Answers to Common Legal Questions

At Penn and Seaborn, we understand that after sustaining a personal injury you probably have a lot of questions. Our attorneys are here to help you navigate the legal system no matter what type of personal injury case is plaguing you. Our aggressive representation and legal expertise combines to ensure each one of our clients that they are getting the kind of care they need while going through a personal injury claim.

There is no charge for an initial consultation and case evaluation.
We represent our clients on a contingency basis. This means that we charge no legal fees to our client unless we recover for you. If we fail to recover monetary damages, then you will not owe anything for attorney fees.

For personal injury cases, the short answer is “nothing.”

Our lawyers know how difficult it is in the wake of a serious injury-causing accident and the serious expenses you will already be facing. We are therefore proud to work on a contingency fee agreement, which means that you only pay if we are able to recover for you. From the first consultation to the very end of your case, we will front all of the expenses—including man hours we put in and fees of experts that we consult. We are only paid if we win your case, and our payment comes from the total recovery that we make–not directly out of your own pocket.

It is critical to have representation and assistance from a personal injury attorney with a proven record of recovering high value settlements for personal injury and product liability cases. An injury attorney that is skilled and knowledgeable can protect your right to compensation. Even with a legitimate claim, you may find your insurance company using tactics to reduce, delay or outright deny your claim. Penn and Seaborn have been serving the state of Alabama for many years, and have the experience you need if you have suffered a serious injury.

If someone else’s negligent or reckless actions have caused you serious injury, or the loss of a loved one, you may have a personal injury case. A serious injury may leave you with costly medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. The person responsible for your injuries should be held accountable. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience to thoroughly evaluate your potential claim to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Yes. It’s called the “statute of limitations” and it varies from state to state. For instance, in the state of Alabama, there is a two year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. An example of this would be, if you were involved in a truck accident and suffered injuries, you would have two years to file suit against the truck driver and the trucking company. The same period applies to all types of accidents.

However, there are some very important exceptions to the two year limitation. First, if the injured party is a minor, or is incompetent, the period can be “tolled” or extended. The reason for this is to protect the victim until they can make their own decision or have a court-appointed guardian decide for them. Also, the two-year period can be tolled if the injury is not yet known. For example, this would be true in a case where a doctor’s error in performing a medical procedure does not manifest itself until after two years from the date of the procedure.

Regardless of the specific limitation period that applies, it is always a wise decision to consult with an Alabama personal injury lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights and to avoid a complete forfeiture of your claim.

After an accident, you may wonder how much your personal injury case is worth. We believe the responsible party should be held accountable. They, or more likely their insurance company, will have to pay fair compensation for your harms and losses. An injury accident attorney in Alabama may be able to give you a rough estimate, but often it is only time that will tell the amount you might receive from winning a personal injury lawsuit. A qualified attorney can give you a basic rundown of some of the factors involved when valuing a personal injury claim.

Unfortunately, many accidents end in fatality and those who lose their lives are not always the ones at fault for the accident. These are cases of wrongful death and they too can be pursued legally. Although the person who was killed cannot take their case to court, the family of that person can file a wrongful death claim. The reckless behaviors or negligent inactions of another person should not go unaddressed simply because the person who lost their life is not around to pursue the matter. The loved ones of someone who has been killed as a result of wrongful death have just as much right to seek justice on behalf of their loss.

Wrongful death claims are brought by civil action when the loved ones of the deceased are attempting to be compensated for death-related expenses. These may include the financial strain that may be put on the family as a result of the deceased’s income, medical expenses that the family has been left with after the death, or grievance and bereavement compensations. In a wrongful death case, the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence. This means, instead of the defendant being innocent until proven guilty, the burden of proof is on them to prove that they did not in fact cause the death.

It is important to note that a statute of limitations exists in cases of wrongful death claims. This means that there is a time limit for how long you can wait before filing a wrongful death claim, so you must act quickly when addressing these issues if you and your loved ones wish to receive accurate compensation. In matters like this, it is important to speak to a personal injury lawyer to make sure all of your rights are protected. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help.

Any accident involving negligent or reckless behaviors taken on behalf of someone else are cause for legal attention. This is particularly true when the actions or inactions of another have led to your personal harm. Had others followed the law and rightfully acted as they were responsible to act, there is less of a chance that you would have sustained an injury. Therefore, you have the right to file a claim and seek due compensation for the damages done to you.

It is important that you understand your legal rights when it comes to knowing if you qualify for a settlement. If you believe that you are a victim of personal injury, then it is important to seek legal assistance to determine if you have a case or not. If an attorney evaluates your case and believes that your injuries were sustained at least partially because of the negligence or carelessness of your employer, they will help you with filing your claim. They will then fight to see that you get compensated.

Pre-trial hearings take place before any case goes to trial, and some cases do not even need to go to trial. If you have a strong enough case, it is highly likely that you will receive a settlement before your case even goes to trial. If your case does go to trial, you still have the chance of receiving a settlement. In the event that your case goes to trial, the outcome will be determined by a jury. If you are still unsure about whether or not your accident and injury case qualifies for legal action, you can speak with a personal injury attorney who can further explain the details of filing and what exactly is needed.

After an accident, companies often try to force injured workers to sign an agreement or release in exchange for a small payment. You should never sign anything without talking to a skilled attorney. Most often, the insurance companies are really trying to pay you the least amount possible. They will also require you to give up your legal rights later on.

For this reason, it is imperative that after being involved in a personal injury accident you retain legal representation immediately. You should not sign anything, or give any kind of a statement, before consulting the situation over with an injury attorney.

Having a skilled lawyer on your side will help you avoid jeopardizing your case. Your employer will have people protecting his back—make sure you have someone protecting yours!

Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have one thing in common: They arise when the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another cause one to suffer harm, such as in a maritime accident, truck accident, industrial accident, railroad accident, or an aviation accident. These types of work environments carry with them significant risk, which is why these types of claims often arise there. These lawsuits may also arise from use of defective medical products or dangerous pharmaceuticals. Whatever the particular instances of the claim, both cases involve negligence. Other than that common factor, these claims are very different and their differences must be understood before a person attempts to file either of them.

A personal injury claim is filed by the party who has suffered the injury caused by the at-fault party. Obviously then, these cases do not involve fatalities. The victim may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses (including emergency treatment, operations, plastic surgery, medication and rehabilitation, among other things), lost past and future wages, pain and suffering and, in some cases, punitive damages. The person making the claim, most commonly an injured employee, must be able to prove negligent actions on behalf of the person alleged of causing the injury. The amount of compensation depends on how significant the injury was.

A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, is filed by the survivors of the injury victim, including spouse, siblings, children, or parents. The claim is being filed against the person who is believed to be responsible for the death. The surviving family members may seek funds for medical expenses, funeral benefits, loss of future earnings, financial support (including educational assistance), and the loss of care, comfort, and companionship. In order to prove a wrongful death, wrongful death claims use preponderance of evidence as opposed to “innocent until proven guilty.”

You can hire an Alabama lawyer if you live in another state. No matter where you live, it is important to find a lawyer who has the necessary skills, expertise, and dedication to help you obtain the best results for your case.

It is also crucial that you find an attorney who has experience in your needed legal area. For example, you don’t want to hire a criminal defense attorney when you suffered injuries from an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. When it comes to your case, look for the type of lawyer who deals with the laws surrounding your situation.

If you need a personal injury lawyer with proven results, contact Penn and Seaborn!

If you have questions about whether a lawyer handles your type of case, look at their past cases. If they have handled your type of case before, it is more likely that they will be able to help you. Most attorneys’ websites contain their past results, including both verdicts and settlements, so explore their website for information.

You also should look at a lawyers’ verdicts and settlements when deciding whether they have the skill to win your case. Attorneys with extensive trial experience will be the most equipped to represent you effectively, especially if you are anticipating a prolonged legal battle. Your lawyer should have the skill to win trials, not just negotiations.

