In some Alabama slip-and-fall cases, defendants may argue that they should not be held liable because the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injuries was obvious. In those cases, courts look at each party’s evidence concerning whether a hazard was perceived or should have been perceived by the plaintiff.In a recent case, a McDonald’s restaurant argued before the Alabama Supreme Court that a wet floor was an open and obvious hazard. In that case, the plaintiff slipped and fell at a McDonald’s and sued the restaurant for his injuries. The man fell after he left the restroom and was walking toward the counter. The plaintiff left the restaurant after the fall but then began experiencing pain in his back and left leg, and he went back to discuss the incident with the manager. Surveillance footage showed an employee mopping the floor in front of the counter and placing a warning sign that the floor was wet. The plaintiff stated that his fall occurred outside the surveillance footage areas and was not shown on camera.

The restaurant argued that the fall was caused by an open and obvious danger because it was obvious that the floor had just been mopped, and there was a warning sign indicating as much. However, the Court found that based on the plaintiff’s affidavit, the plaintiff did not fall on the water near the counter, but instead on a “slick spot” outside the restroom.

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As automotive safety features have increased over the past several decades, vehicles have become much safer than they used to be. And while the total number of fatal Alabama car accidents per year has dropped over the last 20 years, recently the data indicates that these numbers have begun to level off and even slightly increase.According to a recent news report, Alabama has the fifth-most fatal car accidents. Interestingly, the study looked not only at which states had the highest rate of fatal traffic accidents, but also at which times and on which days of the week the accidents occurred.

The crash data for Alabama indicate that Mondays and Fridays are the safest days to drive. Not surprisingly, the weekend days were among the most dangerous to be on the road. According to the study, the fewest accidents occurred during the hours of 4-10 a.m., with the greatest number of accidents occurring during the hours of 4-10 p.m. Interestingly, these times encompass the traditional hours of the morning and evening commutes.

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In a recent personal injury case before the Alabama Supreme Court, a plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a hospital after allegedly being injured by a patient while she was also a patient in a psychiatric unit at a hospital. The defendant, “Brookwood Health Services Inc.,” claimed that it was not properly served and that the suit was untimely because it was filed beyond the statute of limitations. Under the Alabama Medical Liability Act, a two-year statute of limitations applied in the case.The patient filed a complaint in the case on October 8, 2016 but named “Brookwood Baptist Health LLC” as fictitiously named defendants. The patient filed an amended complaint on June 3, 2017 naming instead “Brookwood Baptist Health Services” and requested that “Brookwood Health Services Inc.” be served.

The hospital argued that the two-year statute of limitations expired on October 10, 2016, and that the amended complaint did not “relate back” to the original filing because the patient did not satisfy the requirements of Rule 15(c)(3) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.

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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.The 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.

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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.

What 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.

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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.

Failure 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.

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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.Evidently, 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.

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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.

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.

A Lake Island, Ill., driver, in a statement to NHTSA in November, wrote, ““While driving approximately 55 (miles per hour), the steering wheel turned 360 degrees independently without warning. In addition, the steering wheel detached from the vehicle.”

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.Further, 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

If you have been injured in Alabama due to someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. The attorneys at the Reeves Law Firm can help. Attorney Greg Reeves understands how important it is that you obtain financial compensation for your damages. Attorney Reeves provides Alabama accident victims with a free legal consultation and can advise you on your options. The Reeves Law Firm represents accident victims in Huntsville, Decatur, and elsewhere in Alabama and Tennessee in personal injury cases. You may be able to receive compensation for your accident-related injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and damages for any pain and suffering you endured. Call us today at 256-355-3311 for a free consultation.