Archive for July, 2014

BP Oil Spill Dispersants Still Found in Environment

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Four years after the massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an ingredient found in the controversial dispersants that were used to break down oil are still being found in tar balls along Gulf Coast beaches.  The discovery of this ingredient, which is commonly found in human laxatives, has alarmed environmentalists and the public alike.  Its presence four years later stands in stark opposition to the message sent by BP and EPA officials during the spill that dispersants evaporated quickly from the environment.

More than 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants were used to clean up the oil spill, being injected into the subsurface of oil slicks in an effort to prevent the slicks from reaching beaches and marshes.

The study that sparked this finding was published by scientists at Haverford College and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  Their research paper, which was published in Environment Science & Technology Letters, states it is important for other scientists studying the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster to know the dispersants are still present in the environment.

Researchers participating in the study examined samples from deep sea corals and sediment collected in December of 2010, along with oil soaked sand found along Gulf Coast beaches from July 2010 to present.  The dispersant chemical DOSS was found in variable quantities in the deep sea coral communities for at least six months after the spill and 26 to 45 months on beaches.

These results indicate that the dispersant, which was touted as safe for the environment and quick to dissipate, remains with oil in the environment and can persist for at least four years.  Most surprising was the presence of DSS in the sand patties four years after the spill, as this sand has been exposed to weather, waves, temperature changes, and air, which provided ample opportunities for the dispersant to dissipate.

One question this study does not attempt to answer is what kind of danger the presence of DOSS in the environment could pose, both to marine and human life.  While the concentration of DOSS is low in the samples studied, the chemical could surely have an effect on the environment.

A BP spokesman in Houston, Texas has responded to the study and rebuffed any notion that the low levels of dispersants found could pose any risk to human or aquatic life.  None of the samples tested exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety levels for dispersants.  Further, according to BP, the DOSS chemical can come from many different sources and it is not uncommon to find traces of it in the Gulf, making it difficult to isolate its source to the BP oil spill. Researchers from this study did take care to ensure the DOSS chemical was from the dispersants, however, by comparing other samples found not to contain DOSS.

Many environmentalists believe the BP oil spill has continued to have a negative impact on marine life, including tuna.  The presence of dispersants raises questions as to their possible role in the death and ill-health of marine life.

Barrett Law PLLC: Helping Victims of the Catastrophic BP Deep Horizon Oil Spill

It has been four years since the BP Oil Spill pumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.  While many individuals have received compensation for their lost profits attributed to the impact of the spill, many more continue to suffer ongoing losses due to the still present environmental contamination.  This recent studying examining the presence of dispersants four years later is just one piece of evidence supporting the ongoing damaging effect of the spill.  If you have been or may have been impacted by the BP oil spill, the experienced Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

What to Do if Your Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Claim Has Been Denied

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

If you have been injured on the job, whether it be a cumulative stress injury or a work place related accident, you have the right to receipt of workers’ compensation benefits which will cover your medical expenses and offer partial payment for your time off from work.  Employees injured in any field are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, from construction site workers to retail employees, office workers, and any other sort of workplace employee.

Despite broad workers’ compensation coverage, many workers’ compensation claims are denied for a variety of reasons.  Finding out your claim has been denied is frightening, as you are counting on receiving those benefits you have earned.  It is important any injured worker who has been denied workers’ compensation coverage understand they do have the right to appeal that denial and can still successfully obtain benefits to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

Why was your claim denied?

Unfortunately, your employer and the insurer both have a vested interest in denying your claim.  Your employer would like to avoid paying you for missed time off work, and the insurer, who is a for-profit business, will benefit from not paying your claim.  With this being said, many workers’ compensation claims are denied.  Any appeal from a denial will require examination of the reason behind the denial of your claim.

            Some of the most common reasons for denying workers’ compensation claims include:

  • Your injury was the result of a preexisting condition
  • You were not actually injured on the job
  • The injury was not as severe as you claimed it to be
  • You were injured on the job, but you can still perform work duties
  • Your injury is precluded from coverage by Mississippi state laws
  • Your injuries are the result of an unrecognized illness

Workers’ compensation claims can also be denied due to administrative failings, such as mistakes made in paperwork or not visiting an approved physician.  One of the most common reasons an employer denies a workers’ compensation claim is the employee failed to report or file the claim on time.  Injured employees have a strict time limit in which to report their injuries, or risk denial of their entire claim.

