Archive for April, 2015

Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Attorneys Discuss Construction Accidents

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Construction work can be physically demanding, interesting, rewarding, and many other things. It is also more dangerous than most other jobs. Fortunately, many construction workers and construction companies alike take job site safety very seriously. Unfortunately, construction accidents do happen, and even workers who take great care to work safely are sometimes injured on the job.

Many kinds of accidents can happen at construction sites. Falls are a leading cause of construction-related fatalities, and they also cause a lot of injuries. Heavy machinery can break or malfunction, injuring the operator or others nearby. Also, people who get too close to heavy machinery can be hurt or killed if the driver cannot see them in time to avoid an accident. Other common causes of construction site injuries include electrocution, getting pinned/wedged or otherwise stuck in or between things, repetitive motion, being struck by things, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

When a construction worker is hurt on the job, they may have to leave the job site to obtain medical care. Some types of injuries keep workers off of the job for weeks, or even months. Unfortunately, some workers are injured so badly that they are disabled as the result of their construction accident, so they may have to find alternate work.

If you are injured in a construction accident, it is important that you see a doctor right away. This is because no matter what kind of injury you have, you will recover faster and have a greater chance of a full recovery if you begin treatment right after you get hurt. In addition to seeking prompt medical attention after a construction accident, be sure to fill out an accident report and keep a copy of it for yourself. Also, try to write down as much as you can about your construction accident, including where you were, who witnessed the accident, who owns the job site, and whether there was any equipment involved in the accident. If you cannot write because of your injuries, have someone write this information for you or make a voice recording. Keep your notes organized, and continue to write down information about your experiences with treatment and recovery as they happen so that you have a complete account of what has happened.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Assisting Mississippi Construction Workers with Workers’ Compensation Claims

The dedicated and hard working Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC provide superior legal assistance to injured workers across the state.  We are committed to helping you navigate the complex workers’ compensation process, and to obtaining a successful resolution of your workers’ compensation claim.  Call the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Government Intervention in ManorCare Lawsuit

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

The United States government is poised to intervene in a whistleblower lawsuit that has been brought against one of America’s largest nursing home chains, HCR ManorCare. The lawsuit against HCR ManorCare alleges that the company engages in systematic Medicare overbilling, and even worse, pressures administrators to provide inappropriate services to nursing home residents in order to increase profitability.

The lawsuit started in 2009 with a whistleblower lawsuit that was filed by an occupational therapist from northern Virginia. The lawsuit was originally filed under the False Claims Act, which enables private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States if they have evidence that tends to show that the government is being defrauded. When claims of this nature are filed, the United States has a choice of whether to investigate them. After the government conducts an investigation, it must decide whether it wants to take over the lawsuit. If the United States chooses to intervene in a case, the whistleblower can collect a percentage of any money that is recovered, but that percentage is slightly less than they would receive if they pursued the matter to completion on their own.

ManorCare denies that there has been any wrongdoing on its part, even after the government’s investigation of the company uncovered a great deal of damaging information. Some of the damaging information is related to the treatment of specific residents, such as the medically fragile eighty five year old man who was supposed to be placed in hospice care but who was instead subjected to a hundred days of rehabilitative therapy, which can be billed at a higher rate, before being placed into hospice care.

When a company is defrauding the government, they expect their employees to cooperate fully with their scheme. This expectation defies the moral sensibilities of many employees, yet some feel powerless to do anything about it, especially in today’s challenging job market. Some employees do take a stand for what is right by taking action to expose the wrongdoing. Whistleblower lawsuits take a lot of time and energy, but they are well worth it when injustices are exposed and companies who have been breaking the rules are held responsible for their actions. Some whistleblowers remain as plaintiffs in their lawsuits until the very end. The United States intervenes in other lawsuits. In either case, the whistleblower receives a portion of any funds that are recovered.

