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Hoover Alabama Legal Blog

Highway collision kills Fairhope resident

A misconception may exist amongst many in Hoover that has them thinking that lawsuits filed in the wake of auto accidents are simply attempts for accident victims and/or their families to try and shake down others for a few extra bucks. This line of thinking represents civil actions as being punitive, and while that may be the case in some situations, more often than not such lawsuits are actually methods through which accident victims can afford their expenses. However, this misconception may be understandable given that lawsuits are typically based of an element of negligence. 

Reckless driving can certainly qualify as negligence, even in cases where the one driving recklessly had no intentions of harming others. Take the case of a recent car accident that occurred in Wyoming that claimed the life of a Fairhope resident. The man was driving along a state highway in his truck when he struck another truck head-on. The driver of the other vehicle ventured into his lane trying to pass a pickup truck hauling a trailer. That driver also lost his life in the accident. 

Some of the many potential causes of a car accident

When you take to the road, you do so with the idea of remaining safe until you reach your destination. Even though this is your plan, another driver could make a mistake that causes a serious accident.

Understanding the potential causes of a car accident can help you avoid trouble. Here are seven of the most common reasons for a crash:

  • Distracted driving: When a person falls prey to a distraction behind the wheel, such as texting or eating, it's more likely that they'll cause an accident.
  • Drowsy driving: A serious concern at all times of the days, especially the evening hours, drowsy driving is known to be a top cause of motor vehicle accidents.
  • Drunk driving: There is no gray area when it comes to the risks of drinking and driving. If a person is under the influence, they are more likely to cause an accident.
  • Speeding: Despite posted speed limits, some people continue to drive too fast. Doing so increases the risk of an accident, as well as serious damage and injury in the event of a crash.
  • Reckless driving: This comes in many forms, ranging from illegal passing to failure to use a turn signal.
  • Inclement weather: When the weather takes a turn for the worse, such as heavy rain and strong winds, it's more difficult to maintain control of a vehicle. While most drivers adjust their driving style in bad weather, some people neglect to do so.
  • Construction sites: Driving through a construction zone is easier said than done, especially one that is crowded. Add in narrow lanes and there's a greater chance of someone making a mistake.

House-buyers beware is Alabama's rule for disclosure

If you are house-hunting in Alabama, one of the most important things to know is that the state is hands-off when it comes to disclosure requirements on the part of the homeowner. Alabama uses the rule of caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware.” That means there are very few circumstances in which the seller must disclose problems with the home.

The National Association of Realtors recounts a situation involving a Canadian couple seeking to purchase a second home in Washington, another state that employs caveat emptor. The couple hired an engineer to inspect a house they were considering. A small portion of rot was noted in the inspection report. However, the engineer indicated that it did not present a structural problem. So they purchased the home, and soon after noticed dampness, as well as potato bugs and that the ceiling tiles were beginning to separate. Another inspection turned up a case of severe rot, mold and pest damage; this damage was not found during the initial examination because it had been covered by new siding and trim, as well as insulation, to hide the problem.

What info must companies disclose to franchisees?

In a world where get-rich-quick schemes abound, there are still many in Alabama who believe hard work is the way to get ahead. Hard work and a little starter money, anyway, which is the appeal of buying a franchise. If it’s a chain, the marketing is already done; all you need is a lot of hard work and some business savvy, and you may have found a way to support your family and build an investment that you can retire on.

According to Entrepreneur, franchise disclosure documents can help would-be entrepreneurs make an informed decision about buying and running a franchise. The Federal Trade Commission requires that franchises make FDDs available to potential buyers a minimum of 14 calendar days before any money has changed hands or any contract is signed. This moratorium period gives the purchaser time to study the company’s financial picture, the contract, restrictions and more.

How many pedestrians are killed annually?

Alabama drivers know the dangers that come from weather, road conditions and other drivers on the road that contribute to many thousands of accidents each year across the U.S. Pedestrians should know that they are at risk as well, and not just while they are crossing the street.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians accounted for 15 percent of total traffic fatalities in 2015, more than 5,000 of 35,000-plus total traffic deaths and a 10 percent increase from 2014. Those numbers reflect only accidents resulting in property damage and injuries and do not include those that occurred in driveways, parking lots or on private property.

