premises liability

I Was Hurt on Someone Else’s Property

When you visit another person’s property, there is always the chance of an accident occurring. This may happen when you are over at a friend’s house, shopping in a grocery store or retail establishment, dining out at a restaurant, visiting a museum or another public building, vacationing at a resort, or any number of other places. These are occasions when you are supposed to be enjoying yourself, and the last thing you want to deal with is an injury.

Sometimes these types of accidents produce minor injuries. At other times, however, the injuries are more serious, requiring medical attention and causing you to miss some time from work. In the most severe cases, being hurt on someone else’s property can result in temporary or permanent disability, which can take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families.

There are several types of injures that frequently occur on the property of another party, some of the most common include:

  • Slips, trips and falls;
  • Dog bites and animal attacks;
  • Swimming pool accidents;
  • Amusement park accidents;
  • Fires and floods;
  • Elevator and escalator accidents;
  • Defective conditions on the premises;
  • Inadequate premises maintenance;
  • Inadequate premises security;
  • Exposure to hazardous substances.

If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to bring a premises liability claim against them. In order to determine if it may be worthwhile to pursue legal action, however, there are a couple important questions you need to ask:

  1. Did you have a right to be on the property?

Property owners and occupants owe a duty of care to take reasonable measures to keep the property safe and free from known hazards. The duty of care owed is different, however, depending on the type of visitor that enters the premises. In Alabama, there are three different categories of visitors:

  • Invitees: The highest duty of care is owed to those who have explicit or implied permission to be on the property. These may include those who enter the property for commercial or business purposes, such as customers, clients, or hotel guests. A landowner must use reasonable care to keep the premises safe for invitees, and adequately warn them of any known hazards.
  • Licensees: The next category of visitor is a licensee. This might be a salesperson, social guest (such as a friend who is invited to a party), or neighbor. The duty of care owed to licensees is higher than that of trespassers, but lower than invitees. Landowners must refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring a licensee or injuring a licensee by negligently exposing them to various dangers and hazards.
  • Trespassers: The lowest duty of care is owed to those who enter a landowner’s property without permission, commonly known as trespassers. The only obligation a landowner has with regards to trespassers is to refrain from willful or wanton misconduct or entrapment.

If you were injured on someone else’s property and fall into the category of an invitee, a premises liability claim might have a chance to be successful. Your chances are reduced if you were a licensee, and if you were trespassing, legal action against the landowner is probably not a realistic option.

  1. Who is Responsible for the Incident?

Landowners are not always responsible for injuries that occur on their property, even if the injured party was an invitee or licensee. They are only responsible if you can prove the following:

  • The owner/occupant owed you a duty of care;
  • The owner/occupant breached the duty owed to you;
  • This breach is the proximate cause of your injury;
  • The injury resulted in compensable damages.

Alabama uses the doctrine of “contributory negligence”. This means that if a plaintiff shares any of the fault for their injury, they are not allowed to collect damages. In a premises liability case, there is a good chance the defendant will claim that you are at least partially responsible for the injury.

For example, they may claim that you were not watching where you were going, you were in a restricted area, the dangerous condition was clearly marked, the dangerous condition was open and obvious to a reasonable person, or another defense. If any of these claims stick, you will not be able to collect compensation for your injuries. For this reason, it is important to thoroughly document the incident with multiple photographs, favorable statements from witnesses, and any other evidence you can gather that will help your case.

Speak with an Experienced Alabama Premises Liability Lawyer

Premises liability cases can be complex and are very difficult to win in Alabama. If you were hurt on someone else’s property and you believe you might have a claim, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. At Burge and Burge, we have extensive experience with this area of the law, and we can assess your case to determine if bringing a premises liability claim is a viable option.

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact our office today at 205-251-9000.

attorney in alabama

How to Stay on Top of your Case after you Hire a Lawyer

Hiring an attorney is an important step toward resolving a legal matter. Before you retain legal counsel, you should ask several questions, such as “how long have you practiced law?”, “how many cases have you handled that are similar to mine?”, “what is the likely outcome of my case?”, and “what should I expect from you going forward?”

