August 31, 2011

Law Enforcement Efforts Increased over Labor Day Weekend to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Alabama

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the Alabama Highway Patrol and more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state will be conducting a number of roadway checkpoints and saturation patrols from now until the end of the Labor Day weekend to help reduce the number of car accidents in Birmingham and elsewhere.

Long holiday weekends are typically a time when we see a dramatic increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents on our Alabama roadways. With increased enforcement efforts, officials across the state hope to significantly reduce that number.

The Alabama Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division will be raising awareness of this enforcement campaign through a number of TV public service announcements, billboards, website and newspaper ads. Alabama agencies are also asking neighboring states to join the enforcement efforts and to participate in Hands Across the Border events. These events include press conferences and roadside checkpoints and are used to make roadways safer for everyone in our region.

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys understand that the long Labor Day holiday weekend is a time for residents to get our and celebrate one last time before the end of summer. Unfortunately, this is a time when we see an increased amount of drunk driving accidents in our area. Driving under the influence is always a bad idea as it puts you and other motorists at risk for a potentially fatal traffic accident in addition to serious penalties if you're busted.

Alabama drunk driving laws and penalties:

-License suspension for 90 days for a first conviction of driving under the influence.

-A driver is required to have an ignition-interlock device installed on their vehicle if they're busted with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or greater.

-Drivers busted with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.15 will receive even stricter punishments.

-DUI checkpoints are legal in the state of Alabama and are conducted throughout the year.

DUI checkpoints are not only used to bust drunk drivers, but they're also used as a part of a larger drunk driving deterrence program. They aim to keep motorists on roadways across the state safe during holiday weekend and throughout the rest of the year.

Alabama's 2009 accident statistics:

-Nearly 850 people killed in 774 fatal traffic accidents.

-There was a traffic accident reported every 255 seconds.

-Someone was injured in a traffic accident every 14 minutes and 37 seconds.

-Someone was killed in a traffic accident every 10 hours and 20 minutes.

-Nearly 75 percent of Alabama car accidents happened urban areas, but 60 percent of traffic accident fatalities happened in rural areas.

-Nearly 50 percent of all fatal accidents occurred at night.

-Nearly 75 pedestrians were killed in 2009.

Road travel is expected to increase significantly during the upcoming holiday weekend, because of the rise in airfare and the drop in fuel costs. All motorists are asked to travel as safely and as cautiously as possible. We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day; please celebrate responsibly.

Bookmark and Share

August 27, 2011

Drunk Driving Accidents in Alabama and Elsewhere an Ongoing Risk

Every year, thousands of people die because of car accidents the United States. A large number of these fatalities are the result of drunk driving accidents in Alabama and elsewhere. All of these accidents are preventable if residents exercise common sense and responsible drinking -- an important reminder through the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

In 2009, there were nearly 850 people that were killed in the state of Alabama because of traffic accidents, according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Nearly 300 of these fatalities were the result of traffic accidents that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. These accidents represent more than 30 percent of the state's fatal accidents.

Our Alabama drunk driving accident attorneys understand that many drunk drivers don't go out with the intentions of driving home drunk. But when they find themselves without a designated driver they start to convince themselves that they're okay to drive. Consumption of alcohol has the ability to alter your reactions and to put you at risk for a serious car accident.

Impaired drivers contribute to one of the country most-often-committed and deadliest crimes:

-Seven out of every ten drivers who are involved in a fatal alcohol-related accident report having a blood alcohol concentration of at least .15.

-Nearly 15 percent of alcohol-related accident fatalities occurred to those under the age of 15.

-Drunk drivers are four times more likely to hit the road during the evening that during the daytime hours.

-Drivers age 21- to 24-years-old accounted for 35 percent of all of the drivers that were involved in drunk driving accidents.

-In 2008, roughly 25 percent, or nearly 700, young drivers ages of 16- to 19-years-old who were killed in a traffic accident had a BAC .08 or higher.

In an effort to reduce the number of fatal alcohol-related traffic accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Alabama's Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division uses state funds to organize the Alcohol-impaired Driving Countermeasure Incentive Grant Program. These funds are used to pay for increased enforcement efforts to officers who are conducting DUI enforcement efforts.

To help reduce your risks of being involved in a drunk driving car accident, considering the following safety tips:

-Before you start drinking, make sure that you've chosen a designated driver and that your driver has agreed to remain completely sober throughout the night.

-Never allow your friends or family members to drive under the influence.

-If you're impaired and left without a sober driver to get you home, you're urged to call a taxi, a friend or a family member. Try out your community's Sober Rides program, get a hotel room or stay at a friend's house.

-If you're throwing a party where alcohol will be served, make sure your guests know to make travel arrangements to help ensure that they make it home safely.

Bookmark and Share

August 18, 2011

Fatal Car Accidents in Birmingham Land City on Most Dangerous List

Recently, CNBC conducted a study to figure out which cities in the United States would rank as the top 15 most dangerous places to drive.

Fatal car accidents in Birmingham, Alabama were frequent enough to land our city on the top 15 list. The study took into consideration cities with populations of 150,000 people or more and then took the area's most recent traffic accident data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to determine which places were most likely to experience a fatal car accident.

Our Birmingham car accident attorneys understand that there are a number of factors that can contribute to fatal car accidents. Some of these factors include the number of residents, the design of roadways, the age of motorists, the weather conditions and the number of visiting motorists a place typically sees. By raising awareness about the dangers that our area faces, we can begin to make our roadways a little bit safer.

Here are the 15 most dangerous cities, according to the CNBC study, to drive in and the death rate for the city per 100,000 population:

15.) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 13.41

14.) Birmingham, Alabama: 13.55

13.) Tulsa, Oklahoma: 14.00

12.) St. Petersburg, Florida: 14.27

11.) Jacksonville, Florida: 14.36

10.) Lubbock, Texas: 14.97

9.) Memphis, Tennessee: 15.08

8.) Jackson, Mississippi: 15.53

7.) Chattanooga, Tennessee: 16.39

6.) Salt Lake City, Utah: 16.51

5.) San Bernardino, California: 17.12

4.) Little Rock, Arkansas: 17.94

3.) Augusta-Richmond Co., Georgia: 19.57

2.) Orlando, Florida: 19.95

1.) Fort Lauderdale, Florida: 22.39

Birmingham, Alabama ranked 14th on the list. The fact that we're even on that list is proof that something needs to be done in our area to help better protect our motorists from a fatal traffic accident. Residents are asked keep an eye out for deteriorating roads, changed speeds and to look out for the carelessness of other motorists on our roadways.

