Articles Tagged with drug

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Untitled-design-3-300x300A recent insurance journal headline reads, Positive Drug Tests In US Workforce Highest In Two Decades. According to the article, positive drug test rates increased another 4.6% in 2021. The rate shows a 31.4% increase from its all-time low just 10 years ago. In isolation, those statistics are troubling. Let’s talk a little more about the potential impact of increasing employee drug use on accidents and injuries. An increase in drug impairment means an increase in dangers among employees on worksites. It also means an increase in dangers to the public, especially on our roads and highways. Today, I’ll address a couple areas of concern as well as one area of potential long-term good news.

Do Changing Marijuana Laws Impact Workers Compensation Claims? And Other Personal Injury Claims?

I’ve written several times about the potential impact of changing marijuana beliefs and laws on work-related accidents. In Alabama, our work comp law bars claims where (1) the worker was impaired; and, (2) that impairment proximately caused the accident. That second requirement – the impairment proximately caused the accident – is likely to be a key issue in more future cases.

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Huntsville Truck Injury AttorneysThe U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released detailed data on truck driver drug testing. The data shows drug violations among truckers increased in 2021. One truck driver website reported the information as follows:

Violations reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse were up 10.2% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to FMCSA’s December 2021 monthly report.

Several other news sources reported the results with alarm. Any increase in drug or alcohol use among commercial drivers is alarming. Impaired driving is a major cause of needless highway accidents, injuries and deaths. Yes, data showing a 10% jump in one year is alarming. But, I would read the results with caution. I’ll explain below why I don’t read too much into this current data.

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Huntsville Truck Accident LawyersImpaired Driving. I’ve discussed the danger of impaired driving many times on this blog. Years ago, impaired driving meant drunk driving. Alcohol was the primary problem. With years of hard work by law enforcement and advocacy groups, we saw significant decreases in dangerous drunk driving.

However, in the last couple decades, drugged driving has eclipsed drunk driving. Now, we face a huge safety issue due to drivers impaired by drugs. Often, the drugs are prescription medications. We all know the huge problem created by narcotic pain medications. Too many drivers are also impaired by illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines.

When I write a blog about truck driving safety, I often receive some backlash from upset truckers. Any critique of trucking is viewed as an attack on all drivers. That’s certainly not my intention. Truck driving is a difficult and solitary job. We have many safe, professional and dedicated drivers who work to deliver the products and services we all need. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of representing countless truck drivers hurt in a work-related accident. Like every profession, a few bad apples cause all the problems. We have too many needless injuries and deaths in this country from those few bad apples.

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Alabama Personal Injury AttorneysIn the last week, our office has filed a number of new zantac personal injury cases. We are also continuing to investigate other potential zantac claims for our Alabama clients. So, I thought it was a good time to provide an update on the zantac injury litigation.

The Judge Continues To Move Zantac Injury Lawsuits Forward

In a recent Pre-Trial Order, the Federal Judge overseeing zantac injury claims addressed the selection of bellwether cases for trial. If you have already filed a claim, this is a good signal the court is pushing the litigation forward.

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Huntsville Personal Injury Lawyers

Weight Loss Drug Health Risks

Does the drug Belviq cause cancer? Are patients being injured by this medication? Recent research casts a big shadow over this drug. We are closely watching current developments.

What Is Belviq? Why Was It Marketed?

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BLACKWELL-LAW-FIRM-Alabama-Accident-and-Injury-Lawyers-256-261-1315-300x300Truck Driving Is A Solitary Profession

We spend much of our lives at work. For many of us that means going to the office, factory or construction site. We see and speak with other people throughout the day.

Truck driving is different. Truckers may spend long, solitary hours on the road. Miles and miles of highway pass as the hours turn from day to night. In past articles, I’ve written about some of the health problems commonly seen in truckers. Many of those health problems are tied to long, sedentary work days.

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Huntsville Personal Injury AttorneysI’m not writing to debate the pros or cons of medical marijuana. I’ll leave that to others. It’s a debate playing out in many states. Last week, two Alabama Senators (both of whom are doctors) debated the topic in the Senate chamber. One Senator, an anesthesiologist, debated in support of medical marijuana. The other, an obstetrician, debated against it. The Alabama Legislature has been debating bills that would allow medical uses.

Again, I’m not writing to debate the proposed legislation. My blog deals with Alabama personal injury issues. How would legal marijuana impact Alabama workers’ compensation claims? I believe the issue intersects personal injury law in a number of ways. From car wrecks to work comp, it’s an issue that will impact claims. For today, let’s talk about possible impacts on work comp.

Impairment or intoxication from drugs and alcohol can be a defense to work-related injury claims in Alabama. While substances like alcohol may be legal (for adults), a delivery driver who injures himself in an accident caused by his own drunk driving is not going to receive full work comp benefits.

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Alabama Defective Product Lawyers For ConsumersI remember listening as the doctor testified about his trips to Las Vegas. That’s where the medical device company took him to “discuss” its product. After these trips to Las Vegas, the doctor returned home and began implanting the product into countless Alabama patients.

At the time, I was surprised. Shocked. But, that was also the first time I had deposed an implanting doctor in one of these cases. In the years since, I have seen far too many instances of drug and device companies trying to tempt physicians into prescribing or implanting certain products.

In some cases, the physician may not even be fully trained in the potential issues of the drug or product at issue. I think this is an issue with transvaginal mesh implants. These products were heavily marketed to local physicians and regularly implanted in women. Yet, the potential problems from mesh implants can be tremendous. When problems occur, the same implanting physicians are often unable to help. I recently deposed a surgeon at a major research hospital who has tried to help one of my clients suffering from implanted mesh. Here is what that specialist said:

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Blackwell Law Firm - Huntsville Car Accident LawyersYou are driving down the road. It’s a beautiful day. Bam! Suddenly, another car crashes into you. Another driver ran a stop sign and caused the crash.

Clearly, you have a negligence claim against the other driver. He failed to follow the Rules of the Road. He ran a stop sign. Then, you learn more. You learn this other driver also uses illegal drugs. Illegal drug use. That’s powerful evidence. It’s powerful evidence if the judge allows it’s use at trial! That brings us to the key question:  Is the other driver’s drug use admissible at trial? Can you use this evidence to help your case?

The answer is, maybe. I know, that’s not the concrete answer you wanted. Evidentiary questions rarely have absolute answers. That’s why a good lawyer with real trial experience is so important to your case. You need an experienced trial lawyer who understands the evidence rules and how to apply them. You certainly will NOT get such a lawyer from the billboards and television advertisements showing smiling attorneys begging for cases.

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The nation’s leading business group is mounting a new attack on advertisements run by trial lawyers that tell consumers about the negative side effects from medical drugs and devices.

Let me start — I don’t like modern attorney advertising. Locally in northern Alabama, we have an attorney on television advertising for automobile accident injury cases who refuses to help injured people in court. Think about that —  The lawyer asks for your injury case but won’t go to court when needed! Another Huntsville law firm raised billboards seeking personal injury cases but then added fine print to their website saying they really intend to sign and refer the cases to outside counsel. These lawyers serve themselves, not their clients. When it comes to drugs and medical devices, we even have lawyers running ads who are not licensed in Alabama.

I find most of these ads distasteful. Complaints about them are completely justified. Yet, the Chamber of Commerce’s approach is pure hypocrisy. While attacking television advertisements from lawyers, the Chamber has done nothing to reduce deceptive drug company advertisements. The Chamber is protecting the drug companies who rush deadly and dangerous drugs to market for huge profits. As one attorney noted:

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