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Personal Injury Claims with a Preexisting Injury

Personal Injury Claims with a Preexisting Injury

Honesty is the best policy regarding preexisting injuries

Obviously, it is not uncommon to have a preexisting injury. Whether you were hurt at work in a prior car accident, injuries happen. A mistake many car accident victims make is not disclosing prior injuries to their attorney. Often, they feel they are not relevant. Even if your old injury is completely healed, it is critical you make your attorney aware. The at-fault insurance agency may have access to your medical records, and they will use anything they can against you. Your attorney needs to understand how past injuries could impact your new claim.

Pre-Existing Conditions We Often See

Car accident victims who have been injured in the past should not be expected to be responsible for their medical due to their medical history. Here are a few common preexisting injuries we run into:

  • Work-related accidents involving repetitive motion or a fall
  • Fractured bones
  • Prior surgeries
  • Neck pain, back pain, disc herniation, or vertebral fracture
  • Nerve damage

Insurance Agencies Are Not Your Ally

Insurance carriers won’t hesitate to use your medical history against you. Insurers can possibly say that your prior injuries lower the total value of your claim. They are likely to make a low-ball settlement offer, which will not fully cover your losses.

Insurance carriers are not in the business of paying out money. They won’t think twice about using your medical history against you. If they feel they can lower the payout or not pay at all due to your prior injuries, they absolutely will.

Our experienced team auto accident attorney’s has dealt with this many times and is adept at getting you the most compensation possible. Do not go it alone, you need an ally in your corner or you’re likely to get a low-ball settlement which may not fully cover your losses.

Get Medical Attention

After a car accident, the first thing you need to do is seek medical treatment. Your injuries might seem serious at the time but without medical treatment, you’ll have little evidence your injuries are new. It’s important if you refuse an ambulance or do not visit the ER, that you see your doctor ASAP. For your losses to be covered and your medical record must show a direct correlation between your current injuries and your accident.

Our Team is Here to Help

Knowing that you need legal advice early for your case is a big step. Injured victims should search for a personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling Birmingham auto accident claims.To receive maximum potential compensation for these injuries and for aggravation of prior medical conditions, contact an experienced Birmingham personal injury attorney at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums. For a Free Case Evaluation, please contact us today.

Question You Need To Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Firm

Question You Need To Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Firm

If you’re one of the more than 39.5 million people who require medical attention after an injury every year, you may be considering talking with an attorney. A reputable firm will offer a free case evaluation and explain to you whether your case has merit or not. You’ll also have a chance to get to know your attorney(s) and determine if you are a good fit for one another before the work begins. If you’ve been hurt in an accident you may benefit from representation if:

  • The negligence of another party or parties caused your accident
  • The injury you experienced was serious, resulting in substantial medical attention and costs
  • You have had to miss time off work due to your injury
  • You have evidence that helps a potential personal injury case

Not all of these factors are required in order for a personal injury claim to be successful. That’s why talking with a personal injury attorney can help, regardless of the trajectory, your case ends up going on.

You may choose to speak with several personal injury lawyers before deciding to hire one for your case. The more details of your case you can present to each attorney you consult with, the better that attorney will be able to gauge whether or not they can help you. If you decide to consult with an attorney to see what can be offered to you, here are some questions to ask to help you feel more confident in any decision you make.

Have You Handled Cases Like Mine?

Some personal injury lawyers specialize in a certain type of injury law, while others have more diverse experience. Ask about outcomes of cases that are similar to yours and how confident the attorney feels about your case’s circumstances. Ask about experience regarding both the circumstances of the accident as well as the type of injury you have sustained.

May I Contact Some of Your Past Clients?

Being able to talk to a personal injury victim who has gone through a case like yours is an understandable request that many personal injury attorneys receive. The lawyer you’re talking with may be able to refer you to past clients who have had similar cases, so you can get a better understanding of how your case might play out.

Who Will Work on My Case?

