Articles Tagged with Huntsville

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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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Worker-Safety-Is-Important-For-Everyone-300x300Last Fall, I wrote about two deadly trench collapses in the Huntsville area. One trench collapse involved a private construction company in Madison. The other involved a City of Huntsville project and public employees. Year-after-year, trench collapses are one of the most frequent causes of construction site wrongful deaths.

Were these two deadly construction accidents treated differently? Yes. After an investigation, OSHA fined the private contractor in Madison for its fatal accident. The City’s public project? That’s a different story. The City was not cited for the dangerous worksite it created. And, it did create one. A 20 foot deep, unprotected trench, is a reckless and dangerous condition. It’s inexcusable for the City to put its workers in such tremendous danger!

Why were the two different sites treated differently? Why do workers employed with private companies get some protection from OSHA while many public workers do not? All workers deserve a safe workplace!

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Alabama Workers Compensation AttorneysIn December, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a huge fine for safety violations at a Dollar General store in Mobile, Alabama. The fine itself is pretty big for any retail store — $321,827. Beyond the fine amount, OSHA issued the following statement:

At the U.S. Department of Labor, the company [Dollar General] is recognized for its long history of violations and repeated failures to protect its workers from on-the-job hazards.

Then, an OSHA officer added the following additional comment:

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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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Alabama Distracted Driving LawyersOver the years, I’ve seen numerous studies showing specific states had higher or lower rates of distracted drivers. The results among different studies are often inconsistent. Different studies lead to different findings. In one, Alabama may be listed as a state with a higher rate of distracted driving. In another study, Alabama may be lower.

These different studies often have a common problem. What is it? It’s the sample. These different studies often sample only a small percentage of drivers in a specific area. A sample of driver activities within the city limits of Huntsville is likely to be very different than a sample from nearby rural Jackson County. It’s not the drivers who make the results different. It’s the driving conditions. The differences are due to traffic volumes and road conditions. How can you take one of these studies and say it reflects driver behavior across an entire state? You cannot.

If you want to understand driver behavior, you really should look at the actual roadway conditions drivers face. Look at specific highway or traffic situations. How do drivers facing specific situations behave?

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Huntsville Accident & Injury AttorneysThe headline is far too common — Multiple Car Wrecks On Highway 53! Along this stretch of highway from Huntsville to Ardmore, it’s not unusual for paramedics and police to work multiple accidents at the same time. A WAFF story from April is a common example. The story reports three ongoing accidents along Highway 53 at different intersections.

This section of Highway from Ardmore into Huntsville suffers heavy congestion, especially at rush hours. And, it also has multiple dangerous intersections. A simple Google search for some of the intersections along Highway 53 will produce multiple reports of serious and fatal car accidents. The news channels regularly report fatal crashes at several of the intersections along Highway 53. I’ve written prior articles about the most dangerous intersections in Madison County. This stretch of roadway contains several of them.

For example, consider the major intersection at Highway 53 and Research Park Boulevard. Through the years, our lawyers have represented numerous people injured in wrecks at that intersection. You will find numerous and tragic news stories about fatal crashes at that intersection. I don’t suggest a Google search to highlight tragic events. Instead, I think it is important to recognize dangerous intersections so we can advocate for important safety improvements. When you see repeated tragedies at the same location, something should be done to fix it.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersLast week, Madison County re-started civil jury trials. After months of coronavirus shutdowns, it’s nice to be back at the courthouse. Now, I’m not writing to debate the wisdom of re-opening or not. I’m OK waiting longer for more vaccinations. Public health and safety should be our top priority. As a community, we should each take the steps needed to protect our neighbors. But, again, I’m not writing about the issue of shutdowns.

When the court did re-open this week in Huntsville, one of our car accident injury cases was number one on the docket. First up for trial! We prepare our personal injury cases. We’ve been prepared in this Huntsville accident case for months. Ready to go. It was good to finish the case for our client. Our client patiently waited through recent months as have so many other people.

Maybe you are asking — Why did the case not settle? While most cases eventually settle, some do not. Sometimes, cases should not settle. Maybe the insurance company adjuster ignored the extent of injuries or damages. Maybe the insurance company is taking advantage of courthouse closures to delay and deny justice.

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Blackwell Law Firm - Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersLawyer ads are everywhere. They are all very similar. Smiles. Confidence. Promises. What kind of promises? In all of them, the advertising lawyer promises he or she will handle your problem. As one local advertising lawyer says in his ads, “we got this.” Does he? Lots of companies advertise assurances about their products and services.

One local Huntsville law firm advertises for workers’ compensation cases by saying a settlement may be in your best interest. Their ad starts by noting “the uncertainty that surrounds” lots of comp cases. Then, it offers the hope of a settlement. Finally, the ad says you should call them for help. It’s a classic marketing ploy — Step one, highlight the need or fear. Step two, disclose a potential solution. Step three, offer yourself as guide to solve the need.

Is a settlement in your best interest? Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. I talk to injured workers every day. Most people are unfamiliar with the work comp process. For many callers, it is the first time they have ever suffered any significant personal injury at work. The whole process can be uncertain. Medical treatment. Continued employment. Vocational rehabilitation. Money Benefits. It’s a new, and very different, process. Some lawyers exploit that unknown by smiling and telling clients the results are good when they really are not.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury AttorneysA friend recently asked me about a pedestrian death in Huntsville. What happened in that accident? A pedestrian was crossing University Drive when struck and killed. Pedestrian accidents are increasingly common in busy areas, including University Drive and Governors Drive in Huntsville. These two busy Huntsville roads involve multiple lanes of traffic with few crosswalks.

Pedestrian injury cases are very, very difficult. Let me repeat that — Pedestrian cases in Alabama are very difficult. We routinely turndown cases involving pedestrian injuries. The difficulties are both legal and practical. Alabama law requires (with some limited exceptions) pedestrians to use the crosswalk and holds them negligent if they do not. In Alabama, if you are even partially negligent you cannot recover your damages. That’s a big legal hurdle.

Alabama law is much more car-friendly than pedestrian-friendly. From state-to-state pedestrian injury laws vary tremendously. Some states favor pedestrians. Some states favor cars. As you can imagine, the policy differences typically occur between states with large pedestrian urban centers versus those with more rural or suburban areas.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersWorkers at meat and poultry plants suffer some of the highest rates of occupational injury. In his 1906 book, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair wrote of the occupational dangers within Chicago’s meat processing plants. A hundred years later, food processing plants still function as if human labor and lives are expendable.

Chicago is famous for the meat-packing industry. In Alabama, these plants are typically chicken processing plants. They are places that employ people at low wages and expose them to non-stop processes. You don’t need me to tell you that many of these plants have a shameful history of workplace injuries and deaths. The numerous news stories already tell that history. Too many of these plants view people as cheap and expendable labor. But, that’s NOT how we should value human lives.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve represented numerous workers injured in Alabama poultry plants. Shoulder, arm and hand injuries are rampant. The assembly line moves too fast for any human to work long-term without injury. Yet, it’s more than just rapid assembly line injuries. The lack of safety concern also produces many injuries from falls, forklifts, and heavy lifting without proper equipment.

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