avoiding atv accidents

Tips for Avoiding ATV Accidents in Alabama

ATV accidents are a growing problem across the United States, and Alabama is a state that sees a significant number of accidents and fatalities every year. If you’re getting ready for a summer of ATV riding, take the right steps to protect yourself and your loved on.

If you or someone you love is injured in an ATV accident, it’s important to discuss your options with an attorney. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-432-0612 to talk about your case.

Preparing for Summer Riding

Summer is the most popular time for ATV riding. This means that you need to be extra careful when exploring the great outdoors, as you may encounter riders of varying skill levels and experience levels. Reviewing these tips ahead of time can help you make the most of every trip.

Start with the Proper Helmet and Riding Gear

Wearing the proper safety gear on every trip is non-negotiable. Ensure that your helmet meets current safety standards. If you plan on riding at dusk, make sure you wear reflective clothing that will make you visible to others. Additionally, wear gear that will protect you from injuries if you crash.

Take a Safety Course

No matter how long you have been riding, you can always use a refresher. Before you take your first ride of the season, take a quick safety course to ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Get Your ATV Checked Out

If your ATV has been sitting in the shed or garage for months, you have no idea what condition it is in. Take your ATV to a reputable mechanic and have it checked out for any safety concerns. Make sure you get it checked out at least one week prior to your first trip so you have time to take care of any lingering issues.

Keep Children 16 and Younger Off of Adult ATVs

No matter how much your teenaged child or sibling begs to go on the adult ATV with you, stand strong. Children are at much greater risk of serious injuries than adults are. If they must ride on an ATV, get them on an ATV designed for their size and age.

No Children Younger Than Six on Any ATV

Even if you have an ATV designed for younger users, children younger than six should never be on any ATV. The risks are simply too great for such young children. Consider planning an alternate activity so they don’t feel left out.

Stay Off of Paved Surfaces

This is perhaps the most important safety tip on this list. ATVs were created for off-road use.  They are not built to navigate smooth roads and ignoring this can cause serious or fatal accidents. Riding an ATV on a paved road can cause your ATV to flip over, leaving you at further risk of being hit by a car or truck driving on the same road. If you must cross a paved road to get to the unpaved terrain on the other side, do so quickly and ensure you are completely clear to cross on both sides.

Don’t Ride Under the Influence

A significant number of fatal ATV accidents started with everyone enjoying some beer or cocktails before exploring. People underestimate the risk of driving an ATV while impaired, since they don’t expect to meet other riders or encounter unexpected obstacles. However, if you get in an accident while impaired, you’ll likely struggle to take the right steps afterward.

You may not notice that someone in your group is seriously injured, know where you are so you can call for help, or be able to get back home. Pass on all alcoholic beverages and drugs if you plan on riding the ATV later.

Be Prepared for the Weather

Getting stuck in inclement weather can be dangerous if you’re on an ATV. Check the weather forecast multiple times leading up to your ride so you can make any necessary changes to your plans.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey for Help After an ATV Accident

No matter how careful you are while riding, you can’t control others’ actions. If you are injured in an ATV accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the other party. To talk about your case in greater detail, call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-432-0612 or contact us online.

personal injury claim

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?

When people get injured in a car collision or another type of accident, they often worry about hiring an attorney to guide them through the claims process. They imagine legal TV shows, with lawyers yelling at each other and judges trying to keep control. That’s why most people are surprised to learn that the majority of personal injury cases do not go to trial.

Have you been hurt because of someone else’s negligence? Learn about your legal options now by calling call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 800-574-4332.

The Statistics

Out of all of the personal injury claims that occur each year, only 4% to 5% ever see the inside of a courtroom. Of those that do go to trial, the results are unpredictable, and the victim and risks not getting any compensation at all. However, those cases that do go trial also give the victim the chance to recover punitive damages, which can significantly increase the amount they receive. To boil it all down, taking a claim to trial is a high-risk high potential reward proposition.

Factors Affecting Your Claim

What does the unlikelihood of litigation mean for your claim? It means that you can take a deep breath and rest easy, since it is very unlikely that your personal injury claim will go to court. Both victims and insurance companies benefit when claims can be resolved outside the courtroom, so if you have an experienced attorney, you’re in a good position to negotiate for what you deserve.