Appealing Your Denial

The moment you receive notification your claim has been denied, or approved for only partial losses, you should seek the assistance of a licensed and experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Mississippi.  A workers’ compensation attorney will evaluate your claim and the denial to uncover whether appealing the decision is the best course of action.  Your attorney can also seek to correct any mistakes that may have lead to the denial, in an effort to avoid the appeals process.

You have a very limited time in which to seek an appeal from denial of your workers’ compensation claim.  As such, you must act fast to preserve your workers’ compensation action.  You will require the assistance of a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney who can help you navigate the complex appeals process.

Barrett Law PLLC: Assisting Injured Workers Across Mississippi

Discovering your workers’ compensation claim has been denied is stressful and terrifying, leaving you feeling discouraged and vulnerable as to your ability to receive compensation for your medical bills and time off work.  The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC know the steps to successfully appealing your denial.  For over 75 years, we have assisted injured Mississippi workers in receiving the workers’ compensation benefits they need to move on with their life and their recovery.  For experienced representation with zeal and compassion, call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Notable Qui Tam Lawsuits

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Whistleblowers have become a well-known concept to the general public thanks, in large part, to several famous Hollywood films.  A whistleblower is anyone who reveals misconduct on the part of a company or their employer.  The misconduct often involves fraud or corruption perpetuated for financial gain.  The U.S. government is a frequent victim of intentional fraud, costing taxpayers astronomical sums each year.

While the term whistleblower is well known, the lawsuits brought by whistleblowers, called Qui Tam actions, are less understood.  The origin of qui tam actions stems from The False Claims Act.  Created in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, the False Claims Act is intended to punish persons or companies who defraud the U.S. government.  Within the law is a so-called “qui tam” condition that allows a private person to file suit on the government’s behalf.  The concept of qui tam itself dates back to 13th century England.

The False Claims Act offers whistleblowers a financial incentive intended to encourage them to step forward.  The whistleblower who successfully files the suit can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the money recovered by the federal government.  In 1986, the False Claims Act was strengthened to provide additional whistleblower rights out of concern for rampant fraud in the military contracting industry.  Since this time, the number of whistleblower actions filed each year has risen dramatically.

            The following is a look at a few high-profile whistleblower cases:

  1. Pfizer, Inc: In this famous 2009 case, a sales representative for Pfizer, John Kopchinski, filed a qui tam suit against his employer for engaging in fraudulent marketing practices with Bextra.  The suit alleged that Pfizer violated the federal laws banning kickbacks by reimbursing Bextra through both state and federal government programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.  Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer plead guilty and paid fines in excess of $2.3 billion.  This was the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the U.S.  Pfizer also paid $1.195 billion in the qui tam action, making it the largest civil settlement against a pharmaceutical company.  Kopchinski and six others split $102 million.
  2. Northrop Grumman: Northrop Grumman is a large aerospace and defense technology company.  Whistleblower Robert Ferro filed a qui tam suit against this company, charging it with selling faulty electronic equipment for use with military satellites.  The $325 million settlement that resulted is the biggest settlement paid by a defense contractor in this sort of suit.  Ferro received over $48 million for his actions in whistleblowing.
  3. Quest Diagnostics: In this sizable case, Quest Diagnostics, a giant medical lab company, paid a $302 million settlement, representing the largest amount paid by a medical lab company for a faulty product.  The qui tam case was filed by a California biochemist.  He asserted that Quest’s subsidiary, Nichols Institute Diagnostics Inc., was selling faulty blood kits to medical testing companies and hid the evidence that the kits were inaccurate.  This whistleblower was awarded 18 percent of the massive $253 million settlement.

