April 21, 2010

Birmingham Personal Injury News: Consumer Safety Commission Recalls One Million Baby Slings after Infant Deaths

Every once in a while one reads about a product that has such as a significant manufacturing or design defect that it can result in a potentially life threatening situation. Whether the product in question is a poorly designed automobile part or a simple consumer item, such as a faulty electrical appliance, the results can often be devastating to an unsuspecting member of the public.

Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (XPSC) and Infantino LLC announced a recall of more than one million baby slings following reports of three separate cases of infant death in connection with the apparently defective product. According to news articles, the victims include a seven-week-old infant, a three-month-old baby, and a six-day-old newborn. Each of the three infant fatalities took place in 2009.

As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I understand how a parent can easily trust a product. And since we as a society put so much faith in manufacturers to sell proven and safe devices and products, it can be a shock when something as terrible happens to a family such as those affected by these apparently defective baby slings.

Whether you live in Dothan, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville or any of the dozens of communities throughout Alabama, my job as an injury attorney is to help victims and their families who have been injured or suffered as a result of another party’s negligence.

Based on new reports, the recall came just a couple weeks following a CPSC warning that was issued to families about the importance of using these sling carriers in the correct fashion. Nearly a dozen deaths have been linked to baby slings over the past 20 years. However, despite an earlier warning by Consumer Reports in regard to various hazards posed by using a baby sling, many parents remained unaware that these “hip” child carriers can cause infant suffocation leading to serious injury and sometimes death.

Since newborn babies are not capable of controlling their heads, an infant may not be able to turn away if and when the sling’s fabric obstructs the child’s nose and mouth. When a baby’s breathing is cut off in this manner, suffocation can occur in just a couple of minutes. Also, if the baby is curled up in the sling so that the child’s chin is pressed into the chest, oxygen may have a difficult time getting to the lungs, resulting in a tragic situation due to slow suffocation.

Infantino baby sling recall: Are any baby slings safe?, Christian Science Monitor, March 24, 2010

Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies, CPSC, March 12, 2010

March 24, 2010

Alabama Auto-Pedestrian Injury News: Mobile High School Student Seriously Hurt by Pickup Truck Driver

Pedestrians all across Alabama are hurt or killed as a result of a negligent drivers more often than you may imagine. As a Birmingham personal injury attorney, I know all too well the kind of bodily injures a passenger car, pickup truck or commercial delivery vehicle can inflict on person walking along a rural route or crossing a city street. I don’t need to remind anyone that it is every driver’s responsibility to be aware of persons on foot in or near our public roadways.

In the countryside, as well as in our cities, there are more than enough opportunities for pedestrians to sustain injuries, many of them life-threatening, due to an automobile collision. Auto-pedestrian accidents typically result in the pedestrian being severely hurt, left unconscious or even permanently disabled as a result. The aftermath of a car-pedestrian collision usually entails cuts and bruises at best, with broken bones, concussions and possible traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries being commonplace.

Recently, a 17-year-old student from Baker High School was hit by the driver of a pickup truck near a construction zone in West Mobile, AL. The traffic accident took place in the morning hours while the young man was crossing Airport Boulevard apparently on his way to school. According to police, Alfred Leonard was in critical condition following the accident that happened just before 7:30am. Emergency personnel responding to the crash treated the student who was subsequently transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center.

Based on news reports, the boy was still unconscious when he was admitted to the medical facility’s intensive care unit (ICU). A spokesman from the Alabama Department of Public Safety stated that Leonard suffered a lacerated liver, broken femur and a possibly serious head injury.

As much as we may want to trust that drivers will be watching out for persons on foot, my warning to anyone who walks on or near public thoroughfares is be very careful and never assume that motorists will see you, even in the middle of the day. As pedestrians we must be highly vigilant and aware of oncoming traffic. Even if you cross in a designated crosswalk, be sure that all traffic is stopped and it is safe to proceed. Being a personal injury lawyer and parent myself, I say this goes doubly for children walking to or from school.

Baker HS Student Struck By Truck, WKRG.com, February 4, 2010

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, death, driver fatigue, excessive speed, fatal accident, fatality, head injuries, hospitalization, intensive care, negligence, negligent driver, passenger car, pedestrian, spinal column injury, traffic death, truck accident, wrongful death

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January 13, 2010

Birmingham Injury Lawyer News: Alabama Boy Severely Injured in Hit-and-Run Traffic Accident

It only takes a moment of inattention for a car crash to turn a passenger into a victim of another senseless traffic accident. Here in Alabama, automobile crash injuries and deaths are commonplace. As a Birmingham personal injury attorney and parent myself, I cringe whenever I hear of a youngster being involved in a car or truck collision. Even coming home from school or riding to a play date with friends, auto accidents can happen in a neighborhood or on the highway.

A recent news story out of Huntsville shows how seemingly callus some people can be. The accident in question left a little boy laying in the hospital apparently in serious condition. According to news reports, a family was riding together in their car on Saturday, December 26, when it was hit by another driver who then drove away and fled the scene. The parents have since made a public appeal that the hit-and-run driver come forward and own up to what he or she did.

Emergency workers arriving at the scene treated members of the family, including little Jacob Austin. The boy’s injuries were such that he was transported to the pediatric intensive care unit at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. At the time of the article, Jacob was hooked up to various monitors, a feeding tube, a ventilator and an oxygen supply.