If you are aware of wrongdoing on the part of a corporation or other business entity, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC would like to assist you.  Our attorneys understand that whistleblower lawsuits can be complicated, and we are here to guide you through the complexities of your whistleblower lawsuit, towards a result which exposes the wrong actions of a business that is not playing fair. If you have questions about whistleblower lawsuits, please call the experienced whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Discusses the Final Rule for Whistleblower Retaliation Complaints

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Last month, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued a Final Rule which sets forth the procedures by which specific categories of whistleblower retaliation complaints, namely those which are described in Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, will be handled by the Administration. The claims covered by the Final Rule may be brought by various classes of employees and contractors, and Section 806 protects them against retaliatory actions by their employers. These retaliatory actions, such as demotions or dismissals, are sometimes taken by companies, against whistleblowers, in connection with the whistleblowers’ actions in reporting violations of Securities and Exchange Commission rules or other laws to the appropriate authorities.

Now that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has issued its Final Rule, whistleblowers can feel confident that if they experience retaliation after exposing wrongdoing on the part of their employer, the provisions of the new Final Rule support an outcome that will repair the damage that was done by the retaliation. Whistleblowers play an important role in ensuring that companies who break rules will be held accountable for their actions. It is hoped that the Final Rule will help deter companies from taking retaliatory actions against present and future whistleblowers, in addition to offering protection to those who have already experienced retaliation.

Another important feature of the recently issued Final Rule is that complaints may be made verbally. Section 806 complaints used to have to be written, and had to include a full description of the alleged wrongdoing. The Final Rule allows whistleblowers to verbally relate their complaint to an investigator from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, who then reduces the complaint to writing. The Final Rule also provides for the reinstatement of the complainant to their former position while a dispute is pending, or, in the alternative, under the Final Rule, the complainant may collect the same pay and benefits that they would have been collecting in their former position, without having to return to work.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Defending the Rights of Mississippi Whistleblowers

The Final Rule that was recently set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration supports whistleblowers that have experienced retaliation as they went about their quests for justice.  To learn more, or if you have experienced any type of retaliatory action at the hands of your employer, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you.  Our attorneys are skilled at navigating the complexities of whistleblower lawsuits, and they can help you pursue a successful resolution of your case.  Call the hard working and dedicated whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Whistleblower’s Big Win against a For-Profit College

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

It is rare that a whistleblower prevails against a for-profit educational institution, but Heidi Weber has finally succeeded in doing just that. Her victory originally came in 2013, when she won a $400,000 jury award in her lawsuit against Globe University. Weber had worked as a dean in Globe’s medical assistant program until she was fired after informing authorities about unethical recruiting practices that she says were routinely employed by university staff.

According to Weber, whose office was located adjacent to where admissions representatives were working, the admissions representatives would say just about anything to convince prospective students to enroll, including misrepresenting what graduates of the program could hope to accomplish financially after they graduated, providing overly optimistic job placement rates, and even telling prospective students that they could transfer their credits to other colleges when those colleges would not actually accept them. When Weber started trying to resolve her concerns internally, by speaking with college officials up the chain of command, she was told to keep quiet. When she refused to do so, she was fired. Globe University claims that she was fired because of performance concerns, and not because she accused university officials of wrongdoing.

Globe University is a career school that was established in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1885 as a business school. Since the 1970’s, the college has since expanded into a chain of schools that offers on-campus and online degree and certificate programs. Globe University had been growing by leaps and bounds from 2003 to 2010, opening many new campuses and tripling its enrollment. However, the college has been experiencing significant difficulties since 2010. Heidi Weber’s win against Globe University is one of several problems that the college is currently experiencing. Enrollment has dropped sixty percent since 2010, and the college has been sued by the Minnesota Attorney General, who alleges that Globe defrauded students in its criminal justice program.

Weber’s case is unique in that it is one of the first cases in which a whistleblower was awarded compensation by a jury in a case involving a for-profit college. Other cases have been pursued against colleges for deceptive marketing, but plaintiffs’ victories to date have been few and far between. Unfortunately, Globe appealed Weber’s verdict, so she was unable to enjoy her success until just recently, when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in her favor in the final round of appeals.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Protecting Whistleblowers throughout Mississippi

Heidi Weber’s win against Globe University is encouraging because it shows that it is possible for one person to take on a large institution and succeed. If you were fired, demoted, or otherwise harmed after reporting the unethical practices of your employer, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you pursue a whistleblower claim.  Our attorneys will guide you through the whistleblower claims process towards resolution of your case.  If you have questions about whistleblower lawsuits, please contact the experienced Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Explain Settlement Offers

Monday, April 13th, 2015

If you were injured in a Mississippi automobile accident, you may have received a settlement offer from the insurance company very soon after your accident. While it may seem like a good thing to see a settlement offer so soon after your car accident, it is important that you carefully assess any settlement offer before accepting it to ensure that it will, in fact, adequately compensate you for your injuries and damages.

