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Blackwell Law FirmYou are passenger in a car. You are riding down the road. Everything seems fine. Suddenly, your driver runs a stop sign. He did not see it. He crashes into a culvert. You are hurt severely. When you later call your driver’s insurance adjuster to make a claim, the adjuster says he’s sorry but your claim is barred by the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute. Your driver probably wants his insurance company to pay you. But, that doesn’t matter. The adjuster simply denies your claim.

I’ve written previously about the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute. You can read one of my prior posts on this topic at Guest Passenger Statute In Alabama? Does It Affect My Personal Injury Claim? My prior post gives a good overview of this law. In it, I discuss the background of this unfair law. I also explain the law as well as some exceptions to it. As with most legal issues, the exceptions are key! Today, I’ll touch again briefly on the exceptions. But, I primarily want to provide a little practical advice in this post for passengers injured in car accidents. If you are a passenger injured in an Alabama car accident, what should you expect? How do you handle this issue? You need practical advice for your claim.

During the 1920s and 1930s, many states passed guest passenger statutes. Insurance company lobbyists worked hard to get these unfair laws passed across the United States. While many states have since abandoned this unfair rule, Alabama has not.

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Huntsville, AlabamaEarlier this week, I saw a strange lawyer video. It was published by a settlement mill lawyer outside Alabama. In the video, this personal injury lawyer suggested injured people should hire her because she would “pester” the insurance adjuster with repeated calls for a settlement. This lawyer repeated over-and-over that she would pepper the adjuster with repeated phone calls to pester them into negotiating a settlement. I guess it was easy to make a quick TikTok video. But, what a terrible idea. If you want to get the most compensation possible for your clients, being a needy or desperate pest is a terrible idea.

I understand the frustration of hurt people after dealing with an insurance adjuster. Your calls are often ignored. I hear from people hurt in car accidents who are ghosted by an adjuster. I hear from people hurt in work-related accidents who cannot get the adjuster to respond and approve medical care. I’ve written multiple times on the topic. I’ve offered advice in some of my prior posts.

But, a lawyer pestering the adjuster is not the answer! Yet, it’s a practice of many settlement mill lawyers. Why? Their goal is a quick settlement. Their goal is not to get you the best settlement. It’s to get you the quickest settlement so they can move to the next claim. Settlement mill lawyers put quantity of settlements over quality of settlements. If you suffered a serious personal injury, you want the opposite. You want quality.

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Untitled-design-3-300x300A well known workers compensation author publishes an annual list of the Top 10 most bizarre workers compensation cases. From time to time, an Alabama case makes the list. But, not this year. The list is always interesting and entertaining reading. You can read the 2021 bizarre work comp case list HERE.

The 2020 list contained multiple cases involving bizarre workplace assaults. Customers punching a manager over a mask requirement. Customers beating a restaurant hostess over social distancing requirements. Add a postal worker getting shot over the late delivery of a stimulus check. It was a violent year and the coronavirus was front-and-center. I wrote an article about these assault-related workplace injury cases last year titled Workplace Assaults Continue To Be A Serious Problem.

Would the 2021 list be different? Did we all calm tremendously in 2021? Apparently not. The same writer has now published his bizarre list for 2021 (last year). The 2021 list also contains multiple workplace assault cases. Thankfully, none are from Alabama. Here are the unusual assault cases listed:

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Alabama Workers Compensation AttorneysIn December, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a huge fine for safety violations at a Dollar General store in Mobile, Alabama. The fine itself is pretty big for any retail store — $321,827. Beyond the fine amount, OSHA issued the following statement:

At the U.S. Department of Labor, the company [Dollar General] is recognized for its long history of violations and repeated failures to protect its workers from on-the-job hazards.

Then, an OSHA officer added the following additional comment:

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Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersLast week, I was working through the final details of a work comp settlement with a local defense lawyer in Huntsville. As we discussed settlement terms, the defense lawyer made an interesting observation. That observation is the reason for this post.

Before I get to that observation, I’ll give you a little helpful background on the case. My client suffered a bad back injury. He required spinal surgery. He now suffers chronic pain and permanent restrictions. He could not return to his long-term employment. I believe he is totally disabled. We were preparing for trial.

Now that you have a little background, I’ll get to my topic. While discussing the settlement paperwork, I added a couple sentences dealing with vested employee benefits. You know, rights employees have to pensions and 401(k) plans with some employers. When I addressed the phrase with the defense lawyer, he immediately stated that most personal injury lawyers just skim over the paperwork. He laughed and said most lawyers just want to know when they can expect the settlement check. That’s my topic — Good lawyering means you help the client through the entire process!

