Halloween Dangers

Oct 10

Trick or Treaters

How to be Safe on Halloween

Halloween is one of the most enjoyable and dangerous holidays of the year. Last year it is estimated that over 150 million people celebrated Halloween. Due to a combination of increased pedestrian traffic, alcohol use and night-time festivities, serious accidents are much more likey to occur.

According to the NHTSA’s most recent statistics on Halloween:

  • 50% of pedestrians die from a drunk driving accident (33% on an average day).
  • 28% of crash victim fatalities are pedestrians (14% on an average day).
  • Approximately 20% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involve a drunk driver.
  • Over 50% of pedestrian fatalities occur between 4pm and midnight.
  • Less than one fifth of parents use reflective tape.
  • Around 12% of children under five are allowed to go without adult supervision.

Tips to Stay Safe on Halloween

If you or your children are going out on Halloween night, make sure to stay safe and follow these safety tips. Whether you are walking or driving, there is plenty you can do to be safe. Make sure to do the following:

  • Be extremely cautious while driving during peak trick-or-treat times, beginning in the late afternoon hours extending into the late evening hours.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians, especially in residential areas, and maintain a slow speed at all times.
    Watch out for any passersby when pulling out of a driveway or parking spot.
  • Never pass parked vehicles, which could be dropping off or picking up children.
  • If you are attending or hosting a party where alcohol is being served, arrange transportation ahead of time to eliminate the possibility of drunk driving.
  • Children of all ages should be supervised by an adult.
  • Make sure that everyone is clothed in something that reflects light so that drivers can see you on and around roadways.
  • Be especially mindful of pedestrian safety when walking with children. This means always walk on sidewalks, cross at designated crossings and look both ways before crossing a street.
  • Avoid distraction while walking. Put away phones and mobile devices while walking alongside any roadway.
  • Thoroughly inspect all foods and candies given to your children. Wait until children are home to sort and check treats.
  • If your child has food allergies, inspect all treats for the presence of items that your child is allergic to.
  • Look for candies and foods that might cause a young child to choke, such as gum, hard candy or small toys.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Never cut across yards.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child
    may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care
  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do
    the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a
    candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects.
  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard
    anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.

How to Pay Medical Bills After an Accident

May 10
Car accident injury

Car accident injury

What to Do About Alabama Car Accident Medical Bills

Alabama residents who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents are faced with many problems once they leave the hospital. The question that plagues everyone is about how to pay medical bills after a car accident. Understand this, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not pay for any of your treatment costs until there is a settlement agreement.

At the end of your case, hopefully you will recive a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to compensate for all your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages from the accident. However, you normally can’t reach a settlement until you have completed all of your medical treatment. The problem is you often get stuck with the bills, and bill collector calls for a while.

There are various ways of paying medical bills after a car accident. The most common ways to pay bills after an accident in Alabama includes the following:

  • Your Private Health Insurance-Your health insurance can initially pay for your treatment. This can keep you from receiving a stack of bills from your providers. It can also prevent any bills from going to collections. The problem is some hospitals will not bill your personal insurance after an accident, in the hope they can get more money from your auto accident insurance company. You also might have to pay your personal insurance company back at the end of your case. This process is called subrogation. This means that, when you receive a personal injury settlement, you will have to pay your insurance company back any money that they paid to your providers on your behalf. Your attorney can negotiate the amount you have to pay them down. Sincee subrogation is a complex process, it may be best to speak to a Alabama personal injury attorney
  • Medicare or Medicaid-Like private health insurers, Medicare or Medicaid can pay for the treatment you need as a result of your accident. Medicare and Medicaid will probably also require you to pay them back if you receive a personal injury settlement.
  • Medical Payments or MedPay-Medical payments, or MedPay, is usually a part of your auto insurance policy that pays medical bills of people in your vehcile at the time of the accident. It is not automatically on your insurance policy, and can be any amount you want to purchase. If you have MedPay, you may not have to pay the co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses like ambulance, dental care, or chiropractic care listed in your health insurance plan. In Alabama MedPay does have to be paid back if you receive a complete settlement from the at fault driver. You do not pay it back if the at fault driver does not have enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries. You can make a MedPay claim no matter who is at fault in an accident.
  • The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance-The insurance company will not pay out for your expenses until you reach a settlement.
  • Loan Companies-I never recommend a client to use one of these high interest loan companies. The only person who wins in these circumstances is the loan companies.

