Our Blog

Bicycle Safety Reminder

Bicycle SafetyMore people are riding bicycles for transportation and recreation today than ever before. Many towns and cities now have free or affordable rent-a-bike programs. As more places open up roadways that were once the exclusive domain of cars and trucks, bicyclists and motorists are sure to cross paths.

Unfortunately, one Huntsville area man was struck by a car on University Drive on July 12th , according to reports by WHNT News 19. While the extent of the man’s injuries are still unknown, any accident between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist is potentially life-threatening. This particular accident occurred in the evening after dark. All westbound lanes were closed for nearly an hour. The accident is another sober reminder of the importance of alert driving – and to always be on the lookout for other people on the road. [Read more…]

Ardmore Tennessee Car Accident Claim Settles  

We are pleased that we were recently able to resolve an Ardmore, TN car accident claim. Our client was driving on a 2 lane road when another driver crossed the center line and struck her vehicle head on. Upon impact our client’s airbag deployed causing a severe nasal injury that required surgery.

Since the wreck occurred in Tennessee, Tennessee law applied to the claim. There are several key differences in Tennessee negligence claims and tort law than in Alabama. First, the statute of limitations (“SOL”) in Tennessee on a negligence claim ie here a car accident claim is one year. The SOL is the time period in which you have to file your claim, before it would be barred. In Alabama, the statute of limitations on such a claim would be 2 years.

Second, Tennessee has not yet abolished the collateral source rule as it pertains to health insurance. The collateral source rule holds that if an outside source such as health insurance pays your medical bills the jury cannot take this into consideration. This is particularly important as a health insurance carrier, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare routinely satisfy medicals for a fraction of the retail charges. For example, if you have $50,000 in retail medical bills they may be satisfied for $10,000 by your health insurance carrier and the remainder of the charges are written off. Thus, under the collateral source rule the jury does not get to know your medical bills were satisfied for $10,000. However, if the collateral source has been abolished such as in Alabama, then even though your medical bills were originally $50,000 then jury and insurance company will in reality only look at the $10,000 your required to pay back out of any recovery you receive. [Read more…]

Alabama Among States with Highest Rate of Fatal Car Accidents

Alabama has obtained the dubious award of fifth most dangerous state for driving, according to a report from al.com, originally published on healthgrove.com. Between 2008 and 2014, Alabama averaged nearly 19 fatalities for every 100,000 residents. That works out to about 900 fatalities a year. The study was based on figures from the Health Indicators Warehouse (a website Developed by the National Center for Health Statistics) and the Center for Disease Control – Motor Vehicle Safety department.

The study points to speed limits as one reason for discrepancies in fatalities. States with lower speed limits which are concentrated in the Northeast and West coast tended to have fewer fatalities. States in the Southeast and Great Plains tend to have higher speed limits and higher fatalities. [Read more…]

Importance of Relationships in the Practice of Law

Last week, Martinson & Beason attorney Caleb Ballew negotiated a favorable settlement for a young client who had been accused of a violent crime. While television programs would have us believe the relationship between criminal defense attorneys and the district attorney’s office is adversarial and strained, this is not the case in real life (at least in Madison County, Alabama, that is).

Caleb and I walked to the Courthouse and climbed the stairs to the District Attorney’s Office for what I expected to be a formal and formulaic case negotiation. Instead, it quickly became clear that both attorneys were interested in serving the best interests of their clients and would accomplish this through amicable negotiation and finding common ground on the case.

The issues were quickly boiled down and defense attorney and ADA alike had a symmetrical understanding of the facts of the case. They explained that while they represented opposite sides, they often work together to achieve a settlement that is fair and just for all parties. Throughout the meeting, the atmosphere was relaxed and jovial. [Read more…]

Do you really need a survival kit in your car?

survival kit

The average American spends about 37,935 hours in their car during a lifetime. That equals out to an average of about 101 minutes spent driving each day. It is extremely important to be prepared for any situation that might require either an extended amount of time spent in your vehicle, a medical emergency, or just everyday happenings.

