Archive for October, 2013

What Types of Damages Can I Recover for My Personal Injuries?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Individuals experiencing injuries related to a car or truck accident often have questions about the nature and extent of damages to which they may be entitled.  Although the exact nature and extent of your injuries will largely determine the amount of damages you are awarded, there are several broad categories of damages to which most injured individuals are entitled.  These categories are discussed in more detail below.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident in Mississippi, Barrett Law PLLC, can help answer any of your questions about damages or other questions you might have.  We can be reached at (800) 707-9577.

There are two major types of damages—actual damages and general damages.  Actual damages include expenses and other costs that you incur as a result of a motor vehicle accident.  General damages include all other types of damages.

One of the most common categories of damages awarded to an individual injured in a car or truck accident is damages for medical expenses.  Even in a relatively minor accident, medical bills can quickly amount to thousands of dollars.  If you do not have medical insurance, or have high deductibles or co-pay rates, the expenses associated with your injury can be staggering.  Depending upon the limits of the policy of the individual at fault, as well as your policy, you are entitled to reimbursement for all of the medical expenses you incurred as a result of the accident.

Another common actual expense is loss of wages.  If you suffered any kind of injury that prevented you from working for a period of time, you can recover for this lost income.  Additionally, if your injuries are such that they will affect your ability to work into the future, you can seek damages for future lost wages.  Determining the amount of future lost wages you may be entitled to is not as simple and determining your current wages and calculating your current wages over a future period.  Considerations such as wage increases, number of years of future work, and the present cash value of those wages must be taken into consideration.  Often times, these calculations require hiring an expert.  If you are an individual facing significant future lost wages, you should retain an attorney.  You want to maximize your ability to recover, and knowing the right experts to rely on will help you do that.  After all, the insurance company will have plenty of experts in its corner.  You want the best ones it your corner.

You are also entitled to compensation for any property damages you incurred, which includes your vehicle and other items that may have been in your vehicle and were damaged or destroyed due to the accident.

With regard to general damages, one of the most common categories of damages awarded is for pain and suffering.  Obviously, the more severe and long-lasting your injury, the more damages you are likely to be awarded.  Severe injuries such as loss of limbs, paralysis, burns, and disfigurement will give rise to more significant awards.

Damages related to emotional distress and anguish as a result of the accident are another category of compensable damages.  Individuals frequently suffer psychological symptoms after an accident; the more severe the accident, the more severe the psychological symptoms usually are.  Common occurrences are depression and anxiety.  If you have suffered such symptoms, or other emotional or psychological distress, you may be able to recover damages related to this distress.  Damages related to treating such conditions, however, are recoverable as actual medical expenses.

Loss of consortium is another compensable loss.  Loss of consortium refers to any individual’s inability to engage in relationships with his or her loved one as before the accident.  If you have been or will be unable to engage in activities with your family that were a part of your life before the accident, you may be able to recover for the loss of this enjoyment of activity.  Loss of consortium damages typically encompass relationships with both a spouse and with children.

Barrett Law PLLC, represents individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents in the Lexington, Mississippi, area.  Jonathan Barrett has been fighting for the rights of the injured for years—let him fight for yours if you have been injured.   We can be reached at (800) 707-9577.

What Can I Expect During My Mississippi Auto Accident Lawsuit

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

If you have been involved in a car or truck accident and have sustained any measurable personal injury, it may be that a lawsuit will need to be filed for you to fully recover the damages to which you are entitled.  Individuals facing the need to file a lawsuit to recover for personal injuries often have many questions about what is involved in a lawsuit.  The information below outlines some general features of most lawsuits related to motor vehicle accident injuries.  If you have any questions regarding this information, or any other questions regarding injuries you sustained in a car accident and your rights to recover for them, please contact Barrett Law PLLC, at (800) 707-9577.

