Rear-End Accident

Should I Seek Medical Attention after a Rear-End Collision?

Rear-end accidents are some of the most common that occur on the roadways. While some of these collisions occur at high speeds and result in severe and even catastrophic accidents, many of them are minor and are often referred to as “fender benders”. Being involved in a minor accident can seem like just an annoyance and a waste of time, and some people often wonder whether it is even worthwhile to seek medical attention.

We all lead busy lives, and when we are involved in a “fender bender” the temptation is to just exchange information with the other party and move on. After all, if I don’t feel hurt, or I just have a few minor aches and pains, why should I bother getting checked out?

Not seeking medical attention after a rear end collision could be a very big mistake, however, and here are some reasons why:

Some Auto Accident Injuries are not Discovered Right Away

There are times when those injured in a car accident do not notice that they are hurt when they are at the scene. This is largely due to the adrenaline rush that occurs when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Your heart is racing, and your mind starts moving in a million directions.  Your main focus is to resolve the situation, and this can sometimes mask the pain. This is particularly common with soft tissue injuries such as whiplash. You may not feel anything at the scene of the accident, but the next day, you might wake up with neck, shoulder, and back pain. These aches and pains are most likely related to the accident.

Some Unknown and/or Delayed Injuries can be Serious

There are some injuries that, although not noticed right away, can be far more serious than most people believe. For example, a rear-end collision can throw your body back and forth in a rapid motion, which can cause damage to the neck, back, shoulders, and even internal organs. Some of these injuries are not only serious, they can be life threatening if not treated right away.  If you have swelling, tightness, or pain in your abdomen or any other type of internal pain, you need to get help right away.

Seeking Medical Attention helps Establish a Legal Connection between the Accident and your Injuries

If you end up with a moderate to severe injury that results from a rear-end collision, you will need to get your injuries treated in order to get on the road to recovery. During this process, you are likely to incur h medical bills, missed time from work, and various types of pain and suffering. If the collision was caused by another party’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. However, if you cannot connect your injuries to the rear-end accident you were involved in, you will have a much more difficult time recovering damages.  By getting medical help right after the accident, you will be better able to establish the legal connection you need if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.

You have an Obligation to Mitigate the Damages from your Injuries

Related to the last point, you have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to avoid further losses from the accident, even if it was not your fault. This means doing everything possible to minimize the extent of any injuries that you may have suffered. If you are involved in a rear-end accident, you waited several days or longer to seek medical attention, and your injuries became worse because you waited, an insurer may argue that you did not fulfill your obligation to mitigate your losses.

Injured in a Rear-End Collision in Alabama? Contact a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone close to you has been involved in a rear-end accident and it was the fault of another party, get medical help right away, then get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Alabama uses the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine, meaning that an injured party can be barred from recovering compensation even if they are found to be 1% responsible for the underlying accident. This is a high standard of proof, and it is important to get an attorney involved as soon as possible in order to preserve your legal right to compensation. 

At M. Adam Jones & Associates, we have extensive experience and a proven track record of successfully recovering damages for clients who have suffered all types of personal injuries in Alabama. We know what it takes to overcome the state’s defendant-friendly legal standard, and we work closely with our clients, exploring every potential legal avenue to recover the full and fair compensation they need and deserve. For a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at 334-581-9238, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Personal Injury lawyer

The 5 Most Important Considerations before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Have you been injured in an accident? If so, you may have trouble obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries. In Alabama, you might even be barred from recovering any compensation at all because of the state’s defendant-friendly legal standard known as “contributory negligence.” Under contributory negligence, you may not be entitled to damages if you are found to be even 1% at-fault for the underlying incident that led to your injury.

To help ensure that you are able to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries, you will need to have strong legal counsel in your corner advocating forcefully for your rights and interests. That said, not all personal injury lawyers are the same, and choosing the right lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding the outcome of your case.

First of all, do not make the mistake of hiring an attorney based on ads alone. For example, you may have seen or heard advertisements for a firm on TV, radio, billboards, and in other places. Some of these firms are what are known as “settlement mills.”

The goal of a settlement mill is to acquire as many cases as possible and process them in the shortest possible amount of time. These firms often don’t have anywhere near the level of staff required to bring the cases they handle to trial. This means they are going to settle nearly every case with the insurance company, and the settlement may likely be for far lower then what you would be entitled to.

