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Hoover Alabama Legal Blog

What is negligent entrustment?

Many car accidents in Hoover may come as the result of simple mistakes that sadly produce severe consequences. Then there are those where the negligence and/or recklessness of the driver responsible was so apparent that there is little confusion as to who is at fault. If the latter case best describes the car accident that you were involved in, then you may be justly question why such a driver was even given access to a vehicle in the first place. If it turns out that the car they were driving had been loaned to them, scrutiny may then naturally be directed at the vehicle owner. 

It is understandable that people want to help their family members or friends, yet when doing puts others at risk, what some may view as altruism could actually be deemed liability. A legal principle exists known as "negligent entrustment." Essentially, this allows you to assign liability to a third party whose decision to loan their vehicle to an irresponsible driver resulted in your accident. 

Detailing the attractive nuisance doctrine

Parents in Hoover understand that they have to let their children face the inherent risks the world has to offer. That understanding does not mean, however, that they do not automatically expect some degrees of assistance in protecting their kids from these dangers. The responsibility to keep kids safe from dangerous obstacles or attractions is not limited to those who know them; indeed, according to the Cornell Law School, the attractive nuisance doctrine assigns liability to property owners when children are injured on their lands and it is determined that they did not do enough to protect kids from dangers they knew to be present. 

Alabama Supreme Court rulings have established the standard of proving violations of the attractive nuisance doctrine to be: 

  • A property owner having an artificial condition on their land that they know be attractive to young children either through its location or nature
  • The artificial condition posing a serious risk of death or serious injury to children
  • Children not fully comprehending the risks that the artificial condition poses
  • The capacity to which a property owner can restrict access to the condition (or in some other way mitigate its risks)
  • The property owner failing to approach fulfilling that capacity

The holidays are a dangerous time to drive: Follow these tips

It's common to find yourself on the road during the holiday season. It doesn't matter if you're driving locally or across the country to visit family, it's imperative that your safety takes priority over everything else.

Every year, people are injured and killed in holiday motor vehicle accidents. If you want to avoid trouble this year, here are seven safety tips to guide you:

  • Focus on vehicle maintenance: Before you hit the road, check your vehicle to ensure that it's in good working order. From your windshield wipers to your tire pressure, don't leave any stone unturned.
  • Slow down: Not only can speeding get you in trouble with the law, but it also increases the risk of an accident.
  • Don't drive drowsy: The longer you're on the road, the more likely it is that you'll become drowsy at some point. If this happens, pull over and get some rest before continuing. You can also fight against this by getting enough sleep before you leave home.
  • Avoid distractions: From your cellphone to passengers, distractions are everywhere while driving. Even a small distraction can result in a big accident, so keep your eyes on the road at all times.
  • Plan your route in advance: Doing so allows you to avoid construction, bad areas and traffic.
  • Watch for inclement weather: You could find yourself dealing with rain, strong wind or some other type of inclement weather during your trip. This should alter the way you drive.
  • Give yourself enough time: If you have somewhere to be, leave enough time in your schedule so you don't find yourself in a rush. When you're in a hurry, you're more likely to make a mistake, such as speeding or taking unnecessary chances when passing other vehicles.

What are some dangers associated with pulling a trailer?

Driving can be very dangerous under any circumstances, but some people face a particularly high chance of being involved in an accident while they are out on the road. For example, pulling a trailer can be very risky if the driver is not aware of precautionary measures that need to be taken or they show a disregard for traffic safety. Moreover, those who do not have experience with driving while pulling a trailer may also be more likely to collide with another vehicle or swerve off of the road.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, pulling a trailer can increase the likelihood of a motor vehicle wreck for multiple reasons. First of all, it is crucial for drivers to remember that the center of gravity is higher in a loaded trailer, which may result in a rollover when the driver attempts to adjust their speed abruptly. Moreover, a driver who is pulling a trailer and does not give themselves enough room on the road may collide with another vehicle or an object since loaded trailers need more braking distance (20 to 40 percent more than a passenger vehicle, for example).

Alabama students injured in school bus accident

For parents in Alabama, the idea of a child suffering an injury in a car accident while on a school trip is a nightmarish scenario to consider. Unfortunately, the nightmare has become reality for parents of eight students injured when the school bus transporting them home to Roanoke, Alabama from a football game collided with a pickup truck. The driver of the pickup did not survive the accident and three adults on the bus, including the driver, sustained injuries in addition to the eight injured students.

The accident occurred in Talladega on Tuesday evening. The driver of the pickup, a 31-year-old woman from Munford, Alabama, collided head-on with the bus after she crossed the median while traveling in a westerly direction on Interstate 20. The bus contained the seventh- and eighth-grade football teams in addition to the junior varsity squad, for a total of 26 students and three coaches riding on the bus as passengers.

Highlighting Alabama's stance on holographic wills

Like many Hoover residents, you may be reluctant to jump into the process of estate planning due to a hesitancy to having to work with a lawyer to create a will. Yet such formalities are not required; indeed, Alabama state law does not mandate that a will be created by an attorney. However, many come to us here at Somma & Macon PC thinking that all they need to do to create a will is simply jot down their wishes on a piece of paper. You should be aware of exactly what the state requires in order to ensure your will is validated. 

You may have heard of the term "holographic will." Such wills are those that are entirely handwritten and signed by a testator (in this case, you). You might feel that given the importance of the document, a will should be a well-designed, printed article prepared by a professional. Yet many states view handwritten holographic wills as being equally as valid. Alabama, however, takes a slightly different view when it comes to holographic wills. 

Preventing common liabilities from injuring you at work

When you work in a warehouse and spend your time each day performing the same tasks, you may be a bit oblivious to the liabilities that surround you as you have become so used to the atmosphere and the nature of your responsibilities. However, being aware of common liabilities is important so you can be vigilant in protecting yourself from preventable injuries. At Somma & Macon PC, we have helped many people in Alabama to cope with personal injury cases. 

While your employer should be responsible for maintaining the grounds where you work and taking active measures to evaluate the effectiveness of safety policies and procedures, there may be times when lackluster efforts to prevent liabilities can endanger you and your coworkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the common risks you may be subject to include the following:

  • Poorly maintained flooring including walkways that are obstructed by debris, loose mats or worn surfaces.
  • Inadequate lighting that causes visual impairments while you are trying to complete your job responsibilities. 
  • Improperly stored boxes or cases of product that are not safely secured. 

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.

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