personal injury journal

What Is a Personal Injury Journal and Why Should I Use One After an Accident?

When someone suffers injury due solely to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, they will need solid evidence to help substantiate their claim. It is very rare that a responsible party will freely admit their wrongdoing and write a check to cover full damages. Most often, an injury victim will be dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company, whose goal is to pay out as little as possible for the claim.

Accident injury victims are entitled to compensation not only for direct economic losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, but also for noneconomic losses such as physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma.

Showing economic damages is mainly a matter of totaling all of the expenses incurred and determining how much money the victim would have earned had it not been for the accident. Noneconomic damages are intangible and difficult to quantify. They are based on more subjective factors, such as the intensity of the physical pain that you feel from day-to-day.

The challenge for most people is to remember everything that happens on a daily basis. Recovering from an injury is a process with a natural ebb and flow – there are some days when the extreme pain and anxiety gets the best of you, while there are other days when you are more able to cope with it. This is why it is very valuable to keep a personal injury journal, because without one, it is easy to forget many of the details of what you are going through.

What is a Personal Injury Journal?

As the name implies, a personal injury journal is similar to a personal journal or diary you might maintain to keep a record of any important events in your life. Aside from the specific subject matter that you will want to include, the main difference between a personal injury journal and most other types of journals is that this one may not stay private.

If your accident injury claim ends up in court, your personal injury journal might be discoverable, meaning that you could be compelled to turn it over to the other side. So, you should always remember when you are expressing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in your journal that it may be read someday by your adversaries or even a jury. With this in mind, be sure that your entries are accurate and written as professionally as possible.

What Should a Personal Injury Journal Include?

Here are some of the most important pieces of information you should record in your personal injury journal:

  • Accident Description: You should document the particulars of the accident that caused your injury. Note the date, time, and location of the accident, and what happened immediately before, during, and after it occurred. List who was involved, who witnessed the accident, and the contact information for these witnesses. If there is a police report (which there should be), it will contain most of this information. Still, it is good to have this information documented on your own as well.
  • Medical Appointments: As you work toward recovering or reaching maximum medical improvement, you will most likely be seeing doctors and other health professionals on a regular basis. Note in your journal the date and time of each appointment and the details of what took place with each visit.
  • Medical Procedures and Treatments: Whatever surgeries, procedures, and other treatments you are receiving should also be noted in your journal. Include details about each, how they went, how they have helped you improve (if at all), medications, dosages, etc.
  • Time Missed from Work: If you have had to miss work because of your injury, take note of every day you have missed and approximately how much you have lost in gross wages.
  • Daily Discomfort and Pain: Note every day or as often as you can the level of pain you are experiencing. Describe the pain in detail, and note which activities are the most painful for you.
  • Emotional Outlook: Take note of how you are feeling emotionally during all of this. What are your concerns about the future? Are you worried that you will not be able to return to work? What about finances? Are you having trouble making ends meet?
  • Impact of Injury on your Quality of Life: Take note of the ways in which your injury has kept you from participating in activities you once enjoyed. For example, has your injury prevented you from being able to run or play sports? Do you have to burden your loved ones for rides because you are not able to drive a car?

It is important to note that, although personal injury journals are usually created in written form, there are other options that might be more suitable for you. For example, you can create an electronic journal on your computer, or you can create audio recordings on your smartphone if you are having trouble writing or typing because of your injury.

Contact an Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss your Case

If you or a loved one suffered injury at the hands of another party, it is very important to work with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Your attorney will give you strong legal guidance on issues such as what to put in your personal injury journal and many others, and they will fight hard to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.

If your injury occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. Message us online or call our office today for a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

M. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

M. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588

how will coronavirus impact personal injury cases in Alabama?

How Will COVID-19 Impact Personal Injury Claims?

The coronavirus outbreak has taken the world by storm, prompting unprecedented actions by governments around the globe to contain the spread of the virus. Here in Alabama and in most other states, a “stay at home” order was put into place, which included prohibitions of non-essential interactions. Every area of society has been impacted by COVID-19, and this includes the court system.

