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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have a devastating effect on the victim and their loved ones. A TBI may result in permanent damage that lasts for the rest of the victim’s life. The experienced brain injury attorneys at Cory Watson Attorneys help explain what a traumatic brain injury is, how it can easily occur, and the compensation that might be available to the victim. Our attorneys have helped countless injured people recover compensation after sustaining traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI because of another’s negligence, contact our personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. What is a Traumatic Brain Injury? A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” A traumatic brain injury can affect a person physically, cognitively and emotionally. A traumatic brain injury can lead to devastating long-term side effects, including: Loss of memory Problems concentrating Changes in personality Depression and anxiety These side effects often prevent injured workers from being able to return to work and provide for their families. If you experience any of the symptoms below, you may have a brain injury and should seek immediate medical help: Headache Loss of consciousness Ringing in the ears Change in vision Sensitivity to light or sound Dizziness Fatigue Mood swings Loss of balance Nausea Slowed cognitive function What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries? There are various causes of brain and head injuries, including: Slips and falls –The CDC reports that falls are the leading cause of TBI in the U.S. Falls may be due to negligent property owners who allow dangerous conditions to exist on their property. Fall injuries are a particular concern in nursing homes, leading to an estimated 1,800 deaths per year. Construction workers who fall from ladders or scaffolding are also at high risk. Car accidents –This is one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries and concussions often occur when drivers or passengers hit their heads against the steering wheel or dashboard during a car accident. The risk of brain injury is especially high when a bicyclist or pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle. Falling objects –Falls from heights, being struck by tools and equipment and collisions with forklifts, trucks or other motor vehicles at construction or industrial sites may cause a victim to suffer brain injury. Tools or dangerous construction equipment could fall from above a worker and hit them in the head, causing serious permanent injury. Sports and recreation – Young athletes may suffer permanent brain damage due to the failure of coaches or the athletic department to provide proper protective equipment to them or manage concussions after they occur. Medical negligence –Many children suffer permanent brain damage due to medical malpractice and negligence of doctors, nurses, midwives, and others during delivery. In addition to brain injuries, birth injuries can lead to permanent conditions such as cerebral palsy. What Kind of Compensation Can I Get From a Brain Injury Claim? When determining the value of your brain injury claim, our personal injury attorneys will likely consider several factors to determine what amount of compensation is warranted. This includes: Past and future medical costs Costs of a caregiver if needed Lost wages Loss of ability to earn an income Pain and suffering Total or partial disability How the TBI impacts the victim physically, emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally Legal fees Under certain circumstances, a victim may be awarded punitive damages for his or her personal injury claim. Punitive damages serve as a monetary punishment imposed on the at-fault party to discourage the same behavior from being repeated in the future. This only occurs in cases where the at-fault party’s behavior was grossly negligent, reckless or malicious. Get the Help You Need After A Traumatic Brain Injury If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys are ready to fight for you. To ensure you and your loved ones receive the compensation you deserve for a TBI injury, immediately consult with an attorney to discuss your claim. Our dedicated brain injury lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys can discuss your legal options and help develop a strategy to obtain the justice and compensation that you are entitled to receive. Contact us today by calling (877) 562-0000 or by completing our free case evaluation form.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

I’ve Been Injured, and It Wasn’t My Fault. Should I Hire a Lawyer?

There are many reasons to hire a lawyer if you have been injured.  Here are some of the best benefits of hiring a lawyer to help you with your claim: Greater Recovery A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that people who hired an attorney to assist them with a personal injury claim received almost 3.5 times more money on average than those who did not. Other studies from the Insurance Research Council have shown that an average of at least 50% of all personal injury claimants are represented by an attorney and that 85% of all money paid on personal injury claims is paid to those with attorney representation. “How could this be?” you might ask. Simply put, insurance companies make money by keeping as much of it as they can.  It is not in their best interest to pay top dollar on a claim. Too often, unrepresented individuals do not know how to properly value a claim and settle for less than they could have received if they had a lawyer. Preservation of Evidence The first days after an accident can be a critical time frame for gathering and preserving evidence.  The insurance company will have their investigators at the scene conducting their own investigation. Hiring a lawyer early on allows you to have someone participate in this process on your behalf, to ensure that the scene is investigated properly and all evidence is preserved, including evidence that helps your case. Your lawyer will also be able to meet with and obtain statements from potential witnesses who may later disappear or be unavailable. Peace of Mind When you or a loved one have been injured, your number one priority should be the healing process, not claims management. Hiring a lawyer early on in the process allows you to focus on healing, while your lawyer handles communications with law enforcement, the insurance company, and medical providers. Medical Care Speaking of medical providers, a skilled personal injury attorney will know the medical landscape in your area and can assist with specific doctor and clinic referrals to find the best medical help for you. Having a lawyer to help obtain the right medical care for you can be a huge benefit, especially in circumstances where an injured individual is uninsured or has no access to health care. If you’ve been injured by the negligence of someone else, please consult with a skilled personal injury attorney in your area. Most will provide you with a free consultation to discuss your claim and will not charge any money unless they recover for you. Remember, statistics show that individuals who retained attorneys to assist them with their claims received an average of almost 3.5 times the awards received by unrepresented individuals.  You deserve quality representation. WE’RE HERE FOR YOU 24/7 If you have been injured at no fault of your own, we are here to help. At Cory Watson Attorneys, we have made it our mission to fight for the rights of injury victims and their families for more than 30 years, and have recovered over 3 Billion for clients. Call (888) 760-2313 now or fill out the form on this page to arrange for your free and confidential case evaluation. Insurance Research Council. (1994). Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact of Insurance Costs. Malvern, PA: The Institutes.  Insurance Research Council. (1999). Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims. Malvern, PA: The Institutes. Insurance Research Council (2014).  Attorney Involvement in Auto Injury Claims. Malvern, PA: The Institutes

