car accident in company vehicle in Alabama

What Happens if you are Involved in a Crash with a Company Vehicle?

Auto accidents that involve commercial vehicles are typically far more complicated than those that involve personal cars. First there is the question of who is responsible for the crash and any injuries and other losses that are sustained. This could be one of several different parties, including the driver of the company vehicle, their employer, the driver of other vehicles involved, or a third party.

Another issue that would need to be resolved is how an injured company driver gets reimbursed for their losses. Workers’ compensation coverage is available in many cases, but this only provides limited benefits for direct economic costs and does not cover any of the intangible losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress. In some instances, the driver of the company vehicle might be able to recover compensation for these losses if another party is at fault for the accident.

Whether you were the company driver or another driver or passenger who was involved in a crash with a company vehicle, this is not the type of case that can be easily handled on your own. If you suffered injuries from the accident, it is very important to have the case examined by an experienced attorney, so you understand your rights and legal options. In Alabama, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates at 334-699-5599 for the strong legal guidance you need.

Determining Liability for a Crash with a Company Vehicle

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of parties that could potentially be at fault in an accident that involves a company vehicle:

The Driver’s Employer

Whether it was the driver of the company vehicle or their employer who was to blame, the employer’s liability insurance would usually kick in and pay for the damages. Even if the employer did not cause the crash, it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they own are operated safely.

The Company Vehicle Driver

When the company vehicle driver is at fault for a crash, the employer’s insurance will usually take responsibility. But there are some exceptions to this general rule. Situations in which the company’s insurance would not cover an employee who causes a commercial vehicle accident include:

  • Criminal Activity: Many commercial insurers will refuse to indemnify an employee who causes a company vehicle crash while in the midst of committing a crime. The most common example of this would be an employee who is driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Going on a Frolic: If an employee decides to run personal errands or otherwise take an extended break while on company time, they might be held personally liable if they are at fault for a crash.
  • Non-Business Activity: Crashes involving company vehicles that happen outside of business hours are often not covered by the driver’s insurer. Examples include commuting to and from work or using the vehicle for personal or recreational activity during their time away from work.

The Driver of Another Vehicle

If the driver of a vehicle other than the company car is at fault for the crash in the company vehicle driver is injured, then they can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer. As we talked about previously, this would allow an injured company employee to recover compensation for losses over and above what would be available through their employer’s workers’ comp policy.

Third Parties

There are a number of parties who are not directly involved in a company vehicle crash that could hold some responsibility, including:

  • A cargo or shipping company that overloads or unevenly loads a commercial vehicle which leads to a crash. This is most common with large tractor-trailers.
  • The party who is responsible for maintaining a company vehicle when the crash results from mechanical failure.
  • The designer, manufacturer, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part that causes the accident.
  • The party in charge of maintaining the roadways when problems with the roads (such as potholes or cracks in the surface, hidden or damaged road signs, or missing guardrails) cause the vehicle to crash.

A thorough investigation is necessary in order to gather all of the critical facts and pieces of evidence and identify the underlying cause of the crash and all contributing factors. This is why you want an attorney in your corner who understands the complexities and nuances involved with these types of cases and has the proven ability to ensure that all responsible parties are held fully accountable.

Get in Touch with M. Adam Jones and Associates Today

Crashes involving company vehicles are very complicated cases, and the sooner you get our firm involved, the better your chances of recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call our office today or message us online to schedule your free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

returning to work too soon after a car accident

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

It can take several weeks or longer to recover from an auto accident injury. Some of the more severe injuries require surgery and other types of medical treatment, and this could mean a lengthy rehabilitation period. During this time, injured individuals are often anxious to get back to work.

Being out of work because of a personal injury means no steady paycheck, which can cause a lot of financial strain on injury victims and their families. It also means being out of your regular routine; e.g. not being able to go to the workplace every day, not being able to socialize with coworkers, etc., Being at home every day not doing anything can get very boring after a while.

Under these circumstances, it is understandable that an injured individual would want to get back to their job as soon as possible. Their employer might also be encouraging them to come back, which adds to their motivation.

So, when is it a good time to go back to work after an accident injury?

There is no standard answer to that question that applies in all circumstances. Every case is different, and the severity of an injury can vary widely from one case to another. In addition, each body reacts differently to physical trauma.

The best advice is to follow your doctor’s recommendations and do not participate in any physical activity (including your job) without medical clearance to do so. You should also work closely with your attorney to understand all of the legal ramifications of your decisions.

What if you go back to work too soon after the injury? Can doing so damage your personal injury claim?

The short answer is, “yes”, it can hurt your legal claim. But not only that, an early return to work could also cause you to experience a significant physical setback as well.

What Could Go Wrong if You Go Back to Work Too Soon?

As we touched on in the previous section, going back to work without being cleared by your doctor could be used against you in your personal injury claim. The insurance company from which you are seeking compensation for your injury will most likely see an early return to work as evidence that your injuries are not really as bad as you say they are. This means they will want to pay you less for losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress, claiming that you could not be suffering all that much if you are able to work again.

Keep in mind that insurance companies are always looking for ways that they can diminish the value of a legal claim and pay out less money for the negligent actions of their insureds. Insurance companies are in business to make money, so it only makes sense that they would do everything they can to protect their bottom line. Do not give them any additional ammunition that they could use against you.

The second and more important reason you should not return to work too soon after an injury is because it could jeopardize your physical health. You might feel like you are ready to go back, but if a doctor says that you are not, there is probably a good reason they are giving you this advice.

For example, maybe your job involves certain physical movements that you have not been doing while you have been out of work, such as lifting heavy materials or various types of repetitive work. If you go back too soon and working re-aggravates your injury, this could significantly worsen your condition and set your recovery back for an extended period of time. To add insult to injury, the insurance company might refuse to pay the medical expenses that you incur because of the injury being re-aggravated.

The Importance of Legal Representation After a Personal Injury

Issues like when to return to work come up frequently in a personal injury claim. And as we talked about earlier, insurance companies are always looking for ways to trip up a claimant, so they can pay out as little as possible for their injuries. This is why it is always best to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the claims process and help you avoid any potential pitfalls.

If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence and the injury occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.

dealing with insurance after personal injury

Are you Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company After an Accident?

If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may be going through a very turbulent and challenging time. If you sustained injuries from the accident, then you should be working closely with your medical provider to obtain the treatments needed to get you on the road to recovery. You might also be looking at missing work while you are getting treated and going through rehabilitation. If the injury is more serious, this process might take quite a bit longer, perhaps several months or more.

While all of this is happening, you will be contacted at some point by the insurance company. In many cases, you may hear from the insurer for the at-fault driver within just a few days. The insurance company representative is usually friendly, courteous, and seemingly empathetic. They will call and ask how you are doing and assure you that everything is going to be okay. Shortly thereafter, they might request that you provide them a recorded statement about the accident.

The insurance company representative might make it seem like giving a recorded statement is standard operating procedure. And they might make you feel like you are obligated to comply with this request. They might not tell you that directly, but they may imply that by providing them with a recorded statement, it will help ensure that the claim gets processed smoothly so you can get your settlement check sooner.

It is very important to understand that you are under no obligation to give the insurance company a recorded statement, and you should never do so without being represented by an attorney. It is never in your best interests to give the insurer any type of statement on the record without legal representation, because such statements can be used to undermine your claim.

Why Does the Insurer Want a Recorded Statement?

Before considering whether or not to provide a recorded statement, it helps to understand the motivation of the insurance company. As we talked about earlier, they might come across as kind and courteous, and we know that they portray themselves to the public as “like a good neighbor” or “the good hands people”.

The truth is that insurance companies are not in business to take care of people, they are in business to make a profit. This is not necessarily an indictment of their industry, it’s just business. In order to maximize profits, they need to pay out as little as possible for injuries that are caused by their insured. And as such, their interests are not aligned with yours.

