Archive for October, 2011

Mississippi Auto Accidents and Loss of Future Earnings

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Although some victims of auto accidents are thankfully able to get back to work fairly quickly, others are not so fortunate. Many victims of auto accidents sustain a level of injuries which makes it impossible for them to get back to work in a timely fashion, or, in extreme cases, at all. The inability to continue to work in a normal manner, especially in our present shaky economy, can have devastating and long-term financial effects on a family which they may be unable to recuperate from. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and are unable to return to work, you may be watching your medical bills mount in an alarming manner, and wondering how you will continue to pay your normal living expenses while you are unable to work.

Recovering Lost Wages

The first step in recovering lost wages will be to fully document your pay before your accident. If you are a student pursuing a degree prior to your accident, then this is perhaps the only exception, in that you may be eligible to recover lost wages because of what you would have earned once you completed your degree. Any wages you earned prior to your accident not only must be documented, they must be able to be categorized as taxable income. The injuries you sustained in the accident must have significantly lessened your capacity to continue in your regular position, and a medical professional must certify that you now have specific disabilities or restrictions which hinder your ability to work in your prior profession.

How Will My Lost Earning Capacity Be Calculated?

Loss of future earnings, as opposed to simple lost wages is not calculated in the same manner. Loss of future earnings is calculated on your ability to earn money rather than your actual earnings before or after the injury. The court takes into consideration your actual earning capacity prior to your injury, then compares it to your now reduced earning capacity due to your injuries. The lost earning capacity is calculated by the difference in potential earning and actual earnings.

Because loss of future earnings is dependent upon your wage-earning capacity in the future, even if you happened to be unemployed at the time of your accident will not hinder a possible award of loss of future earnings. Assuming a person in their twenties has just begun their teaching career and the accident and resulting injuries prevent them from continuing that career. The courts will determine the natural progression of the individual’s teaching career, adding in expected yearly raises, cost of living raises, etc., when determining the loss of future earnings. If the person was also continuing their education with an eventual goal of becoming an administrator, then that will also be taken into consideration in the monetary calculations.

Returning to Work—with Diminished Future Job Prospects

Even if you are physically able to return to work, the accident and resulting injuries may still have diminished your future job prospects. Assuming you worked as a police officer, however your injuries dictate that you have been transferred from a police officer who works in the field to a desk job. Although you may still be receiving the exact same salary you were before the accident, your injuries may have conceivably prevented you from working your way up to detective—or even further, therefore you may qualify for loss of future earnings.

Consult a Mississippi Auto Accident Attorney for Loss of Earnings Questions

If you have questions regarding your right to compensation for loss of earnings, it’s imperative that you contact a Mississippi auto accident attorney from our law firm.   Having an attorney looking out for your rights is essential.  Call us today.

Airbags—Saving Lives, Causing Injuries in Mississippi?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

While airbags have been proven to save lives, there are instances where that same airbag has unintended negative effects, resulting in injuries and, in rare cases, even death. While most of the complaints about airbags relate to minor injuries such as abrasions and bruises, sometimes airbags can more severely injure a passenger, especially children or infants, especially if the airbag is defective. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recalled over 1.4 million airbags due to safety issues in 2004 alone. As airbags continue to get more and more sophisticated and complex in the goal of saving lives, they also have more potential to malfunction and not go off when they are needed. The issue is that it’s impossible to know whether an airbag is defective until it’s too late.

How Airbags are Designed?

First of all, air bags were specifically developed for a male who is 5 ft. 8 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. No considerations were made for shorter or smaller people, children, or even those who naturally sit closer to the steering wheel. In certain people who have heart conditions or osteoporosis, and exploding airbag could potentially be fatal. An airbag goes off with 2,000 pounds of force at a speed of over two hundred miles per hour. Because of this, adults may suffer brain trauma, head and neck injuries or spinal and torso injuries when an airbag deploys.

