Law Blog


Social Security Denials
Posted on: November 26th, 2018 by Stephen M. Collins

Social Security affects millions of Americans, and sometimes obtaining the benefits of this program can be difficult. In a nutshell, Social Security is a government system for monetary assistance for those with inadequate income. If you have applied for Social Security, but have been denied benefits, you only have a very limited period of time to file an appeal from the initial denial. They will typically send a letter to you explaining why you were denied.  The best thing to do is seek legal representation right away so that someone with experience can assist you in filing the appeal and requesting a hearing date as quickly as possible.

It is extremely beneficial to seek legal representation in a situation like this because the forms and the process can be quite confusing. An experienced attorney will file an appeal immediately, and send in the appropriate forms to be sure the client is taken care of. When the hearing date comes around, the attorney can help present the case to the judge in a way that most people would be unable to on their own. He or she would make sure the judge fully understands why the claimant is considered disabled.

The main thing to understand is that the appeal process takes time. The Social Security office is constantly busy so it may take a year or two before a hearing date is set to actually appeal the denial. Many people believe that is too long, but when you have the proper representation it’s usually well worth the wait. If you have been denied Social Security, or have any further questions, stop by our office at 51 North Florida Street, you never need an appointment. Or you can always call us at (251) 300-2000.
 

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Types of Car Wrecks
Posted on: November 12th, 2018 by Charles J. Barber

Every car accident is different, and the type of crash you have may determine how your case is handled in a court of law. A single vehicle accident is one where there’s understandably just one vehicle, and for whatever reason it hits a tree, or a building, or a sign.  Most often, if you are the driver of the vehicle there is not going to be much recovery that you are entitled to.  There are certain circumstances where that’s not true, including cases that involve phantom vehicles and product liability cases. If it’s one of those circumstances, then it’s worth talking to an attorney to find out if you may have a case.  If you are a passenger in the vehicle that was in a wreck, you sometimes have a case too. 

A fender bender is a low impact accident that happens when someone who’s not paying attention, or who is distracted runs into the vehicle in front of them.  Often, there’s not much damage and injuries can be minor.  The important thing to remember with a fender bender is that if there is any damage to your vehicle there very likely is damage to you.  Several days later, you may discover symptoms of whiplash or an achy back as a result of the accident. There are often times when severe injuries can result from a minor accident. That’s why it’s so important to get medical treatment as soon as you can after your accident.  We see fender bender cases all the time, and the vast majority of them are caused by the person in the rear, but there are occasions when that’s not the case. So always contact an attorney to see what your options are. 

Unfortunately, more serious accidents do occur, and the more damage done to the car often means more damage to the body. Obviously, a wreck with an 18-wheeler can be completely devastating considering the size and weight of these trucks. These cases can be very complex, and the scenes may need to be independently investigated to figure out the at-fault driver.  Of course, it’s imperative that you seek medical attention right away and make sure that an accident report is done. 

As always, if you have any further questions concerning any type of car accident, call us at (251) 300-2000, no matter what time of day it is. Or come by our office at 51 North Florida Street. 
 

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Aviation Accidents
Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by Joshua T. Morgan

Over the years as air travel has grown, unfortunately, so have the number of accidents. When you get on an airplane, you expect that you’ll arrive safely at your destination, but there have been instances where that doesn’t always happen.  Nearly all aviation accidents stem from someone not doing what they were supposed to do. This could include pilot error, mechanical oversight from the ground crew, and corporate policies that lead to unsafe flying.  Flying airplanes and helicopters is highly regulated, and if someone is not careful to follow the rules or tries to cut corners, the outcomes can be disastrous. 

When investigating an aviation accident, it’s very important to look at what caused the accident, and why that mistake was made.  It may be pilot error, or negligence on the part of the ground crew or aircraft manufacturer. But, this can become a very complicated process as we try to ascertain who is at fault, and who is responsible for paying for our client’s injuries.  