Accepting a settlement offer soon after an accident puts you at risk for accepting a settlement that is not adequate for two reasons. First of all, if you were injured, you may not yet know the full extent of your injuries, what medical care you will need in the future, or how fully you will recover from your injuries. All of those things affect the value of your claim, so it is important to wait until you have a more comprehensive picture of your injuries and the anticipated recovery process before accepting a settlement offer.  The second reason for not immediately accepting a settlement offer is that even if you know everything you need to know about your injuries, you may not have had time to evaluate the total financial impact of the accident on your life. Things like lost wages and damage to your vehicle factor into an award of damages alongside the expected costs of recovering from your injuries. Hence, it is a good idea to consult with an automobile accident attorney to determine the value of your claim.

It is also important that accident victims remember the following when they read any settlement offer – the settlement offer that you are reading was written by someone who works for the insurance company and not for you. In other words, the offer has been calculated to bring the greatest possible benefit to the insurance company by getting you to settle your claim quickly, and for the lowest possible amount. As an accident victim, you deserve to be fully compensated for the all of damages that you sustained in the accident. You are also free to accept or reject any settlement offer that is extended to you.  An automobile accident attorney can help you to understand what your case is worth, and they can also pursue a better offer on your behalf, if you choose to decline the offer that you have received. If the insurance company does not extend an appropriate settlement offer, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the insurance company and represent you at trial, if need be.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving the Victims of Mississippi Automobile Accidents  

If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important that you speak with a Mississippi automobile accident attorney right away. Your attorney can help you to pursue the financial recovery that you deserve, even if that means going to trial. The experienced Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you. Please call us today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Pedestrian Accidents

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Now that warmer weather is here to stay, everyone is eager to get outside. Many people enjoy going out for a walk, whether it is for exercise, recreation, or as a method of transportation. Unfortunately, as pedestrian traffic increases, the risk for automobile-pedestrian collisions also increases. The number of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians has been increasing for a few years now, and distracted driving appears to be a major reason for the increase.

When a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle is likely to be found to have been at fault for the accident. There are a few ways in which pedestrian accidents often happen. Sometimes, a driver makes a turn as a pedestrian is crossing the street in a crosswalk. At other times, a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may collide with a pedestrian who they do not see because of their condition. Drivers who run red lights or stop signs also run the risk of striking a pedestrian who is crossing the road at the intersection. Vehicles entering the roadway from driveways sometimes do not notice pedestrians who are approaching, and pedestrian accidents happen this way, as well.

When an automobile strikes a pedestrian, it is highly likely that death or serious injury will occur. When a person has been seriously injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, there are a few types of legal actions which may be filed against the driver by various parties. For example, the State can file criminal charges against the driver if he or she was violating any laws at the time of the accident.

Another type of action that may be filed against the driver of an automobile who has struck a pedestrian is a claim for injuries and damages. These claims are the type of claims that are normally filed by the victims of automobile accidents against the driver’s insurance company (for the purpose of obtaining financial recovery for the injuries and damages they have sustained).

If a person dies in a pedestrian accident, there are two types of actions which may be pursued by the family of the deceased against the driver. A survival action is designed to allow the family of the deceased to recover the damages that the deceased could have recovered, had they survived the accident. A wrongful death action is designed to provide the deceased’s family with compensation for their loss when that loss was caused by someone else’s negligence. In automobile-pedestrian collisions, the negligent party is usually the driver of the vehicle. The family of the deceased can recover several types of damages through a wrongful death action, including lost wages, unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of support.