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WorkCompHelp-300x300Last week, one of our work comp clients called with a question. “Can I ask the case nurse to step outside during my doctor appointments?” It’s a frequent question. I’ve written about case nurses several times on this blog. A few case nurses try to intrude into the examination room. This leaves many injured clients uncomfortable. I totally understand.

Since I’ve already written multiple articles about workers compensation case nurses, I decided to address a different topic. Instead, I’m going to address 12 frequent Alabama workers compensation issues. I’ll provide short tips in this post. For more information, you can read one of my longer articles which address a single issue. Here are 12 issues your Alabama work comp lawyer probably wants you to know:

1. You do NOT have to allow the case nurse (or case manager) into your doctor appointments

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Alabama Injury Lawyers
This might be a boring technical topic for some readers. But, it’s an important issue in the world of injury claims involving bad drugs. In recent years, we’ve worked numerous personal injury claims involving prescription medications.

Do Drug Companies Have To Warn Patients Of Medicine Risks?

You’ve probably seen a drug ad on television. Those commercials usually follow the same script. Soft music. Smiling people. The actors all appear to be living happy lives courtesy of some pill. Then, at the end, the drug company flashes a really quick list of pretty scary potential side effects. If it’s a 30 second ad, the first 29 seconds talk all about how the pill cured the actor’s arthritis. Then, at the last second, a quick warning appears:  Don’t take this pill if you are a human between the ages of 20 and 90. Otherwise, your arms may fall off! Consult your doctor.

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Wrong Way Drivers Cause InjuriesI recently saw a law firm “blog” titled, What Every Driver Should Know About Wrong-Way Crashes. The title sounded interesting. I’d like to know!

So, I clicked on the link hoping for some good information. Unfortunately, the article provided almost no new information and definitely no new commentary. The law firm’s “blog” simply reported about 3% of all car accidents involve wrong-way crashes. Then, the “blog” linked to several recent news articles reporting wrong-way crashes in Alabama. It ended with a general listing of injuries possible in any serious car accident. I’m not sure why this listing of generic injuries common to all accidents was relevant to the topic except to provide keywords for google search. Clickbait and keywords but no new information.

While that blog post really did not tell me much. I did start thinking about a specific wrong-way danger. One-way versus two-way roads! On several occasions, I’ve seen drivers accidentally turn the wrong way on one of downtown Huntsville’s one-way streets. Those accidental turns usually provide some scary moments for travelers.

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Personal Injury Lawyers HuntsvilleThe Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released its Top 10 list of safety violations for 2021. This list includes the most-cited safety issues by OSHA. I always study the list and compare it to prior years.

What do you see when you look at the annual Top 10 safety violation list? If you read the annual list, you will quickly notice the same dangerous violations seem to make the list every year. Some of the safety issues might move up-or-down a couple places. But, the same problems exist every year. And, one violation seems to take the top spot almost every single year.

What is the top safety violation year-after-year? Fall protection! In fact, fall protection has ranked number one for the last 11 straight years. In recent years, I’ve represented numerous workers who suffered disabling personal injuries in worksite falls from heights. I’ve also represented families who lost a loved one in a worksite fall. All of these tragedies had one thing in common — Management could have prevented the serious accident with a few simple safety procedures.

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Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersGenerally, workers compensation provides two important benefits. The first is medical care. The second is money you receive for your impairments or disabilities. These are essential benefits for working men and women facing a serious work-related personal injury. I’ve helped injured workers for more than 25 years. Almost every single client has the same worry — How quickly can I get my medical care and resume my normal life. Medical care and recovery are the main concerns. Most injured workers start the process hopeful.

Too often, insurance carriers then ignore, delay or deny their need for medical treatment. If you’ve suffered a serious work-related injury, you may have experienced the frustration of waiting on a work comp adjuster to call or approve care. You may have experienced the tricks used by insurance carriers to avoid providing necessary treatment. I understand. You do have options.

Let me get to the point of this post. Recently, I read an article about a misleading study produced by the National Council On Compensation Insurance (NCCI). What is the NCCI? Take a look at its Board of Directors! It’s a virtual who’s who of the biggest work comp insurance executives. You think they might be biased just a little! Years ago, the tobacco industry had similar groups telling consumers that smoking was healthy!

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