Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Blackwell Law Firm helps injured workers across Alabama.I read a disturbing article in the Insurance Journal last week. The title says it all:

$2B Orlando Highway Construction Project Halted After 5th Worker Death

Five separate workplace deaths on one project! One fatal work-related accident is INEXCUSABLE. Five? It’s hard to comprehend. How could one site be so deadly? How could the contractor allow this to happen? Worker deaths from safety issues are ALWAYS inexcusable.

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Copy-of-Add-a-little-bit-o-text-3-300x300Assisted living facility? Decisions concerning elderly relatives can be some of the most difficult for families. When the time comes to consider driving, safety or living independently, it is traumatic. We want to honor our relatives and make the best decisions. Our elders are a true treasure. I’m reminded of the verse that says “Gray hair is a crown of glory.” (Proverbs 16:31).

How should we treat our elders? In a recent talk, Pope Francis said, “where there is no honor to the elderly, there is no future for the young.” That is very true.

Earlier this week I read of a recent incident where fire ants attacked an elderly Air Force veteran in a VA assisted living facility. A single fire ant attack in an assisted living facility, is unacceptable. Yet, here, we are not talking about a single attack but rather repeated attacks over the course of two days. Is this an isolated event in a single facility? No. Fire ants present a horrible danger that too many facilities ignore.

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Alabama Accident And Injury LawyersInjured and facing mounting hospital bills? If you find yourself in this situation, the medical bills and charges can be confusing and overwhelming. You probably have many questions. What are my actual medical charges? Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell. How much did my health insurance pay? Why is the hospital charging ten dollars for a single aspirin? None of it makes sense to most patients.

Our medical system suffers from a lack of consistency and lack of transparency in charges. I recently read a great article on LinkedIn that asks the question — Can Price Transparency Actually Lower Health Care Costs? The article discusses several issues, including surprise charges, price gouging and health insurer discounts. The author concludes it’s a “money game” of different prices for different people. This is certainly true for personal injury victims who often suffer the worst impacts of unfair and inconsistent medical costs.

Hospitals attempt to take advantage of personal injury victims for maximum profit. From the moment a personal injury victim enters a hospital, the unjust process begins. Why is the hospital admissions clerk so interested in whether the other driver is at-fault or has car insurance? Hospital greed, that’s why. The same is true for some clinics, chiropractors and physical therapy offices.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Personal Injury LawyersWhat’s The Deal With Biestek v. Berryhill?

In Biestek v. Berryhill, a construction worker applied for Social Security disability benefits. Following a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied his benefit application. The ALJ decision denying social security benefits is not unusual. The real question in the case was whether or not Biestek had a fair hearing.

In Social Security hearings, the ALJ will often retain a vocational expert to provide opinion testimony. In Biestek, that vocational expert testified the worker could perform a number of different jobs in the national economy. In other words, Biestek was not vocationally disabled. The vocational expert then testified she reached her opinions based upon individual market surveys in her possession. So, on cross-examination, Biestek’s attorney asked to see the data. That’s fair. That’s a very reasonable request. Should any expert be allowed to give an opinion while refusing to show the underlying data? That’s when the ALJ intervened and refused the lawyer’s request. What we now have is an expert who provided an unsubstantiated and unsupported opinion.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersMost of the people who call us about car accident injury claims were wearing their seat belt when the crash occurred. Most, but not all. Some people do call after a wreck where they were not wearing a seat belt. One of the first questions they ask — Does that impact my personal injury claim?

I’m happy to discuss the question. But, I still want to start with a discussion of safety. Seat belts clearly save lives!

SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES!

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Huntsville Personal Injury Attorneys: Blackwell Law FirmI like to answer consumer questions in a couple different legal forums. The more information we can provide our neighbors to help them with legal decisions — the better. Someone recently asked me if I knew people who had suffered due to uninsured / underinsured drivers. The answer is, YES.

I know many people in Alabama who have needlessly suffered due to a lack of insurance for their injuries. In the last year, I’ve had to talk with two different families in this exact situation where the medical bills, alone, exceeded a million dollars. Yet, in each situation, the at-fault driver carried only minimal automobile insurance. These are difficult conversations to have with hurting or grieving families. It is difficult to tell a hurting family that they cannot recover even a real fraction of their losses.

Alabama law only requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Right now, that minimum amount is $25,000. Let’s put that into perspective. If you are badly hurt in a wreck, a helicopter ride to the hospital, by itself, will likely consume this entire amount. Yes, I’ve had this situation in several different cases. The bills from a regular ambulance ride and emergency room visit will consume a significant portion of the minimum limits. In any case involving a serious injury, the minimum limit of $25,000 is far, far too low. Your damages in any serious personal injury will exceed that amount.

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Huntsville Personal Injury AttorneysWe’ve all seen and heard the ads. If an advertising company put a billboard in the middle of the ocean, a settlement mill attorney would buy it! Usually, it’s a smiling face, phone number and short catch-phrase like:

Call Me [Insert City or State]!

In Huntsville, one local group of DUI lawyers decided to raise billboards and sign all manner of clients. Those same DUI lawyers sign the cases simply to refer the serious ones for a fee. That’s wrong.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersWhere Are The Most Dangerous Huntsville Intersections?

What intersections are the most dangerous? Do a quick Google search and you will find research from 2012. The 2012 data is interesting. But, it’s old data. In the seven years since, Huntsville has grown tremendously. Development has created new accident dangers. Traffic patterns have expanded. Many intersections have been modified. In short, much has changed in the last seven years. The most dangerous intersections in 2012 may not be the most dangerous intersections today. What intersections were listed as most dangerous in 2012? Here they are:

  • Old Madison Pike at Research Park Boulevard
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We live in a fast-paced world where many drivers rush from activity to activity. Work. School. Social Events. We are always in a hurry.

As our Alabama communities grow, local roads become more crowded. Traffic and stop lights increase. Accident statistics show that more drivers are running red lights. The choice to run a red light puts everyone on the road at risk of a serious crash. I’ve written about red light accidents and intersection safety on many prior occasions. In some of my past articles, I tried to provide research from traffic studies. My posts discuss accident data as well as proposals to make our Alabama roads safer.

I recently created this short slideshow discussing several reasons why red light running may be increasing. For a deeper dive into the research, look at some of my past posts. Here is my quick slideshow for a ready reference —

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Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersThe first time this happened, I was shocked. Although I have now heard the same story many times, I am still a little shocked (and a lot disgusted) each time. What is the story? It goes something like this —

The office phone rings. The caller wants to discuss his car accident and see if we can help. However, he already has a lawyer. It’s a billboard law firm! He’s really unhappy with that law firm. When I hear that someone is unhappy with a local lawyer who works hard for his or her clients, I counsel the caller to sit down and talk with the lawyer. Often, it’s just an issue of communication. But, this is different. Sitting down with the billboard lawyer may be difficult or impossible. Why?

Many times, the caller has never even spoken with his lawyer. This is the part that shocks me! (Think on that for just a minute. The person has a lawyer he has never even met.). After his car accident, investigators simply came to his hospital room or home. In some cases, the “investigators” were simply “case runners” who showed up without invitation. In other cases, the process started when the person called the number from a billboard or television commercial. Regardless, the “investigators” promise a lawyer will take care of him, present papers, and get his signature. Yet, when he calls the lawyer’s office some weeks or months later asking about his case, he gets no answers. Maybe he talks with a legal assistant. Maybe. Usually, he only speaks with a receptionist who knows nothing about his specific case. I doubt the settlement mill lawyer (or even the paralegal) will call him back until the case is settled. What’s clear is that: