>> Tiffany Bittner: Welcome to LawCall. We’ve got the answers to your legal questions. Here’s what’s coming up tonight. In our caller segment, we’re talking all about injuries. How do you know if you’ve got a claim? How much should it be worth? And who will your claim target? A business? Property owner? Manufacturer? We’ll take your questions. Give us a call at 855-law-1955. Plus, just because you’ve been injured doesn’t mean you’re blameless. We’ll explain contributory negligence and how that can affect your claim. And we’ll tell you what you should not do if you’ve been injured. But first, personal injury attorney Brett Turnbull is here to take a look at one of your email questions: “I was changing a tire on the side of the road, and another vehicle nearly hit me. I fell down an embankment, and hurt my leg. That vehicle just kept on going. What can I do?” That’s from Archie.
>> Well, great question. This is something we have seen in the past and something we have dealt with more than you would believe. The answer is that you may have a claim that you can make on your uninsured motorist coverage, which means the vehicle that more or less caused you to be injured, and that is the difficult thing in proving, that it was the cause and you didn’t over-react, would be what we call a phantom vehicle in Alabama. Let’s assume they left the scene and didn’t come back, you could make the claim on your uninsured motorists coverage.
>> For more information, you could go to www.deliveringjustice.com or go to www.myfoxal.com and click on the LawCall link. In tonight’s sidebar, Kirby Farris explains why you need to act now if you have a personal injury claim.
>> What is contributory negligence and how does it apply? It is a law in Alabama that does not allow an accident victim to recover in he or she does anything to contribute to the cause of an accident. For example, if someone reds a red light and hits a pedestrian, seems like clear-cut liability, but the court may rule there are no damages, because both parties are at fault. Is there a chance you are partially to blame for your injury? Contributory negligence creates real challenges for all personal injury lawyers. If you were involved in an accident, talk to an experienced attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine if you bear any responsibility under Alabama law. If you have a question, send it along to LawCallTV.com. I’m Kirby Farris.
>> Well, Brett Turnbull is here, but you even go outside the state.
>> We do. We take cases in Alabama, we have an office in mobile, and we practice Mississippi, Georgia, sometimes outside the state. Our area of emphasis is personal injury, but we work in the realm of plaintiffs practice, which means that we represent individuals or businesses to have been allegedly hard one we or the other, financially or physically, whatever the case may be, car wrecks, truck wrecks, nursing home abuse, we handle those type of cases.
>> We have Mary lined up, in Birmingham. How are you doing? All right, how are you?
>> Good. Thank can you.
>> Caller: I’m calling, because I have a question. I was given a shot, irritated an already existing condition that I had, in 2014. And I went to the doctor, because it irritated me so bad in 2015. And she told me I should just go to the emergency room. She wouldn’t see me, anything like that. And now, wind up being in and out of the hospital two or three times between April and June and July. And I wondered if there’s anything that could be done.
>> So Mary basically had an adverse effect to some medicine. I guess that can happen to a lot of folks. What should she do next?
>> Well, the question’s going to be whether the event that occurred was something that was preventable or not. In other words, there are times where we are given medication or given certain types of shots, I don’t know what it was, where we have an adverse reaction, what we consider — we are informed about consent, or whether it was a preexisting condition that made this particular drug or this shot something that she shouldn’t have been given. In that case, we’d be dealing something in the line of a medical malpractice case, but there’s a lot of moving parts. I would tell you to look into hiring an attorney. You have two years from the event, when it occurs, so you are getting low on time. We’d be happy to look at your situation.
>> Can anybody pull your own medical records?
>> You can. For the people we represent or come in and see us, we work off contingency fee, so there’s no hourly rate to talk with us. It’s free of charge, and we could get a HIPPA form signed by our own client and get the record for them, to help out on the front end.
>> Yeah, okay. We have Jay in Hamilton next. Hey. Welcome to “LawCall”.
>> Caller: Thank you for taking my call. I got a question. Are you ready?
>> Yes, sir.
>> Caller: Okay. My insurance company canceled part of my insurance that covers someone if they are injured on my property due to improper railing on my porches. Until I get that little problem fixed and someone comes on my property and they are injured and I warned them that I do not have insurance to cover their injury and they are injured on my property, am I responsible for payment on their injury?
>> Okay, that’s a great question. Here’s the answer to your question, and it’s that the answer is you should not necessarily be too concerned with wanting — with warning people you don’t have insurance. If you know you have a dangerous condition, you need to warn anyone coming on your property about that condition. Whether it be signs or verbally telling them, if you have a dangerous condition and you know about it, you must warn about it. Whether there’s insurance or not is irrelevant to the person who might get hurt.
>> Okay, let’s hear from Lynn.