If you have been seriously injured in an accident in Alabama, make sure you retain a personal injury attorney to help you deal you with medical bill issues. They can help take the stress off you while you recover. We always offer a free initial consultation in accident cases. Call 256-534-3435 now to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Jan 20

SUV rollover accidewnt lawyers

SUV Rollover Accident

Have you had a car accident in Alabama? Are you considering working with the insurance company yourself? Insurance companies can be very cooperative in the beginning, but eventually you will become frustrated, angry and confused. If you have been injured in a car accident, you should hire a lawyer.

Importance of hiring a lawyer after a car accident:

1. Insurance companies are never on your side in an accident.

2. You should not give any statements to an insurance company without your lawyer. They are trying to avoid paying you.

3. Attorneys deal with insurance companies daily.

4. Your attorney will deal directly with the insurance company.

5. Your attorney will gather the medical records, bills and police reports.

6. Your personal injury attorney will be able to help you get medical treatment, even if you don’t have medical insurance.

7. Your attorney will negotiate liens with health care providers so that you don’t have to pay inflated hospital bills.

8. Your attorney will review your case and help determine the value of your case. Insurance companies try to keep compensation as low as possible, and for this reason you need personal injury lawyer Randy W. Ferguson to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.

9. A personal injury lawyer will know how and when to bring the case to trial if necessary.

10. If the insurance adjuster calls you, tell them to call your lawyer, Randy W. Ferguson.

At the law firm of Ferguson & Ferguson we represent people injured in car accidents. If you have been injured, call 256-534-3435 or 256-350-7200 now. We never work for insurance companies, and we are here to help.

New Alabama Mileage Reimbursement Rate

Jan 07

If you have been injured at work in Alabama, your employer or their insurance company must pay you mileage for your trips to rehabilitation and medical appointments. Code of Alabama, 1975, Section 25-5-77(f) provides that “The employer shall pay mileage costs to and from medical and rehabilitation providers at the same rate as provided by law for official state travel.” The rate is adjusted based upon an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The mileage reimbursement rate in Alabama has now been set at $0.54 per mile with an effective date of January 1, 2016.

If you have been injured, and are covered by worker’s compensation in Alabama, it is your responsibility to keep up with and submit your mileage information to your employer or their insurance carrier. Calculating mileage reimbursement is very simple. Keep track of all trips to and from medical appointments. Add up the total miles and multiple by .54. Provide the information to your employer or adjuster.

Many insurance companies and employers fail to tell their injured employees that they have to reimburse them for their mileage. Sometimes insurance companies fail to pay mileage reimbursement or intentionally slow down the process of reimbursement. This can create a situation where the injured worker cannot afford to get to his approved appointments. If this is happening to you, we recommend you send mileage requests directly to the insurance company. Certified mail is recommended, since many companies deny that they received the requests.

If you are unable to drive to an appointment, or do not have transporation, your employer may also have to provide transportation to and from your medical appointment. If you have questions about your workers compensation case, call Ferguson & Ferguson now. We offer free consultations to all injured workers in the State of Alabama. Call 256-534-3435.

Safety Tips for Seniors

Dec 05

Everyone goes through the aging process differently, but driving is one of the most common challenges for older adults. Seniors often have a wealth of experience behind the wheel, but physical changes and new laws can put our skills to the test.
Fortunately, there are many ways that seniors can improve their driving and avoid handing over their keys until well into their golden years. If you’re over the age of 65, consider these safety tips for senior drivers and consider modifying your habits to keep everyone safe.

Assess Your Sight and Hearing
Driving is all about seeing and hearing, so it’s crucial that seniors get regular checkups from their physicians. Each year, have your eyes and ears checked out to ensure that glasses, contact lenses, and hearing aid prescriptions are up-to-date.
Overall, it’s important to understand your driving strengths and limitations and listen to the concerns of trusted friends, relatives, and your doctor.