A number of factors can determine whether or not your case goes to court. These include:

  • The skill of your attorney. A good personal injury attorney knows the ins and outs of a tough negotiation. Insurance companies spend a lot of money figuring out how to deprive victims of the money they deserve, and attorneys spend a lot of time finding ways to hold insurance companies accountable. An attorney who knows when to push for more, when to pull back, when to call off negotiations, and when to wait can mean the difference between a satisfactory settlement and a drawn-out court battle.
  • The flexibility of the insurance company. Of course, the attorney isn’t the only party in negotiations. The insurance company plays a big role. While most insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid a court case and the extra money associated with one, some are very stubborn when it comes to settling claims. No matter how reasonable an attorney is, they may refuse to negotiate.
  • How cut-and-dry your claim is. If it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other party caused your injury, the insurance company may be in a rush to settle the claim, get it done, and move on. If liability is in question, though, they may be willing to take their chances in court.
  • The value of your claim. The value of your claim is an important factor. The more expensive your claim is likely to be, the more pushback you may get from the insurance company.
  • Your role in the accident. Whether or not you share any liability for the accident is very important. Alabama uses the doctrine of pure contributory negligence, which states that if a victim is at all liable for the accident, they recover nothing in court. This means that insurance companies might be willing to go to court if they have a good chance of proving that you are partially at fault.

To Settle or Not to Settle?

This is another area where you should trust your attorney. Deciding whether or not to settle is a question that varies from case to case. In some cases, the insurance company’s final offer is insultingly low and you’re better off going to court. In other cases, litigation might just be too risky and the insurance company’s final offer is actually fair.

That’s why it’s important to choose an attorney you can trust. An experienced attorney has seen enough personal injury cases play out that they know how yours is likely to resolve. Pushing for more when the insurance company has already offered a fair amount or insisting on taking your case to court could lead to you getting nothing. Follow your attorney’s guidance in this area.

Get the Help You Deserve with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey

Don’t rely on the insurance company to give you the money you deserve after an accident. Let us help. Schedule a consultation with our team now by calling us at 800-574-4332 or contacting us online.

returning to work after a car accident

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

Getting back to normal after a personal injury is a time-consuming process, which is why so many people jump back into regular life before they are truly ready. Unfortunately, forcing yourself back to “normal” too soon can impact your healing and even your personal injury claim. Learn more about how to protect your personal injury claim during this transition.

Have you suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s negligence? You’re not alone. We’re here to help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 800-574-4332 to set up a consultation.

Scrutiny from Insurance Companies

When you’re injured by someone else, your claim is typically taken over by their insurance company. This is good, because insurance companies are much more likely to have the money needed to pay out your settlement. It’s also bad, though, because insurance companies spend a lot of resources trying to avoid paying out claims.

After an injury, you can expect everything you do to be scrutinized by the insurance company. They want to find any evidence that you are not as injured as you claim, since this evidence allows them to deny a settlement completely or decrease what they are willing to pay.

This extends to your work habits. If you’re asking for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, but you’re back to work weeks earlier than expected, they may push back.

What Happens If You Go Back to Work Too Soon?

This is even more relevant if you go back to work earlier than your doctor explicitly recommends. If your doctor says you’ll be out of work for at least one month and you go back in one week, that isn’t just a sign that your injury is healing better than expected. It’s a sign that you don’t take your recovery seriously, and the insurance company will claim that they shouldn’t have to pay for your medical bills and expenses if you are putting your health at risk.

Of course, this is an unfair assessment—people go to work earlier than recommended because they have bills to pay and other obligations to meet. However, that is how the insurance company will look at your return to work.

Long-Term Health and Financial Effects

Not only can returning to work too early affect your settlement, it can be a serious detriment to your health. When you first return to work, you may feel physically fine and healthy. As you continue to push yourself each day, you could actually be worsening your current injuries or hindering the healing process. This might allow you to get back to work immediately, but the long-term health issues you cause could take you out of the workforce earlier than expected.