Police reports show that the crash occurred on Highway 53 at Burwell Road. The force of the crash jammed the passenger door shut, which made it difficult to get Jacob out right away. According to the news, the boy’s father, Ronnie Austin, tried to pry the car door open while his mother, Denise, jumped over the front seats to help get him out. Reports indicate that the father remembered seeing a red Ford Explorer briefly before it left the scene.

The little boy was treated for a broken jaw, a fracture behind his eye, lacerations on his liver and kidney, and a sheer brain injury. However, doctors did not know the extent of the brain injury at the time of the report.

Family Pleads For Driver In Hit and Run To Come Forward, WHNT.com, December 31, 2009

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, defective equipment, driver error, excessive speed, head injuries, hospitalization, infant, injured child, negligence, passenger car, pediatric ICU, serious injury, spinal column injury, traffic accident, traumatic brain injury

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July 29, 2009

One Death, Multiple Personal Injuries in I-20 Rollover Accident near Alabama State Line

Whether it’s here in Alabama or elsewhere, it’s a terrible shame when good people are killed or injured in seemingly haphazard accidents. Being a personal injury attorney, I read with sadness a news report about a Baptist church bus carrying several dozen adults and children that rolled over on I-20 near the Alabama Welcome Center north of Birmingham, AL. One 14-year-old boy died from serious injuries received when he was thrown from the bus during the tragic crash, while 23 other passengers escaped near death with lesser injuries such as broken bones, cuts and bruises.

According to reports, on July 12 the church bus was traveling eastbound on Interstate 20/59 near the Alabama Welcome Center at the Alabama/Mississippi state line, about 80 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa. Suddenly, a tire blew out causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The bus apparently veered quickly to one side, which caused the large vehicle to flip over and roll three times at highway speeds.

As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I can say without a doubt that a high-speed rollover accident is one of the more violent vehicle crashes. For a bus crash, where the passengers are typically not wearing seatbelts, injuries sustained by the occupants can be extremely severe to the point of being fatal. Not only broken bones, but head, neck and back injuries are very common, which includes brain and spinal column trauma.

The church’s youth minister, Jason Matlack, fractured his C7 vertebra and had artery injuries that caused serious internal blood loss. According to reports, it took doctors a while to figure out why the man was losing so much blood. He is doing better now, but his injuries were severe and could have resulted in death had doctors not been able to stabilize him early on.

Several teenage passengers also received serious injuries. One girl, who was released from the hospital a few days after the wreck, had fractures of the neck and upper back. Another youngster had surgeries to repair fractures to her femur, clavicle and face. Still another remained in critical condition a week following the accident due to severe head injuries.

In all, 17 youths and six adults were injured and one teenager was killed in the accident -- all because of one blown tire. Whether the final police accident report shows the tire was too old, poorly maintained or simply defective from the factory, the pain and suffering that these folks and their families have gone through is almost immeasurable.

If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of a vehicle accident caused by defective equipment or another person’s negligence, my advice is for you to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about your various options to recover medical costs and other damages for pain and suffering. Life is too precious.

Youth minister hurt in bus wreck released from hospital, ABPNews.com, July 20, 2009

Tags: Alabama Personal Injury, brain truama, Brimingham Injury Lawyer, bus crash, death, defective equipment, fatal accident, head injuries, hospitalization, spinal column injury

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June 17, 2009

Alabama Man Sentenced for 2005 Injury Accident that Nearly Killed 16-year-old Girl

A former school board member and bank president from Marshall County was sentenced this week for a 2005 DUI accident that sent a 16-yeal-old girl to the hospital with life threatening injuries. Conrad Hamilton, 65, who pled guilty this past March to felony assault, ran a stop sign at Alabama 69 and Fourth Street NE on Christmas Eve and smashed into the vehicle in which Tiffany Hill was riding.

The accident left the Arab High School student unconscious and on full life support with severe brain injuries. According to reports, she was in the hospital for three weeks, 10 of those in the ICU. Upon returning home, her parents noticed a tremendous change in the girl. Her brain trauma had left her with the mental capacity of a seven-year-old and required her to be on medication to prevent seizures.

Because of the accident, Hill missed the second half of her sophomore year and had to repeat the grade, as well as enroll in special education classes. According to recent reports, she still has some short-term memory loss and although she graduated high school, she has a hard time with reading and comprehension. She also experiences bad headaches everyday.

I’ve counseled clients who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and the stories are too sad to relate. Many times, the penalties that our legal system hands out are insufficient from the family’s standpoint. This is why it is so important to retain a skilled legal professional. As an experienced Birmingham personal injury attorney, I aggressively represent my clients to the utmost of my abilities.

In this case, the judge said he had a difficult decision to make, because the defendant was not only remorseful, but also a respected member of the community. Nevertheless, Mr. Hamilton made a conscious choice to drive drunk that December night and the judge let that fact, along with the young victim’s extensive injuries, guide his decision.

In the end, the judge sentenced Hamilton to a suspended six-year jail term with the Alabama Department of Corrections; three years probation; six months in the county jail; 500 hours of community service; fines and court costs; and an order to complete a Marshall County Court Referral program.

The judge also added another 12-month jail sentence at the end of Hamilton's probation, saying that whether or not Hamilton has to serve the additional 12 months would depend on his conduct during the probationary period.

It’s a shame that the victim and her family had to wait three years for closure in this case, yet their pain will continue regardless of the punishment the court recently handed down, which is why I have made it my mission to help clients with similar personal injury stories.

Hamilton sentenced to six months in the Marshall County Jail, TheArabTribune.com, June 8, 2009

Tags: accident, brain, defense, dui, ICU, jail, medication, mental capacity, personal injury, seizure, sentence

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