Archive for October, 2014

Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyers Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions About the Federal False Claims Act

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

The following is a look at some questions most commonly asked by Mississippi whistleblowers or potential whistleblowers concerning the Federal False Claims Act.  Your licensed whistleblower attorney can provide you with individualized information and an assessment of your potential qui tam action.

What is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is a federal law originally enacted during the Civil War.  This law makes it illegal for any person or entity to defraud the U.S. government.  Whistleblower or qui tam provisions are found within the act.  These provisions offer legal incentives to encourage individuals who are aware of fraud occurring against the government to step forward and reveal this critical information.

What does qui tam mean?

Many people are not familiar with the term “qui tam.”  Qui tam is actually a Latin phrase which roughly translates into English as “he who brings an action for the kings as well as himself.”  Qui tam is the title of the whistleblower provisions with the False Claims Act, and it allows civilians to file claims against wrongdoers on behalf of the federal government.

What actions are prosecuted under the False Claims Act?

Any actions involving fraud being perpetuated against the government, particularly those involving the taking of money or services, will be illegal under the False Claims Act.  The most common claims brought under the act include Medicaid and Medicare fraud, customs fraud, conspiracies to raise prices, false billings, fraud against the U.S. Postal Service, construction fraud, fraud against government contractors, and public works fraud.

Who can become a whistleblower?

Any individual who uncovers fraud against the government can bring a qui tam action.  Most often, whistleblowers are corporate employees who discover their employers are committing fraud.  However, medical patients, business subcontractors, and customers are also commonly whistleblowers.  There is not a restriction on who can bring this action.

Are whistleblowers protected under the False Claims Act?

All whistleblowers that meet the criteria under the False Claims Act will be protected.  If a whistleblower loses his or her job as a result of filing a qui tam action, the former employee can sue the employer for wrongful termination and retaliation, seeking damages stemming from the loss of the job and ensuing emotional distress along with potentially punitive damages.  The whistleblower could also be entitled to attorney’s fees.

What compensation do whistleblowers receive?

Whistleblowers can receive a significant sum for filing a qui tam action.  If the fraud claims are substantiated and the government recovers for losses associated with the fraud, the whistleblower could be entitled to more than 15 percent of the monetary amount recovered by the government.

Will I have to disclose my identity to bring the qui tam action?

You will need to disclose your identity to the government, but your name will remain confidential for at least 60 days from the time you file the qui tam action.  If the government selects your case, your identity will then be revealed.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Assisting With Qui Tam Actions

Qui tam actions brought under the federal False Claims Act can be complex and will require the assistance of an experienced and dedicated attorney who will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve for bringing to light fraud occurring against the government.  The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have assisted qui tam plaintiffs for over 75 years.  Our aggressive whistleblower attorney team will navigate you through the qui tam process towards a full recovery, protecting your interests fully along the way.  For dedicated representation by an experienced attorney team, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Report: Ebola and the Whistleblower Nurse

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

The Ebola virus disease, also commonly referred to as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, has reached epidemic levels in West Africa.  Over 4,500 individuals have died as a result of this deadly disease and twice that many have become infected.  So far, three cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in the U.S.  The first case was that of Thomas Duncan.  Duncan flew to Dallas, Texas from Liberia to visit family.  He appeared days later at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with symptoms, but was sent home.  The hospital later admitted this was a mistake.  He reappeared three days later and tested positive for Ebola.  Unfortunately, Duncan died on October 8.

Three days after Duncan’s death, Nina Pham, a nurse who cared for Duncan, tested positive for Ebola.  The hospital believes a breach in protocol lead to the infection, but has not elaborated on what this breach was.  Soon after Pham was confirmed to have Ebola, another nurse, Amber Vinson, also tested positive.  Vinson had recently flown cross-country to plan her wedding, spurring the CDC to add several more individuals to its watch list.  Health officials and the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital continue to fail to provide an explanation as to how Vinson contracted the illness.

One nurse at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has stepped forward as a whistleblower.  Briana Aguirre, joined by her attorney, agreed to an interview with Anderson Cooper.  She expressed disappointment with the hospital’s lack of transparency, which has led much of the public to continue to blame the nurses, rather than the hospital’s actions.  Aguirre revealed alarming actions taken by the hospital during the treatment of Duncan, including placing trash bags full of medical waste simply in the hallway of the isolation unit when the garbage room became full.  She also expressed concern over the lack of safety gear provided to nurses and the general chaos and uncontrolled environment that she believes contributed to the spread of the dangerous disease.

