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How Trucking Companies Can Prevent Large Truck Accidents

The trucking industry poses a threat to passenger vehicle drivers on the road, because of the sheer size of large truck vehicles and the power they wield in overtaking other motorists. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute reports the majority of fatalities in accidents with large trucks are those of people in passenger vehicles. Trucking companies and their drivers are key to preventing large accidents and keeping everyone roads safe.

Some of the most common factors prevalent in trucking accidents include:

  • Slow braking: Loaded tractor trailers take up to 40 percent farther to come to a complete stop compared to cars
  • Hazardous road conditions: Because large trucks require longer reaction times because of their size and braking capabilities, wet and slippery roads pose a threat
  • Fatigue: While it’s legal to drive up to 11 hours at a time without resting, drivers may exceed that amount of time or neglect taking breaks when tired

No amount of business is worth putting others in danger or taking people’s lives because of negligence. A trucking business should follow these steps to prevent trucking accidents and ensure motorists are protected.

Follow All Legal Regulations

All mandates set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including commercial licensing and registration, should be followed. The Truck Size and Weight regulations provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration must be adhered to. Besides obtaining proper permits and licensure, vehicles should be regularly inspected to ensure they’re operating at optimal performance. Testing should focus on proper tire performance, engine functionality, proper electrical wiring and braking, and overall truck functioning.  All safety equipment, including lights and reflectors, should all work properly to protect truck drivers and other motorists.

Hire Responsible Drivers

Before a driver is hired for your company, you should delve into their entire driving history to identify any potential risks. Hire thoughtfully by doing diligent research, rather than favoring quickness in filling roles. Any potential hire who has driven under the influence in the past is a red flag, while you should also be wary of drivers who have moved from company to company without working at one for a significant period of time. A driver with a spotty record may put your company at more risk in a lawsuit if that driver is involved in an accident.

Require Proper Rest

Sleep and rest should always be prioritized over productivity. Besides requiring drivers to follow legal rest regulations, your company should eliminate incentives for driving faster or farther. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports drowsiness decreases attention to the road, impairs reaction time and affects decision-making ability, all factors that are essential to safe driving in any vehicle.
Because large trucks require even more time for safe braking and reactions, staying alert at all times is vital.

Ban Distractions

Drivers should never be allowed to use a technology device while driving, like a smartphone, and use of mobile phones and texting is prohibited, according to FMSCA regulations. Any communication to the driver should be received hands-free, and drivers should be encouraged to pull over and stop before making any calls. Listening to music and talking with passengers should also be discouraged.

Implement Better Training

Driving a large truck is incredibly different than operating a passenger car. Besides requiring your fleet of drivers to obtain proper licensure, you should also institute additional training, since poor driving decisions contribute to crashes. Truck driving is the deadliest job in the United States, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting for more than a quarter of work-related fatalities. Go the extra mile by recommending regular training so all drivers can operate at their best level.

Properly Secure Hazardous Materials

In the event an accident does occur, adding to bodily dangers is the release of any hazardous materials, such as chemicals or explosives. Anything that is dangerous and is transported should be securely stowed so that it doesn’t spill onto people or the road in an accident. A truck should be properly labeled as carrying hazardous materials, as well, and should only travel on roads they’re legally allowed to.

Stay Protected in a Trucking Accident

Even when owners take all the proper precautions for their vehicles and driver safety, an accident may still occur. It’s important that a victim of a trucking accident contact an experienced truck accident injury attorney that understands all the rules and regulations that should be followed for their state. If you have been the victim of a large truck or 18-wheeler an attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf of the victim.  

Birth Injuries: What They Are, and How to Handle One

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a family’s life. Bringing a baby into the world is special and should be peaceful and uplifting, but when a birth injury happens because of another party’s negligence, it turns what should be an amazing moment into one that is traumatic.

According to data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are more than 1.5 avoidable birth injuries per 1,000 births. Injuries range from broken collarbones and infections, to head trauma and other newborn injuries. Mothers may also be the victim of an injury during the childbirth process, such as experiencing a perineum tear or damage to birth-related organs.

In the case of birth injuries, any risk is significant. When it comes to the health and safety of a mom and a newborn child, the best possible outcome is perfect health and zero injuries. Whether you’re an expectant mom, you’ve just had a baby and someone was injured, or you have a loved one who is pregnant or has had the stress of a birth injury, here is what to be aware of.