Of course, this decision also impacts your personal injury claim. If you go back to work and you suddenly stop making progress on your recovery, the insurance company will ask questions. They’ll wonder if you are hurting your chances at recovery by working, and if so, they may refuse to pay for further treatment. They might claim that they are only responsible for paying for injuries caused by their client, not injuries caused by your insistence on returning to work early.

Avoid These Issues with the Help of an Attorney

We understand that this is a tough position to be in. It is hard to be off of work and not know how your upcoming bills will be paid. However, ignoring your doctor’s advice can hurt you physically and financially. It is important to find a personal injury attorney you trust. We can help you navigate these challenging times, and we’ll fight for a prompt, full, and fair settlement that lets you meet your obligations while still protecting your health.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

A personal injury can leave you with a pile of medical bills, lost income, property damage, and plenty of stress. That’s why it’s important to connect with a reliable personal injury attorney as soon as possible and start the claims process. At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, we have extensive experience holding insurance companies accountable and fighting for our clients’ right to a fair settlement. Get started now by calling us at 800-574-4332 or contacting us online.

what is a personal injury journal?

What is a Personal Injury Journal and Why Should I Use One After a Vehicle Accident?

After you’ve suffered an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you get a lot of advice. Suddenly, everyone and their best friend seems to know the secrets of succeeding in a personal injury claim. However, you only need a few pieces of truly reliable advice to make the most of your claim and protect your right to seek compensation.

Most of it comes down to listening to your attorney and following their advice to the letter. In addition to that, a personal injury journal can be an extremely helpful tool as you prepare for negotiations or for trial. Learn more about personal injury journals, and when you’re ready for more personalized advice regarding your claim, call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815.

What Is a Personal Injury Journal?

A personal injury journal is a journal with important information about your personal injury claim. It contains details about the accident you suffered, how it impacts your life on a daily basis, and how your injuries have limited you. When you hear the word “journal,” try not to think of a private journal some people keep. A personal injury journal could well end up in court as evidence, so you do not want to get into private feelings and emotions unless they directly relate to your injury.

What to Put in Your Personal Injury Journal

Your personal injury journal should be a clear and detailed account of the accident you suffered and how your injuries progress each day or week. You may want to include:

  • A retelling of the accident. Lay out the details of the accident, leaving out your emotions or biases. List the order of events, the sensations you experienced, who you talked to, and what steps were taken after the accident.
  • Tasks you can and cannot do each day. Jot down a list of what you get done each day and what you have to reschedule because of pain or limited mobility. The details of how an injury impacts your life often get lost over time, and this journal will help you remember those moments.
  • Missed days of work or school. Record each time you have to miss work or school for appointments, therapy, or due to pain.
  • Treatments you receive. Keep track of the medical treatments you receive. It’s helpful to list the medical professionals you spoke with, when your appointment was, what updates they gave you, and what your treatment was.
  • Appointments you attend and how much you have to travel for them. Keep track of appointments and the traveling time/distance for each one.
  • Communication you have related to your injuries. When you speak to your attorney, doctor, or employer about your injury, jot it down in your journal.

How to Track Your Pain

Your journal should also serve as documentation of your pain levels. There are several ways you can do this. If your pain tends to fluctuate significantly throughout the day, you may want to write down your pain level on a scale from 1-10 in the morning, in the afternoon, and at bedtime. If it stays consistent throughout the day, just documenting your pain level once daily is sufficient.

How Often to Write

In the early days after your accident, you may want to write daily. This is when the most significant changes occur and when pain may keep you from remembering things. As you go through your claim, your attorney will advise you on how often to write.

The Benefits of a Personal Injury Journal

A personal injury journal can be incredibly advantageous for your personal injury claim, whether it settles or goes to court. People on the outside of your claim do not see what you go through each day and how your injury affects you. When you’re put on the spot and asked about how your injury impacts you, it’s likely you’ll forget important details as you try to answer succinctly. A personal injury journal details the limitations you have because of your injury and the ways in which you have had to accommodate those limitations. This makes it much harder for the insurance company to deny you fair and full compensation.

Turn to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey for Help Today

Whether you’ve been hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or other type of incident, the team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey is here to fight for you. Our extensive experience in personal injury law has helped us secure favorable outcomes for thousands of clients. Learn more about your options now by calling us at 251-260-3815 or filling out our contact form.