Archive for February, 2017

Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorneys Talk about Forklift Accidents

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Last year, a man died after he got struck by a forklift at the Armstrong Flooring in Jackson. Forklift accidents are a common cause of workplace injuries and deaths across America. Forklifts are in many different types of workplaces, so it is important that all workers who encounter forklifts in their workplaces know about the dangers of forklift accidents so that they might be able to avoid them.

Forklifts are involved in approximately one percent of factory and warehouse accidents, yet the injuries caused by those accidents are often serious and sometimes even fatal. About eighty-five people die in forklift accidents each year. Nearly thirty-five thousand people are seriously injured by forklifts every year, and another sixty-two thousand receive non-serious injuries in forklift accidents.

The most common type of workplace accident involving a forklift occurs when the forklift tips over. It is not surprising that this is how many forklift accidents happen, because of the nature of forklifts and the functions that they perform. Forklifts are very heavy, weighing in at approximately three times the weight of an average car. They do not have brakes in the rear, only in the front, and this, combined with their unevenly distributed weight (more in the rear, less in the front where the forks are) makes them handle much differently than the passenger vehicles that people drive every day. Sometimes, it’s hard for a forklift driver to see around the large or awkwardly shaped load on the front of a forklift, and this increases the risk of a collision with a person or an object. When a forklift is lifting a heavy load to a high place, there is the danger that the load will fall or the forklift will tip.

Fortunately, there is room for improvement as far as forklift accidents are concerned. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that the number of forklift accidents could be reduced by over half if the people who operate forklifts and work in places where forklifts are in use received more comprehensive training about how to run them and work near them safely. It is possible to prevent injuries by installing barriers around forklift work areas to keep pedestrians safe. Shields and barriers that can be placed on doors, corners, shelves, and other areas to prevent property damage from forklift impacts.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Workers Injured in Mississippi Workplace Accidents

If you work in a facility where there are forklifts, you are at risk for a forklift injury whether or not you operate or work with the forklifts yourself. If you got hurt in a forklift accident or someone that you love was killed in a forklift accident, it is crucial that you seek assistance from a Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney. Your attorney knows the details of worker’s compensation law, and they can help you navigate the claims process. If you have questions about worker’s compensation or workplace accidents, call the Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Shares the Disturbing Truth About How Organizations Treat Whistleblowers

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Few things are as disturbing as having your mental health status called into question, especially if it is done publicly. Unfortunately, businesses and organizations often go after whistleblowers with precisely this type of attack, attempting to discredit what the whistleblower has said about the organization by alleging that the whistleblower is mentally ill. These allegations of mental illness are often made publicly, in news stories, interviews, and other media releases.

Research into whistleblower cases in the United States, the UK, and Europe has revealed a troubling amount of cases in which firms attacked the mental health of whistleblowers in various ways. This is disturbing, because the retaliation and other effects, including job loss, that many whistleblowers experience do affect people’s mental well-being. Workplace bullying and job loss can contribute to the development of mental illness or adverse health effects like anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, and even suicide or attempted suicide. Those mental health effects, which are caused by the mistreatment that the whistleblowers experience at the hands of the organizations that they work for, are unrelated to the mental states of the whistleblowers at the times that they revealed the wrongdoing within their organizations.

When organizations allege that a whistleblower’s claims against them should be discredited because the whistleblower suffers from mental illness, it takes the attention away from the wrongdoing and puts it, unfairly, onto the person who was brave enough to speak out. Some individuals are forced to attend counseling, others get placed into residential mental health programs, and others simply get accused of being mentally ill. It is an unfair, hurtful, and, unfortunately, effective tactic that diverts attention away from the real issue. When individuals and the media pay attention to what the organizations are saying about the whistleblowers instead of to the stories that the whistleblowers are trying to tell, organizational misconduct can continue, unchecked. The people who choose to believe the organization instead of the whistleblower become, in essence, participants in continuing the improper activity. The individuals themselves may unwittingly, and under duress, feed into the pictures that the organizations are trying to paint of them by attempting to aggressively manage their reputations to a point where they do appear to have something strange going on with them.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Unwavering Support for Mississippi Whistleblowers

The way in which businesses and agencies treat people who expose their misconduct is nothing short of appalling. From attacks on mental health status to impoverishment through job loss and destruction of reputation, bullying, and other harmful actions, organizations often create mental health crises in individuals who enjoyed a high degree of mental health and personal well-being before they spoke out against their employers. Whistleblowers play a significant role in righting the wrongs that businesses and agencies hope will never see the light of day. If you have questions about whistleblower protection, call the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 for an initial consultation.

Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss Cruise Ship Accidents on the Mississippi River

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

An injured, seventy-one-year-old woman recently got medevacked off of a cruise ship on the Mississippi River. The woman, who had suffered a shoulder injury, and her husband were transported to Venice by a Coast Guard response boat, where they were met by local emergency medical personnel who transported them to the hospital. A couple of weeks earlier, a seventy-six-year-old man had to be removed from the same cruise ship in a similar fashion, by a Coast Guard response boat, when he began experiencing flu-like symptoms and heart problems during a river cruise.

River cruises can be a wonderful way to enjoy good company and take in the scenic beauty of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries can occur on board a cruise ship, just as they can happen anywhere else. Sometimes, the medical care that an injured or sick person needs is not available on board the ship, but sometimes more intensive care is required. Fortunately, the Coast Guard can assist in situations like those that mentioned above, so that sick and injured cruise passengers can get the medical care that they need right away.

If you are on board a cruise ship and you or someone who is traveling with you gets hurt or sick, get help from the ship’s infirmary right away. In addition to seeking prompt medical attention at the ship’s infirmary, it is essential to do a few other things as soon after your accident or injury as you can, in order to protect your rights. For example, if you can get treated on board the ship, make an appointment to be checked out by your regular doctor as soon as you can after your cruise.

Other things that you must do as soon as possible include reporting your accident or injury to cruise ship safety officers and crew members. If any other passengers or cruise ship crew members were nearby when you got hurt, obtain their names and contact information. Get copies of any forms that you or cruise ship staff fill out in association with your injury. If you can, take pictures of the part of the cruise ship where you got hurt, and take pictures of your injury, too.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Injured Mississippi Residents to Recover

Cruise ship tickets often contain the information that you will need to know the cruise line’s procedure for filing a claim for damages. You may have a limited time within which to file your claim, so call a Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney right away, before it is too late to file a claim for damages. If you got hurt in a cruise ship accident, a Mississippi personal injury attorney might be able to help you file a claim for damages. To learn more about how a personal injury lawyer might be able to help you, call the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577 to arrange a consultation.

Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorney Shares Suggestions for Safer Night Time Riding

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

A man recently died in a motorcycle accident on Highway 98. The accident occurred at night, like sixty percent of all motorcycle accidents do. This tragic accident is a sobering reminder that riding a motorcycle is more difficult at night than it is during the day, and extra caution is required to keep motorcycle riders safe after dark.

If you ride a motorcycle, you can reduce the risk that you will get into an accident while riding at night by using extra caution and by making yourself visible to other drivers. It is essential that riders use extra care when riding after dark because roads are not always well lit, which can make signs and pavement markings harder to see. Unfortunately, pedestrians and wildlife are also harder to see at night, and you may have less time to avoid them than you would if you were able to see them at more of a distance as you can during the day. You can ride more safely at night by reducing your speed to give yourself more time to react to the things that you see when you can see them.

Fog and rain can pose problems for motorcycle riders at any time of day, and especially at night because they not only reduce your ability to see, they make it harder for other drivers to see you. Fortunately, there are ways that you can increase the chance that other drivers will see you. Other drivers should always be paying attention and looking out for motorcycles, especially at night. When motorcycle riders take steps to increase the chance that drivers will see them, they reduce accident risk.

You can increase your visibility by putting fluorescent or reflective accents on your clothing and your helmet. You can even customize your bike with extra reflectors and other reflective materials. Good lighting can make it easier for you to see at night, and it also makes it easier for drivers to see you. When you are thinking about the lights on your bike, don’t forget your rear view – you can replace a small or dim brake light bigger and brighter. You can also add running lights to the front of your bike so that there are three lights instead of just one. For your headlight, choose a DOT-approved super bright bulb and raise your headlight to the maximum angle that state law allows.

Barrett Law PLLC:   Helping Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Victims and Their Families

Motorcycle accidents are more common at night than they are during the day. Riding at night can be fun if you remember to implement safe driving tips and make your motorcycle as visible as possible. If you got hurt in a motorcycle accident, it is essential that you contact an attorney right away. To learn about pursuing a claim for damages after a motorcycle accident or any other type of motor vehicle wreck, please call the knowledgeable Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to set up an initial consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Whistleblower Retaliation Training at the SSA

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires its employees to engage in periodic training exercises regarding their rights as employees and the protections against retaliation that are available to whistleblowers. Unfortunately, it does not appear as though the training is effective in actually protecting whistleblowers because the SSA continues to terminate people who expose wrongdoing within the agency.