An airbag is designed to deploy in any crash which equals a vehicle crashing into a solid object at eight to fourteen miles per hour. The airbag is a fabric bag which fills up with nitrogen gas upon impact due to a sensor which instantaneously detects the intensity and direction of the crash as it happens. The sensor sends an electric signal which initiates the chemical reaction, and the bag inflates, then vents in the bags allow them to immediately deflate after cushioning the occupants from the crash.

Other Injuries Caused by Airbags

A deploying airbag can cause blunt trauma to the eyes in the form of orbital contusions or abrasions, blurred vision or even retinal detachment. If the occupant remains in the car or truck for a significant amount of time with the windows closed and no ventilation available, the contents of the airbag can cause eye irritation.  An airbag which deploys can also be the cause of an asthma attack in a person who has the disease due to inhaling the dust from the airbag.

In some cases occupants have suffered chemical injuries from burns which are caused by the gas which is emitted from the airbag during a crash. While more serious airbag injuries are uncommon, they do happen. If a person is very close to the airbag when it deploys they could suffer a traumatic brain injury, facial scarring or even death. Airbags can occasionally drive broken glass into the victim’s upper body and face, causing severe cuts and abrasions.

Why You Must Wear a Safety Belt if Your Vehicle has Airbags

The primary instance where an airbag will cause more harm than it does good is when the occupant is not wearing a safety belt. Drivers who are unrestrained have incurred serious and fatal injuries from airbags as the body is going forward while the airbag is going toward you. When the two meet at high speeds serious injuries or death are likely to occur.

If you have been the victim of an airbag injury caused from a defective airbag, it is essential that you contact an experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney who can determine which party is responsible for your injuries.

Call us today to discuss your legal rights and the details of your right to fair compensation.

Mississippi Bicycle Accidents: Perception vs. Reality

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Each year there are over 600 bicycle fatalities in the United States, and over 50,000 injuries which result from a bicyclist and a car colliding. Although the numbers have actually gone down through the past few years—a seventeen percent reduction since 1998—there are obvious risks associated with riding a bicycle in traffic. When you consider that bicyclists account for one percent of all trips in the United States, yet bicycle fatalities represent just under two percent of all traffic fatalities, you can see that riding a bicycle among the much bigger, much heavier cars, can be a dangerous proposition.

Almost ninety percent of all bicyclists killed are male, eighty percent of those injured are male and sixty-five percent of those killed are between the ages of 25 and 63—with an average age of bicyclists involved in a crash being approximately thirty-one. The risk of riding a bicycle varies widely depending on the time of day, the rider’s level of experience, the area the bicyclist is riding in, whether there is alcohol involved, however the health benefits of riding a bicycle on a regular basis do somewhat offset the risks.

The Perception Motorists Have of Bicyclists

The majority of people who travel only by car tend to believe, at least to some extent, that cyclists are a rather reckless group who take their lives into their hands every time they hit the streets, and don’t fully recognize the obvious dangers. The truth is, the occasional irresponsible bicyclist who throws caution to the wind, winding in and out of traffic and ignoring pedestrians and traffic laws is the exception rather than the rule.

Most cyclists are alert and respectful of the cars and pedestrians who share the road with them, and use caution and good judgment when they ride through traffic. More public education could go a long way in dispelling the misperceptions people have toward bicyclists, and more care and less distractions on the part of automobile drivers could greatly reduce the incidence of auto-bicycle accidents and fatalities. Most cyclists know to watch out for the distracted, negligent or reckless driver, not to mention swinging car doors and jaywalking pedestrians—not to mention road hazards—but it’s simply not feasible to anticipate every single possibility.

Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?

Although the majority of bicycle accidents happen in those cities with the highest populations, college towns, especially those in California, rank higher than their population would suggest. Many college students use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation; it’s healthy, it allows them to quickly get from one class to another, and it saves money—something most starving college students appreciate.  Almost seventy-five percent of all accidents involving a cyclist occur at an intersection or in a personal driveway, which suggests that cyclists and auto drivers are fully cognizant of the rules associated with high traffic situations.