Barrett Law PLLC: Experienced Representation for Qui Tam Whistleblower Actions

Qui tam lawsuits allow the courts to correct and put a stop to fraudulent activity, while also providing whistleblowers with financial compensation for their brave efforts in coming forward.  Across three generations and for over 75 years, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have guided whistleblowers through the filing and pursuit of qui tam actions.  We have the skill, experience, and dedication to zealously pursue your qui tam case.  Barrett Law PLLC offers a free consultation to all new clients and operates on a contingency fee basis.  For excellence of legal services unmatched across the state of Mississippi, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

The Whistleblowers Who Tried to Lift the Veil Before Snowden

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Though Edward Snowden is the individual best known for leaking government documents that expose possible unconstitutional activity, a host of whistleblowers before him also struggled to lift the veil on questionable government activities.  Bill Benney is one such individual.  Binney worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) for nearly three decades as a leading crypto-mathematician.  He later became one of its leading whistleblowers.

Binney, who is now 70 and on crutches after losing a leg to diabetes, can still vividly recall the July morning seven years ago when over a dozen armed FBI agents burst through his front door as he was coming out of the shower.

The NSA is an agency overseen by Congress, the courts, and other governmental departments, along with its own workers.  In the past dozen years, whistleblowers like Binney have not had an easy time exposing misconduct.  Those early whistleblowers that attempted to work within the system state that Edward Snowden learned from their harsh experience.

Binney’s decision to go from NSA employee to whistleblower came shortly after September 11, 2011, when he uncovered the NSA had begun using a software he created to gather information about unwitting Americans without a court order.  In his belief, this act amounted to treason as it subverted the U.S. Constitution.

Binney and two other NSA employees who also later resigned from the agency first attempted to raise the issue with congressional committees.  However, because they lacked the documents to prove their charges, no one believed them.  Snowden did not repeat that mistake.  He seemed to recognize right away, perhaps after watching Binney and the others fail, that you need to provide documentation.  This is why Snowden had such an impact, where others that tried to work within the system failed to.

For instance, computer expert Thomas Drake blew the whistle on what he considered to be unconstitutional NSA programs.  Instead of resulting in investigations into the NSA—Drake found himself under prosecution.  Drake, who had taken his concerns to both the NSA and Congress, eventually showed unclassified information from the NSA to a reporter when no action was taken internally.  His home was raided and he was charged with violating the Espionage Act.  Drake ended up negotiating a misdemeanor plea after the government’s case fell apart and now works at an Apple store.  Drake too believes Snowden learned from his plight.

George Ellard, the NSA’s inspector general, has told the public that Snowden could have properly raised his concerns and Ellard would have offered him protection.  Snowden claims he did try to blow the whistle internally at the NSA, but Ellard never heard from him.

Since Snowden, Binney, and Drake’s attempts at whistleblowing, the rules for whistleblowers have changed.  President Obama issued a directive intended to provide greater protections for whistleblowers working for intelligence agencies, since they are not afforded the same protections as other federal employees.  Employees who raise concerns while employed, like Drake, will have a chance to appeal to inspectors generals at other intelligence agencies. Former employees, like Binney, are not afforded the same protections.

Bill Binney offers some important advice for anyone considering whistleblowing—the first thing you must do is get a lawyer.

Barrett Law PLLC: Providing Experience and Dedicated Representation to Brave Mississippi Whistleblowers

The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC believe whistleblowers like Bill Benney and so many others within both federal and state agencies serve a vital function to the American public.  These courageous whistleblowers risk their jobs and livelihood to expose illegal activities that affect us all.  For over 75 years, our Mississippi qui tam attorneys have assisted whistleblowers in exposing fraudulent conduct.  We also protect whistleblowers who have experienced any sort of retaliation for their actions.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss the Most Common Types of Car Accidents in Mississippi

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Millions of car accidents occur each year and these accidents range in seriousness from minor fender benders, often involving just property damage or easily treatable cuts and scrapes, to far more serious and catastrophic accidents, sending hundreds of thousands of individuals to the hospital.  A review of crash data and local news headlines reveals that while every crash is unique, certain types of car accidents occur over and over again.