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Share the Road

Recent cases highlight this country’s shifting views on cyclist rights and the importance of giving cyclists consideration while driving. On April 28, 2017, a jury in Jacksonville, Florida awarded $4 million to the widow of a triathlete killed after being struck by a car. In October 2012, Jared Bynum was just 30 miles into a 100 mile bike ride that would ultimately be his last. Jarod was riding on Nocatee Parkway when he was struck from behind by a 21-year old driver of a Honda CRV. Jarod was killed on impact on this limited access roadway. The 21-year old driver claimed to have not seen Jarod because she was blinded by the sun. Traffic investigators noted in their report of the accident that the cyclist should not have been on the road and that there should have been signs warning him of the danger. Jarod’s widow, Kelli Bynum, filed suit against the driver and developer of the parkway. The jury agreed with the widow and traffic investigators that the accident was not Jarod’s fault and awarded Kelli $4 million. As a result of the accident and lawsuit, Nocatee Parkway now has signs warning cyclists that riding their bikes on the parkway is prohibited. The San Diego City Council has also agreed to pay a cyclist $4.85 million for severe injuries he suffered after his bicycle was thrown 28 feet by a sidewalk damaged by a tree. Clifford Brown suffered from torn spinal cord ligaments, the loss of several teeth, and even a possible stroke after the accident. The San Diego City Council admittedly concurred that this settlement is much larger than typical city-involved cyclist accidents and reports show that the last three have been for $75,000, $98,000, and $235,000. In a similar case, county officials took responsibility for dangerous road conditions for cyclists. Marin County in California recently settled a lawsuit for $300,000 with a bicyclist who was injured in an accident occurring at a busy intersection. WE’RE HERE FOR YOU 24/7 At Cory Watson Attorneys, we have made it our mission to fight for the rights of injury victims and their families for more than 30 years, and have recovered over 3 Billion for clients. Call (877) 562-0000 or fill out our online form to arrange for your FREE and CONFIDENTIAL case evaluation.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Legal Guide

Technology: Friend or Foe?

A recent case out of Middletown, Ohio made headlines this week about a man’s pacemaker providing information that may ultimately land him in jail. Ross Compton told investigators that he was sleeping when a fire started in his house. Mr. Compton explained that he had just enough time to pack some items and climb out a bedroom window before the house burnt to the ground. Investigators obtained a search warrant for Mr. Compton’s pacemaker data which showed that during the time period of the fire Mr. Compton was awake and active. This isn’t the first case of technology being used to prove or disprove a case. A physical trainer in Canada had an expert analyze his current activity data and compare it to other physical trainers to show how an automobile accident had affected his life. In March 2015, a woman claimed that she was sexually assaulted while she slept, but the tracking device she wore showed that she was awake and walking around. These cases highlight the importance for everyone to know what their devices are saying about them. Pacemakers, Fitbits, cell phones, watches, tablets, and televisions are just a few devices that are tracking data by your activity. Most smartphones come with a preloaded activity tracker that will count how many steps you take, how far you go, and how many stairs you climb. These same phones are also preloaded with GPS tracking service to show where you go and how long you were there and keep track of your frequent locations. Fitness/activity monitors like Fitbit, Apple watch, Nike Fuelband, and Jawbone calculate everything from heartbeat to sleep patterns to caloric intake. Fitbit can even track when you are around another Fitbit user. Netflix and Hulu keep a record of all your account activity including what show you watched on what day. There are apps out there to monitor menstruation, pregnancy, moods, weight loss, bowel movements, car performance, and even sunscreen usage. Sometimes you don’t even know your activity is being monitored. Earlier this month, Vizio was fined $2.2 million for failing to notify customers that it was tracking their viewing habits. Doorbells are now equipped with small cameras and microphones to record movement outside front doors. Technology isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to know that all of this becomes relevant when you file a personal injury lawsuit. If you claim that a car wreck has adversely affected your life, health, and well-being, does your data support this? Are there fewer steps in your activity tracker? Does your phone show you going out less? Does your Netflix account show an increase in usage? Be aware of the smart devices in your life and what your data says about you. This information can help or hurt your personal injury case.