Before any lawsuit is filed, it is common for a demand to be made upon the insurance company for the driver at fault.  Typically, this demand is made by an attorney for the individual injured in a car accident.  The demand seeks compensation for the damages the individual sustained.  Sometimes, this demand letter results in the insurance companying paying the requested amount.  But more often, a lawsuit will need to be filed to force the insurance company to pay the injured individual what he or she is owed.

At the outset, it is important to understand that resolving a lawsuit is typically a lengthy process.  It often takes years, not weeks or months, to resolve a lawsuit.  For that reason, it is imperative that you hire an attorney that you trust and that you like.  You will be working with your attorney for a significant period of time, and if you do not trust or like your attorney, it will make getting through the lawsuit process more difficult for you.

A lawsuit is started by filing with the court in the appropriate jurisdiction an initial document known as a complaint, filed on behalf of the injured individual.  The injured individual is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.  The complaint contains factual allegations about the accident in question and legal assertions about who is at fault and what damages to which the plaintiff is entitled.  An attorney will need to obtain enough information from his or her client to enable the attorney to include the necessary factual allegations in the complaint.

The complaint is directed at all of the individuals or companies that may be at fault—the defendants.  Each of these defendants must be served with the complaint and summons.  The summons is a document instructing each defendant that he, she or it needs to participate in the lawsuit or face what is referred to as a default judgment.  Once a defendant is served with the complaint and summons, he, she or it will typically inform any applicable insurance company of the lawsuit.  At this time, further negotiations to settle the case may occur.  All defendants that intend on participating in the lawsuit are required to file documents responding to the complaint.  Sometimes this document seeks dismissal of the lawsuit; other times, this document simply responds to each of the allegations of the complaint.

After the filing of the initial complaint and documents responsive to it, the next phase of a lawsuit is the discovery phase.  This is typically the longest phase of any lawsuit, and can last months to years.  During discovery, each party to the lawsuit is entitled to ask written questions of one another, to request documents from one another, and to conduct oral examinations of one another, of witnesses, and of any experts.  Discovery is typically also the most expensive phase of a lawsuit, because it is very time-intensive and may involve the hiring of experts.  If you represent yourself, you will have to pay these expenses out-of-pocket.  If you hire an attorney to represent you, typically the attorney will advance these expenses and then deduct them from any recovery you are awarded.

During or after the discovery phase, one or more of the parties might file documents with the court seeking judgment in his, her, or its favor based on the evidence obtained during the discovery phase.  This process can take several months, but if successful, will eliminate the need for a trial.

The trial is the final phase in any lawsuit.  Trials can be either in front of a judge or in front of a jury, depending on the type of lawsuit involved. Whether to try a case in front of a judge or jury involves numerous considerations, including the nature of your injuries, the nature of your damages, and the location your trial will occur in.  These considerations can be overwhelming for an individual that is not familiar with the legal system, and are a key reason why hiring an attorney experienced in litigating car accident cases is beneficial.  Trials in car or truck accident cases typically last several days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the injuries in question.  After the trial is concluded, either the judge or the jury will render a verdict, including a determination of whether the plaintiff is entitled to any damages and the extent of those damages.

Barrett Law PLLC, has experience representing individuals injured in car and truck accidents in Mississippi.  If you have any questions about lawsuits related to car or truck accident injuries, please contact us at (800) 707-9577 to set up a no-cost consultation.  We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.

General Recommendations Regarding What To Do Immediately After Being Involved In a Mississippi Car Accident

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

The average American drives thousands of miles every year or more, depending upon where he or she lives, works, and the activities in which he or she is involved.  Given the number of miles driven, and the related time spent on the road, car accidents are, unfortunately, common occurrences.  Luckily, many accidents are minor, with no injuries and minimal property damage involved.  Other accidents are much more severe and involve severe injuries and death.

Immediately after nearly any type of car accident, you can and should take certain actions to help protect yourself. First and foremost, all reasonable efforts should be taken to secure the accident site. This will most likely involve one of two courses of action.

