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Nursing Home IncidentA repairman arrives to your house in a company van. He rings the doorbell. You answer and let him into your home. You expected him. Your cable is not working and you called for service. Instead of making repairs, the repairman pulls a knife and attacks you. This is the tragic set of events that recently happened to an elderly lady in Texas. When her family later went to check on her, they found her stabbed to death. Yes, the attacker was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But, no criminal punishment will ever bring back a loved one.

We live in angry times. In the last couple years, we’ve seen a huge rise in workplace assaults where someone suffers a personal injury. I’ve written in the past few months about Alabama law related to workers’ compensation for assault-related injuries. By that, I mean an employee is the one injured in an assault. One well-known recent workplace assault case even occurred here in Madison County. If you want to know more about whether or not employees injured in workplace assaults are covered by workers compensation in Alabama, you can read some of my past posts on the topic.

I wrote last week about a different assault topic. If a customer is assaulted and injured by another customer (or guest) at a business, can the injured customer pursue a personal injury claim against that business? When is a business liable for assault-related injuries where a guest injures a customer? It’s a tricky issue. It’s often difficult to pursue a personal injury case in these situations. In my post last week, I discussed a hotel injury case where an angry person in the parking lot shot someone. It can be very difficult to hold a business liable for a criminal act committed by a guest or customer who simply comes on to the property. You can read my post from last week if you have questions about that issue.

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Untitled-design-3-300x300A recent wrongful death case in Florida raises an issue we see in our practice as well. What happened? A hotel guest was shot and killed in the facility’s parking lot. The shooter was not an employee of the hotel. Here is the issue — When is a business liable for a criminal act by someone else on its property?

By someone else, I mean someone who is not an employee of that business. We are talking an outside person who arrives and commits a crime that causes a personal injury. I’ll talk about employees who commit criminal acts in a later post – Those cases raise other questions about the employer and the actions it took to vet, monitor or supervise its employees. Today, we’ll just talk about a non-employee who shows up, commits a crime and hurts a customer in the process.

I’ll give you a few more details about the Florida case. Several guests provided statements indicating the shooter had been harassing people at the hotel before the shooting. The investigation revealed that the shooter became enraged after arguing with his girlfriend who worked for the hotel. Now that you know a few more facts, it’s clear this was not some random stranger who showed up and hurt someone. Like so many legal issues – The issues are difficult and require skilled legal advice.

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Alabama Accident & Injury Lawyers At Blackwell Law FirmThe United States has a much higher rate of car accident deaths than other highly developed countries. Recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research paints a difficult and disturbing picture of our nation’s highway fatality rates compared to other similar countries.

In fact, the CDC data shows the rate of highway deaths in the United States is the very highest among all high-income countries studied. That’s not all. The data gets even worse. Unlike many other countries which saw declining rates of fatal highway accidents, the rate of deaths in the United States actually increased in the years studied. From a safety standpoint, we are headed in the wrong direction!

I’ve seen a couple other posts quoting this troubling road data. The data is disturbing. But, I don’t want simply to quote statistics. Instead of simply quoting research, we should use the data to discuss safety. Here are two key questions I have from this recent research:

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Medical BillsIn a split second, a car accident can change your life. Crash!!! You are injured. Suddenly, you have a lot of worries. How do I get medical care? Will I heal? Can I keep working? Who will pay the bills?

Most people have very little experience handling the difficult medical (and other) issues following a serious car crash. It’s easy simply to sign whatever the medical provider or lawyer puts in front of you. However, some providers (both medical and legal) are not looking out for your best interest.

What’s the number one goal following a serious injury? Get better as quickly as possible! Healing is (and should be) the top priority. I know medical bills and costs are one of the most stressful issues for injured people. So, how should medical bills be handled in a car accident?

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Untitled-design-3-copy-300x300Are hit-and-run accidents increasing? In recent months, local news outlets have reported numerous hit-and-run fatalities. In the most recent accident just a few days ago, an Athens man struck a pedestrian and fled the scene leaving him fatally injured. Initially, law enforcement arrested the fleeing driver for a felony charge related to leaving the scene of an accident. When the pedestrian victim later died at the hospital, those charges were upgraded to manslaughter.

