Expert Witness - McPhillips Shinbaum

How Can Expert Witnesses Help in My Injury Case?

Suffering a serious injury can be a devastating experience, and one that leaves you with high medical bills, financial losses in the form of lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been seriously injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be considering filing a personal injury case.

Before you file your personal injury case on your own, though, understanding the different elements of a personal injury case, and the benefits of working with a skilled lawyer, can be helpful. One of the most important reasons to consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is that they will have longstanding relationships with specialists, and the resources to bring in expert witnesses.

Why Are Expert Witnesses Important in a Personal Injury Case?

Winning a personal injury case can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal system and are pursuing damages unrepresented. This is because there are four set elements of a personal injury claim that you must prove in order to recover compensation. These are:

  1. Duty of care;
  2. Breach of duty of care;
  3. Causation; and
  4. Damages.

Essentially, you must prove that the party against whom you’re filing a civil action owed you a duty of care, breached the duty of care owed to you as a result of their negligence, that this negligence was the direct cause of your accident, and that you suffered actual damages as a result.

Proving these four elements will take more than just your opinion; instead, hard evidence is a must. This is especially true in Alabama, where the courts apply the legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence” in personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, any party that shares fault for an accident and subsequent injury is barred from recovering damages. This makes it all the more important to compile various forms of evidence and develop a rock-solid case.

One of the best ways to put the evidence of the case in proper perspective for the judge or jury and help substantiate your claim is through the opinion of expert witnesses.

Common Types of Expert Witnesses

There are a number of different expert witness types that may be useful in your case. Examples include medical professionals (doctors, medical specialists, psychiatrists, etc.); accident reconstruction specialists; forensic specialists; financial experts; and more. These experts can be used to offer insight into how your accident occurred, whether or not the defendant breached the duty of care owed to you, and the value of the losses you have suffered.

It is important to note that not only are expert witnesses important in personal injury claims, often providing expert opinion that is undisputed about how an accident occurred or the severity of related injuries, but that their opinions are sometimes required. For example, in a medical malpractice case, you must hire an expert who can attest to the fact that the defendant breached the medical standard of care.

Are Expert Witnesses Expensive?

One of the biggest barriers to working with an expert witness is that expert witnesses are typically very expensive to hire. In fact, hiring an expert to work on your case or testify as part of your suit can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. One report found that just an initial review from an expert is a few hundred dollars on average, and that a deposition is even more expensive. Fees for certain specialties, like plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons, are higher.

The expenses that are associated with expert witnesses often make hiring them unrealistic for the average person who has suffered serious injuries, is dealing with financial losses, and is pursuing damages without professional legal representation.

Our Law Firm Has the Resources Necessary to Hire Experts for Your Case

Deciding between bolstering your case, potentially recovering the maximum amount of compensation available to you, and forking out hundreds of dollars for experts’ fees can be a tough decision. In some cases, you simply may not have the cash, meaning that recruiting an expert is inaccessible.

When you work with the personal injury lawyers at the offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, hiring experts is not something you need to worry about. Our lawyers cover 100 percent of the fees associated with your case, including experts’ fees, and never request upfront payments from you. Instead, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that if your case is successful and you recover a settlement, we will be paid an agreed-upon percentage of your winnings. If you don’t win, we don’t collect a payment.

Schedule a Consultation Today

To learn more about the role of expert witnesses in a personal injury case and how our firm can help you, please call us at 334-262-1911, contact us online,  or visit our Montgomery law office in person. Consultations are offered free of charge.

Who is responsible for your injuries if you are in an accident in an Uber?

Accident Injuries While Riding in an Uber – Who’s Responsible?

Whether you are acting as a passenger in the car of a friend or family member, operating a motor vehicle yourself, or riding in an Uber or Lyft as a passenger, knowing when a motor vehicle accident is going to happen is impossible. What you can figure out, though, is what steps you need to take after a motor vehicle accident happens in order to receive compensation for your injuries.

If you have suffered accident injuries while riding in an Uber or other rideshare vehicle and have questions about liability and pursuing damages, our lawyers at the offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP can help.

Here’s what you need to know about liability in an Uber accident:

Who’s Responsible for My Injuries in an Uber Accident?

In Alabama, liability for an accident (which means who is legally responsible for the accident and related damages) is based on the legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence.” Under the contributory negligence doctrine, if you are even 1% at-fault for the accident (for example, if you were a bicyclist who swerved into an Uber vehicle), you are barred from recovering damages. In other words, you need to prove that the other party (or parties) are 100% responsible.