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Estates, Personal Representatives, and Wrongful Death Claims

DO YOU NEED AN ESTATE TO PURSUE YOUR CLAIM? In many states, including Alabama, in order to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one, you must first be appointed the personal representative of the estate of the deceased person by the local probate court. If a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a person who is not the personal representative of the estate, the case could be dismissed for failure to bring the claim to the proper party. Individual state laws vary on which heirs and family members of the deceased will be paid compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit and settlement, and what percentage of the compensation will be paid to each heir and family member. For example, in some states, the money recovered will be distributed according to the will, and in other states, like Alabama, it will be distributed according to Alabama intestate laws, without reference to a will. WHO SHOULD BE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE? Many times a person will appoint a personal representative in his or her Last Will and Testament. In that case, in order to bring a valid wrongful death claim, the appointed person simply needs to formally be named personal representative by the probate court. In other cases, where a person dies intestate (without a will) or the will fails to name a personal representative, the role of the personal representative is filled by the next of kin. Each state has different laws regarding who can serve as a personal representative under these circumstances. Typically, a surviving spouse has priority to serve as the personal representative of the estate. The decedent’s children, parents, and siblings also may be appointed to head the estate. WHAT IS A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE’S ROLE? In essence, the personal representative stands in the place of the deceased individual when pursuing a wrongful death claim.  The personal representative’s role includes, among other duties, managing the assets of the deceased individual, coordinating with the attorney handling the lawsuit, and ensuring that proceeds from any settlement or judgment are properly disbursed. Clearly, the role of the personal representative is an important one. You should consider who would best handle this responsibility for you and clearly appoint that individual in your will as a personal representative. WE’RE HERE FOR YOU 24/7 At Cory Watson Attorneys, we have made it our mission to fight for the rights of injury victims and their families for more than 30 years, and have recovered over 3 Billion for our clients. Call (877) 562-0000 or fill out our online form to arrange for your FREE and CONFIDENTIAL case evaluation.  

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3 Types of Damages Recoverable in a Lawsuit

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU 24/7 At Cory Watson Attorneys, we have made it our mission to fight for the rights of injury victims and their families for more than 38 years, and have recovered over 3 Billion for our clients across the nation. Call (877) 562-0000 now or fill out the consultation form on this page to arrange for your free and confidential case evaluation. Don’t wait to reach out – contact us today! When civil lawsuits are filed, the Plaintiff is almost always seeking some type of compensation for a loss he or she suffered due to the Defendant’s wrongful conduct. In order to understand how much a potential lawsuit may be worth, a Plaintiff must first understand the types of damages that are available to them through the courts. Below is a summary of the three primary types of monetary damages a Plaintiff may receive as part of resolving a civil lawsuit. Types of Damages COMPENSATORY. Compensatory damages are generally the most identifiable and concrete type of damages. These include amounts for lost income, property damages, and medical care resulting from the Defendant’s misconduct. An attorney, through documents obtained during litigation, is usually able to seek a definitive amount of compensatory damages based on the injuries to a Plaintiff’s person and property.   GENERAL. General damages are sought in conjunction with compensatory damages. However, these damages are typically less specific and less tangible than compensatory damages. Examples of general damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. General damages can also include future losses due to loss of earning capacity or future medical care. Factors to consider when evaluating the potential value of general damages in a case include a Plaintiff’s age, occupation, income, and the severity and permanency of the injuries. PUNITIVE. Punitive damages are meant to punish a Defendant for particularly egregious conduct. They are the most difficult damages to obtain as the burden the Plaintiff must meet to receive punitive damages is very high. Each state handles punitive damages differently; some states even cap the amount of punitive damages which can be awarded. If successfully obtained, punitive damages often times exceed the amount of compensatory or general damages awarded. However, large punitive awards are frequently appealed by the Defendant resulting in a reduction of the punitive damages by the higher appellate court. Call (877) 562-0000 now or fill out the consultation form on this page to arrange for your free and confidential case evaluation. Don’t wait to reach out – contact us today!