>> Caller: Hey. My wife died in March of ’28 after surgery at the hospital. She — it was supposed to be semi-routine, they were alleviating some scar tissue and this and that. They had four units of blood on hand at the operating room. The — something went wrong, massive blood flow. The doctor couldn’t contain it. It took eight units before he could get it stopped. By that time, all of her organs were shocked and she never woke up. What should I do?
>> Does he say 2008?
>> First, I’m very sorry to hear about your wife. That’s a terrible, tough situation. The answer to your question is, frankly, it will. There are a lot of different facts we need to gather before we make a determination. That’s something that is very fact-intensive. I use this example, that would fall under the Medical Liability Act in the event it were a situation that would involve medical negligence and if so, there would be questions about the standard of care. A doctor would have to look at the records, determine if there was something that could have been done differently, resulting in a different outcome. So you have two years from the date that happened. We’d be happy to talk with you about your potential case, no question. Those are the type cases we work on on a regular basis.
>> We’ll take our first break tonight. When we come back, more about injuries so call us if you have a question.
>> Live, with award-winning broadcaster tiffany Bittner and, from the law firm Farris, Riley & Pitt, Kirby Farris, known for his aggressive courtroom skills; Ken Riley, recognized by Birmingham magazine as one of Birmingham’s top attorneys; and Brett Turnbull. Plus, legal insight from Bob Prince, plus guest attorneys from across Alabama. Your rights, your calls, live.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Have you been injured due to someone else’s negligence? In tonight’s legal brief, Tuscaloosa attorney Bob Prince details some important guidelines following an accident.
>> We talked a lot about what you need to do if you are injured. For instance, immediately seek medical attention. Keep notes of that accident, and the progress of your injury. What about what you shouldn’t do? That can be important also. First, watch what you say at the wreck scene. That statement of I’m not hurt that bad can come back to haunt you later. Second, don’t make a statement to the other person’s insurance adjuster. They are not on your side, and none of the conversations are off the record like they say they are. And third, never negotiate your personal injury case without talking to a personal injury lawyer. And don’t sign a release without talking to a lawyer. One wrong move at a critical time can deprive you of what you are justly entitled to. That’s your legal brief for tonight. I’m Bob Prince, back to you guys.
>> Well, our hoe is all about injuries tonight. If you are watching and you have been injured on the job or car accident, give us a call and we will talk to you. We have Michelle on the line next. Hey, Michelle.
>> Caller: Hi. Yes. I want to see if I have — my mother has — back a few months ago, she fell at home, had to have a hip repair surgery, she went into a rehabilitation and was doing great, and they had her on a walker in no time. — she took a second fall, and it broke her hip, where she already had the metal — shattered the entire femur bone, and now — wheelchair and we’re not expecting to have more surgery, so — dimension on their part at the facility, she had to have a second surgery and had a lot more pain and suffering. It’s been a lot to overcome; she might not overcome at all. I’m wondering if there’s any chance if you may know if she has a case for dimension.
>> All right, thank you.
>> That’s actually something we see commonly, very commonly, unfortunately. The answer is there’s no way for me to be able to tell without more facts, but here’s what I could tell you. Number one; there would have been a fall risk assessment that would have been conducted by this rehabilitation center at the time of your mom’s admission. And so with that assessment and the level of degree of risk that she labored from in terms of her inability to ambulate while she was there, there would be criteria, what type of guidelines were necessary for the nursing staff to maintain, to maintain the minimum standard of care. There’s a book on the different types of requires pertaining to the different types of risk assessments for falls. So it depend on the factual circumstances on how she fell, as well as the fall risk assessment, as well as the standard of care, those are all things we handle, we hire medical experts to look at in great detail and there are things we can help you with. We have those cases right now that are almost identical factually.
>> Let’s hear from both. Hey. Hello. Are you on the line?
>> Caller: Yes, I am. Hi.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Go ahead with your question.
>> Caller: My question is that I live in the country, and if a kid comes on my property and gets hurt by one of my animals, if a kid gets hurt on my property, am I liable for him, if I have no trespassing signs posted on my property. I even have a sign posted on the edge of the road saying I am not liable in my animals hurt you in any way or kills you. Can I still be in trouble?
>> Tiffany Bittner: Good question.
>> The answer once again, it is turf to tell without more facts, but you have no duty under the law to a trespasser, which means if someone trespasses onto your property, you don’t have to warn them of potential dangers, you don’t have to be — you are most likely not to be held liable. The exception is children. There are exceptions that pertain to children and there are also exception interrogatories what they pertain to dangerous breeds of dogs. If you have pit bulls, there’s a different legal standard upon which you may be held liable. The answer is it is possible you may be held liable, but as long as it is on your property, that it is unlikely.
