Archive for November, 2014

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Report: Rollover Accident Kills One, Injures Three Others

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

On Sunday, November 23, in the early morning hours, a rollover van accident occurred in Greene County that involved a 2001 Chevrolet van.  Present in the vehicle were two adults and two young children: a toddler and kindergartner.  The van was driving westbound on Hwy 98 near Jim Powell Road when it rolled over.  Investigations continue into what caused the van to rollover.

The 57 year old mother of the driver was killed in the accident.  The driver of the vehicle and her two young children were injured.  One child was considered in serious condition and airlifted to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.  The other child and the driver were driven by ambulance to the same hospital.  The family’s current condition is unknown.

Rollovers are extremely dangerous accidents that have the highest fatality rate, exceeding all other types of car crashes.  Rollover accidents account for 33 percent of all passenger fatalities.  Over 10,000 people each year are killed in rollover crashes.  Even when these accidents do not result in death, they usually lead to serious injuries that could potentially create lifelong disabilities.

Causes of Rollover Accidents

Certain vehicles are far more at risk of rollovers.  SUVs, minivans, and trucks are the primary vehicles that become involved in rollover accidents.  Nearly 40 percent of all fatal SUV crashes are due to rollover, while just 15 percent of all fatal passenger car accidents are caused by this type of crash.

Rollover accidents are related heavily to a vehicle’s stability in turns.  Stability of a car is influenced by the relationship between the truck width (the distance between the wheels on each side) and the center of gravity.  If a truck has a high center of gravity and narrow build, that vehicle will become unstable in the event of a fast turn or sharp directional change.  This increases the odds the vehicle will tip over once it begins to skid to the side.

Studies show that most fatal rollovers involving four wheel drive vehicles are single vehicle accidents.  These accidents occur most often on weekend nights and male drivers under the age of 25 are frequently involved.  Sadly, alcohol is found to be a contributing factor in many rollover crashes.

In 75 percent of all fatal rollover accidents, the victims were ejected from the vehicles, indicating that they were not wearing their seatbelts.  Seatbelt use significantly reduces the risk of death in rollover accidents as it holds the driver and passenger in the vehicle even has I flips over.

Despite pressure to create a federal rollover standard, it does not yet exist.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, introduced a rollover rating system back in 2001, ranking vehicles with stars according to their engineering and likelihood of a rollover crash.

Barrett Law PLLC: Aggressive and Experienced Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys    

Rollover and other automobile accidents can have devastating consequences, leading to considerable medical bills, time off work, and possibly even long term disabilities.  For those who lose a loved one in any sort of automobile accident, the financial impact can be tremendous.  The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have represented clients in Mississippi and the southeast since 1936.  Our law firm, which traces its roots back more than 75 years, has provided clients throughout the decades with the high quality representation necessary to obtain the best possible outcome.  Our focus on our clients, experience level, and exceptional talent has earned us a reputation across the community for outstanding legal services.  Allow us to provide you with this same excellence of legal services.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Qui Tam Attorneys Explain the Role of the Relator in a Qui Tam Action

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Any individual that brings a qui tam action is referred to as the “relator.”  There is much confusion surrounding who can bring a qui tam action and thus, become a relator.  Relators need not be personally harmed by the defendant; rather, the qui tam action is generally based on the relator’s first hand, independent knowledge of the defendant’s wrongdoing.

The following is a look at some of the most common relators:

  • Employees:  Current employees will often bring qui tam actions after they have made unsuccessful attempts to stop the fraud from occurring at their workplace through internal company channels.  However, employees can bring a qui tam action even if they were involved in the fraud or other wrongdoing and did not take action to stop it.  Any employee who files a qui tam action is protected from workplace retaliation under the False Claims Act.
  • Former Employees:  A former employee has the right to bring a qui tam action, and most do so after losing their jobs because they reported their employer’s wrongful conduct.
  • Contractors or Subcontractors: Contractors or subcontractors come in as generally independent contractors, but they work closely with the other individuals involved on the project.  Sometimes, contractors or subcontractors will come across first hand information of fraud occurring against the government, which will usually give them the right to bring the qui tam action.
  • Competitors: Competitors similarly interact frequently with rival businesses. In conversations and exchanges of information, a competitor business may come across direct evidence of false claims being submitted to the government.