Address Stiffness and Mobility Issues
Driving requires you to turn your neck and look over your shoulder, both difficult tasks when you suffer from mobility issues. If you suffer from leg pain, it can be challenging to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to the accelerator and brake pedals. Stretching regularly and staying physically active can help retain flexibility over time.

Take a Defensive Driving Refresher Course
It’s easy to lose driving confidence if you don’t do it every day or keep up with news about regularly changing driving laws. One of the best ways for seniors to get their confidence back and drive safely is by taking a defensive driving course. These courses can be completed in a classroom or online at your own pace.

Discuss Medications with Your Doctor
Medications almost always come with a risk of side effects. While they may be essential to your health, they could also impair your driving. Discuss medications with your doctor and specifically ask if they could affect your ability to drive and what you can do about it.

Avoid Night Driving and Traffic
Night driving is often challenging for seniors because of decreased visibility and hidden obstacles. When possible, avoid driving at night to reduce risks and also during times of heavy traffic. Traffic can be very stressful, so aim to avoid unnecessary stress to protect your health and safety.

Consider Adaptive Devices
Based upon your individual needs, it may be beneficial to install adaptive devices in your vehicle and learn how to use them. These are some of the most common adaptive devices that can help seniors drive safely:

Ask your equipment installer or rehabilitation specialist to train you how to use your new equipment and practice driving in a safe, controlled environment. You should also choose a user-friendly vehicle that you feel comfortable, without being bombarded by modern technology that makes you more distracted than safe.

Understand Licensing Laws
Although it’s as much of a legal issue as a safety one, seniors should understand the licensing laws in their state. AAA, for example, has a helpful map to select your state and read about senior-specific laws and programs. You will likely need to renew your license and take driving tests more often as you age, which is why driving refresher courses are so useful.

Overall, it’s important to understand your driving strengths and limitations and listen to the concerns of trusted friends, relatives, and your doctor. Following these recommendations may be enough for many seniors; however, others may need to consider getting a professional evaluation by a certified driver rehabilitation specialist and looking into transportation alternatives.

Aggressive Driving

Nov 23

Aggressive Driving: The Warning Signs and How to Prevent Road Rage
November 20, 2015
Aggressive driving has become a dangerous issue on our roads, and drivers with road rage put everyone at risk of accidents and injuries. Statistics have shown that aggressive driving is connected to approximately 66 percent of traffic fatalities and that about half of people who encounter aggressive drivers respond in an aggressive way. A recent AAA Foundation study considered 10,000 road rage cases over a seven-year period and revealed that these incidents resulted in at least 12,610 injury cases and 218 murders.
These injuries are deaths could have been prevented if only drivers had kept their cool. We all have good days and bad days, but there’s no excuse for letting emotions cloud your judgment behind the wheel.
Types of Aggressive Driving
Many people associate aggressive driving with being angry, but stress, hurrying, and impatience also lead to unsafe driving habits. When people drive aggressively, they are committing traffic offenses that have direct safety implications.
These are some of the most common types of aggressive driving you may encounter on the road:
• Tailgating
• Cutting off other drivers
• Speeding
• Weaving in and out of traffic
• Blowing through red lights and stop signs
What is Road Rage?
Road range is an extreme version of aggressive driving that often involves malicious behaviors that are directed at other drivers on the road. It is marked by deliberate actions that often result in violence and threats of violence.
These are some of forms of road range that you may be faced with because of aggressive drivers:
• Obscene gesture
• Cursing
• Ramming
• Sideswiping
• Throwing objects
• Use of weapons
The number one cause of road rage is traffic, which is commonly caused by peak commute congestion, fender benders, weather, sun glare, and even potholes. Road rage becomes a contagious problem when aggressive drivers provoke other motorists on the road. Drivers exhibiting signs of road rage should never be provoked, spurred on, or engaged in competition.
Tips to Avoid Aggressive Driving
The driver’s seat is no place to feel rushed, frustrated, or panicked. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent aggressive driving-related accidents in your life.
These are some tips to avoid becoming an aggressive driver and putting everyone around you at risk:
• Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination
• Listen to calm music or talk radio when you drive
• Avoid driving when you are feeling emotional
• Don’t linger in the passing lane if you are not passing another vehicle
• Always use your turn signals
• Adjust your attitude and accept that traffic is out of your control
• Brush up on your driving knowledge and skills by taking a defensive driving class with a company like Comedy Defensive Driving.
How to Handle Aggressive Drivers
Even if you fully understand and appreciate the risks of aggression behind the wheel, you may still encounter aggressive drivers and must handle them carefully.
Here are some ways to diffuse a tense situation before it escalates to an unsafe hazard:
• Don’t react to or engage the aggressive driver
• Navigate your vehicle away from the aggressive driver to a safe location
• Make sure everyone in your car is wearing seat belts
• Don’t use your horn unnecessarily
• If the behavior persists, note the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate and report the aggressive driver to local police
Remember that it’s every driver’s responsibility to keep their emotions in check and ensure the safety of fellow motorists. Road range tendencies become even more dangerous when you’re sharing the road with large trucks, motorcyclists, bicycles, and pedestrians. Aggressive driving is unsafe driving, so keep these tips in mind every time you hop into the driver’s seat.