How Drivers Can Help Reduce Accidents

Drivers must first and foremost realize that bicyclists are entitled to the exact same rights—and have the same responsibilities—as auto drivers. Drivers need to drive at safe speeds and exercise caution in city situations when traffic is heavy. They should also avoid distractions such as cell phone use or consulting a map while driving, and should be especially alert for bicycle riders before they back out of a driveway, make a turn in an intersection, or open their door into oncoming traffic.

If you have been the victim of an auto-pedestrian accident you have likely suffered serious injuries. Contact a Mississippi personal injury lawyer from our law firm to discuss your case.

Calculating the Cost of Injuries Following an Auto Accident in Mississippi

Friday, October 21st, 2011

If you’ve recently been injured in an automobile accident which caused a significant amount of damage to your vehicle and yourself, you may wonder how an insurance company would value your claim were you to file one. Insurance carriers typically will investigate the types and amounts of damages suffered, then figure a percentage of fault. A Mississippi personal injury attorney will better be able to help you determine the amount your injuries and damages are worth, and figure the potential success of your lawsuit.

What are the Types of Damages You May Recover?

Medical expenses are generally the primary expenses you will be subject to following your auto accident. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could have any or all of the following expenses: emergency room treatment expenses, bills for doctor visits, hospital expenses, chiropractic care bills, physical therapy fees, medical device fees for crutches or braces, and prescription medicine costs.

Any of these costs which were incurred as a direct result of your accident can be considered recoverable, however if you have a medical exam done specifically for the purpose of your lawsuit, you will generally not be reimbursed for it. Medical expenses are often used as a baseline for determining how reasonable your claim truly is. If your injuries are to the extent that you will be required to continue medical treatments in the future, then these medical expenses will also be a factor in your overall settlement.

Lost Wages of Loss of Earning Capacity

Any money you would have earned between the time of your accident and the final settlement is considered recoverable. Even if you were not employed at the time of the accident, you may still be able to collect on lost wages if you can prove you would have employed. If your ability to earn money in the future has been impaired as a direct result of the accident, then you may also be able to collect for loss of future earnings. To determine this particular figure, your past earnings will be used in the calculations, and the jury will focus on what might have been earned if the accident had not occurred.

Pain and Suffering or Emotional Distress

Many auto accidents leave their victims with chronic pain which never goes away, no matter how much pain medication they take or how much time they spend in rehabilitative therapy. It is expected that this pain will be compensated for, since the overall quality of life has been significantly affected. The injuries from your auto accident could have resulted in daily, chronic pain which may not be expected to go away any time soon. The jury in your case will look at the severity of your pain as well as how long you are likely to be in pain when they determine the specific amount to be awarded.

Emotional distress, also known as mental anguish, encompasses any type of mental or emotional distress which a person suffers as the direct result of their auto accident and subsequent injuries. The person suffering from emotional distress may experience anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, humiliation, grief, shock or even severe embarrassment. If a person has been obviously disfigured, then they may find it embarrassing or humiliating to continue their normal life, therefore pain and suffering expenses could be awarded.

Other Factors

Your attorney may also counsel you to ask for loss of consortium if any of the components of your married life, including affection, comfort, help or sexual relations, were altered or taken away. Property damages can be recovered for the value of any property of yours which was damaged during the auto accident. Juries typically look at how much money you have either spent or lost when they are determining specific amounts for settlement. The medical damages are considered medical special damages, while pain, suffering, emotional damage or other non-monetary losses are considered general damages. Who is at fault will also come into play when determining a settlement; the best way to find out how much you can reasonably expect to recover is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Call our law firm to discuss you case today!

Can Distracted Pedestrians Cause Auto Accidents in Mississippi?

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Most of us are aware that distracted drivers are responsible for a large number of accidents. Whether drivers are talking on their cell phone, texting, eating, fiddling with the radio, or turning around to see what the kids are doing in the back seat, distracted driving is a major contributor in auto accidents. While legislators are doing their best to do something about the use of cell phones through texting bans or requiring a hands-free speaker for your cell phone, they have not yet addressed the dangers of distracted pedestrians.