Insurance companies are professional organizations with representatives who are very good at what they do. They have various tactics that they can use to help protect their employer’s bottom line, and one such tactic is to have an injury claimant provide a recorded statement.

How a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company Can Hurt your Claim

By getting the injured person to go on the record, the insurer can use their words against them later to minimize the amount that is paid for their claim or even to deny their claim altogether. One way a recorded statement could hurt you is if you end up with delayed symptoms from the accident that do not show up until several days or weeks later. For example, if you start to experience extreme pain in your neck and lower back sometime after the recording, the insurance company might deny treatment for these problems because you did not mention them in your original statement.

Another thing that could happen with a recorded statement as you may give an answer that implies that you were at least partially at fault for the accident. You might not remember all of the circumstances of the crash even a day or two later, and you might not be totally sure of everything that happened. But whatever the case, make sure you do not admit any kind of fault for the crash.

If the insurance company can get you to take even partial responsibility for the accident, this can be especially problematic in a state like Alabama. In Alabama, an injured party can be barred from recovering damages even if they are 1% at fault for the underlying accident or event. This is all the more reason to get a skilled and knowledgeable attorney involved in your case as early as possible, so your right to recover compensation can be fully protected.

Injured in a Car Crash in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in an auto accident, do NOT give a recorded statement to an insurance company without speaking with a lawyer first. If the accident occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is ready to go to work for you. Call our office today or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.

holiday safety tips

Safe Driving Tips for Holiday Travel

The holidays are just around the corner, and this is the time of year when people are out and about to go shopping, attend holiday gatherings, and visit with loved ones. This year will be different because of COVID-19, and it is likely that some who would normally be out during this time of year will choose to stay home. Perhaps some families will do virtual visits instead of getting together in person.

If you are one of those who has decided to travel to see relatives or friends during this holiday season, there are still likely to be millions of others doing the same thing you are. And if you are taking a road trip, expect heavy traffic in some areas, and allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

Here are some other important tips for those taking holiday road trips this year:

Get Your Vehicle Ready for the Trip

Make sure your car is ready to take a lengthy road trip. Take it into a mechanic and have them check over all of the important areas. These may include:

  • A battery and alternator test.
  • Changing the oil and topping off all of the other fluids.
  • Properly inflating the tires and checking their tread depth.
  • Checking the wiper blades to ensure that they are not worn or damaged.
  • Inspecting the brakes to make sure there is plenty of wear left on the pads.
  • Changing the spark plugs and performing a tune-up on the vehicle.
  • Making any repairs that the mechanic recommends.
  • Cleaning out the car and reducing the clutter inside.

Prepare for Emergencies

Put together an emergency kit in the event that you are stranded somewhere along the roadway. Your kit should include some basic supplies, such as:

  • Blankets
  • A first-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Road flares
  • Flashlights with backup batteries
  • Snacks and drinking water
  • A functional spare tire

You should also make sure you have emergency roadside assistance either through your auto insurer or an outside service such as AAA. Write down the phone number for emergency assistance and put it in a safe place. You may also want to load the phone number into the contact list on your cell phone.

Plan your Route Ahead of Time

Before you start out on a trip, it is always a good idea to have your route planned out and know where you will be traveling. Decide who else will be driving besides yourself and plan out a driving schedule. Also decide who will be in charge of navigating and handling the phone. This of course should not be the driver. Finally, inform others of your travel plans before you leave.

Be Aware of Inclement Weather

As the day of travel approaches, monitor the weather reports in the areas in which you are going to be traveling. Be on the lookout for heavy rain, winds, ice, sleet, and snow in the forecast. If it looks like you are going to be going through dangerous weather conditions, plan alternative routes that will allow you to avoid these conditions as much as possible. In some extreme cases, you might want to consider canceling or postponing the trip.