Access to Alabama courts has been restricted during this time, and only emergency proceedings have been allowed to continue. That said, many hearings and depositions are now being conducted remotely via teleconferencing or videoconferencing if this option is available and all parties are able to access it.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we want you to know that we are fully operational and able to continue providing the strong personalized representation our clients have come to expect. We are doing most of our tasks remotely these days as we follow social distancing guidelines, but we continue to meet with clients on a daily basis using tools such as Zoom and FaceTime. We have the technology and resources to handle your case smoothly and seamlessly as we always have.

How Will my Personal Injury Claim be Affected by COVID-19?

In addition to delays in the court system, the coronavirus pandemic has created some other concerns for those who have suffered an injury that was caused by someone else:

Medical Treatment

For those who have been injured in an accident or event, getting proper medical treatment in a timely manner is critical. This is not only true from the standpoint of your health and well-being, but also in order to fulfill your legal duty to mitigate your losses after getting hurt. In addition, you will need to have extensive documentation of your injuries (both physical and emotional) in order to recover full and fair compensation.

The challenge with COVID-19 (with regards to the healthcare system) is twofold; some elective treatments have been delayed in order to focus resources on coronavirus patients, and some injury victims are apprehensive about seeking medical care when there may be COVID-19 patients in the hospitals and clinics.

With the first issue, there is not a lot that patients can do if their doctor puts a treatment or procedure on hold because of a government mandate. But the good news is that the healthcare system now has plenty of capacity in Alabama and most other places, and the states are opening up full access to elective procedures. This should allow injury victims to get the care they need.

With the second issue, it is understandable that an injury victim would be worried about contracting COVID-19 if they go in for medical care. But it is important to realize that hospitals and clinics are taking every precaution to keep their patients safe.

If there are any coronavirus patients, they are separated from others. Also, everything is sanitized, healthcare workers and patients wear masks, and patients maintain at least a 6-foot distance from each other. The bottom line here is that the risks of contracting COVID-19 if you go into see your doctor are minimal, and it is far worse (for your health and legal claim) to miss appointments and put off essential treatments that you will need to make a full recovery or reach maximum medical improvement.

Pressure to Settle the Claim

Delays with court proceedings combined with tighter finances for many who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 could make injury victims more motivated to settle. Unfortunately, the insurance companies are aware of this as well, and many of them are making the situation worse by intentionally dragging their feet in hopes that victims will settle for far less than they deserve. Now, more than ever, those who have been injured need an experienced attorney in their corner who has a proven track record securing maximum compensation for their clients.

Statute of Limitations

In Alabama, someone who suffers an injury through no fault of their own generally has only two years to file a lawsuit against those who are responsible. If this deadline is missed, it is highly likely that the case will be thrown out of court. Two years may seem like a long time, but it can go by quickly, especially when there are delays with the courts and the likelihood that there will be a backlog in cases when everything gets reopened.

It may be that courts will extend the deadline in some cases because of the unprecedented circumstances with COVID-19, but this is not something you want to take a chance with. In all cases, it is highly recommended that you obtain experienced representation as soon as possible, so you are in the best possible position to secure a favorable result.

M. Adam Jones and Associates is Here for You

If you or someone close to you has suffered injury because of another party’s negligence or reckless actions, M. Adam Jones and Associates is ready to go to work for you. Call our office today at 334-581-9238 or message us online for a free no obligation consultation, which can be held by phone or videoconference. We look forward to serving you!

nursing home attorney in Alabama

Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

When an aging loved one is no longer able to care for themselves, family members often have no other practical choice than to place them in a nursing facility. By doing so, they place their loved one’s care and quality of life in the hands of those who operate and work for the facility. Sadly, far too many nursing homes have violated their duty to provide even a minimum standard of care to their residents, and this problem has only gotten worse in recent years.

According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published last year, the number of cited abuse deficiencies (in the nation’s nursing facilities) more than doubled over a five-year period from 2013 through 2017. In addition, the GAO found that nearly 43% of the abuse deficiencies in 2017 were cited at the highest levels of severity, compared with only 32% in 2013.

It is not hard to see why cases of nursing home abuse are on the rise. Our population is aging, and an average of 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old every single day. At the same time, there has been consolidation in the nursing home industry as well as an increase in the number of for-profit facilities. To top it all off, we have an extremely tight labor market that makes it more difficult to adequately staff nursing facilities, and those who are hired tend not to be properly vetted or trained for their positions.