Aguirre’s attorney informed Anderson Cooper that she is entitled to some whistleblower protections in Texas, though the laws are not as strong as elsewhere.  He stressed that his client is not seeking to obtain monetary compensation through her whistleblowing actions.  Rather, she wants to know that her job is secure and that she has done what she can to bring to light what she feels is troubling actions occurring at the hospital.

The recent Ebola outbreak and threat of future cases in the U.S. has created much panic.  In the coming months, it will be important for healthcare workers like Briana Aguirre to blow the whistle when they feel a hospital or medical facility’s actions are putting others at risk.  Mississippi whistleblowers should be aware that federal and state laws protect whistleblowers like Aguirre, preventing their termination and sometimes allowing for the award of monetary compensation.

Barrett Law PLLC: Award Winning Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys

Whistleblower claims are often complex and may involve additional issues of discrimination or job termination due to the whistleblower’s activities.  All whistleblowers will require a thorough, dedicated, and knowledgeable attorney to guide them through the whistleblowing process.  The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have assisted brave whistleblowers through the filing of qui tam actions for over 75 years.  Our zealous attorney team has the resources, innovation, and level of experience you need to obtain the best possible legal outcome.  At Barrett Law PLLC, we offer a free consultation to all new clients and operate on a contingency fee basis.  For representation of unmatched excellence, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Report: Oil Rig Worker Killed In Southwest Mississippi

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

A man from Brookhaven, Mississippi recently died in a work-related accident on an oil rig in Lincoln County.  The accident occurred on Monday, October 6, 2014.  The County Coroner reports that the 22 year old employee was working on an oil rig when he was hit by a pipe at about 9:30 p.m.  The rig was located two miles northeast of Brookhaven.

The seriously injured worker was transported by private vehicle to a medical center in Brookhaven, but sadly did not survive.  An autopsy is planned.  The young man was working for Loomis International, a subcontractor for Denbury Resources, a Texas-based oil and gas exploration company.  Originally from Michigan, the worker had lived in Brookhaven for about two years.

This deadly oil rig accident highlights the dangers that face workers in this high stakes job. America is one of the top oil producing countries in the world, with over 1,800 oil rigs located across the nation.  While most of our oil comes from Alaska, California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas, Mississippi is home to much drilling activity as well.  Most oil rigs are located in remote locations.  Oil rig workers are typically sent to these locations for several months of years at a time.

While the oil company will usually pay room and board, other expenses, and the pay is generally high, working on an oil rig is considered one of the country’s most dangerous jobs.  Oil rig workers typically put in strenuous work for eight to 12 hours per day.  The demands for increased productivity are high, and there is often a shortage of workers.  Working conditions can be chaotic and quite dangerous.  The likelihood of oil rig injuries and deaths is at an all time high.

Most oil rig accidents are the result of negligence, human error, or a product defect, including equipment failure, exposure to hazardous chemicals or harsh elements.  Causes of oil rig accidents commonly include:

  • Falls from oil derricks
  • Equipment failure
  • Negligent maintenance
  • Contractor, subcontractor, or co-worker negligence
  • Truck accidents on the job
  • Burns caused by oilfield explosions or fires
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Serious injuries or death caused by oil well blowouts

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in an oil rig accident, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.  Obtaining compensation for oil rig accidents can be complex and will require prompt investigation and action.  Injured oil rig workers and their families have several possible avenues for recovery, including through workers’ compensation, a personal injury action, or a product defect action.

Barrett Law PLLC: Protecting Mississippi Oil Rig Workers  

Working on an oil rig can be strenuous and, at its worst, dangerous.  Serious and even deadly accidents can occur on oil rigs due to the negligence of others or a product defect.  Workers injured in oil rig accidents and their families have the right to pursue compensation in the event they are injured or killed on the job.  The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC assist injured oil rig workers across the state.  We will fight to see that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled, including coverage for your medical expenses, lost wages, occupational rehabilitation, and more.  Under some circumstances, you may additionally be able to pursue compensation outside the workers’ compensation program.  The attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC will thoroughly evaluate the facts of your accident and uncover all potential avenues for recovery.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Explore Recent Fraud Against Wal-Mart

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

This past summer, a former executive of Conair Corp., a personal care product company, reported that she was fired for revealing an alleged fraud her company was committing against retail giant and megastore, Wal-Mart. Specifically, Barbara Laubenstein filed a whistleblower complaint against her former employer, Conair Corp., of East Windsor, New Jersey.

