Archive for the ‘Car/Truck Accidents’ Category

Wear Your Seat Belt

November 12, 2007

Do seat belt laws work? Not Alabama’s.  According to a Birmingham News article, sixty percent (60%) of those killed on Alabama highways in 2006 were not wearing their seat belt.  Consequently, representatives are clamoring for tougher seat belt laws.

According to another statistic from various traffic analysts, the lack of a seat belt increases your risk of dying in a crash by eighty percent (80%).  The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that if eighty-two percent (82%) of the public wore seat belts, deaths would be reduced by 15,700 nationwide, and serious injuries would be reduced by 350,000.

Why do people fail to wear their belt?  Here are some of the reasons: 

     (1)  wrinkles clothes;
     (2)  if the car plunges into water, the person can’t get out; and
     (3)  discomfort due to height or weight.

This issue brings up an age old question:  Does the government have a right to tell individuals that they must wear a seat belt?  The rationale is that it costs the public more if there are more serious injuries involved:  an ambulance must come to the scene (or maybe air transportation), and there could be long term healthcare needs which must be paid by insurance or even Medicare or Medicaid.  All of these issues, and more, affect the public at large.  Notwithstanding the above, if someone is dumb enough to choose not to wear their seat belt, shouldn’t they have the right to not wear it?  Isn’t this a free country?  Not when it comes to seat belts.


Drunk Driving

April 25, 2007

According to the Birmingham News, Governor Riley has awarded $73,487.00 in grants for police to target drunk drivers in six (6) counties:  Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker.  This is a very good step taken by Governor Riley.  Drunk driving can cause horrific accidents and death as exhibited by a recent case we are handling where the drunk driver came across the median on Interstate 20 and hit our client head-on.  Our client has been permanently disabled and is in rehabilitation.  His family will never be the same.

Let’s applaud Governor Riley on this step and hope that it prevents future tragedies.

Wal-Mart Verdict

April 21, 2007

Greg Allen, of the law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., obtained a $4 million verdict in Montgomery County, Alabama.  The case involved a tire tread separation on a Ford Expedition which caused the SUV to roll over and crush the roof of the vehicle.  Carolyn Thorne was left paralyzed as a result. 

Why was Wal-Mart a defendant?  Continental Tire Company of North America had issued a recall for the particular tire.  Notwithstanding the recall, the employees of Wal-Mart, who serviced Ms. Thorne’s Expedition on nine (9) occasions AFTER the recall, failed to notify her of the problem.  Apparently, Wal-Mart has a policy of only disclosing recalls on tires if Wal-Mart sold the tire.

Here is another occasion where a small effort could have prevented a huge injury.  Various government web sites show all of the product recalls (many appear on this blog).  All a company has to do is access its computers.  How much time would it have taken for Wal-Mart to check the model of Ms. Thorne’s tires in order to determine if a recall had been issued?  In fact, the Wal-Mart service department could probably have a notification automatically sent to them when a product has been recalled.  Ms. Thorne put her trust in Wal-Mart to properly service her tires.  She thought they were the professionals.  Unfortunately, for her and her family, Wal-Mart did as many companies do:  put the minimum effort into their service for the maximum price.

Alabama Truck Weight Bill

April 14, 2007

Alfa has pushed a bill through the Alabama House of Representatives which has passed overwhelmingly.  This bill should shock consumers.  According to the bill, commercial vehicles weighing 13 tons or less will be exempt from federal regulations.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration believes that such a bill will cost lives and federal funding.  According to the federal agency’s records, thirteen percent (13%) of 2005 fatal truck crashes in Alabama involved just such commercial vehicles.

How will this affect you if the bill passes?  Well, any trucks which fall within this category (light dump trucks, some box trucks, etc.) will not be required to adhere to minimum federal standards.  These standards include physical exams for drivers as well as the number of continuous hours they may drive.  If you are like me, it is already scary to drive on our highways with these larger trucks.  Imagine if they aren’t regulated.

Safety on Alabama Highways

April 13, 2007

The Birmingham News reported in today’s paper that Road deaths were higher in 2006 than they have been since 1973, topping 1200.  That’s thirty-four (34) years since Alabama highway deaths have exceeded 1200.  During that same time period, we have been in the process of gutting our legal system with respect to car accidents.

One reason we have a tort system is to hold people accountable for their negligence.  Negligence is not intentional; it is the breach of a duty which causes harm.  Duties exist with respect to operating cars and trucks on our highways.  Whether a person is on a cell phone, drunk, speeding, loses control of the vehicle, or simply fails to heed a traffic signal, that person is not fulfilling his/her duty to operate the vehicle safely.  As a result, other people are endangered, injured, or killed.

An individual injured because a person wasn’t paying attention is entitled to be compensated under Alabama law.  It is a pain to have to take time off of work and go to doctors and physical therapists.  It isn’t fun to take diagnostic tests such as X-rays and MRI’s, and it certainly isn’t fun to have surgery. 

When this medical treatment takes place because another person was not abiding by the rules of the road, that person is financially responsible.  This is why we have insurance.  If we don’t like this system, we should stop paying all of these premiums for insurance coverage.  Otherwise, we need to respect those who are injured by another’s negligence, and we should hold the negligent individuals accountable.  They are the ones who need to be responsible, not the victim, and maybe then, we can reduce that 1200 number.