What to do if you’re involved in a car accident

Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely stressful experience, which is why all Alabama drivers should be well-informed on the proper steps to take after an accident occurs. Esurance.com offers insight on the proper steps for handling auto accidents, which can prevent further injury and offer protection in the event negligence is claimed.

Move to Safety

How does conveyancing work in Alabama?

The process of transferring a property from one person to the other is more commonly known as conveyancing. Since this can be quite a complex process, an attorney usually acts as a middleman between both parties to ensure that they are both on the same page, and so that no disputes arise or escalate.

If you are buying or selling a property in the state of Alabama, it is important that you understand some of the intricacies of the law before you start. There is quite a lot of terminology that can be overwhelming at first. By taking the time to understand these terms, you will be on the right track to successfully partaking in the transfer of property process.

Reviewing the pros and cons of short sales

Like many Hoover residents, your vision of your dream home might not match the one you are currently living in. The trouble is that many such homes are outside of their dreamer's price ranges. It is for this reason why short sales are often so attractive. You might see a palatial home listed at an insanely low price on a short sale and wonder what the catch is. Countless people have come to us here at Somma & Macon PC with the same question. We tell them that there might not necessarily be a catch, yet a short sale is still not something that you want to jump into without thinking. 

Essentially, a short sale occurs when a homeowner cannot recoup the amount he or she owes on his or her home in a sale. In such a case, the lender must agree to accept whatever price the home can net and then simply absorb the loss. In such a case, you might indeed be able to get into a very nice home at well under what you might normally be required to pay under other conditions. Plus, buyers are often scared away by short sales, so you might face less competition for the property you are considering. 

Judge rules in favor of store following frozen-pizza induced fall

Slip-and-fall cases in Hoover can be unique in that they typically need to involve some level of negligence or oversight on the part of a property owner in order to be valid. A good example might be a spill on a floor that creates slick conditions that the property owner is aware of, yet fails to address in a timely manner. Yet what about those cases that many might view as being simple accidents. The victims in such cases might have legitimate claims that the owners of the properties they were injured on failed to maintain safe conditions, while those same properties respond by saying that the victims did not exercise sufficient care. 

Such were the claims being made by both sides of a slip-and-fall lawsuit that was recently argued in Pennsylvania. The plaintiff was a woman injured after tripping over a pallet containing cases of water at a local grocery store. She claims she was unable to see the pallet, yet not so much because it was not in plain view, but rather because she too focused looking for frozen pizza. The store (the defendant in the case) responded by saying that pallet was clearly visible and that the woman was at fault for simply not paying attention. 

Intestate succession in Alabama

People work throughout their entire lives in Hoover accumulating assets with the hope that they will be able to better their own lives, as well as those of their children. Yet even with the desire to benefit their future generations in their minds, many do not place anywhere near the same effort in seeing to their estate planning. In fact, according to information compiled by Gallup, as of 2016 only 44 percent of American adults even had a will. This prompts the obvious question of what happens when one dies without a will? 

If one should die without a will, his or her estate is said to be "intestate." At this point, it becomes subject to the intestate succession guidelines set forth by the state. These can be found in Sections 43-8-41-42 of Alabama's Probate Code. The decedent's surviving spouse and issue (direct descendants) are identified as his or her immediate heirs. If one has a surviving spouse but no issue, then intestate succession guidelines mandate that the entirety of his or her estate will go to surviving spouse. If there are issue (or the decedent is survived by his or her parents), the surviving spouse's share of the estate is administered as follows: 

  • The first $50,000, then one-half of the remaining estate if the surviving issue are also the issue of the surviving spouse
  • One-half of the estate if one or more of the decedent's issue are not that of the surviving spouse 
  • The first $100,000, then then one-half of the remaining estate if the decedent has no issue, but is survived by his or her parents
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