There are also differences in the way we approach aviation accidents on large commercial aircraft versus a small private plane. On a large commercial aircraft, you may have more evidence from the black box to help you determine exactly what happened.  On smaller aircraft, there is less that can go wrong, but it can be difficult to tell the details of the issue.  In either case, if you have an experienced personal injury attorney who handles aviation accidents, they can likely get you money to cover your injuries, lost wages and more. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in an aviation accident, you should talk to a personal injury attorney that handles aviation accident cases.  We have two attorneys on staff at Greene and Phillips that are licensed pilots, David Greene and Britt Bethea. This is beneficial in the fact that they understand the lingo and aviation procedures, and can effectively litigate the case without error.  If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call us anytime at (251) 300-2000, or stop by our office at 51 North Florida Street during normal business hours.

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Vehicle Recalls
Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by Charles E. Davis

The news recently has been full of stories about faulty parts on vehicles that have been recalled. To find out the most up-to-date recall information for your vehicle, you can go online to recalls.gov, or you can go to the manufacturer’s website and put in your VIN number. Also, your local dealer will be able to tell you what recalls are available for your vehicle.  Again, this is a very important fix for your car or truck, and it affects a wide range of vehicles from 2000 onward.  To have a recall fixed costs you absolutely nothing. 

The most common recall we hear about is airbags, and it is especially important to get these fixed right away because airbags are meant to save lives. These vehicles are being recalled because when the airbags deploy, there have been instances of shrapnel from the airbag injuring driver’s and passenger’s. If your vehicle is affected, it is very important that you get this problem fixed as soon as you can, so that in the unfortunate event that your airbags deploy, they are able to do their job and protect you. Airbags are supposed to help, not hurt.

If you were involved in an accident where your vehicle’s airbag deployed, and you were injured by shrapnel, you should contact a personal injury lawyer that handles product liability cases.  At Greene and Phillips, we have experience helping our clients recover money for their injuries due to faultily designed products.   It’s important to call a lawyer as soon as you can after an incident like this, because important evidence can be harder to obtain the longer you wait. 

The term product liability mentioned above, is an area of law that protects consumers against faulty products.  When a manufacturer produces a product that is shown to be unsafe, that manufacturer is responsible for fixing the product and often paying damages to the person who was injured because of the products faults.  As a general rule, if you are injured from a defective car part, a dangerous household product, dangerous work equipment, or defective health care equipment, it’s worth contacting a lawyer to see if you have a case.  Consultations are always free at Greene & Phillips, and we don’t get paid unless we get money for you. 

If you have any further questions, or think you may have a case, call us at 300-2000, or stop by our office on Florida Street any time.


 

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Pedestrian Rights and Safety
Posted on: September 25th, 2018 by Stephen M. Collins


Did you know that a pedestrian is killed every 96 minutes from a traffic related accident? That equates to over 5,000 deaths per year! In Alabama, vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk that are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle, or when a pedestrian is approaching closely enough from the opposite side of the roadway to constitute a danger. Also, if a traffic control device such as “Walk”/ “Don’t Walk” sign is in operation, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk, and may only cross an intersection diagonally if authorized by a traffic control device.

Pedestrians need to avoid entering a crosswalk in which vehicles of either direction are in close proximity. But, they also must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. It’s always important to stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

If a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, they should seek medical attention immediately. Then, be sure to call the authorities, and make sure an accident report is done. It is extremely important to make sure that everything is documented. Then, speak with a personal injury attorney to see how they will be able to help you. It costs nothing to hire a personal injury attorney at our firm.  At Greene & Phillips, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means that we don’t get paid unless we are able to get you money.

If you have any further questions, we are always available by phone at (251) 300-2000, or you can stop by our office anytime at 51 North Florida Street in Mobile.

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Industrial Accidents
Posted on: September 13th, 2018 by Britt V. Bethea

Industrial plants and mills provide great jobs for many people in our area. But they can also be some of the most dangerous if you’re not careful. The Mobile area has many large industrial workplaces from chemical plants, steel mills, gas and petroleum plants, to ship building. In each of these industries, there are inherent risks of injury to employees. Sometimes people make mistakes, and those mistakes can cause railings to fail causing someone to fall, explosions that can cause serious burns, or falling debris that can crush limbs or cause head trauma.