Each year, more than 40,000 people died because of traffic accidents in the United States. Motor-vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for U.S. residents under the age of 36. About a third of all accidents report a speeding driver as a contributor. About a half of all deadly traffic accidents in the country occur at night. In 2009, the U.S. witnessed nearly 5 million car accidents.

In 2008, 31 people were killed in Birmingham because of traffic accidents.

Of the 2009 fatal accidents in Birmingham:

-Nearly 50 vehicles were involved.

-More than 70 people were involved.

-Nearly ten of the fatal accidents involved a drunk driver.

-Seven pedestrian died because of traffic accidents.

And these statistics only include fatal accidents. Thousands more were injured on our roadways. Car accidents can be caused by any number of factors, including emergency response vehicles, farm equipment, malfunctioning road devices, defective car parts, road design, weather conditions and careless drivers. It is important for you to contact an experienced attorney if you've been involved in a motor-vehicle accident as a lawyer can help to examine every aspect of the accident to determine your rights.

Continue reading "Fatal Car Accidents in Birmingham Land City on Most Dangerous List" »

Bookmark and Share

August 15, 2011

Department of Public Safety asks Motorists to Drive Carefully to Prevent Child Injury in Alabama this School Year

August is a time when students get to strap on their new shoes and head back to school for another year. Our state troopers are reminding motorists to watch for students, whether it's near bus stops, residential neighborhoods or through school zones.

Alabama's Department of Public Safety asks that all motorists be super cautious around school buses. You're asked to stop when buses activate their lights. These yellow flashing lights are used to indicate that the bus is getting ready to pick up or drop off students. Red flashing lights and the bus' extended arm is used to alert drivers that the bus has come to a stop and that children are either getting on or off the vehicle. Motorists are required by law to stop their vehicle until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn to reduce the risks of child injury in Birmingham.

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys would like to bring up Alabama's school bus stop law. This is the law that took effect back in October of 2006 that requires all drivers to stop when a bus is stopped to pick up or drop off students on any school property, private road, roadway or highway. Drivers that are on highways with at least four traffic lanes with a median dividing the lanes that allows at least two of the lanes to travel in different directions do not have to stop for a bus that is stopped on a lane that travels in the opposite direction.

“State troopers and local officers statewide will be watchful for any traffic violations in
the areas of school zones, bus stops and stopped school buses,” said Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy.

Murphy provides the following safety tips to motorists in Alabama to help keep our bus-riding students safe this school year:

-Be aware of your surroundings when backing out of your garage and out of your driveway.

-Watch out for children in school zones, neighborhoods or anywhere where children may be waiting for a school bus.

-Keep it slow. Watch out for children that may be walking near the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.

-Be on the lookout for children that may be playing near a bus stop. Children may run out into the street without looking for oncoming traffic.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 25 million students ride the school bus to and from school every year. A good number of these students are injured or even killed in traffic accidents during the school year.

In 2004, there were more than 130 people killed because of traffic accidents that involved a school bus. Another 11,000 people were injured in these incidents.

Continue reading "Department of Public Safety asks Motorists to Drive Carefully to Prevent Child Injury in Alabama this School Year" »

Bookmark and Share

August 5, 2011

Motorists Most Likely to Die in Alabama Car Accident in August

A recent two-car accident in Alabama took the life of a Mobile woman. The accident happened at the Dauphin Street exit ramp of Interstate 65 when the driver of a sedan was taking that exit off the Interstate and collided with a sweeper truck, according to Alabama Live.

Four of the passenger-vehicle's occupants were transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center. The driver of the truck was not injured in the accident.

Birmingham car accident attorneys would like to warn motorists about the increased risks for car accidents that they're currently facing. It has been proven time and time again that August is the deadliest month for American's on our roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has witnessed these deadly August statistics since 1994. More motorists in the United States die in traffic accidents in the month of August than during any other month out of the year.

According to the NHTSA, August has an average death rate of 1.09 per 100 million miles traveled. September follows at a close second with a death rate of 1.08 ad then July ranking in with a 1.04. March has been proven to be the safest month to travel our roadways with a death rate of 0.94 per 100 million miles traveled.

Statistics have concluded that, in 2009, an averaged 93 deaths on U.S. roadways each day in motor-vehicle accidents. That's an average of one traffic accident fatality every sixteen minutes, according to MSN Money. From 2005 to 2009, 7 of the deadliest 25 driving days have occurred in the month of August, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Russ Rader, who is a spokesman for the IIHS, says that August is a dangerous time to be on our roadways because this is the month were people are out driving more miles. Residents are out taking vacations and visiting friends and family more during this month than during any other time of the year.

More fatal accidents occur on the weekends in comparison to the weekdays. Americans use the weekends for running errands, for taking day trips and for meeting up with friends and family. Drunk driving accidents also increase during the weekends.

Daily averages for death rates on U.S. roadways:

-Mondays had 79 deaths.

-Tuesdays recorded 69 deaths.

-Wednesdays saw 78 deaths.

-Thursdays witnessed 84 deaths.

-Fridays totaled 102 deaths

-Saturdays calculated 123 deaths.

-Sundays had 107 deaths.

"A large proportion of crashes happen in late afternoon and early evening in general, but especially in August," Rader says. That's when the roads fill up both with commuters and vacationers.

Different age groups face different risks of being involved in a serious traffic accident this August. According to the IISH, there were more than 33,800 people killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2009 alone.

How do traffic accidents affect each age group?

-Those age 13- to 15-years-old accounted for 2 percent of all of the traffic fatalities.

-16 to 19: 9 percent.

-20 to 34: 31 percent.

-35 to 49: 23 percent.

-50 to 69: 22 percent.

-70 and older: 12 percent.

Continue reading "Motorists Most Likely to Die in Alabama Car Accident in August" »

Bookmark and Share

July 25, 2011

Alabama Car Accidents: Choosing the Car that's Right for your Teen

The family of a teen that died in an Alabama car accident was recently awarded $40 million from Kia Motors. The wrongful death verdict was based upon allegations of a manufacturing defect that affected the seat belt latching mechanisms of certain Kia models, according to Alabama Live.

This is just another example of why it is so important to be involved in the selection and purchasing of your teens first car. You want them to be safe, but you want something that's economical and easy on the bank. There's a lot to think about when making this decision. Do I get them a new or used car? Who's getting the bill? What type of insurance do I get them? SUV or car?

Our Alabama car accident attorneys are here to help. There are a number of things to be considered when searching for a vehicle for your newly licensed teen. The first question you're probably going to ask yourself is whether you should get a new or a used car. It's important to remember that financially, you're obviously going to be better off with a used car.

"A first time driver doesn't need a new car, but of course they want one," says Lori Mackey, president of Prosperity4Kids. "The depreciation, probability of fender benders and the price tag [means new] is not the most logical way to go."

After you've figured out if you're going to go new or used, you're probably going to have to think about which type of car to get them. This is when you should look into vehicle's crash-test information, reliability ratings and safety features. This type of information can be found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety websites.

"Choose a car with a responsive chassis -- one with good handling, quick steering and great brakes -- that takes advantage of a teen driver's naturally quick reaction skills," says Bob Gritzinger, executive editor of

Yes, the newer cars will come with all the latest safety features, but late-model used cars will come equipped with airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control too, and their power and performance won't overwhelm a young, newly-licensed driver. Less power is always a better choice for a teen driver.

"I see these young, inexperienced drivers in Mustangs, BMWs, and large SUVs. These automobiles are big, powerful and difficult to control for even experienced drivers. In the hands of a new driver, they can be deadly weapons," says LeeAnn Shattuck, co-owner and chief car chick with Women's Automotive Solutions.

You can't go too small either. While smaller cars may be lighter on the wallet, as they cost less in fuel, these small, two-door cars can be trouble. These tiny vehicles are less likely to protect passengers in the event of an accident.

"Your teen is safest in a mid-sized sedan with a four cylinder engine, airbags and a good crash test rating," warns Shattuck.

You're warned. This process is going to take quite some time and requires a pretty hefty amount of research. You shouldn't feel that you need to buy the first car you see. Take your time and look around.

"Having a car is not a birthright," says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, who raised four children. "Today's teens seem to think that they should have a car waiting for them in the driveway when they return home from the Motor Vehicle Department with their driver's license. If that's right for your family, fine. But don't be held hostage to peer pressure, and by that I mean from other families who are buying their teen a car."

Once you find the perfect car for your young driver, make sure you talk to them about the responsibility that comes along with a driver's license. Make sure they understand the consequences of poor driving habits. You should even try creating a parent-teen driving contract to help you and your teen understand and abide by some ground rules for the road. Include appropriate curfews, passenger limits and consequences for breaking these rules.

Continue reading "Alabama Car Accidents: Choosing the Car that's Right for your Teen " »

Bookmark and Share

July 24, 2011

Mark Ingram and Girlfriend Wreck with 18-Wheeler in Alabama Car Accident - Driver Reaction Wanted

Former Alabama star running back and Heisman trophy winner, Mark Ingram, was involved in an early morning Alabama car accident with an 18-wheeler in Huntsville last week, according to Alabama Live. It happened as he was traveling southbound on Leeman Ferry Road with his girlfriend; they collided with the big rig. Both airbags deployed during the accident.

Our Alabama car accident attorneys are glad to report that neither the football star nor his girlfriend were injured in the accident. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. In an attempt to reduce the risks of these types of accidents, a new crash study is aiming at getting into the minds of drivers. The Naturalistic Driving Study will be installing recording devices into 3,100 vehicles in an attempt to gain data regarding driver's reactions to all sorts of driving reactions and what goes on behind the wheel during crash and near-crash situations.

What's most beneficial about this study is that researchers will then use this data to help develop countermeasures intended to save lives.

“Collision prevention is the central goal of the study” said Ken Campbell, chief program officer overseeing safety for the Strategic Highway Research Program, which is part of the non-profit Transportation Research Board. “And the driver is the key to prevent collision.”

This is the world’s largest field study of driving behavior that is recorded by monitoring equipment. The equipment will document how each drivers interact with a number of traffic conditions and roadway designs. This equipment will be installed for two years into participant's vehicles throughout Buffalo, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Durham, central Pennsylvania and Bloomington. Cameras will tape forward and rear views and the driver’s face and hands. They will record reactions pertaining to speed, lighting, weather conditions and traffic flow. The data will be stored in the vehicle's glove box and will be gathered by researchers every four to six months.

This study is so different because instead of focusing on countermeasures that protect vehicle occupants during an accident, this study aims to prevent collisions by analyzing driver behaviors.

“You can’t just look at collisions or near collisions to know what risk factors are. It’s that comparison with what the driver is doing when there is not a safety-related event that tells you what the risk factors are,” says Campbell.

Motor-vehicle accidents that occur at intersections and accidents where the driver runs off the road will be main focus areas of the study.

“We are particularly interested in people under 25 and over 65” Dr. Campbell said. Both groups represent a small percentage of all drivers and have high collision rates.

Participating drivers will be paid $500 for each year they participate in the study. Participants are required to have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and an approved vehicle. The monitoring equipment generally takes less than four hours to install.

“This study is long overdue and has the potential for providing the most comprehensive look at why highway crashes occur,” said Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and educational organization that provided technical advice for the study. “It is unprecedented in its scope and approach. It will be a wonderful supplement to other ongoing and planned traffic safety research efforts. My only disappointment is that the transportation research community didn’t initiate the study several years ago.”

Continue reading "Mark Ingram and Girlfriend Wreck with 18-Wheeler in Alabama Car Accident - Driver Reaction Wanted" »

Bookmark and Share

July 18, 2011

Two More Cities Move Forward with Red-Light Cameras Plans to Reduce the Risks of Alabama Car Accidents

More cities are moving forward with plans to install red-light cameras at dangerous intersections to help reduce the risks of car accidents in Alabama.

Officials in Midfield and Center Point have both decided to install the cameras after a bill passed the Legislature allowing them to do so. Last week, the Midfield City Council approved a new ordinance that would allow the cameras. Officials in Center Point are still researching ordinances from other cities, according to Alabama Live.

Officials in Birmingham and Fairfield are interested in the program as well. The bills for both of the cities would require that signs be posted notify motorists that these cameras are being used. If you're busted running a red light or speeding through an intersection, you could be charged about $100 in both cities.

Our Birmingham car accident attorneys understand that these red-light cameras are used for a number of reasons. Some cities install them to reduce the number of car accidents in these areas and some use them to generate money for the city. Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson says that his city is looking into use of these cameras to both catch red light runners and slow speeders.

In Cedar Point, officials have decided to put red-light cameras at some of the area's most dangerous intersections -- along Center Point Parkway at 23rd, 22nd and 20th avenues and at Polly Reed Road.

"It'll just cut down on the number of serious accidents at those intersections," said Henderson.

Midfield officials would like to use the cameras to stop red-light runners and speeders along the Bessemer Super Highway.

"It's another eye in patrolling the busy traffic along the Bessemer Super Highway," Midfield councilman Terry Adams said. "It's not a bad thing. Think about the number of lights run a day."

