Recently, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a woman who was seriously injured while volunteering at a local dog park. The case required the court to determine if the signage outside the park indicating that visitors enter at their own risk absolved the defendant dog owner of liability. Ultimately, the court concluded that the sign did not contain the necessary words “bad dog,” as outlined by statute.

Friendly DogThe case is important for all personal injury claimants because, while Alabama employs different legal standards than those applied in this case, it shows how literal courts can be when interpreting language in a statute. Whether a court is interpreting the language of a prior court’s opinion or the text contained in a statute, this case shows just how narrowly courts may interpret language, depending on the statute and the situation, making the assistance of a dedicated Alabama personal injury attorney all the more necessary.

The Facts of the Case

Here, the plaintiff was a volunteer at a local dog park. One day, the plaintiff was at the park volunteering when the defendant arrived with her dog. At some point, the defendant’s dog was chasing another dog when it collided with the plaintiff. The plaintiff fell to the ground, breaking her leg. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the defendant, claiming that under the state’s strict liability statute for injuries caused by animals, the defendant was liable for her injuries. The defendant responded by arguing that the signage in front of the dog park, indicating that visitors enter at their own risk, put the plaintiff on notice of the risks involved with volunteering, and, therefore, she assumed the risk of injury.

Continue reading

Determining the full extent of an accident victim’s potential recovery following an Alabama car accident is not always as simple as filing a case against the person who was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. While naming the at-fault driver is a good place to start, there may be other potentially liable parties who should be named in the lawsuit. For example, under the theory of negligent entrustment, the owner of a vehicle may be liable to an accident victim even if they were not in the car at the time of the accident.

Open RoadWhat Is Negligent Entrustment?

In Alabama, the owner of a vehicle may be liable for injuries resulting from an accident involving their vehicle if the victim can prove certain elements. In a 2005 case, the Alabama Supreme Court clarified that a negligent entrustment claim must establish that:  1.) the owner of the vehicle allowed another person to use their vehicle, 2.) that person was incompetent, 3.) the owner knew of the person’s incompetence, and 4.) the person’s incompetence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Often, several of these elements go uncontested because they are easily proven. However, the third element – proving that the owner of a vehicle knew of the driver’s incompetence – can often present Alabama victims with the biggest hurdle. A recent case issued by a federal appellate court illustrates how this element can be difficult to prove.

Continue reading

Plaintiffs in Alabama and across the country have filed lawsuits after alleged e-cigarette battery explosions. Among other claims, some are alleging that e-cigarette manufacturers failed to warn users of the risk of fires and explosions.

Vape SmokeFailure to Warn Claims

In Alabama failure to warn claims, plaintiffs must show that a defendant failed to warn consumers of dangerous conditions or risks in a product. Generally, there must be an adequate warning of a product’s dangers, unless the danger is obvious. This means that not only must products have warnings of the relevant dangers, but also they must adequately disclose the risks. For example, warnings or instructions may be inadequate if the information is insufficient concerning the proper use of the product or if the warnings are ambiguous. Some recent e-cigarette explosion lawsuits have alleged that the e-cigarette manufacturers have failed to include proper labels warning consumers of the risks of battery fires.

E-Cigarette Explosion Lawsuits Increasing

According to one news source, in 2017, over 120 lawsuits were filed in which people alleged that they were injured in explosions from e-cigarette, or vape, batteries. Some individuals alleged that the e-cigarettes exploded in their mouth, while others claimed the e-cigarettes caught fire in their pockets.

Continue reading

Last month, one man was killed and several others injured in an Alabama bus accident that occurred near the Alabama-Florida border. According to a local news report, the bus was transporting dozens of students and adult chaperones back to Texas after a trip to Disney World.

Bus AisleEvidently, the accident occurred at around 5:30 in the morning, when the bus left the roadway and crossed into the grassy median. As the bus entered the median, the driver lost control of the vehicle. The median abruptly ended into a steep embankment, and the bus plunged down into a 50-foot ravine, where it was crushed on impact.

The driver of the bus was killed in the accident, and dozens of students and chaperones were stuck inside the bus for hours until emergency responders could free them. In all, more than two dozen were hospitalized as a result of the injuries they sustained in the accident. Authorities began an investigation into the bus accident but have not yet determined what caused the driver of the bus to veer off into the grassy median.

Continue reading

Ford Motor Company is recalling nearly 1.4 million cars in North America because the steering wheel can detach from the steering column as drivers are on the road and could easily lose control. The flaw has already been linked to two accidents and one injury, with more injuries expected.Ford-fusion-300x200

Drivers have revealed harrowing stories for months to NHTSA about the steering wheels that became inoperative on the highway.

“While driving on (the) interstate, steering wheel came loose and car veered off interstate. I regained control but steering wheel is still loose. Repairs will cost beyond my means at this moment,” a driver in Harriman, Tenn., reported Tuesday.

