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Recent Accidents in Huntsville Area Shine Light on Importance of Seatbelt Use

Picture1Car accidents can devastate the lives of those involved. But one thing that can lessen or stop the devastation is a seatbelt.

In September 2015, a passenger died in a single-vehicle crash on Alabama 251 near Ardmore. The passenger died after the vehicle left the road and overturned. He was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. The driver did not suffer any injuries.

A single-vehicle accident in Athens in November 2015 left one man dead and four injured after the vehicle left the road and struck a culvert. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and Alabama troopers pronounced him dead at the scene.

Don’t Make Excuses for Not Wearing a Seatbelt

There is no valid excuse for not wearing a seatbelt. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seatbelts reduce both injuries and fatalities from car accidents by about half.

But people make excuses nonetheless. Here are a few common ones people use:

  • Habit: Some drivers claim they just never got used to wearing them.
  • Invincibility: Some young people believe they can live forever. According to 2010 data from the CDC, drivers ages 18-34 are less likely than drivers over 35 to wear seatbelts. In addition, men are 10 percent less likely than women to wear seatbelts.
  • Drunk or Impaired Driving: People who have been drinking may have impaired judgment and forget or choose not to wear a seatbelt.
  • “I’m a good driver.” Some people believe they do not need to wear a seatbelt because they possess the skill to avoid an accident. But good drivers wear seatbelts.
  • Seatbelts can cause injuries.” This is true; seatbelts can cause injuries. But the injuries are usually relatively minor compared to the injuries you might suffer without one.
  • Airbags will save me.” Yes, airbags are designed to protect you in an accident; however, remember that airbags and seatbelts work together to save lives. If the airbag does not go off, you have no protection in an accident if you are not wearing a seatbelt.

Seatbelts drastically reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. However, in order for them to work, you need to wear it.

Promote Safe Seatbelt Behaviors

Children learn their behaviors from their parents. If you do not wear a seatbelt, they may not wear one either. Focus on promoting good, safe behaviors rather than excusing unsafe ones.

  • Wear your seatbelt: If your children see you wear one and you encourage them to do the same, it can promote a lifetime of safe seatbelt use.
  • Create a rule for riding in the car with a seatbelt: Everyone has to wear a seatbelt or no one goes anywhere.

Teaching your children to wear a seatbelt can save their lives now and in the future.

Legal Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt

Alabama fines drivers $25 for adults and children who are not buckled up within the vehicle. That might seem like a relatively minor penalty, but consider the costs if you are in a serious accident. If you suffer severe injuries, you are no longer looking at just a penalty of $25—you’re looking at thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and more. And your lack of seatbelt use might affect your ability to recover full compensation under Alabama’s contributory negligence laws.


If you ever find yourself in a serious wreck, call us for help with your case. Call the personal injury lawyers at Martinson & Beason, P.C. today at 256-533-1667 or fill out our online contact form.

Motorcyclist Killed in Collision with 18-Wheeler

Picture1A man in his mid-20s who was riding his motorcycle on U.S. 412 [in Huntsville] tried to pass an 18-wheeler. While attempting to pass, he almost hit an oncoming vehicle and, while trying to merge back into the lane, collided with the front of the 18-wheeler and died instantly. The driver of the tractor-trailer was uninjured.

Reckless Driving Dangers to Motorcyclists

While in many cases it is the driver of the motor vehicle who was inattentive and/or otherwise responsible for an accident involving a motorcycle, some motorcyclists behave recklessly and endanger themselves and those around them too.

There are many things that drivers and riders alike do that constitute reckless driving. These behaviors can include any of the following:

  • Speeding up and passing other vehicles without ensuring adequate space for safe travel and passage
  • Braking suddenly and without warning
  • Not leaving enough space between vehicles or between their motorcycle and another vehicle
  • Speeding or not following traffic signals
  • Making illegal turns or not signaling properly for turns
  • [add link] Driving while distracted by cell phones, music, or other activities
  • [add link] Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

The reality is that while either the motorcyclist or a driver can cause an accident by engaging in these behaviors, the injuries suffered by the motorcyclist will almost always be more severe.

What should a motorcyclist do to stay safe?