Your lawyer should demonstrate a high level of competence with the particular case you are hiring them for. They should be able to speak in-depth about this area of the law, what your various legal options are, how the legal process will work, what to expect from your attorney, and what you can do to help ensure a successful outcome. The more closely you work together with your attorney, the better your chances of a favorable result.

How to Stay on Top of the Case Once You Hire an Attorney

After you are satisfied that you have chosen the right lawyer and signed all the retainer agreements, there are some important things you should do to keep on top of your case:

  1. Be honest from the outset

Legal cases will be thoroughly investigated by both sides, especially if you end up at trial. During the course of discovery, the facts are bound to come to light. For this and many other reasons, it always best to be honest with your attorney from the very beginning, even if the facts you give them may not be favorable to your case.

  1. Follow through on everything you agreed to do

After you hire an attorney, it is likely that they will ask you to do some things to move your case forward. Examples may include helping to gather useful evidence, going to doctor’s appointments, and other important tasks. Be sure to make these tasks a priority, because they will likely need to be completed before you are able to make any significant progress in your case.

  1. Document everything

It is always a good idea to keep a file with all the documents you have that are related to your case. You should keep a journal summarizing the dates you met with or spoke with your attorney, what was discussed, and what to expect next. Keep an electronic file as well with any email communication and digital documents.

  1. Reply promptly to any requests made by your attorney

While the case is progressing, there is a good chance your attorney will ask for some additional information and/or ask you to complete some additional tasks. For example, you may be asked to make a follow up visit to the doctor or secure an important document that only you have access to. Be sure to act on these requests as soon as you can.

  1. Report any new evidence to your attorney immediately

There are times when new information/evidence comes to light after the case is already in progress. If you become aware of any new evidence regarding your case, report that to your lawyer right away. You never know what bits of information or evidence can impact the success of negotiations or litigation. What may seem to you like a minor piece of information could end up making a major difference in the outcome of the case.

  1. Inform your attorney ASAP if you are unable to fulfill a commitment

If you have a medical appointment, hearing, or another commitment that you are not able to make, let your attorney know about it right away so it can be rescheduled or otherwise handled. Sometimes life gets in the way of a legal proceeding, but when it does, give your attorney as much advance notice as possible.

  1. Contact your attorney whenever you have questions or concerns

The most important factor in staying on top of your case after you hire a lawyer is communication. You should expect regular communication and ongoing updates from your attorney, and you should be able to contact them whenever an important question or concern arises. You may not get an immediate response as attorneys are often attending hearings or meeting with other clients, but you should expect to have your question or concern addressed within a reasonable period of time.

Speak with an Experienced Alabama Lawyer

If you have a legal issue, you deserve experienced representation from attorneys who will treat you with dignity and respect. At Burge and Burge, we have in-depth knowledge of a wide range of practice areas; including personal injury, workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, professional negligence, and many others. We work closely with our clients to provide the skilled and personalized representation they need and deserve.

For a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys, contact us today at 205-251-9000.

 

accidents in the swimming pool

Pool Safety & Children – Who is responsible when accidents happen in the pool?

It has been a hot summer so far in Alabama, and there’s still a lot of warm weather left in the season. That probably means that you and your children spend a fair amount of time at both public and private swimming pools. While you have taught your children how to swim and other safety rules, accidents can still happen. Should this ever happen to your family, it’s important to understand who has liability.

Swimming Pools and Alabama’s Premises Liability Laws

The premises liability portion of Alabama’s personal injury law states that swimming pool owners have the legal obligation to keep them safe. This includes such actions as putting a fence around the pool and a lock on the fence to keep uninvited neighborhood children from accessing it. The law recognizes that children don’t have the same ability as adults to perceive danger and that seeing an open swimming pool would appeal to their natural sense of curiosity. All neighborhood swimming pools fall under the legal category of attractive nuisance for this reason.

In addition to securing the outer parameter of the pool, owners must ensure that the pool itself is safe. For example, drain covers must meet federal safety regulations to ensure that a child doesn’t become seriously injured by sitting on one or even walking by it. This law came about after several children died due to the suctioning power of a swimming pool drain that didn’t have proper covering.

