Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

There’s a lot of uncertainty involved with a personal injury claim. From the start, you may panic about how you’ll pay your medical bills, if you’ll lose your job, and if you have any way of recovering your financial losses from the accident.

These types of concerns often leave victims feeling like they need to get back to work before they are truly ready. However, doing so may have a negative impact on your claim. Learn more about how this works, and for more personalized advice, call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661.

Following Your Doctor’s Guidance

It’s important to reach out to a doctor and seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident. Many injuries aren’t visible without diagnostic screening, and any delay in treatment can lead to a less positive outcome. However, it’s not just about getting medical care—it’s also important to follow your doctor’s directions when you start healing.

Remember that any medical documentation you receive during this process will be available to the other party if your case goes to court. This means that failing to follow your doctor’s directions could actually hurt your claim. If your doctor orders you to spend six weeks away from work and you go back to work after three weeks, that could hurt your claim. The other party might suggest that you returning to work early is proof that you aren’t taking your healing process seriously and that you are trying to drag out the healing process as much as possible.

How Your Claim is Affected

As you may have guessed, going back to work too soon can be devastating for your claim. As an accident victim, your number one priority has to be healing and getting back to normal. Doing things to sabotage your healing—such as going back to work before you’re ready—shows that you are not focused on making a full recovery. The other party may then claim that you are intentionally drawing out the healing process to try to get more money from them. This can actually keep you from recovering any compensation if they are successful in these claims.

Avoid Minimizing Your Injuries

This doesn’t mean that you cannot return to work before your claim is settled, of course. If you are truly physically ready to return to work and you have medical clearance to do so, you can do so without worrying about the effect on your claim.

But you should avoid forcing yourself back to work before you’re ready just to bring in a paycheck. We understand how frightening it can be not to know how you’ll be able to pay your bills but returning to work too soon is not the way to go. This can severely hinder your healing process and actually impact your ability to work long-term. Allowing yourself to heal fully before you get back to work is one of the best ways to protect your career and your physical health.

How to Protect Your Personal Injury Claim

Working with a personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your claim and fight for fair and full compensation. You have a lot working against you when you go up against an insurance company, and you need a skilled, aggressive attorney to fight for your best interests.

The insurance company has a vested interest in denying you fair compensation, so they’ll use anything they can—including you returning to work too early. When you work with an attorney, you can avoid these pitfalls, gather the evidence needed for a strong claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Reach Out to Mann & Potter for Help with Your Case

A personal injury can affect your life in so many ways, and it is hard to know how your life will change long-term. However, getting the compensation you deserve can definitely make a difference and help your path to healing. To discuss your case in greater detail and make a plan moving forward, set up a time to talk with the team at Mann & Potter. Call us at 205-879-9661 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.

Can Insurance Companies Follow Me Around After an Accident Injury?

Nothing is quite as unsettling as feeling like you’re being watched. If you’ve been injured in an accident and you have that feeling, it might not just be paranoia. You might actually be under investigation by the other party’s insurance company. When victims file a claim, the insurance company looks for ways to discredit the claim so they can avoid paying out or at least pay out less. This often involves looking for wrongdoing on the victim’s part.

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence and you’re wondering about your legal options, we can help. Call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661 to schedule a consultation now.

Using Investigators is Legal

While it may feel like a significant invasion of your privacy, it is legal for the insurance company to investigate you after an accident injury. While they cannot infringe on you in private places, such as work or home, they can investigate you when you are in public and have no expectation of privacy. This might mean catching you going to your car, loading groceries into the car, picking up your kids at the park, or other daily life activities.

What They’re Looking For

Basically, the insurance company is looking for anything they can use to pay less on your claim or deny your claim completely. If you report a specific type of injury, for example, they might look for evidence indicating that you aren’t really injured at all.

Let’s say they have a victim who says they have such severe back pain that they can’t even get out of bed. If their private investigator records them loading groceries into their car, working out at the gym, and carrying their kids on their shoulders, they may argue that the claim is fraudulent.