Types of Birth Injuries

Types of birth injuries may include some of the most common ones named by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Bone fractures
  • Brain injury
  • Bruising
  • Burst blood vessel in the eye
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Facial nerve damage
  • Jaundice
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Swelling of the scalp

Birth injuries are caused by a wide variety of factors. Some will depend on the professional who is administering the birthing process, some will be caused by timing, and some will be caused by equipment that is used. Some factors that may be present in birth injuries include:

 

  • Delayed birth: Labors that are particularly long, spanning more than 18 hours, may put extensive pressure on a baby’s brain and elevate a newborn’s blood pressure.
  • Incorrect medication: Improper type of medication or improper dosage of medication that is given to a mother may result in harm to her or the baby.
  • Inexperience or faulty procedures: For people who decide to go a more natural route with the birthing process, such as those who opt for an at-home birth with a midwife, they may become victims of birth injuries due to questionable experience or birthing methods. Even the most experienced medical professionals who are assisting in birthing may make a mistake based on a lack of judgment. Inappropriately pulling or twisting a baby during birthing can cause an injury.
  • Oxygen deprivation: Oxygen deprivation that is caused by a factor such as a prolapsed umbilical cord can cause damage to a new human that lasts a lifetime.
  • Poor advice before the birth: A birth injury may start to form before a baby is even born, if a doctor or medical professional is giving an expectant mother incorrect advice or conducting the wrong testing before the birth.

There are other factors that can cause birth injuries, such as defective equipment, contamination, or plain haphazardness. Any negative result to a baby or mother during or after childbirth, which could have been prevented, results in a birth injury.

There have also been cases of severe birth injuries that cause seizures, brain hemorrhaging or comas, or that result in infant fatalities. Additionally, the use of instruments or a C-section delivery may result in obstetric trauma for the mother.

Some birth injuries will be instantly noticeable. If a newborn is discolored, is vomiting, is unresponsive, is bleeding, or is having trouble breathing, these could all be signs that could point to a long-term injury if left untreated. Other indicators of birth injuries may not show up until after mom and baby have left the hospital. For example, a baby who has trouble sucking its thumb or has trouble eating may be experiencing intellectual and developmental delays that are the result of a birth injury.

What to Do in Case of a Birth Injury

The health and safety of the mom and baby are paramount. Any suspicion of something that is not right should be immediately addressed with a doctor so appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

If the mother has undergone a difficult, long delivery, the cause may be medical negligence, which could have been prevented. If you or a loved one suspect this may be the case, it is vital to contact a medical malpractice attorney in Birmingham to learn what help is available to you. Birth injuries can have lifelong, meaningful impacts on entire families and can be extremely costly to deal with. You can protect your rights with professional help. A medical malpractice attorney can work with you to gather the evidence you need for a compelling case, so you can work to obtain the justice and peace you deserve.

Steps to Take After an Aviation Accident

If you are a frequent flyer in America, the great news is that you are highly unlikely to die in a plane crash. Forbes reports in 2016, there were zero fatalities on U.S.-certificated scheduled airlines anywhere in the world. Globally, 2016 was the second-safest year when considering fatalities.


Unfortunately, aviation accidents still do happen, within the U.S. and beyond. The Aviation Safety Network reports there were 17 fatal aviation accidents worldwide in 2016. Altogether, there were 65 total accidents on commercial airlines in 2016, reports the International Air Transport Association.

Commercial airlines aren’t the only potentially dangerous vessels you may travel in the air on. Private flights, helicopter rides and smaller air transportation vehicles are just a few of the other possible air carriers on which you may encounter an aviation accident. In the rare case you are involved in an aviation accident, take these steps to ensure you are able to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Types of Aviation Accidents

A fiery nose dive from the sky isn’t the only type of plane accident that may occur and leave passengers and crew members with serious injuries. Aviation accidents can happen on the runway before a plane even takes off, or as soon as a plane touches down for a landing. Various types of plane-related disasters may include:

 

 

  • Runway excursions: The plane misses the runway upon landing or veers off the runway during takeoff
  • Mechanical or design failures: Either because of poor product manufacturing or maintenance, airline equipment may fail on the interior or exterior of the vessel, which can cause poor decision-making on behalf of the pilot or a rocky flight
  • Human error: Human error related to flights may be deadly and range from air traffic controller miscues, to pilot inexperience, to poor judgments made by anyone involved
  • Defective runways: Runways that have dangerous obstacles or poor conditions such as potholes may cause an accident to occur during takeoff or landing

Problems such as these can lead to serious injuries to passengers and crew members. While the likelihood of a deadly airline accident is thankfully very low, some of the serious injuries that may be sustained because of aviation hazards may include:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Severe whiplash and neck injuries
  • Burns and cuts
  • Head injuries

Light turbulence during flights is expected and normal. Any accident that causes a serious injury warrants the documentation of the flight condition and will benefit from evidence gathering, should you have a claim that may benefit from the consultation of an aviation injury attorney in Birmingham.

What to Do After an Aviation Accident

If you are a passenger in a plane and are involved in an accident where you get seriously injured, you may experience damages that inhibit your ability to work and cause lost wages, or that cause negative long-term health effects. It is important to get medical attention right away if it is offered to you. You may have experienced injuries that aren’t immediately apparent or that could turn into something worse if left untreated.