One of the most alarming findings from the GAO report was the widespread lack of enforcement when an incident of nursing home abuse occurs. They found that enforcement actions are imposed but not implemented in about one-third of reported nursing home abuse cases, and in only 8% of all reported cases, an enforcement action is actually implemented. This means that in roughly 92% of abuse cases that get reported, nothing of any consequence is done about it.

What are the Most Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse?

The GAO places abuse perpetrated upon nursing home residents into three general categories:

  • Physical Abuse: Pushing, punching, hitting, slapping, beating, and striking a resident/patient with an object are some examples of physical abuse that occur frequently in nursing facilities. This type of abuse tends to happen because many nursing home employees lack the temperament needed to work with the elderly. They get frustrated, fly off the handle, and take out their frustrations on those under their care. Of course, there are some that simply do this because of poor character.
  • Verbal/Psychological Abuse: Nursing facility residents depend heavily on their caregivers to meet all of their needs. This makes them extremely vulnerable to various forms of verbal and psychological abuse. These may include insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. A caregiver may also isolate a resident/patient by ignoring them or keeping them from visiting with other residents.
  • Sexual Abuse: As hard as it is to imagine, sexual abuse happens to the elderly in nursing facilities far more frequently than most people realize. According to a CNN investigation from a couple years back, more than 1,000 nursing facilities throughout the country were cited for mishandling suspected cases of sexual abuse. This type of abuse can come in many forms, including inappropriate touching or fondling, sexual harassment or humiliation, forced nudity, and assault. Many predators see the elderly as easy targets, particularly those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia who may have difficulty remembering what happened or getting anyone to believe their story.

Was your Loved One Abused in an Alabama Nursing Home? Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Assistance

With so many of the elderly being subjected to nursing home abuse, family members need to be ever vigilant in ensuring that this does not happen to their loved ones. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to be proactive and stay as involved as possible in their care. Visit them frequently, get to know their caregivers, and speak with their caregivers and supervisors regularly. By doing this, you will demonstrate to the facility that you expect nothing less than the best quality of care for your aging loved one.

If you have good reason to believe that your loved one is being abused, you need to take steps right away to put a stop to this. Report nursing home abuse to the proper authorities, and if your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911. Next, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call us today at 334-581-9238 or messages online to speak with a member of our legal team about your case. You may also stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience. We look forward to serving you!

parking lot and garage car accidents in dothan al

Collisions in Parking Lots and Parking Garages

Injuries from auto accidents are among the most common types of personal injuries. There are approximately 11 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year, which averages out to more than 30,000 per day. The accidents that get the most attention are the ones that occur on the roadways, and for good reason. But crashes in parking lots and garages can also be deadly, and they happen more often than most people realize.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are more than 50,000 crashes that occur in parking lots and garages annually, resulting in more than 500 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries. And because these accidents often involve pedestrians, many of the injuries that occur are serious and debilitating, leaving victims with a lifetime of medical expenses and a severely diminished quality of life.

Part of the problem with parking areas is that drivers fail to understand how dangerous they can be. While it is true that motorists drive more slowly through lots and garages, they are also driving in more compact and enclosed areas with a disproportionately high number of pedestrians walking nearby. Everyone who parks their car has to get out and walk to and from wherever they are going, so there is a continual flow of pedestrians that drivers need to be aware of.

Common Causes of Parking Area Collisions

Crashes in parking lots and garages are almost always preventable. A majority of them are caused by a driver, and when that is the case, they tend to happen for one of two reasons; stress or distractions.

People are always in a hurry these days, and when they enter a parking area, they are usually in a rush to find a spot. When they drive around for a while and cannot find one, the frustration builds, and the driver can become more aggressive. This is especially true during the holidays when shoppers are out in full force and parking lots and garages fill up quickly.