Potentially at-fault parties might include:

  • The Uber driver. The Uber driver may be to blame for the accident if their own negligence was the direct cause of the accident. Examples of negligent actions that drivers may engage in when behind the while include texting while driving, driving while distracted, driving while impaired, driving aggressively, speeding, and more.
  • The driver of another vehicle. If the Uber vehicle in which you were riding and another vehicle collided, a potential source of liability is the driver of the other vehicle. If their negligent actions–like making an illegal turn, following too closely, or driving while fatigued–caused the crash, they can be held liable for your damages.
  • A third party. In some cases, a third party may be to blame. Examples of third parties who are sometimes held liable or partially liable in car accident cases include manufacturers of defective vehicles/vehicle parts or municipal governments that fail to perform proper road maintenance.

Insurance Policies Available to You

It is not enough to just prove fault; you also want to make sure that the at-fault party is covered by an insurance policy that can pay for your damages. If an at-fault party does not have insurance, they may be found liable for the harm you’ve suffered, but may not have enough assets to offer you what you deserve in compensation. In an Uber accident, there are usually myriad different sources of insurance and potential compensation available, including:

  • Uber insurance. Uber maintains an insurance policy for all of its drivers who are carrying passengers. The coverage offers up to $1 million in third-party liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured coverage, and contingent collision and comprehensive coverage.
  • Liability insurance of the other driver. All drivers in the state of Alabama are required to carry liability insurance. This insurance is used to pay for damages they cause to others.

If you maintain insurance, such as health insurance, this too will of course help to pay for your medical bills after a crash.

How to Prove Fault and Liability for Accident Injuries While Riding an Uber

In many cases, determining fault and proving liability can be complicated. For obvious reasons, no party wants to assume fault and shoulder the blame, and neither does their insurance company. In fact, insurers will often try to disprove any allegations of their policyholders’ fault in order to avoid high settlement awards.

This means that you have a duty to substantiate fault if you want to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Our rideshare accident lawyers can help. We know how to thoroughly investigate your case, work with experts to garner professional opinions about accident causation and damages, gather evidence, and organize case data in a compelling manner. We are also skilled negotiators who are confident in our ability to fight for the settlement you deserve, and we have extensive litigation experience and are not intimidated by the courtroom.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

If you are in a rideshare accident, working with a lawyer can be monumental in recovering the compensation award you deserve. At the offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, we work on a contingency fee basis and are passionate about what we do. Call us today for a free consultation at 334-262-1911 or visit our Montgomery office in person.


Woman having a broken arm set by the doctor with her personal injury case

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?

If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence – car or truck crashmotorcycle accidentslip and fall, or wrongful death – you may decide to pursue damages and seek compensation for your losses. Many wonder “How long does a personal injury case take?” McPhillips Shinbaum LLP is here to help. When the accident wasn’t your fault, it’s not fair that you should be stuck with medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that come with these tragic circumstances.

An Alabama personal injury case is often the best way to achieve a positive outcome, which includes an award for the damages you need and deserve to move on with your life. But, this can be a daunting process, and you may not want to jump into something that is going to take years to resolve.

You may wonder if your injury case can be resolved quickly? It certainly is possible, but if you settle quickly, you most likely won’t receive the full value of your case. Your Alabama personal injury attorney will want to make sure that your rights are protected, and you aren’t shortchanged in the process. There is a basic timeline for all personal injury cases as well as several factors that could delay your settlement.

Alabama Personal Injury Case Timeline

Each personal injury case is unique, but they all progress according to a similar timeline. Between the date of the accident and the resolution of your case, these are various milestones that you can expect:

  • Medical treatment. After you’ve been involved in an accident, you should seek immediate medical care. This could be ongoing until you stabilize, lasting anywhere from a few months to several years.
  • Consult an attorney. Speak with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident about your rights and legal options.
  • Claim investigation. Your attorney will investigate your case and collect the evidence necessary to substantiate your claim.
  • File an insurance claim or demand a settlement. Many personal injury cases settle before going to court. Your attorney will file claims with the appropriate insurance companies and speak to you about your settlement options.
  • File personal injury lawsuit. If you are unable to reach a fair settlement agreement that fully compensates you for your losses, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit. Getting a trial date can take a year or more.
  • Both sides will engage in the investigation of each other’s claims and legal defenses. There will be written questions (interrogatories) as well as depositions of witnesses and other interested parties.
  • Mediation and/or arbitration. Before a trial, both parties will attempt to settle the case again through mediation, arbitration, or both.
  • If your case does not settle by this point, you will go to trial. The defendant can also appeal the decision if they lose.

