Archive for July, 2015

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Causes of Rollovers and How to Avoid Them

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Rollover crashes are dangerous, and sometimes, even deadly. Because rollovers involve a mixture of factors such as weather, a driver’s reaction, vehicle type, and road conditions, there are a variety of things that can cause rollover wrecks. Fortunately, there are also a number of ways in which to address rollover causes through improvements in driving skills and technology.

Some physical features of vehicles can make them more or less likely to roll over. While any vehicle can roll over, the vehicles that have the highest rollover risk tend to be tall and narrow. These vehicles, which include many SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks, have a high center of gravity and can be rolled over with less force than it takes to roll over vehicles with a lower center of gravity, such as cars that have been designed with a low, wide stance.

Other factors that play a role in rollover crashes include speed, alcohol, and the driving environment. Fatal rollovers in particular often involve excessive speed. Alcohol consumption greatly increases the risk that you will make poor choices while driving, which includes the risk of losing control of your vehicle and rolling over. Approximately half of all fatal rollovers involve alcohol. Rollovers also occur more frequently on rural roads, where dividing lines are not as clearly marked and speed limits may be high despite the presence of curves.

As you can see, some of the causes of rollover crashes are directly tied to drivers’ behavior. This means that drivers can greatly reduce the risk of rollover accidents by making better choices regarding how they drive. Some examples of things that you can do to avoid rollover accidents include following posted speed limits, choosing not to drink and drive, choosing not to drive if you are fatigued, and avoiding distractions while driving. It is also important to remember not to make sudden, panicked movements with your steering wheel because those movements often lead to overcorrections and rollovers. Wearing a seat belt is always important, and it can save your life if your car rolls over. Close to seventy percent of rollover fatalities involve victims who were not wearing seat belts. Other things that you can do to decrease rollover risk include properly inflating and maintaining your tires and loading vehicles properly.

Vehicle design can also play a role in helping reduce the number of rollover accidents that occur. While it is essential that drivers learn how to reduce their rollover risk through making good choices, it is helpful when vehicles have additional features that reduce rollover risk even further. Stability control features have many different names, but they work in similar ways, detecting overcorrections and compensating for them by braking automatically. Side-impact or curtain-style airbags are another helpful technology that can reduce ejection risk and can reduce the amount of fatalities and the severity of injuries that occur during rollovers. It is important to note that side airbags that deploy during a rollover only work to reduce ejection risk if vehicle occupants are also wearing seatbelts. Variable ride height suspensions are another feature that can help vehicles adapt to changing driving conditions and make automatic adjustments to reduce the likelihood of a rollover.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing Mississippi Automobile Accident Victims

If you were injured in a rollover, the experienced and dedicated Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC would like to help you. Please call us today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Attorneys Discuss Highway Construction Accidents

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

There are many dangerous workplaces where the risk of severe injury or death almost always looms large. Highway construction work is one of these jobs, and the work is certainly not easy.   Each year during road work season, construction workers across the nation put on bright orange vests, hard hats, and other highly visible apparel and go out into the hot sun to operate heavy equipment with traffic passing within inches of where they are working.

The work that highway construction workers do to maintain our roads helps us to have safe roads to drive on throughout the year. Unfortunately, despite workers’ and employers’ best efforts to create safe work areas, highway work zone accidents kill and injure construction workers in highway work zones each year. Drivers sometimes have trouble safely navigating within construction zones, and when they crash into the cones, barrels, or other barriers that delineate the work area, they often collide with workers within the work zone.  Said collisions are often the result of a failure to follow work zone speed limits, and, in recent years, distracted driving accidents in work zones have been on the increase.

Vehicle collisions are not the only causes of injuries to highway construction workers. Many of them operate heavy equipment, which can cause severe injuries in the event of an accident. The extreme temperatures in some highway work zones can cause heat-related illnesses and injuries and it can also aggravate other medical conditions. The nature of construction work itself means that there is always the risk of sprains, strains, cuts, and bruises while workers are on the job.