Sometimes, the lawyer you talk to during the consultation will not actually be the person who does the majority of work on your case. Some law firms have giant teams, and an intern or inexperienced lawyer may be the one working on your case. Other times, the lawyer will rarely be available to speak with clients directly. If this concerns you, ask about what kind of responsibility for your case and communication you can expect during your consultation.

What Percentage of Your Cases Are Referrals?

The answer to this question can clue you into how experienced the lawyer is and how respected the lawyer is in the law community. Though a low answer is not necessarily negative, a high percentage of referrals is a good sign that the lawyer is one who is regarded highly.

What Is Your Trial Experience Like?

Many personal injury lawsuits make their way to court, where the case may have to be tried in front of a judge and jury. The personal injury attorney you hire should be confident with representing you in court and with bringing your case to trial.

How Much Do You Think My Settlement Is Worth?

Answers to these questions can clue you into the attorney’s confidence with your case and the potential settlement amount you may be entitled to. Don’t be wary of lower estimates. These aren’t necessarily negative if the lawyers giving them are more competent in how they can win your case.

How Do You Charge?

How much you pay your personal injury attorney will likely be a concern. Some personal injury lawyers will only require payment if they win the case this is called contingency. They may take a percentage of whatever the settlement is, and this percentage can vary. Depending on your comfort level and the expertise of the attorney, you may decide that a higher-percentage fee is acceptable because you believe that attorney can win your case.

Contact PDH Today For a Free Case Evaluation

Our attorneys are here to help. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of others give us a call today!

Defective Tires

Defective Tires

Defective Tires

Today’s vehicles are built with more safety features than ever before. Unfortunately, these innovations can still fail to protect us from one of the most overlooked parts of our cars: the tires. Tires require regular inspection and maintenance, but even the newest, most trusted tires sometimes fail without warning. To protect yourself and your passengers, you must understand how tires fail and what you can do to help prevent a tire-related tragedy.

Defective Tire Accident Statistics

The Austin (TX) American Statesman (2/11, Subscription Publication, 361K) reports that more motor vehicle fatalities are attributable to defective tires than to cellphone-related distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Per the American Statesmen, the “NHTSA says that over 700 people die per year in crashes due to failed tires,” while “cellphone-related deaths have not exceeded 500 in any year” of the “past six years for which NHTSA has released data.”

The NHTSA claims that defective tires can be related to tire problems such as blowouts or flat tires, tire or wheel deficiency, tire or wheel failure, and tire degradation. Poor tire maintenance is a leading cause of tire-related crashes, and one we can all avoid. To help protect yourself, make sure that your tires always have enough air and are rotated and balanced on a regular basis. Pay attention to the amount of tread on your tires as well. Driving with low tread increases the risk of losing traction, especially on wet or icy roads. As a general rule, tires worn down to 2/32 of an inch are unsafe to drive on. Lastly, when possible, plan your route to avoid bad roads with uneven lanes and potholes, which can increase the risk of tire failure over time.
If you or a loved one is involved in a crash caused by a defective tire, you need to seek help immediately from an attorney experienced in auto accident cases. The law firm of Pittman, Dutton & Hellums is passionate about representing victims of defective tires, and we want to help. If you have been in an accident related to a defective tire, please call us today at (866) 515-8880. We have a dedicated team of personal injury attorneys ready to consult with you for no cost and no obligation.

Signs You Need An Injury Lawyer

Signs You Need An Injury Lawyer

f you’ve been seriously injured, you know that it can be a stressful and complicated experience. Inevitably, you’ll be dealing with medical appointments and the bills that come with them, possible time missed from work, pain, suffering and the possibility that returning to “normal” life is never an option again.

Personal injuries are common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are 92.2 million physician office visits for injuries a year and 41.6 million trips to emergency departments for injuries. When your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, another consideration must be addressed: whether or not you should file a lawsuit.

A personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for the wrongful acts of others. A Birmingham personal injury law firm like PDH will offer a free consultation, so you can see if a case is worth pursuing. Here are five signs you should, at the very least, get a consultation because you may have a viable personal injury claim.

