COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients.

Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Blackwell Law Firm helps people with serious personal injury claimsOver the last year, we’ve all worried about COVID-19. The pandemic has affected every part of our lives. Family. Health. Work. Social Activities. Many families are struggling with the loss of a loved one. Many businesses and industries have also been devastated. But, one industry seems to be booming around Huntsville. That industry? Road construction.

A quick Google search produces numerous articles detailing the growth boom across northern Alabama. Many businesses and government agencies are planning moves to the Huntsville area. An al.com article in June 2020 notes how Huntsville started the last decade as the 4th largest city in Alabama but is expected to become the largest city within the next two years.

With growth comes increasing infrastructure demands. That means new construction. You can see new hotel and parking deck construction projects all around our office in downtown Huntsville. At its heart, infrastructure means roads. Throughout the Huntsville, Decatur and Athens area, you also see almost constant road construction. Road crews are working to build the additional infrastructure needed for expected growth. These crews have remained busy throughout the pandemic.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersLast week, Madison County re-started civil jury trials. After months of coronavirus shutdowns, it’s nice to be back at the courthouse. Now, I’m not writing to debate the wisdom of re-opening or not. I’m OK waiting longer for more vaccinations. Public health and safety should be our top priority. As a community, we should each take the steps needed to protect our neighbors. But, again, I’m not writing about the issue of shutdowns.

When the court did re-open this week in Huntsville, one of our car accident injury cases was number one on the docket. First up for trial! We prepare our personal injury cases. We’ve been prepared in this Huntsville accident case for months. Ready to go. It was good to finish the case for our client. Our client patiently waited through recent months as have so many other people.

Maybe you are asking — Why did the case not settle? While most cases eventually settle, some do not. Sometimes, cases should not settle. Maybe the insurance company adjuster ignored the extent of injuries or damages. Maybe the insurance company is taking advantage of courthouse closures to delay and deny justice.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury Lawyers / Blackwell Law FirmI watched the wheelchair move slowly down the middle of the road. I often saw the same wheelchair as I drove home from my Huntsville office. Frequently, the wheelchair was in the middle of the road, with no lights, after dark. I worried that someone unfamiliar with the roadway may not expect or see him. It was a dangerous situation.

What if an accident occurs? What if a driver hit the wheelchair? How is the wheelchair classified? Pedestrian or Motor Vehicle?

I know, lawyers parse terms. Lawyers argue details. Lawyers harp on legal classifications. Only a lawyer would openly ponder whether someone was classified as pedestrian or motor vehicle. Yet, in Alabama accident cases, the distinction can be very important. Very important. The rules for pedestrians and cars are very different.

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Untitled-design-6-300x300Congress is considering legislation to protect people with health insurance from receiving “surprise” medical charges. You know, the huge charges for receiving medical care out of your insurance company’s network. The proposed legislation would stop exorbitant and surprise emergency charges from out-of-network doctors and hospitals.

How Do Exorbitant Out-Of-Network Medical Charges Impact Alabama Accident Victims?

You have to laugh at some of the “legal” blogs ghostwritten by marketing people for law firms. They follow a formula. Step 1, express “horror” over some problem or injustice. Step 2, build-up the problem. Step 3, carefully avoid providing any information that would educate consumers. Otherwise, they may not call. Step 4, tell the reader he or she needs to call you as the keeper of solutions. Step 5, stuff the blog post with keywords that have nothing to do with the topic but may be important to your legal services. I disagree with this “formula.” I think blog posts should be authentic and should provide real information or opinions.

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Through the years, I’ve written numerous articles discussing ways insurance adjusters work to decrease or diminish the value of your claim. If you are looking for a specific topic, I encourage you to search the blog archives. We’ve addressed many accident and injury topics. If you cannot locate an answer to your questions, let us know. We are happy to discuss your issues.

Below, I’ve attached a recent slideshow detailing three simple tricks insurance adjusters use. The slideshow focuses on Alabama car accident injury claims. However, adjusters use many of the same tricks in workers’ compensation claims.

Here is our slideshow:

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Untitled-design-5-300x300Credibility. It’s one of the biggest failures in the legal field. What is a leading cause of this credibility problem? Bad lawyer advertising! Lawyer ads are everywhere. They are overwhelming. They are almost all terrible.

Instead of authenticity, too many lawyers will say or publish anything to sign clients. From fast cash promises to fake blogs to ghostwritten content, lawyer marketing is terrible. Some lawyers even chase clients and cases in legal areas they really do not handle. That’s a terrible practice and terrible insult to the legal profession. Our friends and neighbors deserve better.

