Archive for February, 2015

Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Report: Teen Killed in ATV Accident in Hancock County

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Recently, a teenage Mississippi boy was killed in an ATV accident. The Hancock County Sheriff’s office reported that the accident happened shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 22.  The teen apparently ran a stop sign while driving his all-terrain vehicle and was hit by a truck.  The accident occurred at Hancock Drive and East Pike Street West in Waveland.  The Chief Deputy stated that the accident was still under investigation and the driver of the truck did stop.

Each year, about 700 individuals will die in accidents related to all-terrain vehicles or ATVs.  Mississippi is home to a number of such crashes, and teens are among the most common of all victims.

ATVs are popular among both adults and teens.  The vehicles are generally used for sport but can also be used to haul heavy objects.  While ATV riding can be fun and exciting, these heavy vehicles also lead to accidents and serious injuries.  It is estimated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that over 100,000 ATV accidents across the U.S. require emergency room treatment each year.  About a quarter of these trips involve children and teens under the age of 16.

ATV accidents often result from collisions with other vehicles, as in the Waveland accident reported, or the victim being thrown off the ATV.  Some of the most common injuries to result from ATV accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Facial injuries
  • Amputation
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Individuals injured in ATV accidents may have the right to recovery for their damages incurred as a result of the accident.  The first step to determining whether an ATV accident victim can recover will be assessing who was responsible for the accident.  For instance, if you were riding an ATV on a trial that had a dangerous slant and you became injured due to this slant, the owner of the trail might be responsible for your injuries and could be held responsible in a personal injury lawsuit.  If, on the other hand, you were hit by a car while driving your ATV, an attorney would examine the potential negligence of the driver of the car.  If you are a passenger injured in an ATV accident, the at-fault ATV operator may be held responsible for your injuries.  Finally, for accidents caused by a defective component or a defectively designed ATV, the ATV manufacturer may be liable for your injuries.

Every ATV accident is unique and accident victims will require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who will assess the crash and uncover your potential avenues for recovery.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Assisting in ATV and Other Accidents Across the State    

ATVs hold the potential to cause serious injury or death to operators and passengers.  All ATVs should be operated with parental supervision along with appropriate caution and must be maintained regularly.  If you or a loved one is injured in an ATV accident, the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help.  Our attorneys understand the many factors that can cause an ATV accident, include manufacturer defects or negligent property owners.  Our skilled attorneys will fight zealously for your full recovery following an ATV or other accident.  Call the renowned personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Report: Whistleblower in Pilot Investigation Files Lawsuit

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Recently, John Verble, the financial planner at Morgan Stanley who was a key confidential source in the FBI investigation into Pilot Flying J, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in federal court last week.  Verble claims that he was fired after his important role in the investigation was discovered.

John Verble, a Morgan Stanley executive, filed the suit in Knoxville, Tennessee, in federal court.  The lawsuit seeks to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and brokerage funds held with Morgan Stanley that Verble claims the company has frozen.  In a statement released shortly after the suit was filed, Morgan Stanley dismissed the allegations and stated it intends to fight the suit fully.

Verble played an important role in the FBI investigation that uncovered fraud at the truck stop chain Flying J.  Verble wore a wire and assisted the FBI in its investigations into fraud.  He claims that when a superior at Morgan Stanley became aware of Verble’s efforts, he physically threatened him.

The FBI investigation into Pilot Flying J related to rebates made to the company but never paid to trucking companies as a part of a fraud scheme that involved top level executives.  Last year, Pilot Flying J, based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, accepted responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees.  It agreed to pay a total of $92 million in penalties in a settlement with the federal government. In addition, ten employees pled guilty to various charges.

Verble’s suit contains several allegations of wrongdoing.  He claims that as a result of his assistance in the FBI investigations into Flying J he was retaliated against, discriminated against, then ultimately illegally discharged from his position.  He demands that he either be returned to his previous position to receive damages equal to double his salary of about $360,000 until he reaches the retirement age of 68.