1. Your Injuries Are Serious

What is considered a serious injury? If you have gone through any of the following, you’ve experienced a serious injury.

  • You had to receive emergency treatment
  • You stayed at a hospital
  • Your injury required more than one doctor’s visit to treat
  • Your injury resulted in long-term disability, loss of a limb, etc.
  • Your injury will require some kind of treatment for the rest of your life

If your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, it’s time to contact an attorney.

2. There is Evidence to Support Your Claim

Evidence is a critical component for successful serious personal injury cases. The types of evidence that can be beneficial in a personal injury case include:

  • A negligent driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they caused a car accident
  • A product was defective, whether it was an exploding phone that blew up in your face or an airbag that failed to deploy
  • After the accident that caused a personal injury, you took photos or videos that show factors that can help prove negligence

The statements from witnesses of the accident are extremely helpful. It is crucial to file a police report after an accident resulting in personal injury. The police report will record all of the details and can be used for your case.

3. The Insurance Companies Are Less Than Helpful

Insurance companies are often difficult to deal with. They may offer you a low-ball settlement or may deny your claim altogether. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to help victims. If the insurance company offers you a low offer, is unresponsive or denies your claim, an attorney can help.

Ideally, you should contact a personal injury law firm before contacting the at fault parties insurance company. Many times insurance companies will bombard a victim with questions in an attempt to trick them into misstating facts about the accident or even admitting erroneously admitting fault. Personal injury lawyers are adept in dealing with insurance companies, can help negotiate your settlement and prevent you from incriminating yourself.

4. Expert Witnesses Are Necessary

Testimony from expert witnesses can help some personal injury cases. For example, some types of personal injuries occur due to medical malpractice, when a physician’s negligence causes serious injuries that may be life-threatening. In cases like these, a medical expert witness can provide expert testimony that helps explain why the physician was negligent.

When you’re facing someone who caused your injury, but you’re unable to fully understand or explain why a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in cases like yours will be able to call on the right witness connections to help your case.

5. Multiple Parties Are Involved

When you’re dealing with more than one party in a personal injury case, like a car accident with multiple drivers, for example, everyone’s liability may be called into question by various parties. These types of cases may make liability unclear and will mean that gathering witness statements, evidence and possibly expert witness testimony is necessary.

To protect yourself from being accused of being negligent by other parties, when you’re really not to blame, and to go after the appropriate negligent party, you can work with a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers have experience in cases with multiple parties and will work in your best interest.

Contingency Fees Protect Your Finances

Pittman, Dutton & Hellums works on a contingency basis. This means our law firm will only take on a personal injury case they believe can be won. We’re only paid if your case wins, as well.

You have nothing to lose by contacting a personal injury lawyer for a consultation. The statute of limitation limits the time frame in which you can file a claim, so it’s best to contact one sooner than later.If you or a loved one has been in an accident our Birmingham accident attorneys will fight for your best interests and will take your case to trial if necessary, please PDH at (205) 900-4188.

Alabama Traffic Safety Laws You Should Know

Alabama Traffic Safety Laws You Should Know

Alabama traffic statistics paint a grim picture: on average, there are more than 420 car crashes a day in Alabama. That equates to more than 47,650 people who are injured a year, and nearly 1,000 people who died in car crashes in 2016. Those who drive in Alabama are twice as likely to die in car crashes compared to average Americans.

Car crashes in Alabama are largely caused by preventable causes. Driving issues like tailgating, failing to yield the right of way, improper lane change and speeding are all preventable causes of car crashes. When someone’s negligence causes a car crash that results in serious personal injury or death, the offending party may be liable for damages.

To avoid becoming a car crash offender, it’s important to be aware of and follow all Alabama driving laws. These laws are in place to keep you and other drivers on the road safe. Following them can help you avoid an accident and protect you in case you’re a party involved with a car crash.

First Thing’s First: Carry Legal Driving Documentation

Only get on the road if you are licensed to drive in the United States. Proper Alabama driving documentation identifies you to police who come to the scene of a car crash. If you drive without it, you could face fines and bigger problems if you’re involved in a crash.