Factors That Could Delay Your Personal Injury Case

Not all personal injury cases settle quickly. In fact, an insurance company that tries to push a quick settlement may be trying to get off the hook for much less than your case is actually worth. There are three common reasons that personal injury cases take a long time to resolve.

  1. There are problems with the case. Your case might take longer to settle if there are questions or disputes around two issues – liability (who was at fault) and damages (the severity of the injury or other losses).
  2. The case is “valuable.” The more money your case is worth, the more resistance you will meet from the other side. An insurer will insist on either investigating or fighting every aspect of your case if “big money” is involved.
  3. You haven’t stabilized medically. A personal injury case becomes difficult to settle if you are still receiving treatment for your injuries. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, the parties can place a more accurate value on your damages.

 Speak With An Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorney

The Alabama personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, have over 153 years of combined experience helping injured victims seek justice in a variety of personal injury matters. If you or someone you care about has been injured due to another party’s negligence, our seasoned Alabama personal injury lawyers can help you recover damages for medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact our Montgomery office now at 334.262.1911 or reach us online to schedule your initial consultation.


woman holding her neck due to whiplash injury

Whiplash – How it Happens and How to Care for It

Whiplash is one of the most common types of car accident injuries. Millions of whiplash injuries happen in the U.S. each year, and as many as 30-50% of those injured will struggle with chronic pain for the rest of their lives. If you or someone you love has suffered a neck injury, it’s vital that you understand how whiplash happens and what you can expect as you recover from this devastating event.

How Whiplash Happens

Most whiplash injuries occur when a person is rear-ended in an auto accident, but they can also happen with sports injuries and dangerous slips and falls. The most common sequence of a car crash whiplash injury is as follows:

  • Your car is struck from behind. The driver and passenger seats in your vehicle get forcefully pushed against the spinal column, which forces the spinal column up into the cervical spine.
  • Your torso moves forward while your spine remains stationary. As the body’s torso is pushed away from the car seat towards the front of the vehicle, the head remains in place. The creates an unnatural s-curve in the cervical spine, which can compress joints, discs, and other parts of the neck.
  • Your head hits the seat. As the torso moves in a forward motion, the head accelerates violently back into the seat. This can lead to additional soft tissue injuries in the neck.
  • The head bounces off of the seat. There is a secondary bounce as the head is thrust forward violently. The seatbelt, while a lifesaving device, can add to the injury as it holds the torso in place while the head whips forward, causing whiplash.

The Symptoms of Whiplash

A common misconception about whiplash injuries is that they only result from high-speed crashes. This isn’t the case. Even a low-speed rear-end collision can cause a life-altering whiplash injury to the driver and their passengers. While your car might be designed to sustain certain impact forces, the human body is not. Symptoms of whiplash can vary, but the most common signs of whiplash include:

  • Neck and upper back pain
  • Spasms and tightness in the neck and upper back muscles
  • Headache, dizziness, and pain with neck movement
  • Shoulder pain
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Burning, tingling, or other abnormal sensations in the neck
  • Concentration and memory problems

These symptoms, including neck pain, could begin immediately after the accident or may not start for days or weeks later. The adrenaline released during a traumatic accident can leave victims believing that they are unharmed when the reality is something different.

Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash

Whether you are unsure about a whiplash injury or just have mild neck pain, you should be examined by a physician as soon as possible. Tests such as X-rays, an MRI, or CT scan may be done to rule out fractures, ligament injury, and herniated discs.

Most whiplash injuries are conservatively treated with a combination of rest, medication, physical therapy, and chiropractic manipulation. More severe cases of whiplash may require additional treatment that includes trigger point injections and even an evaluation with a spinal surgeon.

How Whiplash Can Impact Your Life

The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reports that whiplash injuries alone cost about $2.7 billion each year. What this enormous figure doesn’t illustrate clearly enough is the personal cost to whiplash victims and their families.

With the right treatment, about half of the people who suffer from whiplash can fully recover in just a few weeks or months. Others may require additional medical care and time away from work. In some cases, there is permanent damage, a need for surgery, and a significant impact on quality of life. If your whiplash injury was the fault of another party, seeking fair compensation for your losses is important.