A tractor trailer or 18-wheeler wreck can give rise to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. This means the lawsuit will be subject to the statute of limitations, which requires a person to take legal action within a specified period of time or else the claim is barred. The point of having statute of limitations is to make sure that a person is not punished for a crime committed long ago that is just recently coming to light. Murder or another equally heinous crime is an arena where the statute of limitations does not apply. As time goes on, evidence diminishes as well, making it harder to come up with a verdict for a trucking accident.

For instance, in Alabama, the statute of limitations for bodily injury claims related to a person’s recklessness or negligence is two years from the date of injury (or the date when the injury could have been reasonably discovered). In some cases, this period may be “tolled” because the victim had a legal disability, including being a minor at the time of the accident. In general, if both parties agree in the matter, then the time allotted for filing a suit may be shortened or lengthened.

The bottom line is that you don’t want to risk losing your right to compensation by failing to take timely action in your case. In almost all cases, it is better to report your accident sooner so that it can be determined if you should file a claim. When a claim is filed quickly, there is better chance of all the evidence coming to light and the trial moving along quicker because issues are less convoluted. If you are still in question as to whether or not you still have time to file a claim, it would be best to consult with a legal professional.

A common tactic employed by trucking companies and their insurers is to shift blame for a serious truck crash to the other driver in a bid to pay lower damages or to escape responsibility altogether. They are hoping to take advantage of the rules of comparative negligence that are in place in Texas and states across the country. By shifting the blame onto the driver, insurance companies benefit at your expense. It is usually best to contact a legal professional if you are concerned that you are being blamed for a greater percentage of fault than is accurate.

For instance, under the Texas proportionate comparative fault scheme, even a seriously injured truck accident victim can be barred from recovering if they are found to be 51 percent or more at fault. If they fall under that threshold, their recovery can still be reduced in proportion to the degree of their fault. So, if you suffer $1 million in damages, and you are 40 percent at fault, your recovery will be limited to $400,000. If you are determined to have been 51% or more at fault for the accident, it will be difficult to recover any type of funds.

Even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you are eligible for some form of compensation. Any medical bills you incurred should be covered as well as damage to your vehicle. There are countless other factors that change each case’s outcome, so it is near impossible to determine how much you can be compensated for if you are partially at fault for an accident without deferring to a professional. Disputing comparative fault is a challenging process and if this type of case goes to court, it will be the jury’s responsibility for determining percentage of fault.

Because fatigued truck driving is a serious problem in the trucking industry, federal rules called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours-of-service regulations have been established. These rules restrict the hours that a truck driver can be on the road during defined stretches of time, and they require truckers and trucking companies to keep detailed records of these hours. For instance, under the current hours-of-service regulations, a trucker can be on the road for no more than 14 hours which is then preceded by a mandated 10 straight hours off duty. During this 14-hour on duty period, you have a limit of actual driving time being 11 hours. These regulations have been formulated by scientific testing to guarantee as far as possible that drivers have the necessary rest in order to drive without fatigue.

Those who are required to comply with these regulations are most truck drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers. Truckers are required by law to keep a log for recording their hours. Any person who is subject to these regulations must complete this log for every day of driving. Many trucking accidents that have been looked into have unfortunately revealed that the trucker had been on the road too long. The trucker can be held liable in these cases, and so can a company if it can be proved that they encouraged the driver to violate the hours-of-service regulations in order to meet a delivery deadline. There may be some cases as well where the driver simply forgot how long he had been driving and consequently fell asleep at the wheel. There are certain exceptions to the FMCSA hours of service regulations, and to ascertain what the right course of action is in a particular case, it would be best to defer to those set of rules.

Tire tread separations are common among large 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers. This often occurs because heat and friction have caused the tire material to deteriorate at a rapid pace. Other causes of tire blowouts are overweight cargo loads, running over an object on the road, or slow leaks. A truck driver can easily lose control of the massive vehicle, which can be difficult to handle even when all of its components are in proper condition.

When the tire blowout occurs, a lawsuit can be brought against the trucker or the trucking company for failing to inspect and maintain the tire’s condition or against the manufacturer of a tire that may have been put on the truck in a defective condition. Sometimes, such as in cases with 18 wheelers, there are so many tires that one blown tire does not affect the vehicle that greatly, but this is not always the case. The truck driver is always responsible for inspecting their vehicle before driving at all times. Failure to do so could mean the truck driver is overlooking a serious tire flaw that could cause an accident.

The truck driver should be aware that any tire him or her notices that has fabric breaks, exposed or damaged cord, or any type of cut or crack in the rubber is not safe to drive on. By ignoring these problems, they are sacrificing safety for time-effectiveness and should be held accountable. In cases of tire blowout where a third party is injured or possibly even killed, the truck driver is directly responsible for negligence, although their employer is indirectly responsible. It is important that you bring your case to a legal professional who deals with truck accidents on a daily basis and knows how to take the information from your accident and turn it into a case.

If you are involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be wondering who exactly is responsible for the damages that you incurred. In some cases it may be directly the employee’s fault, but that doesn’t mean that the employer is not at least partially to blame. In other cases, the employee is directly at fault for the accident. Generally speaking, there are two reasons why trucking companies can be held liable for a catastrophic injury or death caused by one of their truck drivers.

First, the company can be held vicariously liable. This means that the actions of the driver – if the wreck occurs in the course and scope of the driver’s employment – are imputed to the trucking company. For instance, the company would be responsible for the trucker drinking while on the road or texting when behind the wheel. Even though the company was not directly involved in the accident, they are still responsible for the conduct of their employees and are therefore guilty by association.

Second, the truck carrier may be directly liable for negligently hiring a truck driver with a shoddy driving record, criminal background, or history of health or alcohol / drug addiction issues. The employer may not have adequately trained or provided training for their driver, which contributed to the accident. The company may also face liability for negligently supervising its truckers or willfully encouraging them to break state and federal laws that regulate the trucking industry, such as hours-of-service regulations that are aimed at preventing fatigued driving. It is best to have a legal professional determine who was at fault for your accident because you as the driver of a passenger vehicle may not realize the background information of the truck driver.

All trucking accident claims are unique. They will involve different causes, parties, legal issues, and related challenges when it comes to recovering compensation. That’s why it is impossible to make any broad statements about how much an 18-wheeler crash victim can recover. Typically, seeking the help an attorney who is experienced in dealing with truck accidents will help in the procurement of funds.

The funds that your lawyer will typically attempt to get paid for you are:

  • Damaged or destroyed vehicle
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost past and future income
  • Lost financial support, including funds that would have paid for a child’s education
  • Lost comfort, care, and companionship

Trucking accidents can often be difficult to resolve because there are so many factors playing into the cause of the accident. You may or may not be partially at fault for the accident, the truck driver may have been negligent, the weather conditions may have been bad, and countless other factors contributing to the cause of the accident. If your vehicle was damage in a truck accident, it is likely that the damages to repair it will be provided. If you are hurt as a result of a truck accident, it is also highly likely that your medical bills will be paid in full, depending on the determined cause. Often people are killed in trucking accidents, so lawyers will seek to restore to the remaining loved ones lost income, funeral, and lost comfort costs.

When a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the tremendous difference in size and weight will typically result in the occupants of the passenger car bearing the brunt of the physical damages. A standard commercial motor vehicle, or tractor-trailer, can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while the other vehicle may weigh 4,000 pounds or less. In all too many cases, the catastrophic or fatal injuries suffered by the passenger car occupants could have been prevented. They are the result of careless truckers and trucking companies.

It is also more difficult for a truck to see the road and other cars than it is for a standard passenger car. For example, 18 wheelers have extremely large blind spots which cause the driver not to be able to see if another vehicle is present. This is extremely true in cases of a car being present in the left or right rear area of a truck. Cars are often crushed or forced off the road after a truck fails to see them, whereas if a car failed to see another passenger car, the damage would not be as significant and it may be possible to stop the accident before it even takes place.

