Archive for June, 2017

Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorneys Talk About Mitigating Workplace Violence Risk

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Workplace violence is a real threat to worker safety, but it is much more of a threat at certain types of workplaces than it is at others. Corrections workers face a much higher risk of workplace violence in their work within our nation’s prisons as well as out in the community with those who are involved in the criminal justice system. A recent complaint to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding a Mississippi prison brought about an investigation and eventual settlement that can serve as a template for requiring employers to actively mitigate the risk of violence within their workplaces.

The complaint got filed in 2011 by a correctional officer who worked at a privately operated state prison in Mississippi. The complaint is eight pages, and it raises numerous questions about the safety of people who work at the prison because of shortages of staff, shortages of security equipment like two-way radios, assaults by inmates on correctional officers, inadequate locking mechanisms on cells, and limited escape routes from the facility.

A shortage of staff in any workplace creates some degree of risk for employees. In a correctional setting, there are many situations where officers should work in pairs to safeguard their safety. When corrections staff work alone there is the potential for violence them more than there is if there are two or more working together. Workplaces of all kinds are responsible for knowing how many employees they need for each shift and for staffing their facilities accordingly. The staffing shortages at the prison were one of the reasons why OSHA cited the facility with a violation of its general duty clause.

Another contributing factor in why OSHA issued a willful violation citation for the prison is that malfunctioning cell door locks were not fixed, which greatly increased the risk of harm to staff and inmates due to violence, even though the employer was aware of the problem and aware of the danger that the problem created for some time. Fortunately, after the prison received the willful violation citation, the company which runs the facility agreed to implement specific safety modifications at the Mississippi prison that was the subject of the complaint and in all of its facilities nationwide. As part of that, the company hired a third-party corrections management consultant and implemented a workplace violence prevention program. They also created workplace safety committees. These steps forward are more than companies usually take after such a citation, but OSHA is hoping that other facilities that got similarly cited will follow suit and take the initiative to improve workplace safety.

Barrett Law PLLC – Representing The Interests of Injured Mississippi Workers

A skilled workplace injury attorney can help you navigate the often tricky task of pursuing a claim for damages after a workplace accident. Your attorney can also offer valuable support and guidance to assist you through every stage of the workers’ compensation claims process. If you got hurt at work or you lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you can get help from a Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney. Call the Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577 to find out more.

 

 

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Say Not All Accident Scenes Are Easy to Examine

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Many car accident scenes provide investigators with plenty of useful and easy to access information that they can then use to formulate conclusions about how the accident occurred. Sometimes, though, conditions at or near an accident scene can make finding answers difficult for investigators. Unfortunately, in the case of fatal accidents, this means that families who have lost their loved ones must wait to find out how and why they died.

For example, the investigation into an accident that killed at least three people got delayed by heavy rain. The SUV that crashed is reported to have had four people in it, but there were only three bodies, two men and a woman, that got recovered after the wreck. The fourth person, a woman, is missing.  All three people who perished in the wreck died as the result of multiple traumas from the crash.

The crashed vehicle did not get discovered until about three or four days after the accident because of where it ended up. Fishermen found the SUV in a creek, under a fifty-foot-high bridge. Motorists driving on the bridge cannot see underneath it, so no one driving by noticed the vehicle until the fishermen found it. At the time the vehicle got found, the creek as a lot higher than normal due to heavy rains in the area, the same rain which made it tough to look for the fourth person who is said to have been in the SUV. The search for the missing woman got suspended because the weather and the stream and river conditions made it unsafe for rescuers and volunteers to look for the woman.

The people who were driving and riding in the SUV were en route from Illinois to Florida. Someone reported them missing before the fishermen found their vehicle in the creek. Investigators are working to piece together the details of what may have happened, and initially, there are still so many unknowns which make it hard to put together any cohesive theory of what happened. The search for the missing woman can continue as soon as possible so that more can be known about the accident and so her family can know where she is.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Help for Mississippi Automobile Accident Victims

Accidents that leave investigators with more questions than answers can be frustrating for friends and family members of those who got hurt or killed in the crash. When there are injuries and or losses, families want as many answers as they can get. Speaking with an attorney might not speed up the investigation into the cause of the accident, but it can prepare you and your family for what you might be able to expect in the weeks and months to come. If you got hurt or a family member got killed in a traffic accident, contact a Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney right away, even if the accident is still under investigation. If you have questions about what a Mississippi automobile accident lawyer could do for you and your family after your accident, please call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys of Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577 to set up an initial consultation.