According to the complaint, Laubenstein started working as vice president of sales for the Allegro Division within Conair back in 2009.  In 2012, the Allegro Division sold over $30 million worth of products to Wal-Mart, who was Conair’s largest customer.  During this time, the company additionally acted as an advisor to Wal-Mart, offering consumer business advice, plans, and marketing to the retail giant.

Laubenstein alleges that she uncovered while employed by Conair that the company would cover the UPC labels on their old products with UPC labels of current products.  The old products would then be shipped, sold, and marketed as the new products.  In this manner, Conair was able to essentially unload its old, stagnant, and inferior products while still charging Wal-Mart for the new, superior personal care goods.

Laubenstein, according to the complaint, was terminated as vice president for the Allegro Division in July of 2013 after alerting her boss to the alleged inventory fraud.  Laubenstein is now seeking an unspecified amount of damages due to her wrongful termination.

Laubenstein’s case is troubling in that it appears she was fired for taking lawful action by filing a whistleblower complaint.  Under federal and several Mississippi state laws, employees cannot be fired for using the proper channels to report illegal or fraudulent activity.  You may be entitled to whistleblower protection and have grounds for a lawsuit in Mississippi if your employer terminated your position or otherwise retaliated against you for your actions in:

  • Reporting fraud or other criminal acts
  • Reporting safety violations, including OSHA violations, or other environmental abuses
  • Filing a disability or workers’ compensation claim
  • Refusing to engage in criminal acts
  • Filing a discrimination or harassment claim

Most employers will not fire a whistleblower outright.  They may start by suddenly and without justification citing the employee for poor performance, insubordination, or other violations.  As the negative marks on the employee’s record accumulate, the employee will likely be passed over for promotions or raises, demoted, or eventually terminated.

An experienced whistleblower attorney will uncover the true reason for your termination, even when the employer attempts to conceal it.  Further, if your employer caused your workplace to become hostile to the extent that you made the decision to leave your job, you may still be able to bring a lawsuit for constructive discharge.  Wrongful termination and constructive discharge allow for the same legal remedies.

As a result of bringing a wrongful termination suit, you may be allowed to be reinstated at your prior job, though most have no desire to pursue this option given the events that transpired.  You could receive damages, including front and back pay, emotional distress, fines, job retraining, and even punitive damages.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Proudly Representing Wrongfully Terminated Employees

Losing your job due to your lawful whistleblower activities is both traumatic and highly illegal.  Federal and state laws are in place to prohibit employers from terminating those employees who reveal fraud or other criminal acts.  If you have been terminated or made to quit your job due to a hostile work environment that you believe is associated with a whistleblower complaint, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Our aggressive whistleblower attorney team will uncover the true reason for your termination and seek a full recovery for your damages sustained.  For representation of unmatched excellence, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Offer Updates on the Tracy Morgan Lawsuit

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Tracy Morgan, the well known actor and comedian, was seriously injured in a tractor trailer crash this past summer.  The accident happened when a Wal-Mart tractor trailer, travelling above the speed limit, pummeled into the limousine carrying Tracy Morgan and several of his comedian friends and assistants.  Morgan sustained serious injuries in the crash, including multiple broken bones, and required extensive time in the hospital.  He is still continuing rehabilitation due to his injuries.  Fellow comedian and friend James McNair died in the accident.

This past July, Tracy Morgan filed a personal injury suit against Wal-Mart in a U.S. District Court in New Jersey.  In the suit, Morgan claimed that the Wal-Mart driver who crashed into the limousine acted negligently in causing the accident, as the driver was both speeding and had been awake for 24 plus hours before the fatal accident.  Morgan further asserts that the employer, Wal-Mart, knew or should have known that the at-fault driver was unsafe on the roadways because he had not slept in over 24 hours.