If the accident is somewhat minor, try to move the vehicles out of the way to avoid further injury and damage.  If the cars cannot be moved safely, divert traffic around the accident scene.  Such action, however, should be taken only as appropriate.  During the course of moving the cars involved or immediately thereafter, you should contact the appropriate authorities.

If the accident is severe, involves an individual trapped in his or her vehicle, or if fuel or other flammable liquids are spilling from any vehicle, contact the appropriate authorities immediately and set up markers or other barriers, if possible, and keep a safe distance.  If you are severely injured, pinned in your car, or otherwise cannot escape the accident, call 911 if possible.  If other individuals are at the accident scene that can assist you, specifically direct one of the individuals to call 911.  If you think you have any type of neck or back injuries, do not move unless you are doing so to escape some other more immediate danger.

The time that passes waiting for the authorities to arrive is an ideal time to take photographs.  These include photographs of your car, the other vehicle, the accident scene, and any other relevant evidence.  Clear photographs of all vehicles and other physical evidence, such as utility poles, barriers, fences, etc., that may have been damaged, should be taken.  While it may not seem useful at the time, pictures of all pre-existing damage are important.  This allows you, your attorneys, and the attorneys for the insurance company to relatively easily determine what was related to the accident. The cameras on cell phones are very useful for taking such photographs.

During the time you are waiting for the authorities, it is also helpful for you to take notes about what happened.  You will probably need to fill out a police report, but sometimes the information asked for is limited.  You should include in your notes as many details as you can recall, including the weather conditions, the time of day, the degree of traffic, and the details of the accident.  Memories quickly fade, and it will be helpful for you to have these notes in the future. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, there will be many things to consider going forward.  In order to recover everything to which you are entitled, you may need to file a lawsuit.  Regardless of whether a lawsuit is necessary, hiring an experienced attorney who can assist you through the process and make sure you are recovering all the damages to which you are entitled will make things easier. The professionals at Barrett Law PLLC, have experience representing the injured.  We are here to help you the difficult days, weeks, and months ahead.  Please contact us today at (800) 707-9577 to schedule an appointment.

Florida Health Care Fraud Lawsuit Settled

Friday, October 25th, 2013

On September 30, 2013, a press release was issued announcing that a lawsuit filed on behalf of the United States against Winter Park Urology Associates, P.A., Radiation Oncology Consultants, P.A., and three of the latter’s physicians – Steven G. Lester, M.D., John D. Looper, M.D., and Maneesh Gossain, M.D. – has been settled.  The qui tam lawsuit was filed by Carlo Santa Ana on May 19, 2010, against the aforementioned defendants in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  It alleges that they presented false or fraudulent claims for payment to federal healthcare programs and used false records to present these claims.  As alleged, the false and fraudulent claims amounted to more than $20 million.

Winter Park Urology Associates is a physician-owned practice located in Orlando, Florida.  It operates the Orlando Cancer Institute.  Radiation Oncology Consultants, P.A., through three of its physicians—Dr. Lester, Dr. Looper, and Dr. Gossain—supervised the administration and operation of the Orlando Cancer Institute.  From June 2008 through March 2010, Mr. Santa Ana was the Director of Medical Physics for the Orlando Cancer Institute.  Mr. Santa Ana was also Department Manager for the Orlando Cancer Institute from April 2009 through March 2010.  He was terminated by Winter Park Urology Associates in March 2010.

The Complaint alleges that the Orlando Cancer Institute submitted thousands of claims for image-guided radiation therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy, despite the fact that the therapy was performed without a supervising physician, as required for reimbursement by Medicare.  Specifically, the Complaint sets forth that radiation therapists performed services and read image-guided radiation therapy images without any involvement from a radiation oncologist.  Images were not reviewed by a radiation oncologist until long after treatment was provided, if at all, based on allegations in the Complaint. According to the Complaint, Orlando Cancer Institute also submitted claims for intensity modulated radiation therapy that were not medically necessary.