Statistics on Pedestrian Accidents

Over 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year in an auto accident with another 70,000 or so being seriously injured. Over half of these accidents take place at night while fast-moving children and slower moving seniors are far and away the most vulnerable group. Over one-tenth of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, leaving literally thousands of people permanently disabled due to such accidents. While a pedestrian is more likely to die in an accident which took place on a rural road—due to higher speeds—many more pedestrian accidents and resulting deaths occur in urban settings. While the vast majority of pedestrian accidents, injuries and fatalities are the result of distracted, negligent, reckless or impaired drivers, there are occasions where the pedestrian is at fault.

Pedestrian Distractions

If you live in a city it’s a pretty sure bet you have observed pedestrians talking on their cell phones while crossing busy intersections, or even reading a map, or looking at a city landmark instead of paying attention to traffic. Many pedestrians have headphones on and are listening to music, effectively preventing them from hearing the screech of brakes or even a honking horn, depending on the volume level of their music. In our age of super-technology, it is even not so uncommon to see a pedestrian reading their electronic Kindle or Nook as they walk down the street, or to see them surfing the net on their iPad.

Even if they are not engaged in some sort of interaction with an electronic device, you will see pedestrians walking in groups with their friends who are totally engrossed in the conversation—and totally oblivious to dangers around them. Finally, there are a fair amount of pedestrians who are impaired through the use of alcohol or drugs who wander city streets on a regular basis. These people have no comprehension of the potential danger of walking across a busy city street without looking either way.

Studies on Pedestrians and Cell Phone Use

Research has shown that pedestrians who are talking on their cell phone tend to walk slower, are much less likely to notice other people and objects around them, are substantially less likely to either wait for traffic to stop before crossing or to look both ways before crossing, are more likely to step out in front of an approaching car, and overall pay much less attention to traffic. Additionally, cell phones have been shown to block the field of vision from whichever direction the phone is held to the ear, and more distraction is noted when the phone connection is back, or the background noise is especially loud. This research could likely be applied to those using Mp3 players, iPads, Nooks and Kindles as well. Essentially, anything which captures the attention which should be 100% focused on the vehicles and people around the pedestrian results in a distraction which could end up being deadly.

The number of pedestrian deaths and injuries is on the rise, and it is likely it will continue to rise as more and more pedestrians ignore the rules of safety and continue to use attention-absorbing hand-held mobile devices. There is some talk among government officials regarding making the use of such devices in crosswalks illegal, but the bottom line is that pedestrian distraction can be just as harmful as driver distraction.

If you are the victim of a pedestrian accident caused through pedestrian distraction, consult a Mississippi personal injury attorney from our law firm for legal advice.

Mississippi Car Accidents Caused by Animals

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports there are over a million and a half car crashes each year in America which involve deer or other large animals. Other than deer, motorists may collide with small rodents, raccoons, porcupines, armadillos, livestock and even our feathered friends, which lead to an accident. As more and more home developments go into areas which were once home to wild animals, the animals are being pressed into roadways occupied by motorists.

Ways to Avoid an Accident Caused by an Animal

Obviously, obeying speed limits is a primary way to avoid animal-caused accidents, and in areas with low visibility or where animals are known to be more active, you should reduce your speed even further. In inclement weather such as rain or fog, speed can reduce your response time to the sudden appearance of an animal, increasing your chances of a serious or fatal accident. In rural areas or heavily wooded areas, be especially conscious of the possibility of deer on the roadway, and in known ranching communities, keep watch for livestock which may have escaped from their normal fenced-in area.

Although some people may scoff at signs which indicate animals cross in a particular place—after all, the deer can’t read—the fact is that deer are fairly consistent about where they cross, so pay attention to warning signs. Reduce your speed and exercise extra caution when you see an animal crossing sign. If you should see an animal down the roadway, slow down and determine what you would do if the animal jumped into your path. Slow your speed and use caution and remember that if you see one deer—there are likely more.

If you are startled by an animal leaping in front of you on the roadway, do your best to stay in control of your car—it is much more likely you will be hurt if you veer off the road or swerve into oncoming traffic than if you simply hit the animal, although if you can manage to hit it at an angle there is a better chance it will spin away from your car after the impact rather than coming through your windshield. Some people believe you should turn off your headlights when you see a deer in the roadway at night as it might snap the animal out of its trance and cause it to run away, avoiding an accident, but you could find yourself worse off if you are unable to see what lies ahead.