Get Help With a Whiplash Personal Injury Claim

If you or a loved one are suffering from a whiplash injury resulting from a car accident or other incident, you have the right to seek fair compensation if another party was responsible for your injuries. The experienced personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP will offer a free evaluation of your case and will clearly explain your legal options. Contact our Montgomery, Alabama office now at 334.262.1911 or online to schedule a consultation.

sue an airline for in-flight injuries

Can I Sue an Airline for In-Flight Injuries?

Traveling by air is one of the most common ways to get around these days. In fact, according to Air & Space Magazinethere were 3.5 billion airline passengers in 2015, a number that was predicted to increase to 3.8 billion by 2017. What’s more, only 18 percent of Americans report never having flown in their life, which means that 82 percent likely have flown.

While air travel certainly makes things more convenient, and is becoming a more popular option with cheaper flights and budget airlines popping up both domestically and abroad, it’s important to remember that even when planes land safely, passengers can suffer in-flight injuries.

Common In-Flight Injuries

There are multiple opportunities for an injury to occur throughout the duration of the flight. Some of the most common accident and injury types include:

  • Rolling cart injuries (when the cart carrying drinks and snacks strikes a passenger);
  • Falling luggage injuries;
  • Spilled hot beverage injuries;
  • Slip and fall injuries; and
  • Turbulence-related injuries.

While many of these injuries are minor, leaving a person with insignificant bumps and bruises that are quickly forgotten about, the injuries can be serious. Indeed, a piece of luggage falling on a person’s head could cause a head or brain injury, spilled hot liquid could lead to serious burns, and other accident types may lead to back or neck injuries, fractures, and sprains and strains. Further, the above list is not inclusive.

Who’s Liable for an In-Flight Injury?

If you have been injured while on a flight, you may be able to bring forth a claim against the airline in order to recover compensation for the value of your injuries. In order to do this, here are a few things to keep in mind–

  • Airlines are common carriers. The first thing to note is that airlines arecommon carriers, which means that they have a heightened duty of care to those they serve. This may mean that providing negligence is easier to do, as the ordinary standard of care does not apply.
  • Airlines cannot be held liable for unforeseeable and unpreventable events. When certain events occur that an airline cannot predict, they cannot be held liable for damages that result. For example, turbulence on an airplane is not always avoidable. If a plane was experiencing turbulence, and a passenger who was advised to stay buckled in their seat went to the bathroom and fell along the way, the airline is not liable for the resulting damages.
  • You’ll have to prove negligence. Like with all personal injury claims, in order to hold an airline liable for harm, you’ll need to prove that the airline neglected the duty of care owed to you. For example, if the plane was experiencing turbulence, but the pilot or airline attendants failed to let passengers know they should remain in their seats and an injury resulted as such, it could be argued that the airline neglected their duty of care. Failing to properly secure luggage is another example of negligence.
  • Rules may be different for international flights. If you were harmed on an international flight, you should meet with an attorney immediately, as where the flight originated and landed may determine jurisdiction for your case. Further, your damages amount could be limited.

 Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Today

Being injured on a flight can be a very uncomfortable and scary experience, and sometimes the injury may be serious enough that you need to bring forth a legal claim in order to recover compensation for your losses.

Before you file your suit, though, you should consult with an experienced Montgomery personal injury attorney who has represented clients involved in suits against airlines in the past. At the law offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, our personal injury attorneys are prepared to advocate for you. To learn more about our legal services and how to hold an airline liable for injuries, please call us at 334-262-1911 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Who Pays my Medical Bills if I'm in a Car Accident in Alabama - McPhillips Shinbaum

Who Pays My Medical Bills if I Was Injured in a Car Accident in Alabama?

In the aftermath of a serious car accident in Alabama, victims often find themselves facing mounting medical bills as they recover from any injuries they may have sustained. Even a minor accident that led to cuts, scrapes, or soft tissue injuries can require professional medical treatment with an astronomically high cost.

Of course, it is only natural to wonder who will be responsible for paying for these medical bills, especially if the accident was caused by another driver. In this case, it is in the best interests of all crash victims to learn about Alabama’s car insurance laws to better understand liability for personal injury damages, and to reach out to an Alabama personal injury attorney immediately for help throughout the claims process.

