Personal Injury Lawyers

Are Montgomery Accident Victims More Likely to Get Legal Help?

After a motor vehicle collision, victims experience financial and non-economic costs including loss of wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, private insurance companies pay for approximately 50 percent of the costs associated with losses from motor vehicle collisions. Crash victims end up covering around 26 percent of the costs of motor vehicle accidents and the remaining losses are paid by taxpayers, by charities or by healthcare providers. car fire

Unfortunately, a personal injury lawyer knows that it can be a challenge for victims to actually receive the money they need from insurance companies. In fact, a report from the American Association for Justice shows that major insurers throughout the United States have developed entire business models around denying victims coverage for losses that insurance should pay for. These insurance companies use the 3 D’s to prevent victims from getting their losses covered. The 3 D’s stand for delaying payment of claims; denying covered claims; and defending vigorously against any accusations that the insurance company should be paying more.

Victims need to get help standing up to big insurance companies in order to have their financial damages covered by insurance after a collision. Fortunately, a report from the Insurance Research Council suggests that more victims are actually getting the help that they need from qualified attorneys after accidents occur.

More Accident Victims Getting Legal Help After Collisions

According to the Insurance Research Council, only 17 percent of personal injury protection (PIP) claimants got help making a claim from an insurance company back in 1977. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of PIP claimants who recognize that they need help and who seek legal representation. In 2007, 31 percent of crash victims making a personal injury protection claim had a lawyer. In 2012, the number of claimants represented by an attorney had grown to 36 percent.

The number of people getting help making a bodily injury claim has also increased, although not by as much because a good number of bodily injury claimants have always had legal representation. In 2007, 49 percent of people making a bodily injury claim had an attorney. By 2012, this number had reached 50 percent of claimants.

The Insurance Research Council seems to suggest that it is a bad thing that more people are getting legal help to protect themselves. The IRC points to the fact that it can take longer for victims to get paid damages as evidence of why victims are hurt by hiring a lawyer.

In reality, however, one tactic that insurance companies frequently use is to make a very low settlement offer to plaintiffs when they are first injured and need compensation. Plaintiffs may be pressured to accept this low negotiated settlement and give up their rights to sue. This can result in a victim receiving far less money than is necessary to cover losses. It is much better for a victim to have a slight delay in getting paid, but to actually get the money he needs for his motor vehicle collision damages.

Accident lawyers in Montgomery, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit

Montgomery Drivers Should Follow the Golden Rules of Driver Safety

Officials from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (F.I.A.) were nearly injured or killed in a recent motor vehicle collision, according to the New York Times. The F.I.A. is the parent organization of road clubs throughout the world and is the organization responsible for overseeing the motor sports industry. The F.I.A. officials were stopped on the side of the road changing a tire when they noticed a vehicle barreling towards their rental car. They were able to get out of the way just moments before the back of the rental vehicle was struck. cars

A personal injury attorney knows that if the driver who hit the stopped rental car on the side of the road had been paying more careful attention and surveying the road before him, the incident may have been avoided. According to the New York Times, looking ahead for potential road obstacles is one tip provided by professional drivers who are members of the F.I.A. The F.I.A. has also prepared more advice for motorists to help reduce the number of deadly accidents occurring.

The 10 Golden Rules for Road Safety

The F.I.A. views the number of motor vehicle collisions as similar to a worldwide epidemic of disease. Each year, around 1.3 million people are killed in traffic collisions worldwide and another 50 million people get hurt in accidents. By 2020, estimates suggest that there will be around two million people killed in traffic accidents every single year.