This list is not all inclusive because the relator bringing the lawsuit need not have one specific type of relationship with the defendant.  The most important and necessary requirement is that the relator possess information concerning fraud or wrongdoing which the general public would not be aware of.

The Important Role of the Relator

Our qui tam laws allow private individuals to blow the whistle on fraud being committed against the U.S. government.  Our government does not have the resources to uncover and challenge every instance of fraud on its own.  Accordingly, the government and the American taxpayers rely heavily on whistleblowers to uncover instances of fraud through their first-hand knowledge.

This reliance on whistleblowers appears to be effective.  Between the years 2000 and 2006, the Department of Justice recovered over $12 billion in civil fraud actions.  Whistleblowers accounted for $7 billion or 66 percent of these recoveries.

Recognizing the important of whistleblowers, Congress continues to strengthen whistleblower laws and increase awards so that individuals like you will come forward and expose costly fraud.

Barrett Law PLLC: Decades of Experience Assisting Relators in Qui Tam Actions Across Mississippi and the Southeast.

When individuals first set out exploring the whistleblower process, few are aware of what the term relator means and the sheer importance of their role in the qui tam action to follow.  We hope the brief overview above gives you some preliminary information as to who can be a relator, what a relator does, and why the relator is so important.  If you believe that fraud is occurring in your workplace, former workplace, or at a rival company, the Mississippi Qui Tam Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Since 1936, we have assisted qui tam relators in a wide variety of qui tam actions.  We have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to strongly bring this highly complex action.  For an individualized assessment of your potential qui tam action, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Answer: What is the Value of 18-Wheeler or Semi-Truck Accident?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

One of the first things many new clients want to know when they enter our office is the value of their case.  There are a number of factors that impact the value of a case, which in turn affects the final amount you will end up receiving to compensate you for the injuries and damages stemming from your truck accident.  Overall, it is important to realize that it can be difficult to assign a value to a case.  Each case’s settlement value is determined as a prediction of what the jury would decide the case is worth.  However, different juries often arrive at different verdicts, even when the circumstances are the same.

The following is a look at several factors that will determine the value of your 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident case.  A truck accident attorney in your area will be able to review the exact facts of your case and provide you with a monetary estimation which he or she believes to be an accurate representation of your case’s value.

  1. The Type of Accident:  Certain personal injury cases are likely to be worth more due to the extent of the injuries often involved, the facts associated, and the defendants likely to be included.  18-wheeler and semi-truck accidents are known to have some of the highest values because they so often involve serious injuries, driver negligence, multiple defendants, and significant insurance funds available.
  2. The Location of the Accident:  The state in which the accident occurs and even the county within the state can impact your recovery.  Different states set varying laws concerning recovery limits, and each area will have slightly differing attitudes towards personal injury actions.
  3. Your Injuries:  Perhaps the most significant factor in determining the value of your case will be the extent of your injuries.  Serious injuries that require time off work, medical treatment, and a long term recovery will entitle the victim to more compensation than minor injuries that are easily resolved without much impact on the victim’s work or daily living.
  4. The Available Insurance:  Your case’s settlement potential will be impacted by the amount of insurance available.  Truck accident victims often benefit from this because truckers and trucking companies are typically required to carry high premiums due to the potential for serious injury involved in the commercial trucking industry.
  5. Economic Damages:  Related to your injuries, the value of your case will be determined greatly by the extent of the damages you incurred.  These damages will often include medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and more.
  6. Pain and Suffering:  Truck accident cases can include large pain and suffering awards.  The extent to which your pain and suffering stemming from the accident impacts your life will include your ultimate recovery.
  7. Your Attorney:  An experienced, knowledgeable attorney will make a significant difference in the ultimate success of your case and hence its value, as an attorney well versed in truck accident law will uncover your strongest evidence, pursue all avenues of recovery, and mount the strongest possible case.

