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Huntsville Personal Injury Law Blog

Car accidents: preparation is key for settlement or trial

If you are involved in a serious car accident, chances are that you had no way to anticipate it, not to mention prepare for it. But in its aftermath, how your attorney prepares your claim can make the difference between receiving the compensation you need and having to make do with less.

It begins with the investigation of the accident. Timing is crucial: the longer it takes for investigators to get to the accident scene and to take measurements and photographs, and the longer it takes to identify and to talk with witnesses, the more likely it is that key elements such as physical evidence at the scene or witness recollections can degrade. 

Alabama ranks 23rd for strictest DUI laws

A recent study looked at every state’s DUI penalties to determine which states were the strictest and which were the most lenient. The study ranked the states, with one being the strictest and 51 being the most lenient. Alabama was ranked 23rd overall.

Even though Alabama is not ranked the highest on this list, the consequences for a DUI can be serious. A person who is convicted of a DUI for the first time faces a maximum penalty of $2,000 and a driver’s license suspension of three months. The severity of the consequences increases with each conviction. For example, the first DUI conviction does not carry a minimum jail sentence. A fourth conviction for a DUI is automatically a felony and carries up a jail sentence of up to five years. 

Investigation focuses on car turn in motorcyclist accident

An investigation into a recent Madison County car accident that sent a motorcycle rider to the hospital with a head injury focused on a turn made by the car. The westbound motorcycle crashed into the side of the other vehicle that turned in front of it.

The eastbound car made a left turn into the path of the westbound motorcycle. Unable to stop or otherwise avoid a collision, the motorcycle rider was thrown into the air. According to police at the scene, the rider was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

How can I appeal a workers' compensation decision?

Sometimes when you are injured on the job or contract a work-related illness, the workers compensation process works smoothly. Your claim for benefits is handled expeditiously, and you receive the full amount of income replacement and medical benefits to which you are entitled.

There may be times, however, when something goes wrong during the claim process. Your claim may be denied, or you may face a challenge in receiving the full amount of benefits. In this situation, what can you do about such an adverse decision under Alabama law? 

What employers need to carry workers compensation insurance?

Workers compensation offers many advantages to employers as well as to workers in Alabama. From the employer's perspective, one of the reasons to voluntarily have workers' compensation insurance is that it provides a degree of liability protection in the event that a worker is injured on the job or contracts a work-related illness. Still, not all employers would be convinced of the self-interest advantages of participating in the state's workers' compensation, so with only a handful of exceptions Alabama law requires them to do so.

So if you ever wonder whether your employer must have workers' compensation insurance, the answer is, "probably."

Wrongful death lawsuit has workers' compensation nexus

Workers' compensation is often thought of in terms of income replacement and medical costs for workers who are injured, become ill or who are otherwise at least temporarily disabled in connection with their employment. In addition to these features, benefits can also be payable to the survivors of workers who die while on the job. This is part of the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of the death of a Montgomery police officer who died in a traffic accident while responding to an emergency call in April of this year.

The responsibility for the accident is subject to dispute. An investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency found the police officer to have been at fault for failing to yield the right-of-way to an 18-wheeler truck in an intersection, but the officer's family is suing the company that owned the truck claiming among other things that the driver had been operating for too many hours, had been falsifying log entries to conceal that alleged fact, and was fatigued at the time of the accident. The lawsuit also names the City of Montgomery as a defendant and seeks workers' compensation benefits based on the deceased officer's status of being on duty at the time he was killed.

Strict liability in Alabama dram shop law

There exists some kind of culpable behavior that the law considers to be so serious that it reduces the burden of proof that a plaintiff in a lawsuit must carry to prevail. The legal term for this reduced burden is, "strict liability". Ordinarily to prove liability on the part of a defendant in a civil lawsuit, such as a negligence action, the plaintiff must show that the defendant proximately caused the injury that the plaintiff suffered. In strict liability, however, all that is necessary to prove is that the defendant engaged in a specific act; once this is accomplished, the law presumes liability for what follows.

Alabama dram shop law is one example of strict liability. Although the statutory language itself makes no reference to the term, state courts that have interpreted the law have concluded that it does impose strict liability on owners of retail establishments that serve alcohol to customers when those customers are clearly intoxicated and go on to injure others, specifically anyone directly injured as well as anyone who depended on that person for support, such as spouses, children and parents as applicable.

Fatal accident highlights multiple aspects of personal injury law

An old saying about the law is that it is a “seamless web”. One area of law can connect with others, all of which can spring from a single fact pattern or incident. This has been tragically illustrated by a recent two-car collision in Huntsville that caused the death of one of drivers.

The accident took place when a 19-year-old man who police say was “extremely intoxicated” allegedly ran a red light at an intersection at a speed that witnesses estimated to be about 80 miles per hour. His car rammed into the driver’s side of another can in the intersection. The driver, a 19-year-old woman, died at the accident scene from her injuries. The alleged drunk driver, who was seriously injured, attempted to flee the accident scene on foot but was apprehended by witnesses to the accident who detained him until police arrived.

Driver flees fatal car accident that leaves cyclist dead

As members of the Alabama Department of Law Enforcement searched for the vehicle that hit her, a 25-year-old fatal car accident victim might have been on the minds of state lawmakers. Legislators approved a law requiring drivers to allow at least three feet between their motor vehicles and bicycle riders on using the roads.

The woman, who was riding a bicycle was hit and killed by a vehicle that police identified as either a pickup truck or an SUV. People familiar with the problems bicyclists face when riding on the streets cited distracted driving as one of the causes of fatal car accidents such as this one that the new law is intended to help to reduce.

How can I become disqualified for workers’ compensation benefits?

Most inquiries about workers’ compensation benefits concern what they are and how to submit effective benefits claims. Benefits are not permanent, though; eventually they will stop. This post covers some of the ways that benefits may be terminated early.

To receive your workers’ compensation benefits for the maximum length of time that you need them, the best course of action is to understand what the disqualification triggers are and to avoid them. The following disqualifiers are not an exhaustive list; you can see all of them by clicking on the link above. But if your benefits are terminated early and you believe that the reason for that termination does not apply to you, you may want to consult with a law firm that practices in the area of workers’ compensation to determine if a remedy exists.