Important Considerations before Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

There are several factors to consider when deciding on a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Here are five of the most important:  

Experience

One of the first things to evaluate is the experience level of the personal injury attorney you are considering. Of course, you want someone who has been practicing in the state for several years and has in-depth knowledge of the applicable laws and statutes. It is also important to distinguish between one of the senior partners for the firm and the person who will handle your specific case. Some firms (like the settlement mills we mentioned earlier) have attorneys with experience that run the firm, but most of the cases that come through the door are handled by paraprofessionals. Be sure that the person handling your case is a licensed attorney with extensive experience in this area of the law.

Reputation

Some consumers make the mistake of believing that because a firm advertises heavily, they are a reputable firm with strong credentials. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. It is important to dig a little deeper to find out how the firm stacks up with other personal injury attorneys in the area. Client testimonials are helpful, but they should not be the sole determining factor in evaluating a lawyer’s reputation. You should also check with reputable legal rating services such as Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, and the National Trial Lawyers Association. Recognition by peers and outside organizations is a strong indication of an attorney with exceptional legal skills.

Resources

Often, one of the deciding factors in a personal injury case is the testimony of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are specialists from various industries (such as the medical profession) who can speak with authority on certain aspects of a case. A skilled personal injury attorney will have relationships with top experts whom they can call upon when necessary to help bolster their case. Ask the attorney you are considering if they work with expert witnesses, and how often they use them in the cases they handle.

Commitment

In order to obtain full and fair compensation for a personal injury, you need to be willing to take the case to trial. Otherwise, the responsible party and their insurer will have no incentive to negotiate a reasonable settlement. Your attorney should have extensive trial experience and the willingness to prepare thoroughly for the possibility of litigation. This way, if the other party is not willing to negotiate in good faith, you are ready and able to aggressively pursue full damages at trial.

Results

At the end of the day, what matters more than anything else is results. Does your attorney have a proven track record of success with personal injury cases? What if your case is more complicated, such as a trucking accident involving numerous governing laws and regulations and multiple parties that could be responsible? Can your attorney handle a case like that? Be sure your attorney not only has experience handling personal injury cases, but experience winning these types of cases as well.

Alabama Statute of Limitations

Time limit for Filing an Injury Claim in Alabama: Statute of Limitations

When an individual is injured because of the negligent actions or omissions of another party, they deserve to be compensated. This typically involves negotiating a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company or filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Alabama, there is a strict time limit for filing an injury claim. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” An injured party must initiate a legal claim within the designated statute of limitations in order to recover damages for their injury.

Damages in Alabama Personal Injury Cases

Compensatory damages that may be available in a personal injury lawsuit can be broken down into two general categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those which can be quantified, such as damage to personal property, hospitalization costs, cost for surgeries and other types of medical treatment, rehabilitation, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages are intangibles that are more difficult to assign a dollar value to. Examples may include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

In order to recover compensation for a personal injury in Alabama, you must prove that the other party was 100% responsible. Under the state’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine, if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying incident that caused the injury, you may be barred from recovering damages.

Alabama Two-Year Rule for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Alabama Code Section 6-2-38 sets a two-year deadline for filing a civil lawsuit for “injury to the person” based on another party’s negligence. This includes incidents such as auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and numerous other types of personal injuries. In general, the two-year clock starts running on the date when the event that resulted in the injury occurs. In cases in which a plaintiff could not reasonably have known about the injury within the two-year time frame, they generally have six months from the date of the discovery of the injury to initiate a legal action.

Exceptions to Alabama’s Two-Year Statute of Limitations

There are a few exceptions to the two-year filing deadline in Alabama. For example, if an injured party was a minor or mentally incapacitated at the time of the injury, they generally have two years from the date the injured party turns 19 or is declared sane. This exception does not always apply, however; and in any case, there is an overall filing deadline of 20 years from the date of the underlying incident.

There are also exceptions for injured parties who want to initiate a legal action against a government entity. If the claim is being filed against a city or town in Alabama, you must file a written notice of claim within six months of the date of injury. If the claim is against a county, you must file a written notice within one year of the injury date.

There are some cases in which you may not be initially aware that a municipality or county is one of the parties responsible. For example, if you are injured in a car accident and the driver was a government employee who was “on the clock” at the time of the accident, you may have a claim against both the individual and their employer. This is one of the reasons it is extremely important to have your case reviewed by a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you become aware of your injury.

What Happens if I Miss the Filing Deadline?

Missing the filing deadline for a personal injury claim can be a fatal blow to your case. If you are past the deadline and you try to bring a legal action, the responsible party will almost certainly bring this up and move to have your case dismissed. The motion for dismissal will most likely be granted unless your case falls into one of the exception categories.

Allowing the filing deadline to pass can also be a problem if you are trying to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. This is often the case with accidents in which the injured party is dealing with the other party’s insurance carrier. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement during the two-year window, the injured party loses their negotiating leverage. Insurance companies know this, and one of their common tactics is to delay communications and even “go dark” for several months in hopes of running out the clock.

