Archive for January, 2012

Mississippi Trucking Accidents Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Anyone driving the highways of Mississippi has come across serious accidents involving tractor-trailers.  These accidents are so disruptive that they often tie up all lanes of a freeway for hours.  They also frequently involve devastating life-changing injuries because of the relative weight difference between a big-rig that is carrying a full load and a relatively diminutive passenger vehicle.  Although tractor-trailers constitute a fairly nominal percentage of vehicles on Mississippi roadways, they account for a third of all motor vehicle related fatalities in the U.S.  We often receive inquiries about Mississippi tractor-trailer accidents so we have provided some answers to basic questions.

Are tractor-trailers really any more dangerous than other motor vehicles?

Tractor-trailers are absolutely more dangerous than other types of motor vehicle accidents.  A fully loaded conventional tractor-trailer that navigates the roads of Mississippi may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and exceed 75 feet in length.  This makes tractor-trailers more likely to be involved in a collision because they are less responsive to sudden steering and braking maneuvers.  Tractor-trailers also have enormous blind spots that make collisions more likely when making lane changes or merging with traffic.  These enormous motor vehicles also cause more serious injuries when involved in a collision because of the weight difference between a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer.

Are there special rules that tractor-trailer drivers must follow?

While tractor-trailer operators must abide by the traffic laws that apply to motorists generally, there are special restrictions on the operation of tractor-trailers because of the unique risk that these motor vehicles posed to those with whom they share Mississippi roadways.  Any big rig that engages in interstate trucking, which means it operates across state lines, is subject to regulation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  These carriers may also be subject to state regulations when being operating within Mississippi’s borders.  Intrastate trucking companies operate exclusively within Mississippi, and they are governed primarily by Mississippi state laws and regulations.  Trucking regulations address many key safety issues associated with tractor-trailers including:

  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Anti-fatigue rules (hours of service rules)
  • Maximum length and weight of tractor-trailers
  • Pre-employment screening standards
  • Rules regarding medical fitness to operate a tractor-trailer
  • Restrictions on the transport of hazardous substances
  • Rules regarding properly securing of loads

While these are just a few example of trucking safety issues that are governed by state and federal regulations, these regulations are an acknowledgement of the danger posed by tractor-trailers.

What types of Mississippi tractor-trailer accidents is a driver likely to be involved in?

Tractor-trailers may be involved in any of the normal sorts of accident that passenger vehicles are involved in including rear-enders, head-on collisions, rollover accidents, run-off-the-road accidents as well as others.  However, the unique physical attributes of a tractor-trailer mean that it also may be involved in accidents that are unique to this type of vehicle.  One particularly dangerous type of Mississippi tractor-trailer accident is a “jackknife” accident.  A jackknife accident occurs when the cab of a tractor-trailer is skidding and the trailer pushes the cab forward which causes the cab to swing around toward the rear of the vehicle.  These accidents can be extremely dangerous because the tractor-trailer may rollover on other vehicles or block the entire roadway.  Carriage underride accidents are also a particularly dangerous type of tractor-trailer accident.  In a carriage underride accident, a passenger vehicle slides under the tractor-trailer where it may be crushed.

How common are fatalities in trucking accidents?

Accidents involving tractor-trailers account for one-third of all accident related fatalities.

Is a tractor-trailer injury claim similar to other motor vehicle accident claims?

Collisions involving tractor-trailers are generally more serious than other motor vehicle accidents.  Many times our experienced Mississippi trucking accident attorneys use industry experts during the process of negotiating or litigating a claim.  We also work aggressively to avoid the loss of critical evidence.  Trucking accidents are so common for commercial carriers that they frequently make minor repairs and put commercial vehicles right back in service.  This can mean that evidence of damage to the tractor-trailer or information stored on the vehicle’s black box data recorder may be lost.  While fatigue and hours of service related issues also may be recorded in a driver’s logbook, these books are often filled with distortions and inaccuracies.

