Law Blog


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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Motorcycle Safety
Posted on: June 21st, 2018 by Will G. Phillips

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists are thirty times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car or truck. The most important thing is to know how to properly operate the motorcycle that you plan on driving. When you’re out on the roadways, you want to be confident in the motor vehicle you’re operating. It’s also important to wear the proper safety gear, such as a helmet, boots, and thick clothing even in the summertime. Wearing brightly colored clothing is a good idea as well.

It’s important to remember to keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes, or pulling out from side streets. Also, be sure to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. This is critical to ensure that you have enough stopping distance, and so that you have time to react to obstacles in the road. Drivers are distracted by many different things, so it’s important to be overly cautious of your surroundings, and how vehicles are moving around you.

Now sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but taking the time to check on road conditions and road construction, as well as bad weather, could potentially be lifesaving. Before you decide to operate a motorcycle, check your local weather forecast. It’s even more difficult to see motorcyclists when the weather conditions are bad. And of course, always practice safe driving habits. Avoid going over the speed limit, look twice before entering an intersection, and always keep a cautious eye out for other drivers around you.

And in the unfortunate event that you or someone you know is involved in an accident while driving a motorcycle, seek medical attention immediately. After being checked out by a doctor, you should contact an attorney to see what you are entitled to for their injuries. At Greene & Phillips we have dealt with many motorcycle accident cases, and it’s important to find an attorney that can answer questions based off of experience they’ve had with cases similar to yours. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, or have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (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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Medical Attention Following Your Wreck
Posted on: April 13th, 2018 by Will G. Phillips

When should someone seek medical attention after they’ve been in a car wreck?

Obviously if you are bleeding, have broken bones, or are in extreme pain, you need to get checked out right a way. Allow first responders to escort you to the nearest Emergency Room.
But for minor accidents, as a general rule, if there is any damage to your vehicle there very well may be damage to your body, and it’s worth getting checked out by a doctor. Many injuries from car accidents aren’t particularly obvious at first, but they can still have significant long term effects if not caught early.

So what you’re saying is, even though you might not be in pain, it’s still best to be examined by a doctor?

Absolutely. You really should go to the doctor within 24 hours of your accident. One big reason is from a legal standpoint, you don’t want to develope what is called a “gap in treatment” which refers to the time between the accident and the documentation of your injuries related to that accident. When dealing with your case, the longer you wait after your accident to see the doctor, the more challenging it is to prove those injuries were caused by the accident.

If you aren’t experiencing much pain, what should you tell the doctor who’s checking you out?

Tell your doctor, that you were in an accident. Your doctor is then going to check for signs of whiplash and other strains in the neck and back. He or she will also be able to determine if the trauma may have led to more serious conditions like nervous system or brain damage.

If the accident victim doesn’t have a primary care doctor what should they do?

They can go to an urgent care facility and get checked out. Urgent care facilities are typically much quicker than a traditional ER. Also an ER will immediately put a lien on your case which could affect the amount of the money you will receive with your settlement.

What about if they don’t have insurance, or are concerned about how to pay for the doctor’s visit?

If they are concerned about paying for the visit, they should contact a lawyer who may be able arrange a doctor’s visit with no initial costs under what is called a letter of protect.

David, how can someone contact Green & Phillips if they should have any further questions about when to see a doctor after an accident?

They can come by anytime or call our office 24/7 at 251-300-200.

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QB Country Camp
Posted on: June 5th, 2016 by J. David Greene

Greene & Phillips is a proud sponsore of the QB Country Camp

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George Talbot-L'Arche Football Banquet
Posted on: June 1st, 2016 by J. David Greene

Greene & Phillips is a proud sponsor of the George Talbot-L'Arche Football banquet

L'Arche Mobile Banquet...

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Safety Advice for Motorcyclists
Posted on: July 21st, 2015 by J. David Greene

What are some safety tips that motorcyclists should be aware of?

First off, be sure to wear a helmet and protective clothing. If you are in an accident, they can save your life. But beyond that, you really want to always assume that you cannot be seen and that the other drivers may not act rationally when they are around you. If you're on guard, you can and drive defensively you can often take evasive action to avoid an accident.

Make sure you make yourself visible and always be aware of your surroundings. You'll want to drive within the speed limit, but always be thinking how you can escape if another vehicle acts in a way that may threaten you.

Also, it's very important that you do not drink at all before you ride. You've got to be alert, not tired and not on any medication that may cause drowsiness or delayed responses. There is no margin for error when you're on a motorcycle because you have very little protection, so your life could depend on how alert you are.

What are some things for a drivers of a cars and trucks should remember, when it comes to motorcycle safety?

First, make sure you don't drive distracted, motorcycles can be less visible, so it's important to keep your eyes on the road. If you do see a motorcycle, keep a safe distance and use your turn signals.

A motorcyclist has the same rights and responsibilities as any other motorist on the road. That means you should never assume you can squeeze by a motorcycle in the same lane. If you are passing a bike, give it a full lane, just like you would a car.

If someone is involved in a motorcycle accident is that case unique?

Motorcycle accident injuries are often much more severe than other accidents, but the cases can be difficult because the motorcyclist is often unfairly initially blamed. People tend to see them going faster than they actually are, and the insurance company is going to make assumptions about the motorcycle driver that are often not true.

When should the victim of a motorcycle accident contact a lawyer?

You should contact a lawyer as soon as you can after your accident. Important information about the accident can be harder to determine the longer time from the accident. Make sure to pick a lawyer who handles Motorcycle Accident cases. ...

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