Barrett Law PLLC: Helping Pedestrian Victims of Mississippi Automobile Accidents

When an automobile strikes a pedestrian, serious injury or death are the most likely outcomes. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured in an automobile accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help you. We will work hard to obtain the results that you and your family need. Call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss School Bus Accidents

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Recently, sixteen Mississippi students and the bus driver were hurt in a crash which occurred when their bus flipped over. The accident was terrifying for the students who were on the bus, and for their parents, who waited nervously for word that their children were safe. This recent school bus accident calls into question the safety of something that is an essential component of many families’ weekdays – the bus ride to and from school.

Children all over Mississippi ride buses to school each weekday morning, and they ride them back home again in the afternoon. The parents of children who ride buses to and from school expect the bus drivers to get their children to school and back safely on a daily basis. Some children do not ride buses to school, but many families are not able to make rides to or from school in a parent’s car happen twice a day, five days a week. Many parents work on weekdays, making transportation on school buses the only real option for getting their kids to school on time each morning.

We realize that the recent school bus accident in Mississippi has got parents across the state wondering about the true safety of school buses. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration firmly believes that school buses are, in fact, the safest way for children to get to and from school. Statistics support the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s assertion, showing that riding to school on the school bus is seven times safer than riding to school in a passenger vehicle.

If you rode a school bus to school, you may remember that there were not any seat belts on the bus. In most places, there are still no seat belts on school buses. School buses are designed much differently than passenger vehicles are, so they keep passengers safe in a much different way. The padded, high backed seats in school buses serve to divide them into compartments. This compartmentalization reduces the amount of movement that each individual passenger experiences during a collision. Also, school buses are large, so when there is a crash, the force of the impact is dispersed across a large area.  When school bus accidents do happen, injuries are likely to be minor, but that does not decrease the scariness of the experience for the children on board the bus or their parents.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing School Bus Accident Victims across the State of Mississippi

School bus accidents can cause a variety of injuries.  If you or your child have been injured in a school bus accident in Mississippi, the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help.  We help accident victims pursue compensation for injuries, like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Call the compassionate and experienced Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Five Years after the Spill, Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Say Claims are Still Being Filed

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred on April 20, 2010. News stories about the obvious damage that was caused by the millions of gallons of oil that had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico made local, national, and international headlines for months, often accompanied by devastating images of dying animals and beaches littered with tar balls.

As time passed after the BP oil spill, it became apparent that the damage that was caused by the spill extended far beyond the area where the spill occurred. Many different types of negative effects of the spill were being experienced by all kinds of people in areas that were up to a few hundred miles away from the site of the disaster.

For example, on the southwest coast of Florida, vacation bookings decreased dramatically. For some reason, people, especially international travelers, who had been considering visiting the southwest coast of Florida, thought that it had been affected by the BP oil spill; even though no oil had actually washed up on any of its beaches. The sharp drop in tourism in the southwest Florida region caused financial difficulty for those employed by industries that depend heavily upon local tourism for their economic well-being. The good news is that tourists are slowly returning to the southwest Florida area, and businesses are recovering in step with their return. However, many business owners feel as though they should receive at least some compensation for the hardships that they have endured over the past five years.

One potential avenue for obtaining the compensation that those business owners seek is a class-action lawsuit settlement. Business owners in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and selected parts of Texas and Florida who are interested in pursuing compensation through that lawsuit settlement must act quickly, as the deadline for application for participation in that settlement is June 8, 2015.

Barrett Law PLLC:  BP Oil Spill Attorneys Helping Mississippi Businesses Affected by the Spill

The BP oil spill caused many different types of damage throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding areas. Business losses related are just one of the types of losses that are being compensated. If your business has experienced a loss in connection with the BP oil spill, the Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you pursue the compensation that you deserve.  Our compassionate and dedicated attorneys know how hard you have worked to build your business, and how difficult it has been for you and your business to weather the difficult economic times that have hit the Gulf area hard in the years since the BP oil spill. We have assisted many oil spill victims with their claims for damages, and we are here to help you.  Call the knowledgeable and experienced oil spill attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss the Dangers of Driver Fatigue

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Feeling tired has become so commonplace that many of us don’t fully know or appreciate the full extent of it, at times.  To add to our lack of awareness of how tired we are, many of us drink coffee, tea, and energy drinks throughout the day in order to feel more alert. People are busier and more overextended than ever before, and they are sleeping fewer hours than their bodies require on a regular basis. Chronic sleep deprivation has become such a problem for so many people that we sometimes hear news stories about how sleeping too little can harm our health. As terrible as the health effects of not getting enough rest can be, it is important that people understand that there are additional dangers associated with being sleep-deprived.