When highway workers are fortunate enough to survive work zone accidents, they are often severely injured. Many injured workers are hurt so badly that it is likely to take them a long time to recover from their injuries. This also means that they will be out of work for a while, perhaps even for the rest of the season, as they work through the pain of physical therapy towards whatever degree of recovery they are able to attain. Some workers are left with permanent injuries, such as partial or complete paralysis, which may make it impossible for them to return to highway construction work at any time in the future. All of these things make recovery after a highway construction work zone accident very difficult, both physically and financially.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Injured Highway Construction Workers Throughout Mississippi

The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC understand that it can be very difficult to recover physically and financially from a highway work zone accident. If you were injured in a work zone, seek the help you need from the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC. Please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Work Zone Safety

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The summer is a prime time for travel, but it is also a popular time for road construction.  With this in mind, if you are headed out on the highways, you are likely to encounter work zones. As inconvenient as the traffic, reduced speed, and detours may be, the presence of highway work zones carries with it the promise of smoother travels once the work is complete. Unfortunately, the men and women who work on our roads put their lives on the line every time they enter a work zone. Tragically, each year, accidents in work zones claim the lives of numerous road construction workers.  As such, it is important that drivers educate themselves about work zone safety and do their part to keep highway construction workers safe.

One of the most important things that drivers can do is to remain alert and aware of their surroundings. Work zones are clearly delineated, and all of the information that drivers need in order to get through them safely is usually right there on the road. Speed limit signs instruct drivers as to how fast they can go within a work zone.  Cones, barrels, flashing lights, and barriers provide physical cues for drivers so that they can know where to drive in order to navigate through the work zone. In some work zones, the road is only able to accommodate one lane of traffic at a time. In these situations, flaggers control the flow of traffic so that everyone is given a turn to pass through the area. Unfortunately, when drivers are fatigued or distracted, they are likely to miss some of this important information. When drivers see signs too late or miss them entirely, they may drive right into a work zone, killing or injuring workers.

Drivers and their passengers can also be hurt or killed in work zone accidents. They can be injured in the same types of crashes that can hurt and kill highway workers, or they can be involved in accidents with vehicles that are entering or leaving the work zones if they do not see them in time to respond to their presence in the roadway. The best ways for drivers to keep themselves, their passengers, and highway construction workers safe is to avoid driving when they are tired or fatigued and to avoid cell phones and other distractions while driving.

Barrett Law PLLC: Legal Assistance for Mississippi Car Accident Victims

If you were hurt or if someone you love was killed in a work zone accident, the Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you during this difficult time. Work zone accident victims may face lengthy recovery times and long absences from work, and families who have lost loved ones may experience difficulties in trying to put the pieces of their lives back together following a devastating loss. To learn more about how we can help you, please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Share Tips for Sharing the Road with Tractor Trailers

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Summer is a popular time for road trips. Road trips can be a lot of fun, as long as you get to where you are going safely and without incident. With this in mind, now is a good time for drivers to remind themselves of things that they can do to ensure that their road trips are safe and successful.

As you are driving along the road, you are likely to encounter plenty of vehicles that are not cars. For example, tractors trailers are a common sight on roadways throughout America. The drivers who operate those enormous trucks receive specialized training so that they can drive them safely.  In reality, though, truck drivers count on other drivers to drive responsibly just like the rest of us do. Whenever there is an accident involving a tractor trailer, it is possible that the truck driver is at fault. It is also possible that the driver of another vehicle caused the accident.  Because of this, it makes sense to say that the drivers of passenger vehicles can make the roads safer for everyone by knowing how to drive safely when they are near tractor trailers.

Part of knowing how to avoid accidents with tractor trailers is being aware of the situations that create an increased risk.  For example, there is an increased risk of an accident whenever a passenger vehicle passes a truck. Of course, there are many situations in which drivers want or need to pass trucks, so instead of trying to avoid passing, it is best to learn how to pass safely. First, keep in mind that it takes some time to pass a truck because they are extremely large. It is okay to take your time when passing, because it is better to pass at an even speed rather than at a rapid acceleration. You should always pass on the left, in a designated passing zone, and be sure that you are far enough in front of it before you move back over. If a truck is trying to get around you, you can make that pass safer by slowing down a little so that they can complete their pass sooner.

Passing situations are not the only time that accidents can happen. If the driver of a passenger vehicle is tired or distracted, they may get too close to a truck and collide with it. When the driver of a passenger vehicle fails to yield to an oncoming truck, the truck driver may not be able to avoid a collision. Drivers who do not realize that trucks have blind spots also increase the risk of an accident. A truck’s blind spots are directly behind it, next to its left rear quarter, and next to its right front quarter. If a passenger vehicle is in blind spot, the truck driver cannot see it, which increases the risk of a crash.