Pool owners should also remove tripping hazards from walkways to avoid a slip and fall injury. It is important that they realize that not every swimming pool accident happens in the water. Owners of public facilities must meet specific fencing requirements as well as have the following signage available:

  • Opening and closing time of the pool
  • A warning during the hours that no lifeguard is on duty
  • A warning that children should not use the pool unless supervised by an adult

Pool owners who don’t abide by these regulations may be liable for injuries sustained by visitors to their property.

Tips to Keep Your Children Safe in the Swimming Pool

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your children remain safe at the pool is to always supervise them around water. Plan to hold very young children in the water and to be within an arm’s length of preschool aged children for the duration of your stay. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that one adult assume the responsibility of designated Water Watcher. That means that he or she agrees to only watch the children in the swimming pool and not use a smartphone, listen to music, read, or engage in any other type of distraction.

Never rely on a lifeguard to watch your child as there’s no substitute for one-on-one supervision. A single lifeguard could have the responsibility for looking after hundreds of swimmers and not notice a problem right away. Some lifeguards and swimming pool owners who hire them are negligent as well. Perhaps the lifeguard saw it as an easy summer job and doesn’t take the responsibility as seriously as he or she should.

All children should have swimming lessons before they spend time in the water without an adult right next to them. Many pools and community organizations such as the YMCA offer formal swimming lessons for kids of all ages. Even babies can take lessons with their parents to help them get comfortable with the feeling of being in the water.

We also recommend that you learn CPR to enable you to jump into immediate action in an emergency. Even if you never have to use CPR on your own child, knowing this skill could save a life. Lastly, never consume alcohol when you’re supervising children in or near a swimming pool or going for a swim yourself.

Help for Families of Swimming Pool Accidents

Burge & Burge, PC is a personal injury law firm that can help you file suit against the negligent party that caused your child’s swimming pool accident. We offer free case reviews to determine the likelihood of proving negligence and winning your case. Please contact us at our Birmingham, Alabama law office at 205-251-9000. You can also reach us toll-free at 800-633-3733 to reserve a time for your consultation.

electrocution injuryes

What Are the Effects of Electrocution Injuries?

We often take electricity for granted as a modern-day convenience. Most of us expect to plug in various items and use them without being hurt. Although most electrical items are safe and designed to prevent injury, the storage and transmission of electricity has inherent dangers.

There is an average of 4,400 injuries and 400 deaths each year in the U.S. that are attributed to electrocution. Specifically, electrocution is defined as a serious injury or death that results from an electric shock or electrical current traveling through the body.

How Common Are Electrocution Injuries?

An electrical injury can happen anyplace that electricity is present. These can occur in everyday situations in the home, while at work, or when visiting another property.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that electrocution is the second leading cause of death among construction workers.
  • According to U.S. industry experts, more than 30,000 electric shock accidents happen each year in the workplace.
  • Hospitals treat approximately seven children each day that were injured from tampering with electrical outlets.
  • More than 14% of electrocution injuries result from household current (120/220 volts).

Different Types of Electrical Injuries

Electrocution injuries can lead to severe and life-changing injuries. If the victim doesn’t lose their life, they could face painful and debilitating consequences from one of these events. Some of the common types of electrical injuries include:

  • Burns. Burns are the most common result of contact with electricity. This refers to external burns as well as the death to deeper tissues. Flash or flame injuries occur when there is an intense high voltage current or flash of light. Thermal injuries result from contact with hot objects such as steam, boiling water, fire, or electricity. Arc blast injuries occur when someone is close to an electric fault such as deteriorated wiring.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries. These are a range of conditions that involve injury to the body’s muscles, tendons, bones, nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissue. These injuries occur in about 40% of electrocution cases.
  • Internal injuries. An injury victim can also suffer traumatic brain injury, acute renal failure, and other neurological injuries from electrocution.
  • Amputations. Roughly 11% of people who have power line electrocution injuries have to undergo multiple amputations.
  • Loss of consciousness. About one-third of electrocution injury victims suffer brain injuries that lead to loss of consciousness and the potential for permanent impairment.
  • Ventricular fibrillation. Electrocution can lead to the uncoordinated contraction of the heart’s muscles, which could result in cardiac arrest.
  • Secondary injuries from falls. When a person or worker comes into contact with electricity while on a ladder or other height, they might fall due to the startle reaction and suffer other serious injuries.
  • Death. Death is a common result when there is a severe electrocution injury linked to contact with high-voltage power lines.

