What Types of Compensation Are Available in a Personal Injury Case?

It is hard to know what to expect when you begin a personal injury case in Alabama. You know that you deserve compensation—why should someone else’s negligence leave you with a stack of unpaid medical bills? But knowing what you are entitled to and actually getting a fair settlement are tough tasks.

That is why it is important to work with an attorney you can trust. An experienced and trustworthy attorney will explain different types of compensation, explore your options with you, and help you know how much you might get from a settlement. If you need help with your personal injury case, we are here to help. Call the team at Mann & Potter at 205-627-3186 to take the first step.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those related to your actual financial losses after an accident. These are generally easy to calculate and prove. For example, you know how much your medical bills are if you keep track of co-pay receipts, incoming bills, and medication co-pay receipts. Similarly, you can easily determine how much income you have lost because of an accident.

Several types of compensation fall under the category of “economic damages,” including:

  • Medical expenses, including co-pays, ambulance fees, surgical expenses, and medical equipment
  • Lost income
  • Property damage, including damage to your car, the value of your car if it is totaled, and the cost of anything destroyed in the accident

Economic damages are easy to quantify and prove with paperwork, bills, and receipts.

Non-Economic Damages

The other main type of compensation you may be entitled to after an accident is non-economic. Non-economic damages aim to pay you for the losses you have experienced that cannot be tied directly to a specific dollar amount. However, because these are still considered losses, the court system does allow you to be made whole through non-economic damages. This category includes items like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability and/or disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship

As you can see, these types of compensation are much more subjective than non-economic damages. It is easy to put a number on the value of a lost day of work; it’s much harder to put a number on the pain you’ve suffered after an accident. Generally, the amount of non-economic compensation you may be able to get is tied directly to the severity of your injuries and the amount of economic compensation you are entitled to. The longer your injuries are likely to last and the more they impact your ability to engage in everyday life, the more non-economic damages you may receive.

Calculating Damages for Your Accident

What does this mean as you try to figure out how much your personal injury claim is worth? First, know that you should speak about this with an attorney. While you may be able to figure out a ballpark number for your economic damages, it’s likely that you are forgetting some of the expenses you’ve incurred because of the accident. On the flip side, people are also very likely to overestimate the value of their pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other non-economic losses.

You don’t want to simply choose the attorney who throws out the biggest number, especially if they do so without actually listening to the details of your case. You want to choose an attorney who listens and asks questions before telling you how much your case may be worth. Anyone can say a big number, but it does not mean that’s what they can actually deliver.

One factor to think about as you calculate damages is your role in the accident. Alabama is one of the only states with a contributory negligence statute. Under this statute, victims of an accident cannot recover compensation with a personal injury lawsuit if they were at all liable. Most personal injury cases settle outside of court, so it is unlikely you’ll see this play out in the courtroom. However, the fact that Alabama has this statute can affect the settlement offers you receive.

How We Can Help After Your Accident

There is a lot to do after an accident, and we know it can be overwhelming. That is why we are committed to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you have been harmed by someone else’s negligence, don’t take on the insurance company alone. Let us help. Call Mann & Potter at 205-627-3186 or contact us online.

Caregiving for a Loved One With a TBI

A traumatic brain injury is one of the most frightening outcomes of a car accident, a slip and fall, an animal attack, or any other type of accident. This is because outcomes are largely unknown for some time; the brain is a complex organ, and until a patient begins to get enough rest it is hard to know how or if they will recover from a TBI.

If your loved one has suffered a TBI because of an accident, you may suddenly find yourself in the position of being their caretaker. This often involves managing several different areas of your loved one’s life while still trying to take care of yourself.

Caring for a Child vs. Caring for an Adult

The healing timeline and the demands placed on you depend largely on whether you are caring for an adult or a child. Children’s brains are still growing, which can be both good and bad when it comes to a TBI. It is good because children’s brains have excellent plasticity, which means that they can recover from injuries by creating new neuronal pathways and adjusting for sudden losses in function. It is bad because an accident that impacts an area that is currently growing can lead to extraordinary deficits. Adults’ brains are not quite as “plastic” as children’s, so their brains’ ability to recover is not as strong. As a result, your caretaking responsibilities may become permanent or your loved one may experience slower progress.