Trucks are also more prone to rollover accidents than standard passenger cars. If a truck rolls over, it has the potential to cause a greater accident because of the sheer size of the truck alone. If a truck takes a turn at too high a speed, they can roll over, whereas it usually takes an accident first to cause a passenger car to roll over. Trucks are often reported to flip over on the freeway for example, this may crush passenger cars that are in its path or cause a major pileup of cars.

Alabama and states throughout the country apply what is called the “collateral source rule.” This law prevents a victim’s recovery from being reduced by benefits that were paid by a third-party source, such as a private health insurer or a state / federal health care program, such as Medicaid or Medicare. It cannot be declared that a victim’s damages are or will be paid in the future from a source outside the compensation provided by the Defendant. However, the third-party source may assert a lien on your recovery and seek reimbursement of the amounts provided. Some cases can result in undercompensation for the injury when the lien holder attempts to recover the full amount of your lien.

A third-party medical lien can involve complicated issues. In some cases, the healthcare insurer will seek to recover more than what they are entitled to receive under the law. The injured party may have to pay back what they obtained from their health insurance before collecting additional compensation. You definitely don’t want to be undercompensated for your pharmaceutical injury claim. That’s why it’s important to work with a law firm. Gaining legal assistance will help you understand what exactly your Medicare and Medicaid help is and how to get the most compensation possible after your injury. You need to have your medical expenses paid for and you shouldn’t have to wait until your pharmaceutical case is settled to get it. You also shouldn’t be penalized for gaining reimbursement through a state or federal health care program.

There are two laws that you have to pay attention to when you are considering filing a medical malpractice or product liability action. These laws are set in place both to protect the accused and the accuser. By waiting too long to file a claim, you may lose your right to file.

First, there is the statute of limitations. This law requires you to file an action within a certain period of time after the action “accrues.” Generally, the action accrues at the time of injury. However, this period may be extended if the injury could not have been reasonably discovered any sooner, or if the victim suffered from a legal disability, including being a minor at the time the harm was inflicted. In Texas, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice and product liability claims (including those involving wrongful death) is two years from the date of injury.

Second, you need to be aware of the statute of repose. Under the Alabama statute, no product liability claim can be commenced against a manufacturer or seller of a defective product more than 2 years after the date of sale ( Alabama Statute § 6-2-38). Like a lot of states, Alabama has a separate statute of limitations that applies specifically to medical malpractice cases. The standard deadline is set by Code of Alabama section 6-5-482, which gives you two years to get your lawsuit filed in the state’s court system, starting from the date on which the alleged malpractice was committed.

Point in case – don’t wait long before filing a pharmaceutical injury claim. After long periods of time, evidence tends to diminish and it is more difficult to determine an accurate ruling in your case. The incident is no longer fresh in anyone’s mind and the person at fault for the accident may have gotten rid of evidence after such a long period of time. In most cases of medical malpractice, you have 2 years after the date of your injury to file.

Medical devices can include artificial hip, knee, or shoulder implants (such as the DePuy ASR XL Acetubular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System), shoulder pain pumps, surgical mesh patches, defibrillators, pacemakers, or other products. State and federal law imposes a strict duty on the manufacturers of these medical devices to make sure they use care and conduct extensive testing before they put their products onto the market. They need to be aware of any possible side effects or risks associated with the devices, and they need to inform doctors and patients about these risks.

It is important to consult your physician if you believe you may be suffering harm because of a medical device or defective pharmaceutical you have been taking. If your doctor confirms, then you should seek legal assistance. If you have been harmed by a defective medical device, you may bring a product liability action that can provide compensation for the medical costs you’ve incurred as a result of the harm you have experienced. You may also be eligible for lost past and future income as well as the pain and suffering you’ve endured.

Medical side effects can range from mild to severe, so depending on your case you may be liable to different degrees of compensation. Some defective drugs taken by women during their pregnancy can result in their child being born with birth defects or they may suffer complications during birth. Some medical implants have also caused more hurt than help and require the patient to have additional surgeries to repair the damage done by the implant. If you have experienced side effects like or similar to the ones listed above, you should take legal action by first speaking with an attorney about what kind of claim you can file.

When a medical device requires clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are two ways for the medical devices to get on the market: Premarket approval and premarket notification. To gain premarket approval, the medical device manufacturer must demonstrate through clinical trials that the device can be safely and effectively used for its intended purposes. Premarket notification, on the other hand, allows for clearance of device that is shown to be “substantially equivalent” in safety and effectiveness to another device that has already been cleared for the market by the FDA. This is commonly called the 510(k) process.

Problems arise when medical device manufacturers withhold certain negative results in clinical trials that would undermine their claims that their device is safe and effective, or when the manufacturer misrepresents the actual intended use for their product in a bid to get it to market quickly through the 510(k) process. This is often referred to as “off-label” usage. Off-label usage may also include the marketing of the product for a use it was not intended for which, in effect, causes serious medical harm to its recipients. Sometimes pharmaceutical manufacturers include side effects on their labels, but downplay the severity of them.

There are many ways in which drug manufacturers can manipulate the system to get their product on the market, and the motivation is almost always money at the expense of safety. This type of corporate misconduct cannot be tolerated. Negligent or reckless medical device manufacturers must be held accountable when they put profits above patient safety. Fortunately, state and federal law provides relief for those who have been harmed by products that should never have been allowed to go on the medical device market.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, only recalls a pharmaceutical or asks the drug’s manufacturer to voluntarily recall it when there has been a series of complaints about health issues linked to the drug. While side effects do not occur in every case where there is a potentially dangerous drug on the market, it is best to stop taking said drug until the product has been tested. A recall means you may be exposed to serious risks if you continue taking the recalled medication. An excellent source for learning whether a prescription drug has been subject to a recall can be found on the FDA’s website.

After a drug has been recalled, the product will go under intense scrutiny and investigation to determine if the complaints prove true. In many recent cases, manufacturers are using loopholes in the FDA regulation requirements to put new products onto the market that have not been tested at all. The reason this is allowed is because an FDA code allows for untested products to be put on the market if they resemble or are similar to a previous product that is already on the market. Many talks are being conducted presently to eliminate this loophole and require extensive testing of every product before it hits the market as well as the examining of the history of products that are currently on the market.

The first step is to contact a physician immediately to determine whether you are suffering side effects associated with the recalled drug and to discuss alternative medications. These side effects may be mild or serious, but regardless, they should be looked into by your doctor. Your doctor may have prescribed you a certain medication without knowing that there would be negative side effects because they, like you, were not properly warned by drug manufacturers. If you have medical expenses because you took a recalled drug, then you should seek the help of a legal professional.

A class-action case involves a single lawsuit that is filed by a large group of people who have suffered similar harm by the same defendant (or defendants). The individuals within the class consolidate their claims into the one legal action. Class action cases may be brought before the federal court if the particular claim deals with federal law. In order to file a class action case, you must file with several stated plaintiffs on behalf of a proposed class. This proposed class is required to be made up of individuals or businesses that have sustained a common injury

Multi-district litigation (MDL), on the other hand, may involve multiple lawsuits that have been filed by different parties. The different legal actions are consolidated merely for the purpose of pre-trial proceeding convenience, including discovery, and may then be sent back to the courts where they came from for the trial.

In recent years, the medicalpharmaceutical injury attorneys have become increasingly involved in multi-district litigation cases, including serving on the plaintiffs’ steering committees that make important decisions regarding the strategy and direction of the litigation. Multi district litigation is meant to speed the process of cases that may be complex. These types of litigation usually involve product liability suits where a large number of people experienced similar negative side effects after using a particular pharmaceutical or medical device.

Multi-district litigation, in contrast to class-action litigation, allows for each client’s individual needs to be addressed while still enjoying many of the benefits that have traditionally been associated with class-action cases, such as the pooling of resources that may be needed to take on large, powerful corporations with virtually unlimited resources of their own.