Speak with a Seasoned Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident, you need to be mindful of the time limits for bringing an injury claim. As soon as possible after the incident, contact a personal injury attorney to have your case thoroughly assessed and discuss your rights and legal options. At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have extensive experience and a successful track record with even the most complex accident injury cases, and we work closely with our clients to provide the strong personalized representation they need and deserve. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today at 334-699-5599, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Negotiating a fair injury settlement - Jones & Associates

Negotiating a Full and Fair Settlement for your Alabama Injury Case

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury and it was the fault of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. Unfortunately, the process of recovering compensation is almost never smooth. It is extremely rare for the party responsible for a personal injury to walk up to you and write you a check to cover your medical bills, time you missed from work, and compensate you for all the trouble the injury has put you and your family through.

In a large number of cases, the party that caused the injury will try to deny that they were at fault, or at the very least try to pin some of the blame on you. And most of the time, you will not be dealing with them anyway, you will usually be dealing with their insurer.

Negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster is never easy. Insurance adjusters handle claims for a living, and they are professional negotiators. From the outset, it is important to remember that this is a negotiation, and that your interests are not aligned with the interests of the insurance adjuster.

You are looking for full and fair compensation for your injuries, and since finances are most likely pretty tight, you want the case settled fairly quickly. The adjuster would also like to settle quickly, but their ultimate goal is to mitigate their losses by paying out as little as possible to get the case off their books.

The initial approach of many insurance adjusters is to try to convince you that they are really “on your side”. They often call within a day or two after the accident to ask how you are doing and wish you well. They will usually also give assurances something to the effect of “don’t worry, we’re going to take care of you” or “everything is going to be okay”. They may even go so far as to try to dissuade you from hiring a lawyer. You may hear something like, “you are totally free to hire an attorney, but whether you do or not, it won’t change your settlement amount.”

These tactics are designed to build rapport and give you the impression that the claims adjuster is looking out for your best interests. The hope is that you won’t even consider seeking outside legal counsel, because you believe they are going to take care of you. The adjuster is also hoping you will let your guard down and say something that could be used against you later on. Be ready for these tactics and keep in mind throughout that this is a negotiation between two parties with conflicting interests.

Negotiating a Full and Fair Settlement in Your Injury Case

Settling an accident injury case can take a few days up to several months or longer, depending on how you handle the negotiations and what you are willing to settle for. The first offer by the insurance company is likely to be much lower than what your claim is worth. Their hope is that you will be motivated to take the quick money and put this incident behind you.

It is almost never a good idea to accept the initial offer from the other side’s insurer. If you are handling the negotiations on your own, politely decline the offer and prepare a demand letter with a counter offer that reflects what your claim is really worth. When you calculate the value of your claim, be sure to factor in both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic losses are those you can assign a dollar figure to; such as property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity (if the injury was debilitating and you can no longer work). Non-economic losses are ways in which you have suffered that are difficult to quantify; such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

Once you send your counter offer, a series of back-and-forth negotiations will likely ensue. At this point, the insurer may try to poke holes in your claim by saying you are not injured as badly as you claim or that their client is not totally at-fault.

If your injury occurred in Alabama, the insurer could use the state’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine as a basis to deny your claim. For this reason, it is extremely important to never admit any type of fault to the other side or their insurer, because even if you are found to be 1% responsible for the incident, you could be barred from recovering compensation.

Negotiations may go back and forth for a while, and it is important to be patient during this process. One common tactic an insurer may use is to delay responding or even stop responding altogether. Bear in mind that Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for which to file a personal injury lawsuit. Once that two years is up, you lose your ability to take the case to trial, which takes away a lot of leverage during the settlement negotiations.

How a Skilled Attorney Can Help with the Negotiation Process

Negotiating a full and fair settlement for your injury case can get complicated, and there are pitfalls that you could fall into that may cause you to lose out on any compensation at all. Because most people have never been through a settlement negotiation before, it is a good idea to at least talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer before the process begins.

During the initial consultation, an attorney can thoroughly review the case and advise you of your rights and legal options. If nothing else, this will give you the proper mindset and allow you to make more informed decisions as you begin negotiating with the insurance adjuster.