Many of these collisions are caused by bad driving, and could be prevented if drivers followed basic safety rules. The F.I.A. has identified 10 Golden Rules for motorists to follow including:

  • Always buckling their seat belts, both when driving and when riding as a passenger.
  • Always wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bicycle or other similar type of vehicle.
  • Checking both tire pressure and tire tread regularly to ensure that the vehicle’s tires are properly inflated and not too worn. Worn or under inflated tires can lead to a blow-out that results in a collision. Most cars today have sensors and drivers are alerted when the tires need air, but tires should still be checked manually on a periodic basis.
  • Respecting the rules of the road whenever motorists are behind the wheel operating their vehicles.
  • Driving sober at all times and never getting behind the wheel after consuming drugs or alcoholic beverages.
  • Staying focused on the road at all times. Motorists should avoid distractions such as cellular phones and other electronic devices.
  • Avoiding driving while fatigued. Drivers should get sufficient rest and should stop their vehicles and pull over when they become too tired to drive safely.
  • Showing other motorists courtesy and respect at all times when on the road.

Ironically, the New York Times reports that the F.I.A. officials had a trunk full of brochures with the 10 Golden Rules on them at the time when their accident occurred. If every motorist would make a commitment to follow these rules, hopefully collisions could be reduced and more people’s lives could be saved.

Accident lawyers in Montgomery, Alabama can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit

Why Do Men Pay Higher Insurance Premiums Than Women?

Insurance companies charge premiums to motorists based on what the company believes the risk of a payout is. When it comes to auto insurance, men pay much more in premiums for coverage than women according to a recent Yahoo News report. This, in theory, could suggest that male drivers are not as safe as female drivers. However, is this actually the reason for higher insurance rates among male drivers?

Insurance companies are responsible for compensating injured victims for losses that the insured causes when a collision happens. If you or a loved one is injured by a dangerous or careless driver, contact a personal injury lawyer for help pursuing a claim to recover monetary compensation for losses.

Why Do Men Pay Higher Insurance Premiums Than Women?

Evidence suggests that the reason men pay higher insurance premiums than women do is because men generally become involved in more serious motor vehicle accidents than their female counterparts. While women may be involved in more fender benders and may also be involved in more intersections at collections, male drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions where a vehicle is totaled. Men are also much more likely to die in crashes, or to cause other motorists to suffer serious injuries or fatalities. In fact, men account for 71 percent of the people killed in collisions on U.S. roadways.

The difference in premiums is very substantial when comparing men to women. As Yahoo reports, a 25-year-old man who lives in Oakland California and who has not ever had a ticket or an accident will end up paying as much as $385 higher premiums for car insurance compared to a woman with the same driving profile of the same age. As the man and woman get older, the gap narrows but still exists. Over time, the male driver will end up paying many thousands more in insurance costs than the female driver.

This is true despite the fact that a Reader’s Digest report shows that men may be better at certain driving skills when compared with women. The Reader’s Digest report confirms the fact that men are more likely to take risks and get into serious accidents. When a crash is caused by a male driver, the accident was more likely to have happened because of bad choices rather than because the male driver had insufficient driving skills.

The Daily Mail also affirmed the important differences between male and female drivers. The article talked about research conducted from 1998 to 2007, during which time there were 6.5 motor vehicle collisions that were studied. The researchers found a surprising number of collisions involving two female drivers. There was also a high number of accidents at intersections involving female motorists.

Unfortunately, a serious accident that totals a car or that results in injury or death is going to cause much more financial loss. Insurance companies know there is a greater chance of a very expensive accident with a male driver, and this is why men pay more than women do for car insurance.

Accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Back to School Safety Advice to Prevent Child Injuries in Washington D.C.

When kids head back to school for the year, they face new risks that they did not experience during the summer months. Schools have the responsibility of ensuring that pupils are kept safe during school hours. Parents should also do their part to ensure that kids know safety rules and do not engage in high-risk behavior.

If a child is injured in a bus accident or due to negligence at school, parents need to understand their rights to make an injury claim. A personal injury lawyer can provide representation to victims and their loved ones.

Back to School Safety Advice

For children under the age of 15, unintentional injury is a leading cause of death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were 5,401 young people who were killed over the course of the year. Preventing accidents can reduce the number of children who lose their lives.