The following is a look at some of the most common car accidents that happen on Mississippi roadways, as well as across the country:

  1. T-Bone or Side Impact Accidents: A side impact accident occurs when one vehicle hits another on the side, either by t-boning the car at a right angle or merging into the car’s part of travel.  Most side impact crashes in Mississippi are caused by the driver’s failure to yield or obey stop signs and traffic lights.  T-bone accidents will often result in serious injury to the occupants of the vehicle seated on the side impacted, as side airbags offer little protection when faced with an oncoming vehicle.
  2. Read-end Accidents: Rear-end collisions happen when one vehicle hits another from behind.  Generally, the cause of rear-end accidents is the second or following car failing to brake fast enough to avoid hitting the car ahead.  Often, the driver of the second car is following too closely, driving distractedly, or traveling too fast.  As such, in most rear-end accidents, the second car driver will be found at fault.  Injuries stemming from rear-end accidents range in severity from minor whiplash to life threatening brain damage or paralysis.
  3. Head-on Collisions: Perhaps the most serious and often deadly type of car accident, head-on accidents occur when a car collides into the front of another car or stationary object.  Head-on accidents can occur when a driver is tired or intoxicated and drifts into the other lane.  They can also happen as a result of unsafe passing.  Occasionally, drivers unfamiliar with the area will accidently drive the wrong way down a one way, leading to catastrophic head-on accidents.
  4. Rollover Accidents: Rollover collisions occur when a vehicle, most often a truck, SUV van, bus, or other tall vehicle, flip over onto its back or side.  Taller vehicles are more prone to rollover due to their higher center of gravity.  Rollover accidents can occur when another vehicle hits a car on the side or the driver of a rollover prone car takes a turn too quickly.  They also commonly happen when the SUV or truck hits an object, referred to as a “trip,” on one side.

These are just a few of the car accidents that can occur on Mississippi roadways.  Anyone injured in a car accident isencouraged to contact a licensed auto accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure their maximum chance at a full recovery.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Auto Accident Attorneys of Distinction

As this list of common Mississippi car accidents shows, there are a number of different types of car accidents you or a loved one can be involved in.  Some crashes are merely fender benders, while others involve serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, back injuries, internal organ damage, paralysis, and more.  No matter what type of car accident you are involved in, you deserve the assistance of an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney.  For over 75 years, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fought for the recovery of victims of all sorts of car accidents.  We offer you the same level of skill and dedication.  To schedule your free initial consultation, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577.  We look forward to providing you with excellence of legal services.

Retaliation & Whistleblowing in Mississippi: FAQs

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

An employee who acts as a whistleblower and reports the unlawful conduct of an employer or co-worker may experience some form of retaliation.  Those caught in this situation may be confused, unclear as to their rights, and feeling trapped.  Under Federal and Mississippi law, employees who report unlawful conduct are protected from retaliation by their employer or co-worker.  You do have recourse if you have experienced negative repercussions at work due to your whistleblowing report.

The following is a list of questions frequently asked by whistleblowers in Mississippi concerning retaliation and their rights against it:

What protection do I have against retaliation by an employer?

Employees are protected from retaliation by employers for asserting protected rights. In a retaliation claim, the employer generally takes some negative action against the employee due to their assertion of their protected right.  The retaliation can come in the form of:

  • Suspension
  • Demotion
  • Harassment or intimidation
  • Termination of employment
  • Other threatening behavior

To win a retaliation suit, an employee must prove they engaged in a protected conduct; their employer took adverse action against them; and the employer took such adverse action because they engaged in protected conduct.

What conduct is protected?

In order to be protected, the conduct must be such that a federal or state law prohibits retaliation for engaging in it or the court finds retaliation against the conduct jeopardizes public policy.  Some examples of protected conduct would include complaints about the conditions or terms of employment, as this is covered under the National Labor Relations Act.

If I report conduct that I believe is unlawful but it turns out to be lawful, am I still protected against retaliation?

So long as the report was made in good faith, yes.  You will receive the same protection from retaliation as you would have if the conduct turned out to be illegal.  It should also be noted that protection extends to former employees.  Therefore, if you file a complaint but later leave the job and your employer provides unfavorable references due to your previous complaint, this is actionable retaliation.

How close in time must the retaliation be?

Time is often the most important evidence between whistleblowing and reprisal.  Since you must establish the employer took the negative action due to your whistleblowing, an adverse event that takes place shortly after the protected conduct will be easier to prove.  However, this does not mean actions that take place months later will be dismissed.  Sometimes, an earlier, minor action against the employee can provide evidence to link the later, more dramatic reprisal.  A skilled whistleblower attorney will assist you in analyzing the timing and strength of your potential case.

What are the remedies for retaliation?