Distracted driving is another major contributor to parking area accidents. A public opinion poll conducted by the NSC found that a majority of drivers allow themselves to be distracted when they are driving through a lot or garage. Here are some of the highly disturbing findings from the poll:

  • 66% of adult motorists say they would make phone calls when driving through parking areas;
  • 63% say they would program a GPS system;
  • 56% say they would send a text;
  • 52% say they would use social media;
  • 50% say they would send or receive emails;
  • 53% say they would be more likely to engage in personal grooming;
  • 49% say they would take photos or watch videos.

Teen drivers are less likely to be on the phone than adult drivers, but they are more likely to engage in personal grooming and in various types of electronic activity on their smartphones.

Distracted walking is a problem that can contribute to parking lot and garage accidents as well. Many pedestrians are also tempted to spend time on their smartphones doing various activities, and this can cause them to miss important things that are happening around them, such as a vehicle passing by.

Some accidents may be the fault of a party that is not directly involved, such as the owner or manager of a parking garage. For example, some lots and garages have faulty designs with confusing signs that point in multiple directions and parking spaces that are too small for an average-sized vehicle to safely park in. Parking lot maintenance is another common issue, especially with slip and fall pedestrian accidents that may be caused by potholes, cracks in the cement, uneven pavement, and similar issues.

Proving Fault in a Parking Lot or Garage Accident

Parking area injury claims can be highly complicated, and it is often difficult for victims to recover compensation. This is especially true in states like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine in personal injury cases. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from covering compensation if they are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident.

This does not mean it is impossible to win cases like these, but it does mean you need to be proactive and get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible after the accident. By retaining strong legal counsel right away, steps will be taken to uncover critical facts and preserve important pieces of evidence, so your right to recover just compensation for your injuries can be fully protected.

Injured in a Parking Area Accident in Alabama? Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a parking lot or parking garage collision, M. Adam Jones and Associates is ready to go to work for you! Call our office today at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us online or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

distracted driving in Alabama

Does Distracted Driving Cause More Motorcycle Accidents?

Statistics indicate that the answer to this question is “yes”. For the past couple decades, fatalities from motorcycle accidents have been on the rise. During the 1990s, the average motorcycle accident fatality rate was under 3,000 per year. During the first decade of the new millennium, this number began to increase steadily, and in 2007, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities exceeded 5,000 for the first time. 

Coincidentally (or maybe not such a coincidence), 2007 was the year Apple introduced the iPhone. And since that time, the use of smartphones has become widespread not only in the U.S., but throughout the world. The vast majority of motorists now have them, and today, motorcycle accident fatality rates are consistently at or near the 5,000 mark.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can be anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road. Motorists have always had distractions to contend with, and this has always been something that could lead to accidents. Some examples of common driver distractions that have been around for a while include eating, drinking, tuning the car radio, staring too long at billboards and other road signs, grooming, talking with passengers, and talking on the phone.

These distractions can fall into one or more of four general categories:

  • Manual
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Cognitive

The distractions mentioned above usually fall into only one or two of these categories. And they can still be very hazardous under the wrong set of circumstances. But smartphone activity while behind the wheel brings distracted driving to a whole new level. 

Texting while driving, looking through emails and social media apps, watching YouTube videos, and even reading a GPS navigation map are activities that can simultaneously distract drivers in three or four different ways. This means that the driver’s attention is diverted completely from the road, and the end result is far more instances when motorists put others on the road in danger.

To put into perspective how dangerous electronic activity on a smartphone is, consider that if you look down at your phone for just five seconds to send a text while driving 55 miles per hour, it is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. When drivers regularly engage in this type of activity, it is much easier not to notice important things are happening on the road.

Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents

According to a 2017 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, distracted driving is now a contributing factor in as many as 40% all motorcycle accidents in the United States. Because motorcycles have such a small profile, seeing them has always been a challenge for other motorists. This is why there has been an ongoing public awareness campaign for many decades to help address this concern.

Smartphone activity has apparently made this problem far worse. When a driver is looking down at their phone, it is very easy not to see a motorcycle that enters their blind spot. This can result in more collisions when the driver tries to change lanes or make a turn. This also increases the likelihood that the driver looking at their phone will weave into another lane, resulting in an accident.