They may also be looking for evidence that your injury isn’t as bad as you say. They may not think your injury is fraudulent, but they might think that you’re exaggerating it. In this case, they will also look for you to be engaging in activities that your injury would not allow you to do.

How They Investigate Victims

Insurance companies use a variety of techniques and methods to check on accident victims. How far they go depends largely on the value of the claim, how much they believe the victim’s report, and their company’s standard practices.

They might start with a cursory social media search. Looking at your Instagram profile, Facebook page, or other social media listings will show them if you have been posting about the accident or participating in activities you claim you can’t do.

If they want to go further in their investigation, they may hire a private investigator. The investigator might follow you when you drive to work, school, or outside activities. They might take pictures of you, especially if they see you doing activities that they believe you shouldn’t be able to do.

If the investigation turns up any evidence of wrongdoing, they might go all out and interview co-workers, acquaintances, and other people who know you to get evidence of a fraudulent or exaggerated claim. It is relatively uncommon for insurance investigations to get to this step.

Protecting Your Claim

To protect your personal injury claim, you want to follow your doctor’s orders and keep it to yourself to the extent possible. Do not post about it on social media. This can weaken your claim. Don’t talk about it to the media or in public, since any claims you make could be used against you by the insurance company.

You should also consider locking down your social media until the case is over. Even if you have nothing to hide, you would be surprised by how easily an insurance company could misconstrue a post. Posting a memory from your beach vacation two years ago could be viewed as a picture of your current activities, throwing doubt on your claim, for example. Additionally, don’t accept friend requests or follow requests from those you don’t know personally.

Reach Out to Mann & Potter for Help with Your Personal Injury Claim

After an injury, it’s important to fight for your right to seek compensation and hold the liable party accountable. We can help. Explore your legal options now by calling Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661 or getting in touch with us online.

Are You Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?

After an accident, you’ll likely find that you have a long to-do list. From getting an estimate for your car repairs to getting the medical attention you need, you have more tasks than you have time. Then the phone calls start. Your insurance company is sure to call, and if the other party appears to be at fault, you should also expect a phone call from their insurance provider.

But what should you do if they ask you to provide a recorded statement? Talk to us first. Give Mann & Potter a call at 205-879-9661 to discuss your rights and options now.

Who’s Asking?

Before you decide whether or not to give a recorded statement, consider who’s asking. If it’s your insurance company, you may have to comply. There isn’t a legal requirement to do so, but it is likely part of the contract you signed when you chose them as an insurance company. Refusing to cooperate with their investigation could cause them to drop you as a client, leaving you without recourse.

However, it is different when the other party’s company is requesting a recorded statement. You do not have a contractual agreement with them, so the only reason you would give a statement is out of your own free will. This generally isn’t a good idea without first talking to a lawyer, which you’ll learn below.

How Your Statement Can Work Against You

In situations like this, talking to the other party’s insurance company is a lot like talking to the police when they’re investigating a crime. Anything you tell them won’t be used to exonerate you. It will only be used if it can hurt you or strengthen their claim.

Maybe the first time you talked to them, you told them that your first symptom of an injury was a headache. Then, in your recorded statement, you say that the neck pain started first. This is a negligible difference that doesn’t really mean anything, but you can expect the insurance company to act like it does mean something. They’ll jump on this difference and use it as an example of your story changing, giving them more room to cast doubt on the rest of your story.

Basically, a recorded statement can only ever hurt you. They’re already doing everything they can to avoid paying you a fair settlement, so don’t make it easier for them.

They Aren’t on Your Side

The insurance company isn’t on your side, but you obviously can’t expect the insurance adjuster to tell you the truth about that. As we mentioned earlier, they’ll often be as friendly as possible, so you let your guard down and get comfortable with them. Remember that everything they do is to protect their own bottom line.

Claiming Responsibility Doesn’t Mean They’ll Offer a Fair Settlement

A lot of people breathe a sigh of relief when the insurance adjuster says that they are accepting responsibility for the accident. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It means they are willing to admit that their client is at fault, but nothing more. It doesn’t mean they’ll make things right by paying you a full and fair settlement.

