June 29, 2011

Our Birmingham Injury Attorneys Wish You a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July holiday weekend is approaching and our Birmingham personal injury attorneys would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day. It is important to remember to be safe and cautious during this celebratory weekend as your risk of injury faces a steep increase.

When you think of the 4th of July, of course you think of fireworks. According to the Birmingham-based United States Eye Injury Registry, there are roughly 12,000 fireworks-related injuries that are treated in U. S. hospital emergency rooms each year. It is estimated that every year as many as 400 Americans suffer permanent vision loss in one or both eyes because of firework injuries in Alabama and elsewhere.

"The best way to enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July is to leave them to the professionals," says Doug Witherspoon, M.D., director of the Ocular Trauma Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham Callahan Eye Hospital.

Firework safety tips to keep you save this 4th of July:

-Refrain from using bottle rockets.

-Do not allow children to play with fireworks, or even sparklers.

-Always keep water nearby, either in a bucket of water or from a hose.

-Always have an adult present.

-Never relight dud fireworks. Let them sit for 20 minutes and then soak them in water.

-Don't drink and use fireworks. Always have a designated lighter.

-Never mix fireworks.

-Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

-Make sure that the person lighting fireworks is wearing eye protection.

-Use fireworks as they're instructed.

-Only light one firework at a time.

Residents are also urged to celebrate safely near water, whether on a boat or in your backyard pool.

In 2002, according to Alabama Department of Public Health, there were more than 60 pool drowning deaths in our state. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in Alabama for children under the age of 15.

In 2007 alone, there were nearly 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States. These pool-related drownings average out to about ten occurring each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than half of all drowning victims that are treated in emergency rooms end up needing hospitalization. Nonfatal injuries can turn out to be severe. These types of drownings can cause brain damage that can result in long-term disabilities. These disabilities can include memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.

When celebrating by the pool, remember these safety tips:

-Always use the buddy system when swimming.

-Never let children swim without supervision.

-Do not use rafts, water wings, inner tubes or any other air-filled swimming aid as a safety device. They are not designed to protect children from drowning.

-Enroll your child in professional swimming lessons as early as possible.

-Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This lifesaving strategy can help to keep victims alive until paramedics arrive in the event of an emergency.

A number of residents and visitors will be hitting the water on a boat over the long holiday weekend as well. We urge all boaters to take every safety precaution as a day on the water this weekend is could result in serious -- if not fatal -- injuries. In 2009 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were more than 4,700 boating incidents. Nearly 4,000 boaters were reported to have been injured and more than 700 died.

Of those who were injured, 9 out of 10 of them were not wearing life jackets Most boating fatalities that happened in 2008 were caused by drowning with 90 percent of victims not wearing life jackets. The remainder of boating fatalities were caused by trauma, hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other causes.

Discover Boating offers these safety tips to you if you're going to be out on the water during this 4th of July weekend:

-Check the weather. Be sure to check TV and radio forecasts before venturing out on your boat and keep an eye on changing weather conditions once you're on the water.

-Abide by waterway speed limits.

-Be respectful of navigational aids and buoys.

-Be sure to travel with someone, aside from yourself, that is familiar with your boat’s handling, operations, and other boating safety tips.

-Avoid alcohol. You're twice as likely to be involved in a boating accident when alcohol is involved.

-Learn to swim. Check with your local American Red Cross or other safety advocates for training programs and instructional classes in your area.

-Enroll in a boating course. This will help to you become familiar with boating safety rules of operation.

-Free vessel safety check. The US Coast Guard offers free boat examinations to ensure the presence and condition of safety equipment that is required by State and Federal regulations.

We hope that you have a fun and safe holiday weekend and make sure you check out some of the great Alabama 4th of July events.

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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

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, TimesDaily.com, 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

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January 27, 2010

Birmingham Injury Lawyer Update: Unseasoned Hunters Most at Risk in Alabama Tree-stand Accidents

Hunting season is a time for many Alabama residents to take some time and enjoy nature and the out of doors. Residents of large cities, such as Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Huntsville and Birmingham, as well as smaller towns and communities, can find themselves a quiet place to hunt here as well as in nearby states. But as an Alabama personal injury attorney, I know that hunting does not come with a guarantee of safety.