Motorcyclists are already at higher risk of serious injuries and fatalities when they collide with another vehicle. Bikers do not have a steel cage to protect them when they are involved in a crash, and there is not much that separates their bodies from hitting the pavement. This is one of the major reasons why motorcycle deaths are 28 times more frequent (per 100,000 miles traveled) than with occupants of other vehicles.

With the increased risk of distracted driving accidents, motorcyclists need to do everything they can to protect themselves from distracted motorists. Here are some ways for bikers to stay safer on the road:

  • Wear bright or reflective clothing;
  • Always keep your lights on even during the day;
  • Always make eye contact with other motorists before you cross in front of them;
  • Look for signs that a motorist may be distracted, such as weaving over the center line, weaving back and forth between lanes, and staying at a stop sign or stoplight for too long;
  • Refrain from distracted driving yourself.

Contact an Experienced Alabama Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Even if you follow all the best safety practices, you cannot control the driving behavior of others. If you or someone close to you was involved in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. To help ensure you recover full and fair compensation, it is best to work with a seasoned personal injury lawyer.  

If the accident occurred in Alabama, call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us through our web contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

commercial truck accident attorney in little rock

5 Things to Do if You are in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle

Getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler can be a devastating experience. Accidents between a commercial vehicle and a regular passenger vehicle typically do not go well for occupants of the passenger vehicle. Big rig trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more when they are fully loaded, and the sheer force of colliding with this type of vehicle at even medium speeds can result in serious injuries.

Immediately after the collision, you are most likely in a state of shock. Whenever we encounter a situation like this, our heart rate accelerates, and our mind starts to race in a million different directions trying to figure out what all this means. As you look out at the damage caused to your vehicle, you may be sitting there wondering whether or not you can even get out of your car.

The first thing you need to do is breathe deeply and collect your thoughts. Yes, this is a crisis situation, but you can get through it. And the actions you take right after the accident will be critical in securing everyone’s safety and protecting your right to take legal action against the party (or parties) responsible.

Whether you are reading this on your mobile phone immediately after a collision with a semi-truck or you are doing research to prepare for an event like this in the future, we are going to give you five important steps that you should take if you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle:

Safety First

The top priority before anything else is to make sure that anyone who may have been injured in the accident receives prompt medical attention, and this includes yourself. Symptoms for some injuries may not show up right after the accident, and this can be true of even more serious injuries such as internal bleeding. Call 911 immediately and get an ambulance to the accident scene before too much time passes.

Bring the Police

In addition to medical personnel, the police should also be summoned to the scene of the accident, especially if there are any injuries, which is more likely when a large commercial vehicle is involved. Having the police there is not only important to help secure the accident scene and get the vehicles and their occupants away from oncoming traffic, but also to create an official accident report. This report will most likely be a critical piece of evidence to help determine how the accident happened and who was at fault.

Gather Information

While the police will create an official report, you should create your own accident report as well.  Start by exchanging information with the truck driver. Make sure you obtain their name, contact information, driver’s license number, insurance information, the name and contact number of their employer (if they are employed), and U.S. DOT serial number (if it is available).

If you are physically able, you will also want to take several photographs of the accident scene showing as many angles as possible. In addition, write your own report of what happened, so you can compare it to the police report later and ensure that their report has no inaccuracies. If you are unable to write at the moment, use the voice recorder in your smart phone to create an audio report that you can transcribe later.

Obtain Statements from Witnesses

The testimony of eyewitnesses is another important piece of evidence that you will want to obtain.  If there are any individuals who saw the accident, try to obtain statements and contact information from them right away. In many instances, a witness will allow you to record an audio or video statement on the spot, which helps ensure that their immediate recollection of events is preserved.

Be Careful What You Say

While interacting with the truck driver, police, witnesses, and anyone else, it is important to be very careful how you discuss the accident. Do NOT, under any circumstances, admit fault or apologize for it. Alabama is a “contributory negligence” state, meaning you can be barred from receiving compensation if you are found to have “contributed” in any way to the accident, even 1%. Be polite, courteous, and empathetic, but never admit any wrongdoing – leave the determination of fault for the experts to sort out.