The equipment that is used at plants and refineries is one of the most common causes of plant explosions. There are two separate reasons why equipment could be to blame. First, it has aged naturally and has simply become outdated. Second, the equipment may have been defective from the very beginning. Either way, it is a dangerous scenario for those who are near the plant.

The use of sub-standard material is a very real danger for people who work at industrial plants, as well as people who live in the surrounding communities; it is not a danger that is limited to America. In fact, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India recently came under fire for its use of inferior materials. As our attorneys have seen, this is a prevalent problem. In fact, most plants haven’t been updated for half a century, meaning that the equipment-and the technology-that they’re using is antiquated. Even in cases where the technology would be appropriate, the equipment may be so worn down it can no longer properly function.

This was highlighted in the 2005 BP Texas City explosion, which killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 other individuals. In the investigations that following the incident, it was found that there were multiple failures that led up to the explosion; in fact, after the plant had been examined by Telos, a consulting firm, a report was released in January 2005, in which one of the co-authors stated that “we have never seen a site where the notion ‘I could die today’ was so real.” Yet, despite the obvious problems with the plant, no steps were taken that would help to lower risk for the employees who worked there.

In the original reports, some of the problems were broken alarms, thinning pipe, as well as heavy objects falling throughout the plant. Some of these contributed to the later explosion; for example, a disabled alarm that kept the plant from being notified when the raffinate splitter overpressure protection system overfilled the tower contents. Had the proper care and caution been taken, this equipment may have been upgraded with new, functioning models, which may have been enough to keep the incident from ever occurring. Unfortunately, it is not an isolated incident—aging equipment is often the cause of plant explosions.

Three Types of Defective Equipment

Defective equipment refers to any type of equipment that no longer works because of an inherent defect. The truth, however, is that this can be split up into even more specific categories:

  • Design Defects: In some cases, the equipment may be flawed from the design alone. In these cases, no matter how well it was manufactured, it would be considered defective.
  • Manufacturing Defects: When the design isn’t flawed, the defect may stem from the manufacturing process-such as the use of inferior materials or the improper training of employees.
  • Marketing Defects: Also known as a “failure to warn,” marketing defects stem from a known defect in the equipment that is not properly announced so that consumers could be fairly warned.

Regardless of whether the explosion was caused by antiquated equipment or equipment that was defective, if you have been injured, you deserve to have compassionate, high-quality legal representation on your side. At Penn and Seaborn, we have been involved in countless cases since our founding in 2002. If you are interested in discussing your case with a plant explosion attorney from our firm, simply give us a call at (334) 738-4486.

Several federal statutes provide “whistleblower” protection to those who experience discrimination or retaliation for engaging in protected activities, which includes reporting an employer for violations of state and federal safety laws. For instance, you may choose to report the factory to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration or some other state or federal agency. If you are fired as a result, you may be entitled to lost wages, reinstatement, reimbursement of your legal costs and other relief. It is also helpful to know that law firms are bound to confidentiality, and no one will know if you have contacted an attorney regarding safety violations at your workplace. Even if you are unsure whether a situation is a safety violation or not but are still concerned, you should absolutely still voice that concern either to your employer or an attorney.

If a co-worker or employer is encouraging you not to speak with an attorney, it may be a good sign to start seeking legal counsel. That type of conduct usually indicates the party who caused your harm will be trying to evade their duty to compensate you for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. Your coworkers and friends may be trying to talk you out of reporting a safety violation because they are unaware of regulations and the possibility of severe consequences that could incur because of the safety violations. Finally, under the law, an industrial worker who shows they were dismissed from their job because he brought a claim against his employer may be able to recover for his losses. You need to understand what your rights are as an industrial employee, and you absolutely have the right to safety at your workplace.

The injuries that are sustained in the aftermath of plant and refinery explosions are immense and oftentimes fatal. Much of these injuries can be incurred from the physical blast of the explosion and fire itself; however, in some cases, the aftermath can be just as deadly. Below, we explain some of the most common injuries:

  • Burns: The heat that can be created by tragic plant explosions can spike into the thousands of degrees-exposure to this kind heat, let alone the different chemical present in many plants and refiners, can be the cause of severe burns. Not only are these painful, they can result in long-lasting scarring and disfigurement, which is emotionally challenging and psychologically damaging.
  • Orthopedic Injuries: Injuries which are categorized as “orthopedic” refer to injuries to the muscles, joints, and ligaments on the human body. This can be broken & fractured bones, skull fractures, damaged vertebrae, herniated / bulging discs, as well as sprains and strains. Most of these injuries are sustained in the initial blast, where debris explodes from the building.
  • Lacerations: Similar to how orthopedic injuries are sustained, victims of plant explosions can also gain serious lacerations or cuts from debris falling or exploding. Regardless of whether it is a shallow gash or a deep wound, these can be painful, require stitching, and result in permanent scarring.
  • Acoustic Trauma: Beyond the heat, one of the most dangerous aspects of a plant explosion is the sheer noise. That alone can cause acoustic trauma to those anywhere near the explosion. Noise-induced hearing loss is a very real problem, and can be caused by a one-time exposure which damages the hair cells and the auditory nerve. This may be temporary or permanent.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Some injuries are not physical, but that does not diminish the level of suffering that the victims experience. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most often referred to in regards to soldiers returning from war, but it has long since been known that those who undergo a traumatic accident, such as an explosion, can experience it as well. This can leave victims to re-live the trauma over and over again, feel numb to their surroundings, or be “hyperalert.”
  • Smoke Inhalation: When a plant explodes or begins to burn, it causes plumes of smoke to rise into the air and then settle into the low-lying areas surrounding the facility. Inhalation of this smoke is highly dangerous to victims-not only can it cause immediate symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, but it can cause long-term effects as well, such as injury to the small airways.

To learn more about what can be done in the aftermath of a plant explosion, or to get questions about your specific case answered, do not hesitate to reach out and contact an injury attorney from Penn and Seaborn.

Industrial injuries are common, and if your injury was sustained as a result of the negligence of a third party, you will be entitled to file a claim. If your industrial injury occurred while you were working offshore, you may be entitled to relief through various maritime claims such as:

  • The Jones Act: This would require a showing that your employer was negligent, much like a personal injury lawsuit. It must also be proven that you as the employee carried the title of “seaman” at the time of your injury. You are considered a seaman if at least 30 percent of your work hours were spent on an offshore vessel. The Jones Act also only covers United States citizens on American-owned vessels. If you are still wondering whether or not your claim counts as a Jones Act case, you should consult your employer.
  • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: You do not need to show fault in this type of claim, which has procedures and benefits similar to the workers’ compensation system that covers industrial injuries that occur on land. This act states that if you are an offshore worker or work in an “adjacent occupation” even if you do not spend 30 percent or more of your time on an offshore vessel, you are liable to compensation under this act.

As an industrial worker, you may not always be working on oil rigs and will be wondering which benefits you are entitled to be compensated under. If you have any remaining doubt as to which maritime claim you can file or how you get compensated, it would be best to contact your employer and possibly in addition to this, a legal professional who is familiar with both maritime and industrial law.

Many industrial workers have been exposed to asbestos, a mineral that was once widely used in factories, plants, warehouses, shipyards, and docks throughout Texas and the rest of the country because of its flame-resistant qualities that are cheap to manufacture. However, research has revealed the deadly nature of this mineral, including its link to mesothelioma, which is a disease that is caused by asbestos fibers infiltrating the thin membrane that encases the lungs. Many people may not be aware that asbestos is damaging their lungs, because it may be difficult to detect until it is in too late a stage for recovery. Depending on how long you were exposed to asbestos, your lung condition could be severe and may even lead to death.

