Articles Tagged with negligence

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Blackwell Law FirmYou are passenger in a car. You are riding down the road. Everything seems fine. Suddenly, your driver runs a stop sign. He did not see it. He crashes into a culvert. You are hurt severely. When you later call your driver’s insurance adjuster to make a claim, the adjuster says he’s sorry but your claim is barred by the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute. Your driver probably wants his insurance company to pay you. But, that doesn’t matter. The adjuster simply denies your claim.

I’ve written previously about the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute. You can read one of my prior posts on this topic at Guest Passenger Statute In Alabama? Does It Affect My Personal Injury Claim? My prior post gives a good overview of this law. In it, I discuss the background of this unfair law. I also explain the law as well as some exceptions to it. As with most legal issues, the exceptions are key! Today, I’ll touch again briefly on the exceptions. But, I primarily want to provide a little practical advice in this post for passengers injured in car accidents. If you are a passenger injured in an Alabama car accident, what should you expect? How do you handle this issue? You need practical advice for your claim.

During the 1920s and 1930s, many states passed guest passenger statutes. Insurance company lobbyists worked hard to get these unfair laws passed across the United States. While many states have since abandoned this unfair rule, Alabama has not.

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Untitled-design-3-300x300In recent weeks, far fewer cars traveled Alabama roads and highways. With the coronavirus, many people temporarily sheltered at home. Less traffic means less driver frustration and anger on our roads. Yet, we still face road rage incidents. Those events are likely to increase as people resume the hustle and bustle of work and life.

While reading a recent local headline, I decided to write on the topic. The headline read:

Huntsville Woman Arrested After Running Over Man With Car

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Huntsville Personal Injury AttorneysWhat Personal Injury Cases Are At Issue?

If you are hurt on the job in Alabama, you are likely entitled to work comp benefits. What if you were hurt because someone else was also negligent? You still have a work comp case. If the negligent person was a co-worker, that’s probably all you have. With a few limited exceptions for things like intentional conduct, your employer (and co-workers) are immune from claims outside workers compensation.

Sometimes, the negligent person is a third-party. That is, the negligent person did not work for your employer. If you are hurt due to the negligence of another person (outside your employer), you may also have a separate personal injury claim to recover your damages. In these cases, you likely have BOTH a work comp claim and a negligence claim against the third-party.

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AccidentYou suffered an injury at work and have an Alabama workers’ compensation claim. Is that your only claim? Can you file both a workers’ compensation claim AND a personal injury claim?

Did someone (other than your employer) negligently cause the injury? If so, you might have both a workers’ compensation claim against your employer and a personal injury claim against the negligent third-party. It’s an important issue. Why? Although workers’ compensation provides important benefits, those benefits are limited. Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover all your potential damages. Although third-party cases allow you to claim all your damages, they may be completely disputed. These are important issues to many of my injured clients. They are issues I’ve discussed on my law firm website. And, they are issues we often handle to help our injured clients.

A recent legal article in Illinois discusses a case in that state. What happened? In that case, an electrician was installing lighting on an apartment balcony. Suddenly, the balcony railing failed. The electrician fell to his death. Afterwards, an investigation revealed a different company (NOT the electrician’s employer) had negligently installed the railing. The electrician’s family had a claim for death benefits under workers’ compensation laws in Illinois. The family also had a third-party negligence claim for wrongful death against the separate company that installed the railing.

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You were a passenger in a car. The driver of that car caused an accident. You suffered personal injury. Now, the insurance company has denied your claim. Why? The insurance company says you cannot make a claim because of Alabama’s Guest Passenger Statute.

Many people are not familiar with this Alabama law. It is an old law. Most other states repealed similar laws long ago. Many people learn of this law only when the insurance company denies their car accident injury claim. What should you do? First, do not accept the insurance company denial without consulting an attorney. It’s important you consult an attorney who specializes in personal injury claims. And, it’s important that attorney has actual trial experience. Many of the lawyers advertising on billboards and television for personal injury claims only want cases they can easily settle.

While the Guest Passenger Statute does bar many claims, it is not absolute. A skilled attorney will understand this law and whether it truly applies to your claim.

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