How Will COVID-19 Impact my Personal Injury Claim?

Just one year ago, no one could have imagined how different our lives would be today. None of us has experienced the fears and restrictions that a novel virus can impose on the world.

In the U.S., with limited understanding of this virus and no vaccine to stop its spread, social distancing is the new norm, along with hand washing and mask wearing. At the very least, we know we can stop the spread of COVID-19 through physical barriers.

Certainly, we hope to stop the virus with a vaccine in the future, but until then, it is wise to follow precautions out of respect for others and for front-line healthcare workers.

Our offices remain open and we are available to discuss your personal injury claim. We invite you in as we disinfect our offices so you can feel safe meeting here, or we will meet at your convenience including virtual conferences. Please do not let COVID-19 impact your personal injury claim because you are facing a time clock that requires you to file within two years of your date of injury.

We remain committed to representing you whether your personal injury case is an auto, truck, pedestrian, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, workers’ compensation, construction accident, veteran benefits, industrial, or maritime accident.

What has Changed with the Courts?

Facing this COVID challenge, many courts are open to workers, and are planning to be open to the public soon. Our office is still collecting evidence and police reports, conducting depositions, and can file your case at the courthouse in Mobile County.

Courthouses in Georgia continue to operate under restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, however remote hearings and video conferencing are being conducted and civil clerks are processing files full time.

While trials are suspended for the present time, most personal injury cases settle before trial ever begins and we will lay the groundwork to prepare for trial just as we have before this pandemic.

Alabama has stated that its Supreme Court will not suspend any statutory limitations, so you still are required to file your personal injury action in a timely manner. Meanwhile, Georgia’s Supreme Court has extended the statute of limitations and other discovery deadlines.

Seek Medical Care if You Are Injured 

If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important that you seek medical treatment and follow through on any recommended therapy, medications, or surgery. The emergency rooms are still open, and your doctor’s office will likely still see patients with additional precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing.

It is not only important to be treated medically for your health and recovery but delaying treatment can have a negative impact on your personal injury claim.  We prefer to file a personal injury lawsuit when you have been diagnosed and are receiving care for your injury.  That way the true value of your claim can be assessed.

Personal Injury Claims Based on COVID Exposure

While the courts endeavor to get back to normal, personal injury claims based on COVID-19 cases will be impacted.

Normally, the legal theory known as negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims. For example, the driver was not paying attention, the motorcycle was weaving through traffic, or there were safety violations in the workplace.

Since COVID-19, elderly residents of nursing homes have suffered a disproportionate number of deaths due to this contagious virus. Normally a resident of a nursing home will be able to sue if their facility was negligent and did not protect its residents.

However, 15 states have granted protection to nursing homes and care facilities including Alabama and Georgia, shielding them from any liability claims of negligence for causing or allowing COVID-19 to infect or kill residents.

Medical malpractice claims may be more difficult to bring if someone was harmed by the virus, even if the hospital or doctor was negligent.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim 

As people get back to work, we are seeing more cars and trucks returning to the roads. Pedestrians and bicyclists are still sharing the roads and people are still driving and walking distracted.

The last thing you want to do is delay filing a personal injury claim for any reason.  If you have been injured, call Greene & Phillips as soon as you possibly can at 1-888-510-1020 so we can begin the conversation and offer you guidance.

Coronavirus: UPDATE

As coronavirus continues to affect the entire country, it is more important now than ever to continue to follow all social distancing guidelines and take measures to keep both you and your family safe during this time.

A great resource to see data and statistics concerning the coronavirus is The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. You can visit them here: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/alabama. You can view your individual state, as well as our country as a whole.

As social distancing drags on, however, some people are asking why it is necessary. The difference between coronavirus and something such as the seasonal flu is that many people have full or partial immunity to the flu virus because they have had it before or were vaccinated against it. Far more people are vulnerable to coronavirus, so it has many more targets of opportunity to spread. That is why distancing is important, as it gives the virus less opportunities to travel.

According to estimates by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and evaluation (IHME), social distancing is working, and the curve is flattening. While once estimating well over 100,000 deaths in the United States by August 1, the IHME model now predicts just over 61,000. This stark difference in magnitude of tragedy highlights the importance of taking social distancing measures seriously, as we have seen their effectiveness in lowering projections.

What can you do to continue to slow the spread of coronavirus? The White House, with the help of some of the nation’s top doctors, has published, “30 Days to Stop the Spread.” This article outlines the steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic such as, if you feel sick, stay home, and do not go to work. Contact your medical provider immediately.If your children are sick, keep them at home, and contact their Pediatrician as soon as you can. If someone in your household has tested positive for coronavirus, keep the entire family at home for a minimum of two weeks. The elderly population is especially at risk and should stay at home and away from other people. If you are a person with a serious underlying health conditions that can put you at increased risk, stay at home and away from other people.

As the curve flattens and signs of progress against COVID-19 become more evident, Americans must resist the impulse to ease social-separation measures at the first glimpse of that progress. State government and public health leaders warned on Thursday that premature loosening of guidelines could lead to a second wave of infections.

