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Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know

 

Business owners who are hosting holiday parties for their employees must consider one serious factor when planning: alcohol. Employees who get drunk at a party might drive off and get into an accident. You don’t want to face a lawsuit from an employee or someone they hurt, and you definitely want to keep your employees safe and sound after any work party where alcohol is served.

Excessive alcohol use contributes to more than 88,000 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With Christmas right around the corner, if you plan on serving alcohol at your work holiday party, read this guide to help employees stay safe and prevent drunk driving after holiday parties.

1. Set Guidelines Before the Party

If you’re going to serve alcohol at a holiday party, let employees know beforehand. This way, they can plan for transportation to and from the event.

Make it clear that the party is not about drinking. Highlight all the non-alcohol entertainment you’ll have at the party, whether it’s games, food, music or dancing. This can help to lessen any pressure employees may feel to drink, and make the purpose of the party one that’s not about alcohol.

State consequences for employees who engage in destructive behavior because of drinking. You may want to add these to your employee handbook and outline that:

Your business is not responsible for damage an intoxicated employee causes to any property.

Your business will enforce punishments for inappropriate behavior, whether a work event is held on-site or not.

Employees are responsible for their behavior at all times.

You may even want to create a written contract to hand out to employees before they attend, where they agree that they are responsible for their actions, even when fueled by alcohol. This can discourage excessive drinking.

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know 2. Prevent Over-Indulgence

One way to avoid over-serving employees alcohol is to employ trained bartenders at your event and instruct them to not serve alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated, or host the event at an establishment with a liquor license.

You may also consider handing out a set number of free drink tickets for the night, like one or two per person. Forcing employees to pay a cash bar for additional drinks may discourage them from drinking too much.

Serving mixed drinks, like holiday punch, or drinks that are made with various types of liquor, can make keeping track of how much you’ve imbibed more difficult. You may want to just serve beer or wine, so it is easier for employees and their guests to track how many drinks they’ve had throughout the night.

You should also serve food at any event where alcohol is served. This can help to give employees a non-drinking activity to participate in (eating), and help to prevent employees from getting drunk as quickly as they would on an empty stomach.

3. Provide Easy Access to Transportation

Ideally, you’ll host a holiday party close to public transportation. If not, you could partner with a ride-sharing service to provide holiday party ride codes to employees, so they have a free ride home if they’re intoxicated.

Think about how much each of your employees is worth, and what kind of hit your business will experience if you lost one due to an injury or even death. Adding free rides to your holiday budget, whether it’s a party bus or ride-sharing credits, can keep everyone safe. At the very least, have the numbers of local taxi cab companies available for attendees to call.

You could also host a party near a hotel, so that attendees have a place to stay afterward without having to worry about driving home.

Prevent Drunk Driving After Holiday Parties: What You Should Know 4. Get Extra Protection

At any event where you’ll be mixing alcohol with employees, you might want to get extra insurance to protect you. You may face the risk of being sued by a victim of an employee who drives while drunk, so covering your bases with insurance and signed contracts by party attendees may help protect you.

Also, make sure you have some party attendees who agree to be sober drivers for the night. These people can be the ones to do last-minute errand runs or trips to get an item that is running low or has run out of stock. You might also consider offering a bonus to employees who volunteer to be sober designated drivers for their coworkers, so that there are lots of sober driving options available.

Host a Safe Holiday Party This Season

At Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, we wish you, your business and your employees a very merry holiday season. Make employee safety a priority at any event where alcohol is served, so you protect employees and your business.

2020 Best Law firms

2020 Best Law firms

Pittman, Dutton & Hellums is honored to receive five 2020 regional rankings in the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® law firm rankings for Birmingham compilation. Our firm has received regional recognition as follows:

  • Tier 1 in Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Tier 1 in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Tier 1 in Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Tier 1 in Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs 
  • Tier 2 in Commercial Litigation

To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top 5% of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Receiving 4 Tier 1 rankings and 1 tier 2 ranking, is a signal of our unique combination of quality law practice and the breadth of our legal expertise. 

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® ranking takes into account 15,000 law firms across the United States. We are thrilled to receive these distinctions, as we strive to provide the very best legal services to all our clients. These include those in both the Birmingham, Alabama, area, as well as clients we represent throughout the country. We have settled or gone to trial for hundreds of million-dollar lawsuits.