Employers really have no excuse when it comes to asbestos in the workplace. Even if they claim they were unaware of the presence of asbestos, they have the responsibility of having the workplace checked for it. Surviving family members may seek benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation system or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, or they make seek benefits through a wrongful death lawsuit. These benefits would include payment for your loved one’s medical expenses and funeral costs as well as loss of future financial support and the loss of the care, comfort, and companionship you must endure. If your loved one died due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace, then you are definitely entitled to take legal action against them to seek compensation. You should never be afraid of a business or corporation when it comes to filing a claim. If they were the cause of the death of your loved one, they should be held accountable.

Plant and refineries are a common sight throughout Texas and the nation as a sign of a booming economy and ever-growing industrial sector. Unfortunately, with these numerous facilities, serious accidents can occur—such as explosions, fires, and other catastrophic incidents. Take, for example, the 2005 explosion in Texas City, or the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. While these sorts of accidents are happening with seemingly more and more frequency, there is not one answer to what causes them. In some cases, it may have to do directly with human behavior; in other cases, it may come indirectly or not at all.

Some of the most common causes of plant explosions include:

  • Improper Maintenance: Plants and refineries depend on the functioning of their equipment. If this equipment is not kept up to standards-should it fail, it can result in catastrophic accidents. This could be anything from boilers, to pressure vessels, to alarms, to storage tanks. Equipment which has weakened or stopped working entirely cannot do its job, and therefore cannot keep workers safe.
  • Unseen Corrosion: Metal is constantly being worn down during the everyday processes of a plant or refinery. Unfortunately, due care is not always taken to ensure that metal has not weakened and is still performing at its peak. When metal goes unchecked, it can begin to wear down and corrode. In some cases, the surrounding environment can even begin oxidation.
  • Dirty / Impure Chemicals. The mixture of chemicals is central to most operations at plants and refineries. To ensure the safety of all employees, there are strict regulations regarding what type of chemicals can be used, and the quality of such chemicals. When impure or dirty chemicals are used, it can lead to unforeseen consequences-such as undesirable chemical reactions.
  • Violation of OSHA Safety Regulations. To regulate industrial workplaces, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put into place stringent regulations which are used to help enhance worker safety. Unfortunately, these are not always adhered to. When violations are made, either through intentional or negligent actions, the employees are the ones who suffer.

If you were injured in a plant explosion, you deserve to have your legal rights fully protected. At Penn and Seaborn, we have been involved in cases involving catastrophic incidents such as this before, and have seen the tragedies that can happen as a result. If you are looking to discuss your case with a legal professional, we’ve made it easy. Simply give our firm a call at (334) 738-4486 for a free confidential consultation or visit our online contact form to submit a message to us directly. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you have been injured in an industrial workplace, such as an oil or gas refinery, petrochemical plant, factory, mine, warehouse, or construction site, you need to immediately report your accident to your employer and get medical assistance. If you fail to report the accident – orally or in writing – it could adversely impact your right to recover compensation. You also have the right to choose your own doctor at the outset, and you should exercise that right to make sure you obtain the best treatment possible.

There is something called statute of limitations which limits the amount of time you have to file your industrial accident. These laws vary from state to state, so it is important that you ask your employer or seek legal assistance. The industrial workplace is dangerous, and poses threats to industrial employees on a daily basis. Injuries that are commonly sustained in the industrial workplace are fractures, crush injuries, slip and fall injuries, and electrical shock injuries, just to name a few. The workplace is already dangerous by nature, but it is sometimes made worse by the negligence of an employer.

It is important to be cautious in how you report the accident. Industrial employers and their insurance companies will look for ways to avoid liability. For instance, if you admit fault, they will seize on that information to try to deny or significantly reduce the amount of your claim. If you are concerned or confused about what to do after an industrial injury, consult a doctor, report the incident to your employer, but it may also be necessary to seek legal assistance at this point if you are concerned about getting the compensation that you deserve.

If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, your primary option will be to file a workers’ compensation claim that will entitle you to receive medical and wage benefits – regardless of who is at fault for your injury. Additionally, you may pursue a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the machine if a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect caused your injury. Although workers’ compensation would be your exclusive remedy regarding your employer, that does not extend to third parties such as manufacturers.

If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, then you would have a “non-subscriber claim.” That would allow you to bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if the machine-related injury was attributable to your employer’s negligence, such as failing to inspect and maintain the machine or to provide you with proper training and safety equipment. If you succeed in your claim, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement, pain and suffering and, possibly, punitive damages.

The machinery that is used in an industrial workplace is often large and extremely hazardous. Workers need to take the greatest precautions in handling them. If you were injured by a machine malfunction, you are likely suffering from serious injuries such as cuts, amputation, burns, or fractures. If a machine defect is at issue, it’s important to seek skilled and aggressive legal assistance. It is often hard to prove that a piece of machinery was defective on your own, because your employer is likely to claim that it wasn’t. You should seek the help of someone who can perform an investigation into the safety of the machine in question.

Workers’ compensation benefits generally are not taxed under state or federal law. However, if you receive workers’ compensation in lieu of receiving Social Security disability benefits, they may be taxed. Those who suffer industrial injury or illness, or the families of those who lose a family member to an industrial accident or disease, can pursue four different types of workers’ comp benefits: medical, income, death, and burial benefits. These benefits are paid by workers’ compensation insurance carriers, self-insured employers, or self-insured governmental entities.

Medical benefits will cover the cost of any necessary medical treatment it takes for you to recover after your injury. This may include surgeries, medications, and general hospital visits as well as rehabilitation. Income benefits under workers’ compensation, like other workers’ comp benefits, vary from state to state. Usually, a percentage of the injured workers’ weekly income will be restored to them during their time off of work to compensate for lost wages. Death benefits under workers’ compensation can include bereavement and related costs and are closely tied to burial benefits which cover the cost of a funeral if the worker is killed in the industrial accident.

Remember, your workers’ compensation benefits can only be taxed if you receive those benefits instead of receiving your Social Security benefits. Generally, you do not have to worry about your workers’ compensation benefits being taxed. If you are concerned that your benefits are being taxed unlawfully or are wondering what type of benefits you will be receiving after an industrial injury, it would be wise to seek legal counsel from a firm who is familiar with industrial injuries and construction laws.

Due to the high volume of claims that have been filed by homeowners and businesses throughout the Gulf Coast in recent years due to hurricanes and tropical storms such as Katrina, Rita, and Ike, insurance companies have turned to unethical and illegal insurance practices – also commonly known as bad-faith insurance practices – that include:

  • Denying a policyholder’s claim despite overwhelming evidence to support it
  • Conducting no investigation of a claim or, in some cases, denying the claim without providing any reason for the decision
  • Delaying payment unreasonably
  • Making a partial payment and seeking a settlement for the remainder
  • Unreasonably making demands for documents, interviews, and other information in a bid to delay or deny making payments.

Insurance companies may be purposefully misrepresenting the facts of a certain claim or twisting policy provisions to avoid covering the full amount that the policy holder is due. They sometimes may simply refuse to hold an investigation and then claim that there is not enough evidence to support insurance payment. Even when policy holders gather all the evidence they can and file the claim quickly, insurance companies might still withhold payment. In this case, you need to seek legal representation from a professional experienced in insurance company practices.

Each state has its own standard for regulating insurance companies, which in turn tends to favor the insurance industry. With this type of favoring, insurance companies may be more inclined to practice bad-faith claims. Fortunately, Texas law and the laws of states across the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida provide remedies when insurance companies engage in this type of banned business conduct.

Yes. There are many things you can make sure you take care of while waiting to hear back from your insurance company about a claim. The most important step is to make sure to compile all of your insurance and business records, including receipts showing that you have regularly paid your premiums. You also need to have all of your losses well-documented, including any appraisals you may have received from contractors or inspectors. Track down receipts, invoices and reports provided to you. It also will help to simply walk through your home, business, and surrounding property and make a list of your losses, including wind and water damage to personal property (such as TVs, appliances, furniture, and jewelry) and to outlying structures (garages, sheds, and barns).

