Archive for September, 2016

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Discuss Plans for Settlement Funds

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Now that a $750 million settlement has been made available for areas of Mississippi that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, Mississippi legislators are having difficulty agreeing on what to do with the money. The issue of how the money should be divided up is sure to be a major topic during the 2017 legislative session. Some legislators believe that all of the funds should be spent on coastal areas, as those were the places that were hardest hit by the disaster. Others would like to see some of the money go to the central and northern parts of the state, in addition to the coast.

The state of Mississippi received the first $150 million of the settlement in late June. When the money came in, the Legislature committed about $46 million of it for projects on the Gulf Coast, much of which will take place at the University of Southern Mississippi and Gulf Coast Community College. Proponents of an approach that would share some of the funds with other parts of the state say that those areas also lost sales tax revenue and experienced other economic consequences as the result of the oil spill, albeit not to the same extent as the coastal communities.

There are all kinds of other views on how the money should be spent, including that it’s not possible to make any kind of decision about that yet. The $750 million economic damages settlement is one part of the $2.2 billion dollar total settlement that was negotiated with BP. Much of the money from the general settlement is being used for rehabilitation projects along the Gulf Coast.

If Mississippi needs other ideas to consider regarding how to allocate the settlement funds, it can look to its neighbor to the east. Alabama lawmakers have approved a compromise plan to spend much of that state’s $1 billion BP oil spill settlement on highway infrastructure, Medicaid, and retiring state debt in two its Gulf Coast counties. The plan that Alabama has made for its settlement money could serve as a template for how Mississippi lawmakers could choose to spend that state’s BP settlement funds. It will be interesting to see how the state decides to distribute its BP oil spill settlement money if the powers that be can ever agree on how to spend it.

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

The BP oil spill caused a lot of economic damage to the Gulf Coast and throughout the state. If you have suffered economic damage as the result of the oil spill, the Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you.  Our experienced attorneys have assisted many oil spill victims, and we are here to help you.  Call the compassionate and dedicated oil spill attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney Talks about Why You Need an Attorney

Monday, September 26th, 2016

If you have been involved in a Mississippi automobile accident, you might be wondering whether you could try to resolve your claim on your own or whether you should retain an attorney represent you. Most accidents involve substantial damage to one or more vehicles, property damage, and injuries to the people inside of the vehicles. If you are deciding whether to seek assistance from a Mississippi car accident attorney, here are three reasons why you should do so right away.

The first reason to hire an attorney to assist you in resolving your claim is that you could recover more money than you would likely get if you tried to resolve the claim yourself, even after accounting for attorneys’ fees. Automobile accident attorneys know that accident victims need the money that they receive from their insurance settlements to recover from the financial impact of the accident. Your attorney looks out for your best interest, and they will work to obtain the best possible settlement for you.

Another reason to work with an attorney to resolve your car accident claim is that it will save you time. Your life was busy before your accident, and it may be even busier if you have added physical therapy and doctor appointments to your busy calendar. It can be hard to find time to call or email the insurance company.  Also, insurance companies can be slow to respond to emails, and phone calls from accident victims. When your attorney makes calls and writes letters on your behalf, responses come swiftly because the insurance company knows that you will litigate your claim if it is not settled to your satisfaction.

The third reason why you should retain a Mississippi car accident attorney is that insurance companies do not always propose fair settlement offers. Your attorney can help you to know what your claim is worth, which can help you to assess any settlement offers that come in. If an initial settlement offer is inadequate, your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company until the insurance company proposes an acceptable settlement offer.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Support for Mississippi Accident Victims

Automobile accidents can cause severe injury or death. If you were hurt or someone that you love died in a car accident, one or more people may be responsible for your injuries or your loss. To learn more about how we can help you to pursue a claim for damages, please call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Talk about Pedestrian Accidents Involving Children

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

A pedestrian accident in Colorado serves as a reminder that children who walk to school risk of being involved in pedestrian accidents. A boy who was crossing the street in a crosswalk was hit by a car near the Aurora Hills Middle School. The accident occurred when two eleven-year-old boys were crossing a street. When the boys were halfway across the street, the signal changed. The boys started to run to get across the street quickly. Cars in two lanes stopped to let the kids finish crossing the street, but a driver in a third lane did not see the boys, did not stop, and hit one of the boys. The boy who was hit by the car was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