Verble additionally claims that during his time with Morgan Stanley, he became aware of numerous illegal activities, including those that violate the Sarbanes Oxley Act. He claims to have uncovered insider trading involving the office’s employees and clients concerning Miller Energy Resources, Inc.  He also alleges that Miller Energy’s books were manipulated in an effort to conceal some transactions from shareholders along with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Thus far, securities regulators and law enforcement officials have not probed the potential fraud involving Miller Energy and claim they have not received any complaints from Verble or anyone else that relate to the allegations now made in the lawsuit.

Verble was placed on administrative leave in 2013 the eventually fired.  His public BrokerCheck record reports that he was fired for accepting third party funds, but Verble disputes this account.  His attorneys claim his firing was a classic act of retaliation and reports that many facts will come out during the suit that are currently hidden due to ongoing federal investigations.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Protecting Brave Whistleblowers Across the State 

Despite the universally acknowledged importance of whistleblowers to the government and American public, thousands of whistleblowers experience retaliation as a result of their actions.  John Verble is just the latest of many whistleblowers to lose his job due to his brave ac of coming forward to expose fraud.  If you are a whistleblower who has or may have experienced any sort of retaliation, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Our attorneys understand the complex nature of whistleblower suits and will skillfully guide you towards a full recovery for the losses you experienced as a result of your lawful actions.  Call the experienced whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Explore Discovery of the Truck Driver

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The discovery process will prove critical to the ultimate success of any truck accident case.  Discovery is multi-faceted, and will involve an investigation as to the truck driver, the truck, and much more.  Your attorney should be well versed in the realm of truck accident discovery and able to guide you through this important but time consuming process.

The following is a look at the steps to a comprehensive discovery on the truck driver:

Analyze the truck driver’s employment records.

It will be critical to obtain the truck driver’s employment records so as to uncover his or her work history.  Delve into the reasons the truck driver left each prior job, as negligent conduct is a frequent motivator for departure from a company.

Examine the truck driver’s training.

Focus on the training that the driver received at his or her current job.  Also, focus on the driver’s training as it relates to the cause of the current Mississippi truck accident.  For instance, if the accident was caused by an improper turn, question the trucker and trucking company on the driver’s training as to turning.

Establish the driver’s level of knowledge of the law.

All truck drivers should understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules that govern the trucking industry.

Dig into the driver’s medical history and current medications.

Many truck drivers will get behind the wheel despite being on medications that impact their alertness and perception.  Other drivers will have disabilities that make driving dangerous.  Find out the driver’s current and past medical condition to determine whether it played a role in the accident.

Request copies of the incident report and photographs from the scene.

Ask the police department in charge of the investigation to provide you with a copy of the incident report and any photographs taken.  In addition, many truck drivers will keep cameras in their truck to take pictures in the event of an accident.  If such photographs were taken, be sure to request copies.  The trucking company may also have generated an incident report to be used internally.  Request copies of this as well.

Investigate the trucker’s personal information.

It can be useful to look into the truck driver’s personal information.  Minor details such as the driver’s nickname could be useful.  For instance, a nickname like Speed Demon could go a long way in proving negligence in your speed related truck accident case.

Obtain the truck driver log book.

The log book will contain substantial information about each trip a trucker makes and the total hours driven each day.  It will also include information about the period right before the accident, including the driver’s starting time, the name of additional drivers, remarks, and more.  Log books can prove important in showing a driver exceeded the number of allowable hours or had to have been speeding in order to reach the accident site at the time the crash occurred.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Exceptional Representation for Injured Truck Accident Victims

Truck accidents often result in severe injuries such as paralysis, brain injury, back injury, broken bones, spinal cord damage, and much more.  Hundreds of thousands of these accidents will also result in death.  If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a truck accident, the Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Our attorneys understand the intense discovery process necessary to build a successful case.  We offer skilled representation to truck accident victims seeking a full recovery for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Call the experienced truck accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Report: Four Teens Die in Fatal Jones County Accident

