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Articles Tagged with damages

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Lawyers For Serious Injury And Damage CasesIs the number of contested Trust and Estate cases increasing? Some Estate lawyers asked that question on their blog. Their post, titled The Rising Tide of Trust and Estate Litigation, is an interesting read. It contains some valuable insight.

Now, I’m no Estate lawyer. I certainly do not write Wills or Trusts. Let me repeat that — I do not write Wills or Trusts. My opinion on that topic is simple — You should seek an expert in Estate planning on those issues.

I focus on trial work — Specifically cases for personal injury and damage. That’s where my experience enters the picture. I have prepared Will and Trust contests by heirs for trial. That is, I have been hired to pursue cases in court where heirs and beneficiaries have been damaged by misconduct. While I do not engage in Estate planning, I do engage in representing heirs and beneficiaries damaged by the wrongful conduct of others. I am one of the few trial lawyers I know in my area who has actually tried a Will contest to a jury.

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16687020074_db03aa8ce2_z-300x171Alabama has a significant problem with uninsured drivers. At our firm, we help families suffering because of a personal injury. Car accidents and commercial truck crashes cause many of the injuries we see. Imagine suffering a severe injury only to learn the responsible person has no insurance to help with your damages. That is the scenario many hurt individuals face. Too often, negligent drivers causing injuries on our highways are uninsured. That’s why our firm has long advocated that you purchase sufficient uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family.

Want to know more about why you need sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage? You can read an article we wrote earlier this year titled Alabama Drivers Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage. You need adequate uninsured/underinsured coverage (also frequently called UIM coverage) to protect your family against both uninsured and underinsured drivers. Too many insured drivers carry the minimum amount possible which is unlikely to compensate you fully for any serious injury.

How bad is the problem of uninsured drivers in Alabama? The Insurance Information Institute has compiled some startling statistics. According to their statistics, Alabama ranks in the top 10 for the most uninsured drivers on the road. That’s certainly not a good category in which to rank within the top 10. In 2015, approximately 18.4% of the drivers in Alabama were uninsured. That’s a huge percentage of people driving cars all around you each day.

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insurance-1991216_1280-300x211Another driver crashed into you. You suffered personal injuries in the car accident. Now, you need medical care. Medical Bills. Lost Wages. Disability. Pain and Suffering. You may be worried about several issues. So, you decide to make a claim.

After making a claim, you learn more bad news. The driver who caused the crash is bankrupt. You learn the other driver has actually filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy seeking to discharge all of his or her debts. Can you still recover compensation for your personal injuries? In most cases, the answer is yes.

At our office, we have helped many injured accident victims recover compensation even when the driver who caused the crash is bankrupt. These issues can require legal guidance. An experienced personal injury attorney willing to fight for his or her clients can help. But, be careful who you hire. Many billboard and television advertising attorneys talk a big game but are unwilling (or unable due to a lack of real courtroom expertise) to do the real legal work needed.

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A car crashes into you. You suffer personal injuries. You suddenly face problems with medical bills, pain or wage losses. Then, you discover another problem. The at-fault driver has too little or no insurance for your damages. This problem is not rare. It happens more than you think. Many drivers do not have the insurance necessary to cover the harm their negligent driving may cause.

Alabama law requires every driver to have liability insurance. But, the law requires only small limits of coverage. Some drivers choose to ignore the law and drive without coverage. Other drivers purchase only the bare minimum amount. That amount is far less than needed to cover the damages for anyone with a significant personal injury. Many injury victims have medical bills that exceed the minimum liability coverage limits required by law.

I wrote a series of articles in prior years discussing Alabama’s problem with uninsured drivers. These articles also detail efforts by Alabama officials to create a system of insurance verification – a system that would catch drivers who choose to ignore the law and put the rest of us in danger. When I wrote my first article on the topic in 2011, officials estimated up to 25% of Alabama’s drivers did not currently possess insurance coverage. In 2016, Governor Bentley announced the rate of uninsured drivers had dropped significantly. Yet, it still remains too high. You can read some of my prior articles at my other blog, The Alabama Litigation Review.

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recent article discusses an important issue in public pension and health plans — a lack of transparency. I realize this topic is a change from my normal posts discussing personal injury issues such as car accidents and work comp claims. But, it’s an important issue. It’s one important to Alabama. And, it’s one I’ve explored in a recent case representing a local healthcare business in Alabama with significant damages.

While the article discusses public plans in Kentucky, the issues also apply in Alabama. Some of our public plans have similar problems. What are two of the transparency problems we’ve discovered in our case? They are:

  1. Conflicts Of Interest:  Let’s face it – health and pension plans involve complex issues. So, the State often employs “consultants” with expertise in the field. That’s OK. These plans provide long-term benefits to our valued public employees. Expertise is needed. Here’s the problem. In our case, the State’s consultant managed the entire bidding process. He even scored the bids of companies competing for the contract. Yet, while handling the bidding process, he also accepted thousands of dollars from one bidder. And, no surprise, that one bidder won the contract! Although he accepted thousands of dollars and provided the winning bidder with important pricing information, neither the consultant nor the bidder disclosed their relationship. Alabama officials had no idea. The consultant concealed the relationship. Nobody can explain how this provider’s bid was better than the others? The bidding process should be fully transparent and beyond ethical question.
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Alabama Sales Representative's Commission Contracts ActThe case is all too common. A manufacturer hires an independent sales representative. The sales representative works hard to bring in an important customer. Yet, once the manufacturer thinks the customer relationship is secure, the manufacturer cuts out the sales representative in an effort to increase its profits.

The manufacturer never paid an employee a salary to find, cultivate, or secure the valuable customer. The manufacturer never incurred costs to locate the customer. Instead, the manufacturer had an agreement with an independent sales representative to pay commissions based on the sales generated by the relationship. What the manufacturer often wants is the profit of a customer relationship with no expense, including the expense of paying the agreed-upon sales commissions. This scenario – the clear abuse of the relationship between a manufacturer and its independent representative – has occurred so often that the Alabama Legislature enacted a special statute, the Alabama Sales Representative’s Commission Contracts Act, to address it.  Our courts have addressed the Act and its protections in cases like Lindy Manufacturing Company v. Twentieth Century Marketing, Inc., 706 So.2d 1169 (Ala. 1997).

Our legislature considered it so important to remedy this abuse, it crafted a statute that allows treble damages plus attorneys’ fees. The statute and its protections are vitally important to Alabama’s economy. The local economy, especially in the Huntsville area, is largely based on the development, production, and sales, of advanced technological products. Independent sales representatives often cultivate and secure the long-term customer relationships that fuel business growth. These independent representatives spend considerable time and effort connecting global manufacturers to their customers.

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