If you can, take photos of your injuries and of the condition of the plane, both from inside and outside. Shoot photos or video from a wide variety of angles, so that an accurate view of the plane conditions are captured. Also, make a log after the accident of everything you can remember when it occurred, as well as any statements from other people on the plane that you recall. An aviation accident is indeed traumatic, but having a personal record of what happened can help you if you decide to make a claim.

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Insurance Services, after any crash, the pilot should report the incident to the National Transportation Safety Board. You’ll still want to have your own account of what happened, both for when you contact your own insurance agency, and in case the pilot never reported it.

While some circumstances are beyond human control, such as inclement weather or a bird flying into an engine, may be the cause of a crash, in other cases, the negligence of others is the root problem. A pilot may have been drunk or not gotten enough sleep before flying. Inexperienced or irresponsible air traffic control may have administered faulty directions. The aircraft manufacturer may have overlooked necessary compliance to keep you safe.

If you believe you may have a possible lawsuit to file due to negligence, immediately call an attorney for a consultation on your case. You deserve to recover damages and peace of mind from an aviation accident. An aviation attorney can help you secure what you’re entitled to.

Dog Bite Personal Injuries: What You Should Know

Dogs are some of our closest companions, but unfortunately, they can also injure us if proper precautions are not taken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are about 4.5 million dog bites in the United States each year. Dog bites and injuries from dogs account for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance payments each year, up to $600 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute. While dogs can be amazing pets, your dog or someone else’s may pose a danger at some point.

In Alabama, dog bite laws have many nuances.
The owner of a dog that is known to be vicious or dangerous is at fault if another party is injured by that dog. In this case, if the dog is rabid during an attack, the owner is liable for twice the amount of damages. Sometimes no prior vicious behavior needs to have happened — simply, the type of breed of the dog may be enough to constitute prior knowledge. Dog bite cases can be further complicated when landlords are involved and may be deemed at fault.

If there is no knowledge of dangerous behavior and the dog bite victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or provoked the dog, the dog owner may build a case against the victim around factors like these. When injuries are caused because of a dog bite, often hiring a lawyer is beneficial for the victim and/or the dog owner, depending on the circumstances.

How Dog Bites Commonly Occur

The CDC reports that most dog bites happen with dogs we are familiar with, with half happening at home. Children are at high risk, which is why it is essential to be vigilant of your dog when it is near any kids. Dog bites can suddenly occur in situations where a dog seems calm — they can come out of nowhere once a dog is agitated. Be wary of situations including:

  • Interactions with breeds that may be considered aggressive, such as pit bulls
  • “Playing rough” with a dog, such as getting a dog to chase a person or lightly pushing it during play time
  • Interacting with a dog while it is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies
  • Being exposed to any dog that is unfamiliar

If you encounter a strange dog, always ask the owner for permission to interact with the dog before approaching it. Let the dog sniff you before touching it. If the dog seems anxious or uneasy, do not proceed.

Be cautious around stray dogs. Dogs that are off-leash and without an owner may be aggressive or have diseases such as rabies. Nearly 20 percent of dog bites become infected and may result in sickness or death of the victim.


What to Do If You Are a Dog Bite Victim

If you are bitten by a dog, treat the wound and get medical assistance if necessary. Ask the owner for information on current vaccines, including rabies, and be sure to obtain the rabies vaccine license number and full contact information of the dog owner, since you will need this information if you file an insurance claim and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the severity of the wound, you may also call emergency services and have a police report filed.

If your own dog was the one who bit you or someone in your family and you sustain significant injuries, you may file an insurance claim if you have homeowners insurance that covers dog bites. If your dog attacks your children or you feel unsafe around your dog, you will want to consider enrolling the dog in behavioral therapy or removing it from your home altogether. Be especially careful when introducing the dog to others, and be aware of the risks your dog poses.

What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone Else

It can be heartbreaking when you witness your beloved pet causing physical injury and emotional stress to someone else. You may not have realized your pet had an aggressive side to it, and you may have thought you did everything in your power to keep those around your pet safe. In the case of your dog biting someone, it is important to focus on staying calm and not letting emotions dictate your actions. Do not admit fault or compromise your innocence, but help the victim obtain the medical assistance they need.

Do not leave the scene of the dog bite until you have exchanged contact information with the victim and provided police with your account of the situation if they are called to the scene. Comply with providing rabies vaccination information — and make sure all your animals are fully vaccinated, in the first place. If you believe your dog may be in danger or you might face a lawsuit, contact a lawyer immediately for a consultation.

