Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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For decades, U.S. Marines and their families consumed highly contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The water at Camp Lejeune contained volatile organic compounds linked to multiple cancers. While Marines and their families innocently drank this water for years, the government initially hid the contamination from them. Only after environmental regulations began requiring testing, did the truth begin to surface. Like so many other injuries caused after years of exposures, it was too late legally to act. That is, until now.

This summer, Congress passed a new law providing relief for affected families. Now, Marines and their family members can seek compensation for cancers and other health issues caused by drinking contaminated water at the base. The new law allows time for claims. But, that time is limited.

I recently wrote a long article detailing the history of Camp Lejeune, its contaminated water, and the injuries families are now suffering. You can read my article on the HOT TOPICS section of our website. Along with a history of the problems, I discuss the actual carcinogenic chemicals as well as some of the specific injuries linked by research to the toxic water.

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How Are Medical Bills Handled In An Alabama Personal Injury Case?Crash. In an instant, another car runs a red light and crashes into your vehicle. All you remember is the sound of crunching metal and shattering glass. When everything stops moving, you are dazed. Then, you start hurting. Paramedics arrive and carry you to a local hospital for treatment. At least, you know your medical bills will be covered! You have a Medicare Advantage plan.

What happens if you later make a claim against the at-fault driver? What happens when you resolve that claim with the other driver’s insurance company?

I’ve written numerous times about the rights of Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance companies to be repaid from your settlement. It’s a tricky area. It’s an area where a skilled lawyer can make a real difference, a big difference, in how much money you actually keep. In Alabama, we have several television and billboard lawyers who run settlement mills. This is where those billboard lawyers often just completely drop the ball. They don’t help their clients keep as much money as possible. What good is a settlement, if you don’t keep any of it? That’s wrong. Injured people deserve better.

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Blackwell Law Firm - Protecting Alabama WorkersA few months ago, I wrote an article asking if a boss who intentionally puts workers in danger should face criminal prosecution. You can read my article titled, When The Boss Tries To Kill His Workers! Remember, I’m not talking about negligent injuries. I’m only talking about intentional misconduct.

Now, our firm does not handle criminal cases. We only handle Alabama cases involving serious personal injury. Many of those cases are workers’ compensation claims. Over the years, I’ve seen a tremendous number of accidents and injuries that could have been prevented with a little safety planning from the company.

While most injury cases involve someone who caused an injury by acting negligently or recklessly, a small few involve terrible situations where someone purposely and intentionally chooses to put another person in danger. In the workplace, we should be able to trust our employers to, at least, try and keep us safe!

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Blackwell Law Firm / Huntsville AttorneysAn old Huntsville lawyer once bragged that he would not handle pedestrian injury cases. Why did he refuse these cases? They are difficult.

I’ve written previously about the difficult legal issues with pedestrian cases. First, Alabama law makes them difficult. Alabama law has provisions requiring pedestrians only walk in limited places, like crosswalks. Our state laws generally favor cars over pedestrians. Some other states are different. In more urban states, their laws often favor the pedestrian. Second, Alabama is a contributory negligence states. We are one of just a couple states who follow that doctrine. What does that mean? If you are even partially at fault (think 1%) in a contributory negligence state, you cannot recover damages for your injuries. Third, the public perception here favors cars over pedestrians. That’s a real factor at trial. Because of these issues, pedestrian cases often become battles over whether the person was entirely in the crosswalk or not.

You can read more about Alabama law and my thoughts on pedestrian injury cases in several of my past articles on this blog. Here is one of them — Pedestrian Injuries — A Growing Problem.

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For years, a foreign company marketed its miracle pill. The TV commercials asked, “Do You Have Diabetes?” The company made billions pushing its pill. Slowly, patient after patient began suffering bladder cancer. Then, researchers discovered the pill was defective and dangerous. Yet, it was too late for many people. How many people developed cancer because of the bad pill? How many people suffered injury? Thousands of patients across the United States, including many in Alabama, suffered injury. I represented several of these patients and worked hard to prepare their cases.

Most people understand a car accident that hurts a couple people. Most people understand a work-related accident that hurts an employee. Those cases are very different from a mass tort. A mass tort is when a bad act or bad product harms many different people. Think an explosion that harms hundreds of people. Think a commercial plane crash. Think a defective drug or medical device prescribed to patients across Alabama or the United States.

Because mass torts may involve huge numbers of uniquely injured people, our Federal Courts have developed a special process called Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to handle them. Typically, our Federal Courts will assign a single judge to oversee the pre-trial process for all of the claims. That means a single judge may be overseeing claimants from distant places. In recent years, I’ve represented injured people from Alabama in MDL cases overseen by judges from distant places including New York, California, West Virginia and Florida to name a few. If you are talking to a lawyer about a mass tort injury claim and want to know if he or she really handles those claims, ask if they have been admitted to practice in far away MDL courts. We have. These cases require special attention.

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Nursing Home IncidentA repairman arrives to your house in a company van. He rings the doorbell. You answer and let him into your home. You expected him. Your cable is not working and you called for service. Instead of making repairs, the repairman pulls a knife and attacks you. This is the tragic set of events that recently happened to an elderly lady in Texas. When her family later went to check on her, they found her stabbed to death. Yes, the attacker was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But, no criminal punishment will ever bring back a loved one.

We live in angry times. In the last couple years, we’ve seen a huge rise in workplace assaults where someone suffers a personal injury. I’ve written in the past few months about Alabama law related to workers’ compensation for assault-related injuries. By that, I mean an employee is the one injured in an assault. One well-known recent workplace assault case even occurred here in Madison County. If you want to know more about whether or not employees injured in workplace assaults are covered by workers compensation in Alabama, you can read some of my past posts on the topic.

I wrote last week about a different assault topic. If a customer is assaulted and injured by another customer (or guest) at a business, can the injured customer pursue a personal injury claim against that business? When is a business liable for assault-related injuries where a guest injures a customer? It’s a tricky issue. It’s often difficult to pursue a personal injury case in these situations. In my post last week, I discussed a hotel injury case where an angry person in the parking lot shot someone. It can be very difficult to hold a business liable for a criminal act committed by a guest or customer who simply comes on to the property. You can read my post from last week if you have questions about that issue.

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Untitled-design-3-300x300A recent wrongful death case in Florida raises an issue we see in our practice as well. What happened? A hotel guest was shot and killed in the facility’s parking lot. The shooter was not an employee of the hotel. Here is the issue — When is a business liable for a criminal act by someone else on its property?

By someone else, I mean someone who is not an employee of that business. We are talking an outside person who arrives and commits a crime that causes a personal injury. I’ll talk about employees who commit criminal acts in a later post – Those cases raise other questions about the employer and the actions it took to vet, monitor or supervise its employees. Today, we’ll just talk about a non-employee who shows up, commits a crime and hurts a customer in the process.

I’ll give you a few more details about the Florida case. Several guests provided statements indicating the shooter had been harassing people at the hotel before the shooting. The investigation revealed that the shooter became enraged after arguing with his girlfriend who worked for the hotel. Now that you know a few more facts, it’s clear this was not some random stranger who showed up and hurt someone. Like so many legal issues – The issues are difficult and require skilled legal advice.

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Alabama Accident & Injury Lawyers At Blackwell Law FirmThe United States has a much higher rate of car accident deaths than other highly developed countries. Recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research paints a difficult and disturbing picture of our nation’s highway fatality rates compared to other similar countries.

In fact, the CDC data shows the rate of highway deaths in the United States is the very highest among all high-income countries studied. That’s not all. The data gets even worse. Unlike many other countries which saw declining rates of fatal highway accidents, the rate of deaths in the United States actually increased in the years studied. From a safety standpoint, we are headed in the wrong direction!

I’ve seen a couple other posts quoting this troubling road data. The data is disturbing. But, I don’t want simply to quote statistics. Instead of simply quoting research, we should use the data to discuss safety. Here are two key questions I have from this recent research:

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Medical BillsIn a split second, a car accident can change your life. Crash!!! You are injured. Suddenly, you have a lot of worries. How do I get medical care? Will I heal? Can I keep working? Who will pay the bills?

Most people have very little experience handling the difficult medical (and other) issues following a serious car crash. It’s easy simply to sign whatever the medical provider or lawyer puts in front of you. However, some providers (both medical and legal) are not looking out for your best interest.

What’s the number one goal following a serious injury? Get better as quickly as possible! Healing is (and should be) the top priority. I know medical bills and costs are one of the most stressful issues for injured people. So, how should medical bills be handled in a car accident?

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Untitled-design-3-copy-300x300Are hit-and-run accidents increasing? In recent months, local news outlets have reported numerous hit-and-run fatalities. In the most recent accident just a few days ago, an Athens man struck a pedestrian and fled the scene leaving him fatally injured. Initially, law enforcement arrested the fleeing driver for a felony charge related to leaving the scene of an accident. When the pedestrian victim later died at the hospital, those charges were upgraded to manslaughter.

This recent hit-and-run death is not an isolated event. Our office is currently helping a number of people hurt in hit-and-run accidents. In one, a driver traveled down the wrong side of Highway 72 in Scottsboro, struck a truck, fled the scene, and was later found by local police officers hiding in a nearby neighborhood. In another, a Huntsville driver fled the scene to avoid outstanding warrants, leaving our client severely injured. In a third case, the negligent driver fled but was caught when a witness followed and called police. These are just a few of our recent cases. Later in this blog, I’ll discuss how you can protect yourself financially from the risk of a hit-and-run driver.

What Are The Facts About Hit And Run Accidents?

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