Pittman, Dutton & Hellums Receives 5 Regional Rankings for U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

In addition to the recognition our law firm has received, we were honored earlier this year, having five of our lawyers selected to receive the Best Lawyers® ranking as well as a Lawyer of the Year recipient, Chris T. Hellums!

  • Chris T. Hellums: Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • W. Lee Pittman: Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Thomas E. Dutton: Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Mike Bradley: Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Jonathan S. Mann: Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Insurance Litigation – Plaintiffs

Honors like these continue to inspire our firm to hold only the highest of standards in our work and our relationships with our clients. If you need a personal injury attorney, product liability lawyer, commercial litigation attorney, medical malpractice lawyer or a law firm who will fight for your rights, please contact the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums law firm.

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car Accident

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car Accident

After a car accident, you might feel completely shocked or angry or scared about the situation. That’s all normal, but you shouldn’t let the jarring experience of a car accident affect whether or not you take care of yourself.

You might be tempted to avoid calling police, or you might want to leave the scene quickly because you need to get on with your life. You might view the car accident as minor, and not realize that you need medical treatment. As we’ve covered, there are dozens of injuries that can have delayed symptoms but result in life-long injuries. Just a few signs a car accident is delayed include:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Deep bruises
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Vision problems
  • Jaw issues
  • Ringing ears
  • Mental health issues

Not going to see a doctor after a car accident can also seriously affect your ability to successfully pursue a car accident claim in the future, if another driver’s negligence was to blame for the accident. Here are some reasons to get medical attention after any car accident you’ve been in.

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car AccidentIf You Delay Treatment, the Cause of Pain May Be Questioned

Say you are in a car accident, and a few days later, you experience back pain that was caused by the accident. You get medical treatment and decide to file a claim against the other driver.

Having waited, the defendant can claim:

The back pain was caused by something else, anything else, that happened in-between the car accident and the doctor’s visit. It’s more difficult to prove that the pain was caused by the accident, when you could have tweaked your back making a sudden sharp movement, performing a work duty, exercising or a whole host of other behaviors you did after the accident.

The pain was always there, and the car accident did nothing to exacerbate it. If you’ve seen a chiropractor in the past or visited a doctor for back issues previously, the defendant could point to previous pain as the cause.

You’re making up the pain. If the pain is so bad now, why didn’t you go to a doctor immediately after the car accident? The defendant could argue maybe you decided to try and file a lawsuit, but you never really had severe pain to begin with.

For your own legal protection, you should visit a doctor after a car accident to get a medical opinion and to show that you were serious enough about any possible pain or injury to get treatment. If emergency services are offered to you at the scene, take them. At the very least, visit an urgent care office or your primary physician as quickly as possible right after the accident.

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car AccidentYou Could Suffer More Severe Injuries

After a shocking event like a car accident, it’s common for the body to go into a fight-or-flight mode that is powered by endorphins and adrenaline. These hormones may mask pain to prepare the victim to stay safe and alert in a dangerous or high-pressure situation. For example, there are many cases of professional athletes breaking bones but continuing to finish a game without noticing their injury. These hormones could affect you after a car accident, too, making you feel physically fine but really covering up an injury that will only get worse with time.

A doctor will be able to feel your body for broken bones, perform an X-ray if they think that’s wise, and see symptoms of injuries that may not be noticeable to you but that are apparent to medical professionals. You might blame your dizziness for feeling anxious due to the car accident, but it could be an early sign of a brain injury. Waiting days or weeks for treatment can cause an injury to develop into something far worse that doesn’t respond as well to treatment.

Even if a doctor concludes you aren’t injured at your initial visit, you can get advice for symptoms to watch out for. If those do develop, you can revisit your physician for treatment.

A Doctor’s Visit Begins a Vital Paper Trail

Visiting a doctor results in proof that you took every precaution to get treatment for any possible injuries from a car accident. This proof can be essential if you decide to file a claim in the future. Because injuries can develop in a variety of ways, you may not decide to file a claim until several months down the road. Those doctor visit records can keep you protected and be used as evidence if you decide to file a claim.

Always review all records you receive from your doctor, and work to correct any errors you spot. You should also review your medical history. For example, if a doctor notes that you’ve had neck problems in the past, but you had never mentioned those to your doctor or received treatment for them, then make sure the record is corrected and updated to reflect the truth.