The National Safety Council has some tips for safety practices to follow to prevent injury as kids go back to school. The NSC’s checklist includes transportation safety tips such as:

  • Ensuring that children who walk to school know the rules for staying safe including walking on sidewalks when possible and always looking both right and left before crossing the road.
  • Doing a practice walk to school with kids, especially if it is their first time walking on their own or if they will be taking a different route to school.
  • Providing kids who bike to school with a helmet that fits properly and requiring the helmet be worn at all times when bicycling. Bicycle riding children should also be reminded that they must ride on the correct side of the road and that they should come to a full and complete stop before they cross.
  • Requiring that kids who take a bus to school stand at least six feet back from the curb while waiting for the bus and cross at least 12 feet in front of the bus.

Playground accidents are also a risk for young people. Children should not be allowed to play on playgrounds that are located above concrete, grass or a dirt. Schools that provide playground facilities need to ensure that there is a soft surface below the playground in case a child falls. In addition, kids should be supervised carefully at all times, and the use of climbing equipment should be limited. School playgrounds should not have monkey bars available and parents should not allow kids to climb on monkey bars.

Finally, kids face the potential for back injuries as a result of heavy backpacks. It is advisable for parents to make sure that kids have a backpack that fits them properly and that does not weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a young child’s body weight. Kids should be encouraged or required to carry the backpack with the straps over both shoulders.

By following these best practices for safety, hopefully kids can have a safe and fulfilling school year and the risk of injuries will be reduced.

Accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.

GM Safety Recalls Highlights Risk for D.C. Motorists

General Motors has been fined the largest amount in history for failure to report a safety defect and respond to government agency investigations in a timely manner. The car company will pay $35 million to the federal government. GM has also entered into a consent agreement in which the company will turn over the results of internal investigations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and will overhaul its internal system for dealing with safety issues.

Clearly, GM needs to do something to improve safety and this settlement may provide the impetus the car company needs. GM has recalled more vehicles so far in 2014 than the company has sold in the U.S. since 2009. The company has had safety problems linked to 12 deaths and 46 injuries.

When an accident occurs and a vehicle defect may have caused or contributed to injury, victims or family members need to consult a personal injury lawyer. There may be multiple parties who are to blame and who must compensate crash victims, including the car company as well as drivers whose negligence played a role in causing the accident.

GM Recalls a Record Number of Vehicles

CNN recently reported that GM had recalled more cars in 2014 than in the history of the company. This was even before recent news from Auto News that another 30,000 Saab convertibles were being recalled as a result of a problem with seat belts failing to properly retract.

Some of the recalls were related to problems with the ignition switch. The switch could turn from “Run” to “Accessory” unexpectedly as a person was driving. As a result, this would end up turning off the power-steering, the car’s engine and the air bags. It was this defect that allegedly caused accidents that took lives and injured countless motorists.

GM may have been aware of the problems with the ignition switch as early as 2001. Yet, although the car company is required to notify the NHTSA and instituted a recall within five business days of identifying a safety defect, GM did nothing for years.

Tahoes, Sierras and Silverados were also reportedly recalled because of problems with the steering.

Car manufacturers have a responsibility to the public not to let problems like these occur. Consumers should also do their research so they make smart choices about the vehicles that they buy. Safer Car is a good resource for consumers who are shopping for a car to buy. At this site, consumers can access information on:

  • Crash test ratings for both new and used vehicles.
  • Notices of safety recalls and investigations.
  • Complaints and defects identified in certain vehicle models.
  • Car seats.
  • Car safety features and technologies.
  • Tire safety issues including tire ratings and maintenance tips to keep tires in good shape and reduce the risk of blow outs.

Consumers can sign up for free recall alerts on their phones so they are notified right away if a problem is identified with a car they are driving.

A personal injury attorney in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit

D.C. Cyclists and Drivers Share Busy Washington Roads

Bicycle riders and drivers are competing for road space on busy urban roads and the outcome has not been good. A lot of D.C. drivers have complaints that bicycle riders are not playing by the rules or sharing the roads in a safe way. In fact, just recently, the Washington Post published several articles criticizing a variety of different bicyclist behavior.