For example, one SSA employee was recently fired four months after exposing abuse, waste, and fraud within his workplace. Ron Klym worked in the Milwaukee Office of Disability Adjudication and Review until just a few months after he spoke with Wisconsin Watchdog about problems in his office involving delays in adjudicating disability cases. He had also reported retaliation and misconduct to another government agency in the past. Before his termination, Klym had received excellent performance reviews for his work with the Agency.

Unfortunately, Ron Klym is not the only stellar SSA employee who ended up as a whistleblower without a job. Deborah Holland from the Madison Office of Disability Adjudication and Review lost her management position and was placed on a temporary administrative leave after exposing disturbing cover-ups and corruption in her workplace. Holland and Klym are just two of several employees who have alleged various types of wrongdoing within the SSA.

The whistleblower protection training for SSA employees is required by the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (the No FEAR Act). The intended purpose of the Act is to increase government agencies’ accountability for violations of whistleblower protection and antidiscrimination laws. Each employee must complete the training, which currently consists of a twenty-one-minute video and electronic certification, every two years. The whistleblowers who have lost their jobs do not feel as though the training is effective at protecting SSA employees from retaliation or discrimination because there is an ongoing workplace culture of retaliation. In other words, despite the mandatory whistleblower protection training, SSA employees can expect that if they blow the whistle, they will suffer for it in one way or another.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Protecting The Rights of Mississippi Whistleblowers

The SSA is just one government agency where mistreatment of whistleblowers seems to be integrated into agency culture. Individuals who work in agencies like these are likely to feel discouraged, and like there’s nothing that they can do to prevent the actions of those who are ready to deal harshly with them if they shed any light on things within their workplaces that are just not right. It is important that individuals who work in similar environments expose what goes on in their workplaces so that that the wrongdoing can be addressed and the harm that is being caused by the wrongdoing can stop. Whistleblowers take risks when they do what they do, including the risk of job loss, mistreatment, and other very personal forms of harm. If you have experienced discrimination or retaliation as the result of your actions as a whistleblower, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you. Call us today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to arrange for your initial consultation.

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Say Lawmakers Are Having Trouble Deciding How to Spend Oil Spill Funds

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

A decision about how to spend seven hundred and fifty million dollars in BP oil spill damage payments may not be reached this year. Mississippi lawmakers let Senate Bill 2634, a proposed plan for spending the oil spill settlement money, die at a recent deadline for action after the House Appropriations Committee did not bring it up.

Some House members from the Gulf Coast region said that the proposed bill was not specific enough about how the money would get distributed, so they did not feel comfortable endorsing it. A group of sixteen representatives from the Gulf Coast declared that it was better not to take any action than to pass a bill that would not amount to any real action being taken. Some lawmakers fear that the lack of a decision could lead to a decrease in the amount of money that will be spent on the Gulf Coast, as opposed to elsewhere in the state, but there has been no movement in that direction. Opponents of the now dead bill say that there was not enough protection in the bill to prevent money from being diverted to other parts of the state besides the Gulf Coast. Without a plan for spending, though, the money remains exposed to potential spending outside of the Gulf Coast area.

The BP oil spill settlement money that the state of Mississippi has received to date is currently sitting in a general budget account. Payments from BP into the account will continue for seventeen years into the future until the full amount is paid. Last year, lawmakers made plans for how to spend approximately forty million dollars of the settlement money. House members want to be sure that spending is more focused on projects that will create tax revenue and less focused on infrastructure projects.

It is possible that no additional action will be taken this year as far as additional decisions about the settlement money are concerned, but it is also possible that a special session could be called to address the issue. It is also possible that agreement could be reached regarding how to spend a portion of the funds, just like they did last year.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Mississippi Residents Recover from the BP Oil Spill

The BP oil spill caused massive amounts of damage and destruction to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and throughout the entire state. Fortunately, the Gulf Coast region is beginning to recover its health and well-being, but the road to recovery for businesses and individuals who were affected by the spill is not easy. The health and economic impacts of the oil spill are enormous, and bringing the Gulf Coast back to life will take time and effort. If you have questions about the BP oil spill, the Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC might be able to help you. Call us today at 1 (800) 707-9577, to set up a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Accidents Involving Diabetic Emergencies

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

A Florida man blacked out while he was driving and he crashed his car into the side of a weigh station near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line. The man has diabetes, and, at the time of the accident, he had not eaten anything yet that day. When a person has diabetes, there’s a risk that they could lose consciousness if their blood sugar drops too low. When an individual who has diabetes blacks out because their blood sugar has gotten too low, it is called a diabetic emergency. When a diabetic emergency happens to someone who is driving a car, the resulting accident can cause serious injuries or death. Fortunately, the man who was involved in the aforementioned accident survived the crash.