Who is to Blame for an Electrocution Injury?

Since most electrocution injuries are preventable, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. Who is responsible will depend on where and how an injury occurred. For example, if your injury happened on the job, you will need to go through your employer’s worker’s compensation coverage for benefits. If a third party was to blame, it’s possible that you might also have a separate case for damages.

Not all electrocution injuries happen in the workplace. If you were on someone else’s property when your accident occurred, you might have a premises liability claim. Electrocution injuries can also result from unsafe products, which could result in a personal injury case against a designer or manufacturer.

Hire the Experienced Legal Representation You Need

If you or someone you love has been injured in an electrocution accident, you may be facing significant emotional and financial pressure due to medical care requirements and lost time from work. You might be unsure about who is at fault in your accident, and that’s ok.

At Burge & Burge, P.C., our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys will investigate your case and identify any parties that might be liable for your injuries. We understand the seriousness of electrocution injuries and will work on your behalf to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

how can spinal injury affect you?

How Can A Spinal Injury Affect You?

A spinal injury can have significant consequences and the potential to drastically change your life. What begins as a normal workday, a drive to the store, or some other innocent activity, could end with a catastrophic accident that will affect you and your loved ones physically, emotionally, and financially.

Your spinal cord is the complex core of nerves that begins at your brain and runs down your vertebral canal to your tailbone. It is part of your body’s essential collection of nerves, referred to as the central nervous system, paired with the brain.

Your body relies on its spinal column for its main structural support. This allows you to stand upright, twist, and bend, while also protecting your vertebrae from injury. If your spinal cord suffers damage, it can lead to permanent changes in the body’s sensation, strength, and some other essential functions.

Common Accidents That Lead to Spinal Injuries

There are over 12,000 spinal injuries that occur each year in the U.S. Of the people injured, roughly 82% are male, and the average age of an injury victim is 42. Some of the typical ways that these injuries occur include:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical errors
  • Maritime accidents
  • Sports and recreation accidents
  • Violence

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

An injury affecting the body’s spinal cord can lead to loss of mobility or sensation. The nerves in the spinal cord are also responsible for some of the body’s vital systems, so damage can lead to severe and dangerous medical conditions. Some of the symptoms of spinal injuries include:

  • Loss of feeling and mobility in extremities
  • Pain, tingling, or burning sensation
  • Inability to feel hot, cold, pressure
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty with balance or walking
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Inability to regulate circulation and blood pressure
  • Inability to control respiration
  • An oddly positioned back or neck
  • Sexual dysfunction

The Serious Implications of Spinal Injuries

Even a minor spinal injury can produce significant pain and limitations for the victim. Unfortunately, some of these injuries will not improve with time but will require long-term medical treatment and care. The most common types of serious spinal injuries are:

  • Paraparesis. This is a spinal injury resulting in partial paralysis of the lower body.
  • Paraplegia. This is an injury that results in full paralysis of the body’s lower extremities.
  • Quadriparesis. This spinal injury results in partial paralysis of all four of the body’s extremities.
  • Quadriplegia. This type of spine injury is the most severe and results in full paralysis of all four extremities.

These conditions could require a lifetime of medical care, home and lifestyle accommodations, and result in lost earning capacity.

Who is Liable in Spinal Injury Cases?

If another party caused your spinal injury, they could be legally held responsible for your damages. If your accident took place at work or while in the course of doing your job, you would have to file a worker’s compensation claim with your employer. When a third party is also involved, you might have an additional claim for damages as well.

Outside of workplace injuries, you might have several different types of personal injury claims. If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, the other driver or a parts manufacturer could be liable for your injuries. You might have a premises liability case if you were hurt on someone else’s property. A healthcare provider who injures you or worsens your condition could be subject to a medical malpractice claim.