Contact a Seasoned Alabama Truck Accident Lawyer

Commercial vehicle accident cases are complex and challenging to pursue. There are numerous governing laws and regulations that may apply, and there are several parties that could be responsible (for the accident). If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you need a lawyer who not only has personal injury experience, but who also has extensive experience with these types of cases and the proven ability to successfully recover full and fair compensation.

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

car accident

What Happens if I Miss the Statute of Limitations for my Car Accident Injury?

If you were injured in an auto accident, one of the most important things you need to be aware of is the statute of limitations. “Statute of limitations” refers to the deadline you have to file a lawsuit against the person or party that caused your injury. In Alabama, the personal injury statute of limitations for most cases is two years. 

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?

For most personal injury cases, the clock starts running on the statute of limitations from the date of the underlying accident or incident. There is a big exception to this rule, however, which would apply in cases in which an injury is not discovered immediately after the underlying event. This is commonly known as the “discovery rule” exception.

One common example of the discovery rule exception would be a workplace illness that occurs over time because of exposure to a toxic substance. When this type of situation occurs, a court may rule that the statute of limitations begins either on the date that the plaintiff discovered the illness, or on that date when the plaintiff should have reasonably known about it.

Unfortunately, the discovery rule exception is not likely to apply to a car accident case, so you should not plan on being able to use this rule to extend your deadline for an auto accident injury.  There is, however, another exception you should be aware of, which would apply to personal injury lawsuits against a government entity.

If your accident was caused (at least in part) by a government agency or entity, different deadlines will apply. If the claim is against a municipality, it must be filed within six months of the accident.  If the claim is against a county, it must be filed within one year of the accident. There is also a complicated administrative process that must be followed before filing a lawsuit against the government. If this process is not followed properly, you may not be allowed to file the suit later.

The Importance of Early Action in an Alabama Car Accident Case

If your accident just happened recently, like in the past week or two, you may think you have plenty of time to pursue an injury claim. But even though two years can seem like a long time, there are some very good reasons to act on your claim sooner rather than later:

Preservation of Critical Evidence

By organizing your claim immediately, you are better able to preserve evidence that may not be available if it is not obtained quickly. Examples may include photos of the accident scene, video footage from a stoplight camera, and records from the cell phone company of calls that were placed or texts that were sent (around the time of the accident). It is also very important to obtain statements from individuals who may have witnessed the accident. Memories tend to fade over time, and the sooner you can secure witness testimony, the better off you will be.

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Just as important as preserving evidence is making sure you do not do anything that will damage your claim. This is especially important in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, you may be barred from recovering damages if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident. You can be sure that the other side will try to use the state’s defendant-friendly legal standard against you, and this is why it is absolutely essential to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible in the process. Otherwise, an honest mistake could cost you your right to the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Maintaining Leverage during Settlement Negotiations

While you can still settle an injury claim even after the statute of limitations expires, your chances of recovering a decent amount of compensation are seriously diminished once you pass that deadline. Insurance companies are well aware of the fact that letting the statute of limitations expire means you forfeit their right to file a personal injury lawsuit, and they will have very little motivation to present you a fair offer at that point. The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner settlement negotiations will begin, and the sooner your claim will be paid. And if the other side is not willing to be reasonable, your attorney always has the option to take the case to trial if necessary.

Injured in an Auto Accident in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Assistance

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. Call our office today at 334-581-9238 or message us through our online contact form. You may also stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

teen drivers and distracted driving

Teen Drivers & Distractions: What you Need to Know

For the past several years, distracted driving has been a growing problem in Alabama and throughout the country. As the use of smartphones has become mainstream, the need to “stay connected” has become a major distraction for many motorists. This is especially true among teenage drivers, who are very tech savvy and not always aware of the dangers certain driving behaviors pose.

Statistics on Distracted Driving

At any given time during daylight hours, approximately 660,000 motorists throughout the country are on their cell phones, and on average, nine individuals are killed in the United States each day in crashes that involve a distracted driver. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,166 individuals were killed by distracted driving in 2017 alone.

Teenage drivers are more vulnerable to distractions than other age groups, largely because of their youth and inexperience. For this reason, it comes as very little surprise that teens are the group most likely to be distracted at the time a fatal crash occurs.