Diabetes is a serious medical condition that affects nearly thirty million Americans. People who have diabetes are susceptible to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can cause them to sweat excessively, tremble, or experience impaired vision, confusion, seizures, unconsciousness, coma, and even death. When a person has diabetes, their health care providers teach them how to manage their blood sugar through a combination of methods that may include blood testing, medication, insulin injection, diet, and exercise. Health care providers also teach people with diabetes how to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia and how to treat it with a fast-acting source of glucose. Each diabetic’s body responds to treatments differently, so the ways in which doctors help people to manage their diabetes vary.

Many people with diabetes can drive safely, with the support and advice of their health care providers. Some states require drivers who have diabetes to report their condition to the DMV, and some states even require health care providers to provide an honest assessment of whether a diabetic patient is capable of driving safely. These assessments are to be made on an individual basis, from information that the health care provider has obtained during the history of their treatment of the patient that they are evaluating. For example, hypoglycemia presents clear signs in some people and provides them with opportunities to address it before they experience impairment or loss of consciousness, but in other individuals, no clear signs appear before hypoglycemia renders them impaired. There are also very strict requirements for people with diabetes who wish to obtain commercial (CDL) drivers’ licenses.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Help for Mississippi Automobile Accident Victims and Their Families

Diabetes can increase your accident risk, but it does not always prevent you from being able to drive safely. If you have diabetes, ask your doctor about how to reduce the risk that you will be involved in a diabetic emergency crash. If you do get into an accident, contact a Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney immediately. The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have helped many Mississippi accident victims and their families recover physically and financially after a car crash, and they may be able to help you, too. Please call our office today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Talk About Left Turn Accidents

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

A recent deadly crash in Hinds County claimed the life of one person. The accident happened as the driver of one vehicle was turning left and the vehicles collided at the intersection. This tragic wreck is a somber reminder that many accidents occur at intersections, especially when one vehicle is turning left.

When the driver of a vehicle needs to make a left turn, they must wait to do so until they feel as though they can complete the turn safely. If a driver makes a left turn and their vehicle collides with another vehicle before it completes the turn, they are often found at fault for the accident because they did not yield to traffic. In other words, they did not wait until it was completely safe to make the turn before they attempted to do so.

If you get into an accident while you are making a left turn, do not say anything to anyone that would imply that you feel as though the crash was your fault. There are some situations where a driver who gets into an accident while turning left are not at fault for a collision that occurs while they are turning. For example, if the driver who was traveling straight through the intersection ran a red light, that driver is at fault. Also, it is possible for the driver who was going straight through the intersection to be found at fault if they were speeding. You may even be able to assert that you had determined that it was safe to turn and then something unusual happened while you were making the turn that made you have to slow down or stop before you could complete the turn.

As is the case with any automobile accident, make sure that you call for help right away if you get into a left-turn accident. Gather whatever information you can gather safely at the accident scene, and say as little as you possibly can to the other drivers while communicating respectfully and cooperatively with the police. If you are hurt, and even if you don’t think that you are hurt, it is essential that you get medical help right away. The reason why you must seek prompt medical attention after any automobile accident is so that your doctor can examine you and check you for injuries that may be hidden from view yet still dangerous enough to require treatment. For example, head injuries or injuries that involve internal bleeding are not always visible, nor do people always feel them.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Protecting the Interests of Mississippi Automobile Accident Victims

If you or someone that you love got hurt or killed in a left-hand turn accident, you may wonder what to do next. A Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney can help you recover financially from the crash while you recover from your injuries or help your family through your loss. To learn more, call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Talk about Jackson Whistleblower Case

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Many whistleblower cases are political in nature, and some are high dollar value situations involving big-city governments. There is an ongoing investigation into bribery within the city of Jackson which may be connected to similar problems that have surfaced over in Atlanta.