Speak with an Alabama Spine Injury Attorney About Your Rights

At Burge & Burge, P.C., we are dedicated to helping victims injured in car and truck crashes, workplace accidents, medical malpractice incidents, fall accidents, and other types of injury cases. Our aim to help you achieve a fair settlement or a large enough jury verdict so that you will always be able to afford to care for yourself and your loved ones.

Contact our Birmingham office today at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our Alabama injury attorneys. We will review the circumstances of your accident and let you know your legal options.

injured on the job

Dos and Don’ts When Injured on the Job

Workplace injuries are a common occurrence. In Alabama alone, there are more than 800 claims filed for injuries in the workplace each week. The state’s worker’s compensation program is a mandated insurance program for most employers that is supposed to provide medical care, wage replacement, and other benefits should you become one of these statistics.

Unfortunately, receiving the benefits you are owed is not automatic. In many cases, you may have to fight to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. The best way to ensure that you won’t meet resistance when filing a claim is to know which things you should and shouldn’t do if you’ve been injured on the job.

What You Should Do If You’ve Been Hurt at Work

Worker’s compensation laws are specific, and your employer or their insurance company could use any number of factors to try to deny or minimize your claim. This is why your actions just after an accident are vital. Some of the things you should do if you’ve been hurt at work include:

  • Report the injury. You should report the injury as soon as possible, even though state law gives you up to two years from the date of injury to file a claim. The longer you delay, however, the less valid your claim will appear.
  • Ask for an accident report. Ask your employer to fill out an official accident report and provide you with a copy.
  • Go to the doctor. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible after your injury. This is the best way to document your condition as well as obtain proof of any work restrictions. You may be required to see a doctor designated by your employer for this visit.
  • Keep detailed records. Keep your own file that includes a copy of your accident report, any witness statements, other evidence, and copies of your medical documentation.

What You Shouldn’t Do If You’ve Been Injured on the Job

When you’ve been hurt at work, you are likely in pain but are also facing financial difficulty thanks to medical bills and the possibility of lost wages. You may have a perfectly legitimate claim, but there are several ways that you can jeopardize your case. Some of the things you should avoid if you’ve been injured at work include:

  • Giving recorded or sworn statements. When an insurance provider asks for recorded or sworn statements, agreeing to this is not in your best interests.
  • Not reporting all injuries. If you have more than one injury at work, make sure that you report them all as soon as possible. Holding back information is only going to hurt your case and your credibility.
  • Anything that could be considered fraudulent. Even if you’ve been hurt at work, you must still be truthful with your employer and a medical provider. This means that you can’t hide facts about previous injuries or medical conditions. Also, if you are released to return to work and decide not to go back, your benefits could stop.
  • Going to an unauthorized medical provider. If you cannot afford to pay for your own medical care, avoid choosing your own provider without first receiving authorization from the worker’s compensation insurer.
  • Posting on social media. Avoid posting anything on social media about your employer or your accident. Just as with personal injury cases, defense attorneys can and will use this information to challenge your claim.
  • Quickly signing a release or settlement agreement. Don’t sign any release of information or any other document that relates to settling your case without first consulting with a qualified worker’s compensation attorney about your rights.

Speak with An Experienced Alabama Worker’s Compensation Attorney

If you’ve been legitimately injured at work, you have a right to collect compensation benefits. Unfortunately, worker’s compensation laws can be complex, and an employer may resist your lawful claim in the fear that it will affect their rates.

Whether you have been denied worker’s compensation benefits or do not feel that you are receiving the level of care and treatment you deserve, the experienced Alabama worker’s compensation attorneys at Burge & Burge, PC can help. Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

truck accident lawyers birmingham al

Dangers of Speeding Trucks

Our nation’s highways and roads are becoming more crowded while we are facing an infrastructure crisis. Even with this situation, the trucking industry has put out a call for more hires as it faces a massive driver shortage.

This driver crunch is causing more trucking companies and their operators to deliver the same amount of goods, or more, with fewer resources than ever. When drivers are trying to meet a deadline or are worried about their own bottom lines, they are more likely to speed.