Be Well Rested before Driving

Before driving for a significant distance, you should always have plenty of rest the night before. If you try to drive on too little amount of sleep, you run the risk of getting drowsy or sleepy behind the wheel, something that could result in disastrous consequences. For the average adult, it is best to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep before driving.

Stay Safe during Stops

Along the way, you will be making several stops for fuel, food, and restroom breaks. During the holiday season, the places you stop at your likely to be very busy with lots of people passing through. This means you need to be especially careful around surfaces that have been touched by numerous others.

Whenever you stop, be sure to follow all of the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC. These include wearing face coverings in public places, distancing, washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and using plenty of hand sanitizer. Remember that the holiday season is also peak flu season in most places, so COVID-19 is not the only illness you need to watch out for.

Injured in a Vehicle Accident During the Holidays? Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer

Even if you have done your best to stay safe, accidents are sometimes unavoidable, and they are often caused by the negligence of others. If you or a loved one got injured in an accident this holiday season, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help.

Message us online or call our office today to schedule free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588

 

 

sun glare accidents

Tips for Avoiding Sun Glare Accidents

When the fall arrives, daylight savings time ends and the days start getting shorter. One of the challenges for drivers (with the shorter days) is dealing with sun glare during peak driving hours. While driving to work in the morning, for example, it is not uncommon to get hit with a blast of bright sunlight after making a turn and driving east. The glare of the sun can seem blinding, and it can make it extremely difficult for drivers to see what is in front of them.

It is hard to quantify the extent to which sun glare contributes to auto accidents. Drivers are naturally very reluctant to admit that their view was inhibited by bright sunlight after a crash, and this does not always show up as a cause on a police report.

The most comprehensive data that we know of (with regards to sun glare accidents) is a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study looked at more than 11,000 life-threatening vehicle crashes over a 20-year period, and they examined the reasons for hospitalizations resulting from these accidents.

The NIH found that bright sunlight/sun glare was present in approximately one third of all accidents that happened during the daylight hours. This shows that, although there could be other contributing factors, sun glare is definitely a hazard that drivers need to be prepared for, particularly during the autumn and winter months when the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Is Sun Glare Considered an “Act of God”?

Some may argue that they are not liable for a sun glare accident because bright sunlight is an “act of God”. While it may be true that sunlight is part of nature and out of a driver’s control, this does not absolve the driver of responsibility if the glare of the sun were to cause them to crash the vehicle.

Events that are typically referred to as “acts of God” are those that are unpredictable and thus more difficult to prepare for. Examples would include floods, mudslides, earthquakes, or an animal that dashes out in front of an oncoming vehicle.

A driver is responsible to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicle, and this includes preparing for events that are predictable and known to happen each day. It is not difficult to know the daily forecast and what time the sun is expected to rise and set, and therefore, a driver should be ready to deal with bright sunlight, especially if it is present on their daily drive to or from work or school.

Protecting Yourself from Sun Glare Accidents

The best way to avoid being held liable for a sun glare accident is to take steps to prevent getting into one in the first place. Here are some precautions drivers should take to avoid collisions caused by bright sunlight:

  • Wear Polarized Sunglasses: While nothing can totally eliminate the glare of the sun, polarized sunglasses do the best job of minimizing the effects of bright sunlight.
  • Clear your Windshield and Dashboard: Keep your dashboard free of clutter, especially reflective objects that can worsen the sun glare. Also, make sure to keep your windshield clean and free of streaks and marks. Have an adequate supply of window washer fluid available before you begin driving and be sure your windshield wipers are in good repair.
  • Reduce your Speed: When you get hit with bright sunlight, one of the best defenses is to slow down. By driving more slowly, you will have more time to identify other vehicles and objects that are more difficult to see because of the glare.
  • Keep your Headlights On: When there is bright sunlight present, drive with your headlights on to help other drivers see your vehicle in case they are battling sun glare.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving: It is always good practice to avoid distractions while driving, and in fact, certain distractions like texting while driving are unlawful. Do your best to eliminate other distractions, especially when you are trying to deal with sun glare.
  • Adjust your Route If Possible: While not always practical, one good way to avoid sun glare is to minimize the amount of eastbound travel in the morning and westbound travel in the evening. This might mean a simple route adjustment that allows you to spend more time traveling north or south, or it might be just a matter of leaving to or from work a little earlier or later. Take a look at your driving route and schedule to see if there are any helpful changes you could make.