The exact remedies available if you are successful in your suit will vary depending upon your jurisdiction and the law which your employer violated.  However, some possible remedies include:

  • Reinstatement
  • Back pay
  • Liquidated damages (double your back pay)
  • Front pay (future wages)
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees

Your attorney will discuss the precise remedies available to you after review of your case.

Barrett Law PLLC: Protecting Mississippi’s Brave Whistleblowers   

For over 75 years, across three generations, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law, PLLC have provided skilled, zealous, and intelligent representation for courageous Mississippi whistleblowers.  We believe that whistleblowers serve a vital function in our society, exposing waste of government resources and fraudulent conduct.  As such, we will strive zealously to assist you in exposing such harmful conduct.  Barrett Law, PLLC operates on a contingency fee basis and the first consultation is always free.  The attorneys at Barrett Law, PLLC pride themselves on ensuring each and every client receives superior representation, with passion and zeal.  Call today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

High Profile Tracy Morgan 18 Wheeler Accident Results in Lawsuit

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Comedian and actor Tracy Morgan has filed a lawsuit against mega-store Wal-Mart over the fatal 18 wheeler accident that left him seriously injured and killed a close comedian friend.  Tracy Morgan was traveling in a limousine on I-95 following a comedy gig when a Wal-Mart operated tractor trailer, traveling well over the speed limit, pummeled into the vehicle.  Morgan sustained multiple fractures that left him needing several surgeries and facing an extended, difficult recovery.  Morgan’s close friend and fellow comedian James McNair tragically perished in the accident.

On July 10, 2014, Tracy Morgan filed suit against Wal-Mart in a U.S. District Court in New Jersey.  He claims in the lawsuit that Wal-Mart acted carelessly and negligently in allowing truck driver Kevin Roper to operate a truck after not sleeping in over 24 hours.  This suit comes less than one month after the accident and days after Morgan’s much anticipated release from the rehabilitation center at which he had been living since leaving the hospital.  Morgan will now continue his intensive recovery at home.

In the lawsuit, which is sure to become high profile and well watched, Morgan claims Wal-Mart knew or should have known that Roper was not fit to drive after not having slept in over 24 hours.  Roper had driven more than 11 hours to a Wal-Mart distribution center in Smyrna, Delaware from his Georgia home.  He was then allowed to continue on his truck route, which resulted in the deadly crash.  Prosecutors claim Roper fell asleep behind the wheel and he faces charges of vehicular homicide.

Wal-Mart has publically stated that Roper was within the Federal guidelines for maximum hours worked.  Current guidelines require truckers work for up to 14 hours with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.  They must then be provided with 10 hours off to allow for adequate sleep before they continue driving.  Though possibly within the federal limit, Roper was certainly near exceeding it.

Tracy Morgan is joined in his lawsuit by several other passengers of the ill fated limousine who also sustained injuries.  Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, and his eight months pregnant wife are included in the suit, as is comedian Ardie Funqua.  James McNair’s family has not yet filed a wrongful death suit but will likely do so in the near future.

Morgan and the other plaintiffs in the suit Morgan v. Wal-Mart are seeking both actual and punitive damages for Wal-Mart’s gross negligence, along with attorney’s fees.  Although punitive damages are rarely awarded, if the court were to find Wal-Mart acted with recklessness or gross negligence, a punitive damages award in this case could be substantial.

Morgan’s case has already brought much public attention to a matter that should concern us all—overtired truckers.  With the number of truckers on the roadways continuing to increase, it is imperative federal guidelines and individual companies work to ensure all truckers are acting safely while on the road.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Taking On the Trucking Industry for Our Injured Clients

The  catastrophic Tracy Morgan accident has called the public’s attention to the national problem of overtired and overworked truckers.  This crash has spurred safety advocacy groups to continue to push for increased regulation over the trucking industry, but much work must still be done to protect the lives of all drivers.  The experienced Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fought for over 75 years to see that our clients who are injured in trucking accidents obtain the justice they deserve.  If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, call Barrett Law PLLC today to start us working for you! We can be reached at 1 (800) 707-9577 and offer a free case analysis to all new clients.

