You’ve had the unfortunate experience of being seriously injured, and you know the injury was caused by the negligence of another party. You need a personal injury lawyer to get you compensation for your medical bills, time missed off work and other costs associated with your injury. Now the question is, how do you choose the right personal injury attorney to work with?
Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means the lawyer only gets paid fees if you win your case. Also, many personal injury attorneys, like the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums team, will offer a free consultation to learn about your case, before they even offer to work with you. Because of the contingency model, many lawyers will not take on a case they don’t think they can win.
As a personal injury victim, you are in control of working with a lawyer you’re completely comfortable with, one who will fight for you and do everything possible to win your case. During any consultation with a personal injury lawyer, be sure to ask these nine questions to find the right match.
1. What experience do you have with cases like mine?
Enquire about experience working with personal injury cases, as well as overall law experience. You should ask about cases the potential lawyer has worked on that have dealt with personal injuries similar to yours. For example, if you had a slip and fall injury, but the lawyer you’re talking to has only worked on car accidents, that may be an issue for you.
2. Who will be working on my case?
The lawyer you hire may not always be the one doing the majority of the work. Some large law firms hand off work to interns or legal aides. If you want to have a solid relationship with the lawyer you’re working with throughout your case, ask about what items of your case they will work on directly, and which ones may get passed off.
3. What is my case worth?
Some lawyers you talk with may offer similar contingency fee percentages. If you’re deciding between a few good candidates, what the potential lawyer thinks your case is worth may be a considerable factor.
4. Are you prepared to take my case to trial?
Lawyers that are prepared to take your case to trial and who have experience doing so are vital to have in your corner. The difference between settling and fighting a case in court can be substantial for your compensation. Not all personal injury cases will go to trial, but you should hire a lawyer who can handle the work if it’s needed.
5. Are there out-of-pocket fees I can expect?
While a contingency fee basis means you won’t have to pay your lawyer up front, sometimes there are other fees associated with a case that the client will have to pay. These can include court reporter fees, expert witness fees and other fees. Some firms will have the client pay these fees immediately or after the case has concluded. Depending on your financial situation, you’ll want to know this information and how it may affect you.
6. May I speak to a past client?
Trustworthy law firms should be able to provide prospective clients with testimonials, as well as referrals to past clients. Speaking with a past client about how their case was handled can give you insight into what to expect and confirm you’ll get an ally in the attorney you hire.
7. What lawyer associations do you belong to?
In addition to certifications, it’s wise to work with a lawyer who is an active participant in lawyer associations that relate to personal injury law. You can research these associations to gauge what meaning they have to you and how experience in one may benefit your case. You can also ask about awards and accolades the lawyer has received.
8. What will my role in the case be?
This question can help a victim understand what type of client-lawyer relationship there will be in a case. A personal injury lawyer should learn everything about your injury and prep you on what to expect during your case and how you’ll be participating. If you want to be heavily involved or would prefer to be hands-off, make sure the lawyer you’re interviewing aligns with your goals.
9. Why should I work with you?
Use this question to gauge a lawyer’s interest in and confidence in your case and how they can contribute to get you the compensation you deserve. Your personal injury lawyer should have the time, energy and dedication to make your case a success. This open-ended question can provide the insight you need to make a decision.
Need a Birmingham personal injury attorney? Pittman, Dutton & Hellums offers free consultations. Contact us.
There are millions of injuries that occur at home in the United States every year, and that’s on stairs alone. The National Safety Council Injury Facts 2017 report states more than 146,500 people died from accidental injury-related deaths in 2015. Some of the top types of accidents at home causing injuries include:
- Falls, which is the number one cause of unintentional-injury-related death for those ages 65 years and older
- Fires and burns, which caused 2,646 deaths in 2015
- Drowning, which is the number one cause of unintentional-injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4
These are just three causes of serious injury and death at home, which can be preventable with proper safety precautions. In cases where injuries or deaths occur while someone is living in a rental home, the landlord’s negligence may have been the main factor causing the hazard. Premises liability involves the landlord’s responsibility for maintaining a safe environment for the tenant or visitor.
Here is what to know about who is to blame for serious personal injuries and deaths occurring at rental homes.
What Home Safety Features Is a Landlord Responsible For?
One of the clearest ways to affirm a landlord is likely liable for a serious injury or accident on their property is when they are breaking the law in how they maintain the property.
For example, in Alabama, electrically powered smoke alarms must be placed outside sleeping areas and in each sleeping room. There must also be a smoke alarm on every floor of a structure. If a tenant is injured by a fire or burn, and the landlord failed to install and maintain smoke alarms per Alabama law, the landlord may be deemed negligent in maintaining the property.
Some other areas that landlords likely need to provide proper upkeep for in order to stay legal include:
- There must be prevention for water and gas leaks, and properties should be inspected for signs of them.
- Electrical wires, circuits and sockets must be properly insulated.
- Building repairs must thoroughly be executed, including damage to stairs, flooring and roofing.
- Presence of asbestos in the building must be brought to the attention of tenants, because asbestos exposure is a cause of mesothelioma.
It is up to landlords to also conduct regular maintenance checks to ensure all home features are safely working.
Types of Accidents that May Involve Premises Liability
Negligence of a landlord in properly maintaining the home features mentioned may result in serious injuries and accidents like these.