The Complaint further alleges that Orlando Cancer Institute developed a policy of submitting add-on claims for special procedures, which such procedures were almost never adequately justified.  These procedures included medical radiation physics consultations and special treatment procedures.

In addition, the Complaint claims that Winter Park Urology Associates violated the Florida Patient Self-Referral Act, which prohibits a physician from referring to entities in which the referring physician holds an interest, subject to certain exceptions.   The violations occurred when Winter Park Urology Associates referred patients to the Orlando Cancer Center.  Finally, the Complaint alleges that Winter Park Urology Associates retaliated against Mr. Santa Ana by terminating him due to his complaints about the wrongdoing alleged in the Complaint.

Radiation Oncology Consultants, Dr. Lester, Dr. Looper, and Dr. Gossain were dismissed from the lawsuit as part of the settlement.  Winter Park Urology Associates has agreed to settle the matter, but the financial details of the settlement have not yet been made public.  The United States Department of Justice will have to approve the terms of the settlement agreement before it can be finalized.

If you are an employee and find yourself in a situation in which you have been retaliated against for complaints about practices by your employer, Barrett Law PLLC, can help you understand your rights and the protections to which you may be entitled.  We have a long history of protecting the rights of whistleblowers, and intend to continue protecting the rights of whistleblowers into the future.  Contact us today at (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Ex-Dean Wins Lawsuit Against Globe University

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Plaintiff Heidi Weber sued Globe University in 2011, alleging it retaliated against her by firing her after she raised concerns about the school’s admissions and other practices.  On August 15, 2013, she finally received the vindication she had been seeking for over two years.  After a week-long trial, the jury in Washington County, Minnesota, returned a verdict in favor of Ms. Weber and against Globe University.  The jury awarded Ms. Weber $395,000 in damages, which was comprised of $205,000 in lost wages, as she has been unable to secure employment since her termination, and $190,000 for emotional distress.  The jury deliberated for only ten hours before reaching its verdict.

Ms. Weber was Dean of the Medical Assistant Program at Globe University, at its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, campus.  Ms. Weber accused the university of falsifying job placement prospects, targeting students who had little to no prospects of acceptance at other universities because of criminal backgrounds and related issues, and changing accreditation agencies without informing the student body of this change in status.  When she raised these concerns with Globe University, rather than addressing Ms. Weber’s concerns, Globe University fired her.  As a result, Ms. Weber filed suit against Globe University under Minnesota’s whistleblower protection laws.

According to Ms. Weber, the university’s only focus was increasing enrollment to the detriment of the student body, and exposing this was her goal in brining the lawsuit.  Globe University argued that Ms. Weber was terminated for poor job performance.   Additionally, its attorneys argued that Ms. Weber did not prove that the allegations she raised against Globe University constituted violations of the Minnesota whistleblower protection laws and that irrelevant and prejudicial evidence was allowed in, which improperly affected its deliberations.

In a similar lawsuit, which remains pending in Hennepin County, Minnesota, Jeanne St. Clair sued Globe University for firing her after she complained that it was exaggerating its job-placement rate.  Ms. St. Clair is also a former dean at the university.  She was employed by Globe University from January 2009 through October 2011, at various campus locations in Minnesota.  The Complaint alleges that Ms. St. Clair likewise raised concerns over Globe University’s inflation of graduation and placement rates, as well as misleading students about its accreditation status.  The lawsuit is scheduled to proceed to trial next year.

Globe University is a university with both on-campus programs (multiple locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota), as well as on-line programs.  It is based on Woodbury, Minnesota, and offers degrees in over forty different areas.

Several weeks after the verdict in favor of Ms. Weber, on October 2, 2013, her attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit against Globe University on behalf of former and current students.  The lawsuit alleges that Globe University misleads potential students in an effort to increase enrollment; admits students based on their financial resources rather than educational qualifications; misleads students about or obscures its accreditation status; misleads students about the transferability of credits; misleads students about its placement rates; and misleads students of post-graduation salary expectations.

