Jump to Navigation

Huntsville Personal Injury Law Blog

Ruling classifies Uber drivers as employees, not contractors

Most of those working in Madison may expect that they can rely on workers’ compensation benefits should they ever be injured on the job. Those who are classified as independent contractors, however, may not be extended the same assistance. This is due to the fact that such workers are typically viewed as being self-employed. When they enter into the employ of a larger company or franchise, their status may stay the same, with them and the company agreeing on contractual terms rather than a standard employment agreement. Some may say that this allows companies to get away with not having to offer people who truly are employees standard benefits. Those companies may counter with the argument that independent contractors enjoy the flexibility to seek other money-making opportunities while still under contract with them.

A recent ruling in the cases of two Uber drivers in New York may signal a paradigm shift towards treating contractors more like employees. The New York Department of Labor dictated in its ruling that the drivers in these cases should be given standard employee benefits. In these particular cases, the benefits being sought after were unemployment claims. With the ruling specifying that these drivers be treated like regular employees, however, one might assume that future cases may extend to other standard benefits such as workers’ compensation. Labor officials were quick to point out, though, that the rulings in cases such as these apply only to individual claims and not the service sector as a whole.

How long can one expect to live following a spinal cord injury?

It may not be uncommon for you or someone that you care about to feel as though life may be over after having suffered a spinal cord injury in DeKalb. Yet is this feeling simply a byproduct of your current mental state and mood, or an actual acceptance that such an accident is certain to shorten yours or his or her life? Experiencing a potentially catastrophic accident that leaves you or a loved one with debilitating defects may force you into contemplating the question of your own or his or her mortality. The answer to that question is almost certain to affect yours and/or your family’s actions immediately following accident, as it may dictate what sort of compensation you will require to meet future medical and rehabilitation expenses.

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center classifies the severity of an SCI based upon yours or your loved one’s resulting level of impairment. It classes include:

  •          Incomplete Motor Function at Any Level
  •          Paraplegia
  •          Low Tetraplegia
  •          High Tetraplegia

Are liability waivers signed for minors enforceable?

As a parent in Limestone, you likely worry a great deal about the safety of your children when they are not under your direct supervision. Your concerns may often be mitigated if you know that the activities that they are participating are relatively safe. Yet what about those that carry with them an inherent level of risk? Should your child be killed while being involved in an activity offered through an event or a provider, what sort of legal recourse do you have?

When your kids wish to participate in activities that could potentially cause harm, it may be common practice for those offering such activities to require a liability waiver. Such waivers typically include an exculpatory clause which states that the provider will not be held responsible if your child is injured. In most cases, you will be required to sign the waiver on your minor child’s behalf. The question then becomes are these waivers enforceable in Alabama?

Reviewing the Move Over Act

Anyone in Madison who has had to change a tire off the side of a busy road may be able to tell what a harrowing experience that can be. Yet what if your work requires you to routinely work alongside heavy traffic? We here at Johnston, Moore and Thompson have helped many clients whose work puts them in harm’s way. However, simply because you may be occasionally required to work in potentially dangerous conditions does not absolve others of the responsibility of seeing to your safety, particularly on the road.

In Title 32 Section 5A-58.2 of the Code of Alabama, you will find what is known as the “Alabama Move Over Act.” This law states that drivers on roads or highways are required to move over to avoid endangering you if you happen to be working on the side of the road. This law applies to any type of roadside service provider, including:

  •          Law enforcement
  •          Emergency responders
  •          Utility providers
  •          Tow truck drivers

Detailing the contributing cause standard

Even though you may fully comprehend the risks that construction work in Madison may pose, that may not make you immune from suffering an accident while doing it. Given the nature of the work being done as well as the tools and equipment used to do it, it may not be surprising that such accidents can be quite debilitating. After such an incident, your hope may likely be that you recover enough physically in order to return to work. However, many of those that we here at the Law Firm of Johnston, Moore and Thompson have worked with often find that more than physical recovery is needed in order to resume their careers.

As you acquire experience and expertise in your career, the daily tasks associated with your job may often become second nature to you. If you are like most, your abilities help define who you are. Thus, If and when an accident does happen, it may not be uncommon for you to begin to doubt those abilities, leading to a perceived impact on your identity. Without having a strong sense of confidence and identity, depression can set in, impacting your ability to resume your career once you have healed physically.

Understanding occupational asthma

If one were to take a walk into a shopping mall, movie theater or any other area in Madison known to attract large crowds, he or she may not be surprised to see another pull out an inhaler to treat asthma symptoms. Asthma is a common respiratory problem in the U.S., yet one that most may believe is a condition sufferers are born with. However, many may be shocked to discover that adult-onset asthma is quite common, and often linked to one’s career. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that as many as two million people may suffer from occupational asthma in the U.S. alone.

Asthma occurs when the when airways of the lungs become inflamed, reducing the amount of air that can pass through. Its physical manifestations are prolonged periods of coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest. In cases of occupational asthma, this swelling is caused by triggers in the air. Examples of these triggers may include:

  •          Chemical irritants such as isocyanates, sulfur dioxide or hydrochloric acid  
  •          Airborne particulates such as dust, pollen or animal dander
  •          Bacteria and fungi

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.