Red-light cameras are currently in use in Montgomery and Selma. These cameras snap pictures of the tags of all red light runners. The pictures are used generate tickets which are sent to vehicle owners.

Midfield Councilman Adams said he sees these bills as a huge accomplishment in the fight against traffic accidents in his area.

"It's going to make things safer," says Adams . "Some people will get mad, but in the long run, it'll make it safer for your kids to walk the street."

As all other cities have these cameras find their existence and enforcement to be quite controversial. Supporters say they're saving the lives of motorists, while opponents argue the cameras are nothing more than an effort by cities to make some fast cash.

"This is for the enhancement of public safety," said Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson. "We're not doing it as a means to increase revenue."

Richardson says that there are at least four dangerous intersections in the city where he would like to see these cameras be installed. He believes that motorists are less likely to speed through a red light if they know there's a camera constantly watching.

Continue reading "Two More Cities Move Forward with Red-Light Cameras Plans to Reduce the Risks of Alabama Car Accidents" »

Bookmark and Share

July 10, 2011

Teen Driver Dies in Single-Car Accident in Alabama

A teen died in an Alabama car accident late last week in Mobile County. The single-vehicle accident happened on Alabama 193 near Fowl River, according to Alabama Live.

Alabama Highway Patrol Spokesman Greg Eubanks reports that the teen's truck left the roadway at roughly 5:20 a.m. The teen driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Our Birmingham car accident attorneys would like to let parents know that car accidents are the number one cause of death for teens. We are not telling you this to worry you, but to encourage you to make sure you're teaching your teen safe driving habits before sending them out on the road alone.

The National Transportation Safety Board understands the risks that these young, inexperienced drivers face on our roadways. For this reason, this group of drivers have been placed on the "most wanted" list. This list is the beginning of a program used to raise the public's awareness of, and support for, action to adopt safety steps that can help to reduce the risks of accidents and save lives.

According to the agency, more than 5,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were involved in fatal traffic accidents in 2009. In these accidents, nearly 2,500 teen drivers died. Another 196,000 teens were injured in these incidents.

More than 10 percent of all drivers that were involved in fatal accidents during that year were young drivers of this age group. In 2009, almost 150 teens were killed in traffic accidents that involved a teen driver in Alabama.

The NTSB has a plan to reduce the number of fatal teen accidents. The Board encourages states to follow some of these licensing guidelines to better educate teen drivers:

-Require that teens complete a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system. This includes a beginner (learner’s permit), an intermediate licensing stage and then a full license.

-Limit the number of daily hours a teen is allowed to drive.

-Require teen drivers to experience a number of driving conditions with a supervising and licensed driver.

-Limit the number of teen passengers that can be in the car with drivers that are in the intermediate stage.

-Prohibit the use of cell phones, text messaging devices or any other distractions by drivers in both stages.

According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teens that complete a strong driver program reduce their risks of being involved in an injury crash by 40 percent.

Parents are encouraged to get involved, too. The more a parent teaches a teen about safe driving habits, the more likely the young driver is to practice caution on our roadways. Talk with them about the dangers and the consequences of dangerous driving. Get out there and drive them. Be sure to provide them with constructive criticism and encourage their safe driving habits.

Continue reading "Teen Driver Dies in Single-Car Accident in Alabama" »

Bookmark and Share

July 5, 2011

Alabama Ups DUI Enforcement In The Hopes of Preventing the Crime

Governor Bentley recently signed Senate Bill 361 into law, requiring a number of convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices on their cars, according to WAFF News. These devices would make it impossible for drivers to start the car without first testing their blood-alcohol levels. This technology is meant to keep a convicted drunk driver from recommitting the crime and to keep them from being involved in a drunk driving accident in Alabama.

These devices will serve as a great inconvenience to those who have been convicted of driving under the influence. These interlock devices are similar to breathalyzer machines that are used by police. The hope is that those who are convicted of DUI will get the help they need in order to prevent a future accident.

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys understand the intent behind Madison Senator Bill Holtzclaw's decision to initiate this law and we hope for victims of this type of crime it will give them some assurance that the number of repeat DUI offenses will go down statewide. Alabama is the last state to adopt some sort of ignition interlock device in order to prevent these serious and preventable accidents.

As Alabama sees a significant number of drunk drivers on our roadways, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aims to reduce the number. They know about these dangers all too well, which is why they've placed alcohol-impaired drivers on their "most wanted" list.

As it stands, someone is killed in a traffic accident that involved an alcohol-impaired driver every 48 minutes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a person makes nearly 90 impaired driving trips before finally getting busted. In 2009 alone, nearly 11,000 people died in these types of accidents. Accidents that involved an impaired-driver reportedly accounted for one-third of all highway deaths. More than 196,000 were injured throughout the year. Even though the United States has seen a decrease in the number of highway deaths in recent years, the fact that one-third of these fatalities resulting from an accident with an alcohol-impaired driver has not changed in the last 10 years.

The NTSB offers these suggestions to states to help keep drunk driving incidents under control:

-Conduct sobriety checkpoints.

-Enforce administrative license revocation when sobriety tests are failed or refused.

-Prohibit all plea bargaining and diversion programs.

-Create vehicle sanctions that separate individuals from their vehicles. These sanctions should prevent a previously convicted driver from operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.

-Use of jail alternatives, jail/treatment facilities, home detention with electronic monitoring or intensive supervision probation to treat and assess convicted drivers.

According to the NHTSA, Alabama witnessed nearly 350 fatalities as a result of car accidents that involved an intoxicated driver in 2009 alone.

While the numbers are staggering, we hope that drivers will be more responsible and perhaps new penalties will dissuade people from committing the crime. We know that our state has been lagging in enforcement, but hopefully law enforcement will be able to curb this preventable crime.

Continue reading "Alabama Ups DUI Enforcement In The Hopes of Preventing the Crime" »

Bookmark and Share

June 30, 2011

Technology Increases Risks for a Distracted Driving Car Accident in Alabama

According to a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, nearly 40 percent of surveyed students admitted to using mobile phone applications while operating a motor vehicle, according to UAB News. Many of these students still participate in the dangerous activity even after they’ve almost involved themselves in a serious car accident in Alabama because of it.

“The participants seemed to understand that using mobile apps while driving is dangerous, and some have even experienced motor vehicle crashes while using mobile apps, but they continue to do it,” said University of Alabama student Lauren McCartney, who conducted the survey.

Our Birmingham injury attorneys are proud to report that this study will be presented in August to the 119th American Psychological Association (APA) convention in Washington, D.C. It’s encouraging to hear about students getting involved in driver safety. With concerned students on our local campuses, we may have a chance to reduce the number of fatalities caused by dangerous and careless driving habits. Our driving future may not be doomed after all.