Barrett Law PLLC: Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys   

            The Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have devoted years of practice to representing the victims of 18-wheeler and semi-truck accidents across the state, helping our clients to obtain a full recovery for their injuries stemming from the accident.  We will evaluate your case and provide you with an accurate idea of what you may receive in the event of a settlement or trial.  We vow to always fight for your full recovery, as we never wish to see our clients experience the hardships of unpaid medical bills or uncompensated long term disability.  The attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have the dedication, knowledge, and experience you need to obtain the strongest truck accident recovery possible.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Explore the Most Common Car Accident Injuries

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Car accidents are the leading killer of Americans between the ages of five and 34.  Every year, over 30,000 people died in car crashes across the nation.  Mississippi is a dangerous place for car accidents.  In fact, according to the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, over 600 fatal car accidents occur across the state of Mississippi each year.  Another nearly 30,000 are injured in crashes in Mississippi.  These figures are down from the early 2000’s, but still quite high nationally when population is accounted for.

As a result, those who survive a serious car accident will often suffer severe and permanent injuries.  Over three million individuals are injured in car accidents every year, and an astonishing two million continue to experience permanent injuries.

The following is an overview of some of the most common injuries suffered by automobile accident victims in Mississippi:

  1. Head and brain trauma:  Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries can include concussions along with more severe brain damage, such as brain bleeds.  Cars today travel at greater speeds than in the past, and statistics show that as cars are made to travel faster, the number of brain injuries have increased.  Concussions generally occur when accident victims are flung into the steering wheel or dashboard, or the other car directly crashes into the victim.  While seatbelts can prevent many head injuries, some are simply not preventable.  It is not always obvious when a head injury has occurred, and accident victims should be on the lookout for symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, headaches, confusion, and problems concentrating.  Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
  2. Spinal cord injuries:  The spinal cord is particularly vulnerable to injury in the event of an accident.  The spinal cord can become injured due to the intense back and forth motion generated by a crash.  Bulging discs, herniated discs, and paralysis can all occur following a car accident, depending on the severity of the impact.  Spinal cord injuries can lead to serious and chronic pain along with a decreased range of movement.  In the most severe of cases, car accident victims may become paralyzed permanently due to a spinal cord injury.
  3. Neck and back injuries:  Some of the most common injuries suffered by millions of accident victims a year are neck and back injuries.  The sudden jerking motion involved in nearly all car accidents is the cause of most neck or back injuries.  Whiplash is experienced by over one million car accident victims a year.  Though common, whiplash is nothing to take lightly.  It can cause extreme discomfort, limited range of movement, and lasting pain.  In more serious accidents, a broken back can occur, which will often lead to long term disability.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Auto Accident Attorneys Dedicated to Assisting Injured Car Accident Victims Across Mississippi and the Southeast

Car accidents can result in a wide array of serious accidents.  Some accidents will require months or even years to fully recover, and in the worst of accidents a full recovery may never be achieved.  The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have assisted the victims of car accidents, ranging from minor to catastrophic, since 1936.  Our attorneys will assist you in obtaining full compensation for your injuries stemming from the accident, including compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedicated automobile accident attorneys are able to examine any accident to determine whether negligence or a product defect played a role.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to arrange for a free consultation with one of our exemplary attorney staff.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Answer Questions Frequently Asked Questions About Reporting Medicare Fraud

Monday, November 17th, 2014

While Medicare does not have an official estimate as to the amount of money loss to fraud each year, the Federal Bureau of Investigations estimates that fraud occurs in three to ten percent of all health care billings.  Each year, Medicare expenditures exceed $560 billion.  Applying the FBI percentages to this amount, the cost of Medicare fraud annually can be estimated at somewhere between $17 and $57 billion.

What is Medicare fraud?