One woman who used to work for the city of Jackson was responsible for certifying companies for the city’s minority business program. She has in-depth knowledge of which companies were being registered and by whom, and which contracts those companies were getting. One individual, who contributed fifteen thousand dollars to the mayor’s campaign, registered two companies right after an election and those companies went on to win part of a valuable contract. The same person joined with a suspect in the Atlanta bribery case to register a third company, in 2015. That company won part of a major hotel construction project. Other people who are connected to the Atlanta bribery scandal had also formed companies in Jackson, but not all of them had secured contracts by the time that the scandal broke.

During the time that the woman worked for the city of Jackson, Kishia Powell was the director of public works in Jackson. Powell is currently the Watershed Commissioner in Atlanta and is being investigated as part of a bribery situation there. It is possible that Powell was steering contracts while working in Jackson, just as she is suspected of doing in Atlanta. Powell’s attorney has issued a statement that says that she has never steered any contracts.

Because of the duties of her position, the former Jackson employee saw the connections between some of the people who were registering businesses in the city and the former public works director. She also witnessed corruption on several Jackson committees and has cooperated with investigations of those situations. The woman got fired from her position in Jackson, and she is suing the city for sexual harassment in addition to retaliation. She would like to encourage individuals who find themselves in positions like the one that she was in to cooperate with investigations because they have valuable information to contribute. The way that municipal governments work, especially in major cities, places some people in positions where they can see things that no one else can see. When contract steering, bribery, or other wrongdoing is taking place, the people who are engaging in the wrongdoing often seek to discourage anyone who might see what’s going on from doing anything about it, and they don’t always discourage them gently.

The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC support brave individuals like the woman who used to work for the city of Jackson who try to address possible wrongdoing in their public or private workplaces. If you have experienced retaliation for cooperating in an investigation or exposing wrongdoing, you may be able to seek legal protection as a whistleblower. To learn more about whistleblower protection, call the Mississippi Whistleblower attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC  today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorneys Discuss Changes to Workplace Safety Rules

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Last summer, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) changed some of its workplace safety rules and increased its citation structure to encourage employers to be diligent in keeping workers safe and fulfilling their regulatory obligations. Some information about the rule changes may have been passed along to some employees in some workplaces, but many employees may have no idea that some of the rules have changed, let alone how any of the changes apply to them.

Some of the OSHA rule changes involve the procedures for tracking and reporting illnesses and injuries that occur in the workplace. Some employers must now begin submitting illness and injury information to OSHA electronically. This is not a huge change because the information that must be submitted is information that they were already required to collect and keep under previous OSHA rules.

While the electronic filing requirement is important, only some individuals are likely to be aware of it, particularly those people who will be submitting the information to OSHA as part of the work that they do. All employees may be more interested in learning about another change in the OSHA rules, the anti-retaliation provisions. In the interest of collecting accurate data regarding workplace injuries, employees must feel safe reporting injuries and discussing the details of their injuries. Employees who fear retaliation are unlikely to disclose the types of information that OSHA wishes to collect, and so OSHA has created three provisions that it hopes will create a workplace atmosphere in which employees feel safe reporting the details of their injuries.

You may have seen a poster in your workplace that reads “Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law.” This poster, along with statements in your employee handbooks and orientation materials fulfill your employer’s obligation to let you know that you have the right to report any and all workplace injuries. Also, your employer must have a reporting procedure for injuries and illnesses which is reasonable. If the reporting policy at your workplace discourages employees from reporting illnesses or injuries in any way, it could be a violation of this provision. Thirdly, employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who report work-related lionesses or injuries by having incentive policies, drug testing policies, or disciplinary policies that would have a retaliatory effect.

Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish between a retaliatory disciplinary policy and one that is not retaliatory. For example, it is okay for an employer to impose disciplinary consequences upon an employee who violated one or more safety rules, even if they got hurt while they were violating the rule. In contrast, it is not acceptable for an employer to terminate, reassign, harass, or suspend an employee merely because they reported an injury. There must be a valid grounds for any termination, suspension, or reassignment.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing Injured Workers Throughout Mississippi

If you got hurt at work, report your injury to your employer right away. Reporting injuries and illnesses in the workplace is your right, and it is important that you follow the proper procedure for reporting the injury so that you can file a claim for worker’s compensation if such a claim is appropriate in your situation. Worker’s compensation claims can be complex and time-consuming, so it is best to get help from a Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney. Please call the Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule a consultation.