If you are an employee who has been terminated or otherwise suffered from an adverse action because you raised concerns about the illegality or impropriety of your employer’s actions, Barrett Law PLLC, can help.  We help protect the rights of whistleblowers as well as their legal interests.   Contact us today at (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

United States Department of Labor Orders Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc., to Pay Whistleblower

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

On September 30, 2013, the United States Department of Labor, through its extension – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – issued a press release regarding whistleblower and related retaliation allegations that had been brought against Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc., by its former Chief Financial Officer, whose identity remains undisclosed.

The former Chief Financial Officer of Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc., voiced concerns to Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc.’s board of directors about ethical and financial issues related to a proposed merger of the company.  Specifically, the former employee raised concerns about a conflict of interest affecting the Chairman of the Board of Directors, as well as concerns that the merger was not in the best interests of the company and that the conflict of the Chairman of the Board of Directors violated internal company ethics and Securities Exchange Commission required policies.  This reporting occurred in March 2010.  Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc., terminated the former Chief Financial Officer in April 2010.

One week after the termination, the former employee brought a whistleblower complaint with OSHA against Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc.  OSHA found the complaint to be valid and awarded the former employee $1.9 million in damages.  The damages include:  $486,000 in lost wages, bonuses, severance pay, and stock options; and $1.4 million in compensatory damages for pain and suffering, lost 401(k) matching, and damage to career prospects and reputation.  Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc., must also expunge its records of disciplinary actions related to the former Chief Financial Officer’s termination.

Many individuals associate OSHA with setting and enforcing workplace safety and health standards and providing training and outreach assistance to employees and employers.  However, OSHA is also responsible for administering twenty-one federal whistleblower protection laws.  These include:  the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act; the Clean Air Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010; the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act; the Energy Reorganization Act; the Federal Railroad Safety Act; the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; the International Safe Container Act; the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act; the National Transit Systems Security Act; the Occupational Safety and Health Act; the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act; the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; the Seaman’s Protection Act; portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act; portions of the Affordable Care Act; the Solid Waste Disposal Act; the Surface Transportation Assistance Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act; and the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century.

Retaliation actions that OSHA, via the whistleblower protection laws, has authority over include termination or laying-off; demoting; blacklisting; denying promotion or overtime; disciplining; denying benefits; failing to hire or rehire; making threats; intimidating; reassigning, which affects promotion prospects; and reducing pay or hours.

If you are a federal employee and have been terminated or otherwise suffered adverse action because you raised concerns about the illegality or impropriety of your employer’s actions, Barrett Law PLLC, can help.  Please be aware that there are relatively short and absolute deadlines for filing complaints with OSHA regarding whistleblowing allegations.  As such, if you have suffered such an action, please contact us immediately to set up your initial consultation.  We have a history of helping to protect the rights of whistleblowers, and stand by ready to help you.  Our firm can be reached at (800) 707-9577.

Second Phase of BP Oil Spill Trial Concludes

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The BP oil spill disaster, also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred from April through June 2010, was the second largest oil spill in the world’s history and the largest accidental oil spill in the world’s history. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is second in size only to the intentional spill that occurred in the Arabian Gulf/Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.

The Deepwater Horizon spill has resulted in a staggering number of claims. The spill also led to a lawsuit against BP by the United States Department of Justice and private plaintiffs. The first phase of the trial occurred over eight weeks from February through April 2013. It focused on whether BP, Transocean, Ltd., and Halliburton engaged in gross negligence, resulting in the Deepwater Horizon spill. Judge Carl J. Barbier presided over the first phase of the trial, and he has not yet ruled on whether BP, Transocean, Ltd., and Halliburton were grossly negligent in causing the spill.