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A tragic accident occurred recently in Jones County, Mississippi, claiming the lives of four teenagers.  The single vehicle accident happened on Friday, February 6.  The Jones County Sheriff reported that three teens, ages 13, 14 and 16 were killed when the Nissan Altima they were riding in struck a tree.  The car was traveling at a high rate of speed and the driver lost control of the vehicle, sending it careening into a tree.  All four of the occupants were ejected from the vehicle.  None of them were wearing safety belts.  Three of the teens, including two sisters, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, while the fourth fought for her life for some time at a local hospital before eventually succumbing to her injuries.  An accident reconstructionist is working to reconstruct the accident, but has reported that speed was certainly a factor in the crash.

Sadly, the death of these four young people was likely preventable.  Had the teens been wearing their seatbelts, as required under Mississippi law, they may have survived the accident.  In the state of Mississippi, all drivers and front seat passengers must wear a seatbelt.  Exceptions include those drivers or passengers with disabilities or medical conditions that make seatbelt use impossible, on duty U.S. Postal Service vehicles, and vehicles intended for farm use.

It is an undeniable fact that seatbelts save lives.  Approximately 64 percent of drivers between the ages of 13 and 15 and 21 to 34 were not wearing seatbelts in 2008.  These age groups have the highest percentage out of all age groups.  Research shows that safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of severe injury by 50 percent.

Ejection from the vehicles, as occurred in this Jones County crash, is the most common event that can happen to a person not wearing a seatbelt in the event of an accident.  Over 77 percent of all vehicle occupants who are ejected from the vehicle die as a result.  It is estimated that seatbelts save the lives of over 13,000 automobile drivers and passengers each year.

Of all the teens that die in automobile crashes, about 55 percent were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.  Teens are most likely to not wear a seatbelt, and men are 10 percent less likely than women to wear their safety belt.  Those that live in rural areas have lower rates of seatbelt use, and seatbelt use is lower in states with no seatbelt laws or secondary enforcement laws.

The message to be gleaned from these statistics and this fatal crash is simple:  wear your seatbelt each and every time you get into a motor vehicle, whether you are a driver or a passenger, as this simple act can save your life.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Aggressive Representation for Automobile Accident Victims Across the State

This recent tragic accident illustrates the importance of wearing seatbelts and controlling your speed while driving.  Sadly, these four teens are just a few of thousands who will be killed in automobile accidents this year alone.  If you or a loved one is involved in an automobile accident in the state of Mississippi, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  We assist accident victims in obtaining full compensation for their injuries associated with the crash, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.  Call the skilled, experienced, and dedicated automobile accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Report: Fifth Circuit Approves Name Dropping As Grounds for Retaliation Claim

Monday, February 16th, 2015

The Fifth Circuit recently issued an important ruling concerning the grounds for Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) retaliation claims.  The case involved the following facts:  Anthony Menendez was hired by Halliburton, Inc. as its director of technical accounting research and training out of its Houston office.  Menendez raised concerns about some of the company’s accounting practices, including some revenue recognition that did not conform with accepted accounting principles.  He was criticized by the individual above him for raising the concerns, and Halliburton ultimately concluded their practices were proper.  Menendez tried to raise the issue again but was denied.

As a result, Menendez filed a complaint with the SEC alleging that Halliburton was engaging in questionable accounting practices.  He additionally filed an internal complaint, as was the practice established by the audit committee.  The SEC contacted Halliburton’s general counsel concerning the complaint, and the general counsel determined that Menendez was the source of the complaint.  He then forwarded an email to several employees and managers within the company informing them that the SEC had opened an inquiry based on Menendez’s allegations.

Menendez reported that after that email circulated, he was treated differently.  Others avoided him and the work environment caused him to miss work frequently, ultimately requesting paid administrative leave.  The SEC did not find that action was necessary against Halliburton, but Menendez filed a SOX complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) claiming that Halliburton retaliated against him because of his complaints with the SEC by disclosing his identity as a whistleblower to his colleagues.