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Legal Guide

5 Tips for Testifying At Your Deposition

  As a plaintiff in a lawsuit, you may have to give a deposition. A deposition will record your sworn, out-of-court testimony. The opposing attorney will primarily be asking the questions, and your answers will be recorded by a court reporter. Depositions are a critical point during any lawsuit as the testimony you give can be used at trial or for other purposes during the litigation. Therefore, it is important to prepare beforehand for your deposition. Below are five tips to remember when getting ready for your deposition. DEPOSITION TIPS TELL THE TRUTH. During a deposition, you are under oath just as you would be during a trial.  Trying to mislead or lie during a deposition could hurt or kill your case, not to mention it is illegal. Therefore, always be sure to tell the truth when being deposed. “I DON’T KNOW” IS AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER. Sometimes telling the truth means answering a question with “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” Many plaintiffs being deposed want to provide as much information as possible to the attorney questioning them; this is human nature. However, you should never speculate or assume. Only provide the information you are sure is accurate and based on your personal knowledge. If you don’t know an answer, say so. ONLY ANSWER THE QUESTION ASKED. Many times plaintiffs will give long, rambling answers to questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Long-winded answers can only help the opposing attorney. Listen very carefully to each question asked, and be sure to concisely answer only that question. TAKE YOUR TIME. Depositions can be intimidating and nerve-racking. The opposing attorney may try to ask confusing questions, but a deposition is not a race or a memory contest. Take your time, listen to each question, pause, think, and answer the question truthfully and succinctly.  Also, feel free to ask for a break at any time. DRESS APPROPRIATELY. While you are being deposed to answer questions about your case, the opposing attorney is also evaluating your strengths as a witness in front of a jury. Dress the part. Typically, business casual dress is satisfactory. Be aware that the things you say and do at a deposition, both on and off the record, could affect the strength and value of your lawsuit. WE’RE HERE FOR YOU 24/7 At Cory Watson Attorneys, we have made it our mission to fight for the rights of injury victims and their families for more than 30 years, and have recovered over 3 Billion for our clients. Call (877) 562-0000 or fill out our online form to arrange for your FREE and CONFIDENTIAL case evaluation.

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Don’t Wait to Make the Call

One of our responsibilities as a personal injury law firm is to eliminate any obstacle that stands between you and getting the help you need. Here are a few ways we do that: We offer a contingency fee arrangement, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we get money for you. If you can’t come to us for an initial consultation, we’ll come to you. We handle all the paperwork involved in your claim, so all you have to worry about is getting better. However, there is one obstacle that we can’t eliminate for you: your reluctance to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The person that hit you may be a great person, who is sincerely sorry for causing the accident and your injuries. You may not want to put them through a lawsuit just because they made a mistake. We understand. Most people don’t want to sue someone else for damages, and we don’t recommend it as a first course of action. However, it’s something that you may need to do if the insurance company doesn’t play fair. Here are a few facts that might make that decision easier for you: Even though the individual’s name is on the lawsuit, in reality, you are making a claim against their insurance company.  The individual is more than likely covered for the extent of your damages, which makes it unlikely that they’ll have to pay anything out of pocket (depending on the severity of your injuries). The at-fault driver’s hands are tied when it comes to doing the right thing for you and your family. Their insurance company is the one who is going to call all the shots. Making the decision to seek legal help after an accident can be tough. If you’re unsure, give us a call at (877) 562-0000 and let us walk you through the process. There’s no cost or obligation. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have free of charge.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Car Accidents

Don’t Get Stuck with the Bill

Ever picked up the bill at lunch for a co-worker or offered to buy a friend coffee? Most folks have. It’s human nature. When we can afford to, most folks will try to do something nice for others. It’s a whole different story when that friend or colleague expects you to pick up the bill, right? Well, that’s exactly what the insurance company asks of you after a serious accident. It’s no secret how insurance companies make billions in profit every year. It’s simple arithmetic. They pay out less money for injury claims than they take in from premiums. How do they do it? By offering accident victims less than they deserve for their injuries. Here’s how it works. You’re injured in a car accident. You receive medical treatment for your injuries. The insurance company calls and offers to pay you a small settlement for your trouble. Problem is, their initial offer probably won’t cover all your future medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses, leaving you holding the bill. That’s why you should never take the insurance company’s first offer. Give us a call instead. Our experienced Birmingham car accident attorneys can determine whether the insurance company’s offer is fair. If it’s not, we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t try to take on the insurance company alone. Call Cory Watson Attorneys today.

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