If You Do Hit an Animal

If you do hit an animal in the roadway, never approach the animal or touch it to see how badly it is hurt. A wounded or scared animal can be extremely dangerous. Call 911 with your cell phone or have another person do so. Seek immediate medical attention and have your injuries treated and documented. Just as you should do in any automobile accident, it’s important to take notes regarding the accident, and photos with your cell phone if you are able. If you can find out who the property owner is, do so, and make sure the police arrive and you get a formal police report for your insurance claim.

Contact a Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney

Especially if there was extensive damage or injury involved as a result of the collision with an animal, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney who can walk you through the process of filing an insurance claim and can determine if the settlement offered is a fair one. An experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney from our law firm work hard to ensure your rights are protected in the aftermath of an accident and that the expenses for your injuries and damages are fully covered.

Mississippi Car Accidents Caused by Ice

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

States which have lots of winter weather are well accustomed to car crashes caused by snow and ice. Such accidents appear to be much more common at the beginning of the winter season, which appears to mean that people tend to forget how to drive in snow and ice through the summer, then regain those lost skills once winter sets in. The truth is that driving in icy conditions requires a completely different skill set than driving on a dry road. Not only must you slow down, you must remember to leave more space between the car in front of you, and brake earlier and with much more caution. Accelerating in icy conditions can cause your wheels to spin, making your car slide into another car or a stationary object and causing injuries.

Icy Conditions Warrant Extreme Caution

In order to determine who is responsible for your accident due to icy conditions your attorney may need to have an accident reconstruction done. Legal liability will, of course, determine who will pay for the damages, and if you neglected to alter your usual driving behaviors based on the road conditions, you may find yourself unable to claim that anyone else was liable for the accident. If you were tailgating the car in front of you, in spite of the ice, then the fact that you careened into the car when it slowed means you may be the liable party. There are exceptions to this, in that if the driver in front of you failed to give any indication that they were about to stop suddenly, and you were driving the proper distance behind them, you would not be responsible. If you have witnesses who can testify that you were cautious and did everything in your power to drive safely, but the ice was simply too slick, then you could probably not be held liable.

When Road Crews Might Be Liable

There are times when a governmental entity may be responsible for ensuring the roadways are properly cleared of ice, and the failure of the city, county or state to correct the icy conditions or at the minimum, warn motorists of the hazardous conditions can render them liable for resulting accidents and injuries. Of course if the accident occurred during a sudden storm, the agency cannot be held liable for the inability to get the ice removed while it was actually forming. Following a storm, however, or in a specific situation where a river has dammed, leaving ice to form on the road, then the lack of proper maintenance may indeed be a factor in determining liability.  In an accident which occurs on ice in a private parking lot, the owner of the property may also be held liable if he had plenty of time to clear the ice and simply neglected to do so.

If you were injured in a car accident on an icy road which was a result of another driver who was not driving according to the road conditions, or from a lack of road maintenance, then you must consult an experienced personal injury attorney even if you have not yet determined who was at fault. Your attorney can assess the situation and fight aggressively for your rights in the case. You may have substantial injuries due to the negligence or recklessness of another and you deserve to be compensated for those injuries as well as for any time you have lost from work and the damages to your vehicle. Don’t wait—get expert help who will deal with the details of your claim while you concentrate on healing and getting back to your life.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to severe road conditions in Mississippi, you may have a claim.  Call our law firm to speak with a Mississippi car accident attorney today.

Cycling Under the Influence in Mississippi

Monday, October 17th, 2011

While nearly every state has some form of law making it a crime to ride a bicycle while intoxicated, these laws have been challenged due to the fact that a bicycle is not considered a “vehicle” in the strictest sense in most states therefore should not be covered by standard DUI laws. Some states have responded to these challenges by passing separate laws which specifically cover riding a bicycle while intoxicated.  It’s true that the punishment for cycling while intoxicated is substantially less than those of DUI in a motor vehicle, still if you’ve been arrested for CUI, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can fight aggressively on your behalf.