>> Tiffany Bittner: All right, time for another break. We’ll take more questions when we come back. All about injuries. Give us a call. We’d love to talk to you.
>> So January 10 it’s “ask us anything”. January 17, we will discuss bankruptcy. January 24, “can the police do that?” So all great shows coming up. We hope you will join us and call with any questions you may have. If you have been watching this evening, we appreciate it. If you would like to get in touch with Bob, you could call his office at00-536-1105. Or www.Princelaw.net. Brett Turnbull is representing the law firm of Farris, Riley & Pitt in birmingham.05-324-1212 or deliveringjustice.com. Hopefully we have been some help to you. We have callers still coming through. So stay with us and call. If you are watching now, just tuning in, the number is on the bottom of your screen. We have Ebram. Hey, there.
>> Caller: Hey. How are you?
>> Great, thanks. What’s your question tonight?
>> Caller: Okay — had an accident on November 27, and I was rear-ended and the insurance adjuster came out, said it wasn’t my fault. And the other insurance company said they would send an adjuster out and they never did, so what are my steps from there?
>> Well, obviously, there are two options. One option is you could call your insurance company and tell them to go ahead and fix your car, which I realize is probably not what you would like to have happen, given it wasn’t your fault, but in the real world and in trying to be as practical as possible, that may be the best thing for you to do. They will get their money back from the other insurance company, presumably, assuming this was the other person’s fault. The other option is to hire a lawyer or talk with a lawyer about the situation. Sometimes around the holidays, the adjusters, just like the rest of us get busy. Maybe you will get the phone call tomorrow, but sometimes there’s a lapse in information, just like anything else and you may need to try to continue to correspond with the other adjuster. I think it would work for you to call your own insurance company and ask them to please contact the other company. They will want to have that paid as well. They don’t want to have to pay for it.
>> John is up next. Hey, John.
>> Caller: Hey. My mother went in for robotic surgery, a year and a half ago — one lung and in and out surgery and she passed away a week later, and they had some mistakes that they admitted had taKen place, severed artery on the way in, a couple things. She passed away a week later, so that’s what I was calling about.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Okay.
>> Yeah, sorry to hear about that. What I could tell you is you probably need to tact an attorney pertaining to that matter. There are certain circumstances frankly that are, I guess, they are acceptable complications associated with the procedure. Robotic surgery has complicated things. In some ways it is fantastic for surgeries being performed. It is still subject to user error and training of the doctor on the robot and whether they had adequate train asking a new hot topic in the medical community, which is leaking over into the legal community. I would definitely give us a call. We’d be happy to talk with you about that potential case.
>> Tiffany Bittner: And time is of the essence.
>> Right. One and a half years ago. You only have two years in order to bring the claim. There’s time needed for the medical cases for us to gather the record and determine whether there was medical dimension. Sometimes we think there was. The last thing we want to do is file a lawsuit against someone who doesn’t deserve it.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Let’s hear from Rickey up next. Hey.
>> Caller: my wife was rear-ended a few years — by a lady, and then another guy came along and hit the lady again and — a second time. And are both parties liable, or just the girl that hit my wife?
>> Tiffany Bittner: You hear about pileup situations. How does that work?
>> That is a very good question. Frankly, it is going to depend on some of the facts. The first person that hit your wife, no question, without more facts to review, that was most likely going to be something she’s liable for. The second person that came along, it depend on what type of lights were out there, whether it was an merge situation that they were unable to avoid that was understandable, which is going to depend on the facts, then what you need to know, Alabama law has combining and concurring dimension, which means that you could have two different — we call them tortfeasors, two different people who have been negligent and caused someone’s injuries. They could both be held liable in a combining and concurring sense. That’s something else to look at from a legal perspective. The answer is, we know it’s the first person to some extent. It could be both, but it depends on what the driver had available to see at the time.
>> You mentioned about contingency fees and that’s how your practice works, but for people sitting at home, explain how that works and how that can help them, for the person that’s been off work, not able to pay bills. How does that benefit them?
>> So contingency fees, the way we are paid is that we take — not paid by the hour. Our consultation is free. The only time when we get paid at all is if we’re able to be successful on your what have. If you are unable to be successful, whatever the situation may be, we don’t take any money for that.
>> And how important is it to find the right attorney for whatever claim or case you have?
>> I think it’s vital. It’s a huge part of the decision-making process that goes into making sure that you protect yourself, you protect your rights, and I think that one of the things —
>> Tiffany Bittner: You want an attorney that handled cases similar to yours.
>> May not be the — it is the firm that handles cases that are in your arena.
>> Tiffany Bittner: and have won cases. Happy New Year. Thank you. We’ll see you next weekend right here at 10:30 for “LawCall”. Stay bundled up. Have a great night, everybody.