If you have children who walk or ride their bicycles to school, every newspaper story mentioning a bike or pedestrian accident can leave you wondering whether it is safe for your child to be walking or riding their bicycle to school. The good news is that, for the most part, walking and riding bicycles are still safe ways to get to and from school. Walking and biking are excellent ways for children to incorporate exercise and time outdoors into their day. Walking and biking are fun, too, so children are often eager to take advantage of these transportation options if they live close enough to their schools to do so. Since walking and biking to school are things that should be encouraged as long as they are safe, here are a few ways that you can prepare you children for a safe walk or ride to school every day.

One way to keep your kids safe as they ride their bicycles to school is to regularly inspect their bikes and bike helmets to make sure that they are in good condition and that they are the correct size. Whether your children plan to walk to school or ride their bicycles, it is essential that you help them map out a safe route to school. Travel the route with them a few times, making sure to point out important things along the way like crosswalks, stop signs, and other places where they will need to pay attention and stay safe.

Other bicycle and pedestrian safety tips that can help to ensure that your child gets to school safely on foot or a bicycle include helping your child find other kids in the neighborhood to walk or ride with. Walking or biking to school in a group increases visibility and safety, and adds to the fun factor. As the seasons change, make sure that there is adequate daylight for safe foot or bicycle travel at the time that your children will be going to and from school. Also, make sure that your children have back – up transportation for those days when it is unsafe to walk or bike to school because of cold, wet or wintry weather. Encourage your children to wear brightly colored clothing when they walk or bike to school, for added visibility.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving Mississippi Accident Victims and Their Families  

If someone that you love was hurt in a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident, you might be able to recover for the damages that you have experienced. The compassionate and experienced Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC help accident victims and their families recover financially after automobile accidents. Please call our office today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Fire Truck Accidents

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

One firefighter died, and two others were injured after a fire truck got into an accident on the way to a call. The truck was on the way to put out a fire when it rolled over. Rollover accidents like this one are the type of fire truck accident that is the most likely to cause fatalities. Unfortunately, fire truck accidents happen more often than one might like to imagine. The brave men and women who risk their lives to help others are at risk for injury or death in a motor vehicle accident each time they get into a fire truck to respond to a fire call.

There are approximately thirty thousand fire truck accidents in America each and every year, and motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters. Fire truck accidents have the doubly tragic effects of killing and injuring vehicle occupants and allowing losses of life and property that might not have occurred had the fire truck been able to reach its destination and put the fire out.

Unfortunately, some of the injuries and deaths that occur as the result of fire truck accidents are preventable. Data that has been collected by United States Fire Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that firefighters do not often buckle their seatbelts while traveling in fire trucks. Over half of the unrestrained fire truck, occupants who were riding in fire trucks that crashed were partially or fully ejected from the fire trucks that they were riding in, significantly increasing the risk of injury and death. Firefighters can reduce the risk that they will be injured or killed in a fire truck accident by wearing their seatbelts every time they ride in a fire truck.

There are a variety of types of fire apparatus, or fire trucks, which travel over roadways to fire emergencies. There are ladder trucks, fire engines, pumper trucks, aerial platform trucks, tankers, wilderness vehicles, and others. As is the case with any motor vehicle, there is the risk of an accident every time a fire apparatus goes out on the road. Despite the tragic nature of fire truck accidents, there is one piece of encouraging data regarding fire truck accidents. This bit of good news is that ninety percent of all fire truck occupants involved in all fire truck accidents escape without any injuries.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving Mississippi Accident Victims and Their Families  

Sometimes, there simply is no way to avoid an automobile accident no matter how careful you are. If you got hurt in a car crash or someone that you love died in a motor vehicle crash, contact a Mississippi Automobile Accident attorney right away. Your attorney can help you to pursue financial recovery for your injuries as you focus your energy on your physical and emotional recovery. The knowledgeable Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you. Please call us today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys Talk About Pedestrian Accidents

Friday, September 16th, 2016

A pedestrian recently got hit by an eighteen-wheeler. The man suffered two broken legs, among other injuries. The accident occurred on the I-55 North in Canton. It is not very often that accidents happen involving pedestrians and tractor trailers. This accident shows the importance of understanding the difference between trucking accidents and regular motor vehicle accidents because accidents involving tractor trailers can occur whether you are in your car or you are walking.