They often say this to acknowledge their client’s role and make you feel like you’re getting a good offer—right before they offer an insultingly low settlement offer. When people hear that the insurance company is accepting responsibility, they often assume that they don’t need to hire an attorney. Again, this is done intentionally. The insurance company knows that when victims hire attorneys, they lose the upper hand.

Your Property Damage Will Likely Be Underpaid

You paid for your vehicle and lost it (or need to have it repaired) because of someone else’s actions. But now you have to fight for every penny you deserve for a repair? That’s not fair, but the insurance companies do not care. They care about their own client’s vehicles, but they have no incentive to give you a large chunk of money for your totaled car or your vehicle repairs.

Instead of trying to fight for a fair settlement on your own, get your car insurance company involved. They also have a vested interest in getting your claim paid by the liable party, and they will likely do a much better job of getting a fair amount for you.

What to Do If You Are Asked for a Statement

So, if giving a recorded statement isn’t recommended, what should you do if they ask for one? Before you speak to the insurance company at all, it’s recommended that you speak with a personal injury attorney.

Not only can your recorded statement be used against you, but so can anything else you say in communication with the insurance provider. That’s why all communication should go through your attorney, rather than going through you directly.

When you work with an attorney, you can talk to them about your experience and how it’s affected your life. From there, they’ll decide what’s best for your claim and how to move forward. In rare circumstances, your attorney may recommend that you make a recorded statement. Most of the time, though, they’ll build a case without you speaking directly to the insurance provider.

Remember, the future of your personal injury claim rests largely on how well you work with your attorney. The other party’s insurance company is waiting for you to trip up so they can decrease their settlement offer or take it away completely. You don’t deserve to be left with a stack of medical bills and lost wages because of someone else’s negligence. Instead of taking on the insurance company by yourself, choose an attorney you can trust to fight for you.

The Mann & Potter Team is Here for Your Personal Injury Needs

A serious injury can cause you significant stress, pain, and financial loss. That’s why we work so hard to help our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you’re left out of work, in pain, and without a vehicle because of someone else’s mistake, they should be held accountable. Schedule a consultation now. Call us today at 205-879-9661 or reach out to our team online.

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?

What keeps people from seeking fair compensation after they’re injured by someone else’s negligence? For many, it’s a fear of court and all the anxiety that court cases bring. However, this is usually an unnecessary worry. Ongoing research into personal injury claims shows that the majority do not end up going to trial.

If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s actions, don’t try to get fair compensation alone. Turn to an attorney who can fight on your behalf. Call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661 to schedule a consultation now.

The Answer is Lower Than You Think

No one wants to spend days at trial, so it’s no surprise that fear of a court case keeps many people from fighting for compensation. However, a very low percentage of personal injury cases ever reach the courtroom. Attorneys across the country report that, on average, 5% of their personal injury cases go to court. This is in line with Bureau of Justice Statistics reports. Reports across different jurisdictions indicate that between 3% and 5% of tort cases go to trial.

The Personal Injury Claim Process

To understand how and why so few personal injury cases go to court, you have to understand how personal injury claims work.

First, your attorney looks into your claim, investigates the accident, and determines whether or not you have a valid claim against the other party. If they do, they figure out how much compensation would be fair and pursue negotiations with the other party’s insurance company.

Negotiations happen outside the courtroom because both parties have a vested interest in avoiding court. Court is expensive and time-consuming, so a fair settlement is in the best interests of all involved. If your attorney and the other party come to a fair agreement, it’s a matter of signing the paperwork and receiving the compensation.

If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney moves on to filing a civil case against the other party and preparing for court. This means that the other party will have to prepare for court and appear for your case, which costs substantially more than settling. As a result, many cases that didn’t initially settle do eventually settle before the court date.

With the remaining cases that do go to court, both sides have a chance to argue the facts and make their case. The court decides whether or not the victim receives compensation and if so, how much.

Why This Matters

This is important because it substantially decreases the risk involved for accident victims. The financial risk is minimal. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, which means that clients do not pay attorney fees unless the attorney secures them a settlement or court award.