 

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Talk About Pile-Up Accidents

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Recently, one person died, and at least four others got hurt in a six-vehicle pile-up accident in Mt. Olive. The accident happened at a traffic light. The chain of events that led up to the pile-up started when a trailer truck rear-ended a car which was s at the traffic light. Other cars collided with the crashed vehicles until a total of six vehicles got ensnared in the wreckage. Authorities are currently investigating the accident.

Chain reaction accidents can be dangerous and often deadly. Fortunately, drivers can sometimes prevent them or avoid getting entangled in them. Pile-ups can happen fast, especially on crowded roads during busy travel times, but the following safety tips just might help you avoid causing or adding to a chain reaction wreck. For example, one of the best ways to prevent a chain reaction crash is to always leave enough space between your vehicle and the vehicles around you. Many drivers do not realize that adequate space means staying at least one car length back from the vehicle in front of you, for every ten miles per hour of your car’s speed. When drivers leave enough space between their vehicles and the cars around them, they have some space to work with if other vehicles nearby make unexpected maneuvers.

Sometimes, pile-up accidents start with a vehicle hydroplaning or otherwise losing control because of weather-related driving conditions. That type of pile-up can sometimes be avoided, and drivers can also avoid piling onto other accidents by paying close attention to the weather and road conditions and adjusting their driving accordingly. Mississippi often experiences heavy rain and thick fog. Fog and rain reduce visibility, so drivers must slow down to give themselves time to react to things as they can see them. If you drive too fast when visibility is low, you could get into an accident if a car stops short in front of your vehicle because, by the time that you see the vehicle stop, it is too late to react to it. Rain also reduces traction, so drivers must go slow enough to avoid hydroplaning and ensure that they can stop without sliding all over the road.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving Families Affected by Mississippi Chain Reaction Accidents

Unfortunately, sometimes even the safest drivers cannot avoid an accident. Reaching your destination safely depends on many things, some of which are beyond your control. If you got hurt or someone you love got killed in a chain reaction accident, you might face a complicated set of facts that could make it difficult for fault to get assigned to one or more of the drivers that were involved in the wreck. Not only can that be frustrating, but it can also delay the payment of your automobile accident claim, at a time when you need that compensation to recover or help your family recover from the effects of the accident. If your family was affected by a Mississippi motor vehicle crash, a Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney could help you pursue an automobile accident claim for your damages or your loss. Call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to learn more.

 

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Say Housing Market is Recovering Nicely After Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

It’s finally a seller’s market for real estate owners with homes and land in Southern Mississippi. Buyers are selecting plum properties quickly, and many sellers can get close to their asking prices. The average sale price for homes has increased by five percent in the past year.

Sellers are not the only ones who are having a good time of it with real estate on the Gulf Coast right now. Buyers are reaping the benefits of interest rates that are close to historically low levels. Rates are rising, but the increase has been slow. New construction is currently favored over remodeled or remodeled existing construction, as buyers have shown a tendency to want to customize their homes to reflect trends like the open floor plan, granite counter tops, double vanities, and other things that they see on popular home design television shows.

Homes on dry lots can command a premium price, as can homes in good subdivisions that are located in sought-after school districts. New subdivisions are not getting built quickly enough to meet the demand, so some buyers are choosing to go for existing homes rather than wait a while for a new home to get constructed. Also, depending upon the area where a home buyer is looking to purchase a house, existing homes can offer significant savings. For example, there are strict code requirements in South Mississippi, so existing buildings are cheaper to buy than new ones.

The way that people are finding their new homes is changing, too. Social media has dramatically increased the amount of “for sale by owner” properties, and real estate agents are using social media to link buyers and sellers with each other and with the real estate professionals who can help them make the arrangements for the purchases and sales of the properties.

Gulf Coast home prices have been on a roller coaster ride years for years, since Hurricane Katrina damaged many homes and businesses, sending shock waves through the real estate market. The market eventually bottomed out after the devastation caused by the BP oil spill and the subsequent economic recession. Home prices on the Gulf Coast have been climbing steadily since 2011, and the housing market seems to have stabilized which is great news for both buyers and sellers.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Supporting Individuals and Businesses Affected by the BP Oil Spill

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused enormous amounts of environmental and property damage along with widespread economic damage all over the Gulf Coast region. Homeowners and others who own real estate on the Gulf Coast can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the values of their homes and land have stabilized, and the entire Gulf Coast is experiencing environmental restoration and economic revitalization. If you have questions regarding the BP oil spill, call the Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577, to arrange an initial consultation.