If you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident, our experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Barrett Law may be able to represent you in obtaining compensation for your injuries.  Our law firm offers careful investigation of the facts, extensive knowledge of the law, creative legal strategies and effective negotiation and litigation.  The experienced Mississippi tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to Mississippi tractor-trailer accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Heavy Mississippi Fog Can Cause Horrific Multi-Car Pileups

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Although most Mississippi drivers know that driving in rainy weather is dangerous, drivers may be less likely to consider the impact of dense fog.  The reality is that some of the most horrific accidents in the U.S. have occurred during heavy fog with pileups of cars, trucks, SUVs, tractor-trailers and buses.  What distinguishes fog from other types of serious motor vehicle accidents is that the risk of being involved in a collision gets greater with the increase in the number of vehicles.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi multi-car pileup attorneys understand the extreme level of carnage and serious debilitating injuries that accompany multi-car pileups in heavy fog.

A multi-car accident in Florida this weekend serves as a sad reminder of the danger associated with driving in heavy fog conditions.  The multi-car accident caused by heavy fog and smoke resulted in accident related fatalities of ten vehicle occupants and injury to 38 others.  The wreckage and devastation from the multi-car pileup was so extensive that one witness said, “”[it] looked like someone was picking up cars and throwing them.”  Pictures of the carnage were described by media sources as resembling the aftermath of a Hollywood disaster movie.

This type of devastating accident which results in many vehicles colliding with each other in a chain reaction collision or multi-car pileup are most common in heavy fog conditions that severely limit visibility.  While it is prudent to drive slower or to get off the road until the fog clears, some motorists will barrel down the roadway as if there are no adverse driving conditions.  Visibility during the multi-car pileup this weekend was so bad that those on the scene could only hear the collisions rather than actually see them.

The pictures of the carnage included jackknifed big-rigs, vehicles crushed underneath tractor –trailers, vehicles burned all the way to their frame and similar images.  If you can avoid driving in foggy conditions, the results can be devastating.  Fog not only limits visibility but also makes it more difficult to perceive contrasts and impairs a driver’s perception.

Foggy conditions can compromise your driving in several ways.  When you drive in heavy fog, it can interfere with your ability to properly judge distance.  There is a natural tendency to perceive that blurry objects are a greater distance than those that are not blurry.  This can result in errors in judging the distance of a stationary object or moving vehicle.  Fog also makes it difficult to differentiate moving from stationary objects.

Mississippi motorists who fail to appreciate the hazards of driving in heavy fog may start horrific multi-car accidents, our experienced Mississippi bad weather attorneys at Barrett Law are committed to helping those injured by the careless driving obtain the financial compensation they need.  The experienced Mississippi bad weather car accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to Mississippi car accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Mandatory “Black Boxes” in New Vehicles Could Ease Evidence Issues in Car Accident Lawsuits

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Many people are familiar with onboard data recorders referred to as “black boxes” that offer critical information to investigators following a plane crash.  These black box data recorders also known as Event Data Recorders (EDR) provide information that can be invaluable in reconstructing the cause of a collision.  Federal safety authorities are considering making EDRs mandatory on new automobile sold in the U.S.  When a serious Mississippi auto accident occurs, it can sometimes be difficult to reconstruct what occurred in the mass of twisted metal.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering requiring an EDR feature for new cars that would store driving information and record a final snapshot in the event of a collision.

This requirement would make it much easier for those who suffer serious injury in a Mississippi car accident to establish the circumstances that caused their car accident.  There are many issues that are commonly disputed in personal injury litigation involving motor vehicle accident cases which an EDR might make it easier to establish including:

  • Sudden braking
  • Speed immediately prior to collision
  • Equipment failure or malfunction

The information provided by an EDR device installed on a vehicle involved in a Mississippi collision may provide critical evidence on fault and causation that permits an injury victim to obtain compensation for serious injuries.  When a vehicle occupant is involved in a Mississippi car accident, the medical and rehabilitative costs associated with catastrophic injuries may easily reach into six figures.  This type of life-altering injuries may also mean the loss of one’s ability to work and provide for one’s family.  Because of these enormous financial challenges, any strategy that preserves evidence to help properly establish liability for causing such injuries promotes fairness and justice.