Providing for Everyday Needs

Depending on the severity of your loved one’s TBI, you may find that much of your day is spent providing for their daily care needs. Those with severe TBIs may be unable to feed themselves, drink on their own, use the restroom independently, or ambulate. If you are unable to meet these needs on your own, which often happens if the patient is larger or stronger than the caretaker, you may need the assistance of a CNA or PCW.

If your loved one has a milder form of TBI, they may still be able to meet their own daily needs. However, they may need reminders, help managing their time, or assistance working through frustration and other emotions.

Transportation

If your loved one’s accident has left them temporarily or permanently unable to ambulate and they require a wheelchair, don’t forget to set up transportation. Few people simply have a wheelchair van waiting to be used, so you may need to set up a temporary rental or secure the services of a local paratransit provider. These trips often need to be scheduled well in advance, so discuss your needs with a social worker.

Financial Concerns

For many TBI patients, financial concerns are second only to health worries. Those with mild, moderate, or severe TBIs may find themselves suddenly unable to work and without the financial support they need to get medical care. If you have to take time away from work to be their caretaker, you may also be plagued by financial issues. This is why it is important to get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to discuss compensation. The costs of a TBI can be exorbitantly high, and if someone else caused your loved one’s accident, they may be responsible for covering those costs. There are also social service programs set up to assist those with TBIs or other serious injuries.

Avoiding Burnout

During this time, do not forget to take care of yourself. It is easy for a TBI caretaker to lose themselves in providing for an injured family member and neglect their own needs. This often leads to burnout and may make you more susceptible to health issues. Do not take on this burden alone. Share caretaking responsibilities with other family members or paid care providers. Take breaks when you need them and ensure that you are meeting your own needs, not just those of your loved one.

Let Us Help with Your TBI Case

A traumatic brain injury can cause financial stress, emotional issues, and long-term medical problems. It is crucial to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney and figure out if your loved one is entitled to compensation. Take the first step now by calling Mann & Potter at 205-627-3186 or reaching out to our firm online.

Five Common Causes of Brain Injuries

A brain injury can have far-reaching, lifelong consequences. The physical, emotional, and cognitive-communicative effects of the injury can reduce your earning potential to a great extent and severely affect your quality of life.

Brain Injuries in the United States – A Look at the Numbers

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that approximately 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are reported in the country every year.
  • Every year, approximately 235,000 people are hospitalized due to a TBI. The hospitalization rate for brain injuries is 20 times higher than that of spinal cord injuries.
  • Every year, approximately 50,000 people die as a result of a TBI.
  • Every year, approximately 90,000 people develop a serious, lifelong disability as a result of a TBI.
  • Approximately 79% of all TBI victims are men.

Common Causes of Brain Injuries

The five most common causes of brain injuries include falls, being struck by objects, motor vehicle accidents, assault, and swimming accidents.

Falls

Falls are the leading cause of brain injuries in the country by a wide margin. They are responsible for nearly 50% of all traumatic brain injuries reported every year.

The most common types of slip-and-fall accidents that can result in a brain injury include:

  • Falling from the bed
  • Slipping and falling in the bath
  • Falling from a ladder
  • Falling from a balcony
  • Falling down the stairs

Falls are also one of the most common causes of workplace accidents. Particularly in the construction industry, where workers are often required to work at serious heights with the help of a ladder or a scaffold, fall accidents are very common. A significant percentage of these accidents result in brain injuries, which greatly affect the earning capacity of the victims.

Being Struck by Objects

When an object which is falling or moving at a high velocity strikes or falls on your head, you are at risk of sustaining a serious brain injury. This type of injury is also very common in the construction industry.

For example, if a worker accidentally drops his tools from the scaffolding, and if it lands directly on your head, you might suffer serious injuries to your brain. Similarly, if a crane operator accidentally drops a heavy load, without realizing that you are standing directly underneath it, you might suffer life-threatening brain injuries.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Whenever you collide into another vehicle, crash into a stationary object, get T-boned, or get rear ended, the risk of sustaining an injury to your brain is quite high. There are generally two ways in which you might sustain a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident.