Whether a hunter uses a bow, rifle, shotgun or any other weapon, accidents can and often do happen, even to seasoned hunters. Fatal or life-threatening gunshot wounds are common, as are “friendly-fire” incidents. Surprisingly, tree-stand accidents apparently take one of the largest tolls on younger and many times less-experienced hunters around our state.

According to a recent article, hunters between the ages of 15 and 34 years old are most likely to suffer serious injuries in tree stand-related incidents. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Injury Sciences provided data collected from the 2000-2007 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Based on their research, the center reported that the number of Americans engaging in hunting has remained stable over the past 10 years -- 12.5 million hunters were registered as of 2006. In the study presented online in the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care, researchers reported that men were twice as likely as women to be injured in a hunting accident.

In this same study, the data collected apparently showed that there were 46,860 reported injuries related to tree stand use between 2000 and 2007. Of these injuries, the most common were fractures usually of the hip or lower extremities. Injuries to the trunk, shoulder and upper extremities were less common. Head and spinal cord injuries were even less common, but still frequent enough to be considered significant.

Hunters between the ages of 15 and 24 years old had injury rates of 55.7 per 100,000; those hunters in the 25- to 34-year age range averaged 61 injuries per 100,000. Hunters over 65 years of age had injury rates of only 22.4 per 100,000.

It has been suggested that younger hunters may have higher injury rates because they may be more willing to take risks. Additionally, they may have less exposure to safety information and spend more time hunting than older hunters. In any case, safety campaigns to remind hunters to use safety harnesses and to be certain that tree stand equipment is well-maintained could help prevent future injuries.

Young hunters most likely to be injured using tree stands, study says, OrthoSuperSite.com, January 4, 2010

Tags: Accidental Shooting, Alabama personal injury attorney, Birmingham Injury Lawyer, Death, Fall, Firearm Safety, Fracture, Friendly Fire, Gun Deaths, Gunshot Wound, Hunting Accident, Personal Injury, Spinal Cord Truama, Traumatic Brain Injury, Tree-stand Injury

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October 7, 2009

Alabama Personal Injury News: Ponds and Rivers Pose Threat of Drowning for Young and Old

Even though the summer months are on the wane, there is still time to take a dip here and there in the greater Birmingham area, over in Montgomery or down in Mobile. For children, pools, rivers and ponds always pose a curious, yet dangerous opportunity. As an Alabama personal injury lawyer, I am constantly reminded of the hazards all around us. A drowning death is usually preventable. Even when a person is revived, brain death or mental incapacitation is quite often the result. A couple news items point out the danger that water presents, and not just to children.

Not too long ago, a Wood River, AL, man drowned in a private pond in Montgomery County during an evening swim. This was no child, so the lesson here is to beware and always have a friend along when swimming in a secluded or non-public area. According to reports, 55-year-old Jimmy D. Pennington drowned while swimming in a pond just southeast of Walshville, Alabama, which is about 30 miles northeast of Alton.

According to police, witnesses told investigators that Pennington had been swimming in a private pond located on Gerdes Lane, southeast of Walshville, sometime around 7:15 in the evening of August 14. Witnesses also said that they noticed the man was having difficulty swimming and began to struggle before going under water, at which point several people tried to rescue the man.

They reportedly pulled Pennington from the water and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, then took him to St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield using a personal vehicle. Unfortunately, the man was pronounced dead at the hospital by a Montgomery County coroner. Similarly, there were a couple more drownings in Houston County this past September.

News reports describe an incident on September 8 where emergency personnel were called to the scene of another tragic death. Another man died during an apparently unsupervised swim in a pond near Web, Alabama, where residents found James Edward Herring II dead around 4:30pm.

Houston County Coroner Robert Byrd said Herring was a resident of a group home located near the pond, but had checked out two days earlier to go visit some family. That death was the second drowning in just one week; an earlier incident involved a teenage boy from Enterprise, Stephen Bush, who drowned over the Labor Day holiday weekend in the Choctawhatchee River.

