefits. Her injury ordeal first began after noticing an odd smell in her office which later turned out to be a natural gas leak. Her exposure to the leak led her to being hospitalized for gas poisoning. Efforts were made to fix the leak, yet she later began to experience similar symptoms which required her to be hospitalized again. In both instances, a leak was confirmed to have occurred by the gas provider.

Understanding cognitive issues

Say the term “traumatic brain injury” to anyone in Madison, and most may conjure up thoughts of accident victims who are left with severe mental deficiencies or in a semi- or persistent vegetative state. However, statistics show that most TBIs are considered to be mild. Data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 75 percent of such injuries fall into this classification. Those who emerge from an accident having suffered only a mild TBI may rightly consider themselves to be fortunate. However, that does may necessarily mean that they will not be forced to deal with any residual effects.

One may often hear the words “cognitive problems” associated with TBIs. The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center defines cognition as the acts of understanding, processing and acting upon information. Anyone who has suffered from a TBI, whether it be mild or severe, could end up having to deal with cognitive deficits, According to the MSKTC, these may include issues with:

  •          Maintaining concentration and attention
  •          Properly processing information
  •          Communicating with others
  •          Learning and retaining information
  •          Effectively reasoning and solving problems with others
  •          Avoiding impulsive or inappropriate behavior

Wrongful death recourse following suicide

Suicide may be a problem that affects countless individuals and families in Madison. Many of those that we here at The Law Firm of Johnston, Moore and Thompson have assisted have had it impact their lives in some way, According to information shared by the Alabama Department of Public Health, 719 people in the state died due to suicide in 2013, nearly double the number of those lost to homicide. If you have had to go through the suicide of a family member or friend that you believe to have been influenced by another, then you may be wondering if any sort of legal recourse is available to you.

It may seem difficult to attribute blame when you lose someone to suicide to anyone other than the victim him or herself. However, if it is determined that one could potentially have foreseen that his or her actions (or inactions) may have provoked your loved one to commit suicide, then the issue of liability may come into play. Examples where this line of thinking may apply include if your family member or friend had been intentionally and callously spurned or rejected, or abandoned by one viewed whose intervention could remedied feelings of despair and desperation.

Detailing the different types of driving distractions

Most may assume that those who comes us here at The Law Firm of Johnston, Moore and Thompson for assistance following a car accident on the streets of Madison do so after collisions caused by drunk or reckless drivers. However, if you were involved in a car accident, the chances may be much greater that the cause was a simple distraction. Aside from texting or talking on a cell phone, there are many other distractions that, while seemingly mundane, can pose just as great a risk to you and others on the road.

The website EndDD.org details three different types of distractions that drivers may experience while behind the wheel:

  •          Manual: Distractions that require one to remove one or both of his or her hands from the wheel.
  •          Visual: Distractions which pull one’s visual focus off of the road ahead of him or her.
  •          Cognitive: Distractions that one always to divert his or her mental attention away from the task of driving.

Understanding when to report worksite accidents

If you happen to be injured in a construction site accident in Madison, you may likely assume that workers’ compensation benefits will cover your accident expenses. While it is true that in most cases, employers are required to offer workers’ compensation benefits, many of those that we work with here at The Law Firm of Johnston, Moore, and Thompson are surprised to learn that there are time constraints when filing such claims. Knowing exactly that these are may be vital in you receiving assistance following your workplace injury.

Title 25, Chapter 5, Section 78 lays out the parameters for reporting worksite injuries to your employer. It states that you have five days from the time of the accident to give written notice to your company. Notice how it clearly specifies written notice. Even if your boss witnessed the accident, you still should provide him or her with documentation of it in the event that your claim is disputed later on. Remember that he or she, while likely concerned for your well-being, may not think to document what happened or contact the appropriate parties immediately after the accident occurs. Plus, the details of an incident can easily be forgotten in the drive from the job site back to the office.

Understanding vocational rehab

Many of those who are injured in workplace accidents in Madison may harbor the hope of one day being able to return to work. However, the injuries that they suffer and/or the impairments that they are left with may require additional intervention before that becomes a possibility. This intervention is referred to as vocational rehabilitation, and it is a service utilized by many looking to either return to the jobs they held prior to their injuries, or receive the training necessary to resume to another career. According to DisabilityCompendium.org, over 10,230 sought such treatment in Alabama during the 2013 fiscal year.

Typically, one seeking vocational rehab is appointed a dedicated rehabilitation counselor. That person will coordinate access to the programs and services aimed at getting the participant back to a point of being able to return to work. These services may include:

  •          Training to adjust to one’s new physical and/or mental limitations
  •          Schooling or job training
  •          Continued psychological treatment
  •          Career counseling
  •          Referral and job placement services