If you’ve watched any television, you’ve seen the onslaught of bad lawyer commercials. Have you taken this drug? Call me! Have you been in a car wreck? Call me! Many of these advertising lawyers have never even seen the inside of a courtroom. They do not try cases. They are not going to work your case for maximum value. Some of these advertising lawyers do not even have an office in Alabama.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury Attorneys / Blackwell Law FirmWhat is uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage? This coverage is commonly called UIM. This valuable coverage is provided through your automobile insurance policy. And, it provides compensation for your injuries when the at-fault driver does not have adequate liability insurance coverage. In Alabama, insurance companies must provide UIM coverage (at least in the minimum amount) on your policy unless you specifically waive it. You should never do that! In fact, you should talk with your agent about purchasing more than the minimum required limits.

Uninsured / Underinsured Coverage Protects Alabama Families Seriously Injured By A Negligent Driver

You are driving to work. Suddenly, another driver runs a red light and crashes into you. You are hurt. You start receiving medical bills. And, you are unable to work. When you make a claim against the at-fault driver you learn he had NO car insurance. I know – this is illegal. Even if he had the minimum coverage (currently $25,000), it would only cover a fraction of your damages. What should you do? If you have UIM coverage on your policy, then you can recover additional money to help with your damages.

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DRUNK-DRIVING-A-LEADING-CAUSE-OF-HIGHWAY-ACCIDENTS-INJURIES-AND-DEATHS-IN-ALABAMA-300x169Impaired Driving. Is it increasing? In recent months, many families have faced tremendous issues. The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating. The risk of sickness. The loss of jobs and income. The ever-changing schedules for school and work. The isolation of social distancing. For years, I’ve seen the devastating impact of isolation in my injured clients suffering chronic pain and disability. With COVID-19, others are also now experiencing the impact.

When I read recently that several local Alabama law enforcement agencies have faced increasing issues with intoxicated drivers, I was not surprised. The crises facing many workers increases problems with alcohol over-consumption. During difficult times, issues with alcohol and drugs often increase.

Around Decatur, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department recently reported that DUI arrests have increased 54% this year compared to last year. In Lawrence County, the Town Creek Police Chief reported DUI arrests have increased over 40% compared to last year. I discussed these statistics with a current car accident client who is also a police officer and he indicated many of his fellow officers noticed increasing issues. You can read a short article in the Insurance Journal reporting this issue by clicking HERE. That’s a significant increase. And, it means many more dangerous drivers are on Alabama roads.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Accident & Injury AttorneysYou suffered a car accident caused by another driver. You are injured. Suddenly, you face many questions. How can I get needed medical care? Will I heal quickly? What happens if I lose my job because I’m hurt? How will I pay my medical bills? How will I deal with the insurance company?

Then, you speak with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster may promise to help you quickly. The adjuster may even promise to pay your medical bills. It happens all the time — The adjuster acts like they are ready to pay your bills and take care of you. Most of the time, it’s not true. Most of the time, the adjuster wants to buy time to protect the insurance company.

The adjuster wants you to provide a recorded statement OR to sign an authorization so the insurance company can dig through your medical records OR simply to string you along. The adjuster tells you information is needed to get you paid. Maybe it is. More likely, it’s an effort to investigate your claim and look for potential reasons to deny it.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury AttorneysA friend recently asked me about a pedestrian death in Huntsville. What happened in that accident? A pedestrian was crossing University Drive when struck and killed. Pedestrian accidents are increasingly common in busy areas, including University Drive and Governors Drive in Huntsville. These two busy Huntsville roads involve multiple lanes of traffic with few crosswalks.

Pedestrian injury cases are very, very difficult. Let me repeat that — Pedestrian cases in Alabama are very difficult. We routinely turndown cases involving pedestrian injuries. The difficulties are both legal and practical. Alabama law requires (with some limited exceptions) pedestrians to use the crosswalk and holds them negligent if they do not. In Alabama, if you are even partially negligent you cannot recover your damages. That’s a big legal hurdle.

Alabama law is much more car-friendly than pedestrian-friendly. From state-to-state pedestrian injury laws vary tremendously. Some states favor pedestrians. Some states favor cars. As you can imagine, the policy differences typically occur between states with large pedestrian urban centers versus those with more rural or suburban areas.

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