“The technology is evolving so rapidly that science hasn’t caught up to looking at the effects that mobile app usage can have behind the wheel of a car,” says McCartney. “But something needs to be done because in psychological terms, Internet use involves substantial cognitive and visual distraction that exceeds talking or texting, making it much more dangerous.”

Currently, 33 states have already banned text messaging while driving. No states have yet to ban the specific use of mobile Internet while driving.

“Driving a car is an incredibly complex task for humans to complete safely. There are enormous cognitive, perceptual and motor tasks an automobile driver must complete, frequently very quickly and with split-second precision,” says Schwebel. “A driver using his or her smartphone is clearly distracted, both visually and cognitively, and really should not be driving. The fact that 10 percent of college students with smartphones ‘often’ are using them while driving is astounding — the fact that 35 percent ‘sometimes’ do is equally concerning.”

Since June of 2009, accidents that were caused by distracted driving have been recorded by the state's electronic crash report system, called eCrash. According to Alabama Live, there have been more than 1,400 wrecks reported that involved a distracted driver using a cell phone or another electronic device in the past 13 months.

"Although the available data is limited, there are many examples of vehicle crashes where distracted driving was a factor," ADECA Traffic Safety Program Manager Bill Whatley said in a prepared statement. "We urge Alabama drivers to recognize that anything that distracts you from driving your vehicle is reckless behavior that endangers us all."

A fairly new organization, Alabamians Against Distracted Driving (AADD), aims to combat this problem. They were established after US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s requested participation from public-minded citizens.

He asked for their assistance and requested they become involved in the “anti distracted driving” movement. AADD aims to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving and of the danger of using a cell phone while driving, even if it's a hands-free device. Drivers using cell phones are 4 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.

"Texting has been the big explosion," said Michael Bassett, administrator of driver's education for the state Department of Education. "We tell them if you are going to text, you need to pull over to a safe place. If there's someone else in the car, they are the ones who need to be using the phone, not the driver."

Continue reading "Technology Increases Risks for a Distracted Driving Car Accident in Alabama" »

Bookmark and Share

June 28, 2011

AAA Helps Teach Teens to Avoid Car Accidents in Alabama

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is now offering a new website to residents across the United States. What's so special about this new website, Keys2Drive: The AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety, is that you can choose to view information that is specific to your state. That's right, the site offers information customized for Alabama.

Our Alabama injury attorneys understand how important this tool may be. It is critical for parents to work along with their teen as they learn how to drive. This website offers step-by-step instructions from choosing the right driver education program to deciding when solo driving should be permitted. This will help to ensure the safety of your teen on our roadways because you will know how to prepare them for every possible hazard.

Car accidents in Birmingham and elsewhere throughout the country are the number one cause of death for teens. Car accidents take the lives of more teens than homicide, suicide and cancer combined. It's just as deadly to send your teen off in a car with a sibling, a teenage neighbor or another teen driver. Research shows that even the smartest and most intelligent teens have an increased risk of being involved in a fatal accident. The only thing that may lower these risks is experience.

Tips for parents to help teach their young, teen driver:

-Lead by example. Always drive as you wish them to drive.

-Always wear your seat belt, use your turn signals and obey speed limits to illustrate the importance of abiding by roadways rules.

-Allow your teen plenty of supervised driving time.

-Allow them to drive in a number of conditions. While it may scare you now, it can help to ease your nerves later.

-Be sure you encourage your driver with positive reinforcement. Yelling at them while they're behind the wheel of a motor vehicle will only intimidate them and negatively affect their driving abilities. Give credit where credit is due.

-Stress the importance of not drinking and driving. Although they may not be old enough to drink, it doesn't mean that they won't.

-Talk with them about distracted driving or driving when not focused.

Alabama currently uses the three-stage licensing process for teens. This is a system that allows them to gradually be exposed to complex driving stations. At the age of 15 they are able to apply for a learner's permit. For this they have to visit their local driver exam office with a state-certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate, a Social Security card and acceptable proof of school enrollment or graduation. They then have to pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test.

Next is the restricted license. When your teen turns 16, they will have had their learner's permit for at least 6 months and have completed at least 30 hours of supervised driving. Now they can apply for this intermediate license They also must pass a hands-on driving test, complete a vision test and provide proof of practice driving time. Legal guardians are to accompany their teen to the DMV because they are required to sign the application form.

Last is the unrestricted license. When your teen turns 17, they will be eligible for a full unrestricted license, but they must have held a restricted license for six months and have no violations.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Alabama witnessed nearly 100 teen drivers die as a result of car accidents across the state in 2009. With the proper education, exposure to driving conditions and enough supervised driving, we may have a better chance of saving the lives of teens on our state's roadways.

Continue reading "AAA Helps Teach Teens to Avoid Car Accidents in Alabama" »

Bookmark and Share

May 5, 2010

Auto Injury Accident Study Shows Alabama Driver’s Higher Risk for Fatal Speeding and DUI Crashes

It’s a fact that single- and multiple-vehicle traffic wrecks injure and kill hundreds of people every month in this county. Anyone who has ever been hurt as a result of another driver’s negligence understands the physical and financial costs involved. A hospital stay alone can run into the tens of thousands of dollars following a bad car crash.

As a personal injury lawyer located in the Birmingham area, I serve residents of Jefferson, Shelby, Cullman and other surrounding counties. When it comes to recovering damages due to a car, truck or semi tractor-trailer traffic accident, I understand how serious a high-speed vehicle collision can be to any family, much less to those folks already struggling with their finances.

In fact, personal injuries resulting from car crashes and SUV rollovers can bring about life-altering conditions for victims and their families. While some accidents are fatal, other traffic wrecks can result in serious burns, spinal cord and brain injuries, not to mention permanent paralysis.

I know that there are no guarantees in this life, and as drivers we each assume risks every time we venture beyond out of our driveways. A recent study conducted by the Reader’s Digest magazine indicates how dangerous Alabama’s roadways can be for some drivers and passengers.

According to the report, Alabama ranks number one in speeding-related fatalities on our roads. That’s a sobering statistic. Furthermore, we are listed as one of the top ten states for a motorist to be killed in an alcohol-related traffic accident.

How does this relate to actual numbers? According to the report, Alabama has around 0.75 speeding-related fatalities per million vehicle miles traveled, ranking it first over the other 49 states – that’s nearly twice the national average of 0.39 deaths per million vehicle miles.

In the area of alcohol-related traffic deaths, our state was ranked 9th out of 50, with 0.53 DUI-related deaths per million vehicle miles traveled. While not as bad as the speed-related fatalities, Alabama still ranks higher than the national average of 0.40 drinking-related deaths per million vehicle miles traveled.

