Archive for Helpful Information

Keeping Your Pets Safe at Christmas

Keep Pets Safe

Many of our readers have pets, including dogs, that they love and want to keep safe.  Countless others will add a puppy or a kitten during the holiday season.  Christmas and holiday functions are great fun, but they create lots of opportunities for your furry pal to end up at the vet.  Here are some tips to keep your four-legged members of the family safe:

  • Poinsettias are poisonous to dogs and cats
  • Pets should not have any real bones, they can splinter and cause injury
  • Pets cannot easily digest pork (No bacon for Fido!)
  • Feeding pets greasy foods can lead to messy outcomes
  • Ribbons and bows are easy targets for your cat
  • Breads, batters, and candies are not for pets
  • Of course, chocolate is a big no-no as it is toxic for dogs and cats.

Following these simple tips will help keep your furry friends healthy and lead to a Happy New Year.

It’s easy to spot droughts causing serious damage to your property including brown lawns and wilted gardens.  The biggest devastation a drought can cause on your home is with the home’s foundation. During periods of prolonged dryness, the soil surrounding your home shrinks away, causing the foundation to potentially shift or crack. If not addressed quickly, these can grow into even bigger problems over time, such a flooding (especially if your home has a basement or crawl space) or structural damage.

Some common signs of foundation damage include cracks in the interior walls (these usually start in the basement if you have one), separations between concrete blocks in a block foundation, or cracks and crumbling of the concrete foundation. Other signs include doors that will not close properly and bulging floors.

If you spot any of these signs, contact a foundation specialist immediately. Rain does not make these problems go away. In fact, heavy rain can even aggravate these problems because you risk issues of the foundation shifting and flooding. In times of drought, it is important to be vigilant of these issues because if they are left unaddressed, they can cause even greater damage to your home.

Trick-Or-Treating, Walking, and Biking at Night

Summer is over and fall is here. With the temperatures dropping, it’s a great time to exercise and enjoy the nice weather.  Days are getting shorter; more and more people are walking and biking at night. We have handled numerous cases where a pedestrian or cyclist was injured by a vehicle at night. We want to take the time to offer you a few basic tips to help you stay safe and enjoy this season.

1. Wear Bright Clothing! -Whether you’re walking, trick-or-treating, jogging, or biking, the easiest way to avoid being struck by a vehicle is to be as visible as possible! Reflective costumes and clothing are preferable but if you don’t have that, wear bright colors and avoid dark colors that cannot be visible at night.  Flame retardant (See Pooh and our favorite Princesses pictured) costumes are best for little ones, especially with all the jack-o-lanterns that may have flaming candles. 

2. Stay in well-lit areas! – Neighborhoods often have different degrees of lighting. Try and stay in the most well-lit sections of your neighborhood. Sidewalks along the main roads often have much better lighting than side streets or alleys.

 3. Have a light with you! – When biking, you might attach a white light to the front of the bike and a red, reflective one to the rear so you’ll be more visible to cars and trucks. If you’re walking or jogging, a simple flashlight or even a glow stick would do the trick. The idea is to have something bright that draws the driver’s attention to you and allows the driver to avoid you.  Never allow your kids to wander in the streets alone, especially at night.

 Stay safe this Halloween and on the upcoming nights of Fall and Winter. There is no reason you can’t continue to enjoy the outside if you practice these simple safety steps. 

Should I Pay my Copay

One question that is often asked by new clients is whether or not they should pay the co-pays when they visit a doctor after a wreck. We often have clients say that they should not have to pay these co-pays because the person who caused the wreck should pay them. Ultimately, the responsible party will end up paying for those co-pays in the settlement regardless of whether you pay them now or wait to pay them later.

We recommend that you pay your co-pays and outstanding medical bills if you are able. If you refuse to pay your co-pays because you want the other side to pay them, the only person it can hurt is you. When an insurance company makes an offer to settle a case, they are considering the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred for your medical care, which includes your co-pays and deductibles. The settlement offer will not change if these bills are paid or unpaid. So you are not increasing your offer by leaving these bills unpaid.  Therefore, there is no gain for you to leave these bills unpaid. However, there are potential negative effects that could occur to your credit score if these bills remain unpaid.  If the insurance company stalls the case, which is common, these debts will remain unpaid and your medical providers may decide to send the bills to collections. This will affect your overall credit score negatively because you will have bills listed as unpaid and sent to collections. Given enough time this can become bad debt and be reflected on your credit score. It is not uncommon to see clients credit scores lower by a small amount if they choose to not pay their co-pays.

We understand that not everyone is financially able to pay their co-pays and outstanding deductibles after a wreck. We have methods we use to try and delay medical providers from sending debts to collections while we attempt to settle your case. So if you find yourself injured after a wreck come talk to the lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers and we would be happy to discuss your options!

Is your head restraint set up properly?

Is your head rest correct?

If you are like us, you have probably never given a second’s thought to the location or height of the head restraint in your car.  Jeremiah recently attended a seminar on the physics of a car crash and learned about the importance of the head restraint in a car crash.  It really changed our perception of this safety device that we previously mostly ignored.

The top of your head restraint should aligned with the top of your head.  If your head restraint is too low, it essentially acts like a fulcrum in certain types of car crashes.  A head restraint that is too plush or too soft is also not effective.  Most people, if they adjust their head restraints at all, do so for comfort.  Make sure yours is set up for maximum protection in a wreck.  You hope it will never happen to you, but if it does, you want to be prepared.

Uber in Huntsville: What You Need to Know

Uber X - A great value?

It is important for our readers to know how car insurance works when ride-sharing and a wreck occurs.  It is important to know the different risks you may face when choosing between using Uber or a taxi cab.

There is currently no Alabama law requiring ride-sharing drivers to carry insurance above and beyond traditional personal car insurance.  Generally, personal car insurance will not cover a ride-sharing driver  in the event of a wreck.  Personal auto insurance policies typically exclude coverage when using a vehicle as a business service.  If a ride-sharing driver has only their personal automobile insurance, he or she may be personally liable for damages caused.  Ride-sharing drivers should check with their company and/or their insurance agent to make sure they have coverage.

Similarly, if a passenger is involved in a wreck caused by the ride-sharing driver with only has a personal automobile insurance, the driver likely has no insurance.  This is often remedied by the ride sharing company, but you want to do your research to be sure.  Make sure the company provides coverage for its drivers and UM/UIM coverage as well.  Be safe and educated on the risks of driving or riding with these cutting edge services.

Dangers of driving during the winter and spring

Winter Driving in Alabama

Over 1.3 million car accidents (23%) in the United States occur due to weather-related incidents. As we finish the last bit of winter weather, here are some dangers to be aware of as you are driving.

Icy roads can be a dangerous factor when driving. The ground stays cold longer, so even if it’s not freezing outside, the ground could still be cold enough to form ice. Black ice is even more dangerous because it looks like a wet road, but it is actually quite slick and could cause problems for drivers. To avoid troubles with icy roads, make sure to drive slowly and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so you do not rush.

Winter is also a time to be aware of your tire pressure. Atmospheric changes can cause the pressure in your tires to decrease, leading to accidents. Make sure you check your tires’ pressure before you head out.