The ideal goal in fighting a pandemic is to completely halt the spread. However, in the case of the coronavirus, slowing the spread is important. This reduces the number of cases that are active at any given time, which in turn gives doctors, hospitals, police, schools and vaccine-manufacturers time to prepare and respond, without becoming overwhelmed.

What We Are Doing at Greene & Phillips
We understand that car accidents and other injury events do not practice social distancing. Even during a pandemic, people are injured daily and need help. Greene & Phillips remains open during this time to continue to serve both new and existing clients. In order to effectively and safely serve our clients, we are taking the following measures:

Our office is utilizing every digital method available to us to handle as many aspects of a case digitally as possible. This includes obtaining digital signatures, sending pictures of documents, and meeting with clients using platforms such as Zoom or FaceTime. When clients do visit our office, we are able to meet them where they are with curbside service for document drop-off, pickup, and signatures. Each of our attorneys and staff members have access to disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and gloves to keep our clients safe when personal interactions do occur. By utilizing the power of the internet and the ingenuity of our amazing staff at Greene & Phillips, we are able to ensure that your case never misses a beat.

If you have been injured, we are still available to help. Give our office a call at (251) 478-1115 to speak with someone about your case. If you own a business, your business insurance may include a Business Interruption policy. If your business has been affected by the coronavirus and you want to speak with an attorney regarding Business Interruption Insurance, give us a call at (251) 478-1115.

Handling Your Case Despite Coronavirus

At Greene & Phillips, the safety of our clients, staff, and vendors have been, and always will be top priority. As our nation faces the coronavirus, it is important that we all understand the best ways to stay healthy. We have compiled a list from resources such as the Red Cross, the CDC, and other top medical and media outlets in order to educate and best prepare you as we continue to face coronavirus.

Here are some useful, practical tips for stopping the spread of COVID-19:

Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet away from others if you must go out in public. Stay connected with loved ones through video and phone calls, texts and social media. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Good examples of social distancing include taking a walk around the neighborhood, doing some yard work, reading a book inside, calling your friends, or FaceTiming your family. Bad examples of social distancing include having visitors outside of your immediate family, attending any large gathering, using mass transit, or having sleepovers.

Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to guard against the coronavirus. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Did you know that the average person touches their face nearly 15 times per hour? Limiting contact between your face and hands is a major part of keeping the virus out of your nose and mouth.

Clean and disinfect household surfaces daily and high-touch surfaces frequently throughout the day. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. There is research that suggests that the virus can persist for even a few days on some surfaces, so cleaning surfaces regularly should be a priority.

Keep a set of disinfectant wipes or a bottle of hand sanitizer in your car. This will allow you to quickly sanitize your hands after visiting the grocery store or other location where your hands may have become dirty. Frequently wipe down surfaces in your car such as your steering wheel or door handles.

If you go to the grocery store, consider wearing a pair of gloves or disinfecting your shopping cart with wipes. Be sure to immediately wash your hands both when you arrive home and after you have put all of your groceries away.

If receiving deliveries such as packages or food, consider unboxing the food or item outside your house. Do not take packaging into your house, as it may have traces of the virus still present on its surface.

What We Are Doing at Greene & Phillips

We understand that car accidents and other injury events do not practice social distancing. Even during a pandemic, people are injured daily and need help. Greene & Phillips remains open during this time to continue to serve both new and existing clients. In order to effectively and safely serve our clients, we are taking the following measures:

Our office is utilizing every digital method available to us to handle as many aspects of a case digitally as possible. This includes obtaining digital signatures, sending pictures of documents, and meeting with clients using platforms such as Zoom or FaceTime.

When clients do visit our office, we are able to meet them where they are with curbside service for document drop-off, pickup, and signatures.

Each of our attorneys and staff members have access to disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and gloves to keep our clients safe when personal interactions do occur.

By utilizing the power of the internet and the ingenuity of our amazing staff at Greene & Phillips, we are able to ensure that your case never misses a beat.

If you have been injured, we are still available to help. Give our office a call at (251) 478-1115 to speak with someone about your case.

If you own a business, your business insurance may include a Business Interruption policy. If your business has been affected by the coronavirus and you want to speak with an attorney regarding Business Interruption Insurance, give us a call at (251) 478-1115.

Seat Belt Laws in Alabama

Did you know that everyone in a vehicle traveling in Alabama must wear a seat belt? The state’s seat belt law used to apply only to those in the front seat, and minors in the backseat. However, under a bill approved by the Alabama Legislature during its last session, the rule was expanded to cover anyone who is riding in the back seat as well.

While seat belt usage has grown in recent years, with the national rate at 90% in 2018, fewer people take the time to buckle up in the back of the vehicle. Law enforcement officials say that this is a mistake. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, 60% of the people who died in traffic accidents in the state in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts. Seatbelts alone are credited with saving over 15,000 lives last year.

The new law is a secondary violation, so a ticket can only be issued if the driver was pulled over for another reason.
The bill was named after Roderic Deshaun Scott, who died in an accident on I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham in 2016. Roderic was a student and athlete player at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery. Roderic was one of three students in the back of the car who were not wearing their seatbelts, and was ejected from the vehicle.