Injured in a Sun Glare Accident in Alabama? Contact a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer

Even if you employ all the best safety practices, you cannot control the actions of other motorists. If you or a loved one got hurt in an auto accident that was someone else’s fault, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for experienced legal help. Alabama is a defendant-friendly state when it comes to personal injury claims, and it is always wise to work with an attorney with the proven ability to recover maximum compensation on behalf of their clients.

To get started, call our office today or send us a message through our online contact form. We look forward to serving you!

Rear-End Accident

Do I Need a Lawyer for a No-Doubt Liability Claim?

In many car accident cases, there are complicating factors that make it difficult to determine who was at fault. There are other cases, however, when the facts are pretty straightforward, and it seems clear that one of the drivers is at fault. Sometimes referred to as “no doubt liability” cases, these are cases in which accident victims often wonder if they need an attorney to help them with their claim.

The short answer to this question is “maybe”, but it is in your best interests to find out for sure. Each case involves unique circumstances, and there are times when even what appears to be a no doubt liability case turns out to be more complicated than it originally seems. And even when there is no question over fault, the insurance company might still try to minimize the extent of your injuries so they can give you a lower settlement amount than you deserve.

No matter what the circumstances of your auto accident, it is always a good idea to at least speak with an attorney to have your case assessed and be informed of your legal rights and options. Most personal injury lawyers provide free consultations, and all it costs you is a little bit of your time to find out where you stand.

No Doubt Liability Cases

Here are some examples of cases in which the term “no doubt liability” may apply:

  • Rear-End Collisions: When there is a rear-end accident, it is often assumed that the trailing driver is the one at fault because they are in a much better position to avoid the collision. However, there are possible exceptions to this rule, such as if the lead vehicle did not have functional brake or taillights, or if the lead driver was texting on his/her phone at the time of the crash.
  • Left-Turn Accidents: A left turn crash, which is most often a “T-bone” collision, is usually the fault of the driver who is making the left-hand turn because they did not wait for traffic to clear out. But there are exceptions to this rule as well. For example, if the left turn driver has a green arrow and the oncoming driver runs a red light, then the oncoming driver is clearly the one at fault.
  • DUI Accidents: If a driver who is legally intoxicated is involved in an accident, then they will most likely be considered the responsible party because they were committing a criminal act (driving while intoxicated) at the time of the crash. Liability may not be as clear, however, if the driver had alcohol in their system but they were not over the legal limit. In a case like this, other factors would need to be looked at to determine who was to blame.

How an Attorney Can Help with a No Doubt Liability Claim

As you can see from the examples listed, a case where you believe there is clear liability may not be as simple and straightforward as you originally thought. This is where having strong legal representation is crucial. By getting an attorney involved early on, you can ensure that you do not make any missteps during the claims process that might undermine your case.

As we talked about earlier, insurance companies will do whatever they can to mitigate their losses by paying you as little as possible for your injuries. So, even if there is no doubt about who is liable, they might make other claims, such as that your injuries are not as severe as you say they are and/or that they are the result of a pre-existing condition. With an experienced attorney by your side, an insurer will not be able to get away with trying to take advantage of your lack of familiarity with the claims process.

Alabama No Doubt Liability Cases

Are you absolutely certain that this is a no doubt liability case? Because if you are wrong, you could lose out completely on your right to compensation. In Alabama, if you are found to have “contributed” in any way to the accident you were involved in (even 1%), you can be barred from recovering damages.