Barrett Law PLLC: Caring and Compassionate Representation for Mississippi Accident Victims  

The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you if you have been injured in a Mississippi automobile accident. To learn more, please call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss DuPont Whistleblower Cases

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Sometimes, a whistleblower lawsuit, or any lawsuit for that matter, does not truly end when the jury issues its verdict. For example, the verdict in a federal whistleblower lawsuit decided by a jury in favor of corporate giant DuPont has been set aside after evidence recently surfaced indicating that the company had committed misconduct by withholding critical information during their trial.  The information came to the attention of attorneys and the court when it was released during a separate lawsuit brought against DuPont by another former employee.

The information that had been withheld during the federal whistleblower lawsuit described workplace safety violations and long-term chemical releases at the Burnside sulfuric acid plant. An employee filed the federal whistleblower lawsuit in an attempt to put an end to these serious issues.  The withheld information was contained in a spreadsheet that should have been provided to the whistleblower’s attorneys by DuPont during the discovery phase of the whistleblower lawsuit.  Additionally, DuPont did not disclose to the court or to the whistleblower’s attorneys that a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been issued in November of 2014 due to ongoing chemical leaks and workplace safety hazards at the plant.

The setting aside of the verdict is probably not the end of the line for this federal whistleblower case. DuPont officials are likely to appeal the setting aside of the verdict because they feel that the information in question would not have affected the outcome of the federal whistleblower trial. Because the information is related to the pollution and workplace safety issues that form the basis for the federal whistleblower case, it is possible that such an appeal by DuPont may not be successful. Whatever the eventual outcome of this case and the other case against DuPont which caused the previously withheld information to be brought to light, this incident has brought renewed attention to DuPont and its problems with pollution and workplace safety.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Advocating for Whistleblowers throughout Mississippi

Whistleblower lawsuits can be lengthy and complicated. However, many whistleblowers feel as though any difficulties that they encountered during the course of their case were minor, compared to the feeling of having done what they felt was the right thing to do, regardless of what the outcome of their case was. If you are interested in filing a whistleblower claim, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of whistleblower lawsuits by providing them with comprehensive support every step of the way.  To learn more about how we can help you, please call the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Explain Rollover Crashes

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Did you know that rollover crashes have a higher fatality rate than other types of vehicle wrecks? While only a little over two percent of all passenger vehicle crashes are rollovers, rollover wrecks cause over thirty percent of all passenger vehicle fatalities. Because rollover crashes are so deadly, it is important that all drivers understand what they are so that they can take steps to avoid them.

There are two ways that rollover accidents generally happen. In the first type of rollover crash scenario, the “tripped rollover,” the vehicle goes off of the road surface and slides sideways.  As the vehicle slides, its tires dig into the soft dirt at the side of the road or hit a curb, guardrail, rock, or other object, essentially “tripping” the vehicle and causing it to roll over. It is easy to envision tripped rollovers, if you think about it. If you can imagine the driver of an SUV or pickup truck driving at highway speed and accidentally moving too far to the right, causing one or two of the vehicle’s tires to go off of the roadway and into the dirt, you can easily imagine that the driver’s response will probably be to jerk the wheel hard to the left to avoid veering off the road. If the driver’s quick and sharp response leads to overcorrection, the tires will continue to dig further into the soft dirt, and the vehicle will roll over. Likewise, if one side of a vehicle rolls up onto an object like a curb or a guardrail at a high rate of speed, the vehicle’s movement can generate enough force to roll it over. Steep slopes off of the side of the road can also cause tripped rollovers, because a vehicle only has to leave the road surface slightly to begin rolling down the slope, even if it was traveling at a fairly low speed to begin with.