Bicycle riders, on the other hand, are understandably concerned that the roads don’t remain very safe for them. The death toll rose for pedalcyclists according to a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the majority of bike riders who lose their lives are killed in urban areas.

Bicycle riders and drivers need to respect each other’s rights on the road and avoid high-risk behaviors that could increase the chance of a crash and injuries occurring. If someone does get hurt, the victim or his family members should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help.

Drivers Have Complaints About Bike Riders as Bicyclist Death Toll Rises

The Washington Post has raised the many concerns drivers in the city have with bicycle riders. One issue is that bike riders have had miles of bike lanes added throughout D.C., which can result in the loss of other essential services motorists need in cities, like parking spaces where elderly church parishioners used to park. Bicycle riders in the district are now also asking for a bike elevator to help them get up a steep hill.

There are accusations that many bicycle riders ride the wrong way in these bike lanes, putting people at risk. Bicycle riders may also be riding on sidewalks, which creates a hazard for pedestrians who need to walk in these same areas.

Bike riders want to be treated the same as drivers and are expected to obey the same rules of the road, including stopping at traffic signals and stop signs. However, some bicyclists are not following these rules. In other cases, bikers may follow the letter of the law but may not be very considerate. Bike riders, for example, sometimes ride up to the front of a line of traffic that is stopped at the red light and then all of the drivers are forced to wait for the bicyclist to pass when the light turns green.

Another major concern is that bicycle riders sometimes ride at night and with no lights. This makes it hard for pedestrians and drivers to see them coming and increases the chances of a collision occurring.

These are legitimate concerns, but bike riders also have the right to complain that the roads are not meeting their needs. The NHTSA’s recent report indicates that the number of bicycle accident fatalities increased six percent between 2011 and 2012. A total of 69 percent of bicycle-rider deaths occur in urban areas compared with just 31 percent of fatalities in rural areas. In total, 726 bicycle riders were killed over the course of 2012, which meant bike riders made up two percent of all driving fatalities. There were also another 49,000 bike riders injured, which was also two percent of all injuries.

A personal injury lawyer in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit

D.C. Traffic Watch: Can Collision Warning Systems Save Lives?

Drivers continue to operate their vehicles when they are distracted, despite numerous warnings alerting them to the dangers of cell phones and other devices that steal focus from the road. Many carmakers are responding to this dangerous trend by including collision warning systems in their vehicles. While these warning systems could perhaps help prevent some accidents, not all systems are created equal. Further, drivers should not become comfortable with the idea that their car will stop for them.

No amount of technology can substitute for common sense and safe driving. When a driver makes a dangerous choice and endangers other motorists on the road, he must be held accountable for the harm caused. Accident lawyers in Washington, DC at the Mike Slocumb Law Firm should be consulted by victims of collisions for help pursuing a damage claim.

Collision Warning Systems And Accident Prevention

According to the New York Daily News, a forward collision warning system uses radar beams, cameras, and/or laser beams to scan the road ahead of the vehicle. If the system believes that the vehicle is coming too close to an object at an unsafe speed, it can alert the driver and it will either ready the braking system for full power or it will automatically cause the vehicle to brake.

Most systems will automatically apply the brake to slow a vehicle or to stop it from colliding with an object in front, while a minority of systems only warn the drivers. It is also more common for the car to first warn the driver and then apply the brakes, although some systems will stop the car without first alerting the driver that there is an obstacle.

Forward collision warning systems usually work when the car is traveling at a speed of 30 miles per hour or less, although some newer systems will even activate the braking system when the car is going as fast as 50 miles per hour. If the vehicle is going above this speed, generally only a warning will be issued as the car slamming on the brakes would be extremely dangerous.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is currently trying to respond to consumer confusion caused by so many different technologies in collision avoidance. The IISH rates systems as basic, advanced or superior and is establishing a classification system that will help consumers better understand how the different collision avoidance systems work.