The team at Martinson & Beason, P.C. should be contacted if any serious problems occur out on the roads in Huntsville, Alabama, but there are a few things you can do yourself in case of an emergency. In order to be prepared for anything that might come your way—whether it is caused by another driver or Alabama hazardous conditions—you should keep certain items in your vehicle at all times:

Emergency Items

First Aid Kit: This is one of the most important items that everyone should have in their vehicle. They are small enough to be stored securely in your trunk and can end up helping yourself or someone else in case of an emergency. Typical first aid kits come with adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes and ointments, gloves, gauze pads, bandages and more. [Read more…]

Out of State Car Accidents – What Law Applies

Alabama Car AccidentWhen traveling out of state, even the safest driver faces the possibility of an unexpected car accident. Driving on unfamiliar roads in an unfamiliar city heightens the risk for an accident. Of course, with any accident, contact 911 immediately, take pictures of the accident scene and any damage to the vehicles, write down the names and numbers of any other involved parties or witnesses, and contact your insurance company. Visit our page on the steps to take after a car accident here. In most cases, your insurance policy should cover out of state car accidents.

Each state has different laws on car accident claims which could significantly impact you’re claim and damages. Because the statute of limitations places a ticking clock on your ability to file a claim, and because statute of limitations varies from state to state, it is important to contact an experience personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the wreck. [Read more…]

A Quick Guide to Avoiding Road Rage

road rageRoad rage is not a valid excuse for someone to drive hazardously and put other drivers at risk, although it can sometimes feel like it. The Huntsville, Alabama attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. will be able to assist you if you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s road rage.

Road rage has become a major problem for drivers all over the country. It can strike at any time and the consequent accidents can cause life-threatening injuries. Here are some aspects of road rage that you should know, and how to help minimize the damage:

Causes of Road Rage

Driving a car can be extremely stressful. There are many factors involved every time you get behind the wheel and only a select few you can actually control. You may be running late, you might have had a horrible day and now you’re in a bad mood, or you may be just fine but then someone cuts you off and— in a matter of seconds—the rage encompasses you. [Read more…]

Five Things You Thought Were True About Estate Planning

Planning for your future and the future of your family is necessary for people from all walks of life. At Martinson & Beason, P.C., our Huntsville, Alabama, team of attorneys can assist you with all your estate planning needs, and make the process as stress-free as possible.

Although these conversations about the future, death tax, and what your family will do when you’re gone are extremely difficult, there are many misconceptions regarding estate planning that can be cleared up to alleviate some of the stress involved. Here are five myths about estate planning:

Unfair “Death Tax”

You work hard your entire life, pay income tax your entire life, and then once you die, the government taxes that money you already paid taxes on. Seems unfair, doesn’t it? However, that is not always the case. Most estate tax or “death tax” is applied on income that has never been taxed.

There is “ordinary” income tax and “capital gains” income tax in the United States. Ordinary income tax involved taxing wages, stocks, interest, rent, and the like. Capital gains income tax is imposed on the increased value of things that you actually invest in: stocks, real estate, and your family business. [Read more…]

How to Create an Effective Estate Plan

Estate planning can be a stressful time in any person’s life. The team at Martinson and Beason, P.C. can provide you with experienced attorneys who practice estate and probate administration and make the process as pain-free as possible.

A person over the age of 19 in Huntsville, Alabama can begin planning their last will and testament. That might be a bit young, but once you start accumulating assets, it should be time to think about estate planning. Here is a quick look at some estate planning tips:

Unique Will for You

Everyone’s situation is different, so a will that was crafted for someone else might not make much sense at all to you. Each will must be customized and tailored to the individual person in order to make sure they are getting the best probate advice possible.

Power of Attorney

Having a financial (or business) power of attorney can provide you with the peace of mind you deserve in those difficult moments in the future. If you are incapacitated or impaired, a qualified power of attorney will be able to ensure that your assets are taken care of exactly how you requested. Martinson and Beason, P.C.’s team can assist you during these difficult times and will provide high-quality care.

Medical Power of Attorney

Along with a financial POA, it is important to have a few agents who can make medical decisions for you when you are unable. They will be provided with all your medical information, contact with your doctors, and can make the important decisions on your behalf. [Read more…]

Uber vs. Lyft

car service

Uber and Lyft are two companies that provide online transportation network services, also known as ridesharing services. Basically, they each have created their own apps that help you to find a ride when you need one. Each company has independent contractors with varying vehicle types that offer alternatives to taxi or limo services. Rather than standing outside and hailing a cab, you can simply touch your smartphone and have a vehicle arrive at your location within minutes.

Which is better?

It really depends on a few factors: 1) your taste, 2) your budget, and 3) your location. Below, we will outline the various options available with each of these companies so you can quickly compare and contrast to find the perfect match for your needs. [Read more…]

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