Lack of sleep, even in situations where it is not chronic, increases the risk of automobile accidents. The number of accidents caused by drowsy drivers has been steadily increasing, as the amount of rest that people are getting has decreased over time. In the United States, approximately forty thousand people are injured and over fifteen hundred are killed each year in accidents caused by overtired drivers.

One sobering fact about driving while you are tired is that doing so can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Lack of sleep impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and decreases awareness, all of which can cause drivers to get into accidents. Some drivers stay awake by drinking coffee or energy drinks, chewing gum, or turning on the air conditioner, but these strategies only work for a little while, especially for drivers who are suffering from extreme levels of fatigue. Even worse, drivers who do these things often feel as though they are more alert than they actually are, so they may still be tired enough to cause an accident.

Single-vehicle accidents where the driver is not intoxicated are often found to have been caused by drowsiness, especially in case where there are fatalities or serious injuries. When the drivers of commercial vehicles hit the road with too little sleep, the stakes are even higher (remember hearing about the Tracy Morgan accident?). Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities, just like other types of motor vehicle accidents, as well as massive amounts of property damage.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Top Quality Legal Representation for the Victims of Mississippi Car Accidents    

Tired drivers endanger their own lives as well as the lives of others when they get behind the wheel. If you were hurt in an accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, or if you have lost someone you love in a drowsy driving accident, contact a Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney right away. The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC will work hard to help you obtain the financial recovery that you deserve. Call the compassionate and dedicated automobile accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Remind Drivers to Watch Out for Bicycles

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Drivers must always be aware of many different things while they are driving along the road so that they do not have an accident. There are many different types of automobile accidents, from accidents involving other passenger vehicles, to accidents involving motorcycles, animals, stationary objects, pedestrians, and people on bicycles. All of these people and things can be found on or near any roadway at any time, so driving safely requires maintaining a constant awareness of one’s surroundings. Unfortunately, a split second of inattention is all it takes for an accident to occur.

When an automobile collides with a bicycle, the bicyclist is often killed or seriously injured. The reason for this is obvious – people on bicycles are not surrounded by anything that can protect them from the direct force of the impact, and a bicycle helmet, if the person is wearing one, only protects the head. Fortunately, many motor vehicle collisions with bicycle riders can be prevented, if drivers and riders each work to decrease the risk of accident.

Overall, the risk of accident can be dramatically reduced by avoiding distractions like cell phone use while driving. Abiding by the posted speed limits is another way to greatly reduce the risk of an automobile-bicycle collision. State and local laws regarding how to drive when sharing the road with bicycles vary from place to place, but each set of rules is designed to promote safe road sharing. Both drivers and people who ride bicycles on roads can reduce the likelihood of an accident just by knowing what to do in specific situations, which includes using proper turn signals and being visible at night.  Accordingly, people who ride bicycles on or near roads can protect themselves by wearing brightly colored clothing and using lights for riding at dawn or dusk, or after dark, so that drivers can see them easily. As an additional safety measure, rear view mirrors can be mounted on a bike or on a pair of glasses to enable bicycle riders to see vehicles and other bicycles as they approach from the rear. While a bicycle helmet will not prevent a collision, it is essential that people who ride bicycles on or near roadways wear a properly-fitting helmet at all times to protect their heads in the event of a fall or a collision.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Superior Legal Representation for Mississippi Car Accident Victims  

Accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles often result in serious injury or death. If you have been injured, or if you have lost a loved one in a Mississippi automobile accident, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you. You deserve the very best in legal representation, and we are dedicated to pursuing the results that our clients deserve. Call the knowledgeable Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.