Although the link between asbestos and cancer has been clear for some time, researchers have recently discovered why asbestos is so dangerous to the body. According to new research from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the reason asbestos is so dangerous is that chronic exposure leads to a type of tissue repair, which causes the immune system to weaken, making it too weak to combat tumor formation. This can lead to mesothelioma, a very specific type of lung cancer that is only caused by exposure to asbestos.

 

Continue reading

Generally, in an Alabama personal injury claim, a plaintiff has to prove duty, breach of duty, foreseeability, and causation. However, the doctrine of inherently dangerous activities states that in cases in which the defendant should have reasonably anticipated that an injury would result due to an inherently dangerous activity, the defendant cannot insulate itself from liability by hiring a subcontractor to perform the dangerous job.  In other words, the defendant may be liable for damages resulting from the injury even if its subcontractor was negligent. This rule of law has been stated:  “It is also generally recognized that one who employs a contractor to carry on an inherently or intrinsically dangerous activity cannot thereby insulate himself from liability.”  And, of course, if the defendant does take part in an inherently dangerous activity, or the defendant uses a dangerous instrumentality, the defendant must be reasonable in exercising due care.

PesticidesFurther, if a defendant uses an instrumentality that threatens serious danger to others, it must be kept in good condition. In addition, if a defendant knows or should know a particular instrument is so defective that its use involves an unreasonable risk of harm to others, the defendant may be liable for negligence. For example, the Alabama Legislature has recognized that insecticides and pesticides are intrinsically dangerous and has adopted laws regulating the sale and distribution of those products. The use of such products may give rise to a heightened responsibility on the defendant’s part to exercise due care if it is engaged in the application of insecticides or pesticides.

Contact an Alabama Personal Injury Attorney

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a terrible trucking accident that claimed the life of one man and left his family with serious emotional and physical injuries. The case illustrates the level of carnage truck accidents can cause and also the types of claims Alabama truck accident victims can pursue in the wake of an accident.

Truck CrashThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in the case were several surviving family members who lost their loved one when he crashed into the back of a semi-truck that was traveling 15-18 miles per hour on the highway. The man’s son happened to be passing by the scene of the accident and recognized his father’s vehicle. The man’s son attempted to rescue his father but was unable to do so, and he sustained serious burns as a result of his rescue efforts. When the man’s wife found out about her husband’s death, she broke down and had to be hospitalized. She was unable to return to work as a result of her worsening depression.

The family members sued the defendant truck driver, that is, the estate brought claims under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Illinois rescue doctrine, and the estate was successful in obtaining a jury verdict in their favor. The trucking company appealed, making several arguments on appeal, but the court affirmed the verdict in favor of the family.

Continue reading

Under Alabama law, all individuals seated in the front seat of a vehicle are required to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion, although there are some exceptions to the law. The next question is whether this law affects an individual’s ability to recover compensation in an Alabama car accident case if the person was not wearing a seat belt when a crash occurred.

SeatbeltThe Seat Belt Defense in Alabama

Under Ala. Code 1975 32-5B-7, failing to wear a seat belt “shall not be considered evidence of contributory negligence and shall not limit the liability of an insurer.” What this means is that an individual’s failure to wear a seat belt cannot be used against him as evidence of contributory negligence. It also cannot be used against the plaintiff as evidence of the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages.

Contributory Negligence in Alabama

Alabama follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, which often comes up in car accident litigation. It is one of the few states that follow the doctrine of “pure contributory negligence.” That means that if the plaintiff is found to be negligent, then the plaintiff cannot recover any damages.

Continue reading

Chemical exposure can result in serious illness or even death. Over the past few years, researchers with the International Agency for the Research of Cancer have been studying the effects that Benzene has on humans. According to a recent news report, the agency’s conclusions regarding the carcinogenic properties of the chemical were grossly understated, and the chemical may present a much higher risk of cancer than originally thought. Such exposure may be the basis for an Alabama wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.

FactoryBenzene is a colorless or light-yellow liquid that is frequently used in manufacturing a wide range of products across the United States. For example, benzene is routinely used in the manufacture of plastics, nylons, resins, and synthetic fibers. It is also used to create certain lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, and pesticides. Despite the dangers of benzene, it is listed as one of the top 20 most commonly used chemicals in the United States.

The Risks that Benzene Presents

According to the Center for Disease Control, those most in danger of experiencing the effects of benzene are those who work in the manufacturing industry, especially those who use the solvents containing the chemical. However, benzene is also found in car exhaust, tobacco smoke, and industrial emissions. Thus, people who spend large amounts of time in and around gas stations likely have more exposure to benzene. People have also suffered benzene exposure when it has leaked from underground storage tanks and contaminated well-water supplies.

Continue reading