If you are in a car accident, no matter how severe it is, it is in your best interest to visit a doctor. If you feel the negligence of another driver is to blame for the accident and your injury, contact the Birmingham car accident lawyer team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums for a free consultation for how we can help you.

When Should You Call a Lawyer After a Personal Injury?

When Should You Call a Lawyer After a Personal Injury?

If you’ve been in a serious accident where you experienced a personal injury, like a car crash or a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering about whether or not to contact an attorney. The good news is, with many personal injury lawyers, you can explain what happened and get a free consultation with no obligation to work with the attorney. This allows you to get to know many lawyers before deciding on the one you want to work with.

In general, the following are signs that you may be entitled to compensation for your case – in some cases, much more than an insurance company is willing to offer you.

  • The other party’s negligence caused your injury
  • The injury was serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room, hospital or multiple doctor’s visits
  • The injury resulted in expensive medical bills, time missed off work or a permanent disability
  • There is evidence and/or testimony that can demonstrate the fault of another party

If just one of these situations is present, you may have a personal injury case on your hands. What you may not know is that the statute of limitations in Alabama and in states throughout the country mandates the time period in which a victim can file a personal injury claim. Here’s what you should know.

How Long After a Personal Injury Should You Call a Lawyer? What Is the Statute of Limitations in Alabama?

The statute of limitations in Alabama is a law that stipulates that victims of personal injury or the loved ones of victims who have died due to negligence have a specific amount of time in which to file a claim. The statute of limitations is in place so that offending parties do not have a legal issue that they may have to deal with for the rest of their lives, and so that victims start the legal process to gain compensation in a timely manner.

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years. This is according to Alabama Code Section 6-2-38, which also states that commencement of actions must be brought within two years for negligence causing death, as well as actions of libel, slander, recovery of wages and property damage.

This means, if more than two years have passed since the date of an accident causing an injury, you will not be able to file a claim for damages for your injury. There are some cases, such as those involving medical malpractice that result in injuries long after the damaging actions were done, where a plaintiff may seek to extend the statute of limitations in accordance with the time the injury was discovered.

How Long After a Personal Injury Should You Call a Lawyer? Benefits of Calling a Lawyer Quickly After an Accident

In addition to taking advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation, there are many advantages to contacting a Birmingham personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a serious accident. These include:

A Lawyer Can Help with an Inaccurate Police Report

If the police report of your accident is inaccurate, including if it puts you at fault for the accident when you were solely the victim, contacting an attorney means you can get a headstart on rectifying the falsehoods.

An Attorney Can Protect Your Rights with Insurance Companies

The offending party’s insurance company will likely contact you quickly after the accident, and may pressure you into saying something you don’t want to or shouldn’t. A lawyer can prepare you for this. Also, often insurance companies will settle for far less than the victim deserves, or not offer a settlement at all. When you have significant medical bills or are missing time off work because of an injury, getting a case started with a lawyer can help you get compensated more quickly.

Working with a Lawyer Prepares You for Dealing with the Other Party

Depending on the other party that caused the accident, you may be facing a business with a full team of lawyers, or even a government entity with the funds to fight you. Victims can be pressured into giving away information or providing inaccurate information that helps the other party, or be bullied into taking a low settlement. Knowing what your case is worth increases your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.

When you can work with a personal injury lawyer that works on a contingency basis, like the team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, you have the peace of mind that the attorney is working in your best interests, since they don’t get paid unless you do. If you’ve been in a serious accident and experienced an injury, don’t delay. Contact the personal injury team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums today for a free consultation.

Alabama Airbag Recall

Alabama Airbag Recall

Alabama Airbag Recall

Officials are reporting that over 200,000 Alabama residents are driving with defective airbags. Approximately 700,000 airbags were originally identified as defective in Alabama. As of August 2019, roughly 35% of these airbags remain unrepaired.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 41.6 million vehicles are equipped with defective Takata airbags. The airbags are under recall due to the fact they can explode during deployments, causing serious injury and death. 

The NHTSA strongly urges all vehicle owners to:

  • Check for Recalls using your vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Get the Fix by calling your local dealer; it will be repaired for free.
  • Sign Up for Recall Alerts about any future recall affecting your vehicle

Why this recall is particularly important for Alabama residents

Over time, exposure to high heat and humidity increases the risk and potential of a serious injury, or even death during an airbag deployment. The NHTSA considers Alabama to be a “Zone A” region – the most dangerous and time sensitive designation. 