  • If your head is smashed against the windshield or the steering wheel
  • If your brain smashes against the interior of the skull due to the forceful, violent impact caused by the collision

If you, on the other hand, get hit by a motor vehicle while walking, riding a bike, or riding a motorcycle, you might suffer serious external and internal injuries – including traumatic injuries to the brain.

When you are in a car, van, or any other motor vehicle, you are protected against the impact of a crash to a certain extent, thanks to the seat belt, air bag, and other such built-in safety mechanisms. When you are riding a bike or a motorcycle, you have no such safety mechanisms to protect you. So, you are completely exposed to the dangers of a collision.

Assault

A violent assault – in which you are punched, kicked, or hit with an object such as a baseball bat – can also result in serious brain injuries.

Swimming Accidents

When you get stuck underwater while swimming in a pool, river, or any other body of water, you might suffer what is called an anoxic brain injury, which is caused as a result of oxygen deprivation. While it is not a traumatic injury (caused by an external impact in the form of a blow or jolt to the head), it can cause serious damage to your brain, since your brain cells cannot survive for more than five minutes without oxygen.

Brain Injury Lawyers in Alabama

An injury to your brain can have life-altering consequences. It can lead to severe physical disabilities, affect your behavior, affect your social life, diminish your earning capacity, and render you physically and mentally incapable of leading a normal life again.

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Mann & Potter, PC know how hard it can be for someone to deal with a brain injury, especially if they happen to be the breadwinner of the family. We can investigate your accident, identify the parties who can be held liable, and recover damages for the injuries, disabilities, lost income, loss of earning potential, loss of consortium, and other losses that you suffered due to the accident.

You can contact our brain injury lawyers at 205-879-9661 for a free consultation today. 

Who Is at Fault for a Left Turn Accident?

Turning left at a busy intersection is without a doubt one of the riskiest maneuvers you can perform as a driver. Even the slightest miscalculation or mistake on your part can result in a catastrophic accident.

What makes a left-hand turn such a risky driving maneuver and who can be held liable in the event of a left turn accident? Here are some important details about this topic:

The Risks Involved in Making a Left Turn

There are many reasons why making a left turn is considered a dangerous maneuver:

  • The United States follows the right-hand traffic rule, as a result of which you are required to drive on the right side of the road. So, when you make a left turn, you are driving against the flow of the traffic, which makes it a dangerous maneuver.
  • Many drivers – especially young and inexperienced drivers – tend to accelerate while turning left in an attempt to beat the oncoming traffic. This is, needless to say, an extremely dangerous practice. If your timing is off even by a couple of seconds, you could crash into an oncoming vehicle or an oncoming vehicle could crash into you.
  • Many drivers – elderly drivers in particular – tend to mistakenly believe that the oncoming driver will slow down upon noticing their vehicle trying to make a left turn. Since vehicles traveling in a straight line almost always drive at a higher speed than vehicles making a turn, the oncoming driver might not even notice your vehicle, and even if they do, they might not be able to slow down in time to avoid a collision.
  • When you try to make a left turn, you have to take a number of factors into account – you need to keep an eye on the signal, you need to make sure that the oncoming lane is clear, and you need to keep an eye on the vehicles directly behind you which are also trying to make a left turn. In addition to this, you might also have to gauge the speed of oncoming vehicles and decide if you have sufficient time to make the turn. The presence of so many variables increases the risk of a collision to a great extent.

Who is at Fault for a Left Turn Accident in Alabama?

When two vehicles – one turning left and one driving in a straight line – are involved in an accident, the driver who made the left turn will be held liable in most cases, due to the implicit assumption that they might have miscalculated the time and space needed to make the turn. 

Moreover, at an intersection, the vehicle which is attempting to turn left is supposed to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles which are driving straight. If you fail to do so, you can be held liable for the resulting accident.

Does this mean that the driver who makes a left turn will always be held liable in such accidents? Not necessarily.

The other driver, who is driving in a straight line, can also be held responsible for the accident under the following circumstances:

  • If the driver was driving over the speed limit;
  • If the driver ran a red light;      
  • If the driver was impaired as a result of consuming alcohol, drugs, or prescription drugs.

