Articles Posted in Vehicle Accident

An Alabama woman was killed when her 2006 Chrysler 300LX was struck on the driver’s side by a tractor trailer. The representatives of her estate sued the manufacturer, claiming that she could have survived the crash if her car had been reasonably crashworthy,  equipped with side curtain airbags and side impact protection, including side/torso airbags. The 300LX had been manufactured by Chrysler Canada.

Chrysler Canada asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming not to be subject to the Alabama federal court’s jurisdiction. Its position was that it had no physical presence in Alabama: no offices, telephone numbers, bank accounts, or  employees. Chrysler Canada also denied ever seeking business from potential customers in Alabama, since it did not advertise here.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama considered whether it could try the plaintiffs’ claims under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (the “AEMLD”), as well as for negligence, wantonness, and breach of warranty, after Chrysler Canada moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

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Labor Day weekend this year is full of promise in the South. It is the opening weekend of college football, and it is an extended holiday weekend to spend extra time with family and friends.

It is also a weekend to be mindful of personal safety. Labor Day weekend is unfortunately one of the deadliest weekends for travel. On average, 450 people will die in automobile accidents each Labor Day weekend. Roughly 34 million people will be on the road this Labor Day weekend. Given the mixture of holiday traffic, holiday partying, and opening weekend for football partying, it is helpful to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Be on alert for impaired or distracted drivers. Half of Labor Day weekend traffic deaths are alcohol related. If you must drive later in the day or evening, be on the lookout for drivers showing signs of impairment – swerving, failing to dim headlights, erratic behavior, and missing traffic control signals. With the increase in traffic, there are also more distracted drivers on the road and more cars for them to run into. Signs of distracted driving are similar to those of impaired driving.

Few things can raise your blood pressure like having traffic go from a steady flow to a complete standstill due to road construction. It is only after the roadwork is completed that we can relax and enjoy the comforts of a newly paved road. Road construction work is vital to the continued safety of our roadways; yet, road construction defects can be the cause of serious and often deadly accidents. Drivers should be cautious when driving through construction zones and on newly repaved roads.

The dangers from road construction begin when the construction begins and continue for years after the road is completed if not done properly. Road construction companies are required to take safety measures while construction is ongoing. A flagman and a pilot car are familiar examples. When new paving has been done, road construction crews are also required to paint the lines before leaving the jobsite for the day so travelers at night can be protected. Unfortunately, this is not always done correctly. The travelling public relies on striping to ensure safe driving, especially on curves and areas with turn lanes.

Construction crews are also required to build up the shoulder of the roadway each day after completing paving. This is also not always done. It is not uncommon for a person’s tire to briefly leave the roadway and go onto the shoulder when travelling on a two lane highway. It happens so often we sometimes don’t even notice. However, when the shoulder has been cleared off for paving and new asphalt has been poured, a large drop off can occur between the roadway and the shoulder, making recovering from veering slightly off the road extremely difficult. Many single vehicle accidents have happened along two lane highways at night because a car has gotten slightly off the road and was unable to recover because the shoulder drop off was not built back up after construction.

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A manufacturer of an allegedly defective product may attempt to remove a personal injury lawsuit from state court to federal court, in the belief that a federal jury will be less sympathetic to plaintiffs. The most common basis for removal in such a case is diversity of citizenship, that the parties are citizens of different states and, therefore, as long as certain other conditions are met, the proper jurisdiction is federal court.

In this case, Ford Motor Company, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, and two other companies, Woodmere Motors and M&D Automotive (“the Bridgestone Defendants”), filed a notice of removal after a lawsuit was filed following the deaths of a man and woman when a Bridgestone tire on their 1995 Ford Explorer failed catastrophically.

The basis for removal in this proceeding was that plaintiffs, citizens of Alabama, had no case against Woodmere, a corporation which was also a citizen of Alabama, and that without that defendant, the opposing parties would be from different states and the case should go to federal court. Continue reading

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