With the new law passed, it is now not only important to buckle up everywhere in the car, it’s the law. If you’ve been injured as a result of a car accident, or if you have any further questions regarding Alabama’s seat belt laws, come by our office anytime or call us at (251) 300-2000.

Alabama’s New Road Rage Law

It’s now against the law for Alabama drivers to stay in the left lane for too long. As part of the Anti-Road Rage Act, passed by lawmakers during the last legislative session, vehicles cannot stay in the leftmost lane of the interstate for more than a mile and a half without passing another vehicle.

The bill was sponsored by Representative Phillip Pettus, who is a retired state trooper. While there are some exceptions to the new rules, drivers will be fined $200 if cited for the violation.

Exceptions to the law include: congestion that prevents the driver from driving in the right lane, bad weather and road hazards, exits or toll payments on the left, law enforcement and first responders who are on duty, and construction that forces traffic left.

According to some studies, as many as 80% of drivers feel angry when a driver in the left lane refuses to move over. The new law is designed to cut down on road rage incidents by requiring drivers to move over if they are not moving faster than the car in the right lane.

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that examined police records nationally, there are more than 1,200 incidents of road rage on average reported per year in the United States. Many of these incidents have ended with serious injuries or even fatalities.

If you’ve been injured as a result of a road rage accident or if you have any further questions regarding the Anti-Road Rage Act, feel free to come by our office anytime, or call us at 251-300-2000.

Halloween Safety

With Halloween just three days away, now is a good time to plan ahead to make sure that your family has a fun, yet safe, holiday. Here are some easy reminders to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time trick-or-treating.

Make sure your children never go alone, and always follow pedestrian safety rules. Look before you step, and only cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible. Make sure you are obeying traffic signals such as WALK/DON’T WALK signs, and looking both ways before you cross the street.

Costumes can also play a role in Halloween safety. Make sure your children’s costume fits well, and doesn’t drag the ground in order to prevent tripping. If possible, stay away from the use of masks and costume contact lenses as they can hinder eyesight. Consider the use of makeup and decorative hats as a safer alternative. Also, if a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure that it is not too sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if they stumble or trip.

It’s also a good idea to double check your home to ensure safety for trick-or-treaters. You should remove debris from the porch and front yard, or anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations.  Be sure to fill in any holes or low areas. You should also check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Leaves should be swept from sidewalks and driveways. Also, make sure to restrain all pets.

Some other great reminders to make sure everyone stays safe is to carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a fully charged cell phone for good communication. Only approach houses that are well lit, and never enter a stranger’s home. If older children plan to go trick-or-treating alone, review a route that is acceptable to you and agree on a specific time for them to return. And then once you are home, inspect all candy and treats before you consume them. Throw away anything that is unwrapped or spoiled, and don’t eat anything that is homemade from someone you don’t know.

Operation Backpack

Operation Backpack

Operation Backpack

Recently, we partnered with Fox10 and Volunteers of America for Operation Backpack! Operation Backpack was a school supply drive to ensure that kids in our community have everything they need to start the school year. Volunteers of America set a goal of 500 backpacks, and we exceeded that by over 100! Thank you, Mobile, for your generous support.

Dog Bites

Even though they’re man’s best friend, a dog’s behavior can sometimes be unpredictable. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, you need to know your legal rights. If a dog bites you and causes an injury, the owner may be responsible and may owe you compensation for medical care, and pain and suffering.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you should immediately call the authorities and seek medical attention.  Then, you should seek out a lawyer that has experience handling this type of case. Our firm has handled a number of dog bite cases in the 21 years that we’ve been in business. If you have any questions about dog bites, you can always meet with an injury lawyer at our office on Florida Street, or call us at (251) 300-2000.  Call or come by anytime, you never need an appointment.

Hit and Run Accidents

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, where the at-fault driver leaves before the police come to make a report, you still may have legal recourse. Hit-and-runs can be difficult situations, but if you are ever a victim, it is very important to notify the police and make sure a report is done. Speaking with an injury lawyer as soon as you can is very important.  Investigations and evidence need to be secured as soon as possible.   Most times, a person has insurance to cover damages created by hit-and-run accidents.

A phantom vehicle accident is a wreck that is caused by a vehicle that may not necessarily hit you, but is the primary cause of the accident.  For instance, if a car pulls out in front of you and you swerve to miss it, you may miss the other car and it may drive away, but you may hit another car and experience serious injuries and have significant damage to your car.  In these cases and with the right insurance, you may still receive money to cover the cost of your injuries, lost wages, and more.

After you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run or phantom vehicle accident it’s very important to have all your details correct. Talking with your own insurance company, without legal representation present, could end up hurting your case. It is in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle this type of case before you speak with any insurance company. If you’ve been injured as a result of a hit and run accident or if you have any further questions, come by our office anytime or call us at 251-300-2000.

Boys & Girls Club Telethon

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of co-hosting a telethon with WKRG that benefitted the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama. We’ve partnered with this organization on numerous events throughout the year, and it has been a very rewarding experience. Over the course of the day, we raised $51,000! These funds will help the Boys & Girls Club fund programs they have for children both after school and during the summer.