Clay McCarty and Ivy Redmill Killed in Alabama Truck Accident

May 21

Two Curry high school students, one a freshman and the other a senior, male and female, were killed in a head-on collision with an 18-wheel tractor-trailer while driving on their way to school.

Clay McCarty, 15 and Ivy Redmill, 17 were driving in a Honda Accord when they struck the tractor trailer at around 7:30 am on Curry Highway.

Alabama State Troopers said that although it was early in the investigation, it appeared that the passenger car crossed the center line and struck the tractor trailer head on and that neither teen was wearing a seatbelt. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the big rig was not injured.

While it is not our objective to engage in speculation, one would think that distracted driving perhaps involving the usage of cell phones could have been a factor in an accident involving two young teenagers on their way to school early in the morning.

One thing we do know for sure is that neither teen was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. It is well documented that failing to wear a seatbelt increases your chances of being killed in a car accident like this by a factor of 10 times.

If you have had loved ones killed as a result of negligence on the part of another we’re here to help. Please call the experienced truck accident attorneys at Ferguson and Ferguson today.

Alabama Motor Vehicle Fatality Statistics

May 21

According to statistics quoted by www.wsfa.com, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more that 480 people were killed in Jefferson County Alabama alone in the time period 2009 – 2013. Montgomery county to the south had 134 fatalities. Madison County was third overall in the state for traffic fatalities. In all of Alabama for that time frame, 4322 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents.

Distracted driving has now become the number one cause motor vehicles accidents in Alabama, followed by speeding, and then driving under the influence. Officials say that most of the fatalities were not wearing their seat belts. Www.wsfa.com interviewed Cpl. Jess Thorton of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency who stated “One of the worst parts of being an Alabama State Trooper is working a fatal crash and seeing just a sudden loss of life that could have been prevented,” he said, “and then having to notify that next of kin that their loved one is not coming home.” Cpl Thorton also stated that it is not only the responsibility of the driver to wear a seat belt, but also to “make sure that everyone else is buckled in as well.”

Currently seat belt laws are enforced lightly, as only a secondary offense with a $25 fine and only front seat passengers and those under 15 years old are required to wear them. According to www.drivinglaws.org, Alabama in 2012 passed a law banning texting while driving and this includes all drivers. Novice drivers, ages 16 and 17, with an intermediate license for less than six months are also banned from all cell phone usage. But while texting and driving is a primary law, meaning a police officer can pull someone over for texting, the penalty is only $25 for a first offense, and two points on one’s driver’s license, hardly enough of a penalty to either force police to take action or to dissuade a youngster from making and taking phone calls and sending and receiving text messages while driving.

Our blog on www.fergusonferguson.com is full of stories of young drivers who have been killed or injured in a motor vehicle accident in Alabama while not wearing a seat belt and while being suspected of texting or talking on a cell phone. If you have been injured or have had a loved one killed by the negligence of a distracted driver in Alabama, you need to talk to an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer to see if you have a case against the driver and his/her insurance company. Call us today at Ferguson and Ferguson.

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Apr 07

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