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Articles Tagged with car accident

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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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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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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 Personal Injury AttorneysYou suffered a car accident. In the days and weeks following the accident, you realize your injuries are serious. If you are like many of our clients, you may even need back or neck surgery because of the injuries to your spine. Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court addressed a car accident case with those common facts. The case was Hicks v. Allstate Insurance Company.

What was the issue in that case? The injured party wanted to introduce a mortality table into evidence and then argue for damages over the course of their expected lifetime. If you suffer a permanent injury, you get one day in court. You get one chance to argue and recover compensation for a lifetime of damages. You need to present the full story of your injuries and how they will impact you in the future. Alabama publishes mortality tables listing the remaining life expectancy for both men and women based on their current age. I know, it sounds a little morbid to think that a chart says you will live a specific number of years. While we all differ, the charts are based on expectations using vital health statistics. If the jury is going to decide damages for a permanent injury, it’s helpful to know how many years are expected.

What happened at trial in that case? At trial, the injured person’s surgeon testified by video deposition. The surgeon described his surgery in detail. He described how the procedure involved implanting hardware that would remain in the injured person’s body. He described how the procedure helped the person’s pain but still resulted in a loss of mobility and movement.

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https://www.alabamainjurylawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/122/2020/06/Buyer-Beware-Read-The-Contract.-300x300.pngThrough the years, we have handled many Alabama personal injury claims where the client initially hired another lawyer. Many of the lawyers smiling from billboards and television will NOT work on their cases. Many of these advertising lawyers will NOT go to trial. So, it’s not unusual for people to hire a billboard lawyer and later need another attorney. Many of the dedicated trial lawyers I know will tell you the same thing — They frequently review cases mishandled by billboard lawyers.

We recently reviewed a workers’ compensation case in Athens where the injured person started with one of these advertising lawyers. She hired the lawyers. When they realized her case might require some actual courtroom work, they let her go. I guess I should more accurately say they tried to talk her into settling for peanuts then let her go when she refused. We reviewed her file. When we looked at her contingent fee contract with these billboard lawyers, we saw that it contained a $500 administrative fee. What? That’s outrageous.

Why were these billboard lawyers charging an administrative fee? The contract did not say. The truth — It was simply another way to gouge their client without giving good service. Do you really think the firm was going to incur $500 of telephone and postage costs in a local work comp case? Maybe they were trying to recoup the costs of their billboards? Regardless, they were already charging the customary contingency fee for handling these cases.

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Insurance Claims

Is The Insurance Company Pulling The Strings?

I’ve been reading Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy. Recent events across our country highlight the injustices described in this book and add to the immediate urgency for a more just system. It’s especially difficult to read Just Mercy when you are familiar with many of the cities and counties where the injustices in the book occurred. It’s also especially difficult to read the book when recent events across our nation remind (everyone) that systematic injustice and racism remain current events. Changes are needed.

When I started this blog several years ago, I committed to discussing solely personal injury issues. For the most part, I’ve kept that commitment. This week, it is especially difficult to do so. But, I’m going to try.

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