The district court found that Halliburton had retaliated against Menendez and awarded him $30,000.  The Fifth Circuit upheld this decision.  The court found that Halliburton’s disclosure of Menendez’s identity as a whistleblower did constitute an adverse event because it created an environment in which Menendez could be ostracized and prevented from opportunities for advancement.

This decision is an important one for employers and employees alike.  Employers should be aware that coworkers are likely to distance themselves from whistleblowers either out of insult, in an attempt to retaliate against the coworker, or simply to avoid additional accusations.  It is imperative that the identity of whistleblowers be protected.  Employers should avoid name dropping and take all precautions to protect the identity of whistleblowers.

For employees, this case creates additional potential grounds for the filing of SOX complaints.  If you are a whistleblower whose employer has revealed your identity and this has created an adverse environment or avoidance by coworkers, you may have an actionable claim.  Any employee who finds him or herself in this position should consult with a whistleblower attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.  Your attorney will review the action of your employer to uncover whether you have a case for a SOX violation or other retaliation claim.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Experienced Whistleblower Attorneys Assisting in a Variety of Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims Across the State  

Whistleblowers serve a vital function in our society, uncovering fraud and wrongdoing and protecting American taxpayers in doing so.  As a result, it is imperative that the identity of whistleblowers remain protected until the law requires it be disclosed.  Disclosing the whistleblower’s identity at the time of initial complaints to coworkers can create a negative environment for the employee.  If you are an employee who has been retaliated against due to your whistleblowing activity, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  We assist whistleblowers across the state in a wide variety of actions.  Call the seasoned whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Report: U.S. Government Accountability Office Claims FBI Needs to Improve Whistleblower Protection

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

A report recently released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that the FBI lacks a sufficient process for whistleblowers to address retaliation after they report wrongdoing to supervisors, which puts them at additional risk for further reprisals.

The GAO report outlines that unlike most other executive branch agencies, the FBI does not have a process in which employees can seek corrective action in the event they experience retaliation based on disclosures of wrongdoing to supervisors or others in the chain of command.

In dismissing reprisal complaints submitted to supervisors, FBI whistleblowers are left without protection from further retaliation.  The dismissal of these potential legitimate complaints could deny whistleblowers access to full recourse, thus permitting the retaliatory action to go uninvestigated and discouraging would be whistleblowers from coming forward.

The GAO explained that it initiated this study due to the high rate of FBI whistleblower retaliation.  The report details the experience of one FBI whistleblower who suffered retaliation after reporting that another agent stole items from Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks.  Although the Justice Department eventually ruled in the whistleblower’s favor, it took ten years to settle the complaint.

In the report, the GAO also asked Congress to consider revising regulations so that FBI whistleblowers could seek recourse against retaliation for whistleblower complaints made to people within their chain of complaint.  The watchdog agency additionally called for the Justice Department to correct its defective grievance process which currently puts whistleblowers at risk.

FBI whistleblowers serve a vital function to the government and U.S. citizens.  They help to safeguard the government against waste and fraud.  Yet it appears that the DOJ is not handling these vital whistleblower complaints as they should be.  The GAO report reveals that the DOJ dismissed 48 out of 62 FBI whistleblower complaints because they failed to meet regulatory requirements.  For instance, 17 of the complaints were dismissed because they were made with someone not permitted to receive the disclosure.  Timeliness was also a major concern of the GAO.  The complaints took a minimum of two years to resolve, and some took over ten years to find relief.

In October of last year, the FBI revealed that it intended to revamp its whistleblower rules to make it easier for employees and agents to report misconduct occurring within the agency.  The changes would include expanding the list of individuals eligible to receive a complaint and making whistleblowers potentially able to receive compensation for their efforts.  These reform ideas came in the wake of Edward Snowden’s massive release of classified documents.