 

Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney Talks About Falls

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

A recent workplace accident involving a fatal fall is a tragic reminder that falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries and deaths. The man who died in the accident was working on a cell phone tower when he fell. Authorities say that the man was between thirty and forty years old and that he was wearing his safety harness and fall protection equipment when he fell to his death. A co-worker who was working with the man said that he turned away from the man to work on something and when he turned back in his direction, he saw him falling. The accident is now under investigation.

Fall accidents are the second most common cause of workplace deaths, preceded only by transportation-related fatalities. Fall protection is, not coincidentally, the standard for which OSHA issues the most citations. When workplace falls do not result in death, they often cause permanent disabilities. Disabilities caused by workplace falls often require intensive medical treatment and ongoing care, which translates into large insurance expenditures for medical bills. As an interesting aside, falls at home are the third leading cause of death from unintentional injury in that setting.

The efforts of OSHA and other safety professionals to educate workers and people who do things at home that could cause them to fall about how to prevent falls are relatively effective. This is important, and continued efforts are needed because an aging work force means that the number of people who are the most vulnerable to suffering death or disability as the result of a fall is on the rise.

Fall protection in the workplace centers around identifying tripping hazards and eliminating those hazards whenever possible. In situations where the risk cannot get removed, making it conspicuous (think wet floor signs) are at least somewhat effective in preventing falls. When you are assessing an area of your work environment for fall risk, pay attention to whether changes in the surface are visible, whether transition areas are visible, whether the lighting in an area helps people navigate it safely or obscures a fall hazard, and whether anything can be done to make an area safer. If harnesses or other fall protection equipment are needed for the work that employees do, it is important that the workers learn how to check their equipment for safe operation and that they notify someone right away if they notice damaged or broken equipment.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping the Victims of Mississippi Workplace Falls

If you lost a family member in a workplace fall death or if you got hurt in a fall at work, you may wonder what to do. Your fall might have injured you badly, and you may need surgery and time to recover. If you lost someone you love in a workplace fall you are probably wondering how you can best help your family through this devastating loss. If you have questions about how we could assist you with a workplace accident claim, please call the Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC at 1 (800) 707-9577.

Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney Describes a Very Messy Trucking Accident

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Accident scenes can be gruesome, but sometimes, an accident happens that takes gruesomeness to another level. A recent accident involving an overturned tractor trailer resulted in a highway strewn with dead chicken parts. The wreckage ended up on the southbound side of I-55, near mile marker 76. The driver said that he was traveling north when the trailer portion of his rig malfunctioned. As he lost control of the truck, it went into the median and flipped over the barrier onto the southbound side of the road. Fortunately, the chicken parts that got scattered about the accident scene were the only gruesome discoveries in this wreck. The truck driver didn’t exhibit any signs of injury after the crash.

When cars collide, it can make a mess in the road. When one of the vehicles in a wreck is a tractor trailer, the potential for damage and destruction is even greater. There are other differences between tractor trailer accidents and accidents that involve only passenger vehicles. It is useful for all drivers to know what the differences are between accidents involving passenger vehicles only and accidents involving eighteen-wheelers. One difference is that tractor trailers are driven by professional drivers. If they get in an accident, they are at work. The accident might cause them to miss an important deadline, or they may be exhausted from a long day on the road. Fortunately, there are safety rules in place to help truck drivers act responsibly and avoid driving while they are tired, but those rules do not always get followed. If you get into an accident with a tractor trailer, remember that the person who is driving the truck might not even own it, so there are likely to be other parties besides the drivers involved in your trucking accident case.

Not only are the parties in trucking accident cases different and more numerous than the parties in accident cases involving only cars, they vehicles themselves are different. Eighteen-wheelers are enormous, and they are heavy. They handle differently when they are loaded than they do when they are not. They have moving parts. Eighteen-wheelers are longer and taller than other vehicles on the road. They are also much heavier. The exact weight of a trailer truck varies depending upon the weight of its cargo, but many of them weigh nearly eighty thousand pounds. Because tractor trailers are big and heavy and they maneuver differently than cars do, the physical occurrence of an accident involving a tractor trailer is much different than a wreck of only passenger vehicles.

Barrett Law PLLC:   Caring Support for Victims of Mississippi Trucking Accidents

The differences between tractor trailer accidents and passenger vehicle accidents can make pursuing resolution of your claim for damages difficult and complicated. Trucking accident cases can also involve various state and Federal laws that do not apply to passenger vehicle crashes. Accident victims who were in a wreck involving a tractor-trailer need the specialized knowledge and support of a Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney. Attorneys who understand trucking accident cases know exactly how to get and interpret evidence and business records which are needed to successfully resolve your trucking accident claim. If you would like to learn more about how Mississippi trucking accident victims can file a claim for damages, call the Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC, at 1 (800) 707-9577 today.

