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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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Alabama Accident & Injury AttorneysI recently wrote a post titled How Settlement Mill Lawyers Harm Car Accident Victims:  You Hired A LAWYER But Did NOT Receive One. In that article I discussed a real problem with settlement mill law firms. At settlement mill law firms, all the work and attention is performed by staff members instead of lawyers. Injury victims think they are getting a lawyer but they are not.

After writing that article, I read a Florida case where this issue almost cost a client tremendously. What happened? A car accident victim hired a law firm. The firm gathered his medical records. The firm then sent a quick demand letter to the insurance company, State Farm. Because the injured client’s bills were substantial, the firm intended to demand the full policy limits of $100,000. Oops! Instead, the firm’s letter demanded only $10,000 to settle the case. Apparently, the lawyer never read the demand letter. In settlement mill law firms, a “legal assistant” or “case manager” often writes and communicates with the insurance company. Where is the lawyer? That’s a good question. Some settlement mill firms function like assembly lines handling a volume of cases. The work product is bad. If you are hurt, you deserve to have a lawyer working your case. When State Farm received the letter offering to accept $10,000 instead of $100,000, it quickly responded by accepting in writing.

What a potential disaster! What happened next? The parties had to litigate the issue through Florida’s courts. In the end, an appellate court in Florida saved the client by holding that no settlement contract existed because of the mistake. The injured person dodged a terrible result and salvaged his case. The law firm dodged a terrible result and a potential malpractice issue.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersMany car accident injury cases are fairly straightforward. Liability and damages. Did the other driver negligently cause the collision? If so, were you injured? What is the extent of your injuries?

In recent weeks, I’ve written several posts about settlement mill lawyers. These billboard and television lawyers want a volume of those straightforward car accident and injury cases that they can quickly settle. Even when the case is straightforward, these settlement mill lawyers often harm their clients by not working to prepare cases for their maximum value. That’s important — Even when straightforward, putting the time and skill into developing and building the case can make a huge difference in the amount of damages recovered for an injured client. When our friends and neighbors suffer an injury, they deserve a lawyer who will provide personal attention and work on their case.

When you take a car accident claim and add common issues such as vehicle defects, commercial vehicles, underinsured drivers or uninsured drivers, you really are well-beyond claims that can be handled by settlement mill lawyers. These cases require work, preparation and a willingness to go to court when needed.

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Personal Injury Lawyer In HuntsvilleYou’ve seen and heard all the lawyer promises. From billboards to television, they ask you to call. Some of them even yell their requests. It’s really a terrible way to find a good personal injury lawyer. Instead, you should research your options. Talk to people you trust. Look for an attorney who will work hard to prepare your case.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing several ways settlement mill law firms harm their clients. Settlement mills are those law firms that mass advertise for a volume of cases that can be quickly settled. For them, it’s not about the client relationship. It’s not about building a case for its maximum value and recovery. It’s all about volume.

In recent posts, I discussed the secret arrangements many advertising lawyers have with a specific chiropractor. Like an assembly line, clients are referred to a specific chiropractor who runs up medical bills. In the end, the client suffers. How? These clients do not get the real treatment needed. And, at the end of the case, they are left paying their settlement money to the chiropractor. I’m not attacking all chiropractors or lawyers – just the ones involved in this terrible practice.

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Huntsville Car Accident LawyersI know. You are probably asking why a lawyer would reject a good case. But, many settlement mill lawyers do reject good cases. Why? These settlement mill lawyers are NOT willing to go to court. Sometimes, good cases require you to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, good cases require a little work.

We believe in case preparation. And, we believe in going to court when needed for our clients. We believe hard work builds the best results for our injured clients.

In recent weeks, I’ve written several posts discussing ways billboard settlement mill lawyers harm their injured clients. During the over two decades I’ve practiced personal injury law, I’ve received countless phone calls from people who have been victimized by a settlement mill lawyer. We have many excellent lawyers in our community. They have also seen and heard many horror stories of the harm caused by the few settlement mill lawyers smiling from billboards and televisions.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersIn a prior post, I discussed the secret arrangements where settlement mill lawyers funnel most of their clients to a favorite chiropractor who then runs-up the medical bills for settlement. The downside of this secret arrangement is that the injured person never receives proper care but is left paying the bulk of their settlement money to the lawyer and chiropractor. It’s a bad deal for the personal injury victim. It’s a shameful practice by settlement mill lawyers who neglect their clients.

What about injury victims who have health insurance or health coverage? Here’s a quick scenario. You suffered an injury in a car accident. After the wreck, you go to the local hospital and then follow-up with your doctors. You probably pay some co-pays. But, your health coverage pays many of the bills. If you have health coverage, you should use it to get the treatment you need. You then hire a lawyer to make a claim against the at-fault driver. Medical bills and personal injury claims can be a confusing topic. But, it’s a very important topic if you are facing a serious injury. If you would like more information about medical bills and personal injury cases, click the link below to my article discussing the topic.