Medicare fraud is defined as the collection of Medicare health care funds based on fraudulent actions.  There are several types of Medicare fraud, but all have the same ultimate goal—to illegitimately collect funds from the Medicare program sponsored by the U.S. government.  Some types of Medicare fraud include:

  • Patient billing:  A patient participating in the scam provides his or her Medicare number in exchange for kickbacks.  The provider then bills Medicare for whatever services and the patient is instructed to report he or she did receive the alleged medical treatment.
  • Phantom billing:  A medical provider bills Medicare for procedures or tests that were never performed or were unnecessary, or for unnecessary equipment or equipment that is used but billed as new.
  • Unbundling and Upcoding:  When the medical provider or someone else associated with billing inflates bills by using billing codes that indicate more expensive procedures were performed.

How are Medicare whistleblower cases brought?

If you are an employee and you suspect Medicare fraud is occurring in your workplace, you can bring a claim under the False Claims Act.  This suit is known as a qui tam action.  The suit is essentially brought by you, the whistleblower, on behalf of the government.

What can I expect to receive under the False Claims Act?

Those that are found to have violated the False Claims Act will be liable for three times the amount of funds that the government has been defrauded.  A whistleblower who brings the Medicare fraud action can expect a reward of between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery awarded to the government.

Is my job at stake for bringing a whistleblower action?

The False Claims Act protects employees who bring a qui tam lawsuit and experience retaliation from their employer because of their whistleblowing actions.  If a whistleblower is fired, threatened, demoted, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against his or her employer due to the qui tam action, the employee will be protected.  Reinstatement may be granted or back pay and damages, depending upon the employer’s actions and employee’s wishes.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Assisting Clients with Medicare Fraud Reporting Actions

Medicare fraud is a tremendous problem in the U.S., costing the government and taxpayers billions of dollars each year.  With the costs of healthcare rising and the population of the U.S. continuing to age, it is becoming more and more important that individuals like you speak out about suspected Medicare fraud.  Medicare fraud actions are typically brought under the False Claims Act, which allows the whistleblower to recover a portion of the funds recovered by the government in the action.  This can be significant and all whistleblowers must ensure their rights are protected.  The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have assisted numerous Medicare fraud whistleblowers across the state and much of the southeast since 1936.  Our attorneys will strive to see that your rights are fully protected and you receive the compensation you deserve for bringing the action.  To find out more about your potential whistleblower action, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss the Importance of Being a Whistleblower

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Each year, the government recovers billions of dollars thanks to whistleblowers.  The last few years have seen a host of high profile whistleblowers, from Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning to J. Kirk McGill. Individuals and corporate whistleblowers who come forward in an effort to protect the government from fraud serve a vital function in our society.

These whistleblowers are entitled to special protections and incentives due to their brave actions under the False Claims Act.  The False Claims Act provides that individuals with knowledge that another person or entity may have received payments for false claims submitted to the government may sue on behalf of the government to recover these funds.

The protections afforded false claims whistleblowers are critical, as these whistleblowers come forward to protect the government and taxpayers from fraud perpetuated by the fraudulent behavior of doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, government contractors, and any other group that regularly bills the government.  Whistleblowers face high stakes in coming forward, risking their personal and professional lives.  Accordingly, it is important that whistleblowers be protected and rewarded for their actions.

In 2012 alone, the Department of Justice reported that it recovered over $5 billion through just False Claims Act cases.  Healthcare fraud in 2013 boasted convictions and settlements well exceeding $78 million.  These figures do not even include other common types of fraud that false claims whistleblowers often reveal, including education fraud and military contract fraud.  These recoveries would not be possible without the assistance of whistleblowers as the government does not have the resources available to uncover on its own.

Political whistleblowers serve an equally important function but are not always rewarded or viewed the same by the government.  As in the case of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, individuals who both felt they were going a service to their country by exposing information that only they had access to, but instead of being thanked, they were prosecuted by the government.

Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning’s disclosures initiated a national discussion on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and of government whistleblowing.  Edward Snowden’s massive information release revealed alarming facts concerning the National Security Agency’s data collection process and privacy intrusion which the public is still grappling with.

Whether it be reporting fraud occurring against the government or fraud committed by the government, whistleblowers serve a vital function in society.  Whistleblowers of all types put their own personal and professional lives on the line to assist, ultimately, the public as a whole.