The value of requiring black boxes in new motor vehicles will also continue to grow in value as more electronic components and systems are used by vehicle manufacturers.  Black box technology will provide a way to identify failure of such electronic components much like those that were suspected to be behind Toyota sudden acceleration accidents.  Because black box technology is not yet standard, there was enormous dispute over the cause of sudden acceleration accidents with Toyota claiming the cause was driver error or issues with floor mats while plaintiff’s argued that the cause was a product defect in the electronics of vehicles.

If you are injured in a Mississippi car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.  The experienced Mississippi teen car accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to Mississippi car accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

$10 Million Verdict in Segway Accident Verdict Harbinger of Potential Dangers

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Anyone visiting a local mall may have seen a security guard scooting around on a two wheeled upright transportation device called a Segway scooter.  These upright scooters which are controlled by leaning in a particular direction have become the stuff of comic fodder on television sitcoms and movies like Mall Cop.  Despite these depictions as amusing but harmless gadgets, these images mask a darker side to Segway scooter vehicles that may result in devastating injuries.  A Connecticut man who was severely injured in a Segway accident won a judgment against the company for $10 million last month.

John Ezzo, 23, was injured during a competition that was coordinated by the New Hampshire based company Segway Inc. that manufactures the odd looking two wheel upright scooters.  The competitors were asked to navigate an obstacle course while wearing blindfolds.  Segway Inc. did not provide helmets to the competitors.  While it may be legitimately asked how the company did not see disaster on the spectrum, Ezzo predictably fell off the Segway and suffered a traumatic brain injury when his head impacted the ground.  Ironically, the company recommends that consumers that purchase Segway scooters wear helmets when operating the devices so the jury may have been influenced by the company failing to follow its own safety warnings designed to reduce the risk of injury associated with the vehicles.

The size of the jury verdict represented both economic damages like lost income, medical costs and partial future disability as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering and impaired quality of life.  Ezzo who is young was forced to quit college and now works doing odd jobs as a handyman.  The difference in earning potential after suffering his injuries over the course of his lifetime is compensable.  The pain and suffering and impaired enjoyment of life also is considered over his expected life span which means that his relative youth typically justifies more extensive damages.

Segway scooters are becoming increasingly popular and can be fun forms or recreation, but they can also be dangerous.  They lack safety equipment such as structural protection, seat belts or air bags, and they are unstable compared to other forms of transportation.  Falls from Segway scooters can result in catastrophic head injuries and even wrongful death especially when they are operated without a helmet.  If you or someone you love has been injured in a Segway accident or other accident involving a scooter, our experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been zealously pursuing compensation for injury victim for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Mississippi Motorcycle Accidents

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Motorcycle accidents can lead to horrific injuries because of the lack of structural protection offered by the vehicles.  The danger to motorcyclists is only increased by the lack of attention and indifference by drivers of other motor vehicles.  Some motorists still harbor unfounded stereotypes about motorcycles enthusiasts involving “biker gangs” and criminal activity.  The reality is that the motorcycles have become popular among those from all walks of life and socioeconomic classes.  Motorcycles offer a fuel efficient low cost form of transportation for commuting to work, traveling the Mississippi back roads and engaging in recreational activity.

Over a 100,000 motorcycles per year are involved in collisions which result in more than 4,500 fatalities.  Because so many people suffer serious injury or wrongful death in motorcycle accidents, our Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys have provided effective legal representation to many motorcycle accident victims throughout Mississippi.  We receive many questions from motorcycle accident victims and their families so we have provided some basic answers, but we invite you to call and speak with one of our Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys if you have further questions.

