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April Fool’s Day Pranks: Avoid Serious Injuries This Holiday

April Fool’s Day Pranks: Avoid Serious Injuries This Holiday

April Fool’s Day pranks aren’t always all fun and games. Sometimes they result in serious injury or even death. Some notable April Fool’s Day pranks that have resulted in injuries include:

  • A body shop repair worker set his coworker on fire, causing serious injuries
  • A practical joke where employees told a coworker a project was due early caused heart palpitations that resulted in time missed off work
  • Hard materials inserted into pancake batter resulted in damage to teeth

April Fool's Day Pranks: Avoid Serious Injuries This Holiday

Even if you’re on great terms with the person you’re pranking, injuring them to the point where they endure serious injuries, costly medical bills and perhaps time off work is no laughing matter. A serious personal injury can result in a costly lawsuit, all because of an April Fool’s Day prank gone wrong. Here’s what to be aware of.

How to Prank Safely on April Fool’s Day

Pranks can cause startled reactions that throw someone off their balance or even increase heart rate to the point of danger. If you really need to get a rise out of someone by playing a prank on them on April 1, use these guidelines to stay safe.

Create the prank in a safe environment.

Don’t set off a prank where someone can fall, like at the top of stairs or from a high distance, like a balcony. If the person feels like they need to run or back up, make sure they can safely do so without running into obstacles.

Make sure the person who is being pranked is not holding something dangerous.

April Fool's Day Pranks: Avoid Serious Injuries This Holiday

If the person is carrying heavy equipment or is holding something dangerous, like chemicals or a knife, don’t prank them. They could drop what they’re holding, spill it, or run into it and experience serious injury.

Avoid pranking while the person is operating machinery

This includes forklifts, golf carts and motor vehicles. Also, if the person is riding a bike in traffic or rollerblading, etc., don’t prank them.

Don’t cause a slip and fall accident.

Water or other liquid materials in a prank can cause the victim to fall and seriously injure themselves.

Be aware of the type of reaction you might get

If the person you are pranking is not likely to take the prank as a joke and in good fun, they may react in a way that causes damage. If there’s a chance the person could react violently or in a way that harms themselves or someone else, don’t prank them.

Leave animals out of it

Spiders, snakes and other insects and animals should never be involved in pranks. Not only can the animal be harmed in the prank, they could seriously injure another person.

Consult workplace guidelines before pranking

Smart workplaces have guidelines in place to protect employees. There may even be a stipulation about what kinds of actions you can and can’t take at work on April Fool’s Day. Doing a prank at work could put your job in jeopardy, as well as harm someone else.

Bear in mind that any time you play a prank on someone, if the person is seriously injured, they may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against you. Ask yourself if the risk is worth it, and if you do decide you need to follow through on a prank, ensure the circumstances are completely safe.

April Fool's Day Pranks: Avoid Serious Injuries This HolidayWhat to Do If You’re Injured on April Fool’s Day

If you are the victim of an April Fool’s Day prank gone wrong, it’s important to take certain steps to ensure you are protected. Follow these guidelines.

Get medical attention

Accept medical attention that is offered to you. Keep all medical records of emergency room visits and subsequent doctor visits.

Document what happened

Gather witness testimony at the scene if you’re able to. Contact police if you feel that is necessary, and get a police report of what occurred. At the very least, make sure to write down your own account of the prank, and take photos and videos if possible of injuries and the scene of the accident.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have sustained serious injuries or missed time off work due to a personal injury from an April Fool’s Day prank, contact a personal injury lawyer like Pittman, Dutton, & Hellums for a free consultation. When what may have been intended to be fun turns into suffering on your part, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury.

April Fool’s Day can be filled with laughter and merriment, but it’s also wise to be aware of the risks you face both as a prank-player and as a victim. Workplaces have a responsibility to foster a safe work environment for employees, including protection from injuries caused by pranks.

If you get hurt, be sure to get the medical attention you need, monitor your injuries, and contact a lawyer for a consultation. No one deserves to be injured for someone else’s amusement.

Alabama Bus Crash Results in 1 Dead, 20 Injured

Alabama Bus Crash Results in 1 Dead, 20 Injured

photo by Gregg Pachkowski

A horrific bus crash near the border of Alabama and Florida on March 13, 2018 killed the bus driver and injured 19 others. Passengers included high school students and their parents with four in serious condition. The 65-year-old driver, Harry Caligone, died from blunt force trauma after the charter bus plunged down a 50-foot ravine in Baldwin County, Alabama. The cause of the crash is undetermined. It took nearly 3 hours to rescue all passengers after the bus was crushed below a bridge on Interstate 10.

Alabama Bus Crash Results in 1 Dead, 20 Injured

The bus was transporting a school band from Walt Disney World in Orlando back to the students’ home base of Houston. They had been there performing at a music festival. The bus had 40 band members and 6 adults on board as it traveled.

This is the fourth time that the company that owns the bus, First Class Tours, has been involved in a crash, including another one that involved a fatality.

Because of the sheer size of the vehicle, which can weigh more than 30,000 pounds, bus crashes are one of the scariest types of auto accidents someone can experience. Whether you’re on the bus, in another vehicle or outside of the bus, a bus accident is serious. We hope a crash like this recent one in our home state of Alabama never happens again, but here is what you should be aware of if you ever involved in a bus accident.

How Common Are Bus Accidents?

Alabama Bus Crash Results in 1 Dead, 20 Injured According to the latest data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2015 report, the number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased 11 percent year-over-year in 2015, up to 261 buses.

While the March 2018 crash in Alabama was school-transportation-related, only .4 percent of total fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes from 2004 to 2013 involved school buses or buses transporting primarily students.