You may need to submit a Proof of Loss to the insurance company, and in many cases, the insurance company will require you to undergo an Examination under Oath. A Proof of Loss is documentation that is required by your insurance company in order to prove your claim is legitimate. Proof of Loss documentation differs in extent depending on the type of claim. It will be longer and more detailed for example if the damage was more severe. An examination under oath will likely only be administered if there is a clause for that kind of provision in your insurance policy. Having the above information at the ready will be important if the insurance company requires either one. Other than gathering the information that you do have, there is not much else you can do. Be sure to be thorough when collecting information for your insurance company, because the more information you have, the better your results will be usually.

Insurance policies differ from company to company, homeowner to homeowner. Although there is no uniform answer to this question, many homeowners’ insurance policies provide coverage for repairs to outlying structures on a policyholder’s property, including barns, sheds, garages, and swimming pools. However, these same insurance companies often will try to narrowly interpret their policies in a bid to pay as little as they can for your damages.

The best way to find out if your barn is covered under homeowners’ insurance is to ask your broker first, and if you are not satisfied with their answer, then file a claim and see. The amount of coverage you get for your damaged barn will also likely be determined by the condition the barn was in before the accident, which may be difficult to determine. If you own a barn and it was part of your farm, then basic homeowners’ insurance may not cover barn damages. You may want to look into getting farm insurance or a special type of business insurance if your barn was part of how you made money.

Coverage also depends on what sort of cause contributed to the damaging of your barn. Different insurance policies are offered for specific kinds of accidents that may not be covered by general homeowners’ insurance. If your barn was damaged by a flood for example, you may need to possess flood insurance for your barn to be covered, unless provisions for flood damage are included in your current plan. Again, it depends on which homeowners’ insurance policy you possess, so if you have a question regarding coverage, consult your broker.

A business interruption policy can be similar to a homeowners’ insurance policy in that it may cover the same types of structural damage inflicted by water, wind, mold, and mud. However, the policy may differ in two ways: First, it may cover property, equipment and inventory that are unique to business claims, such as computers, printers, machines, supplies, and business records. Second, the policy may also feature coverage for periods when business drops off during a storm recovery period or when your business is adversely impacted because of problems that the other companies you work with are experiencing. The difference between a property insurance policy and a business interruption policy is that additional coverage is given with business interruption insurance. The additional coverage is compensation for profits that would have been earned had the business not been damaged or caused to close for a period of time.

If your business is damaged by a storm and you possessed a business interruption policy, then you will be covered. Business interruption also covers the expenses your business gets charged with even though the location is temporarily unusable. These costs will be determined by past expense records. This policy will also cover the costs that accumulated in having to move your business and operate out of a different location while the damages are being repaired.

Especially if your business is operating out of the Gulf Coast area, it would be wise to get business interruption insurance because property insurance will not cover all of the losses your business will incur as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Generally speaking, it won’t make a difference whether your home or business was damaged in a tropical storm or a hurricane. On a practical level, the damage can be the same regardless of what type of storm it is. Although a hurricane produces heavier rain and more intense wind and flooding, a building can still be subjected to significant damage in a tropical storm, including wind, rain, storm surge, mud, mold and debris. Many business policies state that wind storm coverage and flooding are usually listed under the same cause of damage. Every insurance policy is unique, so if you have a cause for concern about what types of damage are covered, speak with your insurance agent or broker.

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone that brings with it thunderstorms and high winds. Hurricanes and tropical storms are both types of tropical cyclones. The difference is in the intensity. A hurricane is the most intense type of tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Sometimes damage caused by hurricanes isn’t covered by traditional homeowners’ insurance policies.

Especially living in the Gulf Coast, you understand how important coverage for hurricanes and tropical storms is. In most cases, you should be covered by your insurance in the event of a tropical storm or a hurricane, but sometimes insurance agencies withhold payments that rightfully belong to policy holders. If you are unsure about your policy or believe that insurance money is being withheld from you, then you should seek legal help from a firm experienced in dealing with tropical storms and hurricanes.

The answer depends on the type of claim you bring, the state you reside in, and the terms of your own individual home or business insurance policy. Most insurance policies contain a provision that prohibits lawsuits from being filed more than two years after a cause of action “accrues.” A common mistaken belief is that this clause means the cause of action accrues on the day a storm hits. However, in many cases, it may not accrue until the day your claim is wrongfully denied. In some cases, the insurance company may not have any time limit on claims, such as the case with policies from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).

A significant number of storm-related legal battles will involve breach of contract claims. Breach of contract claims are the legal actions taken against someone for not honoring their part of the agreement and are a type of civil wrong. The statute of limitations is the time allotted to you after an accident takes place for which you can file. The statute of limitations will depend on the state whose law governs the policy, such as:

  • Texas: 4 years
  • Louisiana: 10 years
  • Mississippi: 3 years
  • Alabama: 5 years
  • Georgia: 6 years
  • Florida: 5 years

If you believe you have a claim for breach of contract or any other cause of action arising from an insurance company’s unreasonable delay or denial of your storm-related insurance claim, it’s important to take action immediately so that you protect your right to recovery. Make yourself aware of your state’s policies regarding statute of limitations and keep a close watch on your insurance company so that nothing falls between the cracks without your knowledge.

Many injured workers worry that they will get in trouble with their employer if they seek legal advice. Let your mind rest at ease. When you speak with a personal injury attorney, you can have peace knowing that your communication is completely confidential, due to the “attorney-client privilege.” You can make “full and frank” disclosures to your attorney without worrying about your trust being broken.

The “attorney-client privilege” automatically is in effect if the following three requirements are met:

  • You are a client (or are seeking to become a client) of the attorney
  • The person in whom you are confiding in is a lawyer
  • The communication is for the purpose of securing legal advice

Don’t allow fear to keep you from getting the legal counsel you need! When you turn to Penn and Seaborn for answers, you can rest assured that everything you share with us will be kept secret. You can pass along critical information to your case without worrying about this sensitive information being released.

In every personal injury and wrongful death case, your primary goal is to secure a timely settlement. This is accomplished through informal talks and formal discussions that are commonly called “mediation” sessions. At a mediation session, lawyers and both parties are present at the conference table. The lawyers will speak for their clients, presenting each side of the case. The mediator that is present to steer the course of the session will ask questions of the parties themselves and after this session is over, ask questions of each side individually.

Each case is prepared as if it was going to trial so every case has the possibility of doing so. If attorneys present strong enough cases at mediation, the case may settle prior to trial. However, settlement is not always an option. Attorneys and both parties alike always must be ready to go into the courtroom, even if the case never makes it that far. If a settlement is not able to be reached in these mediation sessions, then the case will proceed to trial where the case will be decided by a jury.

Whether it’s by verdict or settlement, the job of the lawyer is to gain substantial recoveries for their personal injury and wrongful death clients. If you’re worried about going to court, don’t be. Many cases settle before they even reach a jury. Even if this is not the case and your case does have to go to court, it is important to work with lawyers who have successful personal injury cases on their records. Making sure you have as much information and evidence as possible on your side as well as a good attorney is the most you can do in determining whether or not your case goes to court.

Many law firms claim that they secure great results for their clients, but not that many can actually produce a record of successful jury verdicts. This fact shouldn’t be surprising since about 95 percent of cases end in out-of-court settlements. So does it really matter if your lawyer regularly tries in court to a judge and jury? At Penn and Seaborn, our trial lawyers know it matters!

Here are the top reasons why it is important to hire an attorney who actually tries cases:

Hiring an experienced trial lawyer gives you options

If you hire an attorney who rarely goes to trial, chances are that the lawyer will accept a low settlement offer instead of going to trial. If you have an attorney who is prepared to go to trial, a jury trial is always an option if you don’t like the settlement offer being presented to you.

Your attorney’s trial experience can be a bargaining tool

Defendants often don’t want to go to trial—it’s expensive, time consuming, often embarrassing for them. A defendant will almost always be more likely to reach a fair settlement with you if the company knows that your lawyer can take the case to trial and win.