The aforementioned accident occurred along a busy highway, which is not a place where most people would be walking. However, tractor trailers travel along plenty of roads where people do walk. In areas where there is any pedestrian traffic, the risk for automobile-pedestrian collisions is present. The number of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians is on the rise, and automobile crash researchers believe that distracted driving may be at least partially to blame.

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 that 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, especially if the vehicle involved is a tractor trailer. 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 and, if it is a commercial vehicle like a tractor trailer, the trucking company, by various parties.

For example, the State can file criminal charges against the driver if they were 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 usually filed by the victims of car accidents against the driver’s insurance company, for the purpose of obtaining financial recovery for the injuries and damages that they have sustained.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Trucking Accident Victims and Their Families Recover After Injury or Loss

If you were involved in any trucking accident, contact a Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney right away. Your attorney will help you deal with accident investigators, and they will use their knowledge about trucking industry laws, commercial insurance policies, and truck accidents to help you pursue claims for recovery from the various parties who are responsible for your injuries or your loss. Call the dedicated and experienced Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Attorney Says That Many Workplace Injuries Go Unreported

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Although there is a seven thousand dollar per injury penalty for failure to report workplace injuries promptly, a recent report by the United State Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that only about half of the severe injuries that occur in American workplaces are reported within the required period. This figure, on its own, may seem concerning. However, OSHA has looked into the matter and found that the truth is not as alarming as it might seem just from looking at the numbers.

Why aren’t businesses reporting injuries to OSHA as required by law? It is possible that some businesses do not realize that the reporting rules changed recently. Recent changes to the reporting requirements went into effect in January of 2015, but not all of the reporting requirements changed. For example, the 2015 changes do not affect previous requirements to report any work-related fatality within eight hours. The changes do add a requirement that any work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or eye loss be reported to OSHA within 24 hours. Also, some small businesses were exempt from reporting requirements before the 2015 changes and may not know that there are now reporting rules that apply to them. Companies with fewer than ten people do not have to keep OSHA records, but under the new rules, they do have to report fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and eye loss. The general sentiment from OSHA is that most of the failures to report injuries are not intentional. That said, companies do have a responsibility to know what the rules are, know which rules apply to them, and follow the applicable rules. OSHA makes information about reporting rules available through many different means, and it is surprising that more businesses are not aware of them.

Representatives from OSHA have stated that the additional information that is coming to them as the result of the newly added requirements helps them respond to media inquiries regarding workplace injuries as well as helping them follow up with companies to ensure that dangerous conditions are corrected promptly. OSHA believes that the more inclusive reporting requirements for workplace accidents will significantly enhance the agency’s ability to direct its resources where they could save the most lives or prevent the most injuries or illnesses. The new reporting rules are also aimed at giving employees, employers, the public, and researchers greater access to information about workplace health and safety.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Injured Workers and Their Families Heal

The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC dedicate themselves to meeting the needs of injured workers and their families. If you or someone in your family got hurt at work, get help from a knowledgeable attorney right away. Your worker’s compensation attorney can help you understand what is happening at every stage of the worker’s compensation case process so that you are not left wondering what is going on with your case.  Do you have questions about worker’s compensation claims in Mississippi? Please call the experienced Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Talks about SEC Whistleblower Retaliation Case against Gaming Company

Friday, September 9th, 2016

A lottery and gaming company must pay half a million dollars in penalties after terminating an employee who reported to senior management and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that he felt that the company’s financial statements might be distorted. The employee had had several years’ worth of positive performance reviews. An investigation into his termination revealed that he was removed from significant work assignments shortly after he raised concerns about the company’s cost accounting model. He was eventually fired from all of his job responsibilities three months later.