If you decide to have an attorney represent you, they will handle the legal process from A to Z, so you can focus on your recovery. Your attorney will negotiate directly with the insurance adjuster, putting their extensive experience to work toward obtaining a full and fair settlement. There are several ways your attorney can help during negotiations:

  • Your attorney will properly value your claim based on a thorough investigation of the case and their in-depth knowledge of other cases like yours;
  • Your attorney will advise you on whether or not the settlement offer and subsequent counter offers from the insurance company are fair;
  • Your attorney can help fight a claim denial by your insurance company;
  • Your attorney can bring in the testimony of expert witnesses (if needed) to help substantiate your claim;
  • If the other side is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, your attorney can file a lawsuit to recover full damages in court. The proven ability and determination to litigate the case if necessary often encourages the other side to seek a reasonable settlement.

Contact the experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at Jones & Associates today so you can begin the healing process and put our firm to work fighting for the damages you deserve. Contact our office at (334) 699-5599 or through our website contact form.

Why you should never hire a billboard advertising lawyer - Jones & Associates

Why You Should Never Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer from a TV Ad or Billboard

It has been over 40 years since Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down bans on commercial advertising by attorneys. Bates was a landmark case that paved the way for the current glut of personal injury attorneys who run endless television ads and have bigger-than-life pictures on billboards in metro, suburban, and even rural areas all over the country. Consumers are inundated with these ads on a daily basis, and they are often the first ones that personal injury victims call when they are looking for legal representation.

It is easy to understand why so many injury victims call the firms that do the heaviest advertising. Many consumers have no experience dealing with a lawyer; and, consequently, they do not know anyone in the legal profession. Therefore, they often assume that a firm with a large advertising budget has the most experience, expertise, and resources to help them obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. Sadly, in many cases, the exact opposite is true, as many of these firms are what have come to be known as “settlement mills”.

Why the Settlement Mill Business Model is Bad for Your Business

Settlement mills are high-volume personal injury firms that advertise aggressively (especially on TV, radio, and billboards) and process mass volumes of claims in as short a time as possible. Many of these firms have advertising budgets that are well in excess of $1 million annually, with some spending ten times that amount. In order to cover these large advertising bills, they need to get as many cases through the door as possible, all while spending as little time as possible on each case. This is basically a “churn and burn” approach, and most of these firms are not all that interested in repeat business. The end result is that the client’s case is often settled for far less than if they had opted to work with a skilled attorney who provides more individualized service.

There are several disturbing characteristics of settlement mills that consumers should be aware of, including:

High Volume Processing: As mentioned earlier, the business model of a settlement mill depends on volume. They blanket the airwaves with advertising, hoping to pull in as many cases as possible to cover advertising costs.

Clients Obtained from Aggressive Advertising: Nearly all of the clients that settlement mills sign come from their massive volume of advertising, as opposed to more traditional firms who may tend to receive most of their clients through referrals from other lawyers or people within the community. Settlement mills know that a large segment of the population is not familiar with the legal profession, and they count on bringing in consumers through their slick TV, radio, and billboard ads.

Very Little Involvement by an Attorney: Because of their high volume of clients, most of the actual work performed on each case is done by paraprofessionals rather than attorneys.

Lack of Personalized Representation: Settlement mills tend to advertise all over the region and, with some firms, throughout the country. In fact, we have several in Alabama that advertise massively here and in neighboring states like Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. This type of firm will usually not have a local office near you, and you will rarely ever meet an attorney face-to-face.

Cases Almost Never Go to Trial: Perhaps the worst characteristic of a settlement mill from the standpoint of an injured party is the fact that they settle nearly all of their cases and rarely, if ever, take a case to trial. These firms need to process high volumes of cases quickly, and going to trial is simply incompatible with their business model. The consequences of settling high numbers of cases without going to trial are twofold. First, it is obviously bad for injured parties, who are often entitled to far more compensation (for their injuries) under the law than what was accepted out of court. Second, this is bad for other injured parties as well, because these cheap settlements drive down case values and make it more difficult for other plaintiffs who suffer similar injuries to recover full damages.

Injured in an Accident? Contact an Attorney Who Truly Cares About your Well-Being

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence or reckless actions of another party, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Rather than hire an attorney in a slick TV ad wearing a ridiculous costume, speak with an attorney who has a proven track record and who can provide the strong personalized representation you need and deserve.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, our team of award-winning lawyers is here to serve your needs. We have an “AV Preeminent” rating from Avvo.com (the highest possible rating), and we have been listed among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Alabama every year since 2007. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large corporations and their insurance companies in personal injury cases, and we always work hard to secure full compensation for our clients. If the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith and offer a fair and reasonable settlement, we are always ready and able to aggressively advocate for your rights in court.

Toschedule a free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys,call our office today at 334-699-5599, or send us a messagethrough our online contact form.

personal injury calculator

How are Damages Calculated in an Alabama Injury Case?