The second phase of the trial began on September 30, 2013. Judge Barbier is also presiding, without a jury, over the second phase. The second phase of the trial focuses on attempts to stop the spill, or source control, as well as the size of the spill. Transocean, Ltd., and Halliburton are, ironically, now aligned with the United States Department of Justice as plaintiffs. Transocean, Ltd., and Halliburton are asserting that BP could have stopped the spill earlier by capping the well sooner. BP’s failures at source control, argue Transocean, Ltd., and Halliburton, thereby increased the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. BP’s failures at source control should thereby limit the financial liability of Transocean, Ltd., and Halliburton, their attorneys argue.

With regard to the size of the spill, the United States Department of Justice put on several key witnesses. One such witness was Mohan Kelkar, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Tulsa. Mr. Kelkar testified that between 4.5 and 5.5 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico over approximately three months. For reference, a barrel of oil contains 42 gallons. Mr. Kelkar’s calculations were based on the size of the physical Macondo reservoir, estimates of the amount of oil in the Macondo reservoir, and pre- and post-spill pressure readings.

Similarly, another key witness for the United States Department of Justice, was Mehran Pooladi-Darvish. Mr. Pooladi-Darvish is Vice President of Engineering at Fekete. Fekete is an oil reservoir engineering consulting firm. Mr. Pooladi-Darvish testified that between 5 million and 5.3 million barrels of oil were released in the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States Department rested its case on October 9, 2013.

Through the years since the spill, BP has maintained that only significantly less barrels were released than the United States Department of Justice contends. On October 10, 2013, BP began its defense of the second phase of the trial. One of its key witnesses, Martin Blunt, took the stand. Mr. Blunt is an assistant professor of petroleum engineering at Imperial College in Great Britain. Mr. Blunt testified that only 3.26 million barrels were released. Mr. Blunt attempted to discredit the testimony of Mr. Kelkar and Mr. Pooladi-Darvish by arguing that the latters’ estimates failed to account for the unique geology of the Macondo reservoir.

Depending upon the degree of negligence found by Judge Barbier and the size of the spill, BP could face fines of between $2.7 and $18 billion. The amount of penalties and fines levied against BP will be determined during the third phase of the trial, which will occur next year. If you have any questions about your rights pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Barrett Law PLLC can be reached at (800) 707-9577.

Typical Injuries Sustained In a Mississippi Car Accident: What You Should Know

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The National Safety Council has indicated that one out of eight drivers will be involved in a car accident this year.  This is not surprising, given that the average American drives thousands of miles every year.  Some accidents involve minor injuries only, while others involve catastrophic injuries or even death.  Regardless of the severity of a car accident, certain types of injuries occur with regular frequency.  This page discusses some of these injuries.  This information is not meant to substitute for or provide medical advice.  It is merely meant to provide information about common injuries sustained in car accidents.  If you have been injured as the result of a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.  If you have questions about your legal rights related to those injuries, Barrett Law PLLC, can help.  Jonathan Barrett is experienced in representing individuals injured in the Lexington, Mississippi, area as a result of car accidents.  Our law firm can be reached at (800) 707-9577.

Injuries to the head, neck, and spine are some of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents.  This is because even if the accident is relatively minor and occurs at a low speed, whiplash can occur.  Whiplash is an injury to the neck resulting from a sudden, sharp movement of the head backward or forward.  It often manifests itself through a painful stiffness of the neck and shoulders as well as headaches.  Injuries to the face and head can occur from broken glass, airbags being deployed, other debris, or more forceful contact with objects or other vehicles, leading to cuts, bruises, broken bones, and concussions.

In extremely severe cases, significant trauma to the head can result in traumatic brain injuries, leading to long-term or permanent cognitive impairment, or severing of the spinal cord entirely, resulting in paralysis or death.  Severe impact can also cause injuries to the discs between the bones in the spine, which can result in herniation or displacement of these discs.  Very often, surgery is required to repair these injuries.