Being on a motorcycle with no frame to protect its rider puts that rider in a delicate and dangerous situation. If he is involved in an accident, there is really nothing to protect him. Riders, of course, should wear appropriate safety gear. But even if they do, motorcycles do not offer airbags, seatbelts, or other safety devices to protect riders. There is, of course, no guarantee of safety for motorcyclists.

Nevertheless, the first consideration should be to make sure that, when riding, you are not engaging in any of the reckless behaviors described above. Be sure to practice defensive driving and always be alert.

In addition, motorcyclists may improve visibility by wearing bright colors or clothing and proper protective gear including, at the very least, a helmet. Alabama mandates helmet use among all riders. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to riders and 41 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to passengers. The agency estimates that had all motorcyclists worn helmets in 2013, it could have saved another 715 lives.

Be sure to honor the rules of the road and wear a helmet—the risk of injury in an accident is too significant to ignore. Other protective gear that could help prevent injuries in the event of an accident includes padded jackets and pants, goggles, boots, and more.

What kind of injuries can happen in a motorcycle vs. car accident?

In a motorcycle accident with a car, the injuries can be anywhere from minor “road rash” to fatalities and everything in between. The rider can even suffer paralysis, brain damage, and permanent disability as a result of his injuries.

Depending on the facts in the matter, and who is at fault for the accident, there can be significant costs to the rider and potential lawsuits as well. If you or someone you love suffers injuries in a car vs. motorcycle accident, be sure to contact Martinson & Beason, P.C. today at 256-533-1667 for help.

Driver Cut Out of Vehicle after Head-On Collision

Picture1In November 2015, the drivers of a Ford Mustang and an empty fuel tanker suffered injuries in a head-on collision on Huntsville-Brownsferry Road. Firefighters had to cut both the side and roof off the Mustang to get the occupant out. Police reported that both drivers were conscious at the scene and neither appeared to have life-threatening injuries. Both drivers were brought to Athens-Limestone Hospital.

What can cause a head-on collision?

Head-on collisions, one of the most dangerous types of accidents, seem as though they would be the most avoidable of all because the driver should theoretically be able to see what is coming at him. But, of course, these accidents still do occur for a number of reasons.

[Read more…]

Alcohol a Factor in Recent Fatal Huntsville Area Accidents

Picture1Alcohol can cause a myriad of accidents and can leave drivers, passengers, and families hurt and heartbroken.

In a September accident in Scottsboro, a passenger died when the pickup truck in which he was traveling left the roadway and hit an embankment. The driver was also injured. Neither the driver nor the passenger was wearing a seatbelt. Troopers said that alcohol factored into the crash.

Earlier in June 2015, a teenage driver died after an intoxicated underage driver ran a red light and struck the victim’s car, a Toyota Corolla. The impact pushed the Corolla into a third car. The intoxicated driver also attempted to leave the scene of the accident—a felony offense.

[Read more…]

Have you noticed some changes around here?

Martinson and Beason WebsiteFor many of you—our current and future clients—your experience with Martinson & Beason, P.C. starts right here online. That is why we decided to invest in a website redesign. After much thought and work, we have a website that we believe better fits your needs.

Our site is meant to be a resource for you, no matter what legal process you are going through. Therefore, we have decluttered it so that it is much easier for you to navigate and find the answers to your questions. Your concerns are important, so we want to make sure you can resolve them quickly and satisfactorily via the resources that we have on our site.

At Martinson & Beason, P.C., we have made it a point to never stop bettering ourselves. We are continually looking for ways to improve our service to you. We hope you will be pleased with the changes we made to our website, and if there is ever any way we can improve your experience with us, we encourage you to let us know. We appreciate constructive feedback—after all, that is the only way we can continue to be the firm you trust for your legal matters, just as we’ve been since 1937.

We hope you’ll explore our new site at your leisure!

Martinson & Beason, P.C. Receives Certification of the ALTA Best Practices

Martinson & Beason, P.C. (“M&B”) is proud to announce that on August 31, 2015 it received certification of the ALTA Best Practices from a 3rd party Certified Public Accounting Firm.

The CPA firm issued this certification to Martinson & Beason as a result of an audit and our adherence to the ALTA Best Practices.

American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) is the national trade association that represents title insurance companies, settlement agents, and real estate attorneys.