This recent hit-and-run death is not an isolated event. Our office is currently helping a number of people hurt in hit-and-run accidents. In one, a driver traveled down the wrong side of Highway 72 in Scottsboro, struck a truck, fled the scene, and was later found by local police officers hiding in a nearby neighborhood. In another, a Huntsville driver fled the scene to avoid outstanding warrants, leaving our client severely injured. In a third case, the negligent driver fled but was caught when a witness followed and called police. These are just a few of our recent cases. Later in this blog, I’ll discuss how you can protect yourself financially from the risk of a hit-and-run driver.

What Are The Facts About Hit And Run Accidents?

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Alabama Workers' Compensation AttorneysLast month, I wrote a post asking, “Is your employer giving you the run-around?” Over the last 20+ years, I’ve represented a lot of injured workers. Often, I hear stories about employers who try to avoid providing medical care for their workers hurt on the job. Too many companies give their employees the “run-around” instead of providing essential workers compensation benefits. In Alabama, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including valuable medical care for your work-related injuries.

So, when I read an article about a company owner in California who was prosecuted and pled guilty for refusing to provide work comp benefits, I thought it was a good time to discuss this common issue. That led me to my prior post discussing “how” bad employers avoid providing medical care benefits.

In my prior blog post, I also discussed the real fraud in our Alabama workers compensation system — Companies that refuse to provide basic benefits. Over 99% of the fraud in our system is committed by employers and health care managers. It’s NOT injured workers. Almost every injured worker wants the same thing — To get better and get back to a normal life.

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Personal Injury LawyersA couple weeks ago, another Huntsville lawyer bragged on social media about the number of 3M earplug cases he signed. He posted on multiple social media platforms about his large number of clients and then solicited for more clients. While that lawyer is marketing for these cases, he’s really not handling them. He’s simply signing cases to refer. He’s signing and referring them to a law firm far away from Huntsville – A firm that likely never knows the client and likely never works the local evidence. If you are going to promote yourself as handling a specific type of case, make sure you really do handle those cases. At a minimum, you should probably be admitted to the court where those cases are actually pending!

When it comes to large-scale claims involving defective products or medications, you need an attorney who is actively involved in the court and litigation process. The products can be complicated. Your attorney needs to know more than the talking points to sign clients. He or she needs to know the science and experts behind the products. The legal process can be complicated. Your attorney needs to understand the courts where the claims are pending. Your attorney should be admitted to practice in those courts. He or she needs to understand the legal doctrines that can easily ruin a good case. The medical evidence can be complicated. Your attorney needs to be experienced in developing medical evidence and familiar with the local medical specialists.

Over the years, I’ve received literally hundreds of phone calls from people upset because their case went to some out-of-state law firm where they were simply a number. After a period of time, they realized something was wrong and they were not getting personal service. Nobody personally argued for them in court. Nobody personally prepared their evidence and claims. They started looking locally and then called to ask questions. By the time they called, it was usually too late to fix the damage caused by the huge settlement mill firm that had their case.

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Blackwell Law FirmA recent al.com article discussed the jobs with the highest workplace fatality rates. What are the deadliest jobs? While the article discusses current statistics, the overall types of deadly and dangerous work remain similar year-after-year. You can read the article at Jobs With The Highest Fatality Rates In The USHere is the top 10 list:

10.  Farmers, Ranchers, Other Agricultural Workers (20.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers; Total fatal work injuries of 207)

9.  Underground Mining Machine Operators (21.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers; Total fatal work injuries of 10)

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Untitled-design-3-300x300Have you filed a personal injury claim? If so, the insurance company may conduct surveillance on you. After reading a recent news article about one insurance company that may have illegally conducted surveillance, I thought I would discuss the topic.

Injured? Surveillance Might Be An Issue.

In Alabama workers compensation cases, surveillance is very common. But, it also occurs in other personal injury cases such as car accident claims. The potential for surveillance is a topic any personal injury lawyer should discuss with his or her clients.

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Huntsville LawyersToday, I want to talk about nursing home staffing. Across Alabama, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are UNDER-staffed. This lack of staffing lowers the quality of life for many residents. And, it puts our elderly relatives and neighbors at risk of neglect and injury.

This lack of staffing also causes problems for those workers dedicated to helping elderly residents. Imagine being the only worker left to monitor and care for far too many residents. Burnout is an issue. And, worker injury is an issue. Over the years, we’ve seen many serious work-related injuries and disabilities suffered by nursing home workers forced to work too many hours and care for too many patients.

Staffing issues impact our vulnerable, elderly neighbors. They also impact the people trying to care for them. Earlier this year, the President proposed new rules to create minimum staffing standards. Let’s take a look at the problem and potential solution.

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