The time risk is also low, since attorneys can generally figure out fairly quickly whether or not an insurance company is going to agree to a fair settlement or go all the way to court. Either way, the best chance at fair compensation comes with hiring an experienced personal injury attorney with strong negotiation skills.

Factors Affecting Your Claim

A number of factors may determine whether or not your case goes to trial, including:

  • The strength of your case. If it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other party is liable for your injuries, the insurance company has a lot more motivation to make the whole claim go away by settling. If it is unclear whether or not the other party is liable, the insurance company may be more willing to take their chances in court.
  • The insurance company’s willingness to settle. Some insurance companies are more aggressive than others. While some will fight tooth and nail for every penny, others take a different approach and are more willing to negotiate.
  • How persuasive your attorney is. The right attorney will know when to push for more, when to ease up on the insurance company, and when to end negotiations and move for a court case. This is why it is important to choose an experienced attorney, not one who is going to test out their personal injury skills on you.
  • The value of your case. The amount of money at stake has significant influence on the outcome of the claim.

Choose Mann & Potter for Your Personal Injury Case

A personal injury can leave you with physical pain, mental trauma, and stretched finances. Don’t add legal issues to your list of challenges. Trust the team at Mann & Potter instead. Set up a consultation now by contacting us online or giving us a call at 205-879-9661.

What Are the Most Common Types of Personal Injury Actions?

Personal injury claims bring justice and compensation to victims of others’ negligence. If you’re involved in a car accident that totals your vehicle and leaves you with thousands of dollars in medical bills and several weeks of missed work, does it make you feel better to know that the liable driver was cited three times and paid $500 in tickets? Do those actions make you whole? No.

To be made whole through the justice system after an accident, you have to pursue a claim through the civil courts. For more specific advice on personal injury claims and whether or not you may have a valid case, contact Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661.

Auto Accidents

Car accidents are among the most common types of personal injury claims. Auto accidents are a constant problem on American roads, whether they’re caused by distracted drivers, malfunctioning vehicle components, poor road conditions, or a number of other reasons. When victims are injured in a car accident, they often hire a lawyer to make sure they get the compensation they need to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

This category also includes motorcycle accidents, commercial vehicle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. The amount and types of compensation available vary a between each type. For example, a commercial accident involving a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle is likely to yield a far larger settlement than an accident involving two passenger vehicles.

Slip and Fall Claims

Slip and fall claims, as well as other accidents that happen on people’s property, account for a lot of personal injury claims. Slip and fall accidents can happen because of poorly maintained walkways, unsteady stairwells, uneven stairs, ice and rain, spills, and more. These injuries often lead to substantial settlements, simply due to the fact that a serious fall can cause traumatic brain injury and require a substantial amount of medical care. Other types of premises liability claims include items falling on people from shelves, dog bites and animal attacks, swimming pool accidents, and trampoline accidents.

Product Liability Claims

Products should be functional and safe by the time they hit the market, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes companies don’t find malfunctions before they release a product; in other situations, they find errors but believe that the cost of fixing the error is less than they may have to pay to settle lawsuits, so they don’t fix it.

When a product that is poorly designed, manufactured, or marketed, those who are hurt by that product can often seek compensation in the form of a personal injury claim. This sometimes overlaps with other types of claims. For example, a car accident that is caused by malfunctioning brakes may also be a product liability case. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may file claims against the company that designed the item, the company that manufactured its components, the company that put the components together, or the company that sold the item.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is perhaps one of the most complex and high-stakes areas of personal injury law. Settlements for medical malpractice cases are often in the five to six digits range, with some resulting in million-dollar settlements. Medical malpractice cases often occur when a care provider misses a diagnosis, diagnoses an illness incorrectly, harms a patient during surgery, or causes harm to a mother or baby during the labor and delivery process.

Medical injuries can leave patients with pain, limited mobility, and health issues for the rest of their lives. As a result, settlements are often extremely high. Lawsuits may be brought against the physician overseeing the patient’s care, hospital administrators who created a poor or unsafe environment for patients, or facility owners.