- Cancer or respiratory problems from asbestos or dangerous gas
- Burns and smoke inhalation from fires
- Broken bones and fractures from slip and fall accidents
- Head injuries due to improperly secured objects on a roof or ceiling
- Drowning in a pool that is not secured by a fence
- Electrical shock due to improperly maintained appliances
- Lacerations or fractures from improperly maintained fences
Generally, a landlord will not be deemed negligent for accidents when a tenant causes harm to themselves, using their own objects within a home. If a tenant acts recklessly or irresponsibly in relation to the property, landlord negligence will be more difficult to prove.
How Landlords Can Protect Themselves
In order to be deemed negligent, the landlord must have failed to exercise reasonable care in maintenance of the property, and the injuries must have been foreseeable. To avoid a potential premises liability lawsuit, a landlord can take the following steps to stay protected.
- Create clear repair and maintenance expectation in the rental agreement.
- Use a written checklist to maintain property.
- Ask tenants to report any safety issues or elements in need of repair immediately.
- Give tenants their own checklist, so they monitor repairs, too.
- Document all tenant repair requests.
- Fix any repairs, and maintain the property so it is safe to inhabit.
- Document all repairs.
It is in the best interest of property owners to cover their bases through clear rental agreements and proactive maintenance. If a safety issue comes up, and a landlord waits even a few hours to fix a dangerous problem, the result could be a serious injury, death and/or a costly lawsuit.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer If You’re Seriously Injured
Both landlords and tenants have certain rights in regards to how a property is used and what happens on a property. For tenants who are seriously injured due to landlord negligence in maintenance of the property, it is imperative to contact a Birmingham premises liability attorney as soon as possible.
The statute of limitations limits the time frame in which to file a premises liability claim. Contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums online or at (866) 722-0250 for a free consultation on how we may be able to help.
If you work outdoors, like on construction sites, for a nature preserve or for a park, you may be at risk for experiencing an insect sting or bite at some point. A 10-year study released in 2014 found 10.1 million people visited emergency care departments for noncanine bite and sting injuries during a decade, with 67.5 percent of injuries from insects and 20.8 percent from arachnids. WorkCare reports outdoor workers account for the majority of incidents.
Workers who are bit or stung at work should alert their manager and get medical treatment. In some cases, workers’ compensation can cover an injury. In others, an employer’s negligence may have contributed to the bite or sting. Here’s how to stay protected, what your workers’ compensation rights are, and when you might want to hire a Birmingham personal injury attorney or workers’ compensation lawyer after a bite or sting injury.
How to Protect Against Bites or Stings at Work
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recommends taking the following precautions to stay protected from bite and sting injuries at work, especially when you are working outdoors.
Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks and boots.
Use insect repellent.
Avoid areas covered by fire ants.
Wear protective gloves.
Always be alert while working. Watch where you place your hands and feet.
Being aware of your surroundings and wearing protective clothing and accessories are two of the most important ways you can stay protected. If you notice dangerous conditions, such as a beehive or spider web, notify your manager before getting to work.
If you are allergic to any insects, like bees, you should also alert your manager before working. If you feel like the work conditions you are asked to work in are dangerous, you may ask your employer not to work in them. Employers are bound by federal and state laws to provide safe working environments. Employees have the right to report dangerous conditions to OSHA.
If there is not imminent danger, but there is a safety hazard present, the employee should file a written complain to the employer for the hazard to be corrected and can file a complaint with OSHA.
How Workers’ Compensation for Bites or Stings Works
If you take the proper precautions and are bit or stung at work, you should take certain steps to ensure you are properly protected.
Be Aware of Severe Bites
Warning signs that a bite is severe include:
- Chest pain
- Loss of breath
- Serious swelling
- Slurred speech
If you experience any of these, ask for medical treatment immediately. If you are unsure of the severity, you can request emergency treatment anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Use the First Aid Kit
Every safe working environment will have a stocked first aid kit available with treatments for bites and stings. Healthline recommends:
- Remove a stinger by gently scraping the skin with a flat-edged object. Avoid tweezers.
- Wash the bite with soap and water.
- Use gauze to apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
- Cover the wound with a bandage.
- Place an ice pack on an area.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication.
- Use calamine lotion or a paste of baking soda and water to alleviate pain and itching.
Again, there is no substitute for professional emergency services. Your employer should call them if you request them or are incapable of responding.
Document the Injury
Workers’ compensation protects workers from on-the-job injuries and provides monetary compensation if an employee faces medical bills or has to miss time off work due to an injury. After you receive medical treatment, even if emergency services are not called, you should work with your employer to document the injury. Any injury that receives treatment beyond first aid is required to be reported to OSHA by the employer with a form like this.
However, even if you don’t receive medical attention beyond first aid, you should still ask your employer to document the injury and give you a copy of the document for your protection. If the bite or sting develops into something worse and requires medical attention later, that initial documentation can protect you.
After a bite or sting, monitor its progress and your pain levels. You can take photos of the injury and keep a journal. You should also note the work conditions and any factors that may have contributed to the injury.
Reasons to Work with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you believe the bite or sting injury you experienced was due to an employer’s negligence, you should contact a Birmingham workers’ compensation attorney. You may not receive all the compensation you deserve from your employer, or you may receive none at all. Pittman, Dutton & Hellums offers free consultations. Some signs of negligence include:
- You voiced concerns about unsafe conditions, but they were ignored.
- You were instructed to work in an unsafe environment.
- How your employer handled your injury was inappropriate. For example, your employer failed to contact emergency services.
Your health and safety at work deserve to be protected. After experiencing any severe workplace injury, we can help you determine your next best course of action, with a free no-obligation consultation.