personal injury attorney

Top 5 Considerations When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Filing a personal injury claim is a big decision, and one that could have a monumental effect on your life and your future. Indeed, a successful personal injury claim may yield the monetary award that you need to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic expenses, as well as compensate you for your pain and suffering, whereas an unsuccessful claim could mean wasted time and money without anything to show for it.

Because the outcome of your personal injury claim is so critical, it is important that you do everything possible to maximize your chances of walking away with the award you deserve. One thing that you can do is to hire a skilled lawyer for representation. As you search for an Alabama personal injury attorney, here are five considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Practice Area

Just hiring a personal injury lawyer is not enough; you want to hire a lawyer who has extensive experience in the practice area that is specific to your injury. For example, if you have been in a rear-end collision accident, it’s probably not a great idea to hire a lawyer who focuses primarily on aviation crashes.

Ask your attorney during your free consultation what their experience is working on cases that are similar to yours.

  • Fee Schedule

You already know that a personal injury claim takes a lot of personal time, and that filing a claim can also be expensive, especially when it comes to hiring experts and filing a lawsuit should settlement negotiations fail. As such, the last thing that you want to do is add to the costs by hiring a lawyer who charges a retainer fee or asks for hourly payments. Rather, you should work with an attorney who will not only front the costs of your claim, but who will also work on a contingency fee basis. This means that your lawyer only gets paid if you do, collecting a percentage of your winnings if your claim is successful.

The vast majority of personal injury attorneys work on contingency, but be sure to ask your attorney what the costs of litigation will be (and how they will charge for litigation services) should your case go to court.

  • Standing with the Alabama State Bar

Before you hire an attorney, it is a smart idea to type their name into the lookup service provided by the Alabama State Bar. In doing so, you can determine whether or not the attorney is licensed to practice in our state. You can also check to see whether or not any disciplinary actions have been taken against them. If an attorney has had any actions filed against them, be sure to find out exactly why that happened before you even consider proceeding with that attorney.

  • Experience and Trial Experience

You don’t want a new lawyer practicing and refining their skills on your case – you want a lawyer who already knows what they’re doing and has the acumen and knowledge to get you the settlement you deserve. Ask your attorney for how many years they have been practicing law, how much time they’ve spent on cases like yours, and whether or not they go to trial often. Furthermore, make sure you ask about their case outcomes, including the cases that they have taken to trial.

  • Your Gut Feeling

Of course, there are a lot of things that you want to consider when hiring a lawyer, and there’s no doubt that doing your homework, talking to references, learning more about the attorney’s education and background, and more are all important. However, if everything else checks out, you should turn to your gut feeling in making a decision. Do you feel good about the lawyer? Do you have a strong connection? You will be spending a lot of time together in the coming months – is the attorney someone with whom you can easily work? If you don’t like the attorney or don’t trust them from the get-go, that’s probably not who you want to hire.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers Today

Following a serious injury, there is a lot to take care of, and the idea of filing a personal injury claim on your own can feel especially overwhelming. At the offices of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our lawyers will work hard for you and handle the various details of your case so you can focus on your recovery. To learn more about our services and how we approach the claims process, please call us today at 800-574-4332 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also stop by our office in person or contact us online.

CMT Coal Terminal

Proposed Orders in Coal Case

In the Coal Case, Judge Brooks ordered the attorneys to submit proposed orders on the pending motions for summary judgment. Both proposed orders are attached.  Plaintiffs’ central argument is that the Planning Commission lacked the authority to permit a coal handling facility as a coal mine.

Plaintiff Proposed Order

Defendant Proposed Order

Lori Carver Speaks Out For The First Time Regarding The Pill Mill Case

Recently Lawrence Specker of wrote an article about Lori Carver and her part in taking down two Physicians’ Pain Specialists of Alabama (PPSA) clinics. Drs. Xiulu Ruan and John Patrick Couch were found guilty of running a pill mill out of the PPSA clinics, for this reason, the clinics were shut down by the federal government in May of 2015. On Thursday, May 25, 2017, Dr. Couch was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $15 million in restitution, consequently. Dr. Ruan’s sentencing will take place on Friday, May 26.

Lori is represented by Peter Mackey of Burns, Cunningham and Mackey, and Gregory Vaughan of Holston Vaughan. Lastly, you can find a link to the article written by Lawrence Specker here.

Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey

Peter Mackey- Partner of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey


Coal Case Update


Mining, hauling and transferring coal are legitimate business activities and should be allowed so long as the public is protected from the toxic coal dust those activities create.  The Fox 10 News environmental documentaries, by investigative reporter Kati Weise, leave no doubt that coal dust is a huge problem in Mobile.  Large quantities of coal dust are accumulating on houses, cars, businesses, and public buildings in the Mobile community. Mobile County’s chief health officer, Dr. Bert Eichold, has testified that coal dust is a health hazard and fugitive emissions should be contained.  So, what is happening?

In the fall of 2015, Cooper Marine got caught illegally operating a coal handling facility less than one mile north of the Wallace Tunnel.   Cooper plead ignorance and applied for a permit.  The Planning Approval Staff Report, prepared in connection with that application, documents that Cooper provides even less coal dust mitigation than a prior applicant who withdrew its request following community protest.

At hearings on Cooper’s request residents complained to the Planning Commission of coal dust accumulation on their property and presented medical articles documenting the toxic effects of coal dust.  Even so, the Mobile Planning Commission gave Cooper permission to operate its open air coal handling facility next to the homes and businesses of downtown Mobile.

Residents appealed that decision to the City Council.  Councilmembers Rich and Manzie voted with the residents, Councilmember Daves abstained but Councilmembers Gregory, Richardson, Small and Williams sided with Cooper.  The residents’ appeal was denied 4-2.

Residents filed suit in the Circuit Court of Mobile County Alabama claiming that the decision to allow Cooper’s open air coal dust generating facility was “arbitrary and capricious” and that the statute under which it was issued is unconstitutional.  The case was assigned to the Honorable Sarah H. Stewart, Circuit Judge Mobile County Alabama.  On March 22, 2017 Judge Stewart denied motions to dismiss the complaint filed by Cooper and the City of Mobile.

So, the answer is that the case is moving forward!  A discovery hearing is scheduled for April 28, 2017.

If you’d like more information, please email my assistant Matt Laird at the following email address