Broken bones are also common.  Typically areas for breaks include hands, wrists, and arms, the ribcage, pelvic factures, and ankle and foot factures.  Some breaks are minor and easy to repair with standard casts; other breaks are much more complicated and involve insertion of pins, rods, plates or screws and a significant period of immobilization.

Soft tissue injuries, or injuries to your internal organs or muscles, are often experienced by car accident victims, even in relatively minor accidents, depending upon the type of impact.  Such injuries can include diaphragm injuries, resulting from blunt force to the chest or abdominal area.  These injuries are typically associated with side or front impact crashes.  Abdominal and pelvic injuries involving hip fractures or injuries to the organs in your abdominal and pelvic area (liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, and reproductive organs) are also typically associated with side or front impact crashes.

These injuries are only some of the injuries that an individual involved in a car accident might experience.  Certainly, depending on the nature of the car accident, other injuries may occur.  If you have been in a car accident and believe that you have suffered an injury other than one discussed above, or one of the injuries discussed above, it is vital that you seek medical attention immediately.

Suffering through the days, weeks, and months after you have been seriously injured in a car accident is an extremely trying time.  Trying to deal with recovering damages for injuries you have sustained like the ones described above is not something you should have to do alone.  Barrett Law PLLC, is here to help you. Let us put our experience to work for you.  Please contact us today at (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation.

The Government Shut Down & Your Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Claim

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

If you are an employee of the federal government and have a workers’ compensation claim pending or a claim that needs to be filed, you are undoubtedly frustrated, worried, and wondering what to do next in light of the current state of affairs of the federal government. Below is a summary of the major workers’ compensation programs administered by the federal government and the status of them during the government shutdown. If you or a loved one is a federal employee and has recently suffered an injury related to your employment, please contact our office today to discuss your options during the shutdown, as well as your rights and options after the shutdown. You can reach Barrett Law PLLC at (800) 707-9577. We understand the fear and uncertainty you are likely facing during this time, both as a result of your injury and the delay that you may be facing in the processing of your claim, and we are here to help you.

Two key government agencies—the United States Department of Labor and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services—are responsible for administering workers compensation claims for federal employees under various workers’ compensation programs.

The United States Department of Labor administers, through the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. The Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation is partially operational during the government shutdown. It will continue to process new claims and administer existing claims.

The United States Department of Labor also administers, through two of its extensions, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. These two extensions include the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and the Office of Administrative Law Judges. Each of these Offices is closed, and no hearings, filings, or similar actions will occur during the government shutdown. Because of the closure of each of these offices, Stephen L. Purcell, Chief Administrative Law Judge, issued an extension of filing and related deadlines. The new due dates for any activity is to be calculated by adding the number of days the government is shut down to the original due date. Additionally, it is expected that delays in processing claims, conducting hearings, etc., will occur after the government shutdown is over, due to the accumulation of backlogged cases.

The United States Department of Labor, through the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, is also responsible for administration of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. All division offices administering this program remain open during the government shutdown.

Finally, the United States Department of Labor, Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, is an extension that is responsible for the administration of the Black Lung Benefits Act. The Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, is providing limited services only during the government shutdown.

The Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services and its extensions are partially operational. The Workers’ Compensation Review Contractor, which reviews Medicare Set-Aside claims, remains open during the government shutdown. However, because regional offices of the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services are themselves closed, delays in processing final approval of Medicare Set-Asides will occur. The Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Contractor, which is responsible for recovering conditional payments for Medicare, also remains open during the government shutdown. As with the United States Department of Labor and its extensions, delays in processing claims will occur after the government shutdown is over, due to the accumulation of backlogged cases.

Barrett Law PLLC has significant experience representing individuals injured or killed on the job in the Lexington, Mississippi, area. If you or a family member is a federal employee and have questions about your rights during the government shutdown, please contact our office today to schedule an initial, no-cost consultation. We can be reached (800) 707-9577.