If you are still in possession of your dog after they have bitten someone, it is important to prevent future dog bites and keep everyone else, including yourself, safe. Do not allow your dog to be in any public situation where they may attack someone else. Consult with a dog trainer to modify your dog’s behavior. If your goal is to keep your dog after they’ve attacked someone, you should work toward ensuring an attack never happens again by properly training your dog.

Get Help for Dog Bite Personal Injuries

Dog bites are some of the most traumatic personal injuries around. They’re painful for both the victim and the dog owner. Often the dog is cherished and loved. Protecting it in a case such as this may be a top priority, and protecting others from any harm it may cause in the future is paramount.

If you are a victim of a dog bite, you are entitled to compensation for physical injuries and emotional stress. You may also want to help prevent others from becoming a victim, too. A Birmingham personal injury lawyer than handles premises liability for dog bite cases can help you get the compensation you deserve and help increase safety for others.

If you are a dog owner of a dog that bites someone else, ensuring the protection of others while allowing your dog to have a healthy and happy life going forward requires expertise. If you are facing a dog bite lawsuit, consult with a lawyer to learn how to improve the situation.

No one wants dog bites to happen, but when they do, it’s important to take lawful steps to remedy the situation. Dog bite laws in Alabama can be confusing and complicated. If you have questions, contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums to find out how we can help.

Suspect Nursing Home Abuse? Here’s What to Do

As life expectancy continues to rise, the percentage of older Americans in the overall population is becoming more prevalent. The United States Census Bureau reports that by 2060, one in four Americans will be age 65 or older, an increase from around 15 percent today. More older Americans means that more families have loved ones living in nursing homes. When you have a parent, grandparent or close friend who resides in a nursing home, you hope the care they’re getting is respectful and enjoyable. Unfortunately, recent investigations into nursing home conditions show abuse exists and might happen to someone you care about.

A 2017 report by NPR found there were 134 cases of severe abuse in 2015 and 2016, which resulted in visits to emergency rooms. These cases occurred across 33 states, and most victims experienced sexual assault. What’s even scarier is that federal investigators found 25 percent of serious abuse cases are never reported to police. ABC reports that more than one-third of nursing homes in the U.S. have documented cases of abuse, including physical, sexual and verbal abuse. Considering how many cases are hidden or never reported, the numbers are likely to be much higher.

If you learn from a loved one that they have experienced abuse, or you suspect it’s happening because of what you have seen or heard, you may have a nursing home abuse and neglect case on your hands. Consulting with a personal injury nursing home attorney in Birmingham can give you more insight, but here is what to be aware of.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Besides physical ailments and displays of abuse such as bruises or cuts, there are other conditions within a nursing home that may indicate neglect and abuse are occurring. Sometimes abuse isn’t overtly purposeful — neglect happens simply because homes are overcrowded and understaffed. When you visit a loved one at a nursing home, look out for these warning signs:

  • Unsanitary conditions, including spills that have not been mopped up
  • Unrepaired furnishings
  • Suspicious medical treatment, such as a sore that has not healed properly or is getting worse
  • Unusual change in behavior or mood, such as unexpected depression
  • Suspicious weight loss, which could indicate malnutrition or loss of appetite because of abuse

Unfortunately, because nursing home residents are under the care of others, they are often unable to defend themselves as abuse is occurring or may feel too scared to say anything to a loved one, for fear the abuse may worsen. As a loved one, your vigilance in observing conditions and talking with caregivers can help identify abuse and give the resident an opportunity to be quickly removed from the home.

It’s also important to pay attention to the conditions of other residents besides your loved one. One of their friends might make a comment that causes suspicion in you, or you might notice a change in behavior or physical condition in someone else that makes you suspect abuse. In any case, it is better to trust your gut and investigate than to let it continue happening. Removing a victim from an abusive environment is vital for their protection and should be documented in case of a future claim.

Why You Might Consider Contacting an Attorney Because of Nursing Home Abuse

Knowing the grim fact that much nursing home abuse goes unreported, there may be many more cases of abuse at the facility and by caregivers that have happened and will continue to happen without someone stepping forward. If you suspect or have discovered abuse at a facility, consulting with an attorney may lead you to discover that a claim is substantive enough to be brought forth. You may also want to contact police to alert them to any suspicion. An investigation by CNN revealed that when loved ones of victims report the incident to nursing homes alone, the nursing homes are usually slow to respond in order to protect their business.

Be sure to gather as much evidence as you can, in case a claim is pursued. Document any conversations you have with the person who has been abused, by writing down what you talked about after each conversation. You can also record a conversation with the victim’s permission to ensure accuracy. Also, be sure to take photos or videos of any physical evidence of abuse, such as a personal injury.

Working with an attorney on an abuse case can help to bring to light past incidents and identify any alarming patterns. Most importantly, you may be able to help prevent others who are in a similar situation to your loved one from being abused, too.