Individuals who are injured in an accident that is the fault of another party are entitled to compensation. This is commonly referred to as “damages”. The injured party (plaintiff) is required to prove the damages sustained from the incident. The standard of proof is higher in Alabama than most other states, however, because of our state’s contributory negligence standard (more on this later).

Compensatory Damages in Alabama Injury Cases

Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the injured party for injuries and other losses that resulted from the incident. These can be divided into two general categories; economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

These are actual costs incurred by the injured party to make them whole after the accident. Examples may include:

  • Medical Expenses: One of the largest expenses an injury victim has to incur is for hospital bills, medical treatment, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing medical costs (if the victim suffers a debilitating injury). In cases when the victim sustains severe and catastrophic injuries, medical expenses can add up to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Loss of Earnings: When someone is seriously injured in an accident, they often have to miss several days or even several weeks from work to recover. The injured party should be compensated for lost wages, and if the injury is permanent and debilitating, they may also need to be compensated for loss of future earning capacity.
  • Property Loss: In many Alabama injury cases, there is also damage done to the injured party’s property. For example, when there is a car accident, the vehicle the injured party was driving is often severely damaged or totaled.

Non-Economic Damages

These are damages suffered by the injured party (and their loved ones) that you cannot assign a dollar figure to. Examples may include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Injury victims should be compensated for the physical pain they suffer because of their injuries, as well as for psychological distress, such as fear, anxiety, sleepless nights, and similar issues.
  • Diminished Quality of Life: Serious injuries often rob victims of the ability to participate in activities they used to enjoy, such as running/walking, exercising, gardening, shopping, or other physical activities. Injured parties should be compensated for the diminished quality of life they experience because of the accident.
  • Loss of Consortium: Spouses may be able to pursue their own compensation for loss of consortium in certain cases involving serious injury or wrongful death.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases in which the reckless actions or omissions of the responsible party were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and help deter them or others from committing similarly egregious acts in the future. Punitive damages are typically only awarded in wrongful death cases, and in cases when the victim sustains serious and catastrophic injuries and it can be clearly proven that the responsible party acted with deliberate recklessness or conscious malice. The state of Alabama has various restrictions on how much a jury can award a plaintiff (or their loved ones) for punitive damages.

Alabama Contributory Negligence Laws

As mentioned earlier, Alabama applies the contributory negligence legal doctrine to personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, plaintiffs can be barred from recovering damages if they are found to have “contributed” in any way to the incident. This means that even if the defendant is 99% at-fault for the incident and the injured party shares only 1% of the blame, they may not be able to recover compensation. With such a high burden of proof to overcome, it is imperative for injury victims to obtain skilled legal representation as soon as possible after the injury. The earlier you can begin putting together your case, the better your chances of securing a successful outcome.

Speak to the Experienced Alabama Injury Lawyers at M. Adam Jones and Associates

If you or someone close to you has been injured because of the negligence or reckless actions of another party, it can turn your whole world upside down. Mounting medical bills and time missed from work can put a severe financial and emotional strain on the entire household. You deserve to be compensated for your losses, but with Alabama’s high standard of proof, you cannot afford to leave the pursuit of your injury claim to chance.

The award-winning attorneys at M. Adam Jones and Associates understand what you are going through, and we have helped countless Alabama injury victims secure full and fair compensation. We have a proven track record of success with even the most complex cases, and we routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large corporations and large insurers. Our initial consultations are free, and we accept all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you never have to pay upfront attorney fees to receive the skilled and personalized representation you need and deserve.

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 334-699-5599, or you may send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.

construction accident in alabama

The 4 Most Common Types of Fatal Construction Accidents

According to the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), just under 5200 workers were killed on the job in the U.S. in 2016, the most recent year on record. This translates to more than 99 deaths per week, or roughly 14 deaths per day. Tens of thousands of workers were also injured on the job, and many of these injuries were severe and catastrophic.

More than one out of five (21.1%) of work-related deaths in 2016 were in the construction industry. At a typical construction site, there are several workers alongside each other, and many are working in higher elevations and with heavy equipment. These conditions create numerous hazards, especially if the construction company is not in compliance with government rules and regulations and does not adhere to proper safety standards.

The hazardous work conditions and general failure to ensure a safe work environment result in thousands of construction accidents each year. OSHA refers to the four most common types of fatal construction accidents as “Construction’s Fatal Four”, and they go on to say that eliminating these four accidents would save hundreds of lives on construction sites each year:

  1. Slips and Falls

Falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites, accounting for almost 40% of all construction worker fatalities. Working in higher elevations makes construction workers inherently susceptible to this kind of accident. The problem is made worse when steps are not taken to provide a secure platform to work from. Some common height hazards include poorly maintained or poorly designed equipment (such as scaffolds and ladders), obstructed vision, poorly lit areas, uneven walking surfaces, and cluttered work spaces.