If you are considering blowing the whistle, it is imperative you retain the assistance of an experienced whistleblower attorney who will ensure your interests are fully protected.  Claims arising out of the False Claims Act will entitle you to compensation for any recovery made by the government, which can be substantial.  All whistleblowers will require an attorney in the event any retaliatory action is taken in response to their lawful whistleblowing.

Barrett Law PLLC: Assisting Whistleblowers in Performing Their Important Task

Whistleblowers are an extremely important part of the American landscape and economy.  Whistleblowers who uncover false claims, fraud, or other misuse of government funds will assist taxpayers along with the U.S. government. The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have assisted countless whistleblowers across the state and much of the southeast since 1936.  Our attorneys understand the complexities involved in any whistleblower action and will strive to achieve the results you desire. For experienced representation by a team of aggressive, dedicated, and knowledgeable attorneys, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Discuss the Dangers of Undertrained Truck Drivers

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Most tractor trailers and semi-trucks weigh in at around 80,000 pounds, over 30 times the weight of the average car or SUV.  These colossal vehicles are often 70 to 80 feet long, making them four times the length of the average passenger vehicle.  Safely driving a tractor trailer or other commercial truck requires extensive training, focus, and skill.  Truck drivers who have not received the training required for the job are a threat to all vehicles on the road.

Poorly Trained Trucks Can Cause Accidents in a Number of Ways

Truck drivers who have not been adequately trained pose a serious threat to themselves and others.  Studies show that close to 40 percent of all fatal truck crashes involve out of control trucks.  Another nearly 40 percent of truck accidents are caused by inattention.  Over correcting and over steering account for another 10 percent of crashes.  These mistakes are nearly always caused by inexperienced or undertrained truck drivers.  In fact, each of these common truck accident causes, controlling the truck, paying attention, and avoid over steering or correction, should be discussed during a truck driver’s training period.  Nonetheless, as is clear from the high occurrence of these types of accidents, truck drivers across the state and country continue to make these costly mistakes.  The trucking companies that send these undertrained truck drivers out onto the roadways can be held liable for their driver’s negligent errors.

Bringing a Negligence Claim Following a Truck Accident

Any truck accident victim who has been injured by a poorly trained truck driver can file a lawsuit for negligence against the driver and the trucking company that employs the driver.  In order to succeed in a negligence suit, the truck accident victim will need to prove that:

  • The truck driver and/or trucking company owed a duty to the plaintiff;
  • The truck driver or trucking company breached that duty; and
  • These actions were a cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

All trucking companies have a duty to train their drivers adequately and fully.  If the trucking company fails to provide this necessary training and sends out a poorly trained driver who then injures another, the trucking company can be held liable.

Truck accident victims should contact an attorney as soon as possible following a crash.  To bring a successful negligence claim against the trucking company requires considerable evidence.  It will be necessary to obtain driver training records, driver logs, and the trucking company’s training policies.  Using this evidence, your attorney can mount a strong negligence claim.  This evidence should be obtained as soon as possible after the accident to help preserve your claim.

Barrett Law PLLC: Providing a Voice for Those Injured in Truck Accidents Across the State

18 wheelers and semi trucks are massive vehicles that require extensive training and considerable skill in order to be operated safely.  If a trucking company fails to provide its drivers with adequate training, the results can be disastrous.  When that undertrained driver causes an accident, the trucking company can and should be held liable.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, the Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Our firm has represented clients in Mississippi and the southeast since 1936, providing the highest quality of legal representation to all truck accident victims.  Our experienced attorneys are dedicated above all else to achieving positive results for our clients.  Allow us to assist you by calling Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Bus and Large Vehicle Accident Attorneys Report: School Bus Accident Sends 21 Mississippi Students to the Hospital

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Recently, in Lucedale, Mississippi, two George County school buses were involved in a serious crash.  Officials report that one school bus was stopped, having just let out a group of students, when a second school bus crashed into the back of it.  The buses were traveling along Mississippi Highway 26, close to Highway 63.  The children aboard the George County school buses ranged from first graders to seniors.