Why CUI Laws?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that over one-fourth of all cyclists killed in 2009 had a measurable BAC, and nearly 25% of those had a BAC of .08% or higher. Because the likelihood that a cyclist will be involved in a crash increases substantially at .05% BAC, states have determined that CUI laws are, in fact, necessary. While some believe the cyclist is only risking harm to himself, so why implement CUI laws, there are instances where a cyclist who was riding while intoxicated could be the cause of a more serious accident. The cyclist could hit a pedestrian, or could cause one car to veer into another with potentially serious consequences, although certainly the cyclist who runs into a car will definitely come out on the short end where injuries are concerned.

An Example – California’s CUI Law

California, in particular, has a specific CUI law which makes it unlawful for a person to ride a bicycle on a highway while they are drunk or intoxicated. This law provides that any person arrested for such an offense can be asked to take a standard breathalyzer test or a blood or urine test for determination of the specific BAC content, however unlike the .08 limit for automobile drivers, there is no such magic number regarding CUI. The suspect may also be asked to complete standard field sobriety tests, although it is widely accepted that field sobriety tests are actually designed to be failed by the impaired and sober alike.  Conviction in California on CUI charges garners a fine of $250, so while it may not seem worthwhile to hire an attorney, keep in mind that such a conviction will go on your permanent record.

Definition of a Highway

One way an attorney can attack the validity of a CUI charge is to challenge whether the cyclist was, in fact, operating their bicycle on a legally defined highway. The standard definition of a highway includes all public streets, but excludes both private roads and driveways, so depending on the circumstances, there may be grounds for dismissal regarding this point.

Definition of a Vehicle

While many states do currently prosecute for bicyclists who operate the bicycle while drunk, more of them are starting to operate under the belief that human-powered machines are simply not considered “vehicles” under the letter of the law. A bicyclist who was convicted in Washington State of CUI appealed, and the Court of Appeals overturned the conviction ruling DUI laws were only intended to refer to drivers of motorized vehicles.

If you were involved in an accident due to a drunken bicyclist, call our Mississippi car accident law firm for a free initial consultation.

Driver Error in a Mississippi Car-Pedestrian Accident

Friday, October 14th, 2011

When most of us think of car accidents we usually envision either a single car accident or a vehicle-on-vehicle collision. Unfortunately, some accidents involve pedestrians, often with extremely serious or even fatal consequences. Obviously, a pedestrian is much more vulnerable to injury or death than the person inside the car that hits the pedestrian. When a 5000 pound piece of metal and glass hits a pedestrian, even at a low speed, the outcome is rarely positive.  Even though pedestrian accidents only make up about 11% of annual car accident fatalities, they are nonetheless the second most common cause of death due to a motor vehicle.

Causes of Pedestrian-Car Accidents in Mississippi

Generally, there are two primary causes of car-pedestrian collisions—driver error or pedestrian error. Pedestrians can disregard traffic lights, jaywalk, or small children may suddenly dart into traffic, endangering themselves as well as the parent who pursues them. Drivers may also disregard traffic signals or traffic laws or may simply not be paying attention to the pedestrians around them. Almost fifty percent of pedestrian accidents occur from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, suggesting that inability to see pedestrians may be a significant factor in car-pedestrian accidents.

Children under sixteen are most often the victims of pedestrian accidents, and there appears to be more pedestrian accidents on Friday, Saturday and Sunday than on the other weekdays. The speed of the car is a major factor in whether or not the pedestrian will survive the accident—the faster the car is traveling, the less likely it will be able to avoid hitting a pedestrian and the more likely the accident will be fatal to the pedestrian.

Specific Driver Error Factors in Pedestrian-Car Accidents

Automobile drivers often will disregard crosswalks at intersections, creating a significant risk for a serious pedestrian accident. Drivers must always take appropriate measures to ensure pedestrians are not crossing the road before entering a designated crosswalk. Other times auto drivers will ignore traffic controls, particularly those which specifically relate to pedestrians, or will fail to yield to a pedestrian who has already entered the driver’s lane as they start to cross the road. Unfortunately, impaired driving has left many pedestrians dead or seriously injured as the drunk driver drives onto a sidewalk and hits an unwitting pedestrian. There are even drivers who blatantly ignore the red, flashing lights of a school bus and pass, creating a high risk of injury to children who are getting off the bus.