  1. Being Struck by Objects

Just under 10% of construction worker fatalities are the result of being struck by flying, falling, or loose objects. Debris and other loose objects are common on construction sites, which is why workers are required to wear hard hats. Workers are also at risk of being struck by heavy overhead equipment, such as cranes and scaffolds.

  1. Electrocutions

Electrical accidents do not occur as often as many other types of construction accidents, but they still rank number three on OSHA’s “Fatal Four”, accounting for roughly 8% of all construction accident fatalities. Construction sites, by their very nature, have a lot of loose wiring and unfinished electrical systems that are being completed along with the building structure. If workers do not take proper precautions, they may come in contact with a loose wire, power line, or electrical system. This can cause an electrical shock, also known as electrocution.

  1. Being Caught In-Between

About 7% of construction-related fatalities happen because a worker is caught in-between or compressed by equipment, objects, or a collapsing structure. With so many workers performing various tasks at a fast pace, this type of accident can happen if workers are not careful and aware of their surroundings.

Legal Options for Injured Construction Workers

Aside from the “Fatal Four”, there are several other types of accidents that are common on construction sites that can result in serious injuries and fatalities. When a construction worker is injured, there is a good chance they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In Alabama, most employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance. Workers’ comp pays two-thirds of gross weekly wages, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and death benefits for certain family members who were dependent (or at least partially dependent) on a deceased worker’s income. Unfortunately, the claims process can be complex and confusing, and workers compensation insurance companies often try to frustrate workers by delaying or denying claims for no valid reason.

When someone is injured or killed on a construction site, there may be another legal avenue to pursue, depending on the specific circumstances that led to the accident. For example, if the accident was caused by a third-party other than your employer, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. This may be a third-party subcontractor, or the designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of defective machinery or equipment.

Speak to a Skilled Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a construction accident in Alabama, it is important that you understand all of your rights and options, so you know which legal avenue to pursue.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have extensive experience with both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. We have in-depth knowledge of these areas of the law and how the two areas may converge when someone is injured in a workplace accident. We have a successful track record with these types of cases, and we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive full compensation and that the responsible party is held fully accountable.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today at 334-699-5599. You may also send a secure and confidential message through our web contact form.

personal injury lawyer in alabama

How Long Will it Take to Settle My Injury Case?

When someone is injured because of another party’s reckless actions or omissions, they are usually anxious to receive their settlement, so they can start paying off their bills and move forward with their life. Unfortunately, things don’t usually happen too quickly. Even the simplest injury cases typically take at least a couple months to settle, and highly complex cases can sometimes take years. Each case is unique, and there are several factors that will affect the timeline of the case and when it is eventually resolved.

Some of the most important variables that may impact the timeline of a personal injury case include:

  • The extent/severity of your injuries;
  • Whether or not fault has been proven;
  • The insurance adjuster/insurance company you are dealing with;
  • The attorney who is representing you (if you have obtained legal representation).

How Badly were you Injured?

It is difficult to assign a value to your case if you are still undergoing treatment. If your injuries are serious, it may take several weeks or months to recover, or to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI means that you have recovered as much as you are ever going to recover. You should have extensive documentation of your injuries, current condition, and future prognosis, and this should be verified by a reputable medical professional. It would be a mistake to accept any settlement offer until you have this information.

Is there a Problem Determining Liability for your Injuries?

One of the major factors in reaching a settlement in a personal injury case is determining the cause and who is at-fault for the injuries. If there is a question about liability, a settlement offer may not be forthcoming. In such cases, the insurance company may try to discredit you and claim that you are at least partially at fault. Alabama is a contributory negligence state, which is very unfavorable for plaintiffs in an injury case. Under this legal doctrine, all the defense has to do is prove that you are at least 1% at fault and you are barred from recovering compensation. For this reason, it is very important to retain extensive documentation of the incident (e.g., multiple photographs, police reports, statements from witnesses, testimony of expert witnesses, etc.) to ensure that you are able to prove that the other party was at-fault.

How is the Insurance Company treating You?

Picking up on the previous point, your settlement may be delayed if you are dealing with an insurance adjuster who is not acting in good faith. Some examples include claiming you are partially at-fault and/or downplaying the severity of your injuries. Another tactic they might use is to delay. Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations (from the date the injury occurred) to file a personal injury lawsuit. Sometimes, the insurer may become unresponsive if they believe they can run out the clock on the two-year deadline. This is especially common when an injury victim does not have legal representation.