Wood River man drowns in private pond, TheTelegraph.com, August 17, 2009

Authorities called to second drowning within a week, DothanEagle.com, September 9, 2009

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, drowning death, hospital, negligence, pond, rescue, resuscitation, swimming, water, wrongful death

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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, clantonadvertiser.com, 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

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August 12, 2009

Multiple Injuries, One Fatality Related to Honda Airbag Modules Recalled in Alabama, Nationwide

An automobile accident is bad enough when another driver makes an error causing you serious injury, but no one expects that the safety equipment designed to protect you in a car crash will actually be the cause of physical injuries or possibly death. Yet, this is why Honda is recalling nearly 500,000 of its Civic and Accord models, as well as some Acura cars, many of which are being driven in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville and other cities throughout Alabama.

As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I’ve handled many automotive defective equipment cases, but this one is perhaps worse in that it involves a car part that is supposed to save lives, not kill people. According to reports, the defective components are part of these cars’ steering wheel airbag system. During operation, portions of the airbag inflation system can break off and be propelled at the driver or passengers.

One fatality has already been reported, as well as several other non-fatal injuries, which involve this specific airbag defect. Back in November of last year, Honda announced it would recall some of its 2001 model year Accord and Civic sedans, but now the company has expanded that recall to include another 440,000 cars.

According to news reports, the potentially life-threatening defect is part is the vehicle’s driver-side airbag inflator assembly, which can rupture as a result of excessive air pressure and potentially cause metal fragments to shoot out through the airbag, possibly hitting vehicle occupants.

I know there are many people who drive Honda cars and I worry for them if this defect is not fixed soon. Being an Alabama personal injury attorney, I understand how this type of vehicle problem can only make an already bad automobile crash much worse. Nobody can imagine that an automotive safety system will actually hurt them, but in this case it could easily happen, which is why Honda is now recalling the affected vehicles.

The safety recall covers a number of 2001 and 2002 Accords, 2001 Civics and some 2002 and 2003 Acura TL models. The driver's side airbag is the defective component that needs to be replaced on the affected vehicles. Owners can check to see if their vehicle is affected by visiting Honda’s owner website and logging on. Honda has encouraged its customers to wait until they receive a recall notice before going to a dealership, since it may take a while for the parts to be in stock.

Honda recalls 440,000 cars for airbag risk, MSNBC.com, July 31, 2009

Tags: Accord, Acura, airbag, Alabama injury lawyer, Automobile Recall, Birmingham product liability attorney, Civic, defective equipment, Honda, injury, product liability, wrongful death

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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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July 15, 2009

Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Madison County Circuit Court Decision in Wrongful Death, Injury Case

I was pleased to read recently that the family of a young woman killed in a 2004 apartment fire will finally get their day in court. That family's Alabama civil suit stemmed from a south Huntsville arson fire that claimed the life of 24-year-old April Collins, a teacher who lived in the apartment block that was set afire.

Although Henry Rice, also a tenant of the Hunters’ Ridge Apartment complex, was found guilty of intentionally starting that deadly blaze and sentenced to life in prison, Collins’ family and other victims who were injured or whose property was destroyed as a result of the fire lost their opportunity to bring seven individual civil suits against the apartment’s owner and the builder back in 2007.

As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I’ll be the first to say that justice doesn’t always come in the first round. In this case, attorneys for the victims of that fire were told by a lower court that they did not have grounds for a civil suit, but on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court they will now be able to move forward. I always fight hard for my clients and sometimes that includes taking things to the next level. This is an example where perseverance paid off, at least initially.

Following that fatal fire, which also caused injury to other residents of that apartment complex, numerous civil claims were filed against the builder, Scenic Homes, and the landlord, Enterprise Apartments. According to reports, the Collins' family attorney claimed that an architect was not used during construction of the complex and many fire and building safety codes were bypassed -- most critically that any apartment structure must have at least two exit stairwells.

In addition to having no sprinklers, the complex reportedly also did not have fire alarms. As a result, by the time Ms. Collins was alerted to the blaze, her only avenue of escape was blocked by the spreading fire. She had no choice but to run through the flames, which caused extensive burns that resulted in her death. According to court records, expert testimony indicated that if the building been code compliant, Collins might still be alive today.

Despite the weight of these and other statements by the claimants, the defendants’ lawyers argued that the landlord and the builder had no duty to make the building safe in the event the fire was set on purpose, such as part of a criminal act. Apparently, Madison County Circuit Judge Loyd Little ruled the arsonist's criminal act negated any duty by the defendants.