Statute of Limitations for Left Turn Accidents in Alabama

According to section 6-2-38 of the Code of Alabama, the statute of limitations for all personal injury cases – which includes left turn accident lawsuits – is two years from the date of the accident. It should be noted that the two-year deadline is applicable to you only if you suffered bodily injuries as a result of the accident and want to recover damages for the same.

If, on the other hand, you want to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for vehicle damage, you can do so within a period of six years from the date of the accident.

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Alabama

If you have been involved in a left turn accident, it is absolutely essential for you to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who has the knowledge, skills, and resources to pursue a favorable outcome for you.

The importance of hiring an experienced trial attorney cannot be overstated in such cases, particularly due to Alabama’s contributory negligence doctrine. Under the doctrine, you can be barred from recovering any sort of compensation from the at-fault party – if it is proven that your own actions contributed to the accident – even to a small extent.

For well over two decades, Mann & Potter, PC has been fighting for the rights of injury victims in Alabama. The firm’s founding partners – Ted Mann and Robert Potter – have been practicing law for several decades and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for their clients.

The personal injury attorneys at Mann & Potter, PC can help you recover damages for the injuries you sustained from a left turn accident – either through settlement or trial. Contact us today on 205-879-9661 or message us online for a free consultation.

Caring for a Loved One with TBI

Simply put, a traumatic brain injury or TBI is a change in the normal functioning of the brain due to an external force. The force may have occurred in an auto accident, a fall at work, or as the result of an attack or a blast. Essentially, any external force that causes the head to strike an object can lead to a TBI.

There can be several immediate results:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neurological changes such as weakness, loss of balance, an inability to articulate, either speaking or writing.
  • Alterations in the mental state including confusion, slowed thinking, and disorientation

It is one of the worst injuries you or a loved one can suffer and it generally means there will be a long recovery with no guarantees the person will ever return to who they once were.

Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S.

In 2014, there was an average of 155 deaths every day from injuries that included a TBI. 

In 2014 there were also 2.87 million ER visits, hospitalizations and deaths due to TBI. That includes 837,000 children.

Those who survive a TBI may expect to experience the effects for anywhere from a few days to the rest of their lives.


Caring for Your Loved One with a TBI

As a caretaker, you no doubt will feel overwhelmed at the prospect of the new normal for this family member. In the hospital, the injured may not even remember what led to his injury, which can be a form of relief.

You may find that he/she has problems thinking, difficulty speaking, concentrating, and problem solving. Physical problems may include a loss of strength and coordination.  Movement and swallowing may be a challenge.

A traumatic brain injury may impact one’s senses such as the ability to smell, see, hear or even feel touch.

Emotionally, you may find your loved one experiences mood changes and exhibits tendencies such as impulsivity and irritability.
 

What can you do? As a caretaker, you might want to reduce stimulation in the room.  Family and friends should limit visits and make them short. Do not overwhelm the injured with emotion as he/she may not be able to process all of the stimuli. Use short sentences when communicating with the TBI victim.

Patient rehabilitation will involve physical therapy, occupational, and speech therapy. Expect the patient to receive at least 3 hours of therapy a day with breaks in between for 5-7 days a week.

A recreational therapist will work on finding new recreational activity that is part of recovery.

Community Resources for TBI

For the individual caretaker, a social worker will focus on making a transition easier to return to your community by accessing community resources. He/she will help you determine eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security support.

Besides accessing community resources, a legal guardian and/or professional case manager may be placed to advocate with the community services and hospital and insurance companies.

As a caretaker, you will need ongoing supportive counseling to help you adjust to your new circumstances as will the brain-injured patient.

You may need also to adjust to the fact that though the injured person can still function in the world, he/she may never return to the person they once were.

A Compassionate Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

We understand that this is not the time for judgment but to seek compensation from the at-fault party. The additional stress of an injured breadwinner makes our job that more urgent.

You may also hear from lawyers representing the at-fault party. We strongly suggest you do not communicate with the insurer for the other side, because they do not have your best interests at heart.

The attorneys at Mann & Potter will want to begin the conversation about your personal injury needs, so we can obtain the maximum compensation for both economic and non-economic damages to help you with the road ahead.

We are here to provide you with the legal guidance and personal support you need at this difficult time. Please call our Birmingham office at 205-627-3186 so you can schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of our legal team.