Alabama residents should also be aware, certain 2001-2003 Honda & Acura vehicles, as well as 2006 Ford Rangers and Mazda B-series trucks are at a far higher risk of a life threatening airbag explosion.

The vehicles below are on the NHTSA’s “Do not drive list” and should be repaired immediately.

 

2001-2002 Honda Civic

2001-2002 Honda Accord

2002-2003 Acura TL

2002 Honda CR-V

2002 Honda Odyssey

2003 Acura CL

2003 Honda Pilot

Certain 2006 Ford Ranger (Ford advises do not drive)

Certain 2006 Mazda B-Series (Mazda advises do not drive) 

New test data on the defective Takata airbag inflators in these vehicles show a far higher risk of ruptures during air bag deployment than for other recalled Takata air bags.

If you have identified your vehicle to have a defective air bag, it is imperative you have the repair done as soon as possible. Recall repairs are 100% free and parts for high risk vehicles are in good supply in Alabama Dealerships. Many are offering free towing and even a loaner vehicle to assist affected owners.

Vehicle manufacturers are making several outreach efforts to alert and help Alabama vehicle owners schedule their free recall repairs. Examples of these efforts include: 

  • In September, the National Safety Council and several manufacturers hosted the Airbag Recall Repair Month in Alabama. Participating dealerships are standing by ready to repair your vehicle for free. Several Dealerships are extending their hours and offering alternative transportation.
  • General Motors is working to ensure that the 3,300 unrepaired owners residing in Alabama are made aware that their vehicle has an open urgent airbag safety recall. GM continues to communicate to these owners through a variety of channels: direct mailings, emails, live phone calls, automated phone calls, text messages and online/social media advertisements. GM vehicles affected include: 2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado HD; 2007-2008 GMC Sierra HD; 2003-2010 Pontiac Vibe; 2008-2009 Saturn Astra; 2005-2006 Saab 9-2X; 2006-2011 Saab 9-3; and 2006-2009 Saab 9-5.
  • Manufactures, in partnership with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) mailed recall letters to more than 200,000 affected vehicle owners using the ALEA emblem to encourage owners to schedule their FREE airbag repair at a local dealership. An example from Volkswagen can be found here.

For more information about these and other efforts by affected vehicle manufacturers, please visit:

Audi USA https://www.audiusa.com/about/takata
BMW of North America www.bmwusa.com/recall
Daimler Trucks North America https://alliancetruckparts.com/sterling
Daimler Vans USA https://www.mbvans.com/sprinter/owners-resources/recallhttps://www.freightlinersprinterusa.com/freightliner/owners-resources/recall
FCA US LLC www.checktoprotect.orghttps://chryslerpr.com/noticias
Ferrari North America, Inc. https://auto.ferrari.com/en_US/owners/recall-campaign/ 
Ford Motor Company http://fordairbaginfo.com/ LincolnAirbagInfo.com 
General Motors www.gmtakataairbag.com or 1-866-467-9700
American Honda Motor Company www.hondaairbaginfo.com
Infiniti USA https://www.infinitiusa.com/takata-airbag-recall.html 
Jaguar Land Rover North America www.jaguarusa.com/airbagrecallwww.landroverusa.com/airbagrecall
Mazda North American Operations https://www.mazdarecallinfo.com/
McLaren Automotive https://cars.mclaren.com/ownership/america/recall 
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC www.mbusa.com/recall 
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. https://www.mitsubishicars.com/recall or (888) 648-7820
Nissan North America, Inc. https://www.nissanusa.com/takata-airbag-recall.html 
Subaru of America, Inc. https://www.subaru.com/vehicle-recalls/airbags.html 
Tesla, Inc. https://www.tesla.com/vin-recall-search 
Toyota www.toyota.com/recall https://www.carmaproject.com/homehttps://pressroom.toyota.com/section_display.cfm?section_id=1052
Volkswagen Group of America https://www.vw.com/owners-recalls/ 

If you are a loved one have been seriously injured or killed by a defective airbag, our attorneys are ready to help. Call Pittman, Dutton & Hellums today for a free case evaluation.