Thankfully, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned Little's decision 9-0, unanimously agreeing that the duty to build and maintain a structure in a safe condition is not dependant on how a fire will be set. This paves the way for the original civil suits to go to trial sometime around September, with the Collins family’s case planned to be the first.

AL Supreme Court overturns local judge's decision on fatal fire civil suit, WAFF.com, July 1, 2009

Tags: Arson, Building Safety Code, Burn Victim, Fire, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Wrongful Death

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July 1, 2009

Alabama Gun Owners: Avoid Injuries and Accidental Deaths by Locking Up Firearms

Looking around Alabama, I see many opportunities to reduce the number of injuries and even deaths that occur in the course of our daily activities. From Huntsville to Birmingham all the way down to Mobile, I’ve heard so many personal injury horror stories it’s amazing that more people aren’t hurt or killed simply by going about their life.

From cleaning gutters without taking the proper safety precautions to home electrocutions as a result of not installing ground fault circuit interrupter devices, many of these accidents can be prevented with a little forethought. And I won’t even go into industrial accidents and work-related injuries.

Even with all this, something got me thinking the other day when I heard a very grim statistic in the news. Did you know that Alabama is number two in the nation when it comes to gun-related deaths? We shouldn’t be surprised, since the number of gun accidents directly correlates to total gun ownership. Although most gun owners in our state are conscientious, we could still do a better job in regard to gun safety.

As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I must state that there are few events more devastating to a family and a community as a child hurt or killed by a family’s firearm. These are not toys, though kids don’t always know the difference, especially the young ones. Gun ownership is a right, but that right comes with a huge responsibility to your family, your neighborhood and society in general.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at the statistics. According to the National Education Association Health Information Network, the rate of firearm deaths among children under the age of 15 is nearly 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized nations combined. And sadly, American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than in all these other countries combined.

Some people may say they can’t prevent gun-related homicides involving kids, but there is an area that needs real attention. Deaths from family-owned firearms. Fact: American kids under 15 years old are 11 times more likely to commit suicide using a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in those other industrialized countries.

How do the numbers stack up? Louisiana has the highest rate of gun deaths -- almost 20 per 100,000 of the population -- with Alabama a close second at about 17 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 people. No surprise there, since 57.2 percent of Alabama households have guns, according to a spokesperson for the Violence Policy Center. Alaska, Mississippi and Nevada are the runners up in this gloomy assessment of firearm safety.

The bottom line, Alabama: Unload your guns and lock them up when not in use. Gun owners are the first line of defense against the senseless tragedies we read about in the news every day.

Alabama ranks second in gun deaths, TimeDaily.com, June 16, 2009

Tags: Accidental Shooting, Children, Death, Firearm Safety, Gun Deaths, Gunshot Wound, Personal Injury, Teen Suicide, Toy Gun

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June 3, 2009

Potential for Injuries at Alabama Theme Parks Not Amusing

Summer is here and soon school will be letting out. Every Alabama family knows with summer vacation comes that annual trek to the amusement park. Whether it’s a facility in Huntsville or Bessemer, Auburn or Dothan, for most folks the thought of broken bones, closed-head injuries or even accidental death are hardly things that come readily to mind while strolling down those colorful and noisy midways.

As a Birmingham personal injury attorney, I enjoy some controlled excitement from time to time, but a recent article got me thinking about theme park safety. Amid the smell of cotton candy and sounds of children having a great time, there could be danger lurking. Exercise caution the next time you go.

Some people worry all the time about being injured on roller coasters, but most don’t give it a second thought. But beneath their glossy, candy-colored exteriors, rides may be shoddily maintained, which can easily turn a roller coaster ride deadly. And although amusement park owners point to an impressive-sounding 0.00057-percent industry accident rate, experts say that number is misleading because the actual accident reporting is left to the parks themselves. Underreporting may be the norm since the more they report, the more fines they incur and the more trouble they get into.

The most chilling news is that not all amusement parks are inspected equally. Some states, Alabama among them, do not regulate rides at all. Others such as Mississippi and Washington, D.C., regulate traveling carnivals but not permanent ones. Among the safest states are Florida and Pennsylvania, both of which employ full-time inspectors who do nothing but evaluate amusement rides for safety.