The FBI’s culture against whistleblowers will not be an easy one to change, but hopefully with more and more agencies revealing problems within the system, real reform will continue within the system.  The FBI and the American public rely on whistleblowers to uncover fraud so it is imperative we do all we can to encourage these brave individuals to come forward.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Brave Whistleblowers Expose Fraud and Wrongdoing 

Whistleblowers are at the heart of the American judicial system and economy.  Whistleblowers serve the vital function of uncovering wrongdoing that would otherwise likely continue unchecked, costing the government and in turn American taxpayers millions of dollars.  The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC help whistleblowers across the state to bring qui tam and retaliation actions.  A successful qui tam suit can result in the award of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Call the experienced whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Discuss Black Boxes in Trucks

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Obtaining black box data can be essential in proving your truck accident case.  In recent years, black boxes have become the standard in the industry as more safety regulators push the use of these important devices in an effort to improve safety in the commercial trucking industry.  These electronic monitoring systems are also referred to as electronic data recorders or electronic log systems and are implemented in commercial trucks throughout the nation.

It is crucial that truck accident attorneys download the truck’s black box data as soon as possible following any serious truck accident.  The black box data can help to prove your case.  Below is an overview of the importance of black boxes:

Black Boxes and Truck GPS

Black boxes are usually equipped with global positioning systems and will provide the main source of information as to a truck’s route and journey, depicting exactly where the truck was before the crash.

Black boxes track significant information about a truck, including vehicle maintenance issues like tire pressure and truck driver performance, such as speed control, sudden braking, following distance, and exceeding the maximum number of allowable hours.

Black boxes will also contain email exchanges between the trucking company and the truck drive.  Sometimes, these exchanges will lead to monumental discoveries as to driver fatigue, mechanical problems, exceeding hours, and more.

While the data that can be obtained will vary depending on the model of the black box, in some instances records of hard braking, engine RPMS, and use of the clutch will all be recorded.

Obtaining Black Box Data

In any truck accident case involving a serious injury or death, the truck accident attorney should send a preservation of evidence letter, commonly also referred to as a spoliation letter, via certified mail to the motor carrier, notifying the company that the black box data will be required for litigation and must not be moved or repaired.  This letter should be sent as soon as possible so as to prevent the destruction of potential evidence.

It is also important that the truck accident attorney retains a truck expert who will be present when the black box is downloaded.  At the least, there should be an agreement as to how, where, and by whom the information will be downloaded.  This is vital to prevent any errors in the downloading process that could result in loss of information.

Many new trucks will have extra devices designed specifically to monitor driver fatigue, monitor proximity to the vehicles ahead, blind spot detection, and rollover prevention.  To determine what information you need to request, ask for the truck’s build sheet which will identify all the equipment installed on the truck when it was delivered from the manufacturer.  If you are having difficulties obtaining the black box data, your attorney should file suit immediately so that the court can help in preserving the evidence.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Aggressive Representation for the Victims of Truck Accidents Across the State   

Truck accidents are among the most serious accidents to occur on Mississippi roadways.  These accidents can result in severe injuries such as paralysis, brain injury, back injury, broken bones, spinal cord damage, and much more.  Many individuals will additionally lose a loved one due to a truck accident each year.  If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a truck accident, the Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  We offer dedicated representation to truck accident victims seeking a full recovery for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Call the experienced truck accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Offer The Latest Updates on the Settlement and Environmental Impact of the Spill

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Though it has been nearly five years since the BP oil spill flooded the Gulf with more than 200 gallons of crude oil, litigation continues in the case and alarming new discoveries are still being made as to the impact of the spill.  Recently, a federal judge in New Orleans rejected BP’s effort to cap its fines stemming from the 2010 spill.  BP sought to lower the fines by nearly a third of the massive penalty that federal prosecutors are seeking.  The court rejected this attempt, but has not made a final determination as to how much BP will pay for the disaster.