Most people who die in school-vehicle-related accidents, up to 92 percent, are those who are outside the bus, whether in another vehicle or on the road as a pedestrian or bicyclist.

What to Do If You’re in a Bus Accident

Similarly to if you are in a car accident situation, there are several steps you should take after a bus accident that can help protect you, should you decide to file a claim and pursue compensation due to someone else’s negligence. A bus accident can be a frightening and traumatic experience. Try to stay calm and complete these actions for your protection.

Don’t move if you are injured. Movement while injured can exacerbate the injury. Try to stay in a safe and still place if you are hurt, if possible.

Alabama Bus Crash Results in 1 Dead, 20 Injured

Call emergency services. Get a police report account of what happened. This is especially helpful in case the bus driver was under the influence of something or tired. If you are able to, shoot a photo or video of the scene before leaving it. Ask someone for help gathering evidence if you need it. If you can, gather the contact information of witnesses and other passengers if possible.

Accept medical treatment. Even if your injuries are not immediately apparent to you, you should accept medical treatment that is offered. You may have serious injuries, but your body may be in shock and not be registering them.

Return to the scene. If you are called upon to provide testimony regarding the accident, returning to the scene when you’re able to can help you to better understand the circumstances. If you are not able to for several days, ask a friend or loved one to go to the scene for you, to see if there are any notable circumstances that may have contributed to the accident. Unsafe road conditions may have been the major contributing factor, which may mean that a local or state government may be to blame.

Contact a lawyer. If you think the negligence of another party is to blame for a bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, time missed off work and more. A lawyer will be able to review your case and determine whether or not it is worth pursuing.

As you go through medical treatment, be sure to keep accurate records of all doctors’ visits and treatments, as well. Writing down a detailed account of what happened as soon as possible after a bus accident can also help to keep the case details vivid should you need to revisit them.

Contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums If You Are in a Bus Accident

If you’ve been in a bus-related accident, either as a passenger of a bus or as someone who was in another vehicle that experienced an accident because of one, you may be entitled to compensation. If you have experienced a serious injury after a bus accident, please contact the bus accident team of attorneys at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums. All consultations are free and are no-obligation. Contact us online, call (866) 722-0250, or text (205) 900-4188 for more information.

How to Know Whether or Not to Accept a Settlement That’s Offered

How to Know Whether or Not to Accept a Settlement That’s Offered

If you’ve experienced a personal injury and file a claim against the negligent party, sometimes you will receive a settlement offer before your case heads to trial. In some instances, such as when you are a victim in a car accident or are injured at work, you might receive a settlement offer from an insurance company that represents the individual or business involved in the cause of the accident. Sometimes the settlement is something you consider is fair and sufficient for your pain and suffering. Other times, it’s low or nothing at all.

Working with an attorney and possibly taking your case to trial does take some time and effort, but when you receive a settlement offer that is too low, it could be worth rejecting the settlement. The question is, how do you know whether or not to accept a settlement that is offered?

Examine the Details of Your CaseHow to Know Whether or Not to Accept a Settlement That's Offered

The details of your case can give you insight into how much it’s worth. Try searching for similar lawsuits in your area and nationally to see what types of outcomes have occurred with similar cases. The following factors could mean that you’re entitled to a generous settlement:

  • Your medical bills are substantial
  • You’ve missed a significant amount of time off work
  • Liability clearly falls on another party, not you
  • You have evidence to prove your case

When you receive a settlement offer from an insurance company, examine the details of your policy to see what exactly you are entitled to. You should also take into account details like how much it has cost you to drive to doctors, how much you’ve spent in prescriptions, and how much you’ve lost from missing time off work. Future costs should also play a factor into what you’re entitled to.

Before you receive a settlement offer, what you communicate to an insurance company can affect your offer. Have you said something that could have possibly hurt your case? For example, if you’re on the phone with an insurance claims adjuster, and they ask if you had previous back pain before you were injured and you say yes, that information may cause them to justify offering you a low settlement. Because insurance companies record conversations with plaintiffs, you may have accidentally stated something that makes the company feel justified in offering you a low claim.

Usually, the first offer you receive will be low, because the other party anticipates you might want to counter or negotiate a higher offer. Giving an offer toward the high or middle range would not make sense for the other party, because they want to have room to increase their offer if needed. You can ask the claims adjuster what factors were taken into consideration when your settlement offer was put together, and then determine if anything was missed.

Take into Account the Other Party’s Actions

How to Know Whether or Not to Accept a Settlement That's OfferedIf the insurance company has delayed your claim before making a settlement, the reason may be that the company knows you have a legitimate claim, and holding on to your money has enabled the company to profit from it in the meantime. Delaying payment is similarly harmful to denying payment altogether. You don’t get the money you deserve when you deserve it. You may be entitled to more than what the insurance company is actually willing to pay you after they’ve delayed your claim.

On the other hand, if you receive a settlement extremely quickly, that could also be a sign that you are getting less than you deserve. Sometimes, insurance companies will settle quickly in hopes that you’ll accept the small claim to be done with the matter. Going to court can cost the insurance company or offending party in time and legal fees, so settling quickly or delaying settling at all are two tactics to be wary of.

Talk with a Personal Injury Lawyer If You’re Unsure

Knowing whether or not to accept a settlement offer can be a difficult decision, but the good news is that many personal injury lawyers will offer a free consultation before you decide. A Birmingham personal injury attorney like the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums team will evaluate your case and only take it on if the team believes a higher compensation amount can be achieved.

Having attorney representation can help in any case. For some insurance companies or defendants, knowing that the plaintiff is represented by a strong attorney team can be enough to influence them to settle with you for a higher amount of money. Before saying “yes” to the first offer you receive, consult with an attorney so you can maximize your compensation.

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