Getting the Help You Need

A car-pedestrian collision is a traumatic event, both for the driver of the car, and of course for the pedestrian who has been struck. No one wants to be guilty of having injured another human being, especially one in such a defenseless position as a pedestrian. While pedestrians should always observe and obey traffic signals, and avoid distractions while walking, drivers must be hyper-vigilant, especially in city areas where pedestrians are common and small children could come from nowhere. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian-car accident it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. Pedestrians who are struck by an automobile usually have extensive injuries, and could be out of work for weeks, months, or even years while they heal and recuperate. This adds up to mountains of medical bills as well as no income, meaning such an accident could devastate you and your family. You deserve compensation for your injuries, most especially if they were the result of driver error or a negligent or distracted driver. Don’t wait, as there is a statute of limitations for filing your Mississippi personal injury claim. Contact a knowledgeable Mississippi personal injury lawyer from our law firm who may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Driving Tips to Help You Survive an Auto Accident in Mississippi

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

While the vast majority of auto accidents are unavoidable, a skilled driver can minimize the chances of serious injury to all those in the car by being aware of a few simple driving tips. In many cases, the difference between a horrifying wreck and a crash which is survivable could be the brake pedal you neglected to hit or the clearing you failed to look for. While defensive driving can involve making decisions which feel counterintuitive, keep in mind that an accident occurs in a fraction of a second, and learning how to anticipate other driver’s actions can help you survive the accident.

Remember What your Parents Told You—Steer to the Right

Metal, fiberglass and glass can be repaired, but sometimes bodies cannot. If there is a potential accident looming ahead of you such as a multi-car pile-up or a car driving the wrong way, your natural reaction should be to steer to the right. Yes, there may be a guard rail, a fence or a tree in your way, but keep in mind that none of those objects will be traveling at high rates of speed. If you turn to the left you may find yourself in a deadly head-on collision should you cross the median, and if you keep your car going straight, you will end up hitting the car in front of you, and the car in back will likely hit you, and so on. Most roadways have some clearance on the right hand side of the road, and this space is intended for driving emergencies, so use it in any way which will avoid a worse accident.

Accelerate, Don’t Brake

It is most people’s instinct to brake in response to a driving threat, but in some cases you could lessen your chance of serious injury by accelerating instead. When you brake at a high rate of speed, you have effectively limited your maneuverability and will probably still plow into the car ahead of you. Instead of braking, try to anticipate the other driver’s actions and look for an opportunity to accelerate out of the accident, possibly on the right hand side, if it’s clear. Although you are not trained to drive like a NASCAR driver, you may need to think like one in the face of an auto accident.

If a Crash is Unavoidable, Minimize the Damage

Your primary goal should be to avoid head-on collisions with another vehicle or a front-end collision at a high rate of speed into a large immovable object such as a concrete barrier. Do as much as you possibly can to control your speed in the event of an impending accident. Obviously, the faster you are driving, the more damage you will sustain. Your car is weaker, structurally speaking, on the sides, so avoid a side impact if at all possible. If you see another car headed toward you, accelerating might allow the car to hit the rear side of your car rather than dead center.

Don’t bend over or cover your head in response to an impending accident—the damage your neck will sustain when the air bag hits your head will be much worse than if you had remained upright. Never drive or ride in a car which is not outfitted with safety belts and other safety features, and make sure those safety features are regularly serviced. Store objects within your car where they will not fly up and hit you in the event of a car crash. Even small objects can become lethal flying projectiles during a collision. Above all, remain focused and calm and you vastly improve your chances of coming through an accident alive. If you’ve been the victim of an automobile accident, contact a Mississippi personal injury attorney from our law firm immediately to give us all the particulars of the accident so we can best represent your interests.