Reader’s Digest ranked all 50 states to determine the safest, most scenic and sensible roads. They also included a list of 15 bad roads dreaded by drivers nationwide, and while Alabama was not named in that list, they did mention the Monteagle Mountain section of I-24 just north of the Georgia-Alabama border. A piece of road so bad, according to Reader’s Digest, that Johnny Cash recorded a song about it. Said one trucker, “It’s the only place I’ve ever seen runaway truck ramps used.”

Reader's Digest Ranks Safest, Deadliest Roads in U.S.,, March 16, 2010

15 More Bad Roads,, March 2010

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, driver fatigue, driver negligence, DUI fatality, excessive speed, fatal accident, head injuries, hospitalization, motorcycle death, passenger car, semi-tractor, speeding, spinal column injury, traffic death, trucking crash, trucking wreck, wrongful death

Bookmark and Share

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,, 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

Bookmark and Share

February 24, 2010

Birmingham Personal Injury News: Former Alabama Exotic Dancer Wins $100K Injury Suit following DUI Accident

As a personal injury attorney serving clients in Birmingham, Auburn, Gadsden, Bessemer and throughout Alabama, I have the skills and experience to help individuals injured as a result of another person’s negligence. Whether it’s a slip-and-fall accident, products liability case or injury resulting from a drunk driver, you’re best course of action is to retain the services of a qualified legal professional.

Not surprisingly, an experienced auto accident lawyer and personal injury attorney can make all the difference in the world to someone hurt in a traffic or on-premises accident. A recent article brought to mind the potential benefit of bringing legal knowledge to bear in an injury case. According to news articles, it has never happened in the history of Alabama’s legal system, but a former nightclub stripper sued her employer after she drove drunk and became injured in a drunk driving-related car crash.

Amazingly, the former exotic dancer was awarded $100,000 after blaming the club for her accident. According to court records, Patsy Hamaker of Bessemer, AL, claimed she left the strip club in an intoxicated state and eas subsequently injured in a 2007 traffic accident. She argued that the nightclub went against its own written policies, although lawyers for the club said that no policies where in existence at the time.

Hamaker had filed the suit against The Furnace in Jefferson County for a total of $1.2 million in damages after she left the club and drove home drunk. According to reports, the woman had a 0.198 blood-alcohol content following the accident on October 17, 2007.

Although the plaintiff was legally drunk, she claimed the club was at fault for allowing her to leave before she sobered up. Defense attorney’s for the club argued that Hamaker was also high on other substances, which the club apparently did not know about. Still, a jury sided with the former exotic dancer, who said she can no longer dance because of the injuries sustained in that traffic accident. A Jefferson County jury awarded her $100,000 for compensatory damages to cover her unpaid medical bills. No punitive damages were awarded.

The defense said it would consider an appeal from a public policy stand point since there has never been a case like this in the state of Alabama.

Jury awards ex-Stripper $100K for DUI wreck,, February 3, 2010

Former Exotic Dancer Wins Lawsuit Update,, February 2, 2010

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, employer responsibility, hospitalization, neck injuries, negligence, passenger car, serious injury, spinal column injury, traffic accident, traumatic brain injury, unpaid medical costs

Bookmark and Share

February 10, 2010

Birmingham Personal Injury Attorney News: Alabama Drivers can be Hurt by Inattentive Cell Phone Users

It’s a shame that here in Alabama with all our modern conveniences, those same labor-saving devices can cause nearly as much harm as good. I’m talking about cell phones and inattentive drivers. As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer and motorist myself, I how often a fatal or near fatal accidents happen due to distracted drivers. Texting, of course, is one of the worst activities a person can do while operating a motor vehicle. Police say it’s almost worse than drunk driving.

This may be the reason why President Obama called for a nationwide ban on cell phone texting just last month. Representing folks who have lost a loved one through the negligence of another person is something I do for a living. Many victims and their families are put in terrible circumstances as a result of a traffic accident or other disaster that could have been avoided if it wasn’t for the carelessness and sometimes callousness of someone else.

According to a recent news article, new data out shows that cell phone use while driving is a direct cause of nearly one-third of all traffic accidents. This is a shocking statistic, yet the National Safety Council (NSC) announced that 1.6 million crashes each year are caused by drivers using cell phones -- a staggering 28 percent of all crashes. And, based on accident data collected from across the United States, the NSC estimates that of those 1.6 million crashes, 200,000 are caused by drivers who are texting.

Of course, people have been saying for years that cell phone use while driving is a very risky distraction. Apparently texting is an even higher risk, according to Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

Fortunately, legislation has been introduced in the Alabama Legislature that would make texting while driving illegal in the state. In fact, a study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows more than half of all drivers reported having used a cell phone for either talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle. That same study indicated that 60 percent of the drivers said they use a hand-held phone, compared to 34 percent who use a hands-free phone.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11 percent of drivers at any one time are using cell phones. That’s one car out of every ten that you see in traffic has a person using a cell phone -- either talking or texting on it. Think about that the next time you’re at a traffic light.

Cell phones can be hazards,, January 25, 2010

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, driver error, hospitalization, injured child, neck injuries, negligence, passenger car, serious injury, spinal column injury, traffic accident, traumatic brain injury, wrongful death

Bookmark and Share

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,, 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

Bookmark and Share

December 16, 2009

Birmingham Injury Accident Update: Alabama Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents Pose Serious Consequences

No matter where you drive in Alabama, you probably know that single-car and multi-vehicle traffic accidents kill and maim hundreds of people every year. As a personal injury lawyer working in the Birmingham area, I understand the seriousness of urban, country road or interstate collisions. Families have been devistatedand and local communities severely impacted by car, truck and SUV accidents over the years. There are numerous types of accidents that occur weekly in this state, some are caused by other drivers, some are the result of defective equipment, such as faulty brakes or poorly designed safety components.

Car and Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) Accidents
If you have ever been injured or have had your property destroyed or damaged by a negligent automobile driver, you know the cost of such collisions. Pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles can be fatally injured in crashes involving passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. Hospital stays and medical costs related to such accidents can run in the tens of thousands of dollars, especially for serious injuries requiring long-term recovery times.

Personal injuries caused by traffic accidents can result in life-altering circumstances for both the victim and his or her family. Whiplash, burns to the body, hands or head, not ot mention spinal cord paralysis and nerve damage are just a few of the many serious injuries that can occur in a vehicle-related crash.