Chrysler Recalls Nearly 800,000 SUVs Due to Ignition Switch Problems

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Automaker giant Chrysler recently announced the recall of over 792,000 older SUVs due to a defective ignition switch.  SUVs affected by the recall include Jeep Commanders made between 2006 and 2007 and Jeep Grand Cherokees made between 2005 and 2007.  This ignition switch recall sounds eerily similar to the massive, still ongoing GM recall that also centered around defective ignition switches.  Just like the GM switches, Chrysler’s faulty ignition switches cause the transmissions of malfunctioning cars to be moved out of the “on” position while the car is in drive.  This can cause the engine to stall and the airbags not to deploy in the event of an accident. Most often, the malfunction occurs when the driver’s knee bumps the ignition switch or extra weight is contained on the keychain.

Chrysler’s defective ignition switch has only been linked to one accident so far, but it seems likely other individuals will step forward now that the problem has been brought to the public’s attention.  Ignition switch defects have caused the recall of millions of vehicles this year alone.  In June, Chrysler recalled another nearly 700,000 SUVs and minivans for a similar reason.

General Motors continues to face investigations, fines, and lawsuits after failing to recall millions of its vehicles due to ignition switch problems that they knew existed for over 10 years.  GM’s defective ignition switch has been linked to at least 13 deaths and many more accidents.  Thus far, nearly 14 million GM cars, trucks, and SUVs have been recalled for ignition switch problems.

 The ignition switch at the heart of GM’s recall was manufactured by Delphi, who is a large U.S. auto parts supplier.  Chrysler has not informed the public whether Delphi also manufactured its defective ignition switches.

Chrysler continues to investigate its ignition switch issue and it is likely other Chrysler vehicles will be recalled for similar problems.  Chrysler plans to contact customers in mid-September, allowing them the opportunity to bring their cars into the dealership for repair.  Until then, Chrysler has urged all drivers of recalled vehicles to make sure there is plenty of room between their knee and the ignition key, and to remove all extra items from the key ring.

Accidents caused by defective automobile parts, such as faulty ignition switches, can be attributed to the negligence of the automobile manufacturer or the maker of the defective part.  Individuals who have been injured due to a defective automobile may be able to obtain compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more from the manufacturer of the automobile or part.  Anyone involved in a car accident that could be linked to a faulty ignition switch is advised to consult a defective automobile accident attorney as soon as possible so that they can begin to mount an effective case.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Defective Automobile Accident Attorneys Fighting for the Rights of Our Clients

Car or truck accidents caused by defective parts can be devastating, often leading to serious injuries that can have long term and even permanent effects.  For over 75 years, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fought for the rights of our clients injured due to the negligence of automobile manufacturers.  Defective product cases can be among the most difficult to win, but the seasoned attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC know what it takes to obtain the results you deserve.  To schedule your free initial consultation, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577.  We look forward to providing you with excellence of legal services.

Head-On Crash Claims Life of Liberty, Mississippi Man

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

On Monday, July 21, 2014, a head-on accident occurred in Amite County, claiming the life of one person and injuring another.  The Mississippi Highway Patrol reports that the accident happened shortly before 6 p.m. on Mississippi 24.  Henry Spoler, a 68 year old man from McComb, was driving eastbound in his car when a car traveling westbound crossed into his lane.  Russell Lovett, of Liberty, was the 48 year old westbound driver.  He collided head-on with Spoler’s vehicle.

Authorities are still trying to determine why Lovett’s vehicle jumped out of the lane and in front of Spoler’s car.  Lovett was transported to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb where he sadly succumbed to his injuries.  Spoler was taken by helicopter to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana hospital of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.  His injuries have been described as moderate.

Days later, in another part of the state, a head-on accident between a pickup truck and an 18 wheeler sent both drivers to the hospital.  This head-on collision occurred in Jones County.  On July 25, 2014 at about 8:30 p.m., emergency medical responders were dispatched to an accident on Mississippi 29.  First arrivers found a GMC Sierra facing nose down into a ditch.  An 18 wheeler hauling chicken fertilizer was in a ditch on the other side of the highway.  Both drivers were injured, with the driver of the pickup truck slipping in and out of consciousness.  According to officials, the 18 wheeler had been traveling south and the GMC headed north.  The GMC apparently crossed over the center line after rounding a curve and went into the path of the 18 wheeler.  The accident remains under investigation.