 

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Say Increased Protection for Whistleblowers is Part of Recently Enacted VA Reform Act

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Last month, the Senate took an important step in the direction of reforming the badly broken system that provides essential services to our nation’s veterans. The “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act” contains a variety of provisions aimed at improving the Veterans’ Affairs system, including increased protection for whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The recent rash of VA whistleblower cases is evidence of a culture of retaliation towards whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, hence, the increased protection that the Act aims to provide is essential at this time.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides health care and other services to those who serve our nation. Over the years, the system by which those benefits get provided has become severely broken in some ways due to mismanagement and other problems within the agency with the result being poor service to our veterans. Congress has tried to make some improvements in years past, and progress has been made, but it is slow and more changes are needed. In 2014, Congress enacted the “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act” which gave the VA Secretary the authority to quickly and easily remove underperforming senior executives. That Act also required the VA to incorporate disciplinary action into its human resources policies in instances of misconduct involving falsification of patient care data.

The “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act” builds on prior improvements by giving the VA Secretary more flexibility in how they can discipline or remove employees who are not delivering quality care or upholding the department’s best practices. As noted before, retaliation against whistleblowers is a major problem within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The new Act will strengthen existing measures which protect whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting problems, in the spirit of promoting a culture of accountability within the Department.

The “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act” got signed by President Trump on June 23.  It is expected to deliver, as it promises, much-needed change within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Many people are pleased that this legislation passed, as support for the legislation by outside groups was enthusiastic throughout the legislative process.  For example, the legislative director of the organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America stated that they think the Act is “the strongest VA accountability measure that can be signed into law.”

The Mississippi Whistleblower Protection Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC appreciate the efforts of the legislators who worked to draft, promote, and pass “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.” Whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans Affairs need all of the support that they can get, given the organization’s current culture of retaliation as evidenced by the numerous whistleblower cases that have been filed by VA whistleblowers. Hopefully, the new legislation will encourage whistleblowers to continue to come forward when they witness wrongdoing within the VA. If you have questions about whistleblower protection claims, call 1 (800) 707-9577 to set up a consultation with the Mississippi Whistleblower Protection Attorneys of Barrett Law PLLC.

 

Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss Tragic Yachting Accident

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The family of a young man wants to hold Mississippi Power and the Gulfport Yacht Club responsible for the devastating injuries that the man sustained in a horrific yachting accident that occurred when his sailboat came into contact with live power lines.  The young man is lucky to be alive after the accident, and he is still working on recovering from his injuries. Doctors have had to amputate both of his legs as well as one of his arms, and his entire body got severely burned. He is currently recovering from his burns and injuries, and the recovery process is expected to be slow, as is customary for burn victims.

The complaint that has been filed by the man’s family against Mississippi Power accuses the company of failing to maintain the power lines properly. In the aftermath of an accident that nearly cost them the young man that they love, his family and friends are wondering why the company allowed power lines to be present in an area where sailboats with tall masts go frequently. The power lines that the boat struck reach across the southwestern corner of the yacht club parking lot in an area where boats, including boats with tall masts like the one involved in the accident, are often present.

This terrible accident has got a lot of people in the yachting community on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere thinking about what they can do to prevent similar accidents from happening. For example, in the nearby community of Pass Christian, officials at the Pass Christian Yacht Club are asking the city and the harbor master to install barricades in the one location in its harbor where they believe that a similar accident could occur. All of the other electrical wirings in the harbor is underground, but there is one place where four power poles are located in proximity to a boat parking area. Yacht club officials feel the location of those power poles poses a danger to people who are on boats with tall masts, like the one that was involved in the aforementioned accident. Hopefully, the barricades will get put in soon, and other yacht clubs in other communities on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere will examine their harbors to see whether they are as safe as they can be.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Knowledgeable and Experienced Help for Mississippi Boating Accident Victims

If you got hurt in a boating accident or someone you love got hurt or killed while boating in Mississippi, a Mississippi personal injury attorney could help you and your family pursue claims for damages or losses related to a boating accident. The circumstances of each boating accident are unique, but it is possible that you could file a boating accident claim based on some or all of the following: medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC represent plaintiffs and their families in various types of personal injury cases. To learn more about how our attorneys might be able to help you, call our office today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to arrange a free, initial consultation.