Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, P.C. is proud to announce that five of our attorneys were recognized for the 2020 Super Lawyer Awards in varying capacities. Four of our attorneys were selected as 2020 Mid-South Super Lawyers, one as a 2020 Mid-South Rising Star, and another on two Top 50 lists. The Super Lawyer award is an honor our attorneys have been privileged to be chosen for in years past and one that speaks of our accomplishments and valued relationships with countless colleagues. (more…)
The Best Lawyers in America list is a distinction based on a stringent peer review and is one of the oldest and most esteemed publications in the legal industry. Beginning in 1983, the process has evolved to include “Best Law Firms” and now “Ones to Watch,” which was recently created to recognize up-and-coming attorneys.
We have been awarded four Tier 1 Rankings. Firms that receive a Tier designation reflect the highest level of respect a firm can earn among other law firms and clients from the same practice areas in their communities.
Our Regional Rankings for the Birmingham Area are as follows:
- Tier 1 in Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
- Tier 1 in Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
- Tier 1 in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
- Tier 1 in Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
The U.S. News Best Lawyers Purely Peer Review™ process has used the same honest assessment for over 30 years. Lawyers are rated by their colleagues according to geographical location as well as field of practice. Read more about the methodology process here, which details how lawyers are selected.
On behalf of each partner, Pittman, Dutton & Hellums would like to thank our wonderful and generous colleagues for allowing us to receive this honor for the 2021 year. We are humbled and privileged to call many of you our friends and respected allies in the fight for justice and safety.
See our complete U.S. News Best Law Firms Profile here.
About Pittman, Dutton & Hellums
Lee Pittman and Tom Dutton founded our firm in 1986, with the unique goal of passionately representing people who need help. Since then, we have grown to be one of the most successful plaintiffs’ firms in the state of Alabama.
Our personal injury attorneys are highly skilled and experienced in handling complex, contentious matters on behalf of clients. They have also achieved great success in arbitrations, mediations, and other alternative dispute resolution channels.
Our philosophy is to put our clients’ interests first and achieve the best possible results. We provide each client with high-quality service and personalized attention and have settled or tried literally hundreds of million-dollar cases.
Our Practice Areas
We have extensive experience litigating cases in the following areas:
- Personal Injury
- Auto Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Consumer Protection
- Bad Faith
- Premises Liability
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Pharmaceutical and Drug Litigation
- Defective Products, Environmental Litigation
- Workers’ Compensation
Legal issues and disputes can arise in any of these areas. If you or a loved one need legal representation, contact us at (205) 322-8880 when you’re ready. There is no obligation to speak with us, and the information you share with us will be kept confidential. We will listen to your story and inform you of your legal rights and options moving forward.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were nearly 6.3 million car crashes in the United States in 2015, a number that was the highest it had been in more than 10 years. Out of those crashes, there were 32,166 fatalities and more than 1.7 million injuries. Nearly one in three car crashes will result in a serious injury or fatality. If you drive, you should be prepared to take steps to protect yourself if you are in a car crash, and that includes gathering the proper records and evidence in case you decide to pursue a car accident claim.
If you were in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, and you pursue a car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against them, the success of your claim or lawsuit will depend on your ability to prove fault and the extent of your damages. Having proper paperwork helps your case.
Car accidents can be jarring and stressful. Make sure you keep these records so that you have peace of mind you have all the documents you need, should you decide to pursue legal action if the negligence of another made you a car accident victim.
1. Police Report
If you’re seriously injured in a car accident, it’s always a good idea to call 911. Police can file a formal report of the scene of the accident, as well as interview witnesses and the other parties involved. A police report is a document that holds major clout in the eyes of insurance companies and in court.
When talking with police, be honest about what happened, but do not make statements that place fault or blame on you if you are a victim. In the stress of the car accident environment, sometimes victims offer an apology, even when they did nothing wrong. Don’t do this.
As you talk to police, be sure to point out:
- Any traffic violations the other party carried out
- Any suspicious behavior you observe in the other party, such as the smell of alcohol or marijuana
- Anything the other party said, such as admitting guilt
If there are witnesses of the car accident, ask them to stay at the scene until police arrive, so police can question them, as well. At the very least, ask for the name, driver’s license number and phone number/email address of witnesses, so they can be contacted for statements later.
Get a copy of the police report by contacting the police department that came to the scene. Give your name and the names of any other drivers involved, as well as the name/badge number of the officer who came to the scene, and the date and location of the accident. You’ll want to take note of all this information at the accident scene.