Judge Carl Barbier of the U.S. District Court in New Orleans ruled on Tuesday, February 19, that BP could pay a maximum penalty of up to $4,300 for each barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf.  The fines are to be applied under the Clean Water Act, the federal law governing water pollution.  This means that BP could face a maximum penalty of $13.7 billion in fines.

BP originally asked the court to cap the fines at $3,000 per barrel, which was the maximum set in 1990.  However, prosecutors countered that the Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard rules required adjustments for inflation.  The court accepted this argument and affirmed the cap amount.

It is anticipated that Judge Barbier, the federal court judge overseeing the case, will make a final ruling as to how much BP will pay in the coming months.  BP is considering all its legal options as it contests the court’s ruling.

In other oil spill news, a report published in PLOS ONE journal revealed some alarming facts about the potential impact on the spill on marine life in the Gulf.  The report found that during the period from February 2010, two months before the spill, to August 2014, an unusual number of dolphins died.  It is believed this unusual mortality event is still ongoing.  The study found that some 1,300 dolphins became stranded along Gulf Coast beaches during the time frame studied, which is the longest lasting period of mass dolphin death ever seen along the Gulf.  Of the stranded dolphins, over 94 percent died.

The study stopped short of declaring the die-offs definitely linked to the oil spill.  Although the high number of dolphin deaths seems consistent with dolphins exposed to mass quantities of oil, scientists cannot yet prove a concrete link.  BP responded to the findings by claiming that mass dolphin deaths are not all that uncommon and the deaths during the study period are in no way linked to the oil spill.  Scientists will continue to study the impact of the oil spill on marine life throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Assisting Spill Victims   

The BP oil spill inflicted serious financial and physical injuries upon thousands of those living and working in the Gulf Coast.  The spill sadly continues to have a devastating impact on the environment and its full effects may not be evident for years to come.  While the fine lodged against BP is a step towards achieving justice, many continue to suffer due to the spill.  If you were harmed by the BP oil spill and have yet to receive full compensation for your losses, the Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  Our skilled attorneys have assisted countless oil spill victims and can do the same for you.  Call our exceptional oil spill attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss the Dangers of Ice on the Roadways

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The recent winter weather has brought freezing rain and ice to much of Mississippi, including the Jackson area.  Over the weekend of February 20, the Jackson area experienced unexpected icing, seriously impacting both bridges and roads.  The freezing rains begin to fall on Friday right before drivers set out on their morning commute.  Drivers were forced to battle heavy congestion and icy bridges in order to get to work.

Multiple accidents were reported on that Friday and in the following days.  At least three weather related fatalities occurred: one in the Greenwood area and two in the New Albany area.  An additional 87 accidents were reported on Friday alone.  One of the major problems facing the area was that meteorologists did not predict the icy conditions, and hence road crews were not prepared to de-ice the bridges.

During icy road conditions, any road can become a dangerous place.  However, the majority of ice related accidents happen on:

  • Bridges, elevated roadways, and overpasses:  Elevated roads collect snow and ice before other roadways, catching drivers by surprise.
  • High speed roads:  It is more common to slide or lose control while traveling at higher speeds.  As such, highways, interests, and turnpikes are the site of many ice related accidents.
  • Curves:  Steering can cause the rear of a vehicle to slide outward while traveling on a curve.  Cars tend to initially fishtail than slide toward the inside of the curve, instead of sliding towards the outside as most drivers would anticipate.
  • Steep hills:  Major hills pose a serious problem in icy conditions, when the friction forces between the tires and the road may not be strong enough to overcome gravity and slow or stop a car on an icy hill.
  • Tunnels:  Tunnels will often contain groundwater seepage, which can coat the roadways in ice during freezes.
  • Deceleration zones:  Braking is a common trigger of slides on icy roads.  Any parts of the roadway that requires drivers to brake could become a hot spot for accidents, such as traffic lights, stop signs, and sharp curves.
  • Acceleration zones:  Accelerating can cause the wheels to spin on icy roads, which may lead to loss of control of the vehicle.  As such, danger zones can include highway on ramps and uphill grades.
  • Low traffic roads:  Roads that are less traveled may be the site of accumulated ice or snow.  These roads are often less quick to be cleared by emergency personnel as well.