Do you Have an Experienced Attorney Representing You?

Settling a personal injury case can be very difficult if you decide to go it alone. Even if the other party was clearly at-fault and you are entitled to damages, they may take advantage of the fact that you do not have an attorney by giving you a lowball settlement offer or trying to poke holes in your case. Having legal representation shows the insurance company that you are serious and compels them to change their approach. That said, it is also very important which lawyer you choose.

There are some attorneys that never take cases to trial. Instead, they rush their clients and try to pressure them to accept a settlement offer early on in the process. While most injury cases are settled without going to trial, it is important that your lawyer thoroughly prepares your case and is ready and able to take it to trial when necessary. They should also have a successful track record litigating cases for other clients. Oftentimes, an insurance company that has been dragging their feet for several months will suddenly come to the table and make a reasonable settlement offer once they know they are dealing with a seasoned personal injury attorney.

Speak to a Skilled Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one was recently injured (or killed) because of someone else’s negligence or reckless actions, having strong legal counsel by your side can make all the difference in ensuring that you receive full compensation for your injuries in a timely manner. At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have extensive experience with even the most complex personal injury cases, and insurance companies know that we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and commitment to successfully litigate your injury case if they are not willing to negotiate in good faith.

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 334-699-5599 or send us a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.

nursing home attorney in Alabama

5 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Placing an aging loved one in a nursing home is always a difficult and heart-wrenching decision. Sometimes, it reaches the point when there are no other viable options for the family. Nursing home residents and their family members have the right to expect that they will be well cared-for as they live out their golden years. Sadly, many of today’s nursing facilities are not living up to their obligation to take care of our seniors.

There are over 2 million seniors living in nursing facilities in the U.S. In recent years, the quality of care in these facilities has severely diminished. Aging demographics have led to higher patient loads, inadequate staffing, and the hiring of poorly-trained and/or poorly-vetted staff. At the same time, consolidation in the industry has created fewer available options at a time when more seniors are in need of care.

Current conditions in America’s nursing homes have resulted in a growing number of cases of abuse and neglect. How widespread is the problem? In 2013, ABC News reported that the elderly are abused at one out of every three nursing homes in the United States. A joint report by USA Today and the Boston Globe from earlier this year found that the problem is even worse in VA nursing homes. These numbers should be concerning for anyone who has a loved one living in a nursing facility.

If you have someone close to you who is living in a nursing home, it can be hard to detect abuse or neglect. When you come to visit, the staff will typically put on their best face and do anything they can to cover up any wrongdoing. Fortunately, there are some signs to look for if you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused.

Here are five common signs of nursing home abuse:

Unexplained Injuries: As we get older, we become more susceptible to bruises, falls, fractures, and other types of injuries. So, it is no surprise that many seniors suffer these types of injuries while they are in a nursing home. That said, be very suspicious if your loved one or staff have a hard time explaining how a certain injury occurred. There are legitimate reasons why people become injured, but this can also be the result of physical or sexual abuse, or even neglect. Along these same lines, an unexplained death could also be the result of abuse or neglect. This is a definite possibility if your loved one was in fairly good condition when passed away suddenly.

Malnutrition or Dehydration: Be aware of sudden changes in weight and overall health. This could be a sign that your loved one is malnourished, dehydrated, or both. Malnutrition and dehydration can occur because of understaffing or poorly trained staff who are unable or unwilling to take the time to ensure that their patients eat properly and receive the right amount of fluids. Common signs of malnutrition and dehydration include dry mouth, cracked lips, a swollen tongue, reduced frequency of urination, and fatigue.

Poor Hygiene: One common symptom of elder abuse is a deterioration in hygiene. Signs of this include soiled bedding and/or clothes, unwashed hair and body, overgrown nails, poor dental care, and generally unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.

Sudden Changes in Mood or Behavior: You know your loved one’s personality better than anyone else. So, if you notice that he/she is suddenly depressed, anxious, angry, agitated, or withdrawn and this is out of character, it may be a sign that abuse is occurring.

Reluctance to Talk in the Presence of Staff: When a nursing home resident is being abused, they are often intimidated or threatened by the staff into staying silent about it when family or friends are around. If you find that your loved one suddenly clams up when certain employees are around, this is a serious cause for concern. On a related note, if you are not allowed to visit with your loved one without a certain staff member being present, that is even further indication that there is a serious problem here.

What to Do if you Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you believe that someone close to you is being abused in a nursing home, it is important to take immediate action, even if the abuse does not seem life-threatening. If this is a life-threatening or emergency situation, call 911 or your local police and get help right away.