You can be sure that the insurance company will look for any way they can to pin at least some of the blame for the accident on you. And this is another reason why you should strongly consider obtaining legal representation, even if you believe that this is a clear-cut case.

Injured in a Car Accident in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Accident Injury Lawyer

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in an auto accident in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. We will provide a free, no obligation consultation to go over the specifics of your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. And if we do end up representing you, you will not have to pay us any attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

car accident lawyers in Dothan Alabama

Determining Liability when a Third Party Causes a Car Accident

There are approximately 6 million auto accidents in the United States each year. These accidents result in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of serious injuries. A common assumption with car accidents is that one or more of the drivers involved is at fault, but this is not always the case. There are instances when a party that is not directly involved in the accident is the one to blame, also known as a third party.

When a third party was at fault for a car accident, it is naturally going to be a more complicated case, and it will require an extensive investigation to establish a causal link between the outside party and the accident. In cases like these, it is extremely important to work with an attorney who has in-depth experience with vehicle accidents and the proven ability to hold responsible parties fully accountable. It is also important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the case before critical pieces of evidence become more difficult to recover.

There are a number of third parties that may be held liable in an auto accident, these include:

Passengers

A vehicle passenger could be at fault for a car accident if they do something that causes the driver to get into a crash. For example, a front seat passenger grabs the steering wheel and pulls it to the right while the car is traveling at a high speed. Passengers are also known for encouraging bad driving behaviors, especially among teenagers, although this would be more difficult to prove.

Vehicle Owners

Car owners are generally responsible for their vehicles, no matter who is driving. For example, if a car owner lends his/her vehicle out to someone who is inexperienced and/or irresponsible, the owner could be held responsible for negligent entrustment. The same holds true if they were to lend their car to someone who was intoxicated or did not have a valid driver’s license.

Liquor Establishments

Alabama and most other states have what are known as “dram shop” laws, which are laws that permit someone to go after a person or business that provides alcohol to an individual who was clearly intoxicated. This most often happens in a bar where the bartender continues to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly drunk. The law does not apply to every case of an intoxicated person being served drinks, however. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the person was drunk, which will usually include video footage and the testimony of witnesses.

Employers

Employers who allow employees to drive company vehicles are responsible for accidents that happened during working hours and while an employee is performing occupational duties. This may also apply when an employee is driving a personal vehicle but is acting within the course and scope of their employment.

Auto Repair/Maintenance Providers

When a mechanical failure causes a car accident, it could be the fault of a mechanic or auto repair shop. For example, negligent maintenance can occur when a mechanic installs incorrect parts, fails to identify a needed repair, or causes damage to the vehicle during the course of making a repair.

Product Makers

Some auto accidents happen because of faulty vehicle or vehicle parts. For example, newly installed brakes that failed to stop the vehicle or brand-new tires that blow out while traveling down the highway. When a vehicle defect causes a car accident, the manufacturer, distributor, or any other party within the product’s supply chain could be held responsible.

Holding a Third Party Liable for a Car Accident

As we talked about earlier, holding an outside party responsible for a vehicle accident is extremely difficult, and this type of case will be more complicated than a typical car crash where the question of liability is between two drivers. This is especially true in a state like Alabama, where the pure contributory negligence doctrine prevents an injured party (in most cases) from recovering damages if it is determined that they share any fault for the accident.

Your attorney will examine all of the relevant factors to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and attempt to create an unbreakable link between the accident and the party that caused it. To help substantiate the claim, various specialists might be brought in to serve as expert witnesses who can speak authoritatively to certain aspects of the case. Oftentimes, the role of an expert witness can be invaluable in solidifying the claim and ensuring that the injured party is able to recover maximum compensation.

Injured in an Auto Accident in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Vehicle Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one got hurt in a car accident in Alabama, you need a skilled attorney in your corner working hard to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve. As soon as possible after the accident, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for a complimentary consultation. We will meet with you to discuss the specifics of your case to help determine who might be at fault and what your legal rights and options are.

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!