What are the most common causes of Mississippi motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle accidents are most typically caused by the driver error.  When a driver of a passenger vehicle fails to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury to a motorcyclist in a collision, the driver may be liable for damages in a personal injury claim.  The most common types of negligent driving that cause motorcycle accidents include:

  • Drivers not paying attention because they are talking or texting on a cell phone
  • Other forms of distracted driving
  • Motorists who fail to check their blind spot for motorcycles
  • Drivers who engage in last minute maneuvers that do not give motorcyclists sufficient response time
  • Alcohol and drug impaired drivers
  • Motorists who do not adhere to the Mississippi Rules of the Road

 

Are all Mississippi motorcycle accidents caused by driver error?

No, some Mississippi motorcycle collisions are caused by equipment failure, defective motor vehicles or motorcycles and defective roadways.  When these types of factors contribute to a Mississippi motorcycle accident, the motorcycle manufacturer or public entity that is responsible for maintaining the roadway may be viable defendants.

What factors make motorcycles particularly dangerous?

Motorcycles offer none of the safety equipment that is standard in a passenger vehicle, such as seat belts, protective vehicle frame, air bags and similar safety features.  Motorcycles also lack stability, and they are extremely unforgiving in an emergency.

Is it necessary to pursue a lawsuit to obtain compensation for injuries in a Mississippi motorcycle accident?

Because of our success in obtaining financial compensation for many motorcycle accident victims in Mississippi, we often are able to persuade insurance companies to settle motorcycle accident claims without filing a lawsuit or without a trial.

What types of compensation are available in a Mississippi motorcycle accident claim?

There are a wide range of damages available in motorcycle accident claims that vary slightly based on the specific circumstances of your Mississippi personal injury claim.  Common damages we may be able to seek on behalf of a Mississippi motorcycle accident victim include:

  • Lost current and past earnings
  • Medical and rehabilitative expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future disability and impaired earning ability
  • Impaired of quality of life
  • Loss of consortium (diminished marital relationship)

If the other driver’s conduct is particularly unacceptable and reckless, punitive damages may also be available.  If the accident results in a fatality, the court may also award damages for funeral and burial expenses.

Our goal is to provide our clients with aggressive and effective legal representation and to provide easy to understand and accurate legal advice.  While we have tried to answer some of the most common inquiries we receive about motorcycle accidents in Mississippi, we recognize that you may have more detailed questions.   The experienced Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to motorcycle accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Driving Experience May Be More Important than Age as an Auto Accident Risk Factor

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Many people are familiar with the stereotypes that apply to elderly drivers.  Jokes about “old lady drivers” are common albeit it inappropriate.  Ironically, a recent study suggests that these stereotypes are not only inappropriate but may inaccurate.  The study conducted by researchers at Human Factors Safety Laboratory at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) reveals that the ability to perceive potential accident risks does not decline with age and that elderly drivers are more sensitive to potential accident risks than inexperienced drivers.

The study published in Accident Analysis and Prevention found that driver’s ability to perceive and focus on potential road hazards increases with driving experience.  The study involved comparing drivers of different age groups as they watched a hazard perception movie while connected to an eye tracking system.  The subjects were then exposed to six different hazards including intersections and pedestrians in the roadway.  The results of the study showed that both younger experienced drivers and elderly experienced drivers maintained comparable vigilance for hazards throughout the driving simulation exercise.  By contrast, younger inexperienced drivers tended to pay less attention following exposure to a high risk hazard.  The researchers also found that experienced drivers including elderly drivers focused on approaching traffic from cross streets when approaching intersections while inexperienced drivers focused straight ahead and paid less attention to vehicle approaching on the cross street.

It is fair to note that this study deals only with the ability to perceive hazards rather than the ability to respond to hazards.  Age may impact the speed of a driver’s reaction time, decision-making and judgment.  However, the study confirms an earlier study that compared age related driving risk posed by elderly drivers to that of younger less experienced drivers.  The prior RAND Corporation study found that drivers 15-24 are 66 percent more likely to cause an auto accident than a driver who was 65 or above.  In fact, drivers age 65 and older were at about the same risk of being involved in a car accident as drivers between the ages of 25-64.