 Twenty students were transported to George Regional Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.  The injuries mostly consisted of cuts, bruises, and sprains.  One child sustained a broken leg.  The most seriously injured student had to be flow by LifeFlight to USA Medical Center in Mobile, AL.  She was since released and is expected to make a full recovery.

Witnesses report that the accident was a terrifying sight.  Children were screaming and running from the bus, and glass was flying within it.  Local law enforcement officers are investigating the accident to determine whether negligence occurred.  It is not clear at this time why the second bus failed to stop to avoid the braked first bus.

Across the country, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that about 19 children are killed in school bus accidents each year.  A study conducted by the State Department of Education revealed that in Mississippi, school bus accidents occur at an alarming rate, with over 184 school bus accidents occurring last year.  While no fatalities were recorded as stemming from these accidents, numerous injuries, some severe, did result.

In an accident reminiscent of this recent school bus crash, a vehicle rear ended a school bus in Clinton County.  Three students were transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries and all reported being frightened from the ordeal.  In Brandon, Mississippi, nine school children were injured when their bus was involved in a multi-vehicle accident stemming from a Tahoe running a red light.  In this accident, seven students required hospital treatment for injuries sustained.

There have been several recent pushes to require the installation of seat belts on all school buses.  While the measures have not yet found success in both the House and Senate, given the number of recent school bus accidents and the public focus on the issue, seat belts may soon become standard issue on school buses across the state.  Proponents of safety belts urge that they would keep children safely secured in the seat in the event of an accident, and keep children sitting while the bus is moving, decreasing driver distraction along with the chance for injuries.

Barrett Law PLLC: Seeking Justice for All Victims of Bus or Other Large Vehicle Accidents

The safety of our children is paramount, and this recent bus accident should call the attention of the state to the serious issue of school bus safety.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, whether it be a school bus, public transportation, or charter bus, or any other sort of large vehicle accident, the Mississippi Bus and Large Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Our talented attorney team has assisted the victims of all manner of accidents since 1936.  Our attorneys will assist you in obtaining a full compensation for your injuries stemming from the bus or large vehicle accident, including compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to arrange for a free consultation with one of our exceptional accident attorneys.

Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Discuss Deadly Forklift Accidents

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Forklift accidents can be devastating and even deadly.  In 2010, a construction worker was killed in a forklift accident in Jackson, Mississippi.  The accident happened along Interstate 20 where crews were working to rebuild a bridge.  The forklift accident victim perished after being run over by the forklift. One year later, a Mississippi corporation in Cleveland, Mississippi was lobbed penalties of over $46,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration due to an employee’s death in a forklift accident.  OSHA cited 19 safety violations, including failure to ensure the forklift operator was wearing a seatbelt, not conducting sufficient inspections on the forklift, and allowing forklift modifications to be made without the manufacturer approval.  The forklift victim apparently died when the weight shifted on the forklift, causing it to turn over and crush the victim.

Each year, approximately 85 fatal forklift accidents occur.  Another nearly 35,000 forklift accidents happen, resulting in serious injuries to employees.  An additional 61,800 non-serious injuries occur due to forklifts.  It is estimated by the Industrial Truck Association that over 850,000 forklifts are in operation across the U.S.   This means that approximately 11 percent of all forklifts will be involved in an accident, ranging from fatal to non-serious, each year.  As forklifts have an average life of eight years, this calculates to 90 percent of all forklifts being involved in an accident at some point during their useful life.

Forklifts are used in numerous industries and any employee who operates one of these massive machines could potentially experience injury or death.  The majority of forklift accidents occur in the following fields:

  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail Trade
  • Transportation
  • Wholesale Trade

Fatal forklift accidents can occur under a wide range of circumstances, but the most common causes of fatal forklift accidents include:

  • The victim is crushed between the vehicle and another surface
  • The victim is run over by the forklift after it tips
  • The vehicle tips, crushing the victim
  • The victim is struck by falling material on the forklift
  • Two vehicles crush the victim
  • The victim falls from the forklift platform

In Mississippi, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  This no-fault insurance system is intended to provide compensation for employees who are injured in the workplace, while in the course and scope of employment.  For many accidents occurring in the workplace, workers’ compensation will be the primary or only means of recovery.  Workers’ compensation benefits can include reimbursement for medical expenses, a portion of wages lost due to time off work, and compensation for any permanent disability or extended time away from the workplace.