The Best Practices cover areas such as

  1. Employee and Company Licensing
  2. Escrow Accounting Procedures
  3. Privacy and Information Security
  4. Settlement Procedures
  5. Written procedures for Title Policy Production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance
  6. Maintenance of appropriate professional liability insurance coverage
  7. Procedures for resolving consumer complaints

M&B meets or exceeds the standards established by ALTA.

[Read more…]

Halloween in Summer? Get Spooked with Huntsville Ghost Walks

Black crowWhen you think of summer, ghosts and ghouls don’t necessarily come to mind, but in Huntsville, Alabama, it’s never too early to start celebrating Halloween.

Huntsville Ghost Walks, which started in June and are continuing every Saturday into the glorious month of October, are your opportunity to join the ghosts and ghouls of the night.

Starting at 6 p.m. sharp, join the guides for a tour around one of three areas: Old Town Historic District, Twickenham Historical District, or Haunted Downtown. From there, you’ll take a two-hour journey around the neighborhood of your choice and get a spooky look at beautiful architecture while being immersed in the rich history of Huntsville.

Tickets for this event are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under. They can be purchased in advance or on the night of the walk, a half-hour before it starts.

[Read more…]

Martinson & Beason, P.C. Resolves Non-Compete Claim for Former Employee

While it is prudent and advisable to seek the assistance of a corporate or employment lawyer to review a non-compete agreement, non-solicitation agreement, or a document-retention policy before signing, for most people very little realistic options exist other than sign the agreement. In other words, normally the choice left to the employee is: (a) sign the agreement or (2) not have a job. So, for most of our clients, they come to us having just left employment or about to leave. At that point, the agreement is already in place.

This was true of “John”, a client of our firm, who came to Martinson and Beason, P.C. having just left his employment as an insurance agent for a prominent insurance and investment company. John had an executed non-compete agreement that included provisions prohibiting the solicitation of current or former clients of his employer and provisions prohibiting him from keeping documents that are the property of the employer.

John approached us with questions regarding the enforceability of the agreement and what his options were. The enforceability of these types of agreements can, often times, be extremely fact-specific and nuanced. This case was no different. As an initial matter, we advised that even in instances when the non-compete may not be enforceable, that may not keep the employer from trying to enforce them.

For example, an employer may want to use its finances (e.g. deep pockets) to squeeze the former client into submission. So even if the agreement and perhaps the lawsuit may not have much teeth to it, if the employer has the finances and the will to continue to press the lawsuit, often times they can leverage the employee. It is important that the employee be ready to defend herself vigorously and fight for her rights to exercise her trade.

[Read more…]

Have you Experienced a Bleeding Episode from Xarelto?

Xarelto Alabama injury attorneysIf you’ve taken Xarelto and experienced serious side effects, you’re not alone.

The attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. have prepared the following information to inform you of your rights and entitlements if you have suffered from taking Xarelto:

What is Xarelto?

Xarelto is a prescription medication used to treat deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, the forming of a blood clot in the legs and lungs of people who have just had knee or hip replacement surgery and to help reduce the risk of these conditions occurring again. Xarelto is also used to treat people with atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) and reduce the risk of stroke. People suffering from atrial fibrillation are at an increased risk of forming a blood clot in the heart, which can travel to the brain, causing a stroke, or other parts of the body. The likelihood of being or knowing someone affected by complications from Xarelto are great: sales exceeded $1 Billion in 2014, and the manufacturer increased Xarelto’s projected earnings from 20% to 30% in the first quarter of 2015. [Read more…]

Huntsville Motorcycle versus Car Accident Claim Settled

Personal injury Attorney Morris Lilienthal recently settled a serious motorcycle accident case in which our client suffered a compound fracture of his right tibia as well as numerous other injuries. The wreck occurred on Bailey Cove Road in Huntsville when the driver of the car turned left in front of our client’s motorcycle. Since the driver of the car failed to yield the right of way we were able to clearly establish they were liable for the accident.

Unfortunately our client had to undergo an open reduction and internal fixation surgery to repair his leg injury. Moreover, he had to endure numerous physical therapy sessions to help him regain his mobility and strength in his leg. Due the severity of his injuries he also had a significant lost wages claim. As such, we brought personal injury claims on his behalf for his medical bills, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering, scarring, and mental anguish.

[Read more…]

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