This study suggests that driving experience plays a much bigger factor in avoiding Mississippi car accidents than any potential decline in driving ability related to age.  This study re-affirms the well-established fact that teenage drivers are at a substantial risk of being involved in a Mississippi car accident because of their lack of time behind the wheel.  While graduated driver’s licensing programs that grant driving privilege to young inexperienced drivers on an incremental basis have helped reduce teenage accident rates, studies have revealed that teenage accident rates spike as soon as new teen drivers have been granted unrestricted driver’s licenses.  Some states are considering expanding the period of time that must elapse before granting an unrestricted license while removing limitations more incrementally over that period of time.

If you are injured in a Mississippi car accident involving a teen driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.  The experienced Mississippi teen car accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to Mississippi car accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Mississippi Drunk Driving Accident Claims

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

While many steps have been implemented to reduce the prevalence of alcohol related accidents that result in serious injury and wrongful death, drunk driving remains a leading cause of motor vehicle related fatalities.  Drunk driving accidents are particularly tragic because the human toll posed by such collisions is completely avoidable.  When auto accidents are caused by drunk drivers, it may be easier to prove liability though liability is not automatic.  A DUI accident in Mississippi also may give rise to damages not available in many other types of accidents.  At Barrett Law, we have provided answers to commonly asked questions about drunk driving accident personal injury claims.

Are drunk driving accidents still a significant cause of injuries and fatalities?

Approximately thirty people are killed in drunk driving accidents on a daily basis in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This means that alcohol related accidents account for nearly a third of all motor vehicle related fatalities.  Almost 1.4 million people per year continue to be arrested because police determine that they are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but this is less than one percent of the 147 million drivers who indicate that they drive under the influence of alcohol each year.  While the toll in injuries and loss of life caused by drunk drivers is enormous, the estimated fiscal cost of $51 billion per year is also staggering.

If I am in an accident with a drunk driver does that mean that the other driver is automatically at-fault?

While proving the fault of a drunk driver often is easier than establishing other forms of negligence, liability is far from automatic.  Many times a driver who is intoxicated may challenge the evidence suggesting the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  While the guilt of a driver for driving while intoxicated may be established by a DUI conviction in a prior criminal trial, the question of causation both of the accident and injuries may still be contested.  A driver may be over the legal limit of .08 percent BAC and convicted of DUI but may not have violated any traffic laws or otherwise driven unsafely.  Even if the driver convicted of DUI did violate a traffic law, it is still necessary to show that the violation caused the accident and your injuries.  The attorneys for the other driver’s insurance company may argue that the injury victim’s driving was the cause of the accident or that the victim’s injuries were not caused by the collision.

Are the damages that are available as part of a Mississippi drunk driving accident claim the same as other motor vehicle accidents?

Generally, you may receive all of the types of damages that you will receive in other motor vehicle accident cases in a case involving a defendant that was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  However, the defendant’s conduct will typically be more objectionable to the judge or jury which may result in a more generous damage award including an award of punitive damages.  Punitive damages are a special type of damages intended to punish particularly objectionable conduct and to deter such conduct in the future.

What steps have been taken to limit drunk driving accidents?

There have been many laws and enforcement mechanisms in place that have reduced the number of drunk driving fatalities including:

  • Graduated licensing for new teen drivers which include zero tolerance policies for drinking and driving
  • Sobriety checkpoints
  • Stricter drunk driving sentences including mandatory minimum jail time
  • Requiring installation of ignition interlock devices that disable the vehicle without a breath sample

These changes have been combined with public service programs which have helped inform the public of the high risk of committing DUI.

How does alcohol impair driving ability and cause accidents?