While tripped rollover crashes account for ninety five percent of all rollover wrecks, there is another way that rollover accidents can happen. These “other” rollover crashes are called “un-tripped” rollovers. Un-tripped rollovers are most likely to happen when the drivers of top-heavy vehicles encounter high-speed collision-avoidance situations like animals running into the road or large items in the roadway.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving the Victims of Mississippi Rollover Accidents

Rollover crashes are dangerous and they are often deadly. If you have suffered an injury or you have lost someone you love because of a rollover wreck, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to assist you. You are likely to have a lot of questions during this challenging and often confusing time in your life. Our compassionate and dedicated team of attorneys is ready to assist you and your family as you work to overcome the challenges that you are facing due to the rollover accident. Please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Report: Self-Driving Cars are Vulnerable to Collisions

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

By now, many people are aware that Google has developed a self-driving car. What people may not yet realize is that self-driving cars have been involved in collisions. The list of crashes involving self-driving cars recently expanded to include a crash that involved some degree of bodily injury. Upon hearing this, people’s initial reactions might be to think that self-driving cars are not safe, or that a driver would have been able to avoid an accident more readily than a self-driven vehicle.  Fortunately, neither of these things are true. The self-driving cars that are being tested are proving to be quite safe, and information about collisions involving the cars indicates that they have not caused the accidents in which they were involved.

Interestingly enough, the noteworthy “first bodily injury in a self-driving car” collision in California was not actually caused by anything related to the self-driving car.  Specifically, it was caused by another driver, who rear-ended the Google car, which was stopped in traffic at a green light because it could not clear the intersection due to traffic on the other side of the intersection. According to Google, there have been other accidents involving self-driving cars, including several rear-end collisions. In all of these accidents, human error was the underlying cause of the crash.

The collisions involving self-driving cars call attention to the problem of inattention, or human error. The cars do have drivers, because the laws do not permit driverless vehicles on roadways. For the most part, the cars do, in fact, drive themselves, and the driver sits in the driver’s seat, ready to intervene if necessary.

There are not many self-driving cars on the road right now, and those that are are the ones that are being tested by Google employees. As testing continues, the self-driving car program is likely to provide plenty of interesting and useful information about cars, drivers, and all of the things that happen on the road. Google’s self-driving cars are now driving about 10,000 miles a month, which approximates the amount of driving that a typical American driver drives in a year. In total, the self-driving cars have driven over a million miles in self-driving mode. They have also logged another eight hundred thousand miles with a driver in control. The cars use computers, cameras, and other sophisticated technologies to maneuver themselves on all kinds of roadways.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Caring and Compassionate Legal Representation for Mississippi Accident Victims

While it is unlikely that you will be involved in an accident with a self-driving car, there are plenty of other vehicles on the road that could be involved in a collision with the vehicle that you are driving. If you were involved in a car crash and you are hurt, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC want to help you. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping you, so please call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free consultation with us.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Talk about How One Whistleblower Case Can Lead to Other Lawsuits

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Sometimes, a whistleblower case can bring important information to light which can form the basis for other lawsuits. Specifically, a whistleblower lawsuit that was brought against State Farm by two former independent claims adjusters has led to an additional investigation into whether fraud may have occurred in other State Farm cases involving property damage claims related to Hurricane Katrina.

The whistleblower lawsuit against State Farm was brought by Cori and Kerry Rigsby who claimed that State Farm employees, in attempt to avoid paying out valid property damage claims, were fraudulently pressuring engineers to classify property damage as flood damage instead of wind damage. State Farm is a private insurer that issues policies that cover wind damage but not flood damage.  Hence, if the damage to a property is caused by a flood, the company does not have to pay the claim.

It is possible that if State Farm employees did improperly shift the burden of paying one storm damage claim that they should have paid over to the federal flood insurance program, the company could also have done so in thousands of other Hurricane Katrina storm damage claims throughout the state of Mississippi. In some cases, it was difficult to classify storm damage as clearly having been caused by wind or water, especially when all that remained of a building was a bare slab. There is least one case in which it has been conclusively established that State Farm acted fraudulently in classifying damage as having been caused by water when it had in fact been caused by wind. Depending upon the amount of fraud that actually occurred, the federal flood insurance program may have paid out many hundreds of thousands of dollars on claims that should have been covered by State Farm.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Top Quality Legal Assistance for Mississippi Whistleblowers

When a lawsuit brought by a whistleblower exposes conduct that could possibly give rise to other lawsuits, the whistleblowers involved in that case can feel confident that their actions could go a long way towards serving the greater good. Whistleblower cases are not easy, though, and whistleblowers need support that they can count on. The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC will do whatever they can to help you with your whistleblower claim. Our attorneys know that you may have concerns or questions as your whistleblower case moves along, and we can help you find the answers that you need. To learn more about Mississippi whistleblower lawsuits and about how we can help you, please call the experienced and dedicated Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Discuss Recent News of Settlements for Public Entities

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Not surprisingly, many BP oil spill claims were filed by gulf area business owners who suffered adverse economic impacts due to widespread environmental damage caused by the spill. In addition to businesses, there were other types of entities that were negatively affected by the BP oil spill, and some of them have recently reached settlements on their claims for damages.