The insurance company knows which lawyers go to court. Choose wisely. If you are seriously injured in a car accident, the choice of lawyer can make a huge difference in the insurance company’s offers to you. If you hire a settlement mill lawyer who is not willing to go to court, the insurance company is likely to pay less for your case. Why would the insurance company pay a fair settlement if the adjuster knows your lawyer will not go to court? Why would the insurance company pay a fair settlement if the adjuster knows your lawyer is simply advertising on billboards for volume cases that can be quickly settled? Why would the insurance company pay a fair settlement if the adjuster knows your lawyer is simply using a staff of non-lawyers to push claims through the system. But, getting a smaller settlement from the insurance company is not the only way you can lose with a settlement mill lawyer.

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Alabama Car Accident AttorneysIf you’ve read my prior articles, you know my opinion — Billboard lawyers often harm their personal injury clients. As lawyers, our job is to help our clients. We should put first our clients’ interests. Yet, many billboard lawyers help themselves at their clients’ expense.

How do settlement mill lawyers smiling from billboards harm their personal injury clients? Over the coming weeks, I’m going to write posts discussing several ways these advertising lawyers often harm their injured clients. Today, I’ll talk about the sweetheart arrangements many of these settlement mill lawyers have with a specific chiropractor to profit from your injuries.

Here’s how the sweetheart deal between the billboard lawyer and a specific chiropractor works. You suffer a car accident injury and call the billboard lawyer. You probably don’t meet with the actual billboard lawyer. That’s a different issue we’ll discuss in a later post. You probably meet with an “investigator,” “runner” or other staff member. Once you sign the contract, the billboard lawyer wants you to see a specific chiropractor. His chiropractor. That chiropractor will then run-up the charges for your visits. The billboard lawyer will use these exorbitant charges to try and negotiate a deal with the insurance company to settle your claim. It’s an assembly line process designed so the billboard lawyer spends as little time as possible working on your file. That billboard lawyer simply wants to make a few phone calls. And, in many volume law firms, a staff member is actually making the calls. You get zero service from the lawyer.

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In May 2020, I wrote a post that asked: Does vaping increase the risk of coronavirus? In that post I discussed emerging research indicating vaping might actually worsen medical problems from Covid-19.

Scientists continue to explore connections between vaping and the coronavirus. Local television channel WZDX recently aired a report on this issue. I want to continue updating my initial post as new research is discussed:

https://youtu.be/wWjyMEdHdq4

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Huntsville Accident LawyersYou are driving down the road. Maybe you’re heading down I-565 to work in Huntsville. You are thinking about work (or maybe thinking about the upcoming weekend). Bam! Suddenly, another car crashes into you. You’ve probably sat in rush hour traffic on I-565 many times for accidents involving other drivers. But, now it’s you.

What happens after a sudden car crash. Usually, people call 911. Sometimes, multiple people call 911. Police arrive and investigate. Paramedics may arrive and check for injuries. What if the police suddenly decide to stop investigating some car accidents? What if the police in Huntsville, Madison, or another northern Alabama city, suddenly decide to stop working car accident scenes? If I had asked the question a year ago, you would probably laugh. After all, we expect law enforcement to investigate and report car accidents. With current coronavirus risks, one huge police department is now making the decision not to investigate some crashes. That police department — Atlanta.

A few days ago, an Atlanta news channel reported the Atlanta police department would stop responding to some car crashes due to Covid-19 concerns. How will this law enforcement agency choose when to respond and when not to respond? According to the report, Atlanta police will stop responding to “non-injury” accidents during the coronavirus pandemic. When Atlanta area drivers call the police for a car accident, the dispatcher will ask if they are injured. The response to this question determines whether or not local police will respond.

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Huntsville Accident And Injury LawyersAs I write, firm attorney Jennifer McKown is attending a court hearing by Zoom. Rather than appear at the courthouse, she is sitting in front of her laptop in the conference room. During the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom hearings have become a necessity. Teleconferencing has become necessary for many businesses. Think also of our schools. In our home (like so many other families), we’ve grappled with the reality of remote learning during the pandemic. Like other businesses and schools, the legal profession must also grapple with questions of what activities can be handled remotely versus in-person.

Since March, I’ve attended numerous hearings by teleconference (through Zoom). I’ve also attended some in-person hearings in full mask. Just a couple weeks ago, I argued a lengthy post-trial motion in-person in a Marshall County workers’ compensation case. Maybe that hearing could have been handled remotely but it would have been much more difficult. We won a work comp trial right before the coronavirus shutdown and the defense lawyer filed post-trial motions. The arguments involved discussions of numerous cases and pieces of evidence. Everyone present in the same room made it much easier. Maybe I’ll write more about in-person pandemic hearings later. But, right now, I’ll talk about tele-hearings.

We all hope for a quick return to life without the coronavirus. We all face the current uncertainties together. What happens after the pandemic? What parts of life return to pre-corona normal? What parts of life permanently change? Can we learn from this shared experience? Can we benefit by lessons learned during this time?

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