An attorney with trial experience has the confidence to deal with any situation

Sometimes a company won’t negotiate with you even when the facts are on your side. Many times companies make a strategic decision to offer nothing regardless of the facts. In that situation, trial is your only option. If your lawyer has won big trials then he or she will be ready to march into the court room with you at his side.

An experienced trial attorney can help bring you closure

Whenever two parties agree to settle a case, concessions must be made by both sides. A frequent caveat of settlement agreements, particularly in cases where wrongful deaths have occurred, is confidentiality. For bereaved family members who want to prevent other individuals from suffering the same types of loss, a large cash settlement will not offer closure. Only the public admission of guilt by a defendant can do that, and only a trial can secure that type of public acknowledgement.

If you or someone you know is considering hiring an attorney, one of the first questions to ask is what that lawyer’s trial record looks like in the last 5-10 years. If a lawyer can’t produce a list of successful jury verdicts for you to examine, it is probably a good idea to look elsewhere for representation. Only an attorney with extensive courtroom experience can give you the highest quality of representation. Contact a trial attorney from Penn and Seaborn today for your free and confidential consultation.

Any recovery in a personal injury or wrongful death claim will depend on the unique facts and legal issues involved in the case. Some of the factors that can contribute to the amount of compensation may be extent of injury, the time it takes to recover, the amount of negligence that contributed to the injury, the nature of the people involved, and the evidence that is brought forth. If you are in need of an estimate for your particular injury case, it would be best to consult with a personal injury lawyer.

It is near impossible to determine the exact amount that you may be able to recover after filing an injury suit because of the countless amounts of unique factors that are particular to every case. If you were injured on the job at the fault of your employer and you had to take time off of work, it is likely that you will be compensated for your lost wages during your recovery time. Another thing that likely would be compensated for would be necessary medical expenses. Again, varying case to case, but it is likely you will at least get your medical expenses relating to said injury covered.

In order to accomplish that objective, your claim must be thoroughly investigated and analyzed by professionals in the field as well as legal professionals, including consulting with experts and researching databases that will help to determine the fair amount for your type of claim. This preparation not only helps when in front of a judge, jury or arbitration panel, but it also gives a position of strength at the negotiating table when seeking to secure a timely settlement.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an on-the-job accident, it is likely you have a lot of questions. How will I pay my bills? Who will take care of my injuries? How will I support my family if I can’t go back to work? Hiring the best Alabama injury attorney to represent your interests is extremely important. You need an attorney with a track record of winning to ensure that you will have answers to your questions and guidance throughout this difficult time.

At Penn and Seaborn, we have represented thousands of individuals who have been severely injured either on the job, in a catastrophic accident or due to the use of a dangerous product or device. As a result we recognize what is important to our clients, what questions they typically have and how to best protect their interests before, during, and after their lawsuit.

Below, we provide a series of questions you should ask any attorney before making the life-changing decision of who to hire:

Why do I need an attorney?

When an employee is injured on the job, company management has a team of lawyers and insurance claims adjusters on the scene within hours. Your employer is not looking to protect you; it wants to limit its monetary exposure to the fullest extent possible, regardless of the seriousness of your injury. You need an experienced attorney who can walk you through each step of your case, investigate the cause of the accident, ensure that you are receiving proper medical care, and develop your case so as to maximize your chances of winning.

What if my company offers me a settlement or promises to take care of me?

The attorneys at Penn and Seaborn have met many clients whose employers promised they would never lose their job or that they would “be taken care of,” only to realize those promises were meaningless. If the responsible party won’t sign a written guarantee that it will pay all your medical bills and lost wages for as long as it takes, then you know the responsible company is not looking out for your interests. If your employer is trying to get you to accept a cash settlement, or making you any offers, contact one of our attorneys for a free and confidential consultation before negotiating with them. The insurance company is using professional negotiators, shouldn’t you? We are happy to provide a free consultation about any settlement offer. We will explain the risks and benefits of any offer or agreement.

Do I have to see the company’s doctor?

The answer is NO. If you are injured, your physician’s primary goal should be your recovery, not limiting the company’s potential monetary exposure. We can help our clients determine who the most respected medical specialists are for their injuries, and in many instances we make sure that the company covers the cost of seeing these doctors. Following a catastrophic injury your focus must be on your health and your family, not on seeing a doctor whose real loyalty is to the company.

If I do bring a case, what will I need to do next?

If you hire a reliable lawyer, all you should have to worry about is getting better. At Penn and Seaborn, our lawyers handle everything, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. We will handle calls from your employer, visits with insurance representatives, and even help schedule medical appointments if you are having difficulties. We take care of every detail so you can focus on your recovery. The only steps you may need to take are to speak at a deposition in your attorney’s conference room and, if your case does go to trial, testifying in court may be necessary.

How long do most cases take to resolve?

The average case takes about 12 to 18 months to reach a resolution. At our firm, we begin working on your case as soon as you hire us. There is no waiting period. We have a reputation for prosecuting cases quickly and aggressively to trial. We prepare each case from the outset as if it were destined for trial so that throughout the process we are in the best position to win in the shortest amount of time possible.

What should I know about an attorney before I choose representation?

We are aggressive trial lawyers who know how to fight large corporations. We enjoy trial while most attorneys fear it. We have received numerous successful jury verdicts in addition to substantial settlements for our clients. Before hiring any attorney to represent your personal injury case, we always suggest you ask about his or her trial record. Ask specific questions such as: What was the last case you personally tried? What was the result? What were the difficulties you overcame in that case? What did you do to maximize the chances of recovery prior to trial? How many cases have you tried in the last five years? How many multi-million dollar verdicts have you personally won? A large company such as your employer will be a lot more likely to offer the type of compensation you deserve if they know that your attorney is ready to go to trial should their offer not seem reasonable. If the attorney you are considering does not have a strong trial record, or does not have experience in your type of case, contact an experienced attorney from our firm for a free conversation about your case. We can answer any questions you may have and see which of our experienced lawyers would be the best fit for your case.

Do I have to hire a lawyer from my state?

No. A case can have multiple proper venues—it can be brought where the accident occurred, where the defendant is located or in some instances where the defendant conducts its business. The most important fact to consider when choosing your attorney is the experience he or she has and what his or her success rate is, not where he or she is located. While based in Alabama, we try cases all over the country and are sent more than 100 referrals each year from out-of-state attorneys because they know we get clients the results they deserve. If you are unsure whether we can represent your claim because of your location, fill out our quick online questionnaire and a representative from our office will be in touch with you to schedule your free consultation. While we are licensed in the states of Alabama and Georgia, we work with local counsel in almost every state in the country. We may be able to assist you regardless of where your accident occurred or where you currently live.

How much will my case be worth?

There is no one answer to that question. We consider each client’s case to be unique. We will examine many factors before estimating your case value. We will look at your medical bills related to the injury, your wage history, and the facts surrounding your accident. Many times we will hire experts to help us determine your future medical bills, wage loss pain, and mental anguish. Keep in mind, though, that if your case is not properly developed from the beginning, you will not receive the compensation you deserve. If you have questions about how much your case may be worth, contact us today for a free consultation.

Should I settle my case or go to trial?

That decision will ultimately lie with you, but an experienced attorney will give you the guidance that you need along the way. We are always prepared to go to trial to secure the compensation our clients deserve. That being said, the vast majority of cases are resolved prior to trial through settlement. We work with each of our clients to insure they can make an informed decision when the time comes and they are presented with a reasonable offer. When you sustain an injury on the job, you and your family will undoubtedly have many things to worry about. At Penn and Seaborn our experienced personal injury attorneys believe that working with your lawyer shouldn’t be another headache. We are ready to talk to you, free and confidentially, to help you understand your case and explain you how we can help you receive compensation for your injury.