Alcohol is a depressant which can impact driving ability in a wide number of ways including:

  • Diminishing decision-making and judgment
  • Slowing reaction time
  • Impairing coordination
  • Affecting vision and perception of distance
  • Promoting drowsiness

All of these effects of alcohol make it more difficult to driver safely or to react to sudden road hazards.  It is never advisable to drink and driver.  If you or someone you love has been injured in a collision with a drunk driver, our experienced Mississippi drunk driving accident attorneys may be able to help you seek fair compensation and punish this reprehensible conduct.  The experienced Mississippi drunk driving accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to drunk driving accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Driver Convicted of DUI Manslaughter Files Personal Injury Lawsuit against Victim

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Drunk and drugged drivers in Mississippi are responsible for many serious accidents that result in life-altering injuries and even tragic fatalities.  If a driver is injured or a loved one dies in a collision caused by someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Mississippi, a legal claim is often pursued to obtain compensation for one’s injuries or other loss.  However, a new lawsuit filed by a man who pled guilty to three counts of vehicular manslaughter while operating his vehicle under the influence of drug turns the traditional DUI/DWI personal injury claim on its head.

In a story widely reported in the national media, a man who pled guilty to multiple counts of DUI manslaughter in a drugged driving accident in Florida is now suing the estate of the other driver who died in the collision.  The driver who was convicted of DUI manslaughter has recently been released from prison after serving a few years of his sentence.

The personal injury lawsuit filed by the impaired driver seeks medical expenses, pain and suffering, impaired quality of life and other damages.  Evidence was produced at the impaired driver’s criminal trial that he had Xanax, cocaine and alcohol in his system when he slammed into the accident victim’s vehicle which was stopped at a traffic light.  The lawsuit filed by the drugged driver now alleges that the driver of the other vehicle swerved into the driver’s path.  It is unclear how the driver that rear-ended the other vehicle will refute evidence from the black box of the accident victim’s vehicle that indicates he was stopped at the time of the collision.

While this personal injury lawsuit may seem appalling, the strategy employed is really no more than an extreme case of how drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol defend against lawsuits where they cause injury or wrongful death in a collision.  A common strategy in auto accidents cases is to claim that the drunk or drugged drive did not cause the accident.  If the judge or jury accepts the evidence that the auto accident was caused by the sober driver, the drunk driver may not be liable for the injuries or wrongful death caused by the collision.  Even where the drunk driver contributed to the accident, the other driver may still be found partially at-fault resulting in a reduction in recovery in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff in the Mississippi personal injury lawsuit.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol in a Mississippi auto accident, the experienced DUI personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law provide diligent legal representation to drunk driving victims.  The experienced Mississippi pedestrian accident lawyers at Barrett Law represent our clients with diligence and compassion.  We have built a reputation that has promoted the growth of our law firm throughout Mississippi since our firm was founded over 75 years ago.  The experienced Mississippi pedestrian accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing aggressive representation to drunk driving accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Hybrid Cars: A Silent Killer

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Hybrid vehicle are extremely popular because of the enormous fuel efficiency associated with the vehicles.  Federal, state and local governments have worked aggressively to encourage hybrid sales by offering financial incentives to purchase the eco-friendly vehicles.  Despite the enthusiasm about hybrids, they continue to pose an increased threat to pedestrians.  Mississippi pedestrian accidents already account for a disproportionately high number of serious life-altering injuries and wrongful deaths.  The human body is simply not built to withstand the impact of a collision with a vehicle moving at a comparatively high rate of speed made of steel and weighing thousands of pounds.  Toyota Prius sales have reached more than a million vehicles and a growing number of foreign and domestic automakers are entering the electric car market.

Despite the obvious benefits and popularity of hybrid and electric cars, they have a darker side for pedestrians.  The vehicles are virtually silent so pedestrians may not be able to hear the vehicles approaching.  A driver who is behind the will of a hybrid vehicle has double the chance of being involved in a pedestrian accident according to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  This study led to passage of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act which directs the NHTSA to implement standards for a sound warning system to alert pedestrians of approaching hybrid and electric cars.

