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Single Vehicle Accident Kills Prattville Man

Prattville Man Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on I-85; Cause Unknown

Last week, a Prattville man was killed when his car left the road and crashed into a ravine off Interstate 85. The accident occurred around 8:20 in the morning on Tuesday, April 28th, near the Chantilly Parkway between Taylor Road and Atlanta Highway. Ryan Smith, 26, was driving his 1997 Mercury Gran Marquis, when the vehicle left the road and crashed into a ravine. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. Both the northbound and southbound lanes of I-85 were shut down for two hours as police conducted an investigation and road crews worked to clean up the accident.

No other cars appear to have been involved in the accident, and the cause of the crash is unknown at this time. A single-vehicle accident where the car leaves the road may be the result of driver fatigue or an emergency medical condition that causes the driver to lose control. There are also other factors which can cause such an accident through no fault of the driver, such as:

  • Mechanical failure of the automobile due to a defect in the car or a component part, such as a stuck accelerator or steering or brake failure, or from a negligent repair at an auto service center
  • Reckless driving of another vehicle in the area, whose speeding, distracted driving or sudden stop or lane change can cause another driver to run off the road
  • Road hazards and roadway defects, including debris blown on the road from a construction zone, potholes and roads which are designed or built in an unsafe manner regarding blind curves and steep inclines

The cause of this particular tragedy is still under investigation and may never be known. If it can be proven that the negligence or misconduct of another is to blame, the family of Ryan Smith may be able to recover money damages for his wrongful death to hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoing and help with funeral and burial expenses and other aspects of this tragic loss.

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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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Fatal Accident in Huntsville Raises Third-Party Liability Questions

A father and son have both denied responsibility in a recent fatal traffic accident in Huntsville.

Court documents state that Richard Scarano allowed his son Gunner Scarano to drive the family truck. The younger Scarano was involved in a collision in south Huntsville that killed a 10-year-old boy and injured two others. The lawsuit names both father and son as defendants, alleging that Gunner caused the accident and that Richard negligently entrusted the vehicle to Gunner.

Third-party liability

This case illustrates the point that the person behind the wheel may not necessarily be the only responsible party. Given the high number of uninsured and underinsured motorists, third-party liability can be a very important component of your negligence case. A third party may be responsible for your injuries in several situations, among them:

  • Negligent entrustment becomes a factor if a person entrusts a vehicle to an incompetent or reckless driver — such as an underage or intoxicated driver — the entrusting party may be responsible for damages caused in an accident.
  • Respondeat superior applies if an employee commits a tort (such as an auto accident) during the course and scope of employment. Alabama has special definitions for each of these terms.
  • Dram shop liability, or saloon owner liability, comes into play if a shopkeeper either serves a minor or knowingly serves an intoxicated person, and that person subsequently causes an accident. A business owner may also be liable if a person was served alcohol “contrary to the provisions of law,” such as serving alcohol in a dry county.

The attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum have been protecting the victims of motor vehicle collisions in Alabama since 1978. Call today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney.