Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Television! Radio! Social Media! You cannot escape the ads for mass torts. Have you been injured by .  .  . [insert drug or device]. These are serious claims. Every year, many people are injured by dangerous products or drugs. They are also difficult claims to prepare in court. So, why are lawyers asking for your case if they really are not going to prepare your case in court? Why advertise for anything simply to refer it for a cut of the case???

I’m not writing to criticize lawyers who actually work these cases. The real problem are lawyers thinking first of volume fees instead of maximizing individual damages.

I’m not alone in my thinking. A 2021 study revealed almost 2/3 of plaintiffs in mass tort cases were unhappy with their lawyers. Think about that! I receive calls constantly from people unhappy with the large volume firm handling their case. Many of these people are the victim of someone marketing for their case simply to refer it to a large firm elsewhere for part of the fee. While 2/3 of the plaintiffs were unhappy, I would add that a lot of other plaintiffs unknowingly received less than they should have in settlement due to this arrangement. To me, that’s the biggest problem — Volume operations that don’t prepare each individual case for its maximum value.

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Add-a-little-bit-of-body-text-300x300Crash! A negligent driver just crashed into your car. In an instant everything changes. If you were injured in a car accident, the weeks and months after the accident can be a blur of doctor appointments and medical bills. Medical visits. Medical bills. Missed work. It can be overwhelming. I get it. I read and summarize medical records for my clients on a daily basis.

The last thing you expect is for the other driver’s insurance adjuster to simply disregard some of your medical bills. Yet, that’s what adjusters do every day. How do you prevent the adjuster from disregarding or discounting important medical costs? You need to seek skilled legal counsel who is willing to file your case and prepare the claim for court. First, you need to understand some of the big reasons why adjusters ignore or disregard some of your medical bills. That’s the topic for today. Why is the adjuster ignoring or discounting my medical bills? Here are two big reasons.

The Adjuster Claims Some Treatment Is NOT Related To The Car Accident

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Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Of Blackwell Law FirmI’ve written several articles about car accidents involving pedestrians. Over the years, I’ve also investigated and represented many clients as their pedestrian accident attorney. Pedestrian cases are very difficult in Alabama due to some of our specific laws. They are also difficult due to perceptions that favor car drivers. Because of these difficulties, pedestrian accident cases require a skilled approach for success. You can read some of my prior articles on the topic on this blog.

If you read any of my posts, you know I talk a lot about traffic and accident studies. A recent study by Smart Growth America reveals a continued trend in the wrong direction — Accidents and deaths involving pedestrians struck by cars continue to increase.

You can read the Smart Growth America study HERE. I’ll discuss a couple observations from the study in this post. First, I wanted to quote one of the introductory paragraphs from the study. It’s very interesting:

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Alabama Disability & Accident LawyersThe 11th Circuit recently released a new decision denying a FMLA leave claim. I only occasionally write about FMLA issues. However, these issues can arise in many of our Alabama workers’ compensation claims. In many larger companies covered by FMLA, injured workers are dealing with both systems at the same time. FMLA issues can also arise, from time-to-time, in some of our other personal injury claims where an employee needs leave to deal with a serious health issue. I’ve also represented clients in FMLA cases in our Federal Court system. So, I stay up-to-date on new case decisions under the FMLA.

Back to the recent 11th Circuit decision. In the recent case of Walker v. United Parcel Services (UPS), the 11th Circuit affirmed a lower court decision against a worker who had pursued FMLA interference and retaliation claims. Basically, the decision comes down to this — The worker failed to support his claim with any documentation. By that I mean, the worker apparently failed to provide any real documentation at all.

Keep in mind, the rules are pretty favorable for a worker needing leave. Once an employee gives notice that potentially qualifying leave is needed, the employer must determine whether the absence actually qualifies for FMLA leave. The worker does not need any special knowledge of FMLA. He just needs to let his employer know he needs time. So, it’s a pretty loose standard with much of the burden on the employer. However, an employer may require the employee to support the leave with a certification from his health care provider. That was the issue in this case.

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Blackwell Law Firm: Alabama Personal Injury LawyersCrash!!! You hear the sound of crushing metal. Your body is slammed around the inside of your car. What is happening? In an instant, another driver ran a red light and slammed into you. In the hours and days after the crash, you start hurting badly. You are worried about your health and future. Now, you are dealing with pain, medical care and bills. Today, I want to talk about those medical bills and a common problem in many Alabama car accident cases.

When you see the doctor, it’s easy to tell him/her just to bill the other driver’s automobile insurance company. After all, the other driver was at fault. The insurance company for that negligent driver should pay your bills! While this sounds reasonable, it’s a mistake. It’s a mistake to tell your medical providers to bill the automobile insurer. It’s a mistake made by many accident victims. It’s a mistake that is often encouraged by insurance adjusters and even billboard lawyers who are not looking out for you! It can have a tremendous impact on your injury claim.

It’s an easy mistake to make. First, the other driver should pay. Second, many adjusters imply that you should send your bills. Many adjusters imply the insurance company will pay your medical bills as incurred. Keep in mind, these adjusters are just trying to get information from you.