Specifically, cities and counties were able to file claims for damages associated with the BP oil spill, and some of those claims are being settled.  However, the settled claims demonstrate that the total monetary amount for counties are less than the settlements for cities. This is to be expected, though, because cities collect sales tax revenue while counties do not, so it makes sense that losses of sales tax revenue are figured into the settlement amounts for cities.

Some of the BP oil spill settlements that have been reached so far include approximately two million dollars each for Jackson County and Harrison County, close to two million dollars each for the cities of Gautier and Pascagoula, over three hundred thousand dollars for Moss Point, and nearly nine hundred thousand dollars for Ocean Springs. School districts are another type of public entity that is eligible to receive BP oil spill settlement money, and so far, approximately three school districts have been paid a total of approximately two million dollars.

People who live in the communities that are receiving the settlements are relieved that money is flowing back into the area. There have been many financial losses due to the oil spill’s effects on the local environment, which negatively affected the area’s tourism and the seafood industry. Local governments have been operating on very tight budgets since the spill, and the settlements are expected to provide some relief. Local government leaders plan to use the BP oil spill settlement funds carefully, perhaps to replace resources and revenue that had previously been diverted to solving problems that were associated with the oil spill, and to pursue other goals and projects that will benefit area residents and businesses.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing People Whose Lives Have Been Touched by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are devoted to helping our clients resolve their BP oil spill claims so that they can begin to move forward again. We are continuing to stay abreast of all of the latest happenings with the BP oil spill litigation so that we can share them with you as they happen. If you are involved in a case about damages that were caused by the spill, we are here to help you in any way that we can.  If you have questions about the BP oil spill litigation, please call the attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Military Whistleblower Cases

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Some whistleblower cases arise from conduct that is witnessed by members of the armed forces. In a recent whistleblower lawsuit, a former deckhand claims that he was terminated after he reported illegal conduct that he alleged he witnessed while working on board the motor vessel “Mississippi.”  The whistleblower had not been cited for any previous incidences of misconduct during his lengthy career with the armed forces. Additionally, he was terminated while on military duty, so the circumstances surrounding his termination certainly seem suspicious.

The deckhand, an Iraq war veteran with nearly twenty years of prior military service, started working on the Mississippi as a seasonal employee in December of 2013. The vessel is used for a variety of purposes, including holding meetings in its large hearing room, serving as an inspection boat for the Mississippi River Commission, and moving barges and equipment for military exercises. Individuals who are not directly involved with the military, such as politicians, are often on board the Mississippi as guests and meeting attendees.

Some of the illegal conduct that the whistleblower claims that he witnessed was alcohol consumption by superiors and crew members. Consumption and possession of alcohol on government vessels is prohibited by regulations issued by both the United States Coast Guard and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association. The ship’s captain claimed that he received a letter from Washington, D.C. which gave permission for people on the ship to consume alcohol, but neither the whistleblower nor anyone else ever actually saw that letter. The whistleblower allegedly witnessed other illegal conduct too, in the form of racist behavior which included white officers treating black employees as if they were their slaves. He was personally involved in one such incident, when he refused to carry luggage for a senior officer’s wife because it was outside the scope of his duties as a maintenance officer and because the request that he carry the luggage was made in a rude and rather demeaning manner.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Standing up for Mississippi Whistleblowers

It can be very difficult to come forward and expose improper conduct on the part of a corporation or an organization, and even more so when you put your job at risk.  If you believe that you have a valid whistleblower claim, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you.  Our attorneys can provide you with the information you need to understand the whistleblower claims process and the legal assistance that you will require as your whistleblower case moves forward. To learn more about how we can help you, please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.