An IISH spokesperson has said that it is clear the technology is helping to avoid crashes and is helping to reduce speed and thus lessen the severity of collisions where an accident cannot be avoided.

However, there is a danger that drivers may become too reliant on this technology and that it may make some motorists feel safer driving while distracted. Collision avoidance systems may malfunction if sun, rain, snow or fog prevents the devices from seeing in front of the vehicle. Further, not all systems can detect pedestrians and cyclists, of which there are many in the Washington D.C. area. Even with collision avoidance systems in place, drivers need to remain vigilant and ensure they act responsibly to say safe on the roads.

Accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit

Washington D.C. Pedestrian Accident Victims Face Post-Collision Challenges

Washington D.C. residents enjoy both walking and biking to work. According to the Washington Post, Washington ranks seventh in the nation for the popularity of commuting via bicycle and second in the nation when it comes to walking. Only Boston has more people who like walking to work.

Pedestrians, unfortunately, face serious risks if they are hit by a car.  The harm that a pedestrian experiences can go well beyond physical injuries endured. Being in a motor vehicle collision can change your life, and the New York Times recently published a report on the aftermath of the crash experience.  Victims of a pedestrian collision need to understand their legal rights, and pedestrian accident lawyers in Washington, DC can help those who have been harmed.

Pedestrian Accident Victims Face Lingering Challenges

The New York Times article on life after a pedestrian crash included stories from several staffers who had been hit by vehicles while walking in the city.  The author had been hit by a delivery truck, breaking his femur and pelvis. He was immobile and bedridden in the hospital after the collision. Treatment included surgery, blood transfusions and the insertion of an interior vena cava to stave off blood clots.

During his recovery period, he received a card from a friend who had been in a collision in the past. The card warned him that his life was unlikely to ever be the same.  The author agreed that this has been his experience, as he continues to have flashbacks to his accident when he sees a delivery truck in the city. He is also both more careful and more fearful when walking now, never stepping off the curb until the light has changed and always looking both ways multiple times before going across the road. He takes these steps even though he was crossing legally at the time his collision occurred.

Other New York Times staffers have had similar experiences. One described the pedestrian knockdown crash that she was in as one of the most frightening and most difficult things she had ever experienced.  Another said that although four years had passed since her pedestrian accident, she still became very fearful when crossing the road. She described continually looking over her shoulder as she crossed and feeling such an immense sense of panic if she thought a car was coming at her or didn’t see her.

The experiences that these pedestrian accident victims had are common reactions people have after being hurt in a motor vehicle collision. Often, too little attention is paid to the mental effects of the aftermath of a pedestrian crash, as headlines tend to focus on the terrible physical injuries or deaths that these accidents cause.

Victims of pedestrian accidents should be compensated not just for the medical treatment that their injuries necessitate, and not just for the time off of work. The physical, mental and emotional harm they endure is very real and drivers who cause pedestrian accidents should provide monetary damages for these losses.

Accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Distracted Driving in Alabama Target of April Enforcement Efforts

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has scheduled an $8.5 million ad campaign and a week of stepped-up enforcement for texting and cell phone bans. The slogan the NHTSA is pushing is “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.”

The National Safety Council (NSC) is also conducting its own campaign during Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The NSC’s efforts focus on informing people that hands-free devices are dangerous, despite popular beliefs to the contrary. Victims injured by a driver using a hands-free device or otherwise distracted by a phone can get help making a motor vehicle accident claim from a Mobile texting accident attorney.

Drivers Misinformed About Hands-Free Devices

The campaign to inform drivers about the myth of hands-free devices is an important one because many drivers don’t know the truth. reports that around 80 percent of drivers think that hands-free phones are safe. These drivers may use voice-to-text programs as well as talking on their phones using Bluetooth or other hands-free systems.