This lawsuit, filed now months ago, has heated up in the past few weeks.  Wal-Mart is now asserting that Tracy Morgan shared contributory negligence for the crash because he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

Most of the public knows that limousine buses rarely come equipped with seatbelts and even in those that do have seatbelts, passengers infrequently use them.  Similarly, most school buses do not have seatbelts and children rarely use them when present.  As such, critics of Wal-Mart have heavily criticized the giant company’s latest attempt to place blame on the plaintiff.

Comparative and contributory negligence are defenses that can minimize a defendant’s degree of fault in some accidents, shifting partial blame to the plaintiff.  These principals allow fault to be shared between both parties, but the cause of action will be allowed to continue.  If the plaintiff is found to be partly at fault for the accident, his or her recovery will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

When, as in this case, the defendant puts forth a claim of contributory or comparative negligence, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to prove they did not act in a negligent manner.  Accordingly, it is now up to Morgan to prove that failing to wear a seatbelt in the limo bus was not negligent, or did not contribute to the accidents or injuries.

As the Tracy Morgan case highlights, truck accidents come with complex issues of negligence and liability.  Anyone involved in a truck accident should seek the representation of an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Aggressively Assisting the Victims of Truck Driver or Trucking Company Negligence   

The Tracy Morgan crash, which severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and claimed the life of his friend, has brought the nation’s attention to the very real dangers of tired truck drivers.  Truck drivers who operate massive tractor trailers with little sleep pose a threat to all drivers on the roadways across the U.S. The Tracy Morgan lawsuit now holds the potential to influence reform in the trucking industry and perhaps lead to increased regulation of trucker’s sleep and work hours.  The Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fought for the safety of Mississippi drivers for over 75 years.  We wish to assist all truck accident victims in holding the negligent truckers and trucking company’s responsible for their accidents accountable.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.  We look forward to providing you with exemplary legal services.

Mississippi Oil Spill Attorneys Discuss BP’s Bid to Remove Oil Spill Claims Administrator

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Last month, BP filed a motion in a New Orleans federal court seeking the removal of the administrator in charge of determining the payout for economic oil spill claims.  BP claims that Lafayette attorney Patrick Juneau, current administrator for the court-supervised settlement program, has a conflict of interest that should prevent him from serving in this capacity.

BP filed the motion to dismiss Juneau in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  The motion asserts that Juneau advocated for clients involved in oil spill-related litigation in his capacity as an attorney prior to his appointment.  He should have been required to obtain a written waiver for the conflict, but did not, according to BP.  BP spokesman Geoff Morrell stated that Mr. Juneau’s failures were too numerous to allow him to continue to function as the administrator.

Oil spill plaintiff’s attorneys and attorney Patrick Juneau himself have contested the move to oust Juneau.  The court heard rebuttals to BP’s September motion just days ago.  Juneau and plaintiff’s lawyers urged that BP was aware of Juneau’s prior actions as an attorney, including consulting with Louisiana officials to push for a more favorable claims process.  Mr. Juneau asserted that he had functioned as head of the BP oil spill claim payments for the past two years, and his record on the job proves he has been both competent and fair in handling claims.

Juneau and the plaintiff’s attorneys believe there is no conflict of interest and that the settlement is functioning properly.  In fact, in his time spent overseeing the settlement program, Juneau has lowered monthly costs and issued over 274 policy interpretations, only three of which have been appealed in the court.

A court ordered investigation into the matter found Juneau had no conflict of interest.  The investigation concluded that payments could continue to proceed fairly and efficiently with Juneau at the helm.

In other BP news, a Slidell, Louisiana man who was at the center of an investigation into fraud related to the BP oil spill settlement pled guilty on October 10 to two counts of wire fraud.  The defendant admitted to submitting fake tax returns in conjunction with a shrimping claim he filed following the 2010 spill.  The man received $357,000 in payments based on this falsified information.  He now faces several years in prison.