More than half of all teens have admitted to using a cell phone while driving, and about 25% of those in this age group admit to having used a cell phone while driving during the past 30 days. Distraction is a primary factor in nearly 60% of all crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 19, and even though alcohol-related driving fatalities have decreased among teens in recent years, the number of overall traffic fatalities (among this group) is on the rise. Many experts believe that distracted driving is the primary reason for this.

Why Texting while Driving is so Dangerous

Since the automobile was invented, motorists have always had distractions. Tuning radio dials, dealing with noisy and unruly passengers, eating and drinking, looking at billboards, or just inattentiveness all present hazards that increase the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident.

Texting and other electronic activity while behind the wheel brings these dangers to a whole new level, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively.  In other words, electronic activity on a smartphone demands the driver’s full attention, taking his or her focus off of the road. To help put this into perspective, sending or reading a text for just five seconds driving at 55 miles per hour is like driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Preventing Distracted Driving among Teenagers

Texting while driving is illegal in Alabama and most other states. Unfortunately, just the fact that this practice is against the law does not prevent teens (and drivers in all other age groups for that matter) from sending texts and engaging in other cell phone activity while behind the wheel. We must all do more discourage distracted driving and make our roads safer.

Here are some tips to help reduce distracted driving among teens:

  • Education: It always starts with education. This topic will certainly be covered during a teen’s driver education courses, but it is also important for parents to sit down with their teens and discuss the dangers of distracted driving. The more education they have, the less likely they are to engage in this type of behavior.
  • Put it in Writing: Teens are more likely to take something to heart if you put it in writing. Create a written contract between you and your teen stating all of the ground rules for safe driving. By having a written contract, your teen is more likely to take ownership and follow what is stated in the guidelines. This also provides a written framework for you to revoke their driving privileges if they do not follow the rules.
  • Leverage available Technology: There are numerous apps available that can block texts, social media activity, and even making phone calls (except for emergency 911 calls) on your smart phone while driving. If you feel this is necessary, consider installing one or more of these apps on their phone to help keep your teen safe.
  • Lead by Example: Finally, be sure to provide a good model for your teen by refraining from texting and other dangerous activities when you are behind the wheel. Regardless of what you tell them, your teen will only think something is important if you are actually doing it yourself.

Injured by a Distracted Driver in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injury at the hands of a distracted driver (teen or otherwise), you have a right to be compensated. Before talking with any insurance adjusters, it is important to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer, so you understand your rights and legal options. 

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

insurance tactics after car accident

Tactics used by Insurance Companies during an Injury Case

Being injured in an accident is a traumatic and unsettling event. In the aftermath, it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening and what to expect next. During the insurance claims process, you will usually be dealing with the adjuster for the responsible party’s insurer. And because this is a new experience for most people, insurers typically use various tactics and tricks to try to minimize the amount of compensation they pay you.

Insurance companies may act like they are your “good neighbor” and that you are in “good hands” with them, but the truth is that these companies care very little about making sure you are adequately compensated after an injury. Their top priority is to protect their bottom line, which means paying out as little as possible when someone files a claim. As such, their interests are not aligned with yours.

There are several ways an insurance company may try to undermine your injury claim, here are some of the most common:

Contacting you Quickly after a Claim is Filed

Insurance adjusters commonly contact accident injury victims very soon after a claim is filed, usually within a few days. This is presented as a courtesy call to find out “how you are doing” and to reassure you that you will be “taken care of.” The goal of this call is to build rapport with you and encourage you not to hire a lawyer. If they can get to you before you have spoken with an attorney, then they believe they can convince you that you are better off working directly with them. Always be courteous and polite with the insurance adjuster, but never forget that they are not looking out for your interests.

Making Unnecessary and Potentially Damaging Requests

Once an insurance company believes they have earned your trust, they may start asking you for things that could damage your claim. For example, they might request a recorded statement under the pretense that this is just a “formality” needed to process your claim. However, the questions they ask are usually worded in a way that is designed to get you to admit things that could be used against you later. Another thing they may request is a full medical release, saying they need this to get your medical bills paid. The problem is when you release your full medical history to the insurance company, they will go through that information looking for a reason to claim that your injury (or at least the severity of your injury) was caused by a preexisting condition. Never agree to these types of requests without first speaking to an experienced attorney.