The law does not go into full effect until 2014 but some manufacturers of electric and hybrid vehicles have already begun equipping the vehicles with warning sounds to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents.  While the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act does not impose a requirement that any specific sound be emitted by vehicles, it establishes minimum standards in terms of noise level and requires that the systems be designed so that a driver cannot disable them.

Pedestrians rely primarily on the senses of sight and hearing when evaluating potential pedestrian accident risks.  Hybrid and electric vehicles that completely eliminate one of these senses from a pedestrian’s accident avoidance tools creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury and fatalities.  While legislation and changing industry standards may eventually eliminate this problem, Mississippi pedestrian accidents will continue as long as these virtually silent vehicles remain on our roads.

If you or someone you love is injured in a Mississippi pedestrian accident, including an accident involving a hybrid, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss of a loved one.  The experienced Mississippi pedestrian accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing tenacious representation to pedestrian accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Seeking Compensation for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse in Mississippi

Friday, January 13th, 2012

When a child is victimized by sexual abuse, the consequences often include long-term emotional damage and sometimes permanent physical injury.  The widespread coverage of scandals involving sexual abuse of children at respected institutions like the Catholic Church and distinguished universities like Penn State serve as a reminder that child abuse can be present in places that parents would least expect to find it.  Even more alarming is that most child sexual abuse is not perpetrated by an anonymous stranger but by close and trusted friends and family.  It is estimated that more than seventy percent of children who are sexually abused are victimized by immediate family member or someone very close to the family.  If your child is the victims of child sexual abuse in Mississippi, the dedicated and compassionate team of Mississippi sexual abuse injury attorneys at Barrett Law is committed to tenaciously seeking justice and financial compensation for children that have been sexually exploited.

According to the American Psychological Association, there is no precise universally accepted definition for sexual abuse of children.  However, child sexual abuse is characterized by adults using their dominant position over children to permit them to engage in sexual activity toward a child.  Sexual abuse of a child may include both physical and non-physical conduct including:

  • Fondling or causing a child to fondle genitals
  • Oral contact with the genitals
  • Intercourse
  • Digital penetration
  • Exposing genitals to a child
  • Displaying pornography to a child

While this list is hardly complete, it provides an overview of the types of conduct that may form the basis for a Mississippi personal injury lawsuit based on the sexual abuse of a child.  A civil lawsuit for personal injury has some overlap with a criminal case but has somewhat different objectives.  A criminal case is designed to punish the sexual offender by imposing criminal sanctions like incarceration and to discourage similar misconduct in the future.  While the purpose of a civil lawsuit also has a punishment and deterrent component in terms of inflicting financial penalties on a child abuser, the primary function of a civil lawsuit is to obtain fair financial compensation that will permit a child who has been sexually exploited to seek counseling and other resources and maintain the best possible quality of life.

The recent scandals regarding institutions where child abuse might least be expected reflects the widespread and lasting impact of child abuse.  Studies indicate that almost one-third of all children have been sexually abused by the time they reach the age of 18.  Tragically, many of these victims are younger than the age of seven.  The lasting effects of child abuse are evident in a variety of facts and statistics including the following:

  • Abused children are 53 percent more likely to face a juvenile arrest
  • Children subject to abuse exhibit a much higher rate of depression and suicide
  • Children that are abused are 38 percent more likely to commit a violent crime
  • Sexual abuse victims test lower in IQ and academic performance

If your child is the victim of sexual abuse, you or your child may have a right to seek financial compensation in a Mississippi personal injury lawsuit.  Depending on the specific facts of your situation, our experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney may be able to seek damages from the perpetrator and anyone that permitted the conduct despite a legal duty to protect the child from such abuse.  For example, lawsuits against Catholic priests that have committed sexual abuse and Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky also name the Archdioceses and Penn State University respectively.  The experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing tenacious representation to personal injury victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.