Find Out How Mann & Potter Can Help

If you or someone you love has been harmed by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek just compensation with a personal injury claim. However, it is often difficult to obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve by going it alone. Schedule a consultation with us now to discuss your case in greater detail. You can reach us at 205-879-9661 or contact us online.

Why is Texting While Driving So Dangerous?

Few people will admit it, but almost everyone has done it. You’re on the road and your text tone for your spouse or best friend goes off. It just takes a second to check, right? You look, tap back a quick response, and send it. No one gets hurt, nothing happens. These incidents are what make people think texting and driving is safe. If nothing happens the first, tenth, hundredth time, how bad can it be?

However, texting while driving is an inherently dangerous behavior that puts you, your passengers, and everyone else on the road at risk. Learn more about why you must avoid this behavior and what you should do if you are hit by a distracted driver. If you need to explore your legal options, reach out to Mann & Potter PC at 205-879-9661 to get started.

Texting and Driving Accident Statistics

Across the board, research that looks at texting and driving seems to be in agreement: texting while driving significantly increases the risk of an accident. Per the Federal Communications Commission, over 9% of fatal accidents in the United States during the last seven years were linked to a distracted driver. In 2018, more than 2800 fatalities occurred because of distracted driving. While texting and driving is a behavior that occurs across all age groups, it is most widely reported for those aged 16 to 24 years old.

Research conducted by AT&T is equally sobering. Nearly half of all drivers report texting while driving, even though almost 100% of the respondents indicated that texting while driving is unsafe. Think about that: people know texting while driving is unsafe, but roughly half of those people still choose to do it.

Checking your phone distracts you, on average, for 4.6 seconds. If you are traveling at 55 miles per hour, you could cover the entire length of a football field in the time it takes you to check your phone and get your eyes back on the road.

How Texting Distracts You

When experts look at distracted driving, they divide distracted driving tasks into three categories: physical, mental, and visual. Physical distractions are those that take your hands off the wheel and require you to use them on another task. Mental tasks are those that take your focus off of the job of driving. Visual tasks are ones that take your eyes off the road.

Which category does texting fit into? It fits into all three categories! To read and respond to a text, you have to grab your phone (leaving you with only one hand to drive), engage your mind in reading the text and writing a response, and take your eyes off the road. As a three-in-one risk, it should be obvious why texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions for drivers. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common.

Statewide Bans

Many states have implemented texting bans, handheld phone bans, or a complete ban on all handheld devices while driving. While Alabama does not have a handheld device ban, it does make texting while driving illegal. At least 21 states have handheld device bans in place, and more states seem to join every year. The goal is to make roadways safer, but with nearly half of all people admitting to texting and driving—and who knows how many others who do it but don’t admit to it—it could be a long road back to safe roads.

If you are hurt in a car accident, there’s a chance that a distracted driver is involved. This information may not always be immediately available, since drivers know that texting and driving is frowned upon. However, with the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can get to the root cause of the accident and hold the liable party responsible.

Contact Us If You’ve Been Hurt in an Accident with a Distracted Driver

Have you been injured due to a distracted driver’s actions? You shouldn’t be left shouldering your medical bills and other struggles alone. We’re here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Set up your free consultation now by calling us at 205-879-9661 or getting in touch online.

How a Criminal Record Can Affect a PI Case?

A criminal conviction can have a ripple effect on every part of your life. No matter what your criminal history may contain, it is likely that you never thought about how a personal injury case could be impacted by your past. Even though a criminal record should not directly affect your personal injury claim, unfortunately, it does not always work out this way.

What Juries Look at in a Personal Injury Case

To start, note that most personal injury cases never go to trial. The vast majority of cases are settled before the case ever reaches court. However, if your case does go to court, you do need to think about how the jury may look at it.

When a case goes to court, the opposing side will take any angle they can to discredit your case and protect their client. This may include exploiting your criminal past. It is likely true that your criminal record has nothing to do with your personal injury case, but that doesn’t always matter.