Making Lowball Settlement Offers

When someone is injured in an accident, finances are usually very tight. In addition to the mounting medical costs, the injured party typically has to be out of work for an extended period of time. Insurance companies know this, and they often try to take advantage of the situation by presenting a quick settlement offer in exchange for a release of your claim. In general, these types of offers are for only a fraction of what your claim is really worth. Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without talking to your lawyer first. 

Unnecessarily Delaying your Claim

If you are not willing to accept the insurance company’s offer, they could decide to slow walk your claim by not communicating with you for several weeks or even months at a time. By doing this, they are hoping to frustrate you into giving up and taking whatever settlement amount they offer you. At the same time, they are running out the clock on the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Once that deadline has come and gone, you may forfeit your right to sue the insurance company if you are not happy with what they are offering you.

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years. And two years can go by fast when you are not hearing from the insurance company on a regular basis. If this is happening to you, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible.

Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Legal Assistance

When someone files an injury claim, there are numerous tactics that an insurance company might use to undermine the claim and minimize the compensation that is paid out. To prevent this from happening, it is best to retain skilled legal counsel as early as possible after your injury, so your legal rights can be protected.

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also send us a message through our web contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.

motorcycle helmet laws in alabama

I Was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident without Wearing a Helmet, Can I still Recover Compensation?

Motorcycle accidents can result in some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries. This is why many states, including Alabama, have universal helmet laws. In Alabama, motorcyclists of all ages are required to wear a helmet that meets the state’s specifications; including the requirements that the helmet must contain a hard, exterior shell that is made of non-shattering material, shock-absorbent padding, and a secured chinstrap.

Although wearing a helmet is mandatory for all motorcyclists in Alabama, some riders do not follow this requirement. This can make things far more complicated if they are injured in a motorcycle accident. Even if the accident was caused by the negligence of another person or party, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet will give the defense ammunition that they would not have otherwise had to argue that the accident was at least partially your fault.

The defense may not win this argument, but if they do, you may lose out on getting any compensation for your injuries. This is because of Alabama’s “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to their injuries, even 1%, they can be barred from recovering damages. Contributory negligence is applied in almost all motorcycle accident cases, except for those which are caused by malice or willful misconduct, such as DUI.

Most other states use some form of comparative negligence, which would allow an injured party to collect damages even if they were partially at fault, with their damage award being reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share in the accident. In states like these, it would be much easier for a motorcyclist to recover compensation even if they were not wearing a helmet.

Because of the high bar to clear in Alabama, it is extremely important to obtain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible, so your attorney can go to work immediately to construct your case and develop the most effective legal arguments.

How Could not Wearing a Helmet affect my Motorcycle Accident Claim?

As with all personal injury claims, no two motorcycle accident cases are exactly alike. As such, your chances of recovering compensation depend largely on the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. As mentioned earlier, the defense is likely to use the fact that you were not wearing a helmet to argue that this makes you partially liable, but in most cases, helmet use is not actually related to the cause of the accident.

For example, if a car collided with your motorcycle because the driver was sending a text and he did not see you, this collision could not have been prevented if you had been wearing a helmet. With this type of case, the defense will likely make a more general credibility argument along the lines that not wearing a helmet shows that you are a careless and irresponsible rider.

The other factor that is much more relevant to helmet use is the type and severity of the injuries you suffered. In some cases, the extent of your injuries would not have been affected by wearing a helmet, while in other cases, wearing a helmet could have made a big difference. 

For example, if the accident resulted in a broken arm or a broken leg, these injuries would still have happened if you had not been wearing a helmet. But if you sustained a head or neck injury, this will be a much more difficult argument to make. At the very least, the other side will argue that your injuries would not have been as severe if you’d had a helmet on. And this could make recovering compensation an uphill battle.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Alabama

If you or a loved one sustained an injury from a motorcycle accident that was caused by another person or party, it is important for you to speak with an attorney right away, so your case can be evaluated and you can be advised of your legal rights and options. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, you might still be able to recover compensation, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. The sooner you get in touch with us, the better the chances we will be able to help you.

Call M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Dothan, AL office in person at your convenience.