Speeding trucks have become a deadly fact of life on U.S. roads. In 2015 alone, 4,311 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. Rules to regulate this industry have recently either been rolled back or put on hold to help trucking companies with deep pockets. This lack of oversight is only likely to cause more injury and loss of life due to speeding truck accidents.

What Constitutes Speeding?

For many individuals, the answer to this question is black and white. Speeding means that you are driving over the posted speed limit, right? This is true in most cases, but not all. In many U.S. states, trucks have a different (lower) speed limit than passenger vehicles, and it is the responsibility of the truck driver to know this information.

Trucks also have a duty to drive according to the safest speed for conditions. What does this mean? Suppose the speed limit for a truck is 55 mph on a certain Alabama road. However, a tropical storm just came in off the Gulf of Mexico, bringing torrential rain and some heavy winds. Under these circumstances, it might be safe to drive just 40 mph or even slower.

Why Are Speeding Trucks Such a Problem?

There are few things as dangerous as an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer that is driving too fast or even out of control. The NHTSA reports that one-third of fatal accidents were either caused by speed or had excessive speed as a contributing factor.

For drivers that speed, this is a habitual problem. One recent study found that the top reasons drivers give for speeding include:

  • Being in a hurry to get to a destination
  • Don’t see speeding as a dangerous practice
  • Not paying attention to conditions
  • Not taking traffic laws seriously
  • Not believing they will get caught

The way that truck drivers are compensated has a lot to do with this pervasive problem. Instead of being paid by the hour, truck drivers are paid by the mile. So, instead of using caution and care to protect the lives of others on the road, they speed from one destination to the next so that they can make as much money as possible. There may also be factors beyond their control, such as traffic jams or slow loading times, that put them even further behind schedule.  These excessive speeds can lead to dangerous and deadly truck accidents that will have a severe impact on victims and their families.

The Dangers That Speeding Trucks Pose

Trucks are larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, so they cause more damage. They also have less visibility and take longer to stop than a car. Even worse, the size of an 18-wheeler means that a crash often involves multiple vehicles and is not of the fender-bender variety.

These trucks can be involved in a variety of accidents that either result from speed or will be worse when speed is a factor. Trucks can’t navigate turns as well when they are speeding and will take longer to react when traffic ahead shifts or stops. Heavy or uneven loads can shift as well at high rates of speed. The resulting accidents involving trucks can be jackknifes, rollovers, and other dangerous crashes that result in injury or even death.

Damages from Speeding Accident Crashes

Because of their bulk and weight, many of these accidents result in the loss of life. If no one is killed, there will likely be severe injuries that might include traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and burns.

Truck accident victims have the right to collect compensation for their losses if another party was at fault in the accident. Damages might include medical care, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.

Speak with a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been involved in a speeding truck crash, the experienced Alabama truck accident attorneys at Burge & Burge, PC, can help protect your rights. We will thoroughly investigate your case, outline your legal options, and pursue the wrongful parties for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve. Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-545-8291 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

Slip & Fall Accident Attorneys - Burge & Burge

Slip and Fall Accidents: What is the Liability of the Retail Business?

When you enter a retail establishment, you don’t expect to be injured or carried out the doors by an emergency medical team. Businesses that invite the public onto their premises for any reason have a legal responsibility to keep them reasonably safe from harm. If you slip, fall, and are injured in a store or other retail business, who is responsible for your losses?

Whether you were injured at a big box store, a grocery chain, or a mom and pop retailer, any business that is open to the public has an obligation to take certain steps to keep visitors out of harm’s way. Customers who are injured in a slip and fall accident may have a legal claim for damages in a premises liability case, but these are not as simple to prove as they were in the past.

Duty to Maintain a Safe Premise

When a customer visits a retail business, there is an expectation that the manager or owner of that business will furnish a premise that is reasonably safe. When there is a violation of this duty, the business may discover that it is financially liable for any injuries and other damages to its guests or patrons.