Tractor-trailer Trucking Accidents
Add the extra weight and size of a tractor-trailer rig and victims can easily die at the scene of an accident. Those persons lucky enough to survive a collision with a semi can sometimes be laid up for weeks or months recovering from broken bones or severe trauma to the head, neck or spinal column.

Of course, as members of the driving public we expects truck drivers to be safety-conscious professionals who follow all of the necessary federal and state traffic and safety laws. Most do, but there is a percentage of big rig drivers who may not. Sometimes it’s not a deliberate act that can cause a trucking accident, but a seemingly minor thing like driver fatigue.

Continue reading "Birmingham Injury Accident Update: Alabama Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents Pose Serious Consequences" »

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, biker fatality, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, defective brakes, defective equipment, driver fatigue, excessive speed, fatal accident, head injuries, hospitalization, motorcycle death, negligence, passenger car, semi-tractor, spinal column injury, traffic death, trucking accidents, wrongful death

Bookmark and Share

September 9, 2009

Alabama Wrongful Death Case Results in $3.5 Million Jury Award to Dead Motorist’s Family

The recent decision by a Chilton County jury to award $3.5 million to the widow and three children of a Clanton, AL, man killed in a horrendous traffic accident has sent a message to log truck companies across the country. As a Birmingham personal injury attorney having represented clients from around Alabama who have been in similar circumstances, I must say that I am pleased by the outcome of this recent wrongful death lawsuit.

According to news reports, 56-year-old James Sanderson was killed in January 2008 at an Elmore County intersection. The man’s passenger van was rear-ended by a logging truck while waiting for traffic ahead to make a left turn. The driver of that truck, Gary Fruge, was named in the lawsuit along with Ken Gorum Trucking. The events of that day were covered in the trial and included the deadly details.

On that day, according to news reports, Sanderson was stopped behind two vehicles -- a passenger car and another log truck -- in the left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Highways 14 and 170 in Wetumpka. While waiting on the passenger car to turn left, Sanderson was struck from behind by Fruge’s log truck, sending his van into the back of the first log truck. As a result of the collision, one of the logs from the first log truck was forced through Sanderson’s windshield causing a traumatic head injury.

The plaintiff’s attorney showed that Fruge was speeding and that the truck had faulty brakes. Apparently proving that the trucking company had failed to properly maintain their vehicle, the jury fined both Fruge and the company for whom he was driving. The lawyer for the Sanderson family produced experts who testified that Fruge was traveling well in excess of the posted 50mph speed limit.

The Sandersons' attorney argued that Fruge had about one thousand feet in which to bring his truck to a full stop. From the evidence, experts testified that the truck must have been travelling around 65-75mph for Fruge to have applied the brakes and still strike the victim’s van with sufficient force to cause the resulting damage and fatal injuries. Experts showed that if Fruge been going 45mph, he would have been able to stop within 360 feet after first application of the truck's brakes. The jury apparently agreed and found Gruge and Ken Gorum Trucking liable for Sanderson’s death.

While other states across the nation have laws that instruct juries to consider the income and earning potential of a victim, Alabama law does not restrict an award based on these factors. Instead, our state asks juries to base their decisions on the gravity of the conduct, as well as using the award to discipline the defendant and send a message to others. The resulting $3.5 million award is an example of Alabama's approach to wrongful death cases such as this one.

Jury awards $3.5 million to family of man crushed by log trucks,, July 22, 2009

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, defective brakes, excessive speed, fine, logging, negligence, passenger car, plaintiff award, semi-tractor, traffic death, trucking accidents, widow, wrongful death

Bookmark and Share

August 26, 2009

Injured in an Alabama Auto Accident: Whose Car Was that Anyway?

When it comes to automobile accidents, liability can go beyond just simply the driver of a car or truck, but also to the vehicle's owner. As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I have represented enough car, truck and SUV accident victims to know that an incompetent driver is just one piece in the liability puzzle. For any driver, passenger or pedestrian hurt by the actions of another driver, you know the monetary, physical and psychological costs of such accidents.

But whether you have been injured by a drunk driver, an inexperienced driver or just someone who was distracted from the primary responsibility of operating a motor vehicle, the owner of that vehicle also has a responsibility NOT to lend or otherwise offer the use of his or her car to an incompetent driver.

If you or I lend our vehicle to another person, we are each subject to liability for compensatory and punitive damages if that driver causes a crash that results in personal injury to another. The key here is competency.

Every vehicle owner has a legal duty to the driving public, as well as the pedestrians and bicycle riders who share the road with automobiles, not to provide a vehicle to someone who is not competent to drive that car or truck. You must also understand that incompetency takes many forms, such as inexperience (a new driver or someone who is not licensed for that type of vehicle), intoxication (drunk or otherwise impaired from alcohol, illicit drugs, or even prescription medication), or someone with a bad driving record (even Aunt Millie, if she has too many speeding tickets).

So what do you have to look for? The factors that contribute to a cause of action for negligent and/or wanton entrustment of a vehicle are the following:

(1) The entrustment of a vehicle; (2) to an incompetent driver; (3) with the knowledge that the person is incompetent to operate a motor vehicle; (4) proximate cause; and finally (5) damages caused by that person in the operation of the vehicle.

In Alabama, the test would be whether or not the person who entrusted their motor vehicle knew that they were providing their car or truck to an incompetent driver; or from the circumstances could have or should have known of that driver’s incompetence ahead of time. A personal injury attorney will certainly try to prove this by showing specific acts of incompetency that the person giving the keys knew or should have known about.

Continue reading "Injured in an Alabama Auto Accident: Whose Car Was that Anyway?" »

Tags: Alabama injury lawyer, auto accident, Brimingham personal injury attorney, incompetence, liability, person injury, vehicle ownership

Bookmark and Share

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,, 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

Bookmark and Share

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,, June 8, 2009

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

Bookmark and Share

May 20, 2009

Alabama School Bus Crash Injures Several Students

A multiple-vehicle accident in east Montgomery, AL, on the afternoon of May 14 caused two public school buses to collide, and resulted in one child being sent to the hospital with neck and shoulder injuries. The collision occurred on a service road and included two other passenger vehicles.

According to police, three individuals were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries. Two Montgomery County Public School students and a third person from one of the passenger vehicles were transported by ambulance. The personal injuries included one student’s hand, while a second student suffered from injuries to the neck and shoulders. There was no immediate information on the third victim.

As an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer, I can tell you that these types of accidents happen quite often. And while reports of this accident say the injuries were minor, this is not always the case. Not to mention that even minor injuries can become a source of constant pain and discomfort for years to come. The only way to be sure your rights are protected is to enlist the help of a qualified personal injury attorney. This incident involved children, which is all the more concerning.