It is true, not every personal injury claim will result in legal action. However, there are many cases in which people falsely believe that no fault lies in the accident which has left them injured. While drunk driving accidents and medical malpractice cases clearly point to the person to blame for the accident and injury, other situations may be more difficult to identify. For example, slip and fall injuries may seem like mere accidents, but upon closer inspection there is actual responsibility to be placed. Many instances of this type of accident result from a property owner of business manager who failed to follow safety protocols. Ensuring that their premises are safe in all aspects – dry floors, well lit stairways, chemical-free environments, etc. – is the responsibility of a building owner. Failure to adhere to these rules could leave someone severely injured or ill.

Even in cases of natural disaster that cause you injury in your workplace. It may appear as if this act of nature leaves no one at fault for your injuries, but if the incident is examined more in depth, it may be found that your employer did not properly equip your building or work environment with the necessary regulations and did not adhere to safety protocols that they were responsible to adhere to.

If you have been injured or become ill for any reason, it is always good to speak with a lawyer about the conditions of your case. Even if you don’t believe that anyone is at fault, it is better to know, especially because many people learn that liability does lie with someone that can be legally charged for their wrong-doings to you. A legal professional is the best person to consult if you are unsure about your injury. You may find out that someone is at fault after all.

In most personal injury and wrongful death cases, you will not be barred from recovering compensation even if you or your loved one was partially at fault for the injury or death. A person becomes partially at fault when their injuries were sustained as a result of negligence on behalf of another party, but not completely. If you think that just because you were partially responsible for your injuries that you are not liable to compensation, you are. Whether you were involved in a construction accident, a slip and fall accident, or any other type of accident where you sustained injuries, you may be entitled to compensation even if you are partially to blame.

Alabama, for instance, follows a comparative fault scheme that is similar to what’s found in many other states. If you are determined to be 51 percent or more at fault for your injury, then you will be prevented from recovering funds; otherwise, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. So, if your total damages are $1 million, and you are found to be 25 percent at fault, your recovery will be restricted to $750,000.

Disputes over comparative fault can be challenging. If these cases go to court, the jury is responsible for determining the degrees of negligence for both parties. Insurance companies will try to shift as much blame as possible onto the victim of course, because they don’t want to be the ones shouldering the bill. You need to match fire with fire in these cases, and don’t let insurance companies bully you. Percentages of fault can be difficult to determine, that is why it is important to have the proper evidence and representation after your personal injury.

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and feel as if you are not receiving the best possible medical attention, you may need to switch doctors. You need a doctor who will listen to your concerns and help improve your medical conditions. A doctor chosen by your company or an insurance adjuster may not have your best interests at heart. You want a doctor who cares about your wellbeing first and foremost.

Do not settle for a doctor who does not listen to your problems—find a medical provider who will listen to you and assist you throughout your case. If you feel like you need a better doctor, please contact us. We can work with you to determine who the most qualified doctor is to treat your particular problem.

Catastrophic injuries are those so serious in nature that their effects often leave the victim permanently damaged. These types of injuries are usually those connected with physical harm to the brain and/or spinal cord. The impact that these types of injuries can have on the short-term and long-term functional capabilities of a person are so severe that they are considered catastrophic. For some, this might take the form of burns that have left a person’s image vastly altered from what it once was; for others, an injury to a part of the central nervous system such as the brain or spinal cord could leave a person mentally incapacitated or physically handicapped. Whatever the case, if you have sustained injuries serious enough to be long-term and debilitating or that caused you a deformity, you have received a catastrophic injury.

For any accident that results in catastrophic injury to even one person, an injury claim and settlement can be pursued. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can legally be compensated for the wrongful and life-altering harm that has been done to you. You are entitled to a settlement in this case for a number of reasons. First of all, the more serious the injury, the greater the medical expenses. You may have had to undergo surgeries or go through rehabilitation, or you may require permanent use of a medical device or medication as a result of your catastrophic injury. You are also entitled to compensation after a catastrophic injury because the physical damage you sustained likely put you out of work and you are entitled to receiving compensation for those lost wages. You may also be entitled to compensation because of the emotional damage that the catastrophic injury as done. These are life-altering injuries, and you may be suffering from depression as well.

At Penn and Seaborn, we have experience handling individual personal injury cases, mass torts, and class actions. However, these are three very different types of lawsuits. Below are all three types of lawsuits explained in detail:

Single Plaintiff Lawsuit
A single plaintiff lawsuit typical results when there is only person injured in an accident. For example, if you were rear-ended on the highway and suffered head and neck injuries, the attorneys at Penn and Seaborn would file a single lawsuit on your behalf against the person or people responsible for the accident.

Mass Tort
Mass torts usually result when several individuals are injured by a single accident or dangerous product. For example, if several people were injured by dangerous medicine, with each person suffering a different type of injury, a mass tort claim could be an option when pursuing compensation from the responsible parties. In a mass tort, several named plaintiffs join together in a single action. Parts of the case that apply to all plaintiffs (in our example, evidence showing how the dangerous medicine got to the patients) would be worked on jointly in a single courtroom. Parts of the case that were unique to each person (type and severity of injury) would be worked on separately. If victorious, each plaintiff would receive a unique verdict or settlement based on the level of his or her own unique circumstances.

Class Action
In a class action suit, one or two named plaintiffs act as representatives for numerous unnamed parties. If the claim ends in a successful verdict or settlement, all named and unnamed claimants will be treated similarly.

Before making any decisions about which type of claim will be best for you, please speak with an Alabama personal injury lawyer at Penn & Seaborn. We will then carefully review all the facts in your case and, with your input, determine the best type of claim to file on your behalf. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to obtain financial compensation for your injuries.

When you or a loved one has been seriously injured by the negligence or carelessness of an individual or company, you will have more questions than answers. One of the most serious questions people have is how they will pay for needed medical treatment while their case is still in progress. Medical bills aren’t affordable, and this reality leaves many injured people wondering if they will have to wait until their claim has been settled until they receive medical treatment.

This is why you do not want to wait to contact a personal injury attorney. If you don’t think your insurance will cover your medical expenses, an attorney will be able to help you receive full assistance after an accident or injury. Their job is to work with hospitals, individual doctors, and healthcare insurance providers to make sure your medical care goes uninterrupted. You may even gain support that includes coordinating coverage through sources such as Medicaid and Medicare as well. In the United States, most employees have a right to workers’ compensation because most employers are required to provide it. This guarantees the injured party a right to medical care.

In cases of workers, you will probably be able to get workers’ compensation, which will guarantee that your relevant medical expenses are paid for. You may receive a “memorandum of payment” which states that “claim is voluntary payment pending investigation” or that it is “payment without prejudice.” This means that the employer is paying for the claim even though it is still pending. When your case is resolved, any healthcare providers used will be properly reimbursed and their recovery is limited to only the amount they are entitled to receive.

Any employee who is injured while on the job should be entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp is a form of insurance that accommodates injured persons who were harmed while performing their job duties. Generally, a company will offer workers’ compensation to its employees which will provide them with medical benefits and wage replacements should they be injured at work. There isn’t a waiting period for workers’ compensation to be applied to you, because you should be covered the minute you start the job. By accepting the financial and medical compensations offered through this type of package, an employee is agreeing to forego their right to sue the employer for tort negligence.

Workers’ comp plans vary from company to company and state to state. In general, you will be compensated in some capacity for the money you might lose if you have to take time off work to recover from an injury. Typically, if you are unable to work for more than seven days, you are entitled to weekly benefits. Not all workers are considered employees though, such as freelancers and independent contractors. It would be best to check with your employer to see if you maintain the status of “employee” who could be covered by workers’ compensation.

Your workers’ compensation will also provide some sort of financial relief for the medical bills and hospital expenditures that result from your workplace injury. You will probably need to contact an attorney if you are concerned with a claim you are filing, but in general, if you received you injury while on the job then you are entitled to workers’ compensation. This means that if you were doing an activity in your workplace or for the benefit of your employer when you sustained your injuries, your injury was work related and you should be entitled to compensation.