It has been four years since the BP oil spill wrecked havoc on the Gulf and left many individuals and businesses suffering in its wake.  While many claims have been paid out since this time, still others continue to await compensation for their losses.  The BP oil spill settlement continues to wind its way through the court, and anyone who has not yet filed a claim or is struggling to obtain compensation for their claim should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Continuing to Fight For the Recovery of Oil Spill Victims

Four years after the massive and disastrous BP oil spill, BP continues to make the recovery of some oil spill victims difficult to achieve.  The attempted removal of current claims administrator is another move that may result in more delays.  If you or a loved one may have been impacted by the BP oil spill, the experienced and dedicated Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  It may not be too late to bring your claim and obtain a recovery for your losses.  We will evaluate your losses and uncover whether you might be entitled to compensation from BP.  Call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Warn Accident Victims to Never Ignore a Headache

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Car accident victims may experience a wide range of symptoms.  For some, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, few symptoms are present.  Hours or days later, however, serious injuries may become evident.  Headaches are one of the most common symptoms reported by individuals who have been involved in automobile accidents.  Like many other car accident injuries, including whiplash, headaches may present soon after the crash or take some time to develop.  Regardless of when the victim first experiences the headache, all car accident victims should seek immediate medical attention as soon as it occurs.  Headaches stemming from a car accident can be a sign of a serious medical condition, including head trauma, traumatic brain injury, sympathetic nerve dysfunction, post-concussion syndrome, and post-traumatic headaches.  These serious and potentially life threatening conditions can result from even those car accidents that seem minor.

In the event of a car accident, victims can experience a blow to the head, even when the vehicle is traveling at a low rate of speed.  This head impact can result in dangerous medical conditions.  There are many potential surfaces with which a car accident victim’s head can come into contact, including the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, and any other hard surface.  When the victim has sustained head trauma, he or she may experience:

  • An aching pain in the head that is dull and pervasive; or
  • Pressure or tightness on the front, sides, or rear of the head; or
  • Tenderness in the scalp, shoulders, and neck.

It is essential that accident headache sufferers seek prompt medical attention.  A doctor will be able to ascertain the nature of the head injury and administer prompt treatment that will thwart the ailment’s progression and initiate the healing process.  Those who seek medical attention as soon as the headache develops have a better chance of minimizing long-term consequences associated with the head injury.

Additionally, for car accident victims it is helpful to create an early record of all medical symptoms that present after the accident.  This record will be of great assistance in later obtaining a full recovery for all of your car accident-related injuries.  Your early documentation will create a strong link between your injuries and the car accident, thus making it difficult for the insurance company to claim the injury has another cause.  It is not always easy for doctors to pinpoint the cause of serious headaches.  However, by acting fast, you will eliminate the timely trial and error process that may otherwise be required to uncover your headache’s cause.  Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process of creating an early and complete medical record.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Assisting All Accident Victims Who Have Sustained Head Injuries

If you develop a headache in the minutes, hours, or even days following a car accident, it should never be ignored.  Headaches that begin after an automobile accident can be a sign of serious injury.  Prompt medical treatment is necessary to ensure your full recovery.  Further, timely documentation of the origin of the injury is essential to protect your legal rights.  The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fight hard for auto accident victims for almost eight decades.  We offer experienced, dedicated, and skilled representation by a team of award winning attorneys.  If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a car accident, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.  Our skilled attorney staff looks forward to providing you with exemplary legal services.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Explore Single Vehicle Accidents

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Last month, a single vehicle accident in Lamar County claimed the lives of two high school students, shocking the small school district and community.  A third teen was also injured in the accident.  The car carrying three teens during homecoming week was traveling on Purvis-Oloh road when it suddenly left the roadway and struck a tree.  One victim was pronounced dead on arrival, another died in route to the local hospital, and the third survived but required emergency surgery.

In the course of just a few months in Mississippi, several single vehicle accidents occurred.  In Amite County, a woman was killed in June when her vehicle ran off the right side of the road and collided with a culvert, ejecting her from the vehicle.  One month later, in Covington County, a person was killed when a vehicle left the roadway, overturned, and ejected the passenger.

These are just a few of the many single vehicle accidents that have occurred across the state of Mississippi in the span of just a few months.  Single vehicle accidents account for over half of all accidents across the country, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  Mississippi falls in line with this national trend and is home to hundreds of single vehicle accidents each year.

What Causes Single Vehicle Accidents?