Unfortunately, better legislative attention only comes following a tragedy. In California, legislation to regulate theme parks was introduced after a 1997 disaster at Waterworld USA, where a waterslide collapsed and killed one high school student while injuring 32 others after they attempted to climb on together. As a result, California now has permanent theme park regulations.

Drowning is not the only threat at water parks. A 22-year-old broke his neck after going down head first on a waterslide at a New Jersey park. The six-foot-two, 225-pound man either hit the bottom of the pool with his head or simply the force of hitting the water snapped his neck back. Regardless, he is now a quadriplegic -- the park settled his personal injury suit for $4 million.

According to experts, waterslides can turn riders into human projectiles hurtling at speed up to 25 miles per hour and requiring levels of physical competence that are simply unnecessary for riding even the scariest roller coaster. While the physical challenge is clearly part of the fun, it also increases the level of risk. The danger lies many times in the illusion that a water ride is safe, and because parks sell their rides as amusements that are entertaining and fun.

10 Things Theme Parks Won't Tell You, SmartMoney.com, May 29, 2009

Tags: amusment, injury, law suit, roller coaster, theme park, wrongful death

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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, STLToday.com, January 13, 2009

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

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October 10, 2007

Birmingham, Alabama Wrongful Death Lawyer & Attorney

I am an Alabama wrongful death lawyer and attorney who focuses his practice on personal injury and wrongful death. We are centrally located in Birmingham, Alabama so that we may regularly serve the entire state of Alabama conveniently. If you have lost a loved one in an accident or by some other negligent means, you deserve to get full compensation for your lost. Many wrongful death cases settle without going to court for millions of dollars. My firm will vigorously defend your rights and obtain the maximum compensation for your loss. We serve Alabama wrongful death clients throughout the state of Alabama in cities like Birmingham, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Fultondale, Gardendale, Huntsville, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Dothan, Mobile, Guntersville, Moody, Leeds, Fort Payne, Boaz, Pell City, Scottsboro, Pelham, Arab, Decatur, Florence, Cullman, and in counties like Jefferson, Shelby St. Clair, Walker, Montgomery, Madison, Escambia and throughout the state of Alabama. If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone's negligence, you owe it to yourself to call a law firm that focuses it's Alabama practice on wrongful death cases. We will not rest until we collect the maximum amount possible under the law. Do not settle a case without first speaking to an Alabama wrongful death lawyer and attorney.

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September 24, 2007

Alabama Wrongful Death Law

Alabama Code Section § 6-5-410 is the Alabama Wrongful Death Statute. It states that a wrongful death claim is actionable when a wrongful act, omission, or negligence causes death. The Alabama Code section is listed below for your convenience:

(a) A personal representative may commence an action and recover such damages as the jury may assess in a court of competent jurisdiction within the State of Alabama, and not elsewhere, for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of any person, persons, or corporation, his or their servants or agents, whereby the death of his testator or intestate was caused, provided the testator or intestate could have commenced an action for such wrongful act, omission, or negligence if it had not caused death.

(b) Such action shall not abate by the death of the defendant, but may be revived against his personal representative and may be maintained though there has not been prosecution, conviction or acquittal of the defendant for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence.

(c) The damages recovered are not subject to the payment of the debts or liabilities of the testator or intestate, but must be distributed according to the statute of distributions.

(d) Such action must be commenced within two years from and after the death of the testator or intestate.

Tags: Alabama Wrongful Death Laws, Alabama Wrongful Death Statute

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September 24, 2007

Alabama Wrongful Death Rules

In Alabama, a two-year statute of limitations applies to wrongful-death actions alleging medical malpractice. This means that you are barred from seeking remedy if you have not filed a claim within two years of the injury. So if a doctor kills your husband by negligently performing some kind of procedure, you have two years from the date of death to file a claim or you can no longer recover for the loss. You should immediately seek out an attorney who focuses their practice on wrongful death, personal injury and/or medical malpractice, if you or someone you know, is involved in a situation where a doctor causes the death of a loved one.

Tags: Statue of Limitations, Wrongful Death Statue of Limitations

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