Here are some other steps you should take:

  • Fully document all signs and symptoms of abuse;
  • Speak with your loved one privately (if possible) to discuss what is happening;
  • If the abuse has occurred in an Alabama nursing facility, you should can report this to the Alabama Adult Protective Services by calling (334) 242-1350 or toll-free at (800) 458-7214;
  • Speak with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.

At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we understand the combination of grief and outrage family members feel when they learn that a nursing facility they entrusted to look after their aging loved one betrays that trust. We share your frustration and outrage, and we work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for this egregious behavior are held fully accountable. We have extensive experience and a successful track record representing clients who have been mistreated in nursing homes, and we have the skills, resources, and commitment to provide our clients with the strong legal representation they need and deserve.

For a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys, call our office today at 334-699-5599 or send us a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.

Holiday Season and Toy Safety - Jones & Associates

Toy Safety for Holiday Shoppers in Alabama

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and, before long, shoppers will be out looking for the latest and greatest toys to get their kids for Christmas. Toys are a big part of the holiday fun, and they can also provide the means for kids to learn new things and become better problem solvers. There are some toys, however, that are dangerous or defective and should never have been put on the market in the first place. Use of these products can result in serious injuries and, in the most extreme cases, fatalities.

Toy Injury Statistics

Toy-related injuries have been on the rise in the last decade or so. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), the estimated number of toy injuries (among children ages 15 and under) that have required emergency room treatment has been over 200,000 each year since 2005. In recent years, this number has topped 250,000 several times. It is scary to think that products that are supposed to entertain and educate our children could be causing so many injuries and deaths.

Around 60% of toy injuries happen to boys, while the other 40% happen to girls. The most common body regions affected are:

  • Head/Face: 45%
  • Arm: 23%
  • Leg: 17%
  • Other: 15%

The most common types of toy injuries are:

  • Lacerations: 23%
  • Contusions and Abrasions: 16%
  • Fractures: 11%
  • Strains and Sprains: 11%
  • Other: 39%

Most Dangerous Toys for 2018

Earlier this year, World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) put out its list of the most dangerous toys to be careful of this year. Toys on the list included:

  • Water Balloon Slingshots: These are slingshots that shoot a water balloon with force, with the potential to hit kids in the face and eyes. Water balloon slingshots can travel up to 150 feet, and one of the major manufacturers boasts that you can fill “hundreds of balloons in minutes”. Tiny pieces of broken balloons also present a choking hazard for younger kids and pets.
  • Low-Riding Wheeled Toys: Wheeled toys with a lower center of gravity tend to fall over more easily, which is especially dangerous around swimming pools, where children have been known to fall off them and drown. Their low profile also makes it difficult for other vehicles to see them when they are riding around in the driveway or (God forbid!) on the street.
  • Toys with Small Parts: Toys with small parts that can be detached are always a hazard for younger children. Kids can choke on the smaller parts or use them to injure themselves or others.
  • High-Powered Toy Guns: Water guns, bows and arrows, and any other type of toy that takes aim at another kid can pose a danger of an eye or head injury.
  • Toys with Blunt Edges and Projectiles: Toys that have blunt or sharp edges have the potential to cause serious eye injuries or injuries on impact.

Keeping your Children Safe During the Holidays

When shopping for toys for your kids, you need to do everything possible to keep your children from being exposed to danger. With that in mind, here are a few holiday toy shopping tips:

  • Research the Product Before you Buy: You cannot always tell just by looking at a product whether it is safe or not. Many times, you need to dig a little deeper. Read all the tags and warning labels to be sure. Then go a step further and read through reviews from others who have purchased the product. Not all reviews are legitimate, but if a product has enough independently verified reviews, you may be able to see a recurring safety issue that reviewers keep bringing up.
  • Avoid Toxic Toys: Children, particularly those that are younger, are highly vulnerable to putting toxic substances in their mouth, which could cause them to be poisoned. Read the available information carefully and be sure that whatever you purchase for them is labeled “non-toxic”.
  • Think Big: Make sure that the toy is large enough so that none of its parts can fit into the child’s mouth. This again is especially critical for younger kids who are susceptible to choking on small toy parts.

What to Do if Your Child is Injured by a Dangerous or Defective Toy

Some parents do all they can to purchase safe toys, but still end up with a product that injures their child. When this happens, the company that designs, manufacturers, or distributes that toy should be held responsible. At M. Adam Jones and Associates, our skilled product liability lawyers have several years of experience representing clients who have been injured by dangerous or defective products in Alabama. We have an in-depth understanding of the complexities involved with these types of cases, and we have a strong track record of success going up against even the most well-funded adversaries.

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 334-699-5599 or send us a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.