A criminal history may bias the jury against you and make them think that you are inherently untrustworthy. It may also make them more likely to see you as an “unworthy” victim. This is clearly unfair. A victim is a victim, they do not have to “earn” compensation by having a flawless past. Despite this, you can expect the other side to play on the jury’s human nature and try to paint you as a miscreant.

Your attorney will likely tackle this preemptively by pushing to have the criminal history suppressed. This prevents the other side from bringing it up in court.

Relevant Charges and Convictions

While having any criminal history can impact your case, certain types of charges can seriously endanger your chances at getting compensation. If you have charges of fraud in your history, those could indicate to jury members that you are untrustworthy. Much depends on the nature of your personal injury claim.

For example, if you are injured in a car crash caused by another party but you have a long history of reckless driving charges, the jury may be less sympathetic to you. They may believe that, because of your driving history, you are at fault for putting yourself and others on the road at risk of a crash.

How to Protect Yourself

First, be completely honest with your personal injury attorney. Many people try to hide their criminal history out of shame or fear of being dropped as a client. Hiding this information only prevents your attorney from fully protecting you and doing everything possible to poke holes in the other side’s case. If you are upfront, they can plan for the other side’s attacks and come up with viable defenses right away.

Similarly, do everything you can to assist your attorney and make your case as strong as possible. If they request specific paperwork, medical records, or other types of evidence, get it to them as quickly as possible.

In many situations, the best way to plan for an attack on your character is simply to make the case stand on its own merit. The stronger your personal injury case is, the less likely it is that your criminal record will even play a part in the decision.

Furthermore, make sure to stay out of trouble for the duration of your personal injury claim. Mistakes happen, but accruing additional criminal charges while your case is ongoing will almost certainly work against you and weaken the likelihood of you receiving full and fair compensation.

Our Team is Here to Help

When you are filing a personal injury claim with the pressure and potential stigma of a criminal record, an already stressful time can become even more challenging. Fortunately, you do not have to face this on your own. The team at Mann & Potter, P.C. is committed to building a strong personal injury case and helping you get the compensation you deserve. To find out more about how we can help you and what your legal options are, reach out to us today. Call us at 205-627-3186 or fill out our contact form to get started.

How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Personal Injury Case?

In case navigating a personal injury claim wasn’t challenging enough on its own, now you have to do so in the middle of a serious pandemic. Luckily, you’re not alone. Many others are in the same boat as you right now, and there are hard-working attorneys ready to help you explore your options and get what you deserve.

A lot depends on the specific details of your case. However, there are several ways that the pandemic could affect your case and its timeline.

Insurance Companies Are Jumping On COVID-19 to Limit Payouts

To start, you should expect a tougher fight with the insurance company as you try to negotiate a settlement for your injuries. Insurance companies are difficult to work with in the best of times, and right now, they are pushing back even harder. They face serious losses to their bottom line as people cancel insurance to save money or downgrade their policies. They stand to save a lot of money if they can convince victims to accept paltry settlements.

Additionally, many courts across the country are closed or running at minimal capacity during the pandemic. Insurance companies know this, and they know that most victims don’t want to wait months or years for a court award. They use this information to get the upper hand during negotiations and try to convince you to either accept less or take your chances in court.

This is just one reason that it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney that you trust. They have substantial experience working with insurance adjusters, so you definitely want one fighting for you as you try to get a settlement.

Anticipate Delays and Follow Your Attorney’s Lead

Delays are inevitable right now, but a skilled attorney can minimize delays and help you get through this time with minimal stress. If your case goes to court, you may have to wait until county courts reopen and accept new filings before you can fight the insurance company for compensation.

Most personal injury claims never get this far. Most are settled out of court. Because of this, it’s important to be patient and follow your attorney’s lead. The insurance company handling your claim could be overloaded at this time as people report accidents, seek payouts, and try to downgrade their coverage to save money. Your attorney knows this and can help you understand the timeline and prepare for potential delays.