A few examples of premises liability slip and fall claims that could result from a retail business include:

  • Wet floors. A leak or spill that either isn’t clearly marked or promptly cleaned up is a major hazard and one of the leading causes of slip and fall accidents in grocery stores.
  • Torn carpeting. A piece of uneven/damaged flooring or torn carpet can cause someone to trip and fall, which could lead to serious injuries and a lawsuit.
  • Poor lighting. When there is a broken light fixture that has been ignored or just poor lighting in general, someone could slip or trip and fall when they are unable to see hazards.

Dangerous obstacles or obstructions in walkways, missing or loose handrails on stairs, and many other hazards can also cause harm to customers.

Holding the Store Liable for Your Damages

Slip and fall injuries can lead to serious and life-altering injuries that impact victims physically, emotionally, and financially. Common slip and fall injuries include head injuries, spinal cord injuries, sprains and fractures, and soft tissue injuries. The CDC reports that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which could require a lifetime of medical care.

In a slip and fall case, you may be able to hold either the store owner or the property owner responsible for your losses. If the store owner created an unsafe condition, such as a slippery floor, they could be at fault. The store owner could also be held responsible if they knew about the dangerous condition, even if they didn’t create it, and did not take any steps to fix it.

As the injured party, you may also have to prove that the condition was not so obvious that you should have avoided walking into the area. For example, if you saw that there was a puddle in the middle of the floor and walked through it anyway, you may have difficulty proving fault. In other words, the law requires that you also use some degree of caution to protect yourself from harm.

Evidence Will Be Vital in Proving Your Case

In a perfect world, a business would immediately take responsibility for the injuries and damages resulting from a slip and fall on their premises. Unfortunately, there has been a rash of staged accidents by fraudsters who only want to access the deep pockets of these companies and their insurance carriers. These false claims have made the road tougher for people who have legitimate injuries and losses.

If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident that took place in a retail store, you have the right to make a claim for your damages. At Burge & Burge, PC, our experienced Alabama premises liability attorneys will gather the evidence necessary to prove your case and advocate for your rights. We will advise you of your options and fight for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.

Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

Rear End Collision Attorneys - Burge & Burge

Should I Seek Medical Attention After a Rear End Collision?

Each day in Alabama, approximately 120 people are injured, and two lives are lost in car accidents. A motor vehicle accident was reported nearly every four minutes in this state in 2015 and a majority (70.6%) involved more than one vehicle.

One of the most common types of vehicle crashes is the rear-end collision, which happens when the front bumper of one vehicle collides with the back end of another. These may seem like minor “fender bender” accidents at first glance, but they can cause severe damage to both your car and body. If you are in doubt about seeking medical attention after a rear-end collision, the fact that these injuries add up to significant losses means that this is probably something you should consider.

When You Don’t Believe You’ve Been Hurt After a Crash

It’s not uncommon to walk away from even a serious crash believing that you are “fine.” Why does this happen? When you are involved in a crash, you will receive an instant boost of adrenaline and endorphins that will raise your energy levels and even mask pain.

After being involved in a car crash, you may feel as if you’ve downed a few too many cups of coffee, which is a sign that these natural chemicals in your body are in a heightened state. Once they subside, there is a good chance that you will begin to feel the pain and soreness that is associated with many rear-end collision accidents.

Common Injuries After a Rear End Collision

After a minor accident, you may not want to seek medical care, but there is a chance that your injuries could be severe. In fact, some major injuries may not become evident for hours or even days after a crash. Some of the common injuries that result from rear-end vehicle crashes include:

  • Whiplash injuries. A whiplash injury is a painful collision injury that results from the head and neck jerking back and forth.
  • Chest injuries. Chest injuries can result from hitting the steering wheel or the impact with a deployed airbag. You may also inhale dust which will affect your respiration.
  • Back injuries. A variety of low, mid, and upper back injuries can result from rear-end collision accidents, and these can be serious.

Why You Should Seek Medical Attention After a Rear End Collision

Following any type of car accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you are unsure about injuries. A medical professional is the one who can run the appropriate tests and give you a thorough examination, deciding whether you have sustained any injuries. A physician can also give you recommendations on proper care and follow up as well as any warning signs to watch for in the coming days and weeks.