It all happened when the two buses belonging to Montgomery County school system were traveling from Georgia Washington School to Baldwin on a service road around 2:40 p.m. Based on reports, it appears that second bus hit the first bus from behind, thus starting the chain reaction accident. After being hit, the first bus slammed into the rear of a Mazda passenger car, which itself rear-ended a pickup truck in front of it.

A spokesman for the school district said there were approximately 15 students on each bus at the time. Another bus was dispatched to the scene to pick up the remaining children, who were then taken to Georgia Washington school to be evaluated before being sent home.

While the exact reason for the crash has yet to be determined, the injuries were real and police are continuing their investigation. Regardless of the severity of an accident, if you or a relative has received injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should consult with a qualified legal professional, such as the staff at Eversole Law. We offer free initial consultation to help you understand your rights in cases of personal injury.

Minor injuries in double MPS bus crash,, May 14, 2009

Tags: Accident, Bus, Crash, Head Injury, Multiple, Personal Injury, Vehicle

Bookmark and Share

May 6, 2009

Alabama Trucker Arrested for 3 Deaths in Cell Phone-related Highway Crash

Authorities recently arrested an Alabama truck driver who allegedly caused a fatal multi-vehicle pileup in Missouri almost ten months ago. The highway crash, which caused three deaths and more than a dozen injuries, was the result of a seemingly simple distraction from a ringing cell phone. The regrettable thing is that the Muscle Shoals resident reportedly had a clean driving record. Yet his actions have irreversibly altered the lives of many victims and their families.

As a Birmingham Personal Injury Attorney, I have encountered many stories just like this one. This case shows how many individuals can be affected by the actions of just one person, and why it is important to retain the services of a qualified legal professional to represent your interests. The plaintiffs are just now preparing themselves to face the ordeal all over again in a court of law, nearly a year after the actual incident.

What happened that mid-July afternoon was a disaster in the making. According to reports, Jeffrey R. Knight, 49, was driving a 2005 Freightliner loaded with scrap aluminum. By his own admission, Knight told investigators that he had been distracted by a cell phone.

A highway patrol report quotes Knight as saying, "I reached across the dash to get my cell phone. I flipped the phone open, looked back at traffic, and I was there right at the last car (in the line of cars stuck in traffic). I didn't see any brake lights or emergency flashers. After I hit the first car, I just remember holding the steering wheel and seeing cars going to my left and right."

The aftermath told the story. The truck ran into, and over, a line of 10 vehicles that had backed up on eastbound Highway 40 (Interstate 64) just west of Interstate 270. Three people died and 15 were injured.

Two of those killed were Amish from northeastern Missouri who were headed to a funeral in Tennessee with a hired driver. Lydia Miller, 55, died the day of the crash, and Alvin Mast, 88, died two days later. Charles "Keith" Cason, a 55-year-old copier salesman on a business trip, was in the first vehicle to be rear-ended by the truck. He died immediately, according to authorities.

Knight, who until that day had a clean driving record, was charged April 8 with three counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter, which alleges that the deaths resulted from "criminal negligence." According to authorities, each count is punishable by up to four years in prison.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, the legal professionals at Eversole Law are ready to help you.

Alabama trucker, distracted by cell phone, charged with crash that killed 3 here, STLToday, April 15, 2009

Investigation continues six months after deadly pileup,, January 13, 2009

Tags: Automobile Accidents, Injury, Manslaughter, Truck Crash, Wrongful Death

Bookmark and Share

April 13, 2008

New Law Proposed to Curb Fatal Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

The Alabama House of Representatives voted last Thursday to place tougher restrictions on teen drivers. The new bill will require 16 and 17 year old drivers to be off the roads by 10:00 p.m. on the weekends and 11:00 p.m. on the weekends. The new law is designed to make Alabama roads safer. The bill was proposed after a number of recent fatal accidents on Alabama roadways by teen drivers. According to the sponsor of the bill, Mac Gipson of Prattville, teen drivers make up fifteen percent of all highways deaths but only six percent of drivers are teens. Thus, teen drivers account for a disproportionate amount of fatal accidents on Alabama highways.
I am concerned that this law will give law enforcement more reason to target younger looking drivers, and I am not sure of its effectiveness. I do know, if this law was around when I was a teen, my love life would have suffered greatly. I think a more appropriate measure would be to mandate longer permit periods and better driver's education programs. If a teen were to get his driver's permit at 14 and have two years of driver's education, fatal accident on Alabama roadways involving teenagers would decline without the draconian measures advocated by the Alabama legislature.

Tags: Accident Prevention, Fatal Car Crashes, Teens & Car Accidents

Bookmark and Share

October 2, 2007

Birmingham, Alabama Car Accident Lawyers

I am a Birmingham, Alabama personal injury and car accident lawyer and attorney. I represent clients throughout the state of Alabama who need help protecting their rights. Insurance companies have millions of dollars and hundreds of car accident lawyers working against your claim. If you or a loved one have been injured in a Alabama car accident, you need to contact an Alabama car accident attorney who focuses his practice on personal injury and car accidents. My firm will work endlessly to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. Eversole Law represents personal injury and car accident victims in Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Cullman, Bessemer, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Florence, Fort Payne, Anniston, Gadsden, Scottsboro, Decatur, Trussville, Gardendale, Fultondale, Moody, Leeds, Pell City, Pelham, Priceville, Guntersville, Dothan and all across the state of Alabama. We will not rest until those responsibile for your personal injury and car accident are held accountable.

Tags: Alabama Car Accident Lawyer and Attorney, Alabama Personal Injury Law, Automobile Accidents, Car Crash

Bookmark and Share

September 27, 2007

Two Killed In Shelby County Auto Accident

Two Sterett men were killed last week in a Shelby County, Alabama car accident along Alabama 25. Details are sketchy and no one knows if another car was involved. My thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased men's families. Every time something like this happens, we should all thank God for our health and remember to drive safely. Your whole life can change in an instant.

Tags: Accident, Automobile Accident, Car Crash

Bookmark and Share

September 24, 2007

Motorcycle Accidents

George Clooney was injured in a Motorcycle accident on Saturday. Clooney suffered broken ribs and bruises while trying to pass a vehicle in the right lane. In New Jersey, it is illegal to pass a vehicle in the right lane, but it is unclear whether or not the car involved used his turn signal. New Jersey is likely a comparitive negligence state, which means Clooney and the driver of the car will be judged on their comparitive fault. So, if Clooney is 49% negligent for passing in the right lane, but the driver of the car is 51% negligent for not using his turn signal, the driver will have to compensate Clooney for the percentage difference.

Tags: Automobile Accident, Motorcycle Crash

Bookmark and Share