Factors That Could Complicate a Personal Injury Case

Certain factors could make your case much more complicated. If any of these apply to you, talk to your attorney and figure out your next steps.

  • The liable party is now broke. COVID-19 has economically devastated many people. If you were in the process of suing the liable party and they have lost a substantial amount of money, your recovery options may be limited. Discuss this with your lawyer, as many individuals still have assets that can be used to pay damages.
  • The liable party canceled their insurance policy prior to the accident that injured you. If your claim occurred after the COVID-19 crisis started, consider the fact that some people canceled their car insurance policies to save money as their financial situation worsened. If the person who hit you was driving without insurance, you may not be able to recover very much from them. Those who cannot afford insurance are likely to have other assets that could be used to compensate you after an accident.
  • You are unable to get medical care because of closed clinics. Personal injury cases depend heavily on medical evidence. With many clinics and hospitals closing except for emergency cases, you might have a hard time finding a medical professional to assess and treat your injuries. If this is the case, your attorney may be able to connect you with a care provider that is working through the pandemic.
  • Your work closed because of COVID-19 and you’re not sure if you are entitled to lost wages in your claim. This is one of the unique situations caused by a pandemic that has shuttered much of the economy. This may depend on the type of work you do, whether or not they have work-from-home options, and whether or not they are paying impacted workers during this time.

With an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, you can navigate the claims process with confidence and ease. While it may be more difficult to settle a claim during a pandemic, it certainly isn’t impossible. If you’re looking for a lawyer who is up to the challenge, contact Mann & Potter, PC today. Call us or reach out online to discuss your options.

Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 pandemic has left some of the world’s busiest streets nearly empty. Photos of downtown Chicago, Times Square, and Paris at dinner time show just a few stragglers. You might think that this means that streets are safer for pedestrians, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many of the drivers that remain are engaging in more reckless behavior, and a lot of them are distracted due to current circumstances. Because of this, it is important to be as careful as possible while getting your steps in.

Take Extra Care at Crosswalks

Crosswalks, designed to improve pedestrian safety, are some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians to be. Consider the “walk” button that pedestrians often have to push to trigger a walk signal; some communities have deactivated and blocked off these buttons to prevent the unintentional spread of germs on them. This means that pedestrians have to hope that drivers are paying attention and that they’ll look before turning into a jogger or biker. If you have to use crosswalks, keep an eye out for those turning across your walkway and be prepared to wait if they don’t notice you.

Avoid Busy Roads

Though the pandemic has left many roads empty, there are still pockets of congested traffic—particularly around hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential businesses. If at all possible, redirect your routes so you avoid these areas. Additionally, a number of states have experienced protests in response to safe-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. Stay up-to-date on local news and traffic reports as traffic tends to be gridlocked by aggressive drivers. This combination creates serious danger for pedestrians just trying to get to work or get some exercise.

Know Your Community’s Busy Hours

As you spend more time walking around, you may get a feel for when the roads are busy and when everything tends to quiet down. There are still quite a few essential workers heading into their places of business every day, and you should try to stay off the roads during this time. Keep in mind that these workers may be under enormous stress. They are likely worried about being exposed to COVID-19 as part of their daily work. This creates a situation where distracted driving is nearly inevitable. Save your walks for quiet times and try to avoid walks when people are going to work or coming home from work.

Take Extra Precautions at Night

Nighttime walking is generally more dangerous than daytime walking, and that is even more true now. The risks of distracted driving go up dramatically at night, since people tend to take fewer precautions and assume that the roads are empty. Additionally, nighttime walks put you at risk of encountering a fatigued driver. If you must walk after dark, attach reflective strips to your clothes, stay on roads that have sidewalks, and don’t use headphones. You want to stay completely aware of your surroundings.

Assume Every Driver is Not Paying Attention

This tip may sound like overkill, but it’s one that can truly save your life. As a pedestrian, you are at greatest risk in any accident. Because of this, you have to take every precaution possible to protect yourself. When you’re walking, you don’t know which drivers are paying attention and driving safely and which ones are distracted by bad news, overwork, or stress. The solution: just assume that every driver is distracted or fatigued. Waiting until you know it’s safe to cross the road protects you from reckless, fatigued, or distracted drivers.