If you’re going to drive in Alabama, make sure you have:

  • Valid driver’s license from your home state or home country
  • Driver’s insurance
  • International Driving Permit if you’re from outside of the United States

It doesn’t matter if you’re coming from out of state or out of the country when you drive in Alabama. All drivers in Alabama must adhere to Alabama driving laws, detailed below.

Obey the Speed Limit

Obey all speed limit postings. On interstate highways in Alabama, the maximum speed limit is 70 miles per hour, unless otherwise marked.

Drive in the Right Lane

Using the left lane on interstate highways in Alabama is illegal unless you are using it for passing. Otherwise, long-term driving must be done in a lane other than the left lane.

Use Headlights

Your car must have two highbeam headlights that can illuminate objects at least 350 feet away. You must turn on headlights from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. If you’re driving in the rain, Alabama law requires the use of lowbeam headlights.

Contact Police After an Accident

Never leave the scene of an Alabama car crash. Contact law enforcement. If someone involved in an accident needs first aid, a capable driver involved should also call for emergency services.

Alabama Traffic Safety Laws You Should Know Don’t Drive Drunk or Transport Alcohol into Alabama

Driving while intoxicated is illegal, and drivers driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or above may be charged with driving under the influence. Bringing alcohol into Alabama when it was purchased outside of Alabama is also illegal. Don’t carry it in your car if you purchased it from another state.

Don’t Smoke or Transport Tobacco If You’re Under the Age of 19

It’s illegal for those ages 18 years old and younger to use, possess or transport tobacco or tobacco products. If you’re underage and are caught smoking while driving or have cigarettes or other tobacco products in your car and are pulled over, you may face a charge.

Be Aware of Buses

If a school, church or other bus that is marked with flashing lights and stop signals stops in your vicinity, you are required by law to stop and wait until passengers get on or off. Even if you’re approaching the bus from a road and are not directly behind it, you must still stop and let it proceed before crossing it.

Buckle Up

If you’re riding in the front, either as the driver or a front-seat passenger, you must wear a seatbelt, according to Alabama law. Any children under the age of 15 years old must wear a seat belt wherever they are in the vehicle or be in a child safety seat, which is mandatory for children ages 4 years old and younger.

Stop at Red

Right turns after stop signs and red lights are only permitted after a driver makes a full stop and sees that the lane is clear. If a sign is posted that forbids a right turn, the driver must obey the sign.

Alabama Traffic Safety Laws You Should Know Put Down the Phone

Texting or using one’s smartphone to send an email while driving is illegal in Alabama. If you’re looking at your phone and cause a car crash, the victim could claim your distracted driving negligence was the car accident cause and pursue a claim against you.

Pay Attention to Emergency Vehicles

If you see an emergency vehicle with flashing lights, move as far to the right as possible, and stop until the emergency vehicle passes. If a driver in Alabama is approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped and has flashing emergency lights activated, the motorist’s next action will depend on how many lanes there are.

If there are four or more lanes, like on a freeway, the driver must move over at least one lane or slow down to at least 15 miles per hour below the posted speed limit if moving over is not possible. If there are two lanes, the driver must move over as far as they can without exiting the lane and slow down to at least 15 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

Follow Motorcycle Laws

If you’re riding a motorcycle in Alabama, be aware of these additional laws:

  • You must wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.
  • You must have a passenger seat if you are carrying a passenger.
  • You must have at least one mirror on the motorcycle.
  • Motorcycle handlebars must be no higher than 15 inches above the seat.
  • You are not allowed to pass another vehicle in the same lane.
  • You are not allowed to ride between lanes.

What to Do If Someone Breaks the Law and Causes Your Car Crash

If you are following all Alabama driving laws and someone breaks the law and causes your car crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Make sure to:

Pittman, Dutton & Hellums offers free no-obligation car accident consultations. Contact us online or at (866) 722-0250 for information on if we can help you.

Pittman Dutton and Hellums

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 2001 Park Pl #1100, Birmingham, AL 35203


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