 

Your employer is required by law to provide a safe working environment. If they fail to do this, then they are responsible for your injuries and may be required to pay punitive damages on top of the cost of your medical treatment. Punitive damages are money damages meant to punish the company for acting negligently.

 

If you are injured in an industrial accident, seek medical attention immediately.  Make sure your manager is aware of the injury and that the appropriate forms have been filled out. Also, see if you can get witness statements from any of your co-workers that saw what happened. If you have a way to document the accident with pictures, do that too.  Sometimes companies do the wrong thing, and try to cover up details of the accident, and threaten their employees to not talk about the accident, so it’s important to recover as much evidence as soon as you can.

 

In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is involved in an industrial accident, it’s very important to hire a law firm that has previously handled this type of case. Industrial accidents can be very complex. There can be extensive investigations, third party responsibility, defective product issues, several different insurance companies, workers-comp issues, and more.  A lawyer that isn’t experienced with this type of case could easily miss one of these issues and cost your case thousands, or even millions, of dollars.

 

Should you have further questions about industrial accidents, or think you may have a case, stop by our office on Florida Street or call us anytime at (251) 300-2000. And at Greene & Phillips, you owe us nothing unless we are able to get money for you.

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Maritime Accidents
Posted on: September 7th, 2018 by J. David Greene

Living near the coast, we know that a lot of Mobile area citizens work on maritime vessels or offshore rigs. But what qualifies an accident to be labeled a “maritime accident”? A maritime accident is any accident involving a ship or other marine craft. Some examples are vessel collisions, faulty design, capsizing, explosions, falling overboard, oil rig accidents, and even shipyard accidents. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has declared that commercial fishing alone is the most dangerous job in the country.

 

With the known dangerous of this industry and profession, regulations have been put into place to protect maritime workers. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, is a federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. Waters.  The actual wording of the law says that all “seaman” are covered.  But due to case law and previous verdicts, that definition has been narrowed to someone who works on a vessel that is navigable waters. It includes a section on Seaman’s rights which lays out the steps and restrictions for injured maritime employees to recover compensation for their injuries from their employers.  Victims of a maritime accident can seek money damages when their injuries are the result of the careless or negligent acts of an employer or coworker.

 

Now, how are Jones Act claims different than Worker’s Comp? One big difference is the amount of compensation you may be able to receive, especially in cases where the company acted negligently. In a workers’ comp case it doesn’t matter if the employer, employee, or coworker was responsible for injuries. Fault plays no role in one’s ability to file this type of claim. While compensation is available to injured maritime workers, regardless of fault through maintenance and cure benefits, a Jones Act claim can be filed based only on an employer’s negligence.

 

Should you have further questions about maritime accidents or think you might have a case, please call our office at (251) 300-2000, or drop by our office anytime at 51 North Florida Street

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What To Do When You Hear Sirens...
Posted on: September 4th, 2018 by Will G. Phillips

 

When emergency services are needed, time is of the essence. In the event that you hear sirens on the roadways, make sure not to panic or stop abruptly. This could threaten the safety of not only the emergency vehicle, but also other vehicles on the road. Be sure to move off to the side of the roadway, if possible, to allow the emergency vehicle room to get by.

 

The worst thing you could do is allow the oncoming emergency vehicle to distract you. This can cause bottlenecking and dangerous traffic situations that could very easily lead to an accident. And of course, don’t just stop where you are. Slow down, and pull to the side of the road, and be sure not to block any intersections.

You should also remember to check your rear-view and side mirrors to estimate the speed of the emergency vehicle, and plan your next move. Then start looking for a safe area where you can pull over. Wait for the emergency vehicle to pass, keeping your foot on the brake so that your brake lights let other drivers know you have stopped. Also, keep in mind there may be more emergency vehicles heading in the same direction.