Single vehicle accidents can arise from a variety of circumstances.  The following is a look at some of the most common reasons why single vehicle accidents occur:

  1. Speed:  Speed causes more run-off road crashes than any other single factor.  Speed can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles when traveling around bends or when confronted with obstacles.
  2. Distracted driving:  Texting, talking on the phone or to passengers, grooming, eating, drinking, and the like can all cause drivers to lose focus of the road and run off it, causing their vehicles to collide with obstacles or oncoming cars.
  3. Impact with an object in the road:  Single vehicle accidents often occur when a vehicle comes into contact with an object that has fallen off another vehicle.  These accidents also often occur when a car collides with the median.
  4. Poor road conditions:  Road and weather conditions can contribute to single vehicle accidents.  Poor weather conditions can include snow, rain, ice, and fog.  Poor road conditions can include unlit roads, bendy roads, roads that are poorly maintained, and more.
  5. Impaired driving:  Countless single vehicle accidents result from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Impaired driving causes drivers to become drowsy, react slowly to oncoming obstacles, and behave erratically.
  6. Mechanical failures or defects: Defects within a vehicle’s braking system, tires, or steering system can result in serious single vehicle accidents.

Single vehicle accidents are often divided into two categories: run-off road collisions and on-road accidents.  Anyone injured in either sort of single vehicle crash should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.

Barrett Law PLLC: Exemplary Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys  

Single vehicle accidents, such as the recent accidents across Mississippi, can be catastrophic.  While these accidents are sometimes the result of driver negligence, the negligence of other drivers, product defects, or even the negligence of property owners can all play a role in these accidents.  The Mississippi Automobile Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have assisted countless victims of single vehicle crashes and their families across the state.  We will evaluate the accident to uncover all potential avenues for recovery.  The attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC will then seek a full recovery, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Discuss the Dangers Posed to Children Pedestrians on Halloween

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Halloween is around the corner and while many families are preparing decorations and costumes, far fewer have given thought to the potential dangers that lurk for children on October 31.  All parents and children should spend some time making themselves aware of the safety threats that exist for child pedestrians on Halloween.  Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for children under the age of 18, with more child fatalities than even July 4th and New Year’s Day.

Recently, a group of researchers examined over four million records detailing the deaths of children between the ages of 0-18 on Halloween between the years of 1990 to 2010.  Each entry concerned a child that had died due to some sort of accident on Halloween.  The alarming findings of this research project are detailed below:

  • October 31 is the deadliest day for child pedestrian accidents:  In the years included in the study, 115 children were killed by drivers on Halloween.  This equals 5.5 child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween each year, which is double the average daily rate of 2.6 fatalities.
  • The deadliest hours:  Over 60 percent of all pedestrian accidents on Halloween occur during the four hour period between 5 and 9 p.m.  Nearly a quarter of all accidents occur between the hours of 6 and 7 p.m. alone.  This is perhaps surprising because it is still light outside during this period, but perhaps the sheer number of children out at this time contribute to the accident rate.
  • Stick to crosswalks and intersections:  The majority, 70 percent, of all child pedestrian accidents on October 31 occurred in the middle of the block and away from crosswalks and intersections.
  • Young drivers pose the greatest risk:  Younger drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 were most likely to kill child pedestrians on Halloween, causing one third of all such accidents.
  • Older drivers proved safest:  Drivers in their mid-thirties and those in their early sixties were least likely to hit child pedestrians on October 31.  These drivers likely took to the roadways on this holiday less frequently and exercised appropriate caution in keeping an eye out for young children.
  • Halloween fatalities are on the decline:  During each of the last six years of the study (2005-2010), there was a decrease in the number of Halloween child fatalities below the average of 5.5 deaths.  This could be an encouraging sign that more parents, drivers, and children are taking note of the dangers and taking action to correct them.  All parents and children should remain vigilant, however, as the risks persist.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Fighting for Justice for Any Child Who Has Been Injured or Killed in an Accident

The death or injury of a child in a senseless accident is tragic beyond words.  The Mississippi Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC hope all Mississippi children stay safe and have fun this Halloween.  We urge the parents of young children and older children to be aware of the substantial risks posed to child pedestrians on Halloween. While no one should fear the festive holiday of Halloween, and exercising the appropriate amount of caution will help to ensure your loved ones stay safe.  In the event that the unspeakable happens and your child is injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, the compassionate, dedicated, and zealous pedestrian accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  We will fight to see that your child receives the justice he or she deserves.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation to see how one of our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys can help you and your family.