In addition to the police report, it’s helpful to document your own evidence of the car accident. Shoot photos or videos of the damage to your car, as well as damage to any other vehicles involved. If property was harmed in the accident, take photos and videos of that. If there are signs of a car accident like skid marks, take photos of those, too.
You can also document any physical injuries to you or other passengers. If you hear questionable statements from any party, write them down in addition to telling police about them. If your injuries prevent you from gathering evidence at the car accident scene, ask someone for help in doing so, including from police.
After the accident, you may also want to contact businesses close by, who may have had video surveillance and footage of the accident. A video of the accident while it occurred can be extremely helpful.
3. Medical Records
It’s essential to keep all records of medical treatment you receive. It’s helpful to create a binder dedicated to housing all records from your car accident, so you have everything organized in one place. Make sure to keep all your bills in addition to treatment documents. Treatment documents include treatments received, diagnoses, prescribed medications and any other files that contain medical recommendations.
Your medical treatments may last months or more. Gather records that range from emergency medical services you receive at the scene of the accident, all the way to physical therapy that occurs weeks or months after the accident. Verbally request these at your appointments, or call the medical/billing department at your healthcare provider to obtain them.
If you have to miss time off work due to your injury, you’ll want to quantify how much money you’ve lost by showing proof of income. To do this, gather any pay stubs and/or tips records that show your income.
If you receive any documentation from your employer, keep those records, too. If your injury prevents you from returning to work altogether, keep any documentation that shows those losses.
5. Vehicle Repairs and Damage
As you get your vehicle repaired after the accident, keep all records documenting repair work. If your vehicle was totaled, you’ll want to get documentation that shows the estimated value of your car before it was destroyed. If your vehicle was towed away from the scene, contact the towing company and ask them to keep the vehicle intact until it can be examined and documented.
You can consult with several auto body repair shops to get an accurate estimate of damages. Your car insurance company will likely play a prominent role in assessing damages, as well, so retain all documents sent from them.
6. Personal Account
Because you may not file a claim or lawsuit until well after the car accident has occurred, the more details you can remember and have access to, the better. Keep in mind, though, that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Alabama is two years, which means you must file a lawsuit within two years of your accident.
To keep the details of your accident fresh in your mind, keep an accident journal. This will help especially when you provide testimony in your case. It will also be of great assistance to your legal team.
Begin your journal on the day of your accident. In your journal, document everything that happened at the scene of the accident and how your injuries progress. Also, note vehicle repair chronology. A journal can help you see how the severity of the accident impacts your life, from the medical treatment you have to receive, to how it affects your work. Make sure to date each entry and write about how you’re feeling physically, mentally and emotionally.
Contact a Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you are a car accident victim, the Birmingham car accident attorney team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums can help. We offer no-obligation, free consultations and will only take on your case if we believe we can win. You don’t pay unless your case is successful.
If you’ve compiled records like those mentioned, those are helpful in how we determine what your case is worth. Contact us for a free consultation today.
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.
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.
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.
400,000 Nissans Recalled Due to Potential Fire Hazard
A braking system defect is causing Nissan to recall nearly 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. The defect can cause the brakes to catch fire.
4 U.S. Nissan models are affected by the recall
- 2015 – 2018 Nissan Murano SUVs
- 2016-2018 Maxima Sedans
- 2017-2019 Nissan Pathfinder SUVs
- 2017-2019 Infinity QX60 SUVs
Nissan is advising owners of the above vehicles to park their cars away from structures if the anti-lock brake warning light comes on for more than 10 seconds.
According to Nissan, manufacturing variations may cause the affected vehicles to have an oil seal with inadequate sealing performance. The high-temperature environment of the braking system, coupled with leaking brake fluid can create a potential electrical short in the actuator circuit and lead to a fire.
Owners of the affected vehicles were sent a notice on 12/02/2019 advising them to park their vehicles outside and to contact Nissan or INFINITI Roadside assistance if their ABS warning light is displayed for 10 seconds or longer. In the event of an ABS warning display, the automaker can install a newly designed ABS actuator.
Nissan anticipates having the additional remedy parts available in the summer of 2020 and will notify owners via a second notice to bring their vehicles into their dealer for repair at no cost. The automaker’s letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not make it immediately clear if there were current owners whose vehicles caught fire. However, a quick glance at current complaints indicates several known incidents have occurred.