 

Unfortunately, there have been instances where emergency response vehicles have caused accidents while responding to a call. Sometimes they might fail to use the proper warning lights or sirens, and other drivers are not aware of their approach. Or, once they arrive at their destination, they do not continue the use of lights or sirens as they are blocking the roadways. Both can be very serious matters, and it’s best to always be aware of your surroundings and practice defensive driving.

 

If you have any further questions about this topic, please feel free to call our office at (251) 300-2000, or come by anytime at 51 North Florida Street.

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Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Posted on: August 20th, 2018 by Will G. Phillips

                                

Motor vehicle insurance is a requirement by law, but unfortunately not everyone plays by the rules. Uninsured Motorist, or UM, covers your vehicle damage and injury costs if you are hit by someone without insurance.  Underinsured Motorist, UIM, covers you if you are hit by someone who may have insurance, but not enough to cover your property damage or injury expenses.

 

Alabama law requires every driver to have at least $25,000 in liability coverage.  That is so if you hit someone, your insurance will pay up to $25,000 toward the injury or property damage of the vehicle or person you hit.  Unfortunately, many people do not have insurance.  A recent study showed that one in four vehicles are not insured. If one of them hits you and causes damage, you will be left with the bill. Also, many times we see where injury costs and vehicle damage total much more than $25,000. Cars and trucks are heavy and can do tremendous damage quickly.  You may get hit by a vehicle that has the Alabama minimum, but that may not be enough to cover your hospital bills.

 

Many times we are asked if uninsured motorist is a requirement on your policy. You do have the option to waive UM/UIM coverage when you purchase your auto policy. However, if you choose not to have it, you might find it difficult, if not impossible, to cover your losses from an accident with an uninsured motorist. It is some of the least expensive insurance you can buy, and depending on your policy, many times it only costs you an additional $15-20 every six months.

 

To make sure you are protected from uninsured drivers is of course make sure you have included UM/UIM coverage on your auto policy. The higher the limits, the better. The next thing you can do is practice defensive driving. Always be cautious of other drivers. Plan ahead for the unexpected, watch your speed, always use your turn signals, and keep a safe distance. If you have any further questions, or would like one of our attorneys to review your auto insurance policy, please feel free to stop by our office anytime, or give us a call at (251) 300-2000.

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Pool Safety
Posted on: June 28th, 2018 by Will G. Phillips

Summer is here, and we all know that one of the best ways to beat the heat is to go swimming. But as much fun as swimming can be, safety around the swimming pool, or any body of water for that matter, should be of utmost importance. It is crucial to know how to swim, but if someone does not know how to swim, like children for instance, make sure they have the proper flotation devices. Also, make absolutely sure that children are never left unattended around a swimming pool, no matter how well you think they may be able to swim. If you are swimming at a public pool, it is important to be aware of others around you. Avoid horseplay, running around the pool, diving when you're unaware of the depth, and swimming unattended. If you happen to see someone struggling to swim or in distress, you should seek help immediately. If you are able, get the person out of the water and call 911. Time is extremely limited in situations such as drowning.

Another step that is vital for maintaining safety around swimming pools is to establish rules for the pool area by which people should abide. All pools should have a proper barrier that helps to ensure that a child cannot get into the water without the help of an adult. It's also a good idea to keep life-saving equipment near the pool area, such as a rescue ring or lifesaving hook. If someone is injured in a residential pool, such as that of a friend or family member, it's very likely that they could potentially have a case in order to be compensated for those injuries.

If someone is injured in or near a pool, they should first seek medical attention. Call 911 if someone has drowned or is severely injured. It's very helpful to have someone around that knows CPR in the event that a drowning does happen. After they're checked out, they should contact their personal injury attorney to see what they're able to do to be compensated for their injuries. We see accidents like this all the time due to improper barriers around pools, manufacturing defects with the pool itself, or even adults or lifeguards neglecting to properly watch the children or swimmers. Most of the time, these incidents occur at residential homes, where you would least expect it to happen. It's always important to speak with an attorney to see what you're able to do in the event of an accident. If you have any questions about pool safety or think you may have a case, please call (251) 300-2000, go to GreenePhillips.com, or stop by our office. You never need an appointment, and you owe us nothing unless we get you money.

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