Make Sure You Have a Charged Phone and Identification

No matter how many precautions you take, accidents do happen. If you end up being the victim of a pedestrian accident, you must be able to call for help and get the care you need. Even if you’re just going out for a few minutes, keep identification on you at all times and ensure that your phone is charged. While most drivers stop and do the right thing when they cause an accident, hit-and-run accidents do happen, and pedestrians are often left picking up the pieces.

If you go on walks frequently, consider using the “share location” feature available on most smartphones to let a family member know where you are when you’re out. This way, they are able to call for help if you don’t come home as expected or if you are hit by a car and you’re unable to call emergency services.

Walking is one of the best ways to stay healthy, especially in a time when our immune systems need all the help they can get. By following these tips, you can stay safe. If you are hurt in an accident, you deserve experienced legal representation to help you recover your losses. Call Mann & Potter, PC today to discuss your case.

Injuries on the Factory Floor—Can I Sue My Employer in Alabama?

Factory employees are at high risk of injury, due to the intense physical labor they do and the dangerous machinery they work with on a daily basis. If you have been injured at work, you may wonder if you can sue your employer to cover your medical expenses and your lost income. Learn more about your compensation options in Alabama.

In Most Cases, You Cannot Sue Your Employer

In almost every workplace injury case, you cannot sue your employer in Alabama. In fact, the workers’ compensation system was developed in part to prevent injured employees from taking legal action against their company.

This is even the case when your employer is at fault for your accident. Poor training, inadequate upkeep of machinery, or failure to enforce workplace safety rules are all ways your employer can cause your injury but still be protected from a lawsuit.

If this is the situation you are in, you can get compensation through the workers’ compensation system. The primary benefit of the workers’ compensation system is that you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault or prove that you were not at fault for the accident that led to your injuries. It is designed to protect employers and employees alike.

What About Co-Workers?

In many cases, co-workers are partially at fault when employees get hurt. When one factory employee doesn’t do proper safety checks, engages in horseplay, or uses equipment incorrectly, they put everyone else on the line at risk.

As frustrating as it may be, you cannot sue a co-worker if you are injured at work in Alabama. Even if they are obviously and personally responsible for causing your injury, you cannot sue them. You must get your medical expenses and lost wages covered through the workers’ compensation system.

Who You Can Sue for a Workplace Injury?

While you cannot sue your employer or co-worker, there are other parties that may be held liable for your injuries. If there are subcontractors working on the factory floor with you and their negligence leads to your injuries, you can file a personal injury suit against them. This is because they are not directly employed by your company, so they do not enjoy the protection of the workers’ compensation system.

If you travel for work and get in an accident, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the other driver if they were responsible for the crash. This can get challenging when medical bills are piling up and you’re not sure whether to file for workers’ compensation or focus on a personal injury suit, so it is important to work with an attorney early to learn more about your options.

Product manufacturers may also be liable for workplace accidents. This is more likely in factory settings than many other work environments, simply due to the sheer amount of equipment present on a factory floor and the fact that much of it is capable of serious damage. If a faulty part caused your injuries, you may be able to file a third-party suit against the manufacturer. Faulty product suits are an option for products that are made incorrectly, products with design flaws, and products that are marketed incorrectly.

What to Do Next

Regardless of who caused your workplace accident, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options as soon as possible. In many cases, you can get what you are owed with a simple workers’ compensation case. This covers medical expenses and lost wages and is often enough to cover your losses during this time. In situations involving a third party, a personal injury suit may be your best option. Set up a consultation with a lawyer with experience in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases to figure out what your next move should be.

Mann & Potter, PC is Here to Help

The team at Mann & Potter, PC is committed to helping clients get the compensation they deserve after an accident. We know how overwhelming it can be to navigate the legal system after a serious injury, and we are here to help every step of the way. Schedule your consultation now by calling us at 205-627-3186 or filling out our contact form. We look forward to serving you!