Car Insurance Laws in Alabama

Ultimately, crash victims should understand the basics of Alabama insurance laws before moving forward. To begin, Alabama law requires all drivers to purchase an insurance policy that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • $25,000 for destruction or damage to property;
  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person; and
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two people.

This means that the insurance policy will pay out up to the listed amounts for the associated damages. The failure to maintain these insurance policy minimums can result in a fine, as well as a driver’s license suspension.

In addition, victims should also note that Alabama follows a fault-based system, also known as a “tort” system. This means that all drivers (or their insurance companies) are responsible for paying for damages that they cause.

Ultimately, in the aftermath of a crash, victims have three options for recovering damages to pay for medical bills, which are listed below:

  1. File an insurance claim with their own insurance carrier;
  2. File an insurance claim with the carrier of the other driver or drivers; or
  3. File a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.

Often, filing a claim with one of the insurance carriers will be sufficient to cover the costs associated with the victim’s medical bills. In the event that the costs for the victim’s medical treatment exceed the policy’s coverage, they will need to file a personal injury lawsuit, a task that is best attempted with the help of a skilled Alabama accident injury attorney.

Beware of Contributory Negligence Laws in Alabama

 After developing a basic sense of the insurance laws in Alabama, some victims choose to file a claim on their own in hopes of obtaining a settlement. However, this is not advisable, because most people are unfamiliar with the concept of contributory negligence.

Specifically, Alabama, along with only a small handful of other states, follows a system of contributory negligence, which ultimately means that a victim will be barred from recovering any amount of compensation for their damages if it can be shown that they were at all responsible for the crash. For example, if a victim was struck by a speeding driver, but the victim was shown to be acting negligently at the time (by texting, for example), they would be unable to obtain damages to pay for their medical bills.

It is for this reason, among others, that victims should reach out to an attorney immediately after a crash. Indeed, an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer will have a thorough understanding of Alabama law and will ensure that a crash victim remains eligible to recover the compensation they deserve.

Have You Been Injured in an Alabama Crash?

 If you have sustained injuries in a car accident in Montgomery or the surrounding areas, we invite you to contact us today at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP. Our skilled Alabama personal injury attorneys have significant experience assisting clients throughout the insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit process, and we are prepared to begin working on your behalf immediately to help you obtain the damages to which you are rightfully entitled. Don’t hesitate to call us at your earliest convenience at (334) 262-1911 or contact us online.


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Three-Car Crash in Montgomery County Takes One Life, Leaves Others Injured

A three-car crash occurred Saturday night, January 31st, on Peppers Ferry Road near Rolling Hills Drive in Montgomery County. The road was closed for several hours as emergency responders and law enforcement worked the accident. The accident occurred when a driver crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on. The driver of that vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, and his two passengers were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. A third vehicle was also involved, but no injuries were reported for the occupants of that vehicle.

The driver who crossed the center line has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Drunk driving and drugged driving are not only dangerous and illegal, but they may subject the driver to liability for any personal injury or wrongful death which resulted. When a violation of the law has led to an injury, the injured plaintiff may be able to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent per se, or negligent as a matter of law, without having to provide other evidence of the defendant’s negligence. The central question on this issue is whether the statute which was violated was one that was enacted to prevent the type of harm which occurred. Most traffic laws fall into this category, and a law against driving under the influence certainly has a primary purpose of preventing tragedies such as this one.

The doctrine of negligence per se has been upheld many times by the Alabama courts, including this restatement of the law in Proctor v. Classic Auto., Inc. from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in 2009:

“Violation of statutes or ordinances may be negligence. If the statute or ordinance violated was enacted or promulgated for the protection of the person claiming to have been injured by reason of the violation, the violation of the statute may be negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law.”

It is important to always drive with care and to drive defensively with regard to others who may be on the road, but as this tragedy demonstrates, sometimes all the care in the world cannot keep you safe from another person who chooses to drive with negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of others. If you or a loved one have been injured in an Alabama car accident, contact the attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum for a free consultation about receiving the compensation you need and deserve to recover from the harm done to you.

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Bar Owners Can Be Liable for Injuries Caused by Drunk Patrons

Every year hundreds of persons are killed by drunk drivers in Alabama, and thousands more are injured. You probably know that driving while intoxicated or impaired is very likely evidence of negligence, and the driver may be liable for damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. But did you know that the bar or restaurant which served the drunk driver may also be liable too?