 In addition to workers’ compensation, employees may sometimes have additional avenues of recovery, as in the case of a defective forklift causing the accident.  Your workers’ compensation attorney will evaluate your accident and determine your legal rights.

Barrett Law PLLC: Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Fighting for the Rights of All Victims of Workplace Forklift Accidents

Forklifts are massive and potentially dangerous pieces of equipment.  When a forklift malfunctions or an employee is not adequately trained in the operation of these vehicles, serious injury and even death can occur.  All employees injured in the course and scope of employment in the state of Mississippi are entitled to receipt of workers’ compensation benefits.  Obtaining the full benefits to which you are entitled, however, can prove challenging.  If you have been injured in a forklift accident, the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  For decades we have assisted injured workers through the sometimes complex workers’ compensation system, ensuring our client’s medical bills, lost wages, and disabilities are compensation.  For aggressive, dedicated, and knowledgeable assistance with your workers’ compensation action, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Report: Dozens Indicted in Fraud Cases Stemming from the 2010 BP Oil Spill

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Recently, 25 residents of the Jacksonville area in Florida were indicted in a scheme to defraud the compensation fund set up following the 2010 BP oil spill.  The indictments came down on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.  Twenty six indictments charge a single count of mail fraud, while the other indictment charges a 33 year old Jacksonville resident with five counts of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictments, 27 men and women stated they were employees of businesses impacted by the oil spill that occurred after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, located off the state of Louisiana.  These individuals filed lost income claims through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which was established to review and pay those who qualify for compensation.

The defendants allegedly sent documents in support of their fraudulent claims and then received funds.  The 33 year old defendant with multiple charges additionally used other people’s identification to submit multiple claims.

The case seeks over $1 million in financial judgments, ranging from $11,925 to $157,255, depending upon the extent of each defendant’s fraud.  Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison, with the 33 year old from Jacksonville facing an additional mandatory two years sentence for mail fraud.

The indictment of these 27 individuals is said to be an example of how the Secret Service continues to identify and combat fraud.  Using state of the art investigative techniques, the Secret Service was able to identify this massive crime ring and work to get these individuals charged.

In other BP oil spill news, a recent audit conducted by a third party revealed that the settlement program lead by claims administrator Patrick Juneau correctly processed 99.5 percent of all claims.  The audit concluded that the claims program is appropriate and well designed, with no needed improvements.

This audit comes at a time when BP is fighting to remove Patrick Juneau from his position as claim’s administrator.  BP has stated that the program is riddled with errors and fraud.  BP moved the federal judge in New Orleans to remove Juneau from the position due to a conflict of interest.  The judge denied this request, and BP plans to appeal the decision. Juneau stated that the audit reinforces that the settlement program is running correctly.

In other news, the environmental impact of the BP oil spill continues to be explored.  A new study claims that the oil spill left a bath tub ring around the sea’s floor about the size of Rhode Island, the true effects of which remain to be seen.

Barrett Law PLLC: BP Oil Spill Lawyers Dedicated to the Ongoing Efforts to Ensure Oil Spill Victims Have Been Fully Compensated

Now four years after the BP oil spill caste massive amounts of oil into the Gulf, the event continues to generate headline news.  For some individuals, allegedly falsifying claims may cost them greatly.  For other individuals and businesses, legitimate claims continue to go unpaid.  The Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have not forgotten about the devastating BP oil spill.  We recognize that some individuals and businesses in Mississippi and across the southeast are still awaiting their fair compensation.  At Barrett Law PLLC, we will fight to see that you recover for your losses, whether they be economic or in the form of personal injuries, stemming from the spill.  For more information on how we might be able to assist in your claim, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.