When drivers do use hands-free systems to complete electronic tasks in the car, around 70 percent say they do so for safety reasons. The NSC hopes to inform these drivers that they aren’t any safer and may actually be taking a bigger risk. Studies have shown that a voice-to-text program makes sending or receiving a text more distracting for drivers than just holding the phone to type or read the text.

Furthermore, the brain is not able to multitask effectively, and studies have shown you end up switching your focus from the phone to the road and back again when you are talking or listening on a call. You don’t do this very well, and you miss as much as 50 percent of the visual information outside your windshield. This makes sense, since the area of your brain devoted to visual activity is 1/3 less active when you’re on the phone (even using a hands-free kit), compared to when you are not multitasking.

Still, about nine percent of all drivers at any given time are using hands-free devices on the road. These drivers aren’t breaking any laws. Although USA Today reports that 12 states have complete bans on handheld phone use and 43 have bans on texting, no state has banned hands-free systems. Drivers thus may be unlikely to ever find out that what they are doing in their cars is risky until it is too late and they get into a collision. The NSC’s campaign hopes to increase awareness.

Drivers need to avoid any type of use of electronic devices, even if they have a hands-free kit. Most safety experts urge a complete federal ban of cell phone use in vehicles, but this is not likely to become law anytime soon. Until it does, it is up to drivers to voluntarily make the right choice and exercise appropriate care behind the wheel.

Accident lawyers in Mobile can help if you have been injured in an Alabama traffic accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Traffic Accidents in Mobile a Higher Risk for Teens with Passengers

A Mobile traffic collision recently claimed the life of one teenager and forever changed the lives of five others, who authorities say were seriously injured.

Investigators say the six teens were all in the same car shortly after midnight on a Sunday when the young driver, for reasons yet unknown, left the roadway and slammed into a building. One of the youths was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say speed was likely a factor in the crash.

Our Mobile accident attorneys are aware of extensive research pointing to the fact that the more teen passengers are in a vehicle driven by a teen driver, the higher the likelihood of a crash.

Study finds teens with passengers more likely to crash

In fact, one study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute and released last year revealed that 15-to-17-year-old drivers are nearly eight times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash when they are carrying two or more teen passengers. This was based on 10 years of national traffic data. This represents a 30 percent increase during that time frame.

In Alabama, the graduated driver's license program limits the number of passengers that novice drivers can have in a car at any one time. For those with a Stage I learner's permit, new drivers can only operate a vehicle when a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver older than 21 is in the front passenger seat. A driver with a Stage II restricted license may not have more than one passenger in the vehicle who is not a parent, legal guardian or family member.

The National Safety Council notes that the most dangerous time in a teen driver's life is during the first year that he or she has a license. In fact, nothing kills more teenagers than car crashes. Some 4,700 people die every year in crashes involving teen drivers, with passengers accounting for 1,200 of those and occupants of other vehicles accounting for 1,120. Pedestrians, cyclists and other non-occupants account for 400.

These points are especially relevant in March, at the height of the spring break season, as teens and young college students will be flocking to the Gulf Coast. Mobile is an ideal spot, though we fully anticipate many of our youth will also be traveling nearby to the Florida panhandle.

Many spring break celebrations incorporate alcohol. When you factor in binge drinking with inexperience behind the wheel, the consequences are often fatal.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety has said that it expects heavier-than-usual traffic, particularly to southern Alabama, in the months of both March and April due to spring break. The agency urges parents to discuss with teens ways to make safe driving a top priority.

Other important rules of the road include:

  • Always wearing a seat belt;
  • Focusing on the road, and avoiding distractions, such as texting or calling someone on your cell phone.
  • Limit the number of teen passengers in your vehicle.
  • Obey speed limits and other traffic safety laws.
  • Limit your night time driving.
  • Never drink or use drugs prior to getting into a vehicle. Make sure your teen knows he or she can always call you if they find themselves in a bad situation.

Accident lawyers in Mobile can help if you have been injured in an Alabama traffic accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.