Under section 6-5-71 of the Alabama Code, known as the Dram Shop Act, any person who sells or gives alcohol to another person contrary to law may be liable for any damages caused by the intoxicated individual. The law allows the injured person to sue for damages such as medical expenses and pain and suffering, and the family of the injured person can sue as well for damages such as loss of support or companionship.

What does it mean to sell or give alcohol to someone “contrary to law?” For one, sale of alcohol to minors is prohibited by Alabama Code 6-5-70. Also, any violation of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board, such as serving alcohol in a dry country, would also be “contrary to law.” Notably ABC Board Regulation 20-X-6-.02(4) prohibits serving alcohol to any person who appears to be intoxicated.

This last provision is likely the one most cited for dram shop liability in Alabama. It is certainly foreseeable that an overly intoxicated person might assault another person without provocation or cause a serious car accident if drinking and driving. In cases such as these, the bar, restaurant or liquor store which furnished the alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be held strictly liable for the damages which ensue.

In addition to compensatory damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, the bar could be liable for exemplary or punitive damages as well.

The attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum thoroughly investigate every case and work to hold every responsible party accountable for their negligence or misconduct. This includes restaurants, bars and retail establishments which furnish alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated persons with disastrous results. If you or a loved one were harmed in such a situation, call on the experienced Alabama personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at McPhillips Shinbaum for a free consultation.

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Who Is At Fault in a High-Speed Chase?

On July 30, 2013, a high-speed police chase through Birmingham and suburban Homewood resulted in two collisions and three injuries.

Police state that they spotted a man with outstanding arrest warrants driving in Birmingham’s south side shortly before 6:00 p.m. The chase ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed into another car near the corner of Roxbury and Oxmoor in Homewood. Another crash occurred previously on 18th Street. The fleeing suspect, his passenger (who also had an outstanding arrest warrant) and another driver were all rushed to area hospitals.

One witness remarked that she was “surprised” that more people weren’t hurt, given that the events occurred in a busy downtown area during rush hour. An Alabama car accident lawyer may become involved due to the serious injuries suffered by at least one and arguably two innocent bystanders.

Negligence in a high-speed chase

Accidents in high-speed chases are a serious problem. The FBI reports that one person dies every day in a high-speed chase. While peace officers are granted some leeway in their pursuit of some suspects, Alabama law does set limits on their behavior. These officers — and the city, county or state that employs them — may be liable for damages caused in a high-speed chase. Damages may include property damage and compensation for injury or death.

  • Officers are held to a simple negligence standard in Alabama. Even if they are in a high-speed emergency chase, they have a duty of reasonable care to other innocent third parties.
  • Despite a minority of states that impose liability in such situations, an injured suspect cannot sue for damages in Alabama because the suspect could have pulled over at any time and ended the chase.

The experienced and tough attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum are not intimidated by a government agency, insurance company or anyone else that is standing between you and fair compensation for your injuries. Call today for your free consultation.

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Explosive Plane Crash Kills Two

On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, a UPS cargo plane crashed near Birmingham. The crash killed all on board.

Police state that the aircraft was approaching Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport on a flight from Lexington, Kentucky. The plane suddenly exploded in mid-air and fell from the sky. The tower reports that the crew made no distress calls. Witnesses stated that the aircraft split into several pieces before crashing to the ground, skidding across a highway and spreading debris over a half-mile area.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed. Their bodies were found some 100 yards from the main portion of the plane. The aircraft type, a twin-engine Airbus A 300, has been involved in at least 10 other crashes since it first entered service in 1974.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the cause of the accident. Speculation exists that, due to the sudden nature of the crash, the lack of distress calls and the A 300’s service record, mechanical error may have been at fault.

Liability for wrongful death

Any time a manufacturer sells a defective product that results in death, whether that product is a small medical device or a wide-body jet aircraft, the manufacturer can be sued for wrongful death. Since 1974, Alabama has used the AEMLD, or Alabama Extended Manufacturers’ Liability Doctrine, in such cases. In a defective product case, a Birmingham personal injury attorney must convince the jury that the death occurred because of:

  • A design defect the typical argument is that there was a safer alternative design available, but the defendant failed to use that alternative design
  • A manufacturing defect  the product may have been fine on the blueprint, but was defective by the time it reached the shelf
  • A failure to warn – if the manufacturer knows that a product is dangerous, the manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers about the danger

Since 1978, McPhillips Shinbaum has represented injured victims and their families in personal injury lawsuits throughout Alabama. Call today for your free consultation.