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Is-That-Nursing-Home-Providing-Good-Care-300x300Last week I wrote a post titled Who’s Watching Your Elderly Relative In The Nursing Home? At the time, I had been taking depositions in a couple different Alabama nursing home abuse cases. While taking the deposition of one facility’s Director of Nursing, the witness basically admitted her facility only purchased a rulebook to get licensed. This Director of Nursing testified her facility obtained a canned rulebook years ago to get licensed. Since then, the rulebook sat on the shelf gathering dust. She could not testify to any of her own facility’s specific procedures.

Think about that — A facility full of caregivers with no common procedures. All caregivers are left to act as they deem appropriate. We also took the depositions of several different CNAs who provided care at the facility. Most of them had never worked with any other providers. So, they had no prior experience. This facility hired them and turned them loose on its elderly residents with no explicit policies.

When we reviewed the medical chart at the nursing home, we found almost nothing. By nothing, I mean almost nothing was charted despite doctor’s orders to monitor the elderly resident carefully due to his health condition. In my post last week I discussed the nursing home’s response to questions on its lack of charting. In response, the witnesses testified they only “chart by exception.”

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Alabama Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect AttorneysA recent news article tells the story of a tragic nursing home death. An elderly resident was found dead in a wooded area near the facility. How did it happen? How could a nursing home lose a resident?

The elderly assisted living resident had been absent from the facility for several days. You would think one of the nurses would have noticed? The facility now claims it thought the resident was on an outing with family. Instead, the elderly resident had wandered from the home. Nobody saw her leave. Nobody signed her out. You would think the nursing home followed a sign-out procedure for residents leaving with family???

The nursing home failed to monitor its elderly residents. A simple check-in / check-out procedure (if followed) would have prevented this death. How can a nursing home fail to follow such a basic procedure? While that nursing home was not in Alabama, we have plenty of facilities in our state that also fail to monitor their elderly residents.

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Huntsville Personal Injury Attorneys / Blackwell Law FirmHit-and-run crash? The other driver fled the scene? You think it won’t happen to you. But, it does happen. In recent years, we’ve seen a rising number of hit and run crashes.

You are driving down University Drive in Huntsville. You stop at the intersection with Memorial Parkway. Suddenly, a speeding car runs the red light and slams into the side of your vehicle. You are shaken and hurt. Before you fully realize what is happening, the other driver speeds away. Police later identified the at-fault driver. Why did he flee the scene? He had no car insurance.

You are driving down Pulaski Pike on the way home after work. You stop at a light. Suddenly, a car crashes into the rear of your car. But, the car does not stop. Instead, the at-fault driver backs up and then speeds from the crash scene. Why did he flee the scene? He had warrants for his arrest and did not want to be caught. Fortunately, an off duty police officer saw the crash and followed the fleeing driver. And, he was caught.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersIt’s the day after a serious car accident. The events of yesterday are a blur. You are hurting. You are stiff. For many people, the first few hours and days after a serious car accident are a time of increasing pain. Hopefully, you’ve never experienced this. Those who have will understand.

You are hurting. You start to worry about your health. You start to worry about work. You are probably worried about your car. You may have lots of concerns and questions. That’s when you receive the call. An adjuster calls. Often, the adjuster calls with a friendly voice. She wants you to think you are in good hands. She sounds helpful. She may even tell you to send your medical bills and sign paperwork so they can get your records. She hints they will pay the bills if you send them. Don’t believe it. I talk to accident victims weekly. So many of them are misled by adjusters into believing the insurance company wants their actual bills to pay each of them.

If the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays anything for your injuries, they are going to want you to sign a release giving up your claims. So, why is the adjuster calling? Why is she acting friendly at first? The truth — The insurance company is investigating the accident and you. The insurance company is gathering information. And, it will use the information to defend the claim or to pay as little as possible.

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Huntsville Car Accident AttorneysYou’re on your usual route to work in the morning, trying to make it on time and keep your boss happy. Things seem to be going well when suddenly traffic slows to a crawl and people start moving over. “You’ve gotta be kidding!” you say as the traffic cones and construction equipment appear in your field of view. Why are they working on the road during rush hour?

Across northern Alabama, population growth means roadway expansion. If you’ve read my prior articles, you know I’ve discussed the safety and expansion needs of several area roads. I’ve written several articles about Highway 53, a major Huntsville roadway which desperately needs improvements. For years, Highway 53 has been a dangerous road where far too many serious car accidents occur. We’ve handled accident claims involving serious injuries and deaths at points along Highway 53 all the way to Ardmore. Our area legislators have worked tirelessly for years to bring needed improvements to that roadway. It looks like positive safety changes are finally occurring.

With population growth, highway authorities now have planned expansion of Highways 53, Highway 72 and Interstate 565. With parts of I-565 seeing nearly 115,000 vehicles per day, parts of Highway 72 seeing nearly 50,000 vehicles per day, and parts of Highway 53 seeing nearly 30,000 vehicles per day, there’s no denying how important – and how busy – these highways can get. They have been vital to North Alabama’s growing economy.

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