If you are seriously injured and make a claim for damages, it is vital that you have documentation from health care professionals regarding the nature and extent of your injuries. If you wait too long to seek this care, it will impede your bargaining position with an insurance company.

Alabama is a Fault State

Another reason to seek medical attention right away after a rear-end collision is that Alabama is an “at fault” state. In most rear-end collisions, the car in the rear as at fault, but you don’t want to take any chances.

When you are injured, you could have any number of damages that include medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You will need to prove how the accident occurred, and the extent of the damages, which includes showing that you’ve been seriously hurt.

Speak with an Experienced Alabama Accident Attorney

Following a car accident, an insurance company may attempt a quick settlement to close your case or could try to get you to admit fault through a statement. These representatives do not have your best interests in mind, and you should avoid speaking with them until you have consulted with an experienced accident attorney that can protect your rights.

At Burge & Burge, PC, we represent the victims of some of the most serious car accidents throughout the Birmingham area. Contact our office now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

Aggressive Driving Accidents - Burge & Burge

What Should You Do if You are Injured By an Aggressive Driver?

Most people don’t give a lot of thought to the seriousness of the act of operating a motor vehicle. Indeed, a car is not just a tool to get you from point A to point B, but a machine that weighs around 4,000 pounds, if not more, and one that can cause severe damage to another person in an instant. Cars, when operated negligently, are truly killing machines.

Even though motor vehicles can be very dangerous, and are a leading cause of injury and death every year in the United States, many people continue to drive aggressively. If you are involved in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you deserve to be compensated for the full extent of injuries you’ve incurred.

Acts of Aggressive Driving are Negligent

Some acts of aggressive driving are prohibited under Alabama statute, others are merely unsafe, but all are negligent. Indeed, some of the most common acts that constitute aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding (especially in heavy traffic);
  • Tailgating;
  • Running red lights or stop signs;
  • Refusing to let other cars pass or change lanes (lane blocking);
  • Weaving in and out of traffic; and
  • Cutting off another driver intentionally.

Negligence is defined as the failure to act with a reasonable degree of care. When it comes to the operation of a motor vehicle, any act that a reasonable driver would find unsafe is considered negligent.

Can an Aggressive Driver Be Held Liable for Injuries after a Car Accident?

Alabama maintains a fault-based insurance system, which essentially means that drivers who cause accidents are liable for them, and that all drivers are required to carry liability insurance to help them pay for damages they cause to others. Fault is based on negligence and negligence per se (the breach of a statute of law); when an accident would not have occurred but for the irresponsible and unsafe actions of a motorist, including any acts of aggression, that motorist can be held liable for damages.

Investigating an Accident and Recovering Compensation

To maximize the amount of compensation that you receive after an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you will need to prove causation – that the accident wouldn’t have occurred but for the other driver’s aggressive driving behavior. To prove this, you will need to submit evidence substantiating your claim, including police reports, vehicle electronic control module data, witness statements, any proof of physical evidence (like skid marks), and all other evidence you have.

It is important that you submit evidence offering proof that the other driver was 100 percent to blame for your crash and related injuries. Because Alabama recognizes the rule of contributory negligence, if a plaintiff in a claim is found to have contributed to their injuries through an act of negligence of their own, even if they are only minorly at fault for the accident, they could still be barred from seeking compensation from the defendant.

In addition to proving that the driver in question did indeed commit the act of aggressive driving, and that this was the direct cause of your accident, you will also need to prove the extent of damages you suffered. You can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic harm after an Alabama car accident.

Reach Out to Our Alabama Car Accident Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation

Aggressive drivers should be held liable for their negligent actions, and victims harmed by said drivers deserve to be fully compensated for their losses. At the law offices of Burge & Burge, P.C., our Alabama car accident lawyers are ready to serve you. We promise to thoroughly investigate your case, work with experts to build your claim, and aggressively negotiate with an insurance adjuster to maximize your compensation award. We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience, and are passionate about protecting clients like you.

Call us today for a free consultation at 205-251-9000, tell us about your case using the contact form on our website, or visit our Birmingham office in person at your convenience.