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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle assumes a duty to those with whom they share the road. This duty requires that the motorist exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicle, in addition to obeying all traffic laws and posted signs.

MotorcyclistNo matter which type of vehicle a motorist chooses, there is always the risk that another driver will negligently cause an accident. However, riding a motorcycle presents unique risks that other vehicles do not. Indeed, each year, there are about 1,200 Alabama motorcycle accidents, resulting in roughly 75 fatalities.

The fact that a motorcyclist is more likely to be seriously injured or killed if they are involved in an accident does not limit the liability of the person responsible for causing the accident. Thus, a motorist cannot rely on the fact that the person they hit chose to ride a motorcycle – rather than a car or a truck – as a defense. Of course, a defendant in a personal injury case is still free to claim that the plaintiff was partially at fault for causing the accident.

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What are the potential dangers to welders from the welding process, in particular, stainless steel welding?

Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in stainless steel, electrodes, and filler metals. These materials are all commonly used in welding processes. During welding, the intense heat turns this metal into a gas.

This gaseous form of chromium is known as hexavalent chromium, and has serious health risks for individuals exposed

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog post about the difference between a criminal case filed by a prosecutor’s office and a civil case that is filed by the victim of a crime. In both types of cases, the defendant is potentially liable for the harm they caused, with the difference between the two types of cases coming mostly from whose rights are being vindicated. In short, a criminal case seeks to punish the defendant for a wrong committed against society as a whole, whereas a civil case is focused on the particular victim of that specific crime.

GavelGenerally speaking, if an Alabama crime victim hopes to obtain financial compensation for the harm they have suffered, they will file an Alabama personal injury lawsuit. This post discusses a booklet designed to help Alabama crime victims and will describe several of the steps involved in filing a civil case. Of course, it is strongly advised that anyone considering filing an Alabama personal injury lawsuit reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney prior to doing so.

When to File a Personal Injury Case

In general, Alabama law requires that a personal injury case be filed within two years of the injury. However, if the accident victim was a minor at the time they were injured, the claim will generally not expire until two years after the victim’s 19th birthday.

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When someone’s negligence results in another’s death, the estate of the accident victim is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party through an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit. Alabama Code section 6-5-410 governs Alabama wrongful death lawsuits, and provides that any person or corporation can be liable for the death of another caused by any “wrongful act, omission, or negligence.”

Legal BindersAlabama’s wrongful death statute is unique in several ways. First, as noted above, the family of the deceased is not entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. Instead, only the personal representative of the deceased can initiate the claim. Of course, there is no law preventing a family member from being named as a personal representative.

The second way in which Alabama handles wrongful death cases differently is the availability of damages. In most states, wrongful death plaintiffs can pursue compensatory damages for the loss of the deceased. However, Alabama provides only for punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to accomplish two goals: to punish the defendant who was found to have acted negligently, and to deter similar conduct by other parties. Any punitive damages awarded in an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit are paid to the heirs of the deceased, and are not made a part of the estate, as is the case in other states.

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