It is important to look for warning signs during the winter months as to when ice may appear.  Warning signs will include the presence of temperatures near or below freezing, falling precipitation, ice sticking to your car, or ice sticking to elevated objects.  When these conditions exist, you should presume that the roadways will be icy and require driving with additional care or avoiding the roadways altogether.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Zealous Representation for the Victims of Car Accidents in Mississippi   

Car accidents due to ice and sleet can result in serious injuries and death to those involved.  If you or a loved one is injured in an automobile accident related to poor weather conditions, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help.  Poor weather conditions require all drivers operate their vehicles in a safe manner, including lower their speed and exercising additional caution.  Those who fail to act in a reasonable manner can be held responsible for the injuries and damages they inflict.  Call the experienced automobile accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Discuss: Injuries Resulting from Jobsite Slips, Trips, and Falls

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The majority of workplace acts are caused by slip, trip, and falls.  These accidents account for some 15 percent of all accidental deaths and come in second to only automobile accidents as a cause of accidental deaths.  Even trip and falls on the jobsite that seem to be minor can have serious consequences, leading to head injury, back or neck injury, sprained muscles, and broken bones.  Unfortunately, all of these injuries keep the employee from being able to perform his or her work tasks, costing the employee money and placing their job potentially at risk.

Mississippi employees who are injured in slip, trip, and fall accidents while at work may have a valid workers’ compensation claim.  Under the state workers’ compensation system, employees injured in the course and scope of employment will receive benefits for their medical expenses, time off work, and more.  Employees must report their injury in a timely manner and must suffer an injury that requires they miss time from work or receive medical treatment.

Slip and fall victims can receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical bills, prescription drug costs, mileage reimbursements, weekly wage replacement, and payment for vocational rehabilitation.  Employees that sustain partial or permanent disability as a result of the slip and fall, such that they cannot return to work, will be eligible for more benefits.

Types of Slip, Trip, and Falls

Workplace falls can generally be divided into two subgroups: same level falls and elevated falls.

Same Level Falls

More than half of all workplace falls are caused by falls from same level walking surfaces.  Common causes of these falls include:

  • Slippery surfaces:  Spills of liquid or other slippery substances occur across American workplaces.  Slippery surface falls can lead to fractures, traumatic brain injury, sprains, and more.  Employers have a duty to keep the workplace free of such dangers, but accidents still result and workers’ compensation can provide financial compensation for these injured workers.
  • Ice or rain:  Employers are often injured while walking to or from their cars to work.  Employers are required to keep the parking lots and walkways clear so that employees can safely reach the workplace.  Injured workers can seek workers’ compensation for injuries sustained on the jobsite, at times even if the employee has not yet clocked in.
  • Trips:  Workplace trips can result from misplaced items or walking on uneven surfaces.  Employers should take care to fix such surfaces and keep the workplace clear of clutter, but when accidents do result injured workers should receive workers’ compensation.

Elevated Falls

Elevated falls are falls that occur from any sort of height.  These falls happen most often in the construction industry, but can also occur in forestry, mining, agriculture, and other like fields.  Elevated falls hold the potential for severe and even life threatening injuries.  Any employer who requires their employees work from a height must provide employees with proper safety equipment, thorough training, and supervision in order to prevent falls.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Mississippi Employees to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Their Jobsite Slip, Trip, and Falls 

The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC represent injured employees across the state.  Our clients include nurses, school teachers, clerical workers, construction workers, truck drivers, and many others.  At Barrett Law PLLC, we recognize the difficulties that many employees face in obtaining full coverage for their work related injuries.  As such, we dedicatedly strive to assist you through the complex workers’ compensation web towards a full recovery.  Call the exceptional workers’ compensation attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.