These serious and, in the first crash’s case, fatal accidents highlight the devastating nature of head-on collisions.  Head-on collisions, while not common, account for nearly 20 percent of all fatal accidents.  When these accidents unfortunately occur, severe injuries and death often follow.  Negligence is the primary cause of head-on accidents.  Some of the most common causes of head-on accidents include: distracted driving, driving while impaired, passing when it is not safe to do so, failure to observe road signs, taking a corner at excessive speeds, obstacles in the roadway, and falling asleep behind the wheel.  Road rage and reckless driving can also frequently lead to head-on accidents, as these factors spur drivers to behave erratically and aggressively.

Those involved in a head-on accident will require the assistance of a seasoned automobile accident attorney.  These sorts of accidents often involve serious injuries, including broken bones, internal organ damage, brain injury, neck or back injuries, burns, and permanent disfigurement.  A skilled personal injury attorney can thoroughly assess your injuries and medical records to determine the potential long term consequences of your injuries.  Your attorney can then fight to receive compensation not just for your current medical bills, but for all future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Barrett Law PLLC: Proudly Representing Injured Mississippi Drivers Across the State  

The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have zealously represented the victims of car accidents occurring across the state for over 75 years.  Our unwavering dedication to seeing our clients obtain a full recovery has earned us a reputation for excellence and skill.  We operate on a contingency fee basis and can meet injured clients in their home or hospital.  The experienced car accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC will provide you with the dedicated assistance you need to obtain the results you desire.  Call today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Recent Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Highlights a Common Danger for Motorcyclists

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

A fatal motorcycle accident occurred in Aurora, Mississippi on July 21, 2014 when a motorcyclist was thrown from his bike after a car turned into his lane.  The crash occurred on East Mississippi Avenue at about 6:20 p.m.  Police state that the motorcyclist, who has not yet been identified, was traveling west in the right lane of East Mississippi Avenue when a silver car turned left in front of him.  The motorcyclist did not have time to stop before he hit the passenger side of the car.  The rider, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown over the car and onto the roadway.  He died shortly afterwards in the hospital.  The driver of the car was not injured and at this time police do not believe intoxication or excessive speed were involved in the accident.

One of the most dangerous situations for motorcyclists is cars making left hand turns.  Left hand turn accidents account for over 40 percent of all accidents between cars and motorcycles.  Most often, the car hits the motorcycle when the motorcycle is traveling straight through an intersection.  Sometimes left hand turn accidents happen when the motorcycle is attempting to pass the car.  In left hand turn accidents, the driver of the car, truck, or SUV is almost always found liable because he or she negligently turned into the motorcyclist.  The driver generally did not observe the motorcyclist due, in part, to the motorcyclist’s lesser visibility.  This is often compounded by poor lighting or weather conditions, driver distraction, intoxication, or excessive speed.  Drivers can ensure they never injure a motorcyclist in this manner by always checking all their blind spots before making a left hand turn.

Left hand turn accidents are just one common type of motorcycle accident.  Another accident that frequently occurs is head-on collisions.  Head-on motorcycle crashes account for 56 percent of all fatal accidents involving a motorcyclist and an automobile.  Most of these accidents involve the motorcycle being hit from the front by a car, truck, or SUV. Given the lesser protections afforded the motorcyclist, head-on accidents sadly lead to hundreds of fatalities a year.

Distracted driving has become a common cause of motorcycle accidents.  Though distracted drivers are a threat to all road users, motorcyclists are especially at risk due to their smaller size and lesser visibility.  Drivers who are not paying attention to the road ahead because they are texting, talking on the phone, emailing, tending to children or pets, or engaging in like distracted behaviors, may not see an approaching motorcycle.

Alcohol use is yet another frequent cause of car accidents.  Driving a motorcycle or a motor vehicle while impaired is dangerous, leading to reckless behaviors such as speeding, swerving, passing, and overall poor judgment.

Anyone injured in a motorcycle accident should consult a licensed motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.  It is vital that evidence be collected early on to help preserve your later case.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Seeking Justice for Our Injured Clients

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, and paralysis.  Those injured in a motorcycle accident require the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will ensure they receive the compensation they deserve to cover losses that often include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. For over 75 years, the Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fought for the recovery of motorcycle accident victims. To schedule your free initial consultation, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577.  We look forward to providing you with excellence of legal services.