Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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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 Accident & Injury Lawyers at Blackwell Law FirmWhy am I being asked to provide my tax returns in my injury case? I saw this question recently in a legal forum. In personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, the defense lawyers often ask for your tax returns. Over our 25+ years of practicing Alabama personal injury law, we’ve seen this question repeatedly. So, I thought I would discuss the issue.

Why Are They Requesting My Tax Returns?

If you have an Alabama personal injury or workers compensation case, tax return requests are routine. Many insurance defense lawyers make this request in every case. Why are they asking for your returns?

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Building-personal-injury-cases-for-maximum-compensation-300x300Earlier this week, I took the deposition of a local orthopedic surgeon in a client’s car accident case. I take several medical depositions each month. So, it’s not unusual to be in a deposition. It’s part of our process to help clients by building their cases. The case involved a car accident. The crash actually happened pretty close to my office in Huntsville. An uninsured driver crashed into my client at a busy intersection along University Drive. Because an uninsured driver caused the Huntsville accident, we made a claim against my client’s own auto insurer for uninsured coverage. The carrier — Allstate! Yes, I have a pretty negative opinion about how that company treats its own insureds. Are you really in good hands? Any Alabama lawyer who regularly handles car accident and injury cases likely agrees with me.

As is so often the case, Allstate offered practically nothing to my client after her wreck. But, then we took the ortho’s deposition. We obtained his testimony for use at trial. After his testimony, the adjuster suddenly started calling and wanting to pay. Developing the medical evidence increases case value significantly! That’s an obvious no-brainer. Yet, so many lawyers simply refuse to prepare their cases! I know lawyers who claim to handle car accident cases but have never taken key testimony from medical providers. It’s shocking to think how little value they add to cases.

How Settlement Mill Law Firms Fail Clients By Failing To Build Case Value!

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Huntsville Car Accident LawyerDo you have a referral arrangement with a specific chiropractor or doctor? It’s a question some callers ask. The answer is, NO. If you suffered a serious car accident injury, the worst thing you can do is hire a lawyer who has a secret referral relationship with a specific chiropractor or doctor. In a recent video, Virginia lawyer Ben Glass says these secret relationships are “the kiss of death for your case.”

We’ve all heard the television commercials! We’ve all seen the billboards! Please call, the lawyer begs. These are settlement mill lawyers. They are operating an assembly line process. Sign the client. Refer the client to a special chiropractor. Inflate the medical charges. Make a settlement demand on the insurance company. Take what you can get. (Take what “little” you can get.). That assembly line process fails clients who are truly injured. It benefits only the lawyer and his chosen clinic. That’s wrong.

The settlement mill lawyers all over television and billboards do not want you to know the truth. They are running a sham that hurts already injured people a second time.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersI recently read an article which indicated almost 2/3 of all injured plaintiffs in mass tort cases were unhappy. That’s no surprise! Many of these individuals suffered very serious injuries only to be lost in a system that treats them like numbers rather than people. The article discusses a study by Georgia Law Professor Elizabeth Burch and Federal Judicial Center visiting scholar Margaret Williams.

What is a mass tort? I’ll use the ongoing Zantac injury claims as an example. Zantac was a drug distributed across the United States for many, many years. You could even buy Zantac without a prescription for many years. The claim is that Zantac is defective and causes cancer. You have a common product used by everyone. But, the injuries (cancer in this case) are unique. Every person suffers uniquely and individually. Our office has filed several Zantac personal injury claims. Each of our clients is unique and deserves individual attention.

How are these mass tort claims handled? Our Federal Courts will typically assign the cases to a single judge for pre-trial purposes like discovery. The idea is that it saves time and resources for a single judge to oversee all pre-trial issues. Once your individual claim is ready for trial, it will be transferred back to the Federal Court where you filed the case. You get a trial on your unique injuries and damages. At least, in theory, that’s how it is supposed to work. The process is called Multi-District Litigation (MDL).

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Accident-Investigations-1-300x300I recently read a post on the website of another local law firm that announced drones were being used more frequently in accident reconstruction. The post says drones are now being used by emergency personnel across the country. It then cites a Massachusetts state trooper and a Minnesota-based accident reconstruction expert. Are drones actually being used for car accident reconstruction in Alabama? The other post is silent on this key issue. The post was clearly written by a marketing person with no local information. I would like to dig a little deeper. Let’s look into drones and their impact on accidents right here in Alabama!

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Has Started A Drone Program.

A February 2020 story on channel WSFA notes that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (our State Troopers) had recently started a new drone program for traffic and safety issues. At the time of the article, our state police had 16 drones plus a goal to expand the program. According to the article, State Troopers had begun using drones in September 2019.

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Distracted Driving Harms LivesDistracted Driving. Why do I write about this topic so frequently? It’s because I talk to people injured in Alabama car accidents on a daily basis. Far too many of them were hurt in crashes caused by a distracted driver.

I’ve reviewed crashes involving lots of different distractions. Drivers distracted by other passengers. Drivers distracted by searching for something in the car. Drivers distracted by social media while driving. I have even worked cases with drivers distracted by watching videos while driving. Many distractions are possible. But, the biggest factor for distracted driving is the cell phone. By far!

I’ve written several past articles about efforts in Alabama to pass a true hands-free law. You can read a couple of them here:

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A few months ago, I wrote an article discussing Huntsville, infrastructure growth, and the need to focus on work crew safety. With a growing population, comes a need for greater infrastructure. That means more roads and better roads. You can read my prior road crew safety post here:

In past articles I’ve also discussed specific roads that need safety improvements. These include Highway 431 which has been included in listings of the most dangerous roads in the world. Yes, you heard that correctly. Highway 431 has been included in listings containing roads on the edges of cliffs! Why? This highway is especially dangerous because it passes through so many cities and towns with different traffic conditions. Think about all the cities and towns on Highway 431 as you leave Huntsville heading south. I frequently drive Highway 431 from my house in Huntsville to courtrooms in Guntersville, Gadsden and Anniston. It’s a dangerous highway simply because of the traffic it carries and the towns it serves.

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