The gaming company conducted its own investigation into the accuracy of the company’s financial records, which the employee did not have any responsibility for overseeing. The company says that the investigation exposed no inaccuracies in its financial records. The SEC’s investigation into the matter resulted in the first case against a company where there was no actual underlying securities violation, as well as the aforementioned half million dollar fine. It is also only the second case that has been brought against a company for retaliating against a whistleblower since 2010 when the Dodd-Frank Act first authorized the SEC to bring these kinds of charges. Whistleblower protection cases like this one are just one aspect of what the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act seeks to accomplish. The overall purpose of the law is to place significant regulations on the financial industry to address concerns about the economy that developed during the recent economic recession. Dodd-Frank also aims to protect consumers by making rules that protect borrowers from abusive lending and mortgage practices by banks.

The company has agreed to pay the half million dollar penalty, and it has agreed to refrain from treating whistleblowers in a similar manner in the future. However, the company did not admit or deny the SEC’s findings. The SEC made a statement regarding the case, saying that strong enforcement of anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers is essential for the continued success of the SEC’s whistleblower program. In this situation, an employee noticed something that he felt could lead to inaccurate financial reporting violations of the law. The employee was then wrongfully targeted for doing the right thing by reporting it. The SEC further stated that bringing retaliation cases like this one shows that ensuring a safe environment for whistleblowers is a top priority.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Defending Whistleblowers throughout Mississippi

If you have discussed concerns about potential violations of the law with senior management in your company and with authorities after receiving no response or an inadequate response from your employer, you might qualify for protection as a whistleblower. If you have experienced retaliation or “discipline” because of your actions, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help you.  We understand the ins and outs of the whistleblower lawsuit process, and we will help you pursue justice in your case. To learn more, please call the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss Halloween Pedestrian Accidents

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Parents throughout Mississippi are already busy helping their children get their Halloween costumes ready for parties, trick-or-treating, and other fun things later this month. While Halloween can be a fun holiday for families, there are some frightening statistics about pedestrian accidents on Halloween that are enough to make any parent’s skin crawl. Did you know that there is an increased risk of pedestrian accidents on Halloween, especially for children?

In the United States, approximately six children are killed in pedestrian accidents every year on Halloween. Most of these fatalities occur between the hours of 5 and 9 in the evening when children are out trick-or-treating. Younger children are more likely to be accompanied by an adult when they hit the streets, so they are somewhat less likely than older children to be involved in fatal pedestrian accidents on Halloween.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep your little ghosts and goblins safe while having plenty of Halloween fun. Many communities have made efforts to keep kids safer by encouraging residents to participate in trick-or-treating during daylight hours. Some places have even imposed curfews. Parents can help to keep their children safe by accompanying them as they make the rounds. Older children may want to go out with a group of friends, but it is safer if an adult accompanies the group, so think up a fun costume and join in the fun.

Speaking of costumes, work visibility into your kids’ costumes for extra safety. Light colors, reflective fabrics, and glow sticks or glow jewelry are just some of the ways that you can make sure that their costumes are easily seen. Also, make sure that they can see well while they are wearing their costumes, and that their view is not obstructed by a mask, hood, or another part of the costume. When you go trick-or-treating, bring along a flashlight or two, and make sure that you use crosswalks. Keep your kids and their friends safe by paying close attention to where everyone is walking, the kids may be very excited and not all that attentive to whether they are stepping off of the road and into the street. If you have your cell phone with you, don’t make calls or send texts while you are walking, as it could distract you from the task at hand.

Another way that anyone, whether or not they are a parent, can help to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents on Halloween, is to stay off of the road during “the witching hours” if that is at all possible. The streets will be crowded with pedestrians, and traffic will be moving much more slowly than usual. If you must drive, avoid residential areas as much as possible, as those areas are where most of the trick-or-treating takes place. Be aware that police are often out in full force, helping to keep the streets safe for kids. They will not hesitate to stop you for speeding, or for anything else that they feel presents a threat to pedestrians.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Mississippi Personal Injury Plaintiffs

If you or your child were injured in a pedestrian accident, a Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney could help you navigate your pedestrian accident case and understand the claims process while you focus on healing from your injuries. Please call the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Discusses Wisconsin Social Security Whistleblower Case

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

A legal assistant for the Social Security Administration (SSA) says that he lost his job after he dutifully followed the federal code of ethics which requires government employees like himself to disclose any fraud, corruption, waste, or, abuse to authorities. Another woman, who had held a management position at the SSA, has been removed from that position and placed on administrative leave after alleging that corruption and cover-ups were taking place at the Madison, Wisconsin ODAR facility. A third woman, who had been working as a  legal assistant at the same facility, has testified in an office sexual harassment investigation that she has been denied reasonable accommodations for her ongoing health concerns that are related to workplace stress. These are just three of the employees at the Madison, Wisconsin ODAR facility who have been disciplined in one way or another after exposing fraud, waste, and abuse within the Social Security Administration. This discipline, which amounts to defiance of the Congressional mandate, is continuing to occur despite the fact that it obviously violates the provisions of whistleblower protection legislation.

Federal employees have a right to provide information to Congress, and they are obligated by a federal code of ethics to disclose inappropriate activities that they see to authorities. Federal employees are also protected by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which was signed into law by President Obama back in 2012. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is supposed to provide support to whistleblowers who are encountering inappropriate responses from their employers. Unfortunately, whistleblowers from the SSA have not had much luck in getting that help, and they claim that the OSC has not answered the questions that they have approached them with and that they have not been treated kindly by OSC personnel.

The SSA’s Office of the Inspector General is supposedly investigating a situation at the Madison ODAR facility involving an administrative law judge who is accused of sexually harassing employees, among other things. However, the SSA is said to have repeatedly ignored requests for information by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

This rash of problems for whistleblower within the SSA is, unfortunately, not a new issue. In 2003, the  SSA refused to comply with repeated demands from Congress regarding an audit involving evidence destruction and case delays. The SSA did eventually comply by providing the incriminating report, but those events did nothing to build Congress’s trust in the SSA.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Protecting Mississippi Whistleblowers

If you witnessed violations of federal law in your workplace, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC could help you file a whistleblower lawsuit.  Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of whistleblower lawsuits, including those that are related to federal employees. Our attorneys can help you understand the whistleblower case process and pursue resolution of your whistleblower protection matter.  Call the experienced whistleblower protection attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Failed Clean Coal Project

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

An non-operational power plant that was supposed to serve as an example of how to produce clean energy from coal while at the same time turning a profit is failing to fulfill either of those objectives. There were big hopes for the Kemper coal plant, which was a major piece of Obama’s plan to slow the effects of global warming and a project that was supposed to bring thousands of jobs to the poorest state in America.

Not only is the plant non-operational, well behind schedule, and over budget, it is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Concerns about mismanagement are among the project’s many problems, problems that are now public knowledge thanks to the efforts of a whistleblower named Brett Wingo, who provided the New York Times with access to thousands of pages of public records, undisclosed internal documents, emails, and secretly but legally recorded conversations among his colleagues at the plant.

The New York Times reviewed the materials that Wingo had provided to them, and the overall picture that emerged from the review is that the plant’s owners grossly understated the project’s cost, underestimated its timetable, and had a practice of attempting to conceal problems as they emerged. Brett Wingo had seen all of this happening from his position inside of the project, and he felt a need to speak up and expose the mismanagement and fraud that was going on. As is the case with many whistleblowers, Brett Wingo lost his job after disclosing the information regarding the extensive project management issues with the Kemper coal plant project. An investigation into his termination by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration let to a statement by the Administration that he had been fired illegally.

The New York Times review of the documentation from the Kemper coal plant project revealed how a monopoly utility with strong political backing from both state and federal government officials got investors and ratepayers to pay the hefty price tag on one of the most costly power plants ever built. Because of this project’s high cost and poor outcome, the Environmental Protection Agency is likely to revisit its proposed rules on new power plants. The problems with the project are also likely to affect discussions about the best methods for slowing climate change.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Unwavering Support for Mississippi Whistleblowers 

If you feel as though you were treated unfairly by your employer or former employer after you exposed violations of Federal law, you may be able to recover damages through the whistleblower claims process. The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC could help you navigate the entire whistleblower claims process with the goal of obtaining financial recovery for any losses and damages that you may